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Two for the Road

Globe-trotting brothers Alex and Mark Ayling want to teach you how to travel.

Alex and Mark Ayling

Alex and Mark Ayling are such dedicated travelers, even a pilgrimage to Encinitas for a burrito at Juanitas becomes an adventure, involving motorcycles and a daylong trek along coastal S.D.’s back roads and byways. It’s a far cry from the trip they envision across Eastern Europe, co-piloting a Russian-made Ural sidecar. But it’s in keeping with the ethos that recently earned the Mission Hills siblings—who go by the moniker the Vagabrothers—the gig of a lifetime, journeying around the world and documenting their Biggest, Baddest Bucket List for the travel website My Destination. Biking volcanic mountains in Ecuador, falcon hunting with nomads in Kazakhstan... sounds amazing, right? But Alex, the younger of the two Aylings and the original gearhead who helped teach Mark the ins and outs of video production, confesses, “It almost broke us. By the end, 21 countries in 25 weeks, producing and uploading original content every few days. ... It was a lot.”

Strong words from intrepid travelers who’ve got wanderlust in their blood (their parents, then a Delta flight attendant and a Kiwi backpacker, met cute in Switzerland over a map). But far from bowed, the brothers are already back on the road again, including exploring California in their grandfather’s 1965 Mustang convertible. “We like to do touch and go’s rather than hard landings,” says Alex of finishing their bucket-list travels in New Zealand, heading home to S.D. and then immediately setting off again on new excursions.

It’s all fodder for the Aylings’ next chapter, keeping their thousands of Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channel followers inspired to explore and connect with the wider world. “Social media can make you very inwardly focused,” says Mark. “You can get in a bubble and only see what you like, or you can use it to connect with people.” They’re also pitching a next-gen travel show to a variety of networks, making one-minute video how-to guides on travel topics, and are bound for Lapland this summer to herd reindeer with the Sámi people. We’ll go wherever you’re headed, boys!

The Aylings’ Hots
San Sebastián cider houses, braai at Mzoli’s in Cape Town, the Regal Beagle on India Street, F-Stop Satori and Tilopa backpacks, the Al Husn Hotel in Oman

The Aylings’ Nots
Atlanta’s Delta hub, nomads who serve you horse meat, S.D.’s beach beer ban, Turkish coffee grounds in Istanbul, package tours, Mexican food north of Carlsbad