On Episode 2 of the LOKATE Travel podcast, I sit down with Hailey and Mauricio (also known as the Adventure Travel Couple on Instagram), a Canadian-Mexican couple living in Toronto. In 2017, they decided to leave their jobs to travel the world for a year. The plan? 27 countries in 12 months. Their goals were to eat all the food, experience all the things, and learn as much as possible about the world, themselves, and one another. In this podcast episode, we’ll uncover just how they prepared for their massive life change, if their plan carried out through the year and more importantly, what they learned and how they’re transitioning back into life in Canada.
You can hit the play button on the recording below or subscribe in iTunes or Spotify by searching "LOKATE Travel Podcast".
How did it all start? Where did the idea come from?
Mauricio: Both of us have always been passionate about travelling and it’s something we’ve chatted about when dating. It’s always been a thing we’ve discussed. About 10 years ago, when I first started work, a colleague of mine did the same thing. He took a year off and travelled the world with his wife. He told me all about it, and this was one of the first seeds that were planted. Then Hailey and I discussed this over time. We discussed how wonderful it would be to take 3 months off from work.
Hailey: From there we said if we’re going to do 3 months, that’s not enough time, so let’s do 6 months, and then we said f*ck it, if we’re going to 6 months let’s go for the full year.
Mauricio: That’s how it all started. We met this couple at a friend’s wedding. We got chatting about kids, and how they decided to have kids. They explained that one day they just looked at each other and said “F*ck it will be fun, let’s do it.”.
Hailey: So this has become a bit of a life motto for us.
Mauricio: At one point we asked our selves, “should we take a year off? F*ck it will be fun”. But the more insightful motto that we had was, we will likely regret if we don’t do this, and we will likely regret not doing this. So, you know what? Let’s do it.
What is life like before you leave?
Mauricio: Our life was a lot of fun. It was hard to leave, we were both in a really good groove at work, with friends, with our downtown lifestyle. A lot of people asked if we were unhappy with our jobs, or if we wanted to press the reset button, and the truth is we didn’t feel that way. We were both very engaged with our jobs, and to do a bit of foreshadowing that’s both where we ended back in our old jobs. We were both really happy and grateful to have that happen.
What was the planning process like? Where did you start?
Hailey: Countries - that’s a good question. We both wrote a list of all the countries we wanted to go to, then we put them on top of each other to see which ones overlapped. We each gave other one country that the other person was like “mmm not sure I’m interested in that” but that was the one non-negotiable for each of us. Mauricio’s was Japan, and mine was India.
Mauricio: These non-negotiable countries ended up being month long countries. I was so passionate about Japan - also some foreshadowing this was my favorite country - then Hailey said we have to do the whole month in Japan.
Hailey: Then planning became a financial thing. We were researching blogs to find out how much we would need, budgeting per day, and then we figured out that number which all the blogs told us about $100 USD per day, we started saving for that.
Mauricio: After we wrote which countries we wanted to visit, then we did 4 or 5 different things with that. One of that was we mapped all of the countries to see if there was a natural flow. We also agreed on some principles: no Europe, we both had been, we can always go back with kids, very kid friendly but our dollars won’t go as far. Europe was out of the question. Once we mapped out our countries, where we did 6 or 7 different mappings. Then Hailey mapped out the countries and overplayed the two the best times of year to visit, we colored coded this and geeked out hard on excel. Based on the best times to visit we overplayed that through out our plan, then we got really nitty gritty. Once we had all of the countries, on the right side of our excel sheet I had an equation that would calculate, based on the amount of days we spent in that country, where that would spit us out … 3 months later, 6 months later, 2.5 weeks later….
Hailey: The hilarious part was that once Mauricio had this equation in place, and when we knew how long we wanted to spend in each place, it almost equaled 365 days the first time.
Mauricio: It got us to my home town for Christmas. It was very elegant, and in a way was validation that ok, this works. So our spreadsheet consisted of the date in one column, and then the countries, the formula with the date and how many dates we wanted to spend int he country with some notes. This then morphed into a spreadsheet with festivals and what we could do in each country.
