If someone told me ten years ago that I’d travel the world for a year, I wouldn’t have believed it. I grew up as one of those people who had little desire to leave the comforts of home. Growing up, I can recall going on a family vacation only two or three times. My family wasn’t very active and didn’t have the means to go on vacation very often.

In college, I had friends who talked of their own travels and said I should do the same. The thought of it was intriguing, but I always dismissed it quickly, lacking the desire and money to do so.

Then I met my husband. He had traveled to several countries around the world with his family and with work. Since moving back to Utah he’d spent a lot of time camping and hiking in the Southwest. I had always wanted to do the same, but never had anyone to do it with until our first trip together when he introduced me to Havasupai in Arizona.

Why I'm quitting my job to travel

One of the waterfalls at Havasupai in 2008. It was our first trip together and my first backpacking experience.

Now, almost six years after that, Mark and I can usually be found camping, backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, or mountain biking on the weekends. We’re lucky to live in a beautiful state with so many national parks and other outdoor treasures. Mark helped me appreciate the beauty of traveling within and around Utah.

After college, I started entertaining the thought of going further outside my comfort zone. For the first time, I researched what it’d actually take to go overseas. That’s when I discovered the backpacker lifestyle of budget airlines and cheap hostels, realizing that with my meager earnings at that time, even I could afford a trip to Europe.

That became a reality in 2010 when I visited six countries in three weeks. Mark couldn’t make it with me for all three weeks (average vacation time in USA = two weeks), but it worked out to meet him for a short time in Finland for his cousin’s wedding. The following year we used all of our two week vacation time to go to Vietnam, where my dad’s family is originally from. While there, we met many foreigners traveling for several months and even years. They were very inspiring and made us think…why don’t we do a long-term trip? If they can do it, we can too!

Iceland Volcano Erupts 2010

Imagine seeing this out your plane window! On my first overseas flight, we passed by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in Iceland. Somehow it didn’t completely scare me off from traveling. Photo by Britnee Nguyen

When we came back home, I was self-diagnosed with a serious bout of the travel bug. The only way to cure it? Quit my job to take a trip around the world–an idea that took some convincing before Mark was completely on board. We started saving money for almost two years with the goal in mind that we could quit our jobs to explore abroad for an entire year. Taking into account that the average American time off is two weeks per year, we calculated that we’ll fit 26 years worth of vacation time into one year!

We’ve dreamed of seeing more of the world before settling down with a family, house, a dog, and whatnot. We also wanted to do this while we’re still young and fit to enjoy the adventures. I also want to be able to tell my future kids and grandkids of the great adventures Mark and I had together to inspire them to explore too.

I’m lucky to have a great companion who helped introduce me to traveling whether it was camping in Southern Utah or trying out a sauna in Finland. And who is willing to go on this crazy one year adventure with me!

If by that point my travel bug is not yet cured, 365 days might just turn into 730 days… and you’re more than welcomed to tag along.


About The Author

Britnee traveled around the world with her husband on a shoestring budget for a year. A few of her favorite destinations include Scotland's Isle of Skye, Chile's Torres del Paine, Bolivia's Salt Flats and Nepal's Annapurna Circuit.

15 Responses

  1. Derek Freal

    Utah is definitely an amazing — and amazingly beautiful — state. I’ve passed through there on several road trips back in the day and always had a blast. Some of my favorite destinations include the Booneville Salt Flats (love how the curbs are angled and thus make taking a vehicle out across them a breeze — not to mention the handy hosing off station afterwards) and of course the Arches and Bryce Canyon NPs. Anyway, cheers to what y’all are doing and just a forewarning (as Mark undoubtedly already knows): travel is addicting. It is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. As such I really hope that your one year adventure transforms into a never-ending voyage :)

    • Mark Johnston

      Thanks Derek. I’m hooked on southern Utah and it’s going to be hard to leave it. One last big hurrah with the Zion -traverse planned for April, but plenty more to see out in the world I’m sure. All the best in your continuing travels.

  2. Stephen

    It takes a little bit more gear, but there are SO many good hiking/camping spots throughout Asia. I hope to see a bit more of where you two end up!

    • Britnee Johnston

      Probably won’t do any camping, but definitely a lot of hiking. We’re hoping to do some hiking in Zhangjiajie and Yangshuo, so we’re excited for that!

  3. Jenna

    I can’t believe your blogs only a year old:it looks amazing! Love the design and your plans sound great! If you need any advice on china, let me know!

  4. NZ Muse

    It’s gonna be awesome, I promise! You’ll see, do and learn so much.

  5. Lana

    Traveling for 1 year straight is on my bucket list. I did it for four months once. I’ve lived abroad, but not constant travel.

  6. Shannon

    I just found your blog, and I’ll be following your journey. My husband and I want to travel for a year really bad! We are paying off our student loans first so we are still a few years out. I’m really enjoying your blog so far!

  7. Sumi Rose

    I love to travel the world. You are making me excited! Great photos, great tips, great fun to read your post.