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E: Howdy howdy! I’m Erica – also known as half of the team at Over Yonderlust. We’re from Austin, Texas, are addicted to TexMex food, along with any food having to do with the south. I’m a rollerderby referee when I’m at home and a pinup/burlesque/wedding photographer for a living.
S: And I’m Shaun – the freakishly strong, funny, good looking, and humble other half of the team. Before embarking on this most recent endeavor through Latin America, I spent the last 4 years working for video game giant Blizzard Entertainment. I decided to pursue a career in the gaming industry when I realized that I didn’t have any friends and preferred to sit alone in my dark room surrounded by empty Hotpocket sleeves and Mt. Dew cans.
E: Our reasons for leaving are a bit different to be honest. I’m about to admit something that not many people know about me. *ahem* Here it goes:
I, Erica, used to be an extreme nerd.
And by that I mean that when we were working at Blizzard we were doing
50 hour weeks and were in a top 100 raiding guild in World of Warcraft (yes, please feel free to giggle) that took an additional 35 hours a week (at least) of our time. I was getting burnt out and was really looking for more to life than working and gaming.
We were watching one of the No Reservations we had DVRed and the Ecuador episode came on. It just clicked after that. We had wanted to go to Costa Rica and Peru… why not just do it all? I quit WoW cold turkey after that and started planning/the blog.
S: Walking away from our comfortable ‘normal life’ wasn’t easy for me. I was very dedicated and involved at work and happy with what I was doing. But I also wanted to try long term travel (something I couldn’t do in my position at that time). I was managing a team of support reps and couldn’t leave until I knew they were in good hands. Luckily, that time eventually came and we were able to set out on our adventure.
E: We have been on the road for 12 months now. I swear it doesn’t seem that long.
S: We’re either the slowest, most easily distracted backpackers in the world or the worst time travelers in history. Entire weeks have disappeared and the date never seems to be accurate.
E: Yeah, I think you can say that. Some of my favorite moments were when we lived near the Caribbean for a few months. Apparently I’m a beach bum in disguise. Give me a book and some beer under an umbrella and I’ll wake up a 60 year old leathery hippie on the beach.
S: Definitely. Easily some of the best moments of our lives have occurred on this trip and the freedom we have is incredible. Long term travel really allows you to take a step back and look at your life and help you figure out what you want to do with it.
S: Well, it depends on the couple. For some, it is not recommended (you know who you are). Also, you save tons of money traveling with someone who is obligated to put out, rather than buying thousands of over-priced drinks for hawt Colombians (and their friends) who have no interest in sleeping with you anyways. #LFMF
E: Oh good lord. Not only do you have someone to appreciate those rare, amazing moments but you also have someone to watch your stuff while you sleep in shady bus stations and airports. Lets just say that I think I was going to die in Newark if Shaun wasn’t there.
E: To preface this, I’ll just say that we are from Austin. The city where nothing used to happen and if you live in a good neighborhood you can leave your doors unlocked. We have high expectations for places.
S: We were still quite amateur travelers then. In fact, we were planning on leaving the airport to quickly explore some of Jersey (hang out with mobsters, eat some local fare, etc). The reality being there wasn’t anywhere close to enough time between our flights to attempt such an endeavor. Instead, they kicked us out of the terminal and we were forced to sleep in shifts until security opened at 5am.
E: Honestly, it can go either way. I’m usually the one who freaks out in situations like this and blows things out of proportion. I don’t know, what do you think Shaun?
S: It does, yeah. We sleep really close together, especially when it’s cold. Sometimes we spoon, and sometimes I’m the little spoon.
E: I vote Playa del Carmen! Seriously, walking barefoot for hours on white sandy beaches and turquoise waters make me feel all mushy inside.
S: Yeah, we had some of the most crazy and romantic times in Playa del Carmen- it’s a super social city but you escape the crowds and find some alone time.
E: Is that possible?
S: If it is possible, it would have been in some of the more dangerous or impoverished cities. But on the other hand, the drive gets cranked up to 11 in cities like Medellin, Colombia where so many people are absolutely gorgeous.
E: Our next year of travel plants is so exciting! Not only are am I doing an awesome road trip with Diana from D Travels Round but we’re also going to try to make it to Iceland, Amsterdam, and Oktoberfest for my 30th birthday.
S: I’m not accompanying the girls on their road trip (something about manginas don’t count?) but we are planning another road trip of our own from Austin to New York before leaving to Europe.
E: Actually, I would consider getting a counseling session beforehand if you haven’t been together that long. At least that way you guys can figure out how each other handles stress and the like. But overall, just try and laugh at everything. It gets absurd sometimes.
S: Like a successful relationship, long term travel requires both parties to give 100%- not 50/50. If each of you have skills that you enjoy or excel at, such as negotiating prices or doing naked handstands, taking over that task can be really beneficial- just don’t rely exclusively on your partner to always bear the burden.