Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Final Blog Post: Will You Join Me on Two to Travel and Tango?

Authors note: It's been a great 8 years, but it's time to redirect my efforts. I'll be keeping this blog open so students looking to get a glimpse into post-graduate volunteer life can still do so, but to stay up to date I hope you'll join my wife and I at our travel secrets and stories blog- www.twototravelandtango.com

What a crazy couple years it has been. For starters, it's hard to believe Laura and I got married less than a year ago. We had a lot of fun, bringing our love and passion of travel and exploration into our wedding, as we took our guests on a tour of "our" Los Angeles.

The UCLA and Notre Dame fans weren't too thrilled about joining us on the field where the USC Trojans play
We've also been on the road a lot, me in particular. I've been to 21 countries in the last two years. Of that list, some of them have received multiple visits like four trips to Argentina, two to Chile, and about 20 to Mexico. Suffice it to say, we've been on the road A LOT and along the way, we've picked up some tricks to the trade.

In the next 12 months, I look forward to exploring a few new places: South Africa, Tanzania, Qatar, and Hungry while returning to a few places I really loved: El Salvador, Japan, Hong Kong, and Mexico. Who knows what else might arise.

Two years ago when I managed to get Laura and I business class tickets that took us from LA to Honolulu to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Bali to Bangkok (train through Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore) and then back to LA, and all for about 125,000 miles and a couple hundred dollars, friends began to reach out. "Can you help me book an award ticket?" "Hey, what's the best strategy for earning miles with credit cards and flights?" But it all came back to what I noticed were two central desires:

1. How can I travel cheap?
2. I want to travel cheap because I can't afford to do it any other way, and I realize there are stories out there just beyond my reach I so desperately want to hear.

My passion for storytelling intersected with my talent for making travel accessible. It was a match too good to be true. And so as of late, Laura and I have been busy.

In March, we started Two to Travel and Tango- a travel website geared toward millennials that yearn to discover ways to travel more affordably to encounter the stories that travel provides us. With my own hectic travel schedule and the incredible secrets and lessons learned, it just felt like it was something worth trying. Neither of us are rich people, and yet we've been able to travel as though we are. If you can travel as much as we have on our budget, I'd venture to say most people who say they don't have the money to travel and flat out wrong. It's just a matter of learning how to do it. The benefits not only of travel, but of doing it in incredible comfort are secrets we hope to pass on.

And so this is most likely the last blog post on this site. Going through the website, it's been fun to reminisce.  What a journey it's been from that day I stepped out of LMU, 22, excited to work in South America and uncertain of what that all meant. In the last few years, in my work directing immersion and social justice experiences at LMU, students of mine have found this blog. We've shared some laughs: You were so CHEESY is something I am told a lot. I still am is my typical response. We've also shared some valuable conversations motivated by this blog. It turns out, that in some small way, the blog is having some of the impact I always hoped it would on people discerning post-graduate volunteer work abroad. I had a student tell me the other day that reading my two year journey, both the good and the bad, is what gave him the courage to do post-graduate service. That's more than I could have ever hoped would arrive from this blog.

And so the site will stay open for now, but I really hope you'll join Laura and I in our newest endeavor. Two to Travel and Tango is easy to navigate to and the first thing you can do in the right hand column is sign up to receive email updates. Below that, you'll see opportunities to join us on Facebook and Twitter and of course, if you use Feedly or other blog readers we've got the RSS feed available for your use.

It's been a fun journey, and I feel it's just beginning. I'm still not the writer I want to be, but my basic endeavors not only with Two to Travel and Tango, but as a freelance writer for The Huffington Post, Vagabondish Travel Magazine, and Gonzaga University have me more excited to merge my love of story and travel into what I hope is a useful site for many people, not just travel hungry millennials. So join us, I'll do my best to make sure you don't regret it. See you over at www.twototravelandtango.com

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