Saturday, March 31, 2012


Boarding plane to the Philippines with a 19-hr stop in Seoul, Korea. Game on. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012


We've gotten a few questions about a somewhat life-changing decision we made recently that involves volunteering, unemployment and traveling with a backpack for the next 10-12 months. Below are some answers. More to come, but if you have any specifics, feel free to email us or ask in the comments section. 

Are you really doing this?
Yes, it’s done. We're taking a trip around the world. We even have a website. 

Boat trip near Rurrenabaque, Bolivia
How long will you travel?
We’re not real sure, but we’re planning on traveling for at least year or so.


Where will you go?
We booked a one-way frequent flyer ticket to Manila, Philippines, so there’s that. We also created a Google map of our most likely itinerary, but that will change based on what we learn and experience as we go.

Roughly, we’re thinking the Philippines, Palau, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Burma, Nepal, India, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Kenya, down the coast to South Africa, Madagascar, up to West Africa, over to Brazil, with a final stop in El Salvador. All that is, of course, subject to change, which is one of the best things about a trip like this.

How did you decide where to go?
Building the itinerary had to be one of the hardest parts--but it also proved to be the most fun. We talked about the adventures we’d always dreamed of going on. We discussed the places we’d always dreamed of seeing. We asked traveling friends. We read back issues of National Geographic and Outside, and we lived on Google and in Barnes & Noble. We sometimes argued. Liz always won. Well, almost always. 

In the end, though, the itinerary's just a rough outline. Discovery is what a trip like this is about. We have a one way ticket to Manila. That's all. The rest we'll figure out as we go. For the next 12 months or so.

Wow. That felt good to write.

How do you have enough money to travel for a year?
Because we don't know exactly where or for how long we'll be traveling, it's hard to know the cost. 

But we've been saving. A lot. We live frugally and don’t eat out much. And both of us have been gainfully employed for a few years, luckily.

The smartest thing we did was rent out a room in our house to strangers. Around four years ago, we discovered a website called Airbnb, where you can rent out spare bedrooms to travelers. Check out our Airbnb listing here. Since then, we've made enough money to take this trip. In addition to the rental income, the stories of our guests--travelers from more than 15 countries and 20 states--also helped inspire our journey. 

Another thing is that we’ll be backpacking, traveling cheaply along the way. Our tickets to the Philippines cost $11 each, plus 32,500 airline miles. Yes, that's $11. 

Finally, if you checked out the map, you'll see we’re mostly visiting places that are less than expensive, where a decent hotel is $10/night, a 12-hour bus ticket is $5-$10, and a meal is $2-$3. It won't be the lap of luxury, for sure, but a hammock on the beach ain't a bad way to spend a night or three. 

What's 1 of 7?
On a hike along the Continental Divide in Colorado last year, we were surprised to see trash along the route. Drivers had tossed empty bottles on the roadside. Litter lined many of the trails and camp sites.

So we did what many people would do--we cleaned things up a bit. It wasn't hard, and it didn't take long. But guess what? We felt really good when we were done. 

Since then, we've tried to do some type of volunteer work at least one day each week. Cleaning up rivers and parks. Beautifying a school. Mowing a neighbor's yard or raking their leaves. Small things that have made a big difference, at least to us.

We aren't expecting to change the world, and there have been weeks we've failed at accomplishing our goal. But we loved how good it felt to give back, even just a little. So we decided to travel the world for a year and do some type of volunteer activity along the way. 

Just 1 day of 7...

What else?
We'll answer more questions in the next few days/weeks. Right now, though, we need to take our last typhoid pill, check in with the Philippine embassy, figure out which flip flops to pack, and go enjoy our last weekend in DC with friends and family, who we're going to miss. A lot.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Purple scilla, Butterfly Garden, Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Cherry blossoms at sunset in Washington, DC.
First sunset of spring. 
Cherry blossoms in full bloom. 
Beats winter...a lot. 

By the way, April is National Poetry Month. Here's a little something to whet the appetite:

His back is turned to us, his white shirt 
the brightest thing in the painting. 
Old trousers, leather army suspenders. 
Before him the red wheat bends, 
the sky is cloudless, smokeless, and blue. 
Where he has passed, the hot stalks spread 
in streaks, like a shell exploding, but that is 
behind him. With stiff, bony shoulders 
he mows his way into the colors of summer. 

That lovely verse was penned by the 2005 winner of the Pulitzer for poetry, Ted Kooser. Mr. Kooser wrote "Delights & Shadows," a collection of poetry that's actually comprehensible without a degree in literature from Oxford

Do you write poetry or have a favorite poem? If so, email it to us here--seriously. We'll be putting together an update in April to celebrate poetry month and we'd love to include submissions from our readers.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Our nine-year-old niece, Isabelle, decided to take over our website for a day. We have four nieces, all beautiful and equally wonderful. And they pretty much do what they want when they're with Tio Kippy and Aunt Buzzie (that's us). Thus, the hijacked website. 

Izzy lives in south Florida, a few hundred feet from the Everglades, with her mom, dad, and sister, Chelsea. The following story and photos were written and shot by her on our second trip to the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, which we previously visited last fall. From the looks of things, maybe we should hire her on as our trip photographer. 

I helped animals by volunteering to clean trash with my sister Chelsea,Tio Kip and me, of course!

One day we went bike riding for two miles and we saw a lake with fish and gators and there was trash everywhere. It was sad. When we  got home we told my mom and dad so we got trash bags and got in the car speedy quick, ZOOM! 

When we got there it was a mess. So we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.  When we were done it was way better. I was so happy that I had helped the earth and I had fun the whole time. 

That was the time I helped the animals.

Izzy (Tio Kippy's niece)
Age 9 

PHOTOS BY IZZY (aka, Isabelle Patrick):