We are Maikael and Elizabeth, a 30-something, married couple embarking on the adventure of a lifetime! Travel has always been a part of our lives, and is something that has continually played a significant role in our relationship. We both originally hail from Kent, Washington, but didn’t meet until we were college students living in McCarty Hall at the University of Washington. After a series of moves, we currently make our home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Maikael works as an engineer and Elizabeth works as a career counselor.
Maikael grew up in a home of adventurers, and the value of travel was instilled from childhood. At the tender age of 14, Maikael weighed anchor and began a new life in San Jose, Costa Rica, when his father retired from US Customs. It was there that he discovered the importance of living amongst another culture for an extended period, and considers this time of his life pivotal in his development as an international citizen. He attended Costa Rica Academy (currently The American International School of Costa Rica), where over 30 countries were represented in the student body. With an American father and a Mexican-American mother, he regards himself as a Third Culture Kid. Maikael has traveled to 24 countries and four continents, and hopes to visit Antarctica in his lifetime.
Elizabeth traveled closer to home as a child, having been raised by a mother who adored Southern California and a father who was a Washington state history buff. She recalls road trips to small Washington hamlets, the Oregon Coast, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, and frequent visits to Disneyland. An introductory Spanish class in the 10th grade changed her life, and she has spent the past 15 years trying to gain fluency in Spanish and an intimate understanding of the Spanish-speaking world. Elizabeth has always been interested in the diversity of the human experience, which she has expressed through her studies in drama, music, dance, language, and, most recently, writing and counseling. Travel, for her, is a means towards exploring what it means to be human. Elizabeth hopes to speak Spanish fluently and live in a Spanish-speaking country in the not-too-distant future.
Why are we doing this? What do we hope to accomplish at the end of eight months?
In March 2007, we took a trip to Iceland and Scotland, places we had long been interested in visiting. We looked forward to the trip for the months, and while we had a wonderful time in both countries, we returned home exhausted and wanting more. Each of our trips in recent years, in fact, had left us feeling this way. We always saw a lot of things but didn’t really have the time to experience a place, which was frustrating.
Since meeting in 1997, we had dreamed of taking a trip around the world. But the timing was never right. One of us was always starting a job, or starting school, or just plain broke. The trip to Europe helped us to see that, until we indulged this fantasy, we would never be satisfied with our travel experiences. We finally realized that we wanted to be world travelers, not tourists. Better yet, the timing was good. We weren’t entrenched in our careers. We had some money saved up. We didn’t have any children. If not now, when?
Together we have traveled internationally to Costa Rica, Mexico, Iceland, and Scotland, but we have never embarked on a trip of this scope, for this length of time. We have no grand expectations of our journey. Our greatest hope is to truly experience life in a place, and to come to know its people (or, at least, as much as any visitor can). Our greatest fear is that we’ll drive each other completely insane. We’re not exactly sure how this trip will – or won’t – change our lives. We would both like to end the journey as braver people and better travelers, with a surer sense of who we are and of our place in the world. Maikael is most looking forward to pushing his physical limits with hiking trips to Patagonia, Machu Picchu, and Milford Sound; visiting the mystical Easter Island and Galapagos Islands; and seeing the anciety city of Petra. Elizabeth would like to eat vast quantities of pasta in Italy; meet Ketut Liyer in Bali; and improve her language skills in South America.11 comments