How We Were Bit By The Travel Bug

Every couple has something unique that brought them together in the first place.  For us, it was travel. We both became travel obsessed before we knew each other. We loved to listen to each others’ stories and adventures and it made us thirsty for more.

Check out our individual journeys about how we were bit by the travel bug.

For Kristina…

Guatemala circa 2007 was where it all began

I was the ripe age of 18 on a service learning trip in high school, with open eyes and a naive mind about how I was going to make a huge impact in this world.  We spent 2 weeks volunteering with children from Camino Seguro (Safe Passage), a school near the Guatemala City dump.  We helped in the classroom and with the lacrosse program, making a tiny drop in the bucket of change.

Teaching lacrosse and that girls can play sports as well in Guatemala City.

As we peeled away from the school and headed for the airport, I knew that this experience had changed me more than it likely impacted the children.  The pros and cons of voluntourism I guess.

Culture, Community, Food & People

Fast forward several years and I was thrilled to spend a semester studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.  There was admittedly very little studying and more traveling than my bank account could keep up with.  It was an incredible change from the ordinary university experience I had known in the United States, which consisted of going to class, studying, taking part in clubs, sorority life, and my friends.

It was a time of freedom, of exploring Europe and relishing in the bliss of fast travel.  These 4 months were filled with adventure, meeting new people, building new friendships, and constantly putting yourself out of your comfort zone.

Overlooking Copenhagen with new friends; one of these girls remains a dear friend to this day.

When I returned back to university in the cold North Country region of update New York, I found myself surrounded by the same old ‘college kid’ routine of going to class and to parties.  I wanted more.  I wanted culture, communities, different foods, people who were completely different from me.

The Seed was Planted

So I decided to go to Kenya for a second semester abroad.  This was unusual for my university, but I figured if I was going to spend the same amount on tuition, I might as well have it be an incredibly different experience.  I had grown up with stories of Africa from my parents who lived there before I was born.  The seed was planted early.

These 4 months consisted of rural/urban/Masasai homestays, expeditions with traditional hunting & gathering tribes, and an internship in a school in Kibera (a slum in Nairobi) for the last month.  The experience was mindblowing and completely shaped me to be the person I am today.

With one of my girls from the school where I interned in Kibera, Nairobi.

Together, Guatemala-Denmark-Kenya were the trifecta that laid a foundation for a passion of travel and nurtured a bug inside of me that knew there was so much more out there for me than my own little community.

An innate desire to explore this beautiful and unpredictable world was ignited and remains burning strong.

For Michael…

After graduating in 2007 from the University of Windsor in Ontario, I randomly decided to visit friends in a small town called Antigonish, in Nova Scotia (East Coast of Canada, also known as the Maritimes). My intentions were to stay for 2 week and make my way back to my hometown of Cornwall in Ontario. Instead, I ended up living in Antigonish for 12 months.

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Pomquet, Nova Scotia – 15 minutes outside of Antigonish

While moving to the east coast of Canada, a mere 13 hour drive away, would not be considered long distance travel, you would be surprised at the differences between Ontarians and Maritimers.  The people, the culture, the food. It was like a new world to me. Unknowingly, this began the obsession…

Have you heard of the land down under

In 2010, I was accepted to graduate school in Sydney, Australia. I spent several weeks analyzing the cost-benefit analysis of moving to the other side of the world, paying $120,000 (tuition + living costs)  over a 2-year program, but I landed on my decision. I committed. I was in.

During the 3 years that I lived in Australia, my obsession with traveling blew up in front of me like a water balloon hitting me in the face.

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Snorkeling near the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

While it was unique to see the differences between two areas of Canada, moving to the other side of the world and immersing myself into another culture, was a shock. It was exhilarating! I became more and more enthralled. I wanted more.

More, More, MORE

From 2010-2012 I was able to travel throughout eastern Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia.

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Ankor Wat Temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia with some of the best people I know.

The thrill that you get when arrive to a new country or city; the challenges that you have to face; the experiences that you get to experience; the people you meet and the relationships you form. Your mind becomes open to more than the small town that you grew up in. There is no feeling like it; and it is addictive.

In late 2012, after graduating and becoming registered to work in Canada, I returned ‘home’. I was excited to be home. To visit see my family and friends. I felt good. I felt at ease. That lasted about 2 weeks until, suddenly, I felt unsettled. I felt off. Something was wrong. Something was missing.

During the 2013 year, I did not travel anywhere. I found a great job back in my hometown, slowly chipping away at my debt. I was settled in. I felt comfortable. I felt safe. It wasn’t clear to me at the time, but even though I felt all those things, I was not happy. I did not realize that I had seen the light, and decided to live in the dark. I needed to get out again.

Time to make a pact

In late 2013, I moved to Canada’s Capital, Ottawa. I made a pact with myself. I promised that I would plan and organize a trip to at least 2 new countries or places each year. After creating that mindset, the rest followed suit.

In 2014 – Peru (2 weeks) and Ecuador (2 weeks)
In 2015 – Costa Rica (2 weeks), Romania and Italy (2 weeks)
In 2016 – Costa Rica (1 week), Nicaragua (1 week), Belize (1 week), Guatemala (1 week) and Greece (2 weeks)

The metaphorical travel bug had bitten me… and bitten me hard! I became travel obsessed.

– Michael

 

If you want to get an idea of where we’ve traveled to date, check out our Travel Map

 

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