How much in total did you save (per person) before leaving?
Mauricio: We ended up saving and estimating $50,000 USD per person. So $100,000 USD for the year. This was based on flights, and estimates we got online, for how much you could travel on in South East Asia, and South America. As well as putting into account indulgences, and splurging etc.
What were your primary strategies for saving money before leaving?
Hailey: We tried to save money in a lot of different ways. First, we tightened our budget a lot. We started asking ourselves, “should we have this beer or cocktail?”. We kind of reframed it, from whether or not we should be having this but this one beer could be an entire day in one country. Which lead to weighing out these differences. We also did a garage sales, AirBnB, we Kijiji’d a ton of stuff, we had a Honey Fund for our wedding. Instead of people gifting gifts at our wedding, we asked instead for contributions towards different experiences.
Did you have any debt prior to leaving? Was that paid off? How did you manage any debt obligations?
Hailey: We own a condo in Toronto. We rented this out, and were super lucky to rent it out furnished. The rental we got, covered the cost of our condo, the mortgage our condo fees, everything. Then I was carrying a line of credit, and we were paying this off. We actually budgeted to continue paying this off while we were away, and when we were away we actually paid this off completely.
Mauricio: While travelling, we actually invested money in the stock market. Based on some of the knowledge that Hailey and I had because of the industries that we worked in, the competitors, the industry dynamics etc. We felt a little bit more confident placing these "adult bets” in the stock market, because really that’s what it is. This was fruitful to do that, these stocks exploded over the last year or so, which allowed us to pay off Hailey's line of credit.
What kind of research did you to do ensure that you had the proper travel arrangements prior to leaving? What were the countries you needed visas for?
Hailey: The two that I remember that we had to get were India and Tanzania. India was the most demanding in terms of the documents you had to submit. Most countries now have e-visas or visas on arrivals. Those were the only two that we had to get in advance.
Mauricio: There’s a really great website that allows you to check which visas are required as a Canadian citizen. This was a constant resource for us. Every month we would check the next 2 to 3 countries that we had planned to see if we were covered. If we weren’t then we wouldn’t buy a ticket, so we were very flexible.
Hailey: Mauricio also has a Mexican passport, and the two places that it served him very well were obviously Mexico, and Colombia, because a Canadian needs to pay $60 upon entry into Colombia and Mexicans do not need to pay.
Mauricio: The only time we were caught flat footed, and we were in Fiji or Tonga on our way to Australia, and apparently we needed an e-visa to get into the country. This is something we didn’t think about being a Commonwealth country and with Canadian passports we assumed we would just be able to get in. At the ticket counter, we did the whole process and crossed our fingers that we would get it in 20 minutes. Otherwise we would have been screwed.
What was the reactions from your friends, family, co-workers, employers? How did you manage to convince your employers to take a year off?
Hailey: I ended up leaving my job. We both made the decision that we were both definitely doing this no matter how our employers reacted.
Mauricio: We hoped that they would react favorably, and that they would want us to come back, can we make this work? Unfortunately for Hailey, she had only been at her employer for 2 or 3 years, it wasn’t as favorable. So they weren’t able to extend that privilege to her to allow her to take off for an entire year. I had been with my employer for close to 8 years and the role I had at the time, there was a natural ending to it. So I could pass the baton over to someone else and wasn’t leaving the desk empty.
Hailey: … And how did your employer take it?
Mauricio: …. Not well. My direct boss said that this would have negative material consequences on my career and I shouldn’t do it. Which led to a serious discussion about that. For a bit context, when we went out for lunch he was also offering me another job, so we were discussing with succession plans for when I ended my role with him and where I could move on the company. He had a phenomenal role for me and it was a dream role that I would have loved to take. So they were telling me all about this role, and asked what do I think and I said, thanks but I actually want to leave. So from his side, I understand, but he eventually came around, and leaned on a few opinions from his colleagues and it worked out very well. We’re on very good terms. He became very supportive. I think many people recognize that this was a life great experience that I could then bring back into the company.
