Hello! We're Maya & Michal

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Who are we?

Maya & Michal. We are nature lovers, adventure seekers and active travellers.

Want to know more? Awesome:

We come from Slovakia, residing in Canada, currently on a trip around the world taking a longer break in New Zealand.

But that’s not what is defining us so what is?

Outdoors is our thing! To be happy, all we need is some fresh air. Even better if it’s in the mountains.

We are trying to make the most of our time we have on the planet. I bet you do as well. Maybe that’s why you came here.
We are not as most travel bloggers out there. We didn’t have to sell all our possessions, our car and stopped buying Starbucks coffee to save money to travel (oh, poor people). First of all, we didn’t have much, let alone a car to sell and there was no Starbucks when we lived in Slovakia. We also didn’t quit our jobs to teach English in South East Asia, earned tens of thousands of dollars and left to see the rest of the world.




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Our story

Our story is a bit complicated and a bit longer. Here it goes:
We grew up in Trencin, Slovakia where we both spent most of our time in nature (what naturally continues to this day). We’ve met through mutual friends when I was still in high school and Michal studied at University. Later, I joined him and after finishing our economic studies, we found a job in capital Bratislava. Our free time was either spent on mountain bikes in beautiful Slovak mountains or visiting other European countries.
It didn’t take long to realise, we don’t want to go for a vacation to another country anymore. We want to try living in a new country. So we saved for years, applied for Working Holiday visas to Canada, moved to Banff and later to Calgary.


The Canadian Rockies were our playground for more than 4 years. We learnt cross country skiing, tried ice climbing, visited ice caves, attended a running race in -18C, jumped off of several cliffs into gorgeous Canadian mountain lakes, played ice hockey every winter, mountain biked a lot, hosted tens of people through Couchsurfing, road tripped thousands of kilometres in Canada and US and started hiking more often. We are more of a mountain biking types but with all the bears in the mountains, there are places you can only visit on foot.
Even though we’ve left, we are planning to come back.


In the meantime, we packed our sports gear in the storage and left on a trip around the world. Starting in Mexico, we’ve travelled through Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama) and South America (Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina).

Our focus is mainly on the off the beaten path places when we leave guide books and backpacking crowd behind.  Just a few of our favourite memories are from – hiking up the Cosiguina volcano in Nicaragua, boating on Orinoco River Delta with indigenous people in Venezuelan jungle, mountain biking in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru and taking a 33 hours ferry to hike in the mountains near the southernmost city in the world, Puerto Williams in Chile.


Right now we are in New Zealand. We plan to work and travel around the country, then visit Asia. High on our list of places we would like to visit are Papua New Guinea, Russia, Mongolia , Iran, Tajikistan and many more.

How do we travel and what is this blog about?

We live frugally because that’s the way we’ve been raised. On the road or at home, we look carefully where we spend our hard earned money. Along the way, we’ve made mistakes and learned from them so we can help YOU to travel better, and on a budget. That’s why we’re not spending a fortune on luxury hotels, 5* restaurants or overpriced attractions. We research the options before we spend anything and now we want to help others save a ton of time and money, so you can go out and have fun.


We don’t watch TV, spend time in coffee shops and don’t go to the mall every week. What we really seek are experiences. Experiences that will either teach us something new, test our endurance and stamina or make us feel good about ourselves at the end of the day. Isn’t it what we all want?

You know what I mean?

If we had to choose, adrenaline or new activity we can try always wins over a fancy meal, for example. Trying mountaineering in Peru won over spending that money on a hotel with a pool. When we’ve visited Chile, which is more expensive country than the rest of South America, we travelled through most of the country by hitchhiking and camping. Not because we’re cheap, but because it’s more fun than renting a car on our own.


You’ll find here travel tips of all sorts along with many adventure activities you can try yourself. As cheesy as it may sound, push the boundaries of your comfort zone, that’s where the real fun begins. We hope to inspire you and help you along the way.

Now grab a beer/drink of your choice and start reading – plan your own trip or have a good laugh.

Have questions, comments or just want to say hi? Shoot us an email at maya (at) travelwiththesmile.com or connect with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Have fun, see you on the road!

Maya & Michal

Recent Travels

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Sulphur Mountain Hike vs. Banff gondola ride

Sulphur Mountain Hike vs. Banff gondola ride

Mountain peaks of Canadian Rockies as far as you could see, view of Bow Valley, Lake Minnewanka and the Town of Banff. The Sulphur Mountain overlooks Banff National Park and offers jaw-dropping views. While the gondola is the most popular attraction in Banff, there’s...

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Healy Pass Hike with Egypt Lake, Banff National Park

Healy Pass Hike with Egypt Lake, Banff National Park

Healy Pass Hike in Banff National Park is a highly popular day trip for its colourful meadows filled with wildflowers. The 9 km trail can be extended to Egypt Lake as a perfect backpacking trip for beginners, or as in our case, a day hike. In this blog post I will...

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