Hey there, Mark here, welcome to our page! I am a traveller, travel enthusiast, former chef, part-time writer, amateur photographer, and occasional electrician. Kylee is a chef, who took a hiatus to become a travel agent, and welder before returning to the kitchen. I started this blog several years ago to keep our families and friends updated on our overseas wanderings, and have since taken recent steps towards hitting the road long term. So if you’re curious as to how we got to this point in our lives, here’s a little background… Originally from Edmonton, Canada. Growing up, travel was never a huge part of my life, trips around western Canada were plenty, but aside from a couple of small trips to the US, I remained close to home. I remember when that all started to change. In the early morning hours one night after closing the kitchen, I remember watching Pilot Guides for the first time, the episode featured Megan McCormick travelling around the Greek islands, and I was left stunned. This movie-set paradise is a real place? A regular person like myself could actually visit this? I don't know what naivety had kept me in the dark all these years to the reality of travel, but the seed was planted.
Kylee on the other had was a little more adventurous than I. Right after high school, she spent the summer working and saving towards her first big trip, and in November she was off for roughly three months backpacking throughout Portugal and Spain. The trip was a seemingly random adventure, but upon discovering the incredible tapas bars and restaurants in cities such as Lisbon, Valencia, Granada, and Salamanca, Kylee soon became enamoured with food. Upon returning home to Canada, her new found passion of food found her pursuing a career in the culinary arts. While Kylee was busy traveling around Europe, I remained at home, where many trips and journeys were planned with friends in drunken haze, but all without fruition. There were short trips here and there, but whether it was a lack of ambition - or courage - I wasn't ready to take the leap and leave for any extended period of time. After Kylee and I met in Culinary school, and quickly moved out the beautiful Okanagan Valley in BC, we started to throw around the idea of hitting the road for a while. We eventually moved back to Edmonton, and began saving everything we could for an oh-so-cliche year in Australia. Of course, as is quite typical with travel plans, things changed, in the best way possible. Upon booking our tickets, our travel agent Dave suggested adding a little excitement to our rather straightforward trip. Why not stop by Thailand for a couple weeks on your way over, and for an extra hundred bucks, why not extend our few hour layover in Tokyo to a week? This moment was to change me forever, though I was unaware at the time. The culture shock of the sensory overload that is Tokyo kicked everything into high gear right from the go, and within a week of arriving in Bangkok, still reeling from the futuristic blast of Japan, we called the airline and changed our flights. Spending the next six months rambling throughout Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, back to Thailand, then Malaysia and Singapore. Like an opiate, it was in my veins. I was an addict. Truthfully, the only reason we left Asia when we did was that we still had to make our way from Perth to Sydney in time for a wedding, and find a way to make some money along the way.
The following six months were spent living in the back of an old ’93 Toyota Camry, sleeping on the sides of highways and backroads, working only when we went broke, making amazing friends and memories along the way. Eventually though, as with all things, it came to an end. After a year on the road, we were ready to go home, we thought maybe it was out of our system, that it was time to settle down and be grown-ups. But within a few weeks of arriving home, the inevitable itch came back hard and fast. We ended up changing careers for a little better income, and freedom to leave at will. This has worked out fantastically so far, with 30 countries and territories behind us; however, the trips have slowly been getting shorter, and the time has come to make a decision. Although challenging, it wasn't a difficult one to make; we’ll be selling nearly everything we own, including our house, and will hit the road for an unforeseen period of time. Call it what you will: a sabbatical, a leave of absence, an early-mid-life crisis. Whatever you label it as, it’s simply taking control of our lives, stepping outside the ‘normal’ and getting on with living. This blog will serve as a chronicle of our journey. I wouldn’t want to categorize this blog as anything specific, it does not focus on ‘couples’ travel, food, off-the-beaten-path adventures, sustainable, or long-term travel. The focus is on all of the above, and anything else that comes along. This isn't geared to any age group or demographic, the stories we tell will be real, and occasionally may not be pretty. The truth of reality doesn't come with an age limit. Our goal is not only to share our story with the world, but to encourage other people who may be where we once were, scared or unsure of the possibilities this world has to offer. For those on the fence about travel, looking for that little spark of encouragement to push them over the edge. As well as those who might not be in a position to take on this type of travel, hopefully this blog can inspire them to make even the simplest change in their lives to help them make the most with what they are given. Taking some advice from Chuck Bukowski: This is my life, and I will not let it be clubbed into dank submission. The world is our home, the experiences it has to offer are endless, and though we'll never be able to take part in it all, we'll give it our best shot. The food, people, and cultures, the cities and jungles, beaches and peaks. It is for every reason, and none at all. For the strange feeling of home, in the familiar unknown, These Foreign Roads we roam.