What were you looking for our of your trip? Were you to accomplish something? Did you each have a different goal for what you would hope to get at the end of the 12 months?
Hailey: Yea, we said that our goals would be to experience as much as possible, eat all the food, really try everything. We wanted to learn things. Mauricio and I did a Muay Thai bootcamp, salsa lessons, cooking classes, Spanish classes and Samurai classes….
Mauricio: We also had the intention of reading all the books we wanted to read. I remember asking everybody if they had any good book recommendations. We were able to get into a lot of the topics that we were interested in.
Hailey: These were things that we felt we didn’t necessarily have time for. You don’t have time to take 4 hours of dance classes when you’re leading your 9 to 5 life. We were doing 5 hours of Muay Thai a day. We really tried to immerse ourselves to these experiences, that we would never do at home.
Mauricio: One of our goals was to come out of this with a more positive relationship. Our relationship was great to begin with, which was a great blessing going into the trip. But we were definitely warned by a few people (my Grandpa being one of them), to make sure that we took care of one another, and that we took care of the relationship. We read books about it, we made sure that we were conscientious about communicating effectively, that we were in tune with each other’s moods and energy levels, to make sure that the other person had what they needed and that they felt safe - and these worked great. We came out of it with a huge positive impact. Out of all the experiences that was one of the top things we came out of with the trip.
How did you adjust to your new life of not working, but also not really being on vacation?
Hailey: We had the first three weeks planned out for our trip. We lived the 4 months like we were on a week or two week vacation. Every single day we were out, and we were seeing things. It took 4 months for us to actually slow down and not be on “vacation mode” and try to experience all the things, to instead actually enjoy it on a different level and relax into it.
Mauricio: There are definitely different ways to vacation, to travel, to experience. For anyone who has been in a 2 week vacation, you typically don’t schedule a full day or two days of doing nothing.
Hailey: This is probably why people who go on vacation, feel like they need a vacation from their vacation.
Mauricio: We’ve always said that there is vacationing, and then there is travel. Vacationing is when you go to an all inclusive and you sit on a beach, and it’s super relaxing. Then there’s travelling. Whenever you’re travelling you typically don’t take a moment and say “I’m going to spend all day Netflix and chilling”… because you’re in Europe, you’re in South America, whatever. So for us that became for us 4 months of non-stop travelling and doing all the things. And this very quickly caught up to us. We also had friends who travelled around in a retro fitted van in the United States. They were chasing the hikes and were mountain climbers. For them, it said it took them 3 months to unwind, to feel the stress, the pace of Toronto life really dissipate and melt away. This is something we noticed when we got back to Toronto of how quickly speak etc.
When did you realize that 27 countries in 12 months wasn’t realistic? Were you sad or disappointed? How did this impact your goals or planning for the year?
Hailey: We’ve always called ourselves overly ambitious and this trip was exactly that. After the first 4 months, I personally hit a wall. I was just like “I can’t do this anymore”, I felt like I needed to go home for a vacation because we just didn’t stop. I was also homesick. At one point, I remember thinking, “I’m torturing myself by not going home”. If people live away, they generally go home, and see friends and family. But because we had this one year, and we were going to spend it away. It all really caught up with us (especially me) about 4 months in. After that we rejigged everything. We were in Japan at the time, so we cut out a bunch of places that we were going to do in Japan. We were going to spend a few weeks traveling throughout South East Asia, and we cut those out. We spent 3 weeks just in Indonesia. The same thing happened when we were in South America. We had planned on doing all of South America, but we only ended up getting to Peru, and Colombia. Then we spent 5 weeks in Mexico where Mauricio is from. So we were still moving, but it was a lower key. We were still in one place.
