Hello There,

I’m Ani, and I started Map Scratchers as a hobby with my boyfriend Sam. I’m the brains behind the blogs, and Sam’s the developer behind the website. I started travelling around with my parents from a young age, and once I met Sam, I persuaded him to join me in my travelling adventures. We both have a 9-5 job (which sometimes feels like 8-8..), so we try to squeeze in travelling wherever we can, mostly as short weekend trips, but sometimes we do go away for longer, to faraway lands. We are aiming to travel the entire world together, and want others to discover the globe with us through Map Scratchers.

So how did we come up with Map Scratchers as a name? It’s actually quite a sweet story… Sam and I have only been dating for a few months, and he decided to surprise me one day with a small anniversary present. By this point you might already guess what this present was… A SCRATCH MAP! I loved it, as it was such a thoughtful present, so I started scratching away the countries I’ve been to and realised that there was a lot to scratch away! So then it just came to us, like a real life “lightbulb-above-my-head” moment, we should start a blog. And the name just fit so perfectly: Map Scratchers. Each time we go to a new city, country, continent, we scratch away another country, and it feels GREAT.

By the way, have a look at our blogs page, that’s THE scratch map I’m on about here!

Now i’d like to properly introduce myself, and my little family.

I’m 24 years old and my full name is Anastasia, but I go by Ani. Yes, that name is very Russian, and that’s actually because I’m from a tiny little country called Moldova. Whenever I tell anyone where I’m from, the first question I get is: Where’s Moldova? So here’s a little geography lesson too: it’s a small country surrounded by Ukraine and Romania. Part of Moldova used to be occupied by the USSR, and that’s the reason why I speak Russian. I grew up in the capital called Chisinau, and I bet that’s one location no other travel bloggers have every been to or are ever planning to go to :)

I lived in Moldova until I was 10, until my parents decided to move to Belgium. So we packed up and off we went! I had to start high school, but I had a disadvantage of not being able to speak Flemish or French, so I couldn’t go to a normal school.. Luckily my parents put me to a European School, where I was able to develop my languages and had a great education. Because of this, I can now speak 5 languages! Yes, that’s right, 5.. Russian, Romanian, French, Flemish and English, of course.. As you can expect, this really helps us a lot when travelling, as I can try and figure out what everyone’s saying.

Once I graduated from School, I decided I wanted change again, and a new place to live, but still have a really good education, which brought me to Glasgow. I studied Genetics at the University of Glasgow, and had a blast doing so, making amazing friends for life.

I finished university in July 2015, and although some of my friends went on to travel the world, I decided to go into a career lifestyle, and got myself a job at a well known Biotech Company in Cambridge in England, and have been working there since. It’s been 3 years now, and although this is a full time job, I am lucky enough that my job allows me to travel everywhere around Europe and sometimes the US. It was really important for me to find a job that allows me to experience different cultures around the world, and although it is for work that I travel, I still get to see the cities and countries I travel to.

Other than travelling, Sam is very passionate about…LIZARDS! Any time we plan to go anywhere on holiday, the first thing he searches for is: What type of lizards can you see in… Imagine his reaction when we decided to go to Mexico!! Because of Sam’s fascination with lizards, when we moved in together, into our beautiful little flat in the heart of Cambridge, he persuaded me to get these little guys:

Meet Bandit and Flacco, they are our pet leopard geckos, and Sam treats them like our little children. They play a big role in our day to day life, and keep us entertained when we’re not away travelling. Tip: if you want to have a pet, but travel quite a lot and you’re scared you won’t be able to take care of them, then you should get leopard geckos! They are the easiest little pets to take care of! They’re always keen for a little cuddle.

Now that you’ve met me and my little family, I hope you’ll take some time to go through our blogs and photos. And we hope that this will inspire you to travel, even if you do have a full time job. Travelling and seeing new places makes us really happy, and we are hoping that in the future, we can escape the 9-5 and enjoy travelling full time.

Xoxo Ani and Sam

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