Who are we?
We’re just a regular family, with a passion for travel. We’re a family of five, now traveling mostly as a family of four since our oldest son headed off to college. We travel independently, and at a steady pace – we get up early, we go long, and we try to see it all! We attempt to avoid over-crowded tourist situations, and we love to get outdoors. We’ve been traveling internationally as a family since 2012, and have visited 14 countries. We just started blogging in February 2020. We have lots of content on the way!
We’re not all-inclusive resort people, or amusement park holiday people. We take vacations to see new places, experience different ways of life, and enjoy local, authentic food and drink (well, not our boys, they’re the pickiest eaters on the planet!)*
Our travel itineraries are often extensive and detailed, but they’re rarely set in stone. We’ve learned through experience that good planning is the key to great travel. Good planning takes research, imagination, and bit of strategy – It’s an Art!
Planning also takes a lot of time, and is often the one thing that keeps people from “taking the trip.” That’s why we created this blog… It’s our hope that by sharing our travel stories and itineraries, we’ll make it easier for you to get out and see the world!
*Disclaimer: Our stories are real, our opinions are candid, and our family is not perfect. Let’s be real: We’re not supermodels; we’re not professional photographers; our children are not complaint-less nomads. Traveling isn’t always picture-perfect. Sometimes, despite all the planning, things don’t go as planned, and that’s exactly what makes traveling an adventure. That’s real. That’s life. And we believe it’s worth sharing.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”– Anthony Bourdain
Role for Art of the Itinerary: Itinerary Creator, Photographer, Graphic Designer and Blog Writer
I fell in love with traveling at age 20, when I took a 6-week internship in Florence, Italy followed by a 6-week semester abroad in Innsbruck, Austria. That summer I traveled across Europe independently, visiting six different countries. It taught me as much about myself, as it taught me about the world.
I love food, wine and sweets. I’m an avid runner. I love to take pictures, and hate to be in them. I love to read, and I do all the research and planning for our trips. I’m not a people person, and I hate crowds.
Q1: Favorite Destination? Why? Costa Rica. Probably my favorite food in the world! The people are beautiful and kind. Nature is prominent and diverse there; and the country is passionate and proactive in protecting it.
Q2: Least Favorite Destination? Why? Barbados. There wasn’t enough to do; and it’s ridiculously expensive for what what you get.
Q3: What do you love about traveling? Getting outside of my comfort zone and seeing how other people do life.
Q4: What do you not love about traveling? Airline Travel. I hate the entire experience of being herded like cattle through airports.
Q5: Most memorable travel experience? Taking a fishing charter in Santorini, Greece with a group of 12 family members. It was during a 16-day trip across southern Greece, and there were a lot of ages (8-years to 89-years) and personalities to please, but for those 4-hours on the boat at sunset, everyone was unanimously happy.
Q6: Most forgettable travel experience? Visiting Corinth, Greece. I hoped to have reverent experience in such a Biblically significant place, but instead there were bus loads of tour groups and wall-to wall-people.
Q7: What can you not travel without? A camera (which these days is usually my iPhone), my itinerary, instant coffee and powdered creamer.
Q8: Bucket List Destination(s)? Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary; Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.
Role for Art of the Itinerary: Airline Reservationist, Photographer, Video Editor and CFO
I made my first cross-country trip at 19, and was amazed by how big and beautiful the United States really is. Before that first trip I hadn’t appreciated how different states can be from one another. Since then I’ve made the trip six more times and have visited every state with the exception of Alaska and Maine.
I love food and beer. I’m an avid home-brewer and connoisseur of all things hazy and hoppy. I suck at reading, but I’m awesome at maps! I’m the dedicated navigator and driver for all our adventures home and abroad
Q1: Favorite Destination? Why? Germany. Best beer in the world. The entire country is amazingly clean, the scenery is beautiful, the Alps are awesome, the food is great, and they have the Auto Bahn. They also have Oktoberfest, and beer. Did I mention beer?
