In case you couldn’t tell from the title of this blog post, we have some big life news. We are quitting our jobs to travel the world. It’s a major decision that we have been considering for a long time, and we are finally ready to take the leap.

We’ll be traveling full-time for a year or two starting very soon and we wanted to share the news in this blog post! But more importantly, we want to share how we prepared to do this and why we made this decision.

It might sound like just an exciting adventure to bystanders reading this news, but the truth is that this was a stressful decision. A lot of work has gone into preparing for full-time travel. We had to tell our families, quit our jobs, find health insurance, figure out a realistic budget, sell most of our possessions, move a few key belongings into a storage unit, find an international phone plan…the list goes on.

The good news is that by the time you are reading this post, most of this work has already been done. Preparations have been made, goodbyes have been said…because we are leaving on Saturday, June 1 to begin this adventure.

Our Story

Jack Taylor and Gabrielle Small | Jack and Gab Explore

We met when we were 19 years old at college at the University of South Carolina. It’s a pretty funny story how we met…shoot us an email and we’ll tell you the real story. About four months after dating, we had to go long distance for two years. Most people thought we were crazy and that we’d never make it. But we Skyped every night and visited each other whenever we could, and two years later we moved to San Diego together.

Over the past two years, we have fallen in love with living in San Diego. It’s an incredible city and we have met some truly amazing people. Our life here is very hard to leave behind, but we take comfort in knowing that we can always come back.

Jack Taylor and Gabrielle Small | Jack and Gab Explore

One of the best parts about living in San Diego has been the proximity to so many amazing places. We’ve loved exploring Southern California and we’ve taken full advantage of being right across the border from Mexico. Travel has become such a big part of our lives, and we are so excited to do it full time.

However, we aren’t going to be traveling to the typical tourist destinations that you might be expecting. Paris and Rome probably won’t be on our travel list, and there’s an important reason why.

The Reason

Crowds waiting at the gates of Machu Picchu

As exciting as this adventure will be, we think the reason why we are doing this is even more important. In October 2018, we took the trip of a lifetime to Peru. After a very crowded visit to Machu Picchu, we rented a car and headed into the rural Peru.

It was in a bathroom in extremely rural Peru that we had a life-changing experience. We had driven hours from any major city into a tiny town called Yanque, located on the side of the breathtaking Colca Canyon. We were slightly deterred by the bumpy dirt roads and lack of restaurants nearby, but decided to check into our tiny cottage that we had booked on Airbnb.

Hanging on the bathroom door was a sign. We wish we had taken a picture of this sign, because it had a pretty profound impact on us. It said something to the effect of: “Thank you for choosing to travel to a more rural region in Peru. Your tourism helps raise the standard of living in this community.” Wow.

This sign got us thinking about the positive impact that tourism can have on the world. Right now, many tourist destinations are experiencing over-tourism. Instead of millions of people traveling to millions of places, millions of people are traveling to only a few places. This puts stress on popular destinations, adversely effecting the surrounding environment, the infrastructure, and driving up living costs for locals.

Walking on path in Colca Canyon Peru

Imagine if some of these people instead decided to spend even just part of their trip in a more rural/unknown destination. It would bring money to more rural economies, support local businesses and raise the overall standard of living–spreading wealth around the globe. It can also lead to an overall better travel experience, providing visitors with more authentic cultural experiences and often saving them money.

And that is the reason why we will be traveling to more under-the-radar, unknown locations. We want to create content to put these locations on the map, and encourage more people to consider more unconventional destinations.

Q&A

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We’ve gotten a ton of questions about this from friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc… Basically anyone who we’ve told that we are quitting our jobs to travel the world has a ton of questions. We’re going to answer the questions that we have gotten most frequently below. But if there’s anything that we miss and you’re curious about, feel free to drop us a comment below or send us an email.

How are you financially able to do this?

We are very lucky to be in a financial position to do this. We are eternally grateful to our families who were able to send us to college without us incurring any student loans, and that right there puts us at a huge advantage that isn’t available to many.

But it’s important to note that we’ve also worked very hard, and we’ve been smart with our money. We kept our expenses very low by eating in most of the time and by avoiding buying material purchases like expensive clothes or unnecessary home goods. This allowed us to save a lot of money each month.

