Meet Megan and Derrick
First of All, Thank You
We're so excited that you've stumbled across our travel blog! Our goal is to hit the road as full-time travelers and share our adventures, insights, and experiences along the way. Through this blog we'll be offering honest advice from our travels and share exactly how we are (or are not) making full-time travel work for us. Thank you for following along!
We're Megan and Derrick Kotlus, AKA "The Kotli" (cot-lie). We're newlyweds from New Hampshire but have spent the last five years in beautiful Boulder, CO. Prior to our decision to travel, we were leading the typical lives of young professionals. We were "weekend warriors," devoted to the work hard, play hard mentality. Weekdays were spent at our full-time+ jobs, and weekends were spent exploring the Colorado Rockies on skis, foot, and more recently, Jeep (more on him below).
When the idea to travel presented itself, our initial thought was "if we don't do it now, we never will." While that's probably true, we also realized just how much we desired to get out and explore. We wanted more time to spend together, more time to pursue passions and activities that we loved, and most of all, we wanted the freedom to design our own lifestyle. We had become comfortable in our routine and decided to see what would happen if we changed it.
How it All Started
In November of 2014 we got engaged at Isabelle Glacier, our favorite hike in Colorado! Yes, that's a faux fur hunting hat.
As expected, our lives were quickly consumed with saving and planning for a wedding. It's funny, of all the stressful aspects of wedding planning, it was actually our registry that had us stumped. A few months before the big day, we made the typical trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond and began scanning appliances, bedding, and far too many items from the "beyond" category (aka the As Seen on TV section). Half way through our shop, we started to wonder what in the world we were going to do with it all. We didn't own a house, we didn't have plans to buy a house, and anytime we tried to discuss where to settle down, it became an all-out battle of ocean vs. mountains, family vs. friends, and location vs. jobs.
So after setting up FOUR registries (our poor guests), we quickly realized that our travel registry was the most important to us. Each time a loved one added to our fund, we'd daydream of exotic trips, back-packing adventures, and international one-way tickets.
Fast forward to August of 2016, we said "I do" on Peaks Island, Maine and decided marriage was the only traditional step we planned to take (at least for the immediate future).
We put our new travel fund directly into savings and began adding portions of our salary to it each month. Travel research became a staple of our weeknights and the stressful question of "what next" instead became "where next." We researched how to travel on a budget, ways to make money on the road, and what countries to visit and when. We set our departure date for June 2017 (when our apartment lease expired) and spent 10+ months creating a (very) loose plan for making our long-term travel goals a reality.
The Kotli Crew
Derrick "Only Eats Kale" Kotlus
Derrick is without a doubt the more adventurous Kotli. Known for his love of the mountains and his inability to sit still, Derrick can usually be found skiing in the morning, mountain biking in the afternoon, and camping at night. His motto in life is "I'd rather be skiing" and he's happiest when at A Basin (ski area), even if it's just drinking brews in the parking lot. Derrick's love of hot springs is limitless and although frugal in most cases, he'll be the first to spend $100+ on an annual hot springs membership. Many (okay two) of our friends have lovingly referred to him as our spirit-guide for his down-to-earth demeanor and sound decision-making in many aspects of life. It can be argued that Derrick was meant to be a dirty hippie in the 60's, but luckily our marriage (and steady job) has resulted in consistent showers. TBD on whether this will be the case while traveling (probably not). Even after coining the term "no fiancés on powder days," Derrick is the best husband, friend, and likely the best travel partner anyone could ask for.
Coffee or Tea? Sencha (Japanese green tea)
Beer or Wine? Beer is the best thing ever
Morning or Night? Night if we don't have anything planned in the morning, and morning if there are some good activities planned (like skiing)!
Sweet or Savory? Savory
Mountains or Ocean? Mountains
Superpower of Choice? Teleportation fo sho (added: "so then I could teleport to the top of a sweet pow line")
If You Could Time-Travel, Where Would You Go? I think I would have to go to a Jimi Hendrix concert
The Top 3 Places on Your Travel Bucket-List? Thailand, Switzerland, and Nepal
Megan "Won't Stop Talking About Her Trip Abroad" Kotlus
Disclaimer: this blog will mostly be written by me (Megan), with a few celeb cameos by Derrick when he's not working and adventuring.
I'll admit that I was the major motivation behind our long-term travel decision. After a breakdown in the frozen aisle of Whole Foods, I realized I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and decided travel was the answer. I was bitten by the travel-bug in college after a whirlwind four months studying abroad and traveling the globe on Semester at Sea. Even though my friends hate hearing about this trip, it truly did change my life and I'm convinced it was only a matter of time before wanderlust took over again. Even after tearing my ACLs three times, I still love to follow Derrick up mountains and down ski slopes. Without Derrick, I'd probably spend my free-time painting, drawing, or doing anything artsy, but unfortunately art doesn't help you stay in shape. I'm best friends with my twin sister Emily and I'm convinced this is the reason I hate being alone. After years of sharing a room, a car, and a birthday, I often annoy Derrick with how bad I am at being alone. I have a personal goal of developing some independence while traveling even though we'll be spending every minute together.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Beer or Wine? Beer (anything belgian-style or unfiltered wheat)
Morning or Night? Night (if I'm not alone, morning if I am)
Sweet or Savory? Sweet
Mountains or Ocean? Ocean
Superpower of Choice? I would love to be able to read minds
If You Could Time-Travel, Where Would You Go? I'd go back to 1912 and buy a ticket on the Titanic. Even knowing the outcome and certain death, I think being a passenger on the Titanic would've been the most interesting experience one could've had back then (before the whole iceberg thing of course). To be honest, my stereotypical obsession with the movie Titanic is the main reason for this death-wish.
The Top 3 Places on Your Travel Bucket-List? Norway, Iceland, South America
Eddy "Off-Road" Kotlus
Eddy ˈedē/ noun. A circular movement of water, counter to the main current, causing a small whirlpool.
While we don't plan on driving in circles, Eddy the Jeep is going to be a major player in helping us move "counter to the main current". This entire decision, and resulting adventure, has us feeling like we're swimming upstream. Breaking from the traditional way of life is going to be challenging, exhausting, and maybe near impossible at times, but we couldn't be more excited to be heading up river with Eddy.
Eddy even came into our lives somewhat untraditionally. In May of 2016, Derrick went rogue and decided to purchase a Jeep Wrangler. It's not like we were saving for a wedding, or planning to pack up our lives and travel, so this was a really great decision. Luckily, Eddy became the perfect companion for our various Colorado adventures. After a year of camping and off-roading, Derrick and Eddy could not be separated and Eddy became the reason behind our Canadian road-trip decision. Get ready for some serious #JeepLife Instagrams my friends.
Eddy is a bad-ass, no frills, rock-crawling machine. He's also very good at urban travel and does enjoy the more simple things in life like weekend trips up I-70 or rush hour commutes to Denver. Eddy thinks convenience is for squares and boasts manual roll-up windows, non-automatic locks, and bare bones dash controls. However, he does have a temperature gauge which is more than can be said for Megan's Hyundai Tucson. Eddy is a free spirit and happiest when topless (and doorless). He and Derrick are truly two peas in a pod. It came as a surprise to no one when Derrick built a sleeping platform in the back of Eddy. It's this luxurious accommodation that Megan and Derrick will enjoy in between house sits and hostels, taking car camping to a whole new level.
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