Our American Dream

From the time we started dating, Lena and I started saving for a house. That was a real, concrete long-term goal. While we never thought of travel in the same way, we took any opportunity to hit the road even though we were always saving for the house. Travel was simply second nature to us.

Fast forward to 2011. Together for nearly five years and married three. Twenty-somethings on successful career tracks, both with masters degrees (Lena even working toward her PhD).

After having leased a nice condo in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood for three years, we decided that we wanted our own place. We quickly started looking around and ended up putting an offer on a short sale condo in West Loop. It was great: 2-bedroom, 2-bath, balcony, really nice neighborhood where we could easily walk to work. It was even big enough to have a family (or an office in the meantime).

The bank took forever. And ever. And ever. Nearly eight months after entering the contract, still no word. Our lease was nearing its end and it was time to make a decision.

We had to start looking for another place! So it went, taking another whirlwind tour of probably 30 condos in a week. We found a couple that we really liked, our realtor began pressuring us – we had to decide quickly which one we wanted to go with!


The realization sunk in while reading an article I happened to find around this time. A fellow software developer had packed it all in to take a 12-month, RTW trip. He talked about his experience, including all the great places he saw, new friends he had made, and how this whole thing was cheaper and more attainable than one would think. That afternoon I had even found myself trying to persuade a coworker that also has the travel bug to do this for himself!

EDIT: Since some of you are asking, I was able to dig up the link: How to Travel Around the World for a Year

I sent Lena a link to this article, just as we often do for one another. As I did, I really wondered in the back of my mind if this could also be right for us. After reading the blog entry she suggested, seemingly half-hearted: “why not us?”

After that day, we lost our focus on the condo and procrastinated deciding on one. We completely fell in love with the idea of traveling for an extended period of time. Over the course of the following weeks we began to daydream of doing that RTW trip and reading blogs of people and even couples who have already done it.

We had a lot of discussions about what really is important in life. For me, it came down to doing something many people wish they would have. Something many others do not have the opportunity to do. It is so cliche, but I thought about how I’d feel on my death bed.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda. We finally decided to go for it.

We’ll be documenting our experiences here – we hope you’ll find it inspirational and informational!

What’s holding you back?


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  • aaronogan


  • Yay!!!! So excited for you both! We will miss you a lot!!

  • Well, I am glad I already have my passport and a trip to Italy planned because after reading about your passion for this I would have the travel iche more than ever! We will miss you guys and would love to hop a plane to meet up somewhere! Anything is possible 🙂

  • NIce!!! i have done this in the past as a single guy – but I might have to wait till next summer when Jordan is out of school to do a 3 month around the world trip. Have fun you guys.

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