After months of planning and sharing our plans that we’d be quitting our jobs to travel full time for a year (maybe longer), we are OFF! No more 7am alarms, no more checking our phones constantly for emails, no more free breakfast and lunches at work (okay, that’s kind of sad). We are finally traveling with zero obligations. And it feels good. It feels real good.
Brief history of how the Bests became the Bests. Andy and I met while working at LinkedIn about 3 1/2 years ago. I was in sales, he was in customer success. What does that mean exactly? I sold LinkedIn products and Andy made my clients great at using those products.
We consistently took work trips together over the years, lots of planes, trains & automobiles filled with full fledge belly laughs, a lot of OVER sharing of details about my dating life to Andy, followed by lots of eye rolls and “come AWWWN Sam” by Andy. Nonetheless, we formed a friendship that was like no other. In January of 2017 we had the talk of all talks and decided to start dating. I remember years ago (when we were just friends, don’t forget) Andy made some sort of comment over a beer on the Upper East Side, “Sam, if we ever dated, we’d skip the BS and just jump straight in.” Well he sure wasn’t lying.
In February of 2017 we took our first international trip together to Iceland. Short snippet on why we chose this beautiful country first. Andy and I are big bucket list people. We both have one written down, always have. The satisfaction of crossing things off a list is so gratifying. Andy likes the pen and paper model while I use the Notes section on my iPhone.
Any who, at the top of both of our bucket lists at the time was “see the Northern Lights”. The hopeless romantic that I am (or try to be) decided to trade in some airline miles and surprise Andy for Valentine’s day by spending it in Iceland. I remember about an hour before I told Andy where we were going and my big surprise, I was having lunch with my dad at my favorite childhood restaurant, Town Spa Pizza. If you’re from Rhode Island or Massachusetts and don’t know what Town Spa is, go there immediately.
My dad said, “Sam, why are you acting so weird? You don’t like your pizza?” My response: “No dad, I am about to tell my best friend that I have feelings for him and that I’m surprising him with a trip to Iceland.” My dad’s classic response: “You’ve got to be kidding me, Sam! Who do you think you are?”
Well listen, if anyone knows me they know I am spontaneous, impulsive and LOVE giving people I am close with a good surprise. I wrote in a cute card, “Andy, there is no one I’d rather see the Northern Lights on Valentine’s Day”. (I can see Andy’s face blushing as he reads this post, thinking god dammit Sam why do you have to tell everyone EVERYTHING.)
I think this is an important part of our story. When you travel with someone, you learn SO much about them. And that’s exactly what happened on this 1st trip for the pre-Bests. It solidified that we have similar interests, crave a good adventure and more importantly, we love experiencing all of those things together.
Note: It didn’t all go according to plan. We still haven’t seen the Northern Lights.
Fast forward to July 2017 in the gorgeous Algarve Coast in Portugal. Andy proposed. More on the proposal story later, I promise. The proposal is the reason we are in the Maldives (our 1st stop on our 2018 year of travel). It was a few weeks later when we started to reaaaally get serious about potentially traveling for an entire year. We both set financial goals for ourselves and decided to start talking about it with friends and family, this way we’d be held accountable for actually making it a reality. Our parents were supportive, our friends were excited, and that was that. We were in.
We played a game one night in our tiny studio NYC apartment that helped shape our year ahead. We each wrote down our top 10 places that we’d want to travel to and then compared lists to start building our itinerary. We had 5 places in common. Let me tell ya, it is VERY hard to narrow down places to go when you want to see absolutely every country and every city in the entire world. Andy had to remind me that it’s not like we will never travel again, so narrowing it down will help us start to feel good about our agenda.
Traveling gives me a sense of fulfillment, a purpose and a better sense of the person I want to become. Feeling uncomfortable in places where the culture is SO different than that of the United States makes me feel comfortable in a way that is difficult to describe. Being exposed to new smells, new sceneries, new people is so exciting and I’m sure anyone reading this who enjoys traveling feels the same way.
I’ve been struggling with what voice I want this blog to have. Do I want it to be just suggestions on what to do when you’re traveling to these destinations, or what it’s like to travel out of a suitcase in our first year of marriage, or updating everyone when we cross things off our bucket lists? It’ll be a combination of all of that.
But what I decided is that it will be raw and honest. The way I write is the way I speak. I’m not changing any of that. I am a normal girl that likes to travel with her husband and we decided to save our money, quit our jobs and spend it on what we love to do the most in this world, and that is to see it.