Q: What's your favorite place on earth?

A: That’s a hard question. Honestly, we don't have a favorite place. We just have lots of places we like for various reasons. Some offer unparalleled opportunities to play outdoors, or intoxicating food or cultures, while others ooze nostalgia simply because of the challenges they present. If you asked, for example, what’s your favorite place for photographing wild dogs on foot, the answer would be easy. It’s Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. There’s no place like it on earth. That being said, I can think of a long list of reasons why it’s probably not our favorite place on earth. For starters, I wouldn’t recommend Mana Pools as a relaxing alternative to your annual lakeside holiday retreat. That is, unless you love your lake full of crocs and you don’t mind the possibility of a hippo crashing through your tent at night. Every location has something that makes it beautiful. ‘Favorite’ really just comes down to what we’re looking for in a destination at any given time.

 

Relaxing with friends Tonya, Colleen, and Fannuel after a morning tracking wild dogs in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe
Walking with Wild Dogs, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Q: Do you ever get tired of being on the road?

A: The short answer is sure, sometimes. Our style of travel can be hard work. Our travel-based lifestyle, however, isn’t about one marathon journey. It’s a way of life crafted around location independence, openness to new possibilities, and striking a balance between time spent on the road and stopping to immerse ourselves in an area. We love being on the move, but we love staying in one place too. A few months spent whitewater kayaking in Uganda, or a summer spent wine tasting in Stellenbosch is the perfect complement to riding to the Arctic or crossing the Sahara.

 

Jim Standing on the Banks of the White Nile River in Uganda After a Morning Spent White Water Kayaking
Kayaking the White Nile River, Uganda

Q: What’s something unexpected that travel has given you?

A: Looking back, we had no idea travel would give birth to so many other interests. Making time for travel has given us time to explore ourselves. It’s how we discovered much of what we love today. It’s how we came to be divers, photographers, kayakers, bikers, and sailors, among other things. We learned to scuba dive in Portugal, sea kayak in New Zealand, whitewater kayak in Uganda, ride motorcycles in Colorado, sail in California, and photograph wildlife in Africa. Travel directly gave birth to each of these passions and much more.

 

Sheri Takes a Break After Falling Off Her Motorcycle While Practicing New Trail Riding Skills
Trail Riding, Lake Tahoe, California

Q: What’s your preferred travel style?

A: Over the years our travels have taken many forms, ranging from self-supported overland journeys by Land Cruisers and motorcycles, to adventure travel tours, budget backpacking trips, Antarctic cruises and luxury safaris. We enjoy travel by any means.  However, after many years of country hopping with free airline tickets, our interest has moved towards self-supported overland trips, which integrate interests like wildlife photography and sea kayaking. We prefer using our own vehicles, which we typically outfit for an intended purpose (i.e. photographing wildlife in Africa). Currently, we’re traveling in a Toyota Land Cruiser 78 Series Troop Carrier, but also have two BMW GS Motorcycles, which we travel on as well. Our ideal trip length is anything from 3 months to several years, and our focus is on covering long distances at a slow pace, as far beyond the beaten path as possible.

 

Sheri Makes Dinner on the Tailgate of the Truck While Camping in the Middle of the Road in Cameroon
Camping in the Middle of the Road, Cameroon

Q: What are some of the things you consider when planning future adventures?

A: We love being newbie’s and actively seek opportunities that: build new skills, present a challenge, force us beyond our comfort zone, and allow us to explore the world in new ways. Sailing to the South Pacific is an example that illustrates our thinking. It’s a trip that ticks all the right boxes. It would allow us to explore an interesting part of the world in which we’ve traveled very little. It aligns well with our love of the ocean, diving, and kayaking, and interest in learning to surf. It’s an ideal mode of transportation for an extended trip best done by water. And most of all, it’s a challenging new way to explore, well outside our comfort zone, and demands a whole new skill-set to accomplish. In a word, it would be the perfect future adventure.

 

Sheri Takes us For a Sail on Lake Michigan in Chicago
Sailing, Lake Michigan

Q: After all these years, what keeps you traveling?

 A: No matter how many trips we take, travel keeps dishing up new and extraordinary experiences. I think it’s inherent in the very nature of travel. If you put yourself out in the world – in new and challenging situations - then you’re going to be rewarded with memorable and often life altering experiences. That’s what travel is about for us. It’s about being out in the world, immersed in the journey. It’s about challenging ourselves, pushing beyond our comfort zone, and discovering new things. It’s about feeling alive and living a life void of monotony, where things are more visceral and less vicarious. It’s about simplifying life and slowing down enough to embrace the experience that’s right in front of us. For us, it’s also about connecting with nature. It’s our opportunity to sleep under the stars, watch wildlife, climb mountains, run rivers, and dive into the ocean. Sometimes, life’s so hectic that we lose that connection. When we reconnect, however, life’s good. We stop to notice a full moon rising, or the sound of dew dripping from water-logged leaves, or the faint call of lions off in the darkness. When we stop long enough to notice these things we know we’re right where we need to be.

 

Jim Diving in Cape Verde
Diving, Cape Verde