How did you meet and when did you both realize your love for travel?
Andrew and I met in my Freshman year of university in Santa Barbara at a mutual friend’s movie night. When I saw Andrew, I knew he was something special AND he had a Scottish accent- I was sold! We both have a love for travel and after our first adventure up to San Francisco & Monterey Bay went so smoothly, I knew we could travel well together in the future. (Luckily, this still holds true 8 years later).
Where was your first destination together and tell us about it?
Our first proper vacation together was in Hawaii on Oahu and Kauai for our delayed honeymoon. We spent 9 days seeing friends, eating ourselves silly, and adventuring around the islands. We were especially impressed with the Nepali Coastline and Waimea Canyon!
How do you share your work on the road? Who does what?
At the moment neither of us “work” on the road. We saved for this trip for two years and carefully budget on the road to allow us to see and do as much as we can. I’m really proud of our accomplishment to save and budget- definitely no Starbucks for us, ever! (sometimes a special treat beer, but that’s a tall order in Australia $$$$$) But we did have a short stint of working on an Australian Station in the Outback. We were mustering cattle on motorcycles and 4X4s, but sadly a crazy cow charged me in the yards and flung me about 6 feet and I ended up with a broken arm & wrist. Let’s just say, it was a shortly lived career.
How do you make decisions together for next destinations?
There are a ton of factors when deciding where to go next. The initial inspiration of traveling was to live in Australia for a year, and then we added 6 months to get to Australia and 6 months to get home to/from California making one revolution around the planet. If you’re a traveler, you know that it never goes according to “plan” so we have done a few trips around the world in the past 2 years. But some of the factors include: seeing people we know, (Andrew’s family lives in Scotland and Hong Kong, so we have stayed in both of these places for extended periods of time), affordability of living, eating, and traveling in said destination, and things we have dreamt about seeing- the bucket list things. We usually prefer nature to cities, but this is not always the case- Hong Kong is one of my favorite places we have been to. Also, we consider whether it is a place we would want to bring children to. Our next major trip will be several months in South East Asia where we can enjoy it as two young people rather than having a kid or two in tow.
Have you noticed any changes in the relationship since you started traveling together?
YES! We have grown together immensely! We already had a rock stable relationship where we were open, and I didn’t anticipate getting to “know” Andrew so much better while traveling. This sounds silly, but we were already on the same page it seemed about most things, so I expected just to enjoy his company. We have had so many deep conversations about expectations, character traits, our wants and needs and our place in the world through traveling. It does help meeting and conversing with people from all different backgrounds to challenge, discuss, and bring different view points to our perspective.
Living and traveling together 24/7 can sometimes be stressful and relate to moments of disagreements or misunderstandings. How do you cope with these situations?
The first 8 months of traveling was relatively smooth, we were hopping around from place to place staying with friends and family and mostly just having a good time wherever we were. It really shook us up when we decided to live in a van in Australia. We did this for an entire year (best experience EVER!) but the first few months really tested our patience and ability to communicate. Andrew felt he was doing all the work and I felt he should relax more and stop stressing about everything. When you live in approximately 45 square feet and the only private time you have is in public restrooms, let’s just say you learn to communicate really quickly. We fought more during these few months than we had in the previous 7 years of knowing each other combined, but it was good for us. The key for me was to be open to his feedback, be willing to listen carefully, and really work on my shortcomings. This helped a lot and we ended up loving van life so much that we bought another van in Alaska and drove it down to California and we still have our ’84 Westfalia- hopefully we can take her all the way to Patagonia!
What is the most beautiful moment you have experienced together while traveling?
This is such an unfair question! We definitely have some highlights including seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, our 2 weeks in Bali, and swimming with Whale Sharks in Australia. But- I think the most special moment was rescuing a joey kangaroo from his mother who had been struck and killed by a car on the highway. This little joey also saved another life, but that story is for another day! The precious joey brought so much meaning to Andrew and I that I even have a tattoo as a constant reminder of his magic.
What do you like the most about traveling as a couple?
The ability to share it with my favorite person in the world. Andrew balances me and he brings strengths that I don’t have, and I bring others. I also have a memory like a sieve, so it is so fun to relive our memories together.
What do you like the least about traveling as a couple?
I don’t dislike anything about traveling as a couple, I would just tell people that is is difficult and will test your relationship and compatibility. It’s very different to living with someone at home! Ok, wait, I take that back. The one downside is that your partner can sometimes be like a security blanket. You can always do your own thing with them, whereas if you were on your own there are situations that you would really need to put yourself out there to meet people and experience things. This is easy to overcome as long as you are aware of it, and instead of settling in for a movie night- go out to that pub crawl, even if you are tired from 16 hours of travel!!
How do you keep the relationship spark alive on the road?
I would say it’s even easier than home! Sometimes I get on Andrew because he used to do little surprises for me at home, but it’s VERY hard to surprise someone on the road when you’re together 24/7. But it’s about creating special moments together and sometimes splurging for the experience that will last a lifetime. But seriously- van life IS romantic! 😉 Even without regular showers. 😛
What is one piece of advice you’d give to any couple wanting to travel together?
DO IT!!!!!!! There is no place or experience that I have regretted. We had the chance to settle down and buy a house or travel the world, and although it seems like a financially “irresponsible” decision for the long term, there is nothing I cherish more than our memories made together! The NUMBER ONE thing we hear from people all around the world is “good for you- do it while you’re young” or “I wish I would’ve done what you two are doing”. Also, remember that your partner is your number one support, and embrace the highs and lows of traveling.
Get to Know the Couple:
Amber & Andrew: @a2adventure
Travel Blog: a2adventure.wordpress.com