Q2: Least Favorite Destination? Why? Cuba. It’s not clean, there’s a terrible lack of infrastructure, it’s hard to find groceries because the stores are empty. People consistently badger you for money, and socialism sucks.
Q3: What do you love about traveling? Experiencing new places and seeing how other people live. I love meeting locals and talking to them about life. I love learning their opinions of America.
Q4: What do you not love about traveling? The commute. Primarily anything having to do with airports.
Q5: Most memorable travel experience? There are too many to choose just one. But I will never forget the time we rented a brand new Mercedes SUV in Germany and I had to drive it out of the airport parking garage with zero instruction or warning that the engine would shut off when it was idling. Just trying to get to the exit caused a small traffic jam because I thought the car was stalling every time I hit the breaks. Completely stressed out and panicked trying to leave the garage, I mistakenly put the wrong ticket into the parking machine and jammed it. It was a complete disaster and probably the longest ten minutes of my life.
Q6: Most forgettable travel experience? My father having a stroke while we were traveling across Europe in 2018. He had symptoms for several days but we hadn’t realized their severity until we reached Austria. He spent 13-days in a hospital there. That’s an experience I wish never happened.
Q7: What can you not travel without? Sunglasses, headphones, koozies, and our collapsible cooler
Q8: Bucket List Destination(s)? Thailand and Vietnam
Role for Art of the Itinerary: On-Screen Personality and Comic Relief
Phoenix’s first real travel experience was our trip to Puerto Rico when he was just 15-months old. Now, at 8-years old he’s traveled to 14 different countries. Phoenix is always up for an adventure, and has a fantastic memory of the places we’ve been. He has a magnetic personality and makes friends wherever we go.
Phoenix loves animals (except dogs, he’s terrified of dogs). He has a vivid imagination and he loves to draw. He often carries a small notebook with him on our trips to draw pictures of the things we see and do.
Q1: Favorite Destination? Why? Costa Rica. Sloths and geckos. I liked volunteering at the wildlife rehab center and getting to feed the animals.
Q2: Least Favorite Destination? Why? Cuba. It smelled bad in the city, and there was no WiFi.
Q3: What do you love about traveling? Spending time with my family.
Q4: What do you not love about traveling? All the driving we do.
Q5: Most memorable travel experience? Swimming with sea turtles in Barbados and seeing flying fish jumping out of the water.
Q6: Most forgettable travel experience? I didn’t like swimming in the sulfur water cove in Greece. It smelled really bad and the water made everything brown.
Q7: What can you not travel without? An electronic device for when we’re driving.
Q8: Bucket List Destination(s)? Barletta, Italy. I want to see the statue that washed up on the shore there.
Role for Art of the Itinerary: Drone Pilot, Videographer and Tester of Patience
Haven has been traveling since he was 4-years old, and has visited 14 countries. He’s the adrenaline junkie of the family; Zip-lining, rock jumping, white-water rafting, he’s in! Haven marches to the beat of his own drum, and he bangs a very loud drum! He’s a Carb-o-holic and connoisseur of ice-cream.
Just add water. That’s the hard and fast rule for keeping Haven happy. He loves to fish, and often brings his collapsible fishing pole with us when we travel. He also loves to swim. A day in or on the water is a good day.
Q1: Favorite Destination? Why? Costa Rica. It’s beautiful and I love the rainforest.
Q2: Least Favorite Destination? Why? Cuba. There was a lot of garbage and the smog made it hard to breath.
Q3: What do you love about traveling? Seeing new places and different cultures.
Q4: What do you not love about traveling? Packing
Q5: Most memorable travel experience? Zip-lining in Costa Rica and having a gecko in our hotel room that kept making noise at night and scaring us. It was really funny when dad threw a coffee pack at it and it got stuck on the ceiling.
Q6: Most forgettable travel experience? I can’t remember one.
Q7: What can you not travel without? An electronic device for when we’re driving.
Q8: Bucket List Destination(s)? Australia and Ecuador