It was during our one-year wedding anniversary that my husband and I applied for our first passport. I put rollers in my hair for the occasion. Neither of us had been out of the country before, unless you’d count my senior year spring break trip with ten girls, a booze cruise and watered-down Sex on the Beach cocktails.
My husband and I had saved for months to travel around Ireland for ten days. The only to-do we planned in advance was to rent a two-seater Citroen that barely contained our overstuffed luggage; everything else we did on a whim. We stopped when and where we pleased. We sampled Irish whiskey. We ate the best oysters of our life — fireside — pulled out of the Galway Bay, and washed them down with a pint of Guinness. And we met locals that we now call our friends.
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This was the trip that fueled our fire for travel. This was the time in my life when I learned that being married would never be about what we have, but what we do. This trip would define our relationship—our marriage — to this day. That same year, we left our hometown in the Missouri Ozarks, rented out the picture-perfect house we’d bought only a year earlier and moved to New York City. While our friends were registering for Diaper Genies and Pack 'N Plays, we were moving into an overpriced 500-square-foot, six-floor walk-up in the East Village. This move would be only the beginning of the adventures the initial stages of stress testing our suitcases.
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I worked at a magazine in the SoHo neighborhood of NYC for five years before biting the bullet and going full-time freelance to travel. My husband had the opportunity to attend a conference that was located on one of our "Travel Bucket List" locations, and it seemed like a sign (that, and I had used my allotted two weeks vacation by March) to take a leap of faith. Maybe it wasn’t the most monumental of decisions—we were not "trying" nor were we buying New York City real estate. But, we were relying entirely on freelance income from one partner, and we were going to spend a great deal of time traveling while doing so.
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