Who are we?
Maya Steiningerova & Michal Dorica. We are nature lovers, adventure seekers and active travellers.
Born and raised in Slovakia, we currently live near the Canadian Rockies.
But that’s not what is defining us so what is?
Outdoors is our favourite place! To be happy, all we need is some fresh air. Even better if it’s in the mountains.
We love adventure sports and always trying new ones. Our biggest passions are trail running, mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding, skiing, ice skating, road tripping and immersing ourselves in new cultures and environments – whether it’s visiting an indigenous tribe in Venezuelan jungle, trekking through Chilean Patagonia, jumping in ice cold lakes in the Canadian Rockies or trying mountaineering in Peruvian Andes.
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. Keep reading to find out how we can help.
Our motto: “Let the adventure be the fuel of your life.”
We grew up in Trencin, Slovakia where we both spent a lot of time in nature or playing sports when growing up. We’ve met through mutual friends when I was still in high school and Michal studied at University. Later on, I joined him and we got degrees in Economics. As most, we joined the work force right after and noticed most people settling down, having kids and a mortgage. Although our free time was either spent on mountain bikes in beautiful Slovak mountains or visiting other European countries, we’ve felt out of place and longing a big adventure and a big change.
It didn’t take long to realise that we don’t want to go for a vacation to another country anymore. How about we totally immerse ourselves in a new country? We jumped right into that idea.
We applied for Working Holiday visas, quit our jobs, packed our bags & mountain bikes, and moved to Banff for work, right in the heart of the oldest national park in Canada.
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.
Seeing what is possible in life, it was time to fulfill my childhood dream and travel around the world. Michal was on board immediately and we were thrilled to experience such a big trip together. We continued to live frugaly and saved every dollar possible for our trip.
After having enough budget for 1 year and securing working visas half way through our trip in New Zealand, we packed only essentials, put our sports gear in the storage left on a trip around the world.
Starting in Mexico, we’ve travelled through:
- Central America – Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama
- South America – Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina
- Oceania – New Zealand
- Asia – Indonesia, India
- Europe – Austria, Slovenia, Italy, England, Scotland, Slovakia
It was a lifechanging experience we share together and will never forget.
Our focus was mainly off the beaten path places when we left guide books and backpacking crowd behind. Through our first hand experience, we found out you shouldn’t be afraid to visit a place just because the media articles are making you believe they are dangerous.
We’ve been in places where people were (and still are) afraid to visit, such as El Salvador, Venezuela or Kashmir in India. The truth is, it’s exactly these places where we’ve met the kindest people and had an amazing time.
A few of our favourite memories from a 2-year trip around the world are – living with a local Mayan family in Guatamala, hiking up the remote Cosiguina volcano in Nicaragua, trekking to sacred Mount Roraima through Venezuelan rainforest, mountain biking one of the most dangerous roads in the world in Peruvian Andes, hitchhiking through the mountains of Patagonia, taking a 33 hours ferry to hike in the mountains near the southernmost city in the world, Puerto Williams in Chile, road tripping for months in New Zealand, and visiting a remote part of Indian Himalayas.
Even though we got sick several times, been robbed, bitten by wild animals, been in a road crash, and got stuck in Venezuela jsut before they closed the border, we’ve also conquered our fears (Michal from heights and me from spiders), tried new adventure activities, climbed volcanoes, were invited to local homes, talked and laughed with strangers, got engaged, and spent a lot of nights sleeping under the stars in places we’ve dreamt about.
We’re now back in Canada, continue living a life of adventure, planning new trips and helping travelers from around the world to experience the Rockies our way – adventure style – through our company Smile Campervans.
We’re here to help you through our adventure travel blog full of tips, guides, and stories to make YOUR life adventurous.
Trip around the world
The best & worst from our 2-year trip around the world. Read through our monthly recaps to find out how many kilometres we travelled, what transport we used, daily budget, map of visited places, and more.
How do we travel and what is this blog about?
We live frugally because we value experiences over things and also because that’s the way we’ve been raised. Nowadays, this concept also has a very cool name – minimalism. On the road or at home, we look carefully where we spend our hard earned money.
On our travels, 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.
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?
If we had to choose, new outdoor activity 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. It was new to us and exciting!
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 fun, see you on the road!
Maya & Michal
Are you ready to live a life of adventure?
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