January 31, 2012

Life-Changing Moments - And Why I Travel

When I think about the path my life has taken, a few moments stick out as truly life-changing. The obvious ones: graduating from high school and from college, getting married, etc... And there were the days I realized that I was never going to be taller than 5'2" and when I decided to stop getting blonde highlights. Another important day was when I met my best friend, Ashley, a girl from the city who came to my small, country town and toughened me up (and made me infinitely cooler). The day I learned to ride a bike (with purple and silver handlebar pom poms) in the circle drive of my trailer park was an important day of freedom. Similarly, getting my first car (and the only car I've ever owned) seems like a rite of passage that needs to be on the list. On a sad note, losing my dad when I was 19 was certainly life-changing, and I wouldn't be who I am now (the good and the bad) without that happening. I obviously have to include meeting Tom in this list of milestones. That milestone was the catalyst for a slew of other milestones - quitting college, moving to Boulder and then to San Francisco - all of which were terrifying but rewarding. And there's the first day I felt like a true grown-up when I realized I had a fully-stocked medicine cabinet and a chaotic junk drawer.

Boulder, CO - July, 2004
Two milestones in one pic!
My first car and Tom and I setting out to live in San Francisco!

January 30, 2012

What's In a Name?

Before I start - How awesome is my husband? Reading his post about why he travels was one of those reaffirming moments where I am reminded of how much I love him. I love that he seeks to find commonalities with strangers and that he embraces differences. He's a keeper.

As soon as we decided to take this trip, we knew we wanted to start a blog to chronicle it - not just to share our stories with our friends and family, but as a commitment to recording our own experiences. But we're not leaving until October. That's a long time to keep up momentum for something. Not to mention, we have to consciously save a lot of money between now and then, and that's a long time to sacrifice while keeping our eyes on the prize.

So we decided we wanted to blog about our planning and research in the meantime as part of our goal to keep up the excitement for The Trip. I immediately started trying to come up with a name for our blog. I had read that officials in Burma will deny visas to any foreign journalists and that they do Google searches on anyone who applies. If they find anything that might make it seem like you are a journalist, including a blog that no one probably reads, they will deny your visa. So I knew the blog name couldn't have our names in it. At the beginning, I (half) joked to Tom that I wanted to call the blog Squat Toilets, Pooing in Pits, or Squatty Potties. He was not on board for that and I constantly told him he was boring.

January 29, 2012

Why Do I Travel?

Most people that I meet say they like to travel. Why is that? Do we use it as a way to escape our lives? A way to reboot? Whether we load up the car for a lake weekend, relax on a beach in Mexico or trek the Inca Trail, travel is a unique part of the human experience. Every trip provides something.

I was fortunate to be exposed to travel from an early age. Both of my parents have a love for travel that was passed down to me and my sisters. My mother grew up and spent her early adulthood in England, traveled up the east coast of Africa in the 60s, worked for a year in Montreal, and hopped around the Mediterranean with her friends. My father's passion for travel came through his work. He was a salesman who got to experience many new places while on work trips. My parents passed this passion down to me and my sisters through exposing us to many different places in the United States and  in Europe (more about my family trips later). They both still travel as often as they can and I feel lucky they made travel a part of my life. More importantly, they encouraged me to travel with an open mind and to immerse myself into an experience as much as possible, even if it's uncomfortable at first. Because of this, my best experiences on a trip seem to come out of nowhere. They're almost always unexpected and come from the moments that I have completely let go of expectations and have decided to enjoy the moment, even if, at that moment, I'm sitting next to a chicken crate on a bumpy bus ride through Burma.

January 24, 2012

Back that Pack Up

We got our backpacks!

Tom has an old backpack from his previous trips, but it's well-worn and backpacks have come a long way since then. So we started from the beginning.

We did a bit of searching online to get familiar with the details and specs. I had NO idea what to look for in a backpack. Obviously, lightweight seemed important. But what size should I get? Should I get the backcountry kind of pack? Or the travel kind of pack? Should it have lots of zippers and features? Or just be simple? Mostly I just kept saying things like, "I can't believe everything I need for 6-9 months is going to fit in a backpack," and "If I get two backpacks, can you carry my extra one?" And then, on a quiet week night, we decided to go to REI - "
definitely not to buy yet," we said. We agreed we just wanted to check things out and start looking around.

Suckers. (Us, not you.)

January 19, 2012

Here's Tommy!

I’m Tom.

And I’m not 28. I’m 35.

I was born in England to English parents and moved to New Canaan, Connecticut, when I was about 3. New Canaan is a suburb of New York City (a short 45-minute ride on the Metro North), and I spent all of my childhood there. It’s a great town - beautiful, picturesque, great families, etc... It’s also where the Stepford Wives was filmed - both versions. I was lucky to grow up there and, like Stephanie, I have a lot of great friends who still live in New Canaan and love it. But, also like Stephanie, I can’t imagine living in my hometown ever again. We both seem to be city people, at least for now. I have two older sisters, Melanie and Zelda. Melanie lives in Colorado with her husband, Brian, and my two nephews, Simon and Zachary. Zelda lives in Alaska with her husband, Jacek, and my two nieces, Iza and Zosia. My dad lives in New York City (Manhattan), and my mom lives in North Carolina. It may seem like we’re not a close family since we all live so far from each other, but we are. We just also like our space and independence.

I'm the little guy in the blue jumpsuit.
This is me and my family, somewhere in England.

January 17, 2012

The World, Party of 2

Let's get straight to it - This adventure deserves documenting.
So what's the adventure?

Saying "YES!"

Unless the question is "Are you voting for a Republican?" or, "Should I get bangs?" (in which case the answer to both is a resounding 'no'), we're saying 'yes' more.
Yes to pie...always.
We're taking more chances - embarking on new adventures - opening ourselves up to unique experiences. And we're kicking off our new "yes" lifestyle with something huge. No really, it's HUGE.