“We have a system,” Giselle says with a hint of laughter in her voice, followed by Stephen’s enthusiastic hum of agreement. Traveling while working full time can’t happen without a heavy dose of preparation.
The two make up the travel blog couple famously known as “The Lovers Passport,” showing travel enthusiasts everywhere that you can, in fact, balance a nine-to-five job and a fun, healthy relationship while also frequently exploring the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Traveler’s Spotlight: “The Lovers Passport”
The adventurous pair already carried a passion for travel long before becoming widely-known photographers and bloggers. Their travel roots stemmed individually from both their childhoods, with Giselle taking flights all over the world with her family, and Stephen road tripping around the U.S. with his. However, Giselle, although an experienced hiker, had yet to experience a national park until she met Stephen their senior year of college. On the other hand, Stephen learned how to hike and backpack at a young age from his father. In combining his experience and knowledge with Giselle’s, the two began to embark on a litany of outdoor adventures as a way of spending more time together.
“I’ve been traveling since I was a baby,” Giselle told Wide Open Roads. “I did a lot of flying to destinations… And then I met Stephen my senior year of college. We started doing more road trips, camping, and adventures, and that’s how I kind of transitioned into the more adventure travel. I had never been to a national park before I met Stephen.”
The power duo set out to embrace all the U.S. has to offer for those who enjoy spending time outside. However, they barely documented their first year traveling together, except for a few selfies to commemorate special moments. But when COVID-19 hit, in finding ways to continue fueling their love for the outdoors, they decided to turn a solo female travel blog that Giselle kept into a couple’s adventure blog. They used their time during lockdown to hone their skills as photographers and editors, so by the time they were able to get back outside, they were sharing with loved ones all the amazing experiences from their trips.
They had no idea how big it would become though.
“It took us six months to get to a thousand followers. We really never had the intention of it going anywhere. We were kind of just doing it as a fun couples project, and so many of our friends started to ask for our recommendations on what shoes to wear when they go hiking or where to go if they want to go backpacking. We did it more for friends and family and then it amassed into this huge thing,” Giselle explained.
How Do You Balance Full-Time Jobs While Traveling?
Giselle and Stephen both work full time jobs on top of maintaining “The Lovers Passport.” Giselle is a PR and marketing director, while Stephen owns and manages two taekwondo studios. When asked how their system works, they both answered in a way that would make anyone understand the incredible dynamic that they have as a couple. Giselle touched on what their day to day looks like, saying:
“Stephen will take the account duties in the morning, since we have opposite work hours. I work from eight to four, and he works two to nine, so he’ll do the stuff in the morning and I’ll do the stuff in the afternoon or evening. And on our lunch breaks we’ll take all of our calls and all of our biggest meetings and stuff like that since we work across the street from each other. So we basically have these lunch break meeting calls. It is a lot to balance since it’s basically having two full time jobs. It wasn’t easy in the beginning because it was a lot smaller, but now that it’s like this, it’s all about time management… It comes down to a lot of trust… We both split up our duties to make sure the workload is very even so we’re both pulling our weight on everything. But if I’m feeling overwhelmed one week, Stephen will take some pressure off and vice versa.”
After she explained how they plan their trips at least three to four months in advance so they can prepare accordingly, Stephen shed light on what their thought process looked like before fully committing to their lifestyle. He said:
“We were both like, ‘Okay how are we going to do this?’ and I think both of us, without really saying it to each other or without knowing, we both kind of stepped up during that point, pushing ourselves more, responding to DMs, emails, creating content. I think rather than saying, ‘Oh let’s go to our local state park or national park, we started planning bigger trips that were more content-based trips. Our way of thinking then kind of slipped into that. We both had a turning point, going from a side hobby to like, ‘Wow we can really push this and make it successful.'”
The couple’s blog features itineraries, how-tos, gear suggestions, and more to help travelers prepare better for their journeys. They’ve been able to showcase their success in car camping and highlighted how comfortable they are in doing so. Although they do have an interest in full-time van life, the couple wants to emphasize with their journey how travel is truly accessible to the everyday person.
“Unless we were able to work with hotels on a pretty regular basis, I feel like car camping is where our roots are right now,” Giselle said, with Stephen adding: “We’d either get a rooftop tent or something like that, or something more stable, since we’ve just built out the back of our car. But we’re pretty comfortable with that for now.”
“The Lovers Passport” aims to keep their day-to-day jobs while balancing their blog, especially since taekwondo has been in Stephen’s life since he was a child. They believe that as long as both partners hold up their end of their duties, or at least are communicating effectively, this busy lifestyle can be fulfilling for anyone.
And when they mean anyone, they also mean everyone. The couple talked about why they believe traveling is important to our lives, even if you aren’t exactly the most interested in getting out of your comfort zone.
“I think especially around the U.S., it’s really convenient to travel because everything is so accessible, and there are so many places you guys can stay,” Stephen said. “There are gas stations everywhere. There are google maps now. There are blogs out there, these itineraries- it’s just so accessible and it’ s cheap… I think that traveling in the US, there are so many resources that are more accessible than ever.”
“It’s super, super important for people to travel just to experience different culture shocks, like traveling Utah compared to California – The type of people, stores, customs. For instance, if we go to a restaurant in California, we can go in and within 15 minutes, we’ll have our drinks and appetizers, with our main course coming out. Compared to if we were in a more remote area like Arkansas or somewhere in the Midwest, it’ll be around 45 minutes to an hour before we actually get something because it’s just a little more relaxed, a little slower pace, there’s no rush. It’s important for everyone to experience the cultures and diversities within one country.”
Giselle added, “I think also, too, it just helps you grow as a person, because when you’re traveling, you’re experiencing so many new things that you may not encounter on a day to day basis. You deal with people who are different than you, who have different views than you, and you get to communicate with those people. And it just expands your knowledge of how there’s so many other things, viewpoints, perspectives out there.”
“You don’t know your own culture until you step out of it,” she added, chuckling at remembering how she learned that sitting in a college anthropology class.
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