We’re a couple of STEM geeks who love to travel. In 2016, we were emboldened to pack up conventional life and spend the year circumnavigating the globe. During our twelve months abroad, we journeyed over 58,000 miles across 32 countries and 3 continents. Now, after three years of stationary life back in the U.S., we’re returning to that more nomadic lifestyle we missed so much – though this time, with our Thai rescue pup joining us on our new adventures.
We hope our experiences inspire you to take the plunge, get out and explore this amazing world, and make your greatest travel dreams a reality!
A born and bred New Englander, I grew up in a quiet New Hampshire town tucked beneath Mount Monadnock’s granite summit – a community that sprang to life each autumn with colorful foliage and the amber glow of nearly 30,000 jack-o-lanterns. From an early age, I’d had a keen interest in the world and nature. My most beloved reads were a set of musty, twenty-year-old Time Life Nature Library hardbacks that were arranged in an appealing rainbow on my grandparents’ bookshelf. I’d gaze at the pages longingly, dreaming of someday exploring far-flung lands as I flipped through photographs of the Serengeti, the deep sea, and the Amazonian rainforests.
While my childhood ambitions to become an archaeologist, marine biologist, or the next Dr. Livingstone didn’t quite pan out, my passion for science and nature was unwavering. I completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology and microbiology, and now spend my life vacillating between a functional adult (part scientist, part nomad) and Muppet-loving child who never matured beyond her six-year-old self.
In 2004, I met Stephan – similarly adventurous, ambitious, and dorky, yet delightfully less neurotic. In 2007, when we took our first international trip together to Costa Rica, I was instantly bit by the travel bug. Recollections of those treasured Time Life volumes flooded my mind. I fell head over heels with the lush rainforests, venting volcanoes, and flourishing wildlife, and I knew from that instant life would never be the same.
Stephan and I continued traveling internationally as much as possible as I returned to school for my doctorate. In January 2016, just sixteen days after my doctoral diploma was placed in my hand, we boarded a plane bound for New Zealand, each with one backpack in hand and no intention of returning until the following Christmas.
Even as I stepped foot onto that one-way flight to Auckland, I’m not sure I still truly believed my dream of long-term travel was possible. I’ve always admired those fearless and free-spirited souls who dare to break from convention and fulfill their travels dreams – but I never thought it could actually be me. Finally emboldened to give it a try, I was taken aback to discover that it really was me, and that it brought me a joy unlike any I’d ever known.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been encouraged to explore. As a kid, growing up in rural New England, I had parents that nurtured my inquisitiveness and my imagination.
My dad always had a deep-seated curiosity, a need to tinker and understand how the world around him worked. Whether it was the examining functions of a computer’s circuitboard, or the distant view of Saturn’s rings through a telescope, I definitely inherited his desire to comprehend the inner workings of all things big and small. My mom continually fostered a longing to explore, be it as simple as encouraging me to climb trees and get lost in the woods (no matter how late, dirty, or bloody I was when I got home), or scraping together the time and money to go on a couple of epic road trips across the US and Canada. From childhood through adulthood, I was always aware of just how big the world was, and how much there was to understand.
Until I met Jenn, though, I’m not sure I had realized how accessible traveling was, if I made it a priority in my life. Since she gifted me our first trip together, to Costa Rica, we haven’t looked back, always planning our next adventure.
A geek at heart, with a camera always at the ready – and always on the lookout for a good craft beer – I find there is little in life as exciting as those first steps in a new place.