Interview: Couple Travelers DeeJoni and their cute kiddo

Interview: Couple Travelers DeeJoni and their cute kiddo

If there is a Super Couple Traveler that I know, it would be Deej and Joni. I’ve known them for a long time and they were already traveling a lot since they got together.

Now married with an adorable kid, still, nothing can stop them from traveling! As early as now, they are already honing little kiddo to become an  expert traveler in the future!

I am a witness of their love and passion for traveling and as a matter of fact, Deej  (my friend for 18yrs) is one of my mentors who showed me that adventures and travel experiences is one of the best to have in this life.

Let’s get to know them more in our interview and maybe pick a life lesson or two.

1) Welcome to our blog! As usual, kindly introduce yourself to our readers.

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo

Hello to the readers of The Travel Debugger! We’re Deej and Joni. We’ve been married for 2 years and we have an adorable one-year old son named Dylan. Deej is in the game development industry, while Joni is in digital marketing. We have travelled a lot as a couple and we vowed to continue traveling with our little one.

2) You’ve been travelling a lot before having a kid, so how parenting changed your life as travelers? What are some of the significant adjustments you did?

One very obvious difference between then and now is that we are not as free to travel anytime we want as we used to, because taking care of a baby demands a lot of time, attention and sleepless nights! Not to mention, most of our budget now goes to things that concern Dylan. When we got pregnant last year, we already know that once the baby is out, it won’t ever be the same. But we are taking this “change” positively because that only means we got ourselves a new travel buddy. The more the merrier!

Related: 10 Tips On Travelling While Building Your Future In Your 30s

3) Are there times that you want to sneak out the house and go on a roadtrip or fly somewhere?

We don’t want to sound “righteous” and say this never crossed our mind, haha, so the answer is yes. Once or twice, we’ve jokingly said to each other how great it would be if we could leave the baby for a day and be off on our own. If we could just take a break, we can maybe have a glimpse of how it was when we’re only thinking about ourselves, haha! But we’re happy to say that we’ve never gone through with it — unless you count our occasional movie dates (thank God for nannies and grandmothers!) . What’s funny though is, whenever we’re away from the baby for hours, we would always miss him and talk about his antics and just come rushing home.

4) Have you traveled with your cute kiddo? Will you hone him to be a traveler just like you guys?

Our first travel with Dylan was in March this year when he was only 3 months old. We attended a friend’s wedding in Legazpi City so we had to take an airplane and ride a van all the way to Misibis Bay. Fortunately, Dylan is a fairly easy baby to travel with. He gets fussy but he’s not that unmanageable (to soon-to-be moms: breastfeeding helps soothe a fussy baby during a flight!). We have also taken Dylan to Bacolod, Baguio, La Union, Boracay, and some nearby places. His first out-of-the-country trip was to Singapore where he met the infamous Merlion and the Singapore Zoo animals. Yes, we are definitely honing him to develop a love for travel. We want him to grow up to be wise and sensible because he has seen more of the world.

Legazpi, Albay

Legazpi, Albay

5) Ok, let’s go back to your super adventure days before little munchkin. What is your most favorite place that you’ve been to in your travels?

Can we pick one local and one international destination? Locally, it would have to be Batanes. It’s a totally different world out there that we feel it’s a must for every Filipino to visit Batanes at least once in their lifetime. The sights are absolutely stunning and the air is fresh. There’s not much to do in Batanes but just to take in the glory of it all, and that in itself is enough. Batanes is also where we got engaged so it’s definitely an unforgettable place for us.



Outside the Philippines, New Zealand has got to be our favorite. We were in New Zealand for two weeks in 2012 with our favorite travel buddies, Van and Jep, driving from south to north and stopping to experience the interesting places and activities along the way. We did skydiving, visited The Shire (Hobbiton), reached hilltops to see the amazing views and many more. Once you’ve done something like that in a strange country, it’s definitely going to imprint on you. You can even say that “we left our hearts in New Zealand” and we want to come back for it someday.

Hobbiton, New Zealand

Hobbiton, New Zealand

6) Who usually plans the travels? Do you mutually agree on a destination or is there a debate first on where to go next?

We usually travel with Deej’s college barkada, or with Van and Jep. Where to go next is something that we decide on as a group and then we wait for the next piso seat sale (Yes, we are promo travelers!). There are also debates happening yes, but seat sale availability usually dictates our next destination. We’re cheap like that. Haha!

