Izzy and Marisa (aka. triptime) set out in September on a round-the-world trip together, scarcely eight months after they first met. Their journey has taken them through the United States and South America, while they have contemplated their lives and their relationship. Meanwhile, they've been faithfully blogging about it on Travellerspoint at Marisa and Izzy's Blogsite.
For this month's installment of the Talking Travel series, I talked to Izzy about what this trip has meant to them both.
Why did you both decide to do this trip?
Before ever meeting, we had both decided we each needed a trip like this in order the get to the next phase of life. There was something out there in world that would release those answers once the decision was made. Within a couple weeks of dating, Marisa told me she was taking time out to travel within the year and asked if I would be interested. I had been waiting a long time for someone to ask that question...
You actually only met a year ago, in February. Has this been a bonding experience for you as a couple?
Wow, has it! The bond was strong right off the bat, but with planning, preparing, sacrificing and now traveling we have truly become one. We were willing to take the chance, knowing this amount of time with anyone can be hard, challenging and/ or detrimental. I had asked a friend back in LA, a month or so after making the decision to take the trip (he had done one similar the previous year), if he had any advise... he answered, "Do you love her? Don't do it unless you do." This still rings true. A trip like this puts patience, acceptance and compromise to the ultimate tests - an amazing learning experience if you pass. Having so much time to enjoy the company of someone you love is invaluable. We've had time and experience now to help us harmonize as a couple. I think travel like this should be a prerequisite to marriage.
What was the number one thing you were worried about before you set off on this trip?
Finances were definitely a major concern. We were trying to go into the trip at 50/50 with our money, making sure we were equally invested. I had a solid base, but Marisa was struggling to make last minute money. Really, our only tiffs so far have been about money and budgeting. Once we put that behind us, it's been clear sailing.
What have been some of the highlights of your trip so far?
Our road trip from LA to NYC (before flying to Peru) still ranks at the top of our travels. From the amazement of the Grand Canyon, to meeting each others friends and family (not to mention my first time in New York City!) this part of the trip metaphorically seemed like the honeymoon - full of young energy and anticipation, while South America has been more like the marriage -day to day problem solving adventures that take patience and thoughtful response, learning every bit of the way.
How expensive is a trip like this?
It's as expensive as you want it to be, period. For us, we have made many little mistakes along the way that have added up. We are currently spending around $1,000 USD a month each (not including our original around the world plane tickets). The more savvy you are and the more sacrifices you are willing to make, the cheaper it becomes. Most of the time, traveling as a couple has saved us money because we were able to share costs of lodging, food and fun.
Judging by your travel map, your plan is to travel till September. What then?
The ultimate question. We have been struggling with this question for the past few days as we make major changes to our trip and lives. The new plan is that Marisa is heading back to Mexico (where she lived for eight years prior to LA) this week to reunite with the ashram and orphanage that she helped start, while I continue traveling for a few months. Travel has taught us both so much about ourselves and each other. In Marisa's case it's given her great clarity about what she wants to do in life and where. She has found what she was searching for through this journey and soon I will join her and explore the place she wants to call home to see if it also for me. Our love for each other has only grown stronger through all of our experiences and we have faith that this change in plans, although a challenge, will be yet another blessing along our journey.
Check out these past interviews in the Talking Travel series:
- Talking Travel with Marlis
- Talking Travel with Gretchen
- Talking Travel with Andrew and Courtney
- Talking Travel with Purdy
- Talking Travel with Maria
- Talking Travel with Niels
- Talking Travel with Amy and Wim
- Talking Travel with Hien
- Talking Travel and HIV/AIDS in India with Dave Reidy
- Talking Travel with Utrecht