Hi there and welcome to our website! We’re happy that you found us and hope that we can help you plan your travels!
We’re Maggie and Michael, the founders of The World Was Here First and we’re passionate about travelling to off the beaten path and lesser-visited areas of Europe and beyond. We like to look further than the main tourist sites of popular cities and try to understand the people and the culture of the places we are visiting.
We both started as solo travellers and neither of us ever really thought we would want to do anything differently. That is until we met on one rakija fuelled night at a hostel in Belgrade, Serbia. After that, we joined forces and travelled throughout the Balkans, Central Europe, and the Baltics before finally deciding to establish some roots and settle in London.
We lived in London for three years and in between working full-time and exploring the city we called home, we took advantage of whatever time we could to explore more of Europe.
During our time in London, some of our favourite trips have included:
- Road tripping in Iceland and Scotland
- Exploring the Emilia-Romagna and Umbria regions of Italy
- Uncovering the culture and cuisine of Malta
- Travelling around the Moravian-Silesian region of the Czech Republic
- Spending more time discovering the Baltics
- Digging deep into the culture of Istria, Croatia
At the end of 2018, we packed our bags and decided to hit the road for another stint of long term travel. Since then we have been on a number of unforgettable adventures, including:
- Road tripping through Arizona and California in the USA
- Enjoying the laid-back lifestyle and warm weather of Madrid and Andalucía, Spain
- Returning to one of our favourite underrated travel destinations: Bulgaria
- Winding our way through the Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan
- Rediscovering what we initially loved about the Balkans countries of Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia
- Spending time with family while exploring Malta once more
Our nomadic life is very different from our life in London, but we’re incredibly grateful to have it and are trying to enjoy every minute!
2019 has been an amazing year and we’re so excited to see what 2020 has in store for us!
Our Travel Style
We are both massive advocates for slow travel and we will rarely spend fewer than three nights in any given destination. We like to ensure that we can fully appreciate a destination and we don’t think we can do that if we only have a short period of time there.
Even though we’re not the penny-pinching backpackers we once were, we still tend to travel on a fairly small budget. We like to stay in private rooms through Airbnb or small guest houses, we cook meals sometimes if we have access to a kitchen, and we never stay in big-name hotels.
We take public transport almost everywhere, but will sometimes rent a car when we feel like it will be easier. We also don’t necessarily shy away from splurging on a good meal! But we always take note on how much we spend on everything so we can give all of you readers accurate information about how much things cost.
We’re certainly not big-budget, luxury travellers by any means. I’m not even sure if you could call us mid-range travellers. Even though our general income and travel style has changed over the years, we still keep the broke backpacker mindset and want to show that travel is accessible to most people!
About The World Was Here First
Alright, enough about us and our travel style…you want to know what this blog is all about! Well, as we’ve said earlier, we’re absolutely passionate about getting off the beaten path in Europe and around the world and exploring corners of countries that few tourists like to visit.
We advocate for supporting local, small businesses and want to encourage responsible travel. As such, we aren’t fans of travelling in tour groups or patronising multinational chains. We think that the goal of travel is to immerse yourself in the native culture, to learn about the nation or city’s history, to minimise your negative impact on a destination, and to try and see each destination from a local’s perspective.
This website is for independent travellers looking to get off the typical tourist trail, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to visit popular cities and countries! Quite the contrary, actually — I mean, we lived in London after all! We just think that there is always so much more to a destination beyond the top tourist attractions, and encourage you to try and find them!
We started this website because we were frustrated with the lack of decent information available for travellers who wanted to be a bit more intrepid than your average tourist in Europe. So many travel blogs out there only write about the main attractions in the biggest cities and fail to venture anywhere beyond. We think this is a HUGE mistake and we’re trying to change that right here.
You’re not going to find inspirational lists about which things to check off your “bucket list” or the best places to take the perfect selfie. What you will find is practical information about how to sustainably and responsible travel to specific destinations! All of the articles published here come from our own (or our writer’s own) first-hand experience with information we wish we would have known before we travelled there.
So, if you want to get off the beaten path in Europe and beyond but aren’t sure how, then wander through our little corner of the internet. And if you want to keep up with all of our latest posts and travels, make sure to sign up to our newsletter (and get a free travel mini guide!) and follow us on all of our social media channels below!
Also, if you have any questions or just want to say “hi,” then don’t hesitate to contact us or check out our work with us page if you’re a business looking to collaborate. We absolutely love hearing from our readers 🙂