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Who are we?

We are Steph & Tony! We are in our 30s and married (to each other!). Way back in August 2012, we decided to hit the “reset” button on our life and set off on the adventure of a lifetime: we packed up our bags and our dogs, hitting the road (and the skies) for an extended backpacking trip around the world. Our pipe dream was to travel for a year, maybe 18 months if we were lucky… lo and behold, we’re still at it 3.5 years later!

Prior to leaving on our trip, we were living in Nashville, TN, though neither of us originally hails from there. Steph is originally from Toronto, ON (Canada!?) and Tony is from Rochester, MN (almost Canada!!). We have two awesome dogs, Emmy Lou and Rory. Emmy Lou is a Staffordshire Terrier, probably mixed with a lab, but no one really knows. Tony rescued her from a kill shelter in Chattanooga. Rory is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi mixed with a pain in the ass, though his good looks allow him some leeway with the locals. During the first chapter of our adventures, our dogs did some traveling of their own, journeying up to Canada to live with Steph’s parents, who graciously agreed to care for them while we traipsed about the globe for nearly two years. We are forever grateful to them for assuming custody of the pups so we could pursue our travel dreams; without them, this trip never would have happened!

While in Nashville, Steph was a graduate student at Vanderbilt where she earned her PhD in Psychology (yes, you can call her “Dr. Steph”). In contrast, Tony was a real person with a real job, working as a Graphic/3D/Industrial Designer. Since setting off on our travels, we have become full-fledged “digital nomads” and now work for ourselves while continuing to slowly travel the world. Tony now works primarily in website design and development, as well as working on (re)branding and logo design for businesses and bloggers. Steph is now a certified Google AdWords professional, helping businesses take full advantage of Google’s paid search marketing features and stand out against their competitors.

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In addition to having a wicked case of wanderlust, we are both avid readers of books, listeners of music, players of video games and, for the past few years, SCUBA divers too (we picked up this expensive hobby while in the Philippines).

One of our favorite ways travel is with our own set of wheels, particularly by motorcycle. During our time in Asia, we motorbiked: the length of Vietnam (approximately 3000 km!), across the island of Flores in Indonesia, through Cambodia, around myriad islands in the Philippines, and “The Loop” in Laos. Perhaps coolest of all, we actually hired and drove our own tuk tuk while in Sri Lanka!

We’re also very much “foodies” and one of the things we love most about traveling is trying the local cuisine; it is not unusual for us to plan trips solely around the basis of food and most of our itineraries these days focus on what we want to eat and where we’re going to eat it!

Another one of our focuses is photography—Tony used to work as a professional photographer—and we try really hard to accurately capture the beauty in what we see, so that by looking at our photos, you feel like you have been transported into the scene itself.

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Our travels thus far

We are passionate about traveling and seeing as much of the world together as we possibly can. Prior to meeting, Tony traveled rather extensively around the U.S., while Steph managed to make it all the way to Japan during a cultural exchange when she was 11 (lucky girl!). She also lived in St Etienne, France for three months during high school (yes, she is conversationally fluent in French), and backpacked around Western Europe & the UK for 7 weeks back in 2005. The first trip we ever took together was to Miami, FL, but we’ve now seen a fairly large swath of the U.S. (including Puerto Rico).

We prefer to move slowly, spending at least a month in most countries, balancing touristy places with more obscure ones so we get a real sense of the place we are. We wear our backpacker badges with pride as we tend to travel in a very budget-minded fashion and live a very minimalist lifestyle.

As of December 2015, we have traveled through 24 countries together. When we left North America in 2012, we took a one-way flight to Tokyo, Japan and then spent the next 21 months or so beetling about Asia. We then spent a whirlwind 6 weeks in western Europe before flying back to Toronto, Canada to be reunited with our pups (and our families) after 22.5 months away. We then spent a good chunk of time in Toronto building up our business and replenishing our travel fund before hitting the road again—this time with our dogs in tow and our sights set on Mexico!

We are currently based in Playa del Carmen, having spent five months driving slowly down the length of Mexico. We’re having a good time eating our weight in tacos and slowly but surely improving our Spanish. We never plan too far ahead as you never know what the future holds, but for the immediate future, the plan is to travel wherever our little Hyundai hatchback will take us (read: North and Central America). Our travel style has evolved a lot over the last 3.5 years but our adventure is always evolving far from over! We love sharing our travel stories with others and meeting kindred spirits, so thanks for stopping by and being a part of our journey!

Where We’ve Been

Why “Twenty Years Hence”?

This site is the culmination of years of dreaming and planning. We were both stuck in a rut before deciding to see the world, but having gone through the process of leaving one life behind in pursuit of another, we know that is no small or trivial thing to do.

We always knew we wanted to create a blog to chronicle our journey, but it took us a long time to figure out what to call our little space on the internet. We bounced a ton of really cliché names off of one another, but nothing felt right. Then we stumbled across the following quote by Mark Twain:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Reading those lines that spoke so clearly about what we wanted our life to be, the words “Twenty Years Hence” popped into our heads and wouldn’t let go of us. Our site is a collection of memories, stories, and reflections of our life lived boldly and bravely without regrets—not now, not twenty years from now. What better name could we ask for?

We created this site because one of the greatest resources and best sources for inspiration we found in planning our own trip was the many blogs written by other individuals who have dared to be different and decided to make their long-term travel dreams come true. We’re hoping this place will be a great way to document our own journey, but we also hope it will help inspire others to understand how they too can travel the world and—more importantly—live their dreams, while providing lots of visual and verbal inspiration to do just that. We tend to focus on more personal travel stories that we believe really get at the heart of why we travel, but we do also share more practical posts and information such as cataloging accommodation we have stayed in and sharing detailed budget breakdowns of our costs. We write this blog for ourselves as much as for our readers as it has been a great way to channel our creative energies and allows us to reflect deeply on our experiences. We have consciously decided not to directly monetize the site, thus keeping 20YH the ultimate passion project.

 

Steph & Tony in Centennial Park (Nashville, TN), May 2012