Two Without A Clue:
A chance meeting at a friend’s birthday party in Las Vegas brought us together. We lived a continent apart for 2 months before Leah moved from the sunny beaches of LA to the urban streets of Atlanta. Now we’re traveling around the world together.
Ben: I started traveling for the first time with a missionary group in Alaska (I was the youngest by 50 years!!). We remodeled a home and a church… and I loved it. It opened my eyes at 15 to a whole new world.
I attended college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA and Lübeck, Germany receiving electrical engineering degrees from both universities. Then I spent 5 years working in the Automation field in the US and Europe; building machines that built cars, bottled coke, cut metal with lasers, and printed magazines at lightning fast speeds. Now I’m ready for a new challenge. My girlfriend and I started traveling in March 2011 and are looking for adventures along the way. Together.
Leah: “Just a small town girl growing up in”…Rochester, a small town in Northern Indiana.
My big dream back then was finishing high school, going to college, and finally finding my way to Southern California. Even though I had never been to SoCal, it was always where I imagined myself to be. After graduating from Purdue with a BA in Industrial Engineering, I started my first “real job” at one of the top five consulting agencies, Accenture, in the fast pace world of Information Technology and full filled my childhood dreams and moved to SoCal.
It was during my time at Accenture that I learned how to live out of a suitcase and where my love for traveling began. It was not uncommon for me in those days to ponder longer then the average traveler where my final destination was when asked by the check-in attendant at the airport. Was I going home to LA? Or was I going to Vegas for the weekend? Was it Phoenix for work? Or Chicago for training?
While traveling, I ran into quite a few ex Accenture employees. They were always impressed when I said I worked for their old company but always seemed to squeeze in “It’s a great place to start working, until you find out what you really want to do with you with your life.” Huh? What did that mean? I was 22 jet settling across the country every week, collecting miles, able to see family and friends where ever they may be at the drop of a hat, and making good money for my age… but come to think of it I was exhausted. And with a hectic work and travel schedule I would hardly say I truly experienced all the wonderful places I got to travel to. Mostly I saw the inside of airports and hotel rooms. By the time I was 27 the whole play hard, work hard thing was getting old, so in 2009, I was actually more relieved then distraught when Accenture laid me off like they did most of their consultant workforce in California. It was the dangling carrot type of career that was hard to quit and I don’t know if I would have on my own. Although I learned a tremendous amount and meet extraordinary people in my years there, I was burnt out.
Being unemployed for 6 months gives you a lot of time to think. All those irritatingly annoying philosophical questions seemed to crop up in my head. Who am I? What makes me happy? What should I be doing with my life? Ahhhh! I felt like I was graduating from college again, but I did have one reoccurring answer to my internal questions: traveling the world, but it seemed as if I was waiting on something or someone. So I started taking Art classes in Pasadena and job hunting.
Finally I got my chance to travel internationally a year later for the World Cup in South Africa, that’s when I truly got bitten by the international travel bug. I promised myself no more putting off my dreams, as soon as I finished my current project I was taking my long awaited “gap year” to travel. The weekend I got back from South Africa I meet Ben, two weeks later he asked me to travel the world with him, 4 months later I moved in with him in Atlanta, 4 months later we were both on a plane to Rio. The rest is written in this blog.
What’s better then waking up and realizing you are living your childhood dream? Waking up one day and realizing you have a new dream to chase with the man of your dreams.