Meet Katie & Ben
Well, hey there! We are so humbled that you want to get to know us more.
So allow us to properly introduce ourselves and share a bit more about our story…
We are Katie and Ben: Adventure-seekers, nature-lovers and consumers of all things edible. (Seriously.)
We are both from Minnesota (that state way up north with the funny accents!), and we have an incurable case of wanderlust. Okay, let’s be real, we don’t really want it to be cured…
But we haven’t always been travelers. In fact, neither of us had set foot overseas until we were in our twenties.
So let’s start from the beginning. Before we even had stamps in our passports, we were just two kids in love…
We met on a snowboarding trip when we were 16 years old.
We were staying at a cabin in the woods, and one night we went stargazing. (Get your head out of the gutter; it was a church trip!)
We were lying there in the snow talking, when Ben reached over to hold my hand. I was wearing mittens, so it was pretty awkward, but it must not have been too bad because all these years later we’re still together!
Yep, that makes us high school sweethearts *cue “oohs and awws”… or groans; that’s cool too.*
After nearly 9 years of dating, we decided we still really liked each other and gathered all our family and friends together to CELEBRATE this thing called love.
Shortly after getting married, we quit our comfortable jobs, booked an absurdly cheap flight to Colombia, and left behind everything that didn’t fit into our backpacks.
And to share our stories along the way, we started a little site… you may have heard of it… Two Wandering Soles. That was back in early 2014.
It gets better…
Our wanderings have since taken us to South Korea where we taught English for a year and saved up enough money to take a yearlong round-the-world trip. Crazy, huh?!
When the money ran out, we relocated to the United States where we worked at a ski resort in Washington State for a winter season. Then we spent the summer months traveling down the West Coast and living in a campervan we built ourselves and named “Vinny”. (Vinny was the BEST.)
We are currently basing ourselves in places on a more long-term basis (like Chiang Mai and Bali) where we can explore while also working full-time on this blog.
We’ve been through a lot together – awkward teenage years, college, long-distance, traveling together 24/7 – and at the end of it all, we still sorta like each other 😉
Tell Me More! Tell me more!
Like, does he have a car?! (If you got that reference, I can already tell we’ll be good friends!)
But let’s get back to the point… You want to know more about us?! Gosh, we are flattered.
Alright, get ready because we’re about to share some things not just anybody knows about us.
I have always loved filling notebooks with stories and doodles, so studying journalism and graphic design in university seemed like a natural career path.
However, along that “path”, I’ve taken lots (and lots!) of detours that have lead me where I am today…
Right after I graduated, I was accepted to Teach for America, a program that trains people to be teachers in some of the nation’s most difficult schools. So there I was, 22 years old, teaching English in a high school in Miami.
During those 2 years, I taught and worked with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I pushed myself to my limits, and I finally understood what it meant to listen to your heart.
I told my students to chase their dreams, even if they sounded crazy. So when I decided to take my own advice, Two Wandering Soles was born.
Here are some fun facts about me:
My younger brother once had a pet cockroach. He named it “Katie” and would chase me around the house with it. True story.
My dad owned a photo developing business for many years, so I grew up with a camera in hand. I was obsessed with film and really miss using the darkroom.
I LOVE food. Trying new and unusual things is one of my favorite parts of travel, but there is one thing I will NOT eat: KETCHUP. I don’t even like having it on the table near me!
Speaking of food, I absolutely love cooking. It is one of the things I miss most while we are traveling.
If I could have a *somewhat realistic* superpower, it would be being fluent in every language! Heck, I’d even take being fluent in 5 languages! (Super jealous of all you who are multi-lingual!) My current project is trying to get my Spanish to a conversational level… *work in progress*
I have a strange fetish for stepping on dry, crunchy leaves. It’s no wonder autumn is my favorite season!
I love reading, but I have a terrible habit of starting multiple books at once and never finishing any of them. Anyone else?!
One of my most proud accomplishments was winning the Responsible Traveller Competition that was hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO). As the winner, I was selected to travel to 5 countries around the world to promote sustainable tourism.
If I could spend 90 percent of my day outdoors, I’d be happy. I grew up camping, hiking, and canoeing, and am totally in my element when I’m surrounded by nature.
