As I’ve said before and might say again, I wasn’t totally on board with this trip when Britnee first mentioned the idea a few years ago. Traveling around the world in a year—it seemed unrealistic, at least for someone my age who was still struggling to find the career I was supposed to have by this age.

Yet now, just a couple of months away from our departure, I couldn’t be more excited and couldn’t be more certain that this trip is exactly what I need right now. Thinking back, I can’t remember when exactly the transition from pump-your-brakes to full-steam-ahead occurred. What I do remember, however, are all the people who helped along the way, sharing their stoke through words of encouragement or by setting the example.

A lot of it came from reading a variety of blogs written by other travelers or fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Mostly that of Brendan Leonard, a climber and writer currently living out of his van while exploring the American West. His tireless excitement for dreaming big left me doing the same, and after reading his blog posts or, on rare occasion, speaking to him in person, I always came away understanding it’s better to play golf than to sit there and watch golf.

James and Joey doing what they do best. Photo by Spenser Heaps.

James and Joey doing what they do best. Photo by Spenser Heaps.

My old coworker and friend James also deserves some credit, not only for directing me to the Semi-rad blog in the first place, but for following through with gutsy plans and living out his own dream.

Since he first moved to Utah to work in my photo department, James quickly fell in love with the Wasatch winter landscape and talked endlessly about touring the backcountry. First snowboarding runs at the resort, it wasn’t long before he signed up for classes at the Utah Avalanche Center and made his first skin tracks off the beaten path. When I shared with him our idea of traveling overseas, James also revealed his plans to save some money, buy a truck and camper with a friend, and head to Alaska to “pursue a life of backcountry snowboarding and mountaineering.”

It seemed like a wild idea back then, but James and his buddy Joey are now  three months into their own grand tour, hopping from one prime powder destination to the next in their domicile on wheels. Follow their fun at

The wife exploring Cape Disappointment. Photo by Mark Johnston

The wife exploring Cape Disappointment. Photo by Mark Johnston

Then there’s my wife Britnee, who is responsible for dreaming up all this to begin with. While I’ve always had the desire to travel to far flung destinations, I’ve also lacked the confidence and wherewithal to do so in the past. A year of travel seemed like a stretch when she first announced it, but Britnee’s endless excitement for this journey—which fueled her exhaustive planning of it—eventually infected me with the same enthusiasm.

She’s the ultimate teammate and is so confident in this plan that it’s hard not to be completely onboard. The only problem now is that I might be more impatient than she is, counting down until May 26 finally arrives, with 78 days, 23 hours, and 5 minutes left.

Lets go!

About The Author


Mark quit everything to travel the world for a year with his wife, Britnee. Along the way, he picked up a love for many other things, including illy coffee, Nepal, Bolivianos bills, and Thai beaches. Now happily home in Utah, Mark is a balding marketing professional with a mountain biking addiction.