Ar first glance, Married with Luggage is a blog on long-term traveling with your marital spouse . A closer read made me realize it’s much more than that – Warren and Betsy Talbot are a power couple. Soon after getting married, without much travel experience, they decided the conventional life was no longer for them. They plan on a life of endless travel and inspired living – and they’re making it happen. Currently the couple is on an overland trip from Thailand to Portugal, and you can follow their adventures on their blog.
Warren and Betsy want to inspire you to make your dreams come true, too, whatever they are. This is not only a travel blog, but truly inspirational reading and how-to for making changes in your life. Read about their leap of faith and endless courage…(Betsy literally wrote the book on confidence. )
“Our trip is the result of living out our big dream, and we write about the everyday strategies other people can use to realize their own big dreams, whether travel-related or not. It doesn’t hurt to share life lessons from exotic locations, though!”
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Wine or beer? Wine
Suitcase or backpack? Backpack
Night train or night bus? Night train
Sleeping bag or bedding? bedding
Window or aisle? Betsy: window; Warren: aisle. Often it lets us keep an empty seat between us which is perfect for the long flights
Diarrhea or constipation? Diarrhea
Malarone or malaria? malaria
Hops or grass? hops
tw: Tell us how your travel blog idea originated – did your travels and your blog creation coincide?
MwL: “Blame it on the margaritas. We spent a holiday weekend eating and drinking with good friends and talk turned deep and philosophical late in the night – as it always does with multiple pitchers. We were discussing some major health crises in the previous year in people close to us, and we tossed out the question: “What would you do differently if you knew you wouldn’t make it to your 40th birthday?” The question lit the table up, and we immediately said we’d travel the world. The bravery of alcohol had us committing to a year-long trip that night, and after soberly considering it the next morning, we decided, “why the hell not?” We set up a blog that day and started making our big plans right then.
We did mention we are action-oriented people, right?”
What would you like most to communicate through your blog, and why share your perspective?
“Action! Our number one goal when someone reads an article on our website is to do something toward their big goals: take a step, make a call, create a deadline. We think later is a dirty word, and it keeps a lot of people from living the life they could pretty easily have if they gave it as much physical effort as they do mental.
We believe in this so much we wrote 3 books about the various stages of making your dream life a reality.
As to perspective, because we are married and living out what we affectionately call our “early mid-life crisis” at 41, we relate to a segment of the audience that has let a career and obligation get in the way of their dreams and is ready to do something about it.”
Have you done much long term traveling in the past? And had you ever traveled together?
“Our longest trip prior to this was the day after we got married and lasted 9 days – literally in our honeymoon phase. Like most Americans, we had no concept of a gap year or long-term travel, though we did take a lot of short trips together.
To say being together 24/7/365 was an adjustment for us would be a serious understatement, but it works like a charm now and we couldn’t imagine life any other way. We call it marriage therapy via passport!”
Has anything happened that has scared you, or made you question your path?
“We had a lot of that before we left – questions around leaving our careers, wondering how that would impact our identities, and such. There was a lot more angst before we left than after, and we attribute that to seeing all the downsides and not living any of the upsides yet. Since day 1, we are more convinced this is the life we were meant to be living.”
Best/worst place you’d ever rested your head?
“The worst is easy: Serial Killer Hotel. That’s the not the real name of course, but it easily could be. It is near the bus station in Quito, Ecuador, and even though we didn’t memorize the name of it we’re sure you can find it by arriving at the bus station at 1 a.m. and asking for the closest hotel. Sleep with your clothes on!
The best is far harder. Is it a manor house in the English countryside, a houseboat on the canals of Amsterdam where swans come to feed at the kitchen window, or on a going to bed every night for 5-1/2 weeks to the sway of the ocean on a repositioning polar cruise ship? While the decision is difficult, there is something about smelling the pheromones of a fur seal, the sound of penguins, and knowing you are camping on freaking Antarctica. That had to be a highlight, even though it was far from luxurious.”
Your blog seems to be a beautiful blend of regular old marriage advice, mixed with travel tips. Tell us about who should read your blog.
