From those putting their hearts out on the field to those exploring the road less traveled, the SunglassWarehouse.com crew is pumped to introduce our latest series, where we highlight men and women committed to seizing the day and going Out & About. Check back each month as we interview individuals who have played, explored, lived, and gone the distance in the great outdoors.
Today’s Out & About post features Betsy and Warren Talbot, a 40-something couple who changed their lives and their marriage by becoming world travelers and learning to live simply. Find out more about how they made their dreams a reality on their website Married With Luggage, and check out our conversation with them below!
Could you both give a brief introduction for our readers about yourselves, your family, and your interests and hobbies?
We’re a 40-something couple who left the U.S. in 2010 to travel the world. We’ve since been to five continents, written four books, and host a popular weekly podcast on chasing dreams with the person you love. Warren is the photographer and I’m the writer. We both love hiking, meeting new people, cooking recipes from around the world, and reading.
You talk about how making the decision to travel together saved your relationship. Can you explain how travel has strengthened your marriage?
It wasn’t so much the travel that saved our marriage as it was working toward a goal together. By the time we decided to travel, we had already fixed the major problems in our relationship by focusing on the kind of life we wanted to live and eliminating everything we could that didn’t fit that description. That meant decluttering our life of chores, relationships, habits, spending, and possessions that didn’t work and adding in the chores, relationships, habits, spending, and space that did. It changed everything for us, and when we finally decided to start traveling after some health scares with people we loved, those lifestyle changes we made in the past allowed us to pursue it. There is nothing sexier than achieving a dream with your partner, whether that is paying off your debt, making a big move, or traveling the world.
You went from jokingly discussing the idea of traveling the world to actually doing it. How did you go about making that idea a reality?
It was an extension of all the work we had done before. We identified what we needed to do at a very high level, and then we started taking the first step on each task. We didn’t have to get rid of everything right away, find a big stash of money, or research every world destination. We simply had to start moving in that direction. The small steps add up, and it took us just two years to make it happen.
What has been your favorite and least favorite place to visit and why? Can you share a few highlights from your travels?
Our favorite place has been Spain. We love Spain so much that we just bought a house there. The weather, the people, the food, the wine, the music, the art … you name it, Spain has it. We live part-time in the Andalucia region, which is famous for olives and almonds. Our whitewashed village is nestled in the hills outside the Sierra Nevadas, and we can see the Mediterranean from the high point in the village. It really is ideal.
Our least favorite place to visit has been China. We were there for three months, and we never quite got the groove of the place or connected with the people. Some of our other favorite travel spots have been Mongolia, Antarctica, and Scotland. We also spent a month hiking the Lycian Way in southern Turkey, which was magical. Every place in the world holds some kind of fascination. Even in China we learned to respect their incredible worth ethic and the massive public works that seem to spring up overnight.
You have both obviously been bitten by the travel bug. What, or where, is next for you?
This week we’re heading to Norway for a conference, and then we’ll be going to Scotland for about six weeks to visit friends before coming back to our new house in Spain. We haven’t stayed a night in it yet, so we’re very much looking forward to that. This summer, it’s all about trains as we travel in the U.S. to promote our latest book, Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World.
What advice would you give to a couple who wants to start traveling together?
Take a few short trips together first. Talk about what you want out of the trip and make sure you’re on the same page. The easiest way to avoid problems is to talk about what you want before you go, including what you’ll be doing and how much you’ll be spending and who’s paying what. Iron out those differences before you pack your bags and you’ll have a much better time.
You spend 24/7 together with no regrets. Do you have any advice to couples who hope to achieve the same success?
Learn to fight fast, meaning air one topic out at a time and move on. Assume the best intentions in your mate and you’ll bypass a lot of fights. And take turns making decisions. There are so many to be made when you travel or work together it can become exhausting, and letting someone else take control for a while will save your sanity. Most of all, remember why you’re traveling or working together. You love each other!
Thanks again to Betsy & Warren for chatting with us! We’re inspired by your story. (Be sure to keep up with them on Facebook, too!)