Squad Goals in Beijing, China

Squad Goals in Beijing, China

Also read: 10 Practical Tips to Survive Backpacking with Your Partner

7) Was there a time that one of you isn’t happy on a place you went to?

None that we recall. We are always “game” and hyped up during a trip and stoked coming back home.

8) What’s one thing that you like most about your partner when travelling?

This sounds cheesy and funny at the same time, but what we think is the best thing about each other when traveling is literally the “shoulder” to lean on. This is because traveling can be long and tiring and one of us always has to rest his/her head on the other’s shoulder to get a good sleep while in transit. Travel pillows are nice, but the authentic ones are the best, which you can only find in your partner. 😉

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Related: 10 Reasons Why I Love Traveling With My Wife

9) I saw your pics and video of your skydiving experience in New Zealand. Can you tell us more about that thrilling experience?

The skydiving experience was definitely something else. It’s one of the most – if not the most – daring and liberating thing we’ve ever done. Imagine jumping off and free-falling from an airplane, feeling the adrenaline rush consuming every inch of your body – there’s nothing quite like it! You literally just let go and let the wind take you. And in that moment, there’s nothing left for you to do but put your trust in two persons only: God and your tandem instructor whom you just met five minutes ago. Haha! Skydiving is something that one must try at least once in his life, but we suggest you do it in with highly professional instructors with top quality equipment.  Better yet, do it in New Zealand, the skydiving capital of the world!

Skydiving in New Zealand

Skydiving in Queenstown, New Zealand (NZone is the skydiving company)

10) Aside from Spaghetti and meatballs, what food or cuisine do you like most or prefer when you eat out?

For the record, we have our spaghetti and meatballs at home, not in some restaurant, because the wife has had enough practice and has found the perfect recipe that the husband likes. LOL. As for eating out, we usually crave for Korean, Japanese or Indian cuisines.

Related: Seoul Food Trip / Two Two Chicken

11) Joni, I apologize for a time when Deej and I went out and got drunk and because he is so drunk he had to call you at the wee hours of the morning just to pick him up. I know you love your sleep so much but my question is, does he still do that? 😀

JONI: I’m happy to say that that never happened again, because Deej knows it would be hard for me to pick him up all the way from Paranaque, haha! Seriously though, I’d like to think his perspective has changed when he became a husband, and more importantly when he became a dad. He now has to think of two more people more than himself.



12) Deej, you’re one of my mentors in travelling. Any advice for me at this stage in particular? You know, we don’t have a kid yet.

DEEJ: My advice is for you and Melai to travel to as many places as you can now. It’s true what they say that it will never be the same as when you have a kid. But travel as much as you can so when your kid finally comes along, you’ll be able to tell him or her the best places you’ve been to and work at going back to those places – this time with him or her in tow.  Also, try to make your baby in a nice, memorable place. Ours is in Palawan. 🙂

Related: DIY Puerto Princesa and El Nido 5D4N on a Budget

13) Any advice to young traveler couples out there how to balance work, family and travelling?

Juggling work and family can be quite challenging, especially when it’s both mom and dad who are working. But the fulfillment that comes from this challenge is when you know you’re able to make it work, and everyone in the team (even your nanny) is happy, despite the difficult schedule. Getting by by paying off the bills is good but don’t forget to have fun too so make sure you plan a trip with the whole family once or twice a year. This will help you stretch those legs and leave a breathing space, so to speak. Pick a date from your calendar and work out a plan towards it. The usual everyday things will always just be there, but the memories you create in new exciting places will change how you think and feel.

Paddle Surfing in Boracay

Paddle Surfing in Boracay

14) Where’s your next destination?

We’re quite excited for our next trip, which is to Maldives in March 2017! And given the opportunity, we also want to check these off our bucket list:

  • Surfing in Capetown and Safari in Masai Mara in Africa
  • Visit the castles in Europe
  • Explore Egypt’s Tomb of the kings

Thank you and more power to The Travel Debugger!

Check out more of our interviews here!

He is a programmer by profession but has a soul of a traveler. Aside from his ultimate dream of travelling around the world, he loves to eat, drink, listen to music, talk about aliens and the occasional secret guilty pleasure of singing love songs in videoke. His favorite superpower is to teleport from one place to another. I guess you know why.