Meet the adventurers: Katie and Ben from Two Wandering Soles. They're a couple that travels the world together, figured out how to earn a living while traveling, and are a couple of genuinely positive people!
Fun fact, Katie is also Tree Tribe's Instagram community manager! (thank you Katie, you're awesome!)
We're Katie and Ben - high school sweethearts from Minnesota who have been traveling and living around the world for the last 4 years. We love hiking, good beer, deep conversations and getting out of our comfort zone.
We have a travel blog, Two Wandering Soles, where we document our stories and advice on backpacking, campervan living, expat life and sustainable travel.
Ben and Katie at Horseshoe Bend
There are tons of great travel blogs out there, but what sets us apart is that our focus is on responsible and adventurous travel.
We're always looking for adventures off the typical tourist route, but we want to be sure that we are respecting the environment and communities throughout our travels.
Traveling ethically and sustainably is a huge passion of ours. In fact, recently I (Katie) won the Responsible Traveller Competition hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and traveled to five countries around the world for a month, promoting sustainable tourism.
Another thing that makes Two Wandering Soles special is we have several different types of travel resources - from #VanLife tips, to teaching English overseas, to hiking around the world, to backpacking on a budget - we'd like to think we've got something for just about every type of traveler.
Chillin in a forest
In February of 2014, we made a big decision. We both actually really liked our jobs and our apartment, but we were craving an adventure and just needed a little change. So we decided to go on a backpacking trip to South America and document our stories along the way. This was the beginning of Two Wandering Soles!
What was supposed to be a 3-month journey turned into a year, and then four. And Two Wandering Soles transformed from a website where we shared our experiences with friends and family to a website that helps inspire and inform readers from all over the world.
We are both originally from Minnesota, and have the accents to prove it! For the last 4 years though, we've been living and traveling around the world.
Currently we're in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but very soon we're about to be nomadic again! We have loved having a home base for a bit, but our soles are itching to wander (see what I did there?!).
Neither of us had been outside the United States until we did a semester abroad during university. We both studied in Florence, Italy, and spent our weekends eating pasta, drinking wine and exploring other parts of Europe.
To say we were bitten by the travel bug is an understatement. A whole different world was revealed to us, and we saw opportunities and possibilities we never knew existed. Ever since that semester abroad, we find ourselves dreaming of the next place we want to travel and adventures we want to experience.
This is such a difficult question to answer, but here are 3 epic adventures that come to mind:
Honestly, we didn't start our blog with the intention of making money. We really just wanted to share about our experiences and give advice for others on similar paths. But about 2 years into blogging, we realized how much time and effort we were putting into it decided we needed to start earning money in order to make it worth our time.
We had no idea how to monetize a blog and didn't even know if it was possible to make a living online, but we started learning everything we could. It hasn't be super fast or easy. There are a lot of shortcuts out there that we refuse to take because they don't feel authentic or ethical to us.
Now, after 4 years of blogging we are finally earning an amount that allows us to live comfortably, travel and make our student loan payments each month. We still have a long ways to go and a lot of financial goals we want to accomplish, but a couple years ago, we never thought we would be at this point.
While this is a difficult question to answer, there is one spot that immediately popped into both of our minds.
We've been privileged to hike in the Himalayas, trek in remote jungles of Laos and volunteer on an organic farm high up in the Andes Mountains. We've swum in the ocean at the Galapagos Islands and spent a week camping in Iceland.
But the spot that we just can't get out of our heads is actually much closer to home than any of these exotic destinations.
The Enchantment Wilderness Area in Washington state only allows a small amount of people enter in a lottery system, and luckily we got permits last summer.
Soaking in the Enchantments
Glacial lakes, epic mountains, ponderosa pine forests, wildflower meadows and mountain goats roaming freely are just some of the sights we encountered in this magical wilderness area. We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to spend a few days exploring, and we can't wait to return someday.
The first thing I would say is that quitting your job isn't the only way to travel. There are many people who have full time jobs that prioritize travel and make it a big part of their lifestyle.
That said, if you have been dreaming about making a change and would love to take some time to travel, I would say GO for it!
It is a decision that is always going to be scary, but there are ways you can plan ahead to make it a bit more feasible.
We have a ton of resources for those who want to save money, and we've shared exactly how we have afforded to travel for the past 4 years even while paying student loans each month.
Epic hiking view!
Indonesia is a collection of over 17,000 tropical islands in Southeast Asia.
We love Indonesia - actually most of our team has spent significant time there. I think Bali is one of the easiest places to be super healthy - yoga and surf culture, plenty of beach to run and ocean to swim, and lots of healthy food options.
Our tree planting partner Eden Projects has expanded to Indonesia! And a portion of our donations to plant trees contribute to the Indo projects.
Plastic Free July is a social movement to challenge ourselves to be more environmentally responsible by cutting out single use plastic.
It's a fun exercise to bring awareness at how much single use plastic we use every day, and think about where it goes.
You'll find yourself being more mindful and creative in your daily life
We added some new gear to our hand made leaf leather collection - a couple new women's wallets and a travel kit / toiletry bag / overnight bag however you want to call it :)
I worked on these while in Thailand earlier this year visiting our leaf leather partners - it's always cool to reconnect and trade creative ideas... and that Thailand heat I'm all about it!