My travel philosophy: what we’re doing and why

Some of you know us, and some of you don’t. I suspect that these first posts will be read more frequently by those of you who know us than those who don’t.

But here’s the gist: we love to travel, and we do it, a lot – more than most people our age. Sometimes it’s for work, mostly it’s for pleasure, though it’s rare that we’d be able to separate the two.

This summer, we will set off on two great adventures. The first: marriage. But that’s not really what I want to write about, though I’m sure it will be unavoidable. The second: we will go on (at least) a year-long adventure across North America to find out where we want to live.

So far, all we know is that we’re going to start in Montreal, Canada in early July. After that, our atlases are blank (yes, we have actual paper atlases). We’re going to stay in each place as long as we like, and move as often as we like. The goal is 1) to explore all of the different nooks and crannies of this country, and 2) to see if there’s somewhere we’d rather live for the next 5 years, 10 years, or the rest of our lives.

We’re both fortunate to have the flexibility of profession to be able to take on this journey. I’m a sports journalist who is co-owner and editor-in-chief of an online sports publication (and physical magazine). We don’t have a central office anyway, so as long as I’m in a North American time zone, I can work from anywhere.

Janna, meanwhile, runs social media for a non-profit organization that has been generous enough to let her work remotely while we’re on our adventure.

But this blog won’t have much to do with work, though inevitably it will come up. This blog is about the exploration, the journey, the world. Janna actually used to work for a travel agency, though she wasn’t a travel agent. She was close enough, though, to generate some curiosity, wonder, and a valuable travel vocabulary (we probably would’ve never wound up on European river cruises if it weren’t for her background).

When Janna and I met, I actually didn’t like travelling. I hated being away, missing out on wherever life progressed to at home while I was gone. Shortly after Janna and I met, though, I took her to Portland to impress her. Because, we bonded early in our relationship over our love for the television show Portlandia.

The next trip was to the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin another 4 months later for National Mustard Day.

And from there, I was hooked. But not by the ‘tourist spots.’ I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower so many GD times in pictures, that I’m not sure if I’d really be wow’ed by seeing it in person. Instead, I like to visit the more obscure, the more real, the places that make the locals love their city. That’s always my goal.

That has taken us down a somewhat bizarre list of locations. We’ve been on vacations to Boise, Idaho and Carbondale, Illinois, but I’ve never been to New York City or the state of California. We’ve been on 3 vacations to the state of Wisconsin (Madison, Milwaukee, and the North Woods). And I’ve never set foot in the two most populous American states beside the one I currently live in (Texas).

That will probably change at some point on this journey. While it’s still 6 months out, we wanted to launch this site now, so we could use it to help explore the build-up to this, the planning we do, the excitement we have – and to elicit input. We want to know where you live, and what you love about it. Don’t give us the Tripadvisor rankings, we want to know more than that. Where are the best shady trees on a hot summer afternoon? Where can you go to eat and make friends with the owner of the restaurant? Which coffee shops will let you take a table for 2 hours to work on your blog, and which won’t?

Bon voyage, and Bienvenue to our journey.

6 Replies to “My travel philosophy: what we’re doing and why

  1. Hey Braden,

    My wife and I live just 95 miles south of Montreal in Burlington, VT.

    What we love about it is the small size (42K people in Burlington proper), yet yet is still has a slight cosmopolitan feel since it’s the largest city in Vermont, home to one of the oldest universities in the country, with plenty of great artistic performances both indoor at the Flynn Theater and outdoors in the summer by the waterfront.

    We also love being right on Lake Champlain. Having a body of water in your city always makes a huge difference for us, and there are nice small beaches, and a bike path that runs for miles along the side of lake. We also keep our kayaks stored at the sailing center, which means we can bike down to the lake, then put in our kayaks and paddle to one of the beaches.

    There’s also great hiking around these parts, whether it be in the Green Mountains, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, or across the Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. Wandering around in these places in the Summer and Fall is amazing.

    If you live in downtown Burlington, you’re walking distance from several coffees shops where you can definitely get to know the owner. There’s also good local food and beer. And on Saturdays there’s a lively farmer’s market at city hall park.

    Best shady trees are all along the bike path, either at Oakledge Park, Waterfront Park, North Beach, or Leddy Beach.

    My two gripes with Burlington: 1) The winter is long and dark; 2) It doesn’t have a 50m pool. The two pools closest to downtown are old and bad – 25 yards, 6 lanes. There are projects in the works to replace both of them, but they will still only be 25 yards. It’s a travesty.

    Sometimes I’ll make the drive down to Middlebury just so I can swim in a nice facility, with an excellent 50m pool.

    Anyway, if you ever feel like exploring down here, and talking swimming, shoot me an email. There aren’t a whole lot swammers around here who are still swim nerds…

    Enjoy your adventure,

    1. Thanks Eduardo for sharing! It’s always fun to hear from locals about what it’s like. We’re really drawn there by the ‘outdoors’ stuff, it’s just something we’ve never really had in Houston.

      I’m not sure I need a 50 meter pool at this point in my life…I’m just pleased as punch with 25 yards haha.

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