I am Jess…


… and this is my husband Oli. I am a proud Seattleite and in his own words he is from bang in the middle of the UK in Leicestershire, England. In June of 2019, we met on a polar bear expedition at 78 ° North in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and no I am not joking. After seeing a few wild polar bears together and weeping, we decided we were officially friends. By the time November rolled around, he had convinced me to get a visa for Aotearoa (New Zealand,) quit my job, and embark on a one year worldwide bucket list trip together that would end at the aforementioned country where we would try to find a place to call home.

Fast forward to early March of 2020 – on the beaches of Vietnam, tours were cancelled and we were quarantined into our hostel property as the small town we were in was no longer willing to interact with travelers (looking back they were pretty smart). Since we were traveling we weren’t paying much attention to the news, but it was now in our face and we could no longer ignore the fact that Covid was everywhere and we were on the brink of a worldwide pandemic.

We were debating whether to hunker down where we were or start finding our way to somewhere we could be together for a while. After googling the best place to sit out a zombie apocalypse….you know just in case covid got creative… and Aotearoa coming out on top, the decision was made just in the nick of time. We landed in the land of the kiwis 22 hours before they closed the borders to all incoming travelers, visa in hand or not.  

Counting our lucky stars, after 6 weeks of lock-down, the general public of Aotearoa was covid free. We spent March 2020 to June 2021 living in and traveling around the breathtaking islands of Aotearoa. In September of 2020 we took our last turns at Cardrona, packed away the snowboards,  and moved into our rooftop tent for a multi-island 10-month road trip.

Though our worldwide bucket list trip was cut short, we were given the gift of a 16-month long bucket list trip around the islands of Aotearoa instead. 

Exploring those incredible islands is something I will never forget, but we never found a place that felt like home in our hearts (Picton and the Bay of Islands were close though). In June of 2021, we made the bittersweet decision to pack our bags and head back to the United States to get vaccinated, hug family and friends, and find a more permanent home. I still have many stories to tell of our travels and we never sit still for long. This blog is just a place for me to share all the amazing escapades we have been on, so that I may revisit my many happy memories. I also hope it inspires you whether you are a friend or a stranger and the stories will never end because no matter what country I am in I will always be wandering in the wild. 

*Added in September 2022 

Since June of 2021 life has been so crazy and so full. We got engaged, got married (twice), bought a 5 acre property in the PNW near the mountains and the ocean, and adopted two puppies. We’ve still managed to get some travel in and have a few more exciting trips ahead.