Well, you found us…congrats, get ready to be inspired! So what is International Hotdish? Who are we and how did we get here? Answers below. Just keep scrolling
When I was a kid, traveling meant a road trip across a state or two, in a navy blue Pontiac Station Wagon with my family. My younger brother and I, sandwiched in the backseat with a cooler between, drifted between napping, eating and bickering, while my parents took shifts driving. We traveled to see family. We traveled to see a few sites, like the Badlands in South Dakota or the Dells in Wisconsin. Almost every summer until I was in High School, we took our routine summer trip
While road-tripping with my family was fun, I don’t think it’s what gave me the travel bug. I think more than anything, it was (and still is) my mom’s constant “you can do anything” mantra that made me an explorer. She has always believed that anything is possible for me and my brother. That we could be anything we wanted to be and go anywhere we wanted to go. Because she believed, I believed too.
When I started college at Winona State University, I decided pretty early on that I wanted to spend a semester abroad. By my sophomore year, I had figured out where I wanted to go (Florence, Italy) and when it would make the most sense (senior year). Living in Florence for four months only increased my desire to go more, see more and do more. I discovered the value of experiences. Of falling headfirst into a new culture. Of challenging yourself to try something new.
Luckily, when I returned to Winona, MN I found someone who valued those same things too.
My mom has always been a traveler. An interesting note about my father: he does not particularly enjoy traveling. He’s found everything he needs at home. I remember in grade school the teachers would often ask me to share traveling stories because my brother and mother were on the move so much. Even as young kids, mom would cram my brother and I into Greyhound buses and family sub-compact cars. Plenty of trips on the Amtrak. We never relocated homes but we were constantly visiting friends and family in Boston, Montreal, Ecuador, and everywhere in-between. These trips did a few things: 1) Helped me appreciate different ways of life; 2) Helped me become more daring.
I grew up out in the country, on a farm. I realized quickly that many of my friends and classmates never left the tri-state area. Even as a kid, that weirded me out – didn’t people want to see what life was like in another time zone? They’ve never known how uncomfortable it feels to be surrounded by a language you don’t know. I don’t think traveling is a panacea but it sure gives you new perspectives and stories to tell. At the very least it makes you more interesting at a cocktail party.
Anyway, traveling is great – but what I missed most about traveling as an adult was sharing beautiful moments with someone. Family is fun for camaraderie, for sure. I needed a partner, though. I found more than a partner when I met Hayley. We married and have been formulating adventure battle plans ever since. This big experiment is the next phase of our evolution together. Thanks for joining us – you’ll enjoy the ride.
Why this Trip?
For the most part, the reaction to our plan to travel abroad for a year has been positive. We really haven’t gotten that many questions (perhaps, those nice Minnesotans are too afraid to ask?). But we think some people deep down are wondering “Why? What’s the point?”
The heart and soul purpose of this trip is experiences. We want to go and see and do things now. We want to make memories and solve problems together now. We don’t want to wait until we retire. We want to build our own adventure because all we have is today.
When we got married in 2015 – and even while we were still dating – we had many discussion about our big goals and dreams as a couple and what it would take to get there. It turns out one of the top ones on the list was a long trip abroad. While it seemed like a lofty idea at first, we just started saving money for a trip “someday” until there was enough money that we could actually talk about going. And then one thing led to another and here we are.
We hope our big and bold idea inspires you to get working on your dream. Whether it’s something small like having your own backyard garden or as big as opening your own business, we believe in you and we believe you can get there. Thanks for coming on this journey with us. We hope to inspire you as much as you’re going to inspire us. As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” so let’s get after it.