Our story began in Cartagena, Colombia in September 2019. Ok, well it didn’t actually begin there, but the story of the adventure of our lives begins there.
After quitting our corporate jobs and visiting the U.S. National Parks for a few months in a camper van, we booked a one-way ticket to Cartagena, Colombia and set off with nothing but a few bags and a plan to continue traveling internationally for the next year.
Let us take you on our world adventure as we travel across 12 countries and 5 continents and journey through some of the greatest experiences of our lives as well as some of the toughest challenges of our lives.
As you read through the brief overview of our trip below, click on the link to any story to read about that particular experience in more detail, or begin here and follow our story from start to finish!
Sept 21–Oct 11, 2019
Our first stop was in the colorful, coastal city of Cartagena, Colombia. We spent two weeks eating delicious, local food, exploring the iconic Walled City, lounging on the beach, and learning about the culture of the city. We had incredibly diverse experiences in this city, ranging from the authentic experience of visiting Bazurto Market to the tourist attraction of “bathing” in Totumo Mud Volcano.
Next, we visited what was once considered one of the most dangerous cities in the entire world—Medellín. Our tour of Comuna 13 opened our eyes to the history and evolution of this remarkable city. We also decided to “take the leap” and went paragliding for the first time!
A long, bumpy road led us to Salento, an adorable town in the heart of the Coffee Triangle of Colombia. A trip to the Coffee Triangle would not be complete without a tour of a local coffee farm. Another absolute must-do for nature lovers is to hike Cocora Valley, one of the most iconic places to see wax palms, Colombia’s national tree. Our final adventure in Colombia was mountain biking the Golden Road near Salento.
Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands
Oct 11–Nov 1, 2019
We made a somewhat brief but incredibly eventful stop in Quito, Ecuador where we experienced lockdowns and riots in the streets.
This utter chaos was followed by one of the best experiences of our lives—a 15-day cruise around the Galápagos Islands.
We had an exciting start to our trip at Santa Cruz Island, followed by a surprisingly impressive stop at Genovesa Island, referred to by local guides as the “Bird Island.”
I will never forget our first experience swimming with sea lions at Santa Fe Island or snorkeling with hammerhead sharks at Kicker Rock near San Cristóbal Island. Of course, no trip to the Galápagos Islands would be complete without spending time learning about and seeing Giant Galápagos Tortoises.
On Española Island, I witnessed something I can honestly say I never thought I would see—marine iguanas snotting salt water out of their nostrils!
The adventure continued as we snorkeled with sharks, sea turtles, eagle rays, and so much more at Devil’s Crown near Floreana Island. Returning to Santa Cruz Island, we visited the Charles Darwin Station and saw giant tortoises in the wild.
We spent three days exploring Isabela Island—hiking to a volcano, swimming with sea lions, and kayaking with penguins were only a few of the fantastic experiences we had.
I was blown away watching marine iguanas eat under the water at Fernandina Island. Next, we enjoyed close encounters with fur seals and hawks at Santiago Island, followed by a quick stop at Rábida Island.
We saw penguins several times throughout our trip in the Galápagos, but my favorite penguin encounter was at Bartolome Island. During our final excursion at North Seymour Island, we witnessed the mating rituals of frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. Every day in the Galápagos was unique and remarkable, and we cannot wait to go back!
Nov 1–Nov 24, 2019
Immediately after visiting the Galápagos Islands, we continued to Peru and began our four-day journey hiking the Inca Trail to the ancient city of Machu Picchu.
After making the journey to this historic citadel, we climbed ~400 meters up the side of a steep cliff to sleep in a suspended capsule overlooking the Sacred Valley of Cusco.
We spent a week in Cusco recovering before beginning a bus tour from Cusco to Lima. Along the tour, we made stops at Puno, Arequipa, the Nazca Lines, Huacachina, and Paracas.
Nov 24–Dec 4, 2019
We were overjoyed to see family for the first time in months when we arrived in Chile. Riots throughout the city of Santiago led us to make a last-minute change of plans and drive to the countryside to explore Santiago’s surrounding areas.
We soaked in hot springs in the Andes with snow flurries falling around us in San José de Maipo, visited vineyards along our drive to Santa Cruz, and dared to go surfing in Pichilemu.
After a wonderful visit with family, we made our way south to Chile’s Patagonia region and did several epic hikes in Torres del Paine National Park.
Dec 4–Dec 13, 2019
We continued to explore the Patagonia region as we headed east to Argentina. We discovered one breathtaking view after another as we did several more tough but rewarding hikes near El Chaltén.
Next, we went on one of the most unique treks we have ever experienced as we spent a full day hiking Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate.
Dec 13–Dec 22, 2019
It is almost impossible to adequately capture the once-in-a-lifetime journey that followed as we traveled by boat across the Drake Passage to Antarctica and explored a continent that most will never dream of experiencing in person.
We encountered countless penguins, whales, and seals as we navigated through glacier-filled waters and hiked across various parts of the continent.
Dec 25, 2019–Jan 30, 2020
We spent the first 10 days of our time in New Zealand exploring parts of the North Island and South Island with family.
Afterward, we rented a camper van, and the two of us continued to see more of each island over the next three weeks.
Jan 30–Feb 7, 2020
After some time recovering from the break-in and theft we experienced in New Zealand, we spent three days on a cruise diving at the Great Barrier Reef and earned our certification in SCUBA diving.
Feb 7–Feb 20, 2020
Due to wildfires that were spreading across Australia at the time, we decided to make an unexpected but welcomed stop in Bali for two weeks.
We started in what I consider the cultural heart of Bali—Ubud. After experiencing Balinese culture and visiting the Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, we took a trip to the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.
We wrapped up our time in Bali in the beach town of Canggu, which provided a starkly different Bali experience than our prior stops.
Feb 20–Mar 18, 2020
What came next were some of the most fascinating and some of the scariest experiences of our trip as we spent a month driving a motorcycle across Vietnam.
We strayed far from the tourist trail as we made our way from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, staying in 12 other towns along the way.
As we neared the end of our journey, things escalated quickly once the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Forced to leave sooner than planned, we made a last-minute decision to fly to our next destination in Thailand to figure out our next steps.
Mar 18–Mar 23, 2020
We spent a very brief but glorious time basking on the breathtaking beaches of Krabi in Thailand before we knew it was time to cut our trip short and go home.