What Inspired Us To Leave Everything Behind To Travel The World
The story of how we met always makes people smile. Both scientists by trade, we worked for the same global scientific company but on opposite sides of the Atlantic. For years we had spoken on conference calls regularly but had never met in person.
That would all change when Mark was sent to the US lab Kristen was working in. There was instant chemistry (forgive our science pun) and a series of trans-Atlantic flights followed. Each time, we would tag on a new country or city to visit together, further fueling our desire to travel. Eventually, we were at a crossroads.
Travel was always a huge part of our relationship and friends would joke with us about which country we were in at the time. We had great careers but we both wanted more out of life. After working in the corporate environment for almost a decade, we realized our travel dreams were at a now-or-never moment. We weren’t getting any younger and the world was waiting, so we took a risk.
Quitting our jobs was frightening but liberating. We temporarily threw everything we owned into storage, hung up our lab coats, got married, traveled to over 35 countries across 4 continents together, and never looked back.
Challenges & Obstacles We Overcame To Travel Full-TimeWhere do we begin?
Getting started is the most difficult part of this journey. Our first compromise was giving up hobbies and our social lives to save enough money to travel the world initially. The travel blog was little more than an idea at this point, and we traveled for 18 months purely off of savings. Watching all of your savings diminish on a daily basis is very nerve-racking!
Financially, after returning from our honeymoon and deciding that we wanted to create a business in helping others to travel, we had to compromise significantly in order to continuously collect content, build our business, and live a normal life. Despite both of us wanting to work full time on these goals, it simply wasn’t that straightforward.
Building a blog takes time and you can’t expect to make a comfortable living wage immediately. Therefore, Kristen went back to work in the laboratory while Mark worked full-time on the blog. The next few years were a blur as we worked very long hours and made sacrifices from seeing friends and family.
How We Decide Where To Travel NextFirst and foremost, we travel to places on our own personal bucket lists. We carefully research every destination and try to visit in shoulder seasons to avoid the crowds and inflated prices of peak season. We both suffer from fear of missing out (FOMO) which means we extensively plan our visits and try to maximize our activity versus time ratio.
We’ve discovered over time that the team works best when Kristen researches all of the top activities in an area and Mark then piece it all together to create the itinerary for our trip.
Some Of Our Most Memorable Travel Experiences
Living this nomadic lifestyle constantly allows us to have remarkable adventures. We have been able to interrail around Europe for 3 months, live in NYC, explore Japan which became one of our favorite countries, and spend some time relaxing on Thailand’s golden sandy beaches.
Two of our bucket list experiences came in South America. The first was hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru and the second was completely the spectacular W-Trek in Torres Del Paine in Chile.
Countries We Have Traveled To TogetherAs of early 2022, we have traveled to over 40 countries together. However, we limited our travel to the US throughout the pandemic, extensively traveling the country in our SUV.
We based ourselves in Seattle from Spring to Fall in 2021 so we could experience all of the wonderful hiking trails Washington has to offer. When the autumn came, we then road-tripped down the West Coast hiking and photographing the American Southwest.
Some of the best experiences we had on this trip were day hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, winning a permit for The Wave which is notoriously difficult to do, and shooting sunrise photography in Sedona, Arizona.
Favorite Memories Of Meeting New People and Exploring With LocalsSome of the best memories we have made while traveling has come from Vietnam. We hiked and stayed with the Hmong Tribe in Sapa, rode motorcycles from Hue to Hoi An with a local guide, and spent a unique day with a local war veteran outside of Hoi An.
Traveling the world on buses, trains and planes allows you to meet countless like-minded people and share amazing experiences together. We now have friends all over the world who we would have never met without travel.
What Motivated Us To Start Our BlogAs we mentioned, we like to travel efficiently by seeing and doing everything possible in a new place. The longer we traveled, the more we realized we could help others by creating comprehensive travel hiking and photography guides to every place we visited.
As seen on our website, our mission can be broken down into four simple concepts:
Motivate our readers to travel somewhere new
Inspire our readers to hike in the great outdoors
Help readers improve their photography skills
Show readers how to make the most of every trip
Our main objective is to provide the most in-depth and helpful tips, advice, and information to enable travelers to maximize their vacation time.
How We Manage Our Expenses When TravelingYes, we do travel on a budget based on value for money. During our honeymoon when we had no income stream, we would stay in budget accommodation when possible. However, we can now afford to stay in mid-range budget places. We rarely splurge unnecessarily, but if the time is right, we will.
Kristen is extremely organized and takes account of all expenses and costs on every trip. We input all costs into a spreadsheet daily and ensure we are staying within budget.
The one area of travel we always seem to overspend on is food!
How We Juggle Our Work & TravelThis is our biggest challenge right now!
We have so much content we still have yet to publish but we also have so many places we want to visit before settling down somewhere. This work time versus travel time conundrum is a battle that ebbs and flows on a day-to-day basis!
At the moment we are spending more time traveling, but in time we know that work will have to take precedence. We plan to take much shorter trips from a home base in the future as opposed to constantly being on the road.
Apps & Websites That We Use While TravelingWe almost exclusively use the following apps and websites:
Challenges To TravelingOur immediate reaction was to say burnout.
Traveling for long periods can take its toll and we have realized how important stopping to recharge has become. Trying to stay on top of work when traveling is especially difficult, and the costs of long-term travel can quickly spiral out of control.
Weather and seasonality play a huge role in our ability to travel effectively. For instance, national parks in northern parts of the US remain inaccessible until the middle of summer with a very short window of visitation. This leads to extreme overcrowding, making hiking and photography very difficult.
Our Advice To Travelers Who Want To Live Like UsIn terms of personal travel, we would recommend saving as much money as you possibly can and creating a world travel itinerary you will never forget.
When you depend on travel to make a living, it can easily take away some of the fun or glamor you might associate with visiting a new place. The key is to enjoy every trip, collect your content and not worry too much if things don’t work out. It is very common!
When it comes to creating your online business, our top piece of advice is to figure out your strengths and weaknesses as quickly as possible and focus on your strongest attributes.
Are you a great writer? Focus on writing fresh and engaging content. Are you a natural in front of the camera? Try creating videos for YouTube. Do you love to socialize? Use social media apps like Instagram to enhance your brand.
It’s all about return on investment. Don’t waste time on something you don’t like or don’t see results.
When it comes to planning, you need to allow at least 6 months in which you won’t earn any money at all. This is the hardest part of choosing to live this lifestyle, but we promise it is worth the early stresses!
What We Wish We'd Known Before We Began Traveling
We wish we had bought a camera and learned how to use it to at least an intermediate level. We also wish we had started our travel blog and transitioned at least partway through the steep learning curve before setting off on our trip.
If we’d have known how much we would fall for this lifestyle and everything it entails (even the long hours!), we would have taken the leap even sooner.
One of the lessons we have learned is that we need to give 100% to every new place we visit, no matter how long we’ve been on the road and how travel fatigued we become.
The world is a big place. There are so many countries filled with incredibly friendly and hospitable people. The pandemic has severely restricted travel and we can’t wait to get back out into the world and continue making connections on every continent.
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