way back when

Big Sky Beginnings

I grew up in the Last Best Place on Earth: Montana! Way up north nudging the Canadian border, winters are long and cold and summers short and hot. Folks are friendly and neighbors get together for potlucks and 4th of July barbeques.

My mom let me walk home from kindergarten alone. Helicopter parents weren’t a thing in the 70’s. My first bicycle was a purple Schwinn with a banana seat and monkey handlebars. 

My dad loved the outdoors. He’d get his girls hiking, cycling, skiing, and camping by promising a post-adventure trip to the Dairy Queen.

Then puberty hit. As an 80’s teen, my idea of adventure was trekking around Southgate Mall in search of cute guys. Luckily, that changed.

chugging along

Banker to Backpacker

After some college craziness, I settled down and got a job in banking. I was your typical 90’s career climber focused on nabbing the coveted corner office with a view of the City.

In 1995, an old high school sweetheart came to visit. Unlike me, this guy was not wearing business suits and plotting his career advancement. He seemed to be having fun and following his own path in life.

Wake-up call! I quit my job in San Francisco, sold everything, and set off for Asia. After a year teaching English in Korea, I morphed into  a Lonely Planet-toting Southeast Asia backpacker.

In Laos, I crossed paths with a skinny Frenchman on sabbatical. I thought his accent was charming and I got a kick out of the way he called a flashlight a torch and thought yoghurt was a proper desert. 

A year later, I’d married the Frenchie and we were living with his parents. So, yeah, life’s bumpy sometimes.

round the world


Eventually hubby and I got proper jobs and moved to Germany (bye-bye in-laws). In our early thirties, we began plotting ways to become financially free. We dreamed of being full-time travelers. Today you’d say we were part of of the FIRE movement. In case you’ve never heard of it,  F.I.R.E. stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early.” The goal is to save and invest very aggressively—somewhere between 50–75% of your income—so you can retire sometime in your 30s or 40s. 

If you’ve got a decent job (and don’t mind cutting out every possible non-free fun thing in life) it works.

After several years of serious saving, we quit our jobs.

That was back in 2006. We then set off to cycle through Africa. 18 months later we arrived in Cape Town. And we were hooked. Traveling by bicycle is the perfect way to see the world. We go at our own speed and have the freedom to explore spots far off the beaten path. 

We spent 12 years as full-time travelers. Finally in 2018, we decided to set up a base in Portugal. And then the pandemic happened. So here we are, waiting to see what happens next.