Pack your bags! We are going to introduce you to the couple behind Married with Luggage. Warren and Betsy are two interesting and intriguing expats that sold everything to travel the world and only recently decided to purchase a home in Spain to settle for a spell.
We were first introduced to this dynamic duo when they asked us to participate in one of their podcasts (you can listen here.) We LOVE their podcasts. They cover a broad range of topics on everything from Business to Buddhism and How to reconnect with a lost love to How to make love!
One of their latest endeavors is writing a book on their adventures. Aptly titled: Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World. This book is a great ride, following the up and downs of a couple madly in love with each other and the world around them.
Here are the details on how to connect with Married with Luggage
Blog: Married with Luggage
First off tell us a little about the two of you. How did you meet? How long have you been traveling together?
We met at work in suburban Washington, DC, and we were friends for a while before we started dating. It gave us a chance to get to know each other without all the pressure, and I think that helped us move through the awkwardness of early dating a lot better. We married in 2004, and since then we’ve lived in suburban Boston and then in Seattle.
In 2010 we began traveling full time, mainly in response to health crises in two people close to us. We were in our late 30s, and we asked ourselves what we’d do if we knew we wouldn’t make it to 40. The answer was simultaneous: travel the world. So we fast-tracked our retirement plans and spent 2 years saving money and getting rid of everything we owned to travel the world. And we’ve been doing it ever since.
1) Your site is so much more than just a travel or expat blog. What do you call yourselves?
We’re authors, first and foremost. We write about experiences and problems common to people in 40+, and we use our travels as a metaphor or inspiration point. In our latest book, we share the relationship lessons we’ve learned from traveling the world together since 2010, but we’ve also written about how to create a big change in your life to accomplish a dream, using our own two-year process to make our travels a reality, among other topics. We live a sort of “lifestyle” experiment, always adapting our lives as we evolve and grow. Change is necessary to get what you want in life, and many people are unsure how to make it happen. People are interested in our story because we spell it out in a really practical, down-to-earth way. We share our experiences and accumulated wisdom in our books, our email list, our podcast, and our website.
2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be? (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)
He Said: I’d have to say Ira Glass. I enjoy gaining new perspectives on the cultures I visit and would love to see the world through his eyes. His ability to tell a story would be fascinating to watch unfold as we explore the world.
She Said: I’d travel with my mom because she has a great wonder about so many things. It’s infectious to be around people like that, and it reminds me of how lucky we are to be living this life.
3) You two are spending a lot of time together. How do you make it work?
He said: For years I thought it was because we talked about everything, becoming more comfortable over time revealing more and bonding closer. But last year I realized that what it comes down to is giving each other what they need the most. I’ve learned to give Betsy the space she needs to recharge (she’s an introvert) and she provides me the willingness to listen and exchange ideas on any subject. This give and take has made us happier (and kept us sane) through all the years and miles together.
She said: It all comes down to different roles. We live, work, and travel together, which means we’re pretty much 24/7. We work together on a lot of things, but we do it via separate roles that contribute to the whole. It helps us maintain our individuality, use our strengths, and get a lot more done in less time. Plus there is much less fighting when we assume our own jobs and stop nagging each other.
4) Give us an update on the house. How is it coming? Greatest challenge?
He said: The house is coming along nicely. We have tables to work at, a couch in the living room, and a bed to collapse into at the end of the day. It feels odd to own a place again, but this village is turning out to be the perfect fit for us. We can envisioning writing many books here in the years to come, inspired by the tranquility of southern Spain and the amazing people in the village. I’d say the biggest challenge is our Spanish. I want to talk to everyone and learn about their lives, histories, families, and dreams. While I am happy to engage my Spanish is not much beyond the level of a 5 year old so the conversations tend to involve more hand signals than words. But this is part of the joy of owning a home in another country.
She said: The house is beautiful! Traveling for these past few years has made us much more flexible, which is why our transition has been much easier than it would have been had we moved here straight from the US. Just last week the workers next door sledgehammered into our shared wall, giving us a “surprise” window into the next house. Old me would have freaked out over that, but I’m much more laid back about those things now. They’ll get fixed. No one gets sued. No one gets worked up about it.
5) We loved doing your podcast. One of the things that kept coming up is communication. What advice would you give to couples to communicate more effectively?
He said: One of the phrases that Betsy uses alot is “To be interesting, you must be interested”. This advice is exactly what it means to communicate with your partner. When Betsy and I talk I focus on just her and what she’s talking about. I turn away from the computer or whatever else may distract me and make sure she knows that she is most important to me. I listen and engage in the discussion. By paying attention and truly listening we are able to communicate better (at least when I follow my own advice).
She said: Assume the best intentions in your partner. Really, this one thing will make verbal slipups, wrong words, and a bunch of other small sins fade away. Reading between the lines and making mountains out of molehills is something I used to do a lot. We still fight, but it’s hardly ever about dumb stuff anymore because we weed most of it out by assuming the best intentions in each other.
6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?
He said: Intolerance. If we are to look at the root of most violence in the world I believe we can trace it back to intolerance. Intolerance for people who are different – not better or worse, but merely different. If we can teach the world to realize this one subtle fact then humanity will enjoy a more peaceful future. For me, it involves us all getting out of our comfort zones and meeting individuals of different nationalities, cultures, religions, sexual preferences, etc. By getting to know people one-one-one and seeing how much their lives are like our own – dreams, hopes, desires for their children – we can appreciate the similarities we share instead of fighting about the minute differences.
She said: Education. If everyone has access to education, then thinkers will think, engineers will solve, teachers will teach, and healers will heal. We’ll all be better off if everyone is given an opportunity to learn and improve their own little corners of the world.
7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?
She said: We’ve had a few. One was at a bus stop in London, and it was an ugly, yelling, slightly tipsy fight that I’m still embarrassed about to this day. In fact, I hate going to London because I’m reminded of how childish and stupid we were that night…especially in a country where people could understand every stupid word we said to each other!
He said: We were spending a few days in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, enjoying the peace and tranquility that comes from being hours from anywhere. Our nerves were a bit frayed from weeks of drinking coffee with mutton grease floating in it and no showers. One afternoon, we snapped and had a knock down drag out while sitting on the beds in our ger. There was no where to go to, no other room to storm off into to be alone, so we sat there letting the fight escalate and venting all our issues and concerns. It drug on for hours, but in the end we share a smile, a kiss, and a pot of coffee (complete with the disgusting taste of mutton).
1000Fights: Thanks to Betsy and Warren for sharing a little of their lives with us. Definitely check out their blog and check out their book!