Overall, we’re aiming to keep our expenses below our budget of $2,000 per month while we’re traveling. That includes everything–Airbnbs, transportation, food, health insurance, our phone bill, storage costs, etc. Everything we spend will be coming directly out of our savings so it will be important for us to stay on budget.

Where are you going?

We’re starting our adventure in Split, Croatia. Why? Because it was the cheapest flight we could get out of LAX 🙂

We’ll be in Croatia for about a week, and then we’re going to slowly make our way through Eastern Europe this summer/fall. We’ll be traveling by bus all summer to keep our costs low. After that, we plan to fly to Southeast Asia this winter and make our way through various countries in that region.

What are you doing with all your stuff?

We have sold a lot of our furniture and possessions over the past month on an app called OfferUp. We had never used it before, but it’s been an awesome way to get a little extra cash and sell some of the items we can’t keep.

We’ll be keeping some of our more expensive belongings (bed, couch, TV, clothes) in a storage unit outside of San Diego. We only got a 5×10 ft. unit so we could keep the monthly charges low, so we’ll only be keeping what fits.

What are you packing?

Packing for long term travel two suitcases and two backpacks

We are each bringing a carry-on sized rolly suitcase and a backpack. So everything we will need over the next year or two of travel will have to fit in there. In our suitcases, we’ll have clothes, toiletries, medicine, and other random items. In our backpacks, we’ll keep our lap tops and camera equipment.

airplane travel pack contents

One of the things we’re really excited about is the travel pack we’ve put together. Inside, we’ve gathered everything we might need for a long travel day. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, chap stick, an eye mask, painkillers, mints, a toothbrush and toothpaste, etc. We think it will really come in handy.

What camera equipment will you be using?

Travel camera and film equipment

We are bringing our Sony RX100 camera for taking pictures, the DJI Osmo Pocket for filming, the DJI Mavic Air drone for beautiful overhead shots, a GoPro for videos/pictures when we’re near water, and a Joby Gorillapod for a convenient tripod. We also both recently got iPhone X’s which take beautiful pictures and will be great for social media updates.

The Sony RX100 is basically the best camera you can get for travel photography. It is tiny and light, yet the pictures it takes are absolutely incredible. The DJI Osmo Pocket was a recent investment, and we can’t say enough good things about it. It is a new camera made primarily for vlogging. It has a built in stabilizer and it shoots in 4K, yet it’s tiny enough to fit in your pocket. What’s not to like?

What are you doing for health insurance?

We found fairly inexpensive travel health insurance through GeoBlue Travel Insurance. Our deductible will be pretty high, but that allows us to keep our monthly payments pretty low. We’ll obviously only use it in case of emergency, but the insurance does include preventative care doctor visits so we’ll be able to get check-ups while on the road.

What phone plan are you using?

There are a few good options for international phone plans, but we ultimately decided to go with Google Fi. It’s a really great option for long-term international travelers, because it’s cheap and easy to use. Phone plans start at $20 per person ($15 to add a person to your plan) for unlimited texting and calling, and then every GB of data that you use is $10/GB.

We’re really glad we chose Google Fi because so far the service has been awesome. They make it really easy to switch, and we love how inexpensive it is.

Final Thoughts

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I was recently talking with Jack about why some people choose not to pursue their dreams. After all, life is short, right? Why not go after the thing that makes you happy instead of settling for anything less?

But there’s obviously way more to it than that. There are financial considerations, familial obligations and–I think most commonly–fear and uncertainty. It’s also all too easy to fall into a state of complacency and settle for the familiar.

We’re lucky enough to be financially stable and have a healthy family–two major considerations we don’t have to worry about. We will never take either of those things for granted. But we didn’t want to fall victim to fear and not take this leap because life is “good enough.”

We are both passionate about making the world a better place, and we truly believe spreading tourism to more rural locations will do just that. And that is our guiding force in taking this leap. If we are able to help even just one community generate a more sustainable tourism industry, it will all be worth it.

Lastly, we hope you’ll follow along as we take this crazy adventure! We’ll be posting new blog posts and videos every week. Join us by subscribing to our YouTube channel, or following us on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Thank you for reading!

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