After meeting at a conference in 2014 they have since travelled to multiple countries together and in 2015 tied the knot, combining their literary skills in the form of their blog www.independenttravelcats.com and somewhere along the way picking up two furry friends(Dodger and Dash) which have joined them on many of their adventures!
Jess’ parents nurtured her passions from a young age and come 16 she left the US to travel Europe, laying eyes on Paris sealed the deal and travel became a lifelong ambition. Education, however, took priority and it wouldn’t be until 2015 that she left her job as a clinical research psychologist to travel full time.
Laurence, grew up on the other side of the pond in the UK, Also being lucky to have parents that had a taste for travel taking him to places through Europe and Africa. He has been on the road travelling full-time since 2010 and with his camera has been sharing his escapades with the world via his website Finding the Universe.
We had a chat with them to see how life is on the road and how it came about:
- What was the world like before Jessica and Laurence started travelling the world?
Much the same as it is now we would think! Our worlds were different of course – Laurence worked full time in IT in the UK, and Jessica was a clinical psychologist in California. We’d certainly like to think we’ve helped a fair few people with their travels and photography since then, but we haven’t changed the world… yet.
- Was there a big moment when you decided to leave it all behind and hit the road, what was it and why?
For Laurence, it was in 2009, when he had to make a decision between pursuing a serious career in IT consultancy or following his passion for travel and photography. He went with the latter. For Jessica, she had been balancing her travel blog and her career as a psychologist, but after meeting Laurence they decided to go it together, pool their resources, and take on the world! They have been travelling together since 2015.
- When did you decide to start writing about your travels, what was that like?
Laurence started writing a journal in 2009 on his first big adventure – a 60,000 mile 4WD adventure around Australia. He started putting his stories online in 2010 on his blog Finding the Universe. Jessica was encouraged by fellow travellers and friends to document her adventures, and Independent Travel Cats was born in 2013.
- Is being a writer something you already are, or is it something you learn?
Writing is definitely a skill you can learn and hone, but we think to be successful it has to require a passion for writing that you are probably either going to have or you aren’t.
- What was the biggest hurdle to travelling full time?
One of Jess’s biggest initial hurdles was deciding to give up her job to pursue travel blogging full time. The hardest part for us together has been to figure out how to earn a living. We’re lucky to have been born in countries (the US and the UK) which have fantastic passports, and we can travel fairly well around the world unhindered by visa troubles. So coming up with a successful business model that lets us follow our travel dream was the biggest challenge. We make our income from a variety of methods, but all are related to our travel blogs and photography.
- Can you recall one or two of the biggest moments you’ve experienced whilst on the road?
Well, we met and got married while on the road, two moments that we’re definitely not going to forget in a hurry! There are so many others, but a few other memorable moments include when Laurence has witnessed epic scenery (such as in New Zealand and the Grand Canyon) and when Jessica got to watch baby lions playing in the wild in Tanzania.
- What are the three big lessons you’ve learnt from travelling the world to date?
First, that as people we are very adaptable to change and challenge, and it’s amazing what we can achieve when we set out to do it. Second, that people around the world are for the most part friendly, welcoming, and happy to help. Third, that there is beauty and interesting things everywhere in the world, you just have to look to find it.
- Finally, what’s the next thing on your Bucket List?
Well, we actually just ticked off a major bucket list destination with a recent trip to Iceland. Our next big goal is a voyage somewhere like Antarctica, and also to do a wildlife safari together in Africa (we’ve been separately but not together). Laurence’s biggest Bucket List item would be to venture into space!
We want to hear about any tips of tricks you have to stay productive on the road, drop us a comment below!
And if you’d like to see what else they are up to and check in on their blog then head over to www.independenttravelcats.com. Thanks guys.