A Native Gnome at Jamaica National Park

“Now that’s the way to take a vacation….”

You’re here for three months?” a guy from Maine asked us, “Now that’s the way to take a vacation!” For cost and visa issues, we limited our US trip to three months;  compared to the two years we’ve just spent in Asia, those three months sounded very short, but travelling here in the US has made me feel incredibly grateful for this trip and the lifestyle we’ve carved for ourselves.
Us at Billings Farm in Vermont, New England

Travel and America

From conversations we’ve had with many lovely Airbnb hosts we’ve met while travelling in the US, it’s clear that our travel-orientated lifestyle is quite novel by American standards. Back in the UK people don’t generally find our lifestyle quite so interesting but people we’ve chatted to in New England have been fascinated by our story, keen to ask about where we’ve been, how we afford travel and generally how we make this life work.

Cape Cod Headlight, Massachusetts

I’m not sure what this fascination stems from; perhaps it’s due to the fact that America is notorious for its poor holiday allowance?  From what I understand, US companies aren’t obliged to give any leave at all and if they do it’s often for just ten days per year.  Is it that people feel they can’t quit their jobs and travel like we have because they rely on their employers to provide private healthcare in the US? Do Americans generally holiday in their home country, like the French, because it’s so big and diverse rather than venture overseas? Whatever the reason, we’ve spent a fair bit of time explaining our ‘three-month vacation’ while we’ve been travelling in America.

Our ‘Lucky’ Lifestyle

Travel has been a huge part of our lives for over two and a half years now and sometimes I get complacent about how great the life we’ve carved for ourselves is. When you make travel your top priority and a constant part of your life it becomes your normal, your everyday. After just a few months on the road it can feel like you’ve been travelling forever and some days, the life we used to live of full-time work in London feels like a hazy dream.

A Native Gnome at Jamaica National Park

Recently, I wrote about how we could afford to travel in an attempt to show that you don’t need a lot of money to explore the world, that if you’re lucky enough to have been born in a country which offers good education and work opportunities then you can save up or work abroad to fund a trip. I still firmly believe that this is true and when people tell us we’re ‘lucky’ to be able to travel, I agree that while we’re fortunate in many ways, we’ve also worked damn hard to achieve what we have.

Still, travelling in the US has been like a mental slap; it has reminded me how incredible our current lifestyle is. Like most people I know, for the majority of my life travel meant taking a one or two week holiday every now and again; a sunny break from the daily grind of work and the dismal British weather. Just a few years ago I never would have believed that Andrew and I could travel long-term, work, teach, volunteer or housesit pretty much anywhere in the world – now I know that we can.

kayaking on Crystal Lake, New Hampshire

As we reach the tail-end of our trip here in the US and begin to look forward to Christmas in the UK, our thoughts are also turning to what happens next in 2016. Unusually for us, the New Year isn’t packed with plans, in fact, we have no idea where we’ll end up. While this partly scares me to death, I am also trying to embrace the possibilities ahead and remember why we chose this lifestyle: for the freedom to see new places and try new things. In 2016, this freedom starts with a one-way flight to Spain…

  • Patti
    Posted at 20:15h, 10 November Reply

    Well done Amy and Andrew, you’re defining your path! So glad you’ve enjoyed your time spent in the U.S. north eastern states. I think Spain is going to be amazing, we found it a country of contrasts. Walking the Camino we pretty much came in the back door to so much of the country and all of it’s historic villages, but then there are beautiful cities such as Leon and Barcelona. Definitely, plan to spend time in Leon – I can’t say enough about it. Continued safe travels!

    • Amy
      Posted at 03:47h, 11 November Reply

      Thanks Patti! I have many more questions to ask you about Spain when we finally meet in DC soon 🙂 I can’t believe our time in New England is up and we have less than three weeks in the US left – time has flown by.

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 22:51h, 11 November Reply

    As a Dietitian I get 5 weeks per year annual leave and I do a lot of planning ahead to get the most out of that. We also do lots of long weekend aways usually not too far from home. But what you and Andrew are doing is awesome and I admire your determination and adventurous spirit to do something different, to think outside the box and follow your dreams. Brian and I are working towards early retirement and to set off on our travels in 2017, fingers crossed we get there eventualy. I am looking forward to follow your next adventure in 2016.

    • Amy
      Posted at 03:54h, 12 November Reply

      Thanks for your kind words Gilda. It sounds like you do a great job at integrating travel into your life at the moment, Andrew and I weren’t very good at that when we lived in the UK unfortunately and we rarely left London. I’m sure you will get out on the road and 2017 isn’t so far away, planning and dreaming for a big trip is great fun too – can’t wait to see how your plans unfold 🙂

  • Stefan
    Posted at 01:45h, 16 November Reply

    Totally agree- just got back home and the interest in our travels is just not there 🙁 Though I have my nephews to thank who want to see our videos over and over.

    • Amy
      Posted at 03:04h, 16 November Reply

      Aww, sweet nephews 🙂 It’s funny how people aren’t really that interested, hey? It sometimes makes you feel like you’ve never been away!

  • Matt
    Posted at 19:56h, 20 November Reply

    That three months seemed to fly by! I feel sorry for our american friends stuck with the low leave allowances (9 days average I think). Most UK companies seem to be 20-25 days (and even 30 days for some lucky people) so you can get in some good long holidays. Still, I can’t wait to start travelling your style after over 3 years of just fitting trips in to annual leave allowances even if it was 25 days for me!

    • Amy
      Posted at 03:17h, 21 November Reply

      The time here definitely has flown by! I can’t even imagine just having 9 days holiday and I thought we had it bad in the UK. Exciting times for you ahead, almost time for launch!

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 06:43h, 23 November Reply

    Your photos are lovely and you both look so relaxed .Keep travelling and enjoying life,love louisa

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:12h, 23 November Reply

      Thanks Louisa, we are heading back to the UK for the Christmas season this weekend but we’ll be travelling on to Europe in the new year.

      • Louisa Klimentos
        Posted at 21:41h, 30 November Reply

        Good on you Amy .You and Andrew will enjoy Christmas in the Uk,especially with your families.There is much to see and do in Europe and Barcelona in Spain never sleeps.I hope one day you will have a chance to visit Norway.i watched a documantary and Norway is a very beautiful country .Similar to New Zealand, i have been told.My new years resolution is good health and see Amy’s and Andrew’s European holiday a most fantastic one,love always Louisa

        • Andrew
          Posted at 22:08h, 30 November Reply

          Thanks Louisa, we are really looking forward to Christmas and all that the New Year will bring in Spain. We would love to go to Norway one day too, it sounds amazing. I hope you have an awesome Christmas and New Year too 🙂

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