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Travel bloggers Ginger and Nutmeg add spice to their worldwide adventures

Carolyne and Andrew are two former stock traders who exchanged their Bay Street business attire for comfortable sweaters and a travel blog in Canmore, Alberta. As Ginger and Nutmeg, the two add a bit of spice to their lives as they traverse the globe and write about their adventures online.

As part of our series on great Canadian blogs, we spoke with Carolyne (aka Nutmeg) about the rewards of being nomads-with-no-income, struggling to find her voice, and how a GPS is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship.

Tell us about yourselves.
We are currently "reinventing" ourselves from dual-income-no-kids to nomads-with-no-income. Our home is in Canmore, Alberta, which might honestly be one of the most beautiful places to live in the world. It has a small town feel with easy access to the back-country and big city.

I am "Nutmeg" though most people know me as Carolyne, a native Montrealer who transplanted to the west over twenty years ago. I have had many careers, from a stock trader in Toronto to real estate construction and operations management on a global scale. Now, I am working as a blogger, freelance writer and travel app developer. I like to say my latest career is the one that pays the least, but is definitely the most rewarding as it challenges my creative side.

Ginger is my husband Andrew, although not actually born in Calgary he is about as native as they come. He is one of the biggest "cheerleaders" for the city that I know. Andrew spent his entire career practically glued to multiple computer screens as he traded oil and gas stocks in public markets. Tired of a tireless industry and early mornings, he is now involved with several organizations including the Royal Canadian Air Force, Calgary Stampede and Hope Air. He is a passionate private pilot and craves high-speed turns on his alpine skis.

How did the two of you meet?
We met for the first time at a loud dance party in a Toronto bar in the late 1980s. Andrew was with his girlfriend (of the moment) and I was not interested. It took another five years for us to meet again and that next time the chemistry was quite a bit different. I like to say in life timing is everything. 

How did you both catch the travel bug?
I have always had the travel bug; I was just six months old the first time I boarded a commercial flight. My parents moved to Canada in their early twenties, with no close family nearby. So as young kids we travelled to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins every summer in exotic locals such as the West Indies, Venezuela and Europe. There is something exciting for me about uncovering the soul of a new destination.

Andrew’s travel bug bloomed a little later in life. He joined a student bike trip through Europe at age sixteen and his eyes opened to the world of history, food and traditions. Bitten, he was smitten by the prospect of visiting new locations.

Where does the foodie-ism of the blog come in—why not just a travel blog?
It is an interesting question, as I do not think of Ginger and Nutmeg as a food blog or recipe blog, but rather as an exploration of cultural traditions that often involve food. As an example, olive oil is ubiquitous to countries bordering the shores of the Mediterranean; the beautiful silvery green trees hold tight to miniature blossoms that slowly turn into green and then black olives. The annual late fall gathering of family and friends for the olive harvest is a social event and often a potluck picnic, before the baskets of olives are taken to the mill. The bottles of liquid gold are just as treasured now, as the oil was in Roman times.

How often do you travel, and where do you most often travel to?
We travel a lot. Currently, we spend time in Canmore, California and Provence in southern France. We also manage to get in some side trips to other destinations like Spain, Italy, Ireland and recently Western Africa. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, budget be damned, where would you choose to go?
We have both Australia and South Africa on our bucket lists—if budget be damned, we would do both!

What's the purpose of the blog to you? Why not just travel and eat?
Ginger and Nutmeg started as a lark, almost five years ago, when some girlfriends convinced me I had an interesting life. I was not so sure they were right. Their encouragement gave me the incentive to start writing and my dedication has increased from there. At first I struggled, should I write about restaurant reviews and coffee experiences or our latest holiday? Then I began to find my "voice." I feel that my blog is a unique combination of culinary history, cultural traditions and travel inspiration.

Your blog has a wealth of practical and useful information. Have you heard from any of your readers who ended up travelling based on your advice? 
Yes, I have been surprised and humbled by encouraging comments from my readers. At least a couple times a month, I find an email in my inbox from someone looking for some information on a destination that they are hoping to travel to. One friend wanted some help on planning a ski vacation in Austria, as it turned out we had been in the area recently so I was able to help her out. They had a fabulous time and perfect snow conditions, which I would love to take credit for, but my powers as a writer are limited.

Sometimes travelling as a couple can be challenging. We all tend to have our own quirks and our own ways of experiencing a new destination. How are the two of you at travelling together? Any points of friction?
Oh yes, it can certainly be challenging in particular if you are trying to manage in a different language. Generally, I would say we are pretty good at managing each other’s expectations while travelling. Food and accommodation are probably the touchiest of subjects. I would highly recommend to anyone that having a GPS when driving in unfamiliar territory is essential to maintaining a relationship. 

Any advice for aspiring bloggers?
Anyone can blog, but to create good-quality content is a dedication. Successful blog authors produce enjoyable, interesting, readable content and that takes work. You need to be able to measure your achievements in a way that keeps you motivated, as very few blogs are financially noteworthy, but the blogging process can create so many other non-tangible rewards.

Images courtesy of Ginger and Nutmeg. 

Read profiles of other Canadian bloggers:

Straight from the Arse by Ryan Arsenault
Couple of Yuppies by Jamie Munro and Kyle Foot
Obscure CanLit Mama by Carrie Anne Snyder
Le Blog du Rob by Rob Watson
The Art of Doing Stuff by Karen Bertelsen
Man on the Lam by Raymond Walsh
Ironic Mom by Leanne Shirtliffe
Clockwork Lemon by Stephanie Eddie
OffQc by Kevin Felix Polesello
Caker Cooking by Brian Francis
Maple Leaf Mamma by Michelle Tarnopolsky
Rolling Around In My Head by Dave Hingsburger
Les Incorrigibles by Mali Navia and Jasmine Papillon-Smith
The Book Dumpling by Andrea Borod


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