“We’ve been online since 2008, so they really come from all over the place. Our main concern is what happens after they get there. We want to engage, inspire and motivate, and then read all the incredible “I did it!” emails from people who write books, take sabbaticals, open cake shops, and all kinds of other fabulous dreams. It’s selfish really.”
How do you stay positive? Any practices you want to share?
“We learned the hard way that a positive attitude is not due to what happens to you but how you handle what happens to you. Once you realize you have the control over this – despite what the world dishes out – it changes your perspective completely. Shitty things can happen to us, but we don’t have to let that intrude on our happiness.”
Do you plan on traveling indefinitely?
“Yes, but probably not in the way most people think. Our ideal is slow travel, and we envision a life of travel interspersed with periods of staying put to learn something new, write or explore. We just spent six months in Thailand, where we wrote and published our last book, and it was a creative explosion for us. We are now traveling overland from Thailand to Portugal on trains, buses and camels for six months, and after that we’ll probably settle down again. This pace is perfect for us, and we hope it never ends.”
Which three items will you be sure you always have with you?
Betsy: Moleskin notebook, pen, and Kindle
Warren: Patience, curiosity, and my Ex Officio underwear
What is your favorite place in your home country or city?
“We loved living in the funky neighborhood of Fremont in our adopted city of Seattle, where we had the best social life, food, and experiences of our lives before travel. Give us a neighborhood of artists and hippies any day of the week.”
Do you have favorite travel blogs that you read regularly?
“We love Uncornered Market because we can see ourselves in them. They were our first “blog crushes” and since then we’ve added some of the people we’ve met in real life: Jess and Dani of The Globetrotter Girls, who find all the best food and take great photos; and Russ and Michelle of michrusstravel.blogspot.com, who go around the world getting in trouble with a ukulele and quick wit.”
Mountains, beach or city? Mountains
Couch-surfing or guesthouse? Guesthouse
Cockroaches or rats? Hard to choose; they are such different flavors!
Skiing or surfing? Skiing
iPhone or Android? Are those cell phones? Because we haven’t had one at all since we left.
Travel tool you find most useful: Better than any tool is simply getting a recommendation from a local or fellow traveler. Asking question is our best tool.
Postcard or emails? Emails
How do you inform yourself about your next destination, and how do you prepare for the trip?
“We are pretty flexible travelers and just ask other people what they recommend. Then we do a little research online and go with it. We aren’t itinerary kind of people and typically don’t know from week to week where we’ll be, though we often have a general direction of travel.”
Any recent tech-y discoveries on the Internet?
“TripLine.net. Warren loves maps and finds it the best way to communicate a lot of information and ideas about our travels.”
The best breakfast in the world is…
“Magic Stone Guesthouse in Baños, Ecuador. Ove and Aase are incredible Danish hosts who spoil their guests rotten. We spent 2 weeks with them just to eat Aase’s bread every morning (and came away with the secret recipe).”
The thing you’re most looking forward to is…
“We are currently in the midst of an over-land trip from Thailand to Portugal. The trip was inspired by author Conn Iggulden’s series about Ghengis Khan and our desire to see the Naadam Festival in Mongolia. We planned this entire trip around this event and will be attending in July. Then it’s on to the Trans-Mongolian Railway to cross Russia. We’ll be fulfilling 2 big dreams in the next 2 months.”
The thing you’re most afraid of is…”having to go back to our old way of living.”
Favorite places in the world?
“This question is always challenging because there is something fantastic in every destination, from food to people to experiences to even the disasters that become funny after enough time has passed.
A few moments spring to mind: watching the stars in a pitch-black night from the top deck of a ship in the middle of the ocean, climbing up to see a glacier and appreciating the passage of time, or eating lunch with monks in a forest temple.
We’d have to say in terms of sheer beauty of location Antarctica takes the cake.”
Anything else you’d like to share?
“Life is short. Live your dream. Seriously, identify your dream, uncover the confidence to make it happen, and take the first step. You’ll never look back. (And if you need help with any of the above, check out our website and our books for some instant cheerleading and guidance!)”
Website name: Married with Luggage
Blogger name(s): Warren & Betsy Talbot
twitter handle: warrentalbot