Mauricio: In Mexico, those 5 weeks we spent going deeper with the culture and spent 2 weeks in one place. Otherwise in those 5 weeks we would have spent 5 weeks going to Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay. We wanted to go everywhere in 5 weeks. Towards the end of the trip we were just like “nah, no thanks, let’s just stay in one place and do it well”. We did this in Colombia as well, we spent 5 weeks there. 2 of those weeks were in Medellín, and it was if we were living there. Hailey was waking up with an alarm clock going to her Spanish classes, I was taking salsa classes mid morning and she would join me afterwards, then we would do more classes in the afternoon. We cooked at our Airbnb, 90% of our meals were cooked there. It was a different pace for the back half. It was really cool to have that flexibility and decide that.
How did you deal with currency? Did you rely mostly on cash or cards?
Hailey: We also took on different roles during the trip. My role was all the planning, where we were staying, the Airbnbs, the flights, etc and Mauricio’s was the money. I actually didn’t touch cash for the year.
Mauricio: I always made sure that Hailey had some local currency or a credit card on her, just incase we ever got separated - so even though she wasn’t “touching” money, she always had some. We always had US dollars as backup. Our number one purchasing tool was a no foreign transaction fee credit card. The advantage of this credit card is if you use your credit or debit card abroad all you see is your purchase on your statement. What you don’t see is the foreign transaction fee that is already rolled in and hidden within the total transaction. Sneaky. With the Rogers bank card that we had, not only did they not charge us a transaction fee but we also got 1.75% of all of our purchases back in cash for a limited number of uses. Basically, we have our cellphone bills covered for the rest of our lives pretty much because of all the cash back that we accumulated there. From a local currency perspective, we typically found that ATM withdrawals - even though the ATM fees kill you, and we probably spent about $600-800 on ATM fees - they give you the best rates. We also used 2 apps, one was a currency converter, we would use this app in real time, so when we were in an airport we could compare the rates. Typically these airport exchange places are more expensive, since they have to pay for expensive real estate. So we would compare that, and if it was too far off from the spot rate on the app, then we would go to the ATM. Then at the next airport, on our way out, whatever we had left over we would translate into the next currency of the next country.
Did you ever have any scary moments on your trip or any dangerous circumstances?
Hailey: We were super fortunate that we didn’t have any scary situations. We never found ourselves in a dangerous situation, but we were certainly in some more dangerous places. For example we were in Cape Town which was fairly dangerous, but we really learned to play by the rules. In Cape Town for example we were told “You do not walk at night. Even if you have to walk 100m you do not do that. You take an Uber wherever you are to the next place”. So we really followed those rules. In Colombia, we were told not to use our cellphones in the street (especially in Bogotá). We really followed these pieces of advice and I think that really saved us. We were also fonrateu that we didn’t get sick, we had a few sicknesses of colds and whatnot but we had a cocktail of shots before we left so that saved us. We also got some good advice before we left….
Mauricio: If you don’t peel it, cook it or wash it (with clean water)…. don’t eat it.
Hailey: And we also got the advice in one of our first stops when we were going to a night market and we were asking our guide where to go… he said “That while he couldn’t tell us which stall to go to, but my advice is to follow the local women, because they will go to the clean stalls”.
Mauricio: This never failed us. We were so fortunate. There were definitely some times that we had to make some sacrifices, and I’m not going to have what looks to be some really delicious food…
Hailey: That was called "rolling the dice".
Mauricio: Haha we did this a couple of times, and would say “Oh you’re going to roll the dice, ok! Go ahead… have your salad”.
Hailey: While on this topic, we never lost anything. We might have lost a scarf, but we never had anything stolen. We were really particular about where we kept our things. We also travelled the year with a carry on backpack and that forced us to have a system. We had a place for all of our clothes, a place for all of our toiletries, and electronics and I think this saved us from losing anything because you would know if you were missing something in your bag because there would essentially be a gaping hole.
Mauricio: “A place for everything…. and everything in its place.”
Did you ever split up during your trip? Or did you spend the entire 12 months together?
