Hi, I’m Lauren
I knew I was an explorer by age 15. That’s because I had the wonderful opportunity of traveling abroad with my competitive soccer team three times while in high school. While in college at Florida State University, I chose to study abroad over buying a car. After graduation, I felt NYC was my next best adventure and it certainly fit well with my profession – advertising. I agreed with city life. And every time I had family or a friend visit, I felt my itineraries improved — I was really getting to know the city, all its neighborhoods, and points of interests, restaurants, and nightlife.
Several years later, my next goal was to live aboard. But I realized that’s not so easy in my profession – it’s tricky to market to another culture, let alone in a different language. So I considered working towards a leap year when I was a little more advanced in my role and would have a strong resume to re-enter the workforce.
Our Paths Intersect
Fast forward to March 2013. The universe helped us out by putting us, two soccer-loving travel spirits, on the same course…we had a meet-cute in an NYC bar.
Later that year, we traveled together to Barcelona and Paris. On our final days in Europe, and with a happy wine buzz, we began discussing the idea of living abroad. In 2014, we traveled to Brazil to visit his family and fulfill our dreams of attending the World Cup. While on vacation, Daniel caught me by surprise by proposing.
Finding Our North
We didn’t jump on our wedding planning. Instead, our priority was to start shaping the life that we wanted to live.
Our schedules were different, preventing us from having much time together during the week. We were stressed and seeking more flexibility. Wanting to end the cycle, we knew it was time to attempt to work for ourselves. Setting our schedule and working remotely would also allow us to travel more often.
Taking some very valuable advice from other well-known bloggers such as Wandering Earl & Nomadic Matt, we determined the best solution for us was to slow travel while working. So we discussed what that would look like and created budget spreadsheets with predicted income and expenses. We started saving for both the wedding and our travel and began minimizing our belongings. Following travel hacking techniques, we signed up for a few card promotions. Daily expenses and wedding expenses went on our new cards – rewarding us with plenty of airline miles.
We didn’t have a definitive departure date, thinking it would be sometime after our September 2015 wedding. But then it happened. We couldn’t wait any longer. The desire was so strong and it seemed like the right choice to start on our new path before we entered our marriage. We put in our notice at work and began more urgently preparing.
There were challenges. While many friends encouraged us early in our preparations, not everyone believed our decision was prudent.
But here’s the thing: living a location-independent life was OUR dream! We could not allow barriers to stop us from pursuing it! Instead, we chose to overcome them.