Seeing the world, one country at the time

The two remarks we always hear when we meet new people are:

“You are so smart to do it while you are young! This is the time to do it! It gets harder later”. Later?! We’re in our mid-late thirties! Granted, we don't have any kids to raise.


“That sounds wonderful, but I could never do it!” Yes, you could do it. Just like we did.

Lars is 38 and Anna is 34 and while that is not particularly old, it is certainly past the typical post-college backpacker prime or a 20-something with some work experience taking a break from it all. Also we have routinely met people in their a 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who are traveling much like we are, some with a companion, but many alone.

As for being able to do it – yes you are. Neither Anna nor Lars is a “trust-fund baby”. We simply cut most superfluous expenses, saved up, sold most of our belongings and terminated our jobs, accepting the fact that there would be no salary, no discretionary income, no bonus and that the funds we had saved up would diminish, not grow. The hardest part was deciding what was really “superfluous” and giving up an active social life, then sticking to the plan. There were certainly sacrifices, but they were manageable.

But you have to want to do it. Both Anna and Lars are travelers at heart, although one grew up traveling the world and the other grew up in small towns and cities in one country. Lars left Norway at 15 to study English in Britain, then again at 17 to Eurorail, and finally embarked on a world trip at 20, with the goal of driving to Australia. That didn’t pan out, he moved to the US and spent two years in Lebanon with the UN.

It took a little coaxing from Anna to remind him of that old dream, but he went for it hook, line and sinker. Anna just never got rid of the travel bug, instilled in me by my father’s international career which took us all around the world. This trip seemed a natural extension of that, with an eye on settling down in a quiet place in Norway or Sweden with Lars, as long as there is the occasional holiday outside its borders. After all, if you can travel like this together, you can do anything together. “I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them” Mark Twain once wisely declared.