Mauricio: We had planned this beforehand, and were both excited to have some alone time. We have both travelled alone and both see the benefits that travelling alone has. We both enjoy it, it’s super introspective, and you have a bit of a different vibe. We actually didn’t end up splitting up as much as we thought we would at the beginning of the trip. And the only times that we split up we two or three times. The only note worthy time that was more than an afternoon was for 2 weeks. We did a Muay Thai training camp in Thailand, and Hailey was definitely into it but she thought 2 weeks would be just enough. So she spent the other 2 weeks going back to Indonesia to Bali to visit one of her best friends. I stayed in Thailand for the remaining 2 weeks. Other than that we had maybe 4 or 5 afternoons where I wanted to go do something and Hailey was too tired, or the other way around, and we said “Ok see you for dinner”.
What were some of the most impactful experiences that you had while away?
Hailey: The most impactful experience that we had was one of our first stops in Tanzania. We had an AirBnb and we were having such a hard time getting a hold of our host. We thought we were at the house but we weren’t sure, our guide is trying to call her, we call the host’s boyfriend he doesn’t know what’s going on.
Mauricio: We’re tired and obviously frustrated. We’ve both done AirBnB before so we knew what a good experience should be, and we were already so disappointed with the host and were thinking about what kind of review we were going to leave. Obviously our tiredness played into this and being in a new place. So your expectations and reality are not together, and that’s always the cause of discomfort.
Hailey: So the host got home that night, and she worked at this place called the Plaster House. She apologized for not being there when we arrived but where she works, the Plaster House, they help kids with club feet and cleft palate and all these things, and they really change these kids lives. We ended up going to the Plaster House later on, and saw all the incredible work that she was doing, and seeing the direct impact she was having on these kids lives every single day. She ended up explaining and apologizing, she said: “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there when you arrived but at that moment a Dad dropped off a baby, 13 months old that weighted 3.3kg which is like 7lbs, it was HIV positive, had a cleft lip and was super malnourished”. And it was in that moment that it made us check ourselves.
Mauricio: It was at the right time, just the way the Universe works, at the beginning of our trip to check ourselves, in terms of our expectations, our reality, our perspective on other people and the world.
Hailey: In Canada those are things you never see. You might see someone that had a cleft palate, but you would never see someone in society with club feet, and it was in that moment where we realized how privileged we are. We kept saying that we won the birthing lottery of where we were born. It gave us a new perspective of reality and really thankful for the lives that we lived.
Mauricio: It’s a good constant reminder to always give people the benefit of the doubt. We felt so foolish afterwards where we were complaining about a yanky checkin process. Well because this person was dealing with an HIV position 10lb baby in her lap. So just chill and give people the benefit of the doubt.
If you had to highlight of your favorite moments or places that you visited, what were your favorites?
Mauricio: My favourite country was Japan for a whole host of reasons. I really loved the culture, their dedication to their craft, the food was phenomenal and it contextually it was a great break in the middle of our trip. It provided a lot of the comforts of back home, it was very clean, very safe, and just a very interesting culture. I definitely loved Japan and highly recommend it. My number one experience for me from a learning standpoint, was a Muay Thai camp. I can’t remember the last time I dedicated myself to one thing for an entire month for 5 hours a day. Food wise, sleep wise, everything was geared around the performance, mental stamina to perform during class. So that was a lot of fun. Another incredible experience and I know I share with this Hailey was snorkeling with Humpback whales in the Kingdom of Tonga. It was for about 5 or 6 days, you go into the ocean everyday where you see a whole pack of whales, where they go give birth so you got to see calfs, and see curious adults chilling with us, these gentle giants just rolling around. It was a phenomenal experience, highly recommend it.
