Kia Ora, we are Steve and Julie, we like to call ourselves 'English Kiwis' born in the UK, but New Zealand is now home. Or was until February 2015, when we took a massive leap out of our comfort zone. Getting rid of everything we owned, jumping off the corporate hamster wheel and choosing a life of long term travel. Travel filled with outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters, and the best nature has to offer.
We would love for you to join us on our journey. We will share photos, tales, and tips to inspire your own travel dreams.
It was only a matter of time. It is well known that the travel bug is contagious. And Steve caught it from Julie on the day they met in 2009. A big adventure was calling.
Neither of us were enjoying corporate life anymore. We longed for that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling you get from being out of your comfort zone. We longed to spend our days outside in nature, not in an air conditioned office.
So we set a date 1,375 days in the future (yes really). Tied into when Steve's youngest daughter headed off to university. An exit plan was hatched. Steve called it the mother of all spreadsheets. We downsized. We saved. We researched. As Julie ticked off the days, we estimated we would be able to travel for about two years on our savings.
Come D-Day, we sold, donated and gave away our worldly possessions. All except three paintings and three small filing boxes of photos and travel books (yes, we see the irony). It was incredibly liberating. Becoming 'voluntarily homeless' was a huge leap into the unknown.
On 28th February 2015, we said goodbye to friends and family and set off on our first adventure.
A six week road-trip in our 1975 VW Kombi (now sold) around the South Island of our home country, New Zealand.
The next two years whizzed by filled with many highlights:
Living with a four generation family in Bolivia
Snorkelling with turtles and seals in the Galapagos
Road-tripping around 9 beautiful National Parks in the USA
Getting down and dusty at our first Burning Man
Wondered at the Northern Lights in Iceland
Living like a local for a summer in Italy
Walking 800km on the Camino de Santiago in Spain
Volunteering with elephants in Thailand
Along the way we realised exactly how much we loved being outdoors, hiking, exploring, and experiencing wildlife in its own environment. We want to share this obsession with travellers who also love nature, animals, and outdoor adventure.
We also fell in love with housesitting, which has helped us conserve our cash and get a different kind of animal fix. In fact we have now cared after over 70 animals over 50 weeks. And 240 vines in Italy.
We have no plans to stop. We love travelling, learning, exploring, taking photos and sharing our stories and tips. Our corporate days are well and truly over. Our office is wherever we want and our 'colleagues' are usually of the canine variety. We get to experience our passions everyday - hiking, wildlife encounters, yoga, photography, learning languages, meeting new people, eating the local grub and drinking the local tipple.
It's a cliche but travel has changed us. We are both more relaxed, accepting and grateful. And it is only just beginning. It's a big beautiful planet and we have plenty more exciting adventures up our sleeves. We would love for you to join us on our journey. We will share photos, tips, and tales to inspire your own travel dreams.
Julie....has always been a bit restless. Always looking for the next travel destination or adventure. Julie's former life in business sales, marketing and strategy means she is well equiped for planning, organising and generally keeping Steve in check.
Aside from travel, she is passionate about animals and animal welfare, good vegetarian food, wine, zombies, disaster movies and, learning new stuff, particularly languages. She is happiest hiking through a breathtaking national park.
Julie's ultimate travel goal is to see all the really cool animals in their natural habitant - orangutans, polar bears, mountain gorillas and tigers.
Steve...lives by the motto 'if you are not living on the edge you're taking up too much room'. You will usually find him behind a camera lens or fixing technical stuff. He loves nothing better than photographing a good sunset, waterfalls, or animals in their natural habitat.
Steve is also passionate about music (Joy Division, Arctic Monkeys, Clash, and The Cure), drinking port and American Football.
The biggest thing that Steve misses from home are his two daughters, Lauren (22) and Katherine (20).
Steve's ultimate travel goal is to spend a harvest in Douro Valley, treading the port grapes and sampling excellent vintage port.
What's in a name? We often get asked 'why 2checkingout?' Well, with a zillion travel blogs out there it was tricky to come up with something we liked and which also captured what we were about. 2checkingout for us plays on the 'checking out of corporate life' as well as 'checking out' a place or experience. So why not join us and come along on the journey with us.