Who? We’re Marilyn and John, travelers who’ve had some great adventures exploring the world–and we’re eager for more. At home in Oregon, along with work, family, friends, books, music and various causes we care about, we’re either planning a trip or on our way.
Marilyn: I’m a freelance writer with a focus on travel (guidebooks, articles in print and online, a decade’s newspaper column). A staff writer for Europe Up Close, I post stories weekly about my favorite European spots.
In-depth travel, not skate-the-map tourism, is my passion. Like a lot of people, I feel the restless urge to leave the comforts of home and trot the globe seeking what’s different. Travelers these days pay hard-earned money to fret over packing, rise in the dark for 6 a.m. flights, and suffer airport indignities in order to go where we don’t understand the language and often can’t drink the water. Yet a great many of us jump at the chance to do it as often as possible.
I started as a young exchange student, oh so many years ago, intrigued by foreign lands. The wish to immerse myself in other cultures, customs, and landscapes, and to share my discoveries, remains as strong as ever.
John: I’m a personal injury lawyer, musician, gardener, and traveler. As a kid growing up in Chicago, I loved maps and the distant adventures they promised. I still pore over maps, and that’s proven helpful whether driving around Bali, France, or the American Southwest.
For 30-plus years, Marilyn and I have traveled together. We’ve been all over the U.S. west coast for her guidebooks, and in Mexico, Europe, and Asia for fun, cultural history, and the irresistible appeal of the exotic. We’ve had the good fortune to see some of the world’s great beauty and to learn firsthand how people are so much the same inside. Along the way, we’ve discovered even more about ourselves and how to keep love alive on the road together. It’s fun, challenging, and always rewarding.
Why? Why lighthearted? Because we believe in traveling with a positive attitude. We choose to nurture our hopes, not our fears, and allow ourselves to trust despite the huge amount of suspicion and anxiety in the world today.
In all our travels, almost everyone we’ve met has been courteous, kind, honest, and eager to help when we needed it. That’s not to say there’s never been a problem. We’ve been scammed a few times, and we pay attention (eg. use the hotel room safe for valuables and avoid dark, deserted streets). But we don’t let that affect our approach. We learn at least a few customs and phrases, talk to strangers at every opportunity, and don’t assume people are trying to rip us off. The result: friends around the world, a sense of optimism, and the fun of expecting something new and marvelous around the next corner, waiting to be explored. That’s lighthearted travel.