Hailey: I have two different lists, one of my top experiences and one of places that I would go back to in a heart beat. Of the experiences is exactly what Mauricio mentioned, swimming with humpback whales in Tonga, one of the only places in the world that you can do that. We also had an incredible experience in the Philippines, Tao specifically, if you ever go to the Philippines you have to go. It’s a 5 day boating experience through all of these deserted islands or small fishing villages. It was such a complete experience, the guides were amazing. They could do everything. We were catching blue fish tuna off the back of the boat with a line, they were climbing coconut trees and cutting them down, and we’d be making coconut milk that night for the curry at dinner, it was just a cool complete experience. Then the third one was Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, where you climb up in the mountains and when you find a family of gorillas you have an hour to chill with them. It was so amazing to see these other animals that are so like us. You almost understood their thoughts and expressions because they’re so similar to us. Then alternatively to that, for places that I would go back to in a heart beat, and some overlapping, Colombia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Mauricio: As a side note, two of the most underrated countries in Asia, are Philippines and Taiwan. Taiwan had such amazing food, amazing people as well, super friendly, super fun. And the Phillippines has some of the most beautiful scenery beach wise, and diving spots as well as amazing fun, light hearted people.
Towards the end of your trip something exciting happened... can you share what it was and how it happened?
Mauricio: We had a full year to talk about a lot of things, whether or not to have babies, our life plans, life goals, it was actually really great. One of those things were investments that we wanted to make next, and one of the things that Hailey and I have been passionate about for the last little while is real estate. So we decided that we wanted to invest in a little “casita” (little house) in Mexico. So we ended up buying a house in San Miguel de Allende (where we actually got married), located in the center of Mexico, about 3 hours north of Mexico City - voted the most beautiful city in the world by Travel and Leisure. We were there, and reliving some of our wedding memories. Originally we had actually thought about buying property somewhere else in Mexico, and the longer version of the story is that we went into a real estate agency to get more practice and knowledge.
Hailey: We wanted to know what kinds of questions to ask, so we could prepare ourselves, and then we bought the house.
Mauricio: We saw a few houses that night, literally the last night that we were there. We were able to put in an offer that was conditional on a few different things that bought us some time to crunch some numbers, and put some business cases together, and how much we could rent it out for, how do we pay for it etc. We ended up taking out a Home Equity Line of Credit, for a very low interest rate and using that to pay for our property down there. The numbers made sense and at that point, since it was the end of the trip, we knew that I would have a job, and Hailey was also in discussions with her current employer, so there was very low risk in terms of us being able to pay it back. It’s currently on AirBnB and you’re welcome anytime.
How did time feel throughout the trip? As your trip wound down did time feel like it sped up, or was it pretty slow paced throughout the year?
Mauricio: Once we got into the trip a little more - once we were able to unwind a little bit - we both felt that we more mindful about time, and this sounds so clichy, but we really lived every day, every day was experienced.
Hailey: I would call it a full year. Years, weeks, months, they seem to go by so fast at home. You ask “what did you eat yesterday?” and you can’t even remember. It was such a full complete year, where you can remember so many of these experiences because they were so new and novel. It was such a different perspective on life. It felt like being a kid again. Where the year feels like it’s never going to end. And that’s what the past year feel like.
Were you ready to come home?
Mauricio: Actually we both didn’t want to come home, but at different point in the trip, we were both ready to come home because of things we missed. We missed our bed, we invested in a king sized bed so we could have a delicious mattress with all the space in the world, and we missed having that. We missed having routine, which allows you to pack a lot of things in your day.
Hailey: We missed projects…
Mauricio: Salads as well….
Hailey: And fresh vegetables…. ugh!
Mauricio: Doing exercise as well. I love running, and I was able to run in a lot of the places, but many places you weren’t able to run. For example in Delhi it was hard to run because of the smog.
Hailey: I definitely felt that as a woman, where I’ve never thought about running or exercising, but I was very aware of it outside in different countries. The tight clothes that we wear here, and shorts, it just wasn’t appropriate in other countries…. I feel like we digressed from your question.
Mauricio: At different points we would say, “oh I miss this about home and can’t wait to experience this again” but once it was becoming a reality we both felt like oh we could stay here a little longer.
