Adventures in Wanderlust: Chris and Danika @nodestinations January 07 2015, 0 Comments

Have you ever thought about leaving the 9-5, selling it all and traveling the world?? Meet Chris and Danika - an amazing couple who actually did what so many of us just dream of doing. Catch their interview below and check out a sampling of beautiful pictures from their journey. You can follow Chris and Danika on Instagram @nodestinations and at their blog nodestinations.com as they document their life traveling the world. We love your story Chris and Danika! Thank you so much for the inspiration and for sharing your journey with us.

Tell us a bit about your adventure…

We sold the majority of our stuff, (except for 16 small storage boxes, that are mostly filled with Danika’s shoes and bags), rented out our apartment in San Francisco and quit our jobs, all so we could travel around the world. Our international travel was a bit limited, so we wanted to start with all the major cites first, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, etc. with the goal of discovering the hidden treasures later on. We started in March of 2014 and have been gone for 10 months, traveled to 12 countries and over 40 cities. Although we left our 9-5 jobs, we still work for various clients and companies. Chris helps to build websites and web apps and Danika works with clients to enhance their online marketing efforts. 

What inspired your adventure…

We both have always has a passion for travel but work always seemed to get in the way. Chris was working for a few different tech companies and he had unlimited paid vacation. I was Director of Marketing for a group of Boutique Hotels and only had 2 weeks of vacation each year. We were really bummed that we could only take one or maybe 2 trips for the entire year, including small trips to see our family in San Diego and New Jersey. At the same time we were at a point in our lives that we’ll refer to as the fork in the road. We both had great careers, good jobs, a house and were pretty much living the safe and stable life SF. We weren’t ready to have kids and go down that road, so we decided we needed some excitement, to get out, before we were ready to do the “stable home” thing for a very long time.  All this combined with a few cocktails and before you knew it we had a tentative plan to leave the US and go see the world.

What were you most looking forward to as you worked towards this dream…

Danika: Seeing all the major cities I had only read about (Paris, Rome and Tokyo) and getting a Bali tan!
Chris: Leaving the 9-5 routine and never going into an office again. (Oh and nude sunbathing!)

How did your friends and family react as you announced this journey…

Everyone was so supportive and genuinely excited for us. Danika was so nervous to tell her family and work, but everyone just gave us big hugs and said wow, just go for it. 

Have you made any significant life changes to start your adventure…

Packing up and leaving was probably the most significant life change we’ve both ever had to make, aside from getting married. We were leaving everything we knew and loved for a nomadic life stye.

Danika: Absolutely. I went from having over 200+ of shoes to living out of a backpack. I am learning how to live more simple and to travel with only a carry on backpack and an overstuffed bag. Although I prefer working remote, I have always been a “face to face” marketing girl so for me it’s been more difficult to make the transition to working 100% remotely. Also I love to print out things and keep files, journals, planners and editorial calendars, which is pretty impossible to do while being a digital nomad...I miss my white board wall.
Chris: No not really. I’ve always been a simple person. As long as I have a computer, wifi and good food, I'm happy. 

What is your favorite moment so far…

Danika: There are so many! Today I would have to say it was waking up to the most incredible sunrises in a small villa, on a small island in Indonesia
Chris: Experiencing outdoor showers in Indonesia, they really are amazing…oh and cruising along the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. 

What have you learned so far on your journey...

Danika: That I used to buy a lot of unnecessary crap. Buy better and live simpler, really is starting to make sense to me.  I also never understood the importance of travel. Before this trip, traveling meant heading to a tropical place, drinking fruity drinks and working on a tan. It’s so much more than that. It’s beauty in the different cultures we see, the complexities of figuring out how to run foreign washing machines, trying to order food from a Japanese menu, and venturing out of our comfort zone to try new things. I’ve also become much better at geography. 
Chris: There is so much of this world to see. Every time we try to figure out where to go next we have to narrow places down from a list of 50. We thought this adventure would make our bucket list smaller but instead it just keeps growing. 

What advice would you give to someone with a similar goal or dream…

If this is something you really want to do, then you just have to make the decision to leave and actually leave. Leaving is the hardest part, everything else will fall into place.

Oh and bring a decent camera, taking good pictures means you’ll always have a beautiful way to remember those memories.