How many countries have you been to?Rochelle: 12- Jamaica, Mexico, virgin islands, British virgin island, France, England,Italy, Belize, China, Thailand, Turkey and Turks and Caicos
How many years have you been together, and when did you start traveling internationally?We have been together for 10 years- first trip was in college. And our first international trip was to Jamaica, it was a gift to Rochelle for moving to Chicago
As a child, did you think about these things growing up?Rochelle: No, not at all. My family didn’t have a lot of money growing up. Our big trips were driving two hours west in Nebraska and putting up your tent and taking the boat along and camping along the way. Not big trips, but we like to take the trips. Make do with what we could. We took about 2-3 trips a year...but went to Iowa, South Dakoda, Nebraska and Kansas. All within driving distance.
How did this get born between the two of you?Rochelle: He was the one to instigate the first couple of trips, and I was nervous about international travel. Mexico was my only international trip I had done, and that was a college spring break trip, and I don’t really count that. So I was nervous, but after he said, “No, we are doing this! Let’s go!” I got excited when he handed off the planning to me, I started looking up at hotels, houses we could rent and excursions we can go on. When I took over that planning, that’s when I got super pumped for the trip. After the first one, I was started to think about the next trip. And we just starting going from there. We are on this rotation. I pick one location and the next trip he picks the location.
Are you living your dream by doing this international traveling?Rochelle: Yes! I enjoy going to the different countries. I was nervous about going to a country with a completely different language and culture, but now I look forward to it. Now an all-inclusive resort seems boring to me. I would rather rent a bungalow or apartment in a village and meet the people, Go buy food and go to a restaurant that’s a little hole in the wall, but a town favorite. We are learning a lot and experiencing stuff that we never thought we would be able to.
What are some of the decisions that go into picking these countries? How much time goes into it?Rochelle: Thailand was a big one, took about 6 months of planning, researching and savings. We normally spend about 6- 12 months saving per trip. We don’t want to stay in hotels and we stay in rentals, so we do a lot of researching. It is scary as well, we are not sure if we just gave the money to stay in the rental is honest, it’s a lot of trust. We hope that after a day of traveling that when we pull up to the address, it’s really there. It’s a big risk.
How hard do work, so you are able to take the time and money to go on these trips? Would you work as hard as you do now, if this wasn’t a dream?Rochelle: Before I was in management I did work harder to get these trips. I knew I could get time and a half- do 4-5 days in a row of 13 hour shifts. Do that a month before the trip and ¾ of the trip is paid for.
What was the first step you took when putting together these dreams?Rochelle: Getting the time off for the two of us- then finding a good airline price. After that we just get the ball rolling. The plane ticket also sets up our plans. For Thailand, we had a layover in Hong Kong, so we spent 3 nights in China. When going to Europe it was cheaper to go to Istanbul and then back it to Italy, so we thought we would do Turkey too. Finding a good deal with airlines is key.
What are the financial steps have you made to make this dream apart of your life?Rochelle: 6-12 months out we start planning. We still bank separately- and my bank allows me to split my savings into different sections, so I have one section just for vacations. And I put money into every month, and I’ll just tell him when we need money for the vacation. We shoot for 250-400 a month, depending on overtime.
How much goes into planning the funds for the trip?Rochelle: We use excel spread sheets and I use kayak a lot, because they send alerts on deals. Shopping around for deals, and being able to tweak your dates helps a lot too.
Who is the supporter and motivator for this dream?Rochelle: He motivates me to plan. When he gets the feeling, he goes with his gut and has me start planning. I would say we great at teamwork and working together financially. I try to aim low, but when we get there we end up spending more. I don’t want these experiences to put us in debt; it takes away from the trip. So I try to keep it line.
How has this helped your bond between you two?Paul: What I enjoy the most is when she and I go on trips alone. My favorite trip was Thailand-it was just us, and we got into this routine. I would wake up early, and I would write for two hours about the experience and had my time to be creative. Then I would wake her up and have breakfast and go to the beach, have some drinks, hang out all day, come home and go to bed and do that whole thing over again. The last couple of trips were group trips- it’s not the same as when it’s just us.
Knowing that you have this dream, what drives you every day? Does this become a driving force for your day?Rochelle: I am always thinking of the next big trip we are going to go on. It’s become who we are, two big trips a year. Let’s start planning, who’s turn is it to pick?
Why do you do this? What kind of satisfaction does it bring to your life?Rochelle:It’s changed us. By seeing other cultures that are less fortunate and how they live their daily lives, we have become more giving, and willing to give back more since we are so fortunate.
Would you have changed anything?Rochelle: Yes, I would have started with renting housing earlier on.
How many countries have you been to in the past 3 years?7 new countries
Would you believe, 3 years ago, that you would take in 7 new counties?Rochelle: No, we were just starting. And I was thinking maybe just one trip a year, so I would think that would be high
Next 3 years, what is it going to look like for your dream?Paul: I hope we get travel in, I think we will have kids by then, but I would still like to travel. I would really like to do a big European tour. I really want to get back to Asia that one will be harder since of the long flight.
Any advice for travelers?Rochelle: Take the first step and buy the plane ticket- and buy them early because they only go up! From there just start saving, 250-500 a month
When pursuing this dream, how has the ride been? Steady line or a rollercoaster?Rochelle: steady line, we had an increase of travel- but it’s the same… work more, work more, work more- save more, save more, save more. I think it would change once we start family.
Imagine another terrorist event has happened and the boarders have now closed, and you can’t travel. How would you feel?Rochelle: Trapped! We would have to plan a lot more trips within the country.
What is your proudest moment in perusing your dream?Thailand- it had the biggest commitment. We had to travel 24 hours door to door, we planned this whole trip on our own. It was a completely different culture and you could tell you stuck up
What have been some wins along the way?The trip to Europe with both of our parents.