Hailey: The hardest part was coming back in January.
Mauricio: Since Hailey hadn’t secured her job yet, she ended up going back to Mexico for a few weeks to go get our house set up.
Did you experience reverse culture when you came back to Toronto?
Mauricio: Always. It was the most shocking was the reverse culture shock.
Hailey: One of the things I noticed right away is just how people talk and walk here. I remember to listening to some friends talking and thinking oh my gosh my brain can’t keep up right now. With regards to the walking, I’ve come to the realization that it’s freezing here, and people walk fast in the winter to stay warm, and I think that just carries out through the year. Because we were living through a carry on back pack and coming back and opening our closets full of stuff, that was really challenging. You don’t even remember that you own these things, and because of this I spent a lot of time going through every single item that we owned. When we were away, I went on a deep dive on minimalism and I read the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Then I literally wrote a list of every single item that we needed in our home. For additional context we had been living in nothing but AirBnB’s where they had but nothing everything you needed, so it gave us perspective of what you actually need to live. And living out of our carry on backpack we never felt like we were missing anything. Our clothes took us to a beach, to a cold mountain hike, and we had everything in between, and we didn’t miss anything. So that was the realization that oh my gosh we have so much stuff.
Knowing what you know now, if you were able to talk to Hailey and Mauricio before you left, what advice, precautions or information would you give yourselves?
Mauricio: Be flexible is a big one. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who asked us if we planned it all out, and I think they are asking that thinking that if they had gone away for a year they would have had everything planned out. Certainly, we met people along the way that had everything planned out and spreadsheets on spreadsheets… and we had spreadsheets but ours were flexible.
Hailey: We are both interested in doing it again.
Mauricio: But we want to go deeper. Spend more time in each country.
Hailey: Live in places. Maybe go to a handful of places a year.
Mauricio: Rent an apartment for 3 or 4 weeks, and get to know the place.
Hailey: Live in a place, experience it, and know it, and then move to the next place when you’re ready.
Mauricio: The other thing that did us very well was really investing the time in taking care of the relationship. Taking care of the other person. Being aware of their needs, and your own needs. Regulating your emotions, being aware of what you are in need of, or why you’re frustrated, when you’re tired.
Hailey: And also learning each others quirky things. At the beginning of the trip, it drove me crazy, Mauricio was constantly buying snacks, but then it saved me because every time I became “hangry” he would be like snack? Then it became really hilarious that we travelled around with our snack bag.
Mauricio: Our day pack was our snack pack and included everything from oatmeal, to spices, to snack galore!
Hailey: Oh man, we had food for days. So that was one quirky behavior that frustrated me at first, and then it became really valuable.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to make a big life change like this and do a long term travel trip?
Hailey: DO IT.
Mauricio: First of all, do it.
Hailey: Do it. You will never regret it.
Mauricio: Yes, but from a more responsible parenting standpoint, one of the pieces of advice from someone from one of Hailey’s family friends who did it was don’t sell everything you own. It’s good to have something to come back to. We almost sold our car before we left, but when we came back day 1 we had wheels and it was super awesome to be able to move through the city.
Hailey: In my family friend’s case, they sold everything to fund their trip. So they were coming back to zero, ground zero. Yes, the responsible parenting is to save for the trip. I wouldn’t fund it through selling everything.
Mauricio: A few more things, save for when you come back. Plan, being realistic. It’s great to have fun and say “fuck it, it will be fun, let’s go travel”, but what we ended up having 3 months of living expenses in case we didn’t have jobs, we would at least have 3 months worth, and worst case scenario we could live out of our parents’ basement or whatever. So at least you don’t have the stress looming over your head of “oh my god I don’t have a job what am I going to come back to?” - definitely plan for that.
Hailey: Which we did not come back to having money, because we bought the house, because we did have that money but then we bought the house and then that bought the furniture. So… that’s a thing.
Mauricio: But I had signed the contract to go back to work, so we knew that everything was going to be fine, money wise.
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