Years before we were married, years before I had even met my husband Kiel, I caught it - the "travel bug." It probably happened when I studied abroad my junior year of college in Barcelona. Different countries every weekend; discovering new foods, cultures, and traditions; wandering narrow alleyways and getting lost in gothic quarters. It was addicting.
After college I moved from my home city of Chicago to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of acting. It was a new and exciting (if somewhat daunting) city - a huge place awaiting my exploration. You can spend years wandering around the "pockets" of LA, and I did. They were small and sporadic - the strips along Sunset in both Weho and Silverlake, cute and less heralded enclaves like Los Feliz and Larchmont Village, the constant buzzing of activity in the west side neighborhoods of Santa Monica and Venice. It was all that and so much more, more than enough to keep me busy while I worked at a small Italian restaurant at night and auditioned during the day. Plus I had promised myself that if my dreams changed from entertainment, my next step was living abroad in any way possible.
When Kiel and I met in 2011, I knew I had found my perfect travel partner. We explored all of California together: our first getaway to Laguna beach and our first Valentine's Day together in San Francisco and Napa Valley; Fourth of July excursions up the coast through Big Sur as well as birthday celebrations in the mountain towns of Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead; southern road trips to see friends in San Diego and northern outings to taste wine in Santa Barbara. Everywhere we went, I would find us the perfect restaurants and Kiel would map the best route. We loved to explore and get lost together, and along the way we found the passions that bound us.
These easy "escapes" from Los Angeles kept us busy the first few years of our relationship. We were both pursuing careers in the entertainment industry and long-term trips to more distant places were out of the question. Occasionally I would bring up the idea of living in a different country for a period of time, but the logistics just never seemed right. Things began to change when Kiel and I became engaged in December of 2014. During the next couple years while we endured the stresses of planning our wedding, we finally and firmly agreed that we would travel after we were married. We were both ready. We were both a little mentally "stuck" in a rut and unsure of our next steps professionally. Most importantly, we knew we needed to explore the world and learn more about ourselves before settling down.
After tying the knot in October of 2016, we turned our focus to the logistics of our journey. We wanted to keep our home base in Los Angeles, and the perfect opportunity came to us in the form of my cousin who also wanted to try something new - living in Los Angeles for a while. Knowing our apartment situation was under control for a few months (at least), the adventure began to take shape more clearly. We quit our jobs, and the planning began in earnest.
Now, the journey is underway. We'll share everything here - our favorite cities, our best meals (obviously) and our experience exploring the world as newlyweds - in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. Is it scary? Yes. Do I question the intelligence of this decision? From time to time. Will I ever regret it? No. And to me, that's the most important thing.
Methuen was enough. My hometown is a fairly ordinary American suburb: neither wealthy nor poor; surrounded by others just like it; quiet and simple in its way but close enough to a major city to feel attached to the bustling world. It was a pleasant place to grow up, and as a boy I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. Methuen was all I knew, and for eighteen years it was all I thought I'd ever need. I'd fall in love with a nice girl from this nice place, so the thinking went, and we'd settle in for a lifetime in the one town that had always been home.
Then, Boston was enough. I always loved the city and relished any opportunity to visit, even settling for a glimpse of the skyline when I drove south on I-93 to visit uncles and aunts and grandparents in Medford and Everett. Four years at a university amid the urban center cemented my affection, and I transposed the vision of the future from Methuen to the Back Bay or the South End or whichever Boston neighborhood would accept me once I graduated and began the life I couldn't wait to lead.
The world had different plans. I never wanted to move to Los Angeles, even when dreams of screenwriting drove my undergraduate focus, even when the demands of that nearly $200,000 degree I'd chosen added pressure to my choice of how I'd use it, but a year of post-graduation struggles prevented me from getting the life I wanted off the ground in the place I wanted to live it. Eventually I accepted that a career and relative fortune were more accessible in the California metropolis I'd visited for several months during an internship program in my final semester of college. Out of necessity more than desire, I moved across the country and chased a career in entertainment.
I found work fairly quickly, and I found Anne not too long after that. In the seven years that followed, LA became home, and that home was enough. It was enough when, three or four years ago, Anne first floated the idea of leaving it all behind to live somewhere foreign and new. It was still enough last year when I finally relented and signed onto her plan, even if we didn't know exactly where we'd go or when we'd do it. Believe it or not, less than a month ago as Anne and I said goodbye to the people, places and things that had made Los Angeles home for the better of a decade, that life we had chosen to uproot was still enough for me. We left it anyway, and though I missed the trappings of my familiar existence the moment our car began to roll east through the desert, I have no regrets.
The longer we continued to settle for the way things were, the more we risked never seeing and tasting the things that will fill our days these next few months. We've made a decision to seek out the happiness we desire, and life feels too short to opt for anything else. There may be nothing wrong with enough, but it's both right and natural to yearn for more. I don't know what we'll discover along this new path we've chosen, and I'm even less certain of who we'll be, where we'll end up or what we'll believe whenever we poke our heads out on the other side. We're excited to share our story while we figure it out, and we hope you'll join us for the ride.