Dead broke, living paycheck to paycheck and stuck in the groundhog's day cycle of the "real world".
That was us just under 3 years ago.
Hi, Dan here. The picture above is from my 29th birthday, I'm turning 32 this May.
We look great, but in our heads we were in a real mess.
We would often talk like many people do about escaping our jobs.
Not just for a vacation, but for good.
We knew things had to change, we just had no clue how.
One day Wendy came across a Youtube Travel Vlogger named Christian LeBlanc. When she showed me his channel, I had no idea what I was looking at other than that this guy was all over the world and somehow filming it all.
That's all we knew, that's where it all started.
That seemingly insignificant moment ended up being a huge "right turn" for us on our journey.
As I sit here writing this right now, I know you probably won't believe me, but this literally sparked an awakening within us.
We had no clue as to how he left his 9-5 job and started traveling so much, or how that related to our current youtube channel and how we could follow in his footsteps.
We just knew that if someone was doing it, then it was possible.
It was exciting!
It reminds me of Roger Bannister's story. The first man to run a sub-4-minute mile in 1954.
After word spread many, many more were able to do the same following in his literal footsteps. This was originally confirmed by scientist as being an impossibility.
They were short-sighted in their conclusions. This shows us there is a lot to be said for letting go of our collective concepts and beliefs.
It's how we grow and evolve.
Seeing this Travel Vlogger did exactly that for us... it completely shattered what we thought was possible and gave us a thread of inspiration to hang on to.
So now we had a destination, a goal, to make travel our living but with no map for the journey.
Wendy had already spent the past couple of years building up her YouTube channel up which primarily focused on hair tutorials for natural hair women.
Wendy cut all of her hair off in 2011 (the video pictured above was created in 2015). She wanted to help women going through the same process to love themselves more deeply, embrace their inner beauty more fully and help them style their hair more easily.
She had a vision for her channel that if nothing else would be a fun creative outlet and maybe even make a few bucks down the road if she could figure it out how.
I personally had no idea what was to come but she was inspiring to be around and I was hooked.
We decided we would figure it out together as we go (which is how we do most things) and we knew we would eventually find our way.
Words will literally never be able to express how much we love to travel and see the world.
So about a year later or so Wendy thought it was a good idea to expand what the channel was about.
That included me, Dan her boyfriend at the time, our personal lives and the traveling we hoped to eventually do.
We worked our butts off to learn, create, explore, record, edit, read, signed up for courses, study etc.
We let go of the end goal and focused on where we were.
We slowed down.
Focused on one thing at a time.
We also made sure to have A LOT of fun along the way.
Now looking back, we didn't even realize what we were doing. And that's a great sign that we were in the moment and focusing on the present.
Travel means many things to many people. To us it's really an opportunity to grow and when growth happens, life takes off.
You explore not only the outside world, but you open a portal to your inner world as well.
It's like a cupcake.
The journey represents the cake and the icing our destination.
Some only enjoy the icing, but that just leads to an eventual sugar crash.
The journey and destination seem to be separate but they are one.
Here are 4 quick reasons to focus on the journey rather than just the icing, I mean destination:
1. We spend more time traveling on the journey then arriving, its where most of life happens
2. We get to see and experience all the in between "stuff"
3. If we didn’t have the journey the destination would lose most, if not all meaning
4. As soon as we arrive, another journey begins, often too quickly
There is nothing wrong with wanting to get your desired outcome, however what does happen as an unfortunate side effect is a lot of stress from being in the constant state of “Go mode”.
For many people this a normal state (whatever normal means), and if there is any happiness it is short lived.
It usually comes as quickly as it goes.
That's completely opposite of what we feel. Not just in travel but we don't want to live any part of our life like that.
That's not at all normal to us and we don't want it to be.
Is wanting to be free and happy too much to ask?
So we set out to create a life we didn't need a vacation from.
As things picked up on our Wendy's Curls channel we started taking more risks and that included traveling.
In 2018 we stayed in Costa Rica for 2.5 months and used public transportation to get everywhere.
Once we hopped off the plane in Liberia, it was all public buses and few short car rides.
One might look at this and say that it was boring, monotonous, tiring or a waste of time. Some of our friends and family thought we were crazy, but that's normal to us lol.
We saw the opposite.
We went all over the country from the West Coast, to inland Volcanos, to the beaches of Manuel Antonio, and many places in between.
We saw farms, houses, small towns, everyday people going to work, cities, tucked away resorts, picturesque lodges, secluded beaches and met many friends along the way with stories and experiences we will never forget.
If we had rushed from destination to destination by airplane for example, we would have missed nearly all of that.
At times the journey does get uncomfortable, sure, that is how life is.
But if you are always comfortable do you think you will grow or experience life in any greater or more meaningful way?
It's possible for a few maybe, but we know the best experience of life happens when we step outside of our comfort zones and go beyond.
When you don't have everything instantly, you inherently have to slow down.
When things get uncomfortable you have to stop, take rests, reflect and refocus.
You have to acquire news skills, deal with challenges and obstacles.
You take more pride in your work.
You appreciate the road it took to get where you are.
You stumble across a wealth of happiness.
You are excited to continue on the road because you are energized with passion and inspiration from within.
Stopping to smell the flowers also spills over into the destinations too as time seems to stop when you finally do arrive.
If you ever see us around, it's not uncommon to find us just sitting somewhere for a few hours... drinking it all in.
At the time of this writing on March 4th, we are currently getting ready to head to Barcelona, Spain.
This will be our first visit here and our second trip Europe.
If you have been following our travel vlogs then you probably already know how we roll.
In our week stay we plan on doing a lot of walking. This is our favorite way to explore, stay in great shape and stop to smell a rose or two.
We'll do our best to capture the essence and beauty as seen through our lens and share as much as we can with you here!
In the meantime check in with us on Instagram, @ohwendyoh and @shotsofhennessey, to enjoy the sites and sounds with us in real time.
Whether you have travel plans coming up or just hope to one day, slow up the pace just a bit and forget about your destination... at least for this moment.
There's something beautiful here, waiting for you to simply notice it.