I love live music, especially when it’s at an outdoor venue. I’ve been lucky enough to hear some my favorite artists live and I think being near the stage is one of my happy places.
Katie’s favorite article on Two Wandering Soles: 7 Life Lessons Travel Teaches
I had so much fun writing this post about what travel has taught me. Even though it has been years since I wrote this, I can still relate to these messages today.
I am a recovering Type-A personality that quit a career engineering to travel the world. Crazy? Maybe. Regrets? None.
After graduating university with my engineering degree and my MBA, I started working at a manufacturing company back home in Minnesota. It was a great job and I got to work with nice people; but of course there were frustrations.
The biggest issue I had was this thought in my head that kept saying, “This will be the next 40 years of your life.” That ate away at me, until Katie and I talked it over and decide to sign up for a TEFL course. Thus began our plans to travel and teach English in Korea.
So in February of 2014, I left my comfortable salary and took the plunge into a new way of life. And I have not looked back since.
I am the sous chef to Katie’s head chef, and I am navigator to her “let’s get lost” attitude. I love that we work as a team whether we’re traveling, cooking or working on this blog.
Here are some interesting tidbits about me:
I’ve been a huge fan of the show “Survivor” since Day 1. I even applied twice. Still waiting on their response! (Speaking of which, I haven’t heard back from “Amazing Race” either!) ? #callmeback
Even though I went to university to study engineering and get my MBA, I’ve had some odd jobs. Some of my favorites have included being a camp counselor for 2 summers (with Katie!), teaching English in South Korea, and working as a snowboard instructor in Washington State.
I can’t roll my “Rs” for the life of me. (Hablar español es muy difícil para mí.)
I’ve lived in 19 different houses/apartments in my life.
I secretly love to dance. Wedding dance floors are my specialty. Do I know any dance steps? No. Does it look good? I’ll let you be the judge. Is it fun? HECK YES!
I have a weird thing for maps. I am pretty good with directions, but sometimes I do get lost. And that’s part of the adventure, right?!
I prefer the mountains to the ocean, mainly because the latter requires more sunscreen. And being that I’m a ginger, I need a lot of it.
My most embarrassing moment was when I was in a talent competition in high school, and my talent was juggling. I’ll start by saying that I’m not that great of a juggler. While on stage in front of hundreds of people, I lost all my balls (get your mind out of the gutter!) except one and had to stand there for the last 30 seconds throwing one ball in the air and catching it until the song was done. Longest 30 seconds of my life.
I love puns. If you can tell me a good pun, we will be instant friends!
Give me a good beer, good people, and a good place, and I will be happy. I’m a pretty simple guy!
Ben’s favorite article on Two Wandering Soles: What they don’t tell you about traveling with a girl
Katie does nearly all the writing on the blog, but I was able to sneak this one by her. I bring to light some hard truths (and some cute ones) about traveling with girls.
Our Travel Style
It’s hard to sum up the way we travel in a few short sentences, especially since we don’t identify with just one particular style. But, we’ll try our best…
We enjoy traveling slowly when we can. We’d prefer to stay in one place for several days and get to know it well as opposed to just skimming the surface of a few places.
We seek out adventure wherever we are. We love doing crazy things that gets our adrenaline pumping. Skydiving, canyoneering, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, zip-lining… sign us up for it all!
When it comes to money, we consider ourselves to be between budget travelers and middle-range. Being that we’re in our mid-twenties early thirties, we are past the phase where we will sleep on a stranger’s floor to save money. We certainly still try to save money wherever possible, but we’ve learned that when it comes to travel, there are times to save and times to splurge.
We love being in nature. Whether it’s laying at the beach or hiking in the mountains… If we’re outdoors, we are happy!
We. LOVE. Eating. And we will try just about anything… Well, not rat. Just can’t do it. We prefer street food that’s eaten while sitting on plastic chairs to a fancy restaurant just about any day. But we also crave a good green smoothie and fresh salad every once in a while, and you usually can’t find those on the street.
Learning about a country’s culture is one of the most rewarding parts of travel for us. We aim to immerse ourselves, interact with locals, and learn about a nation’s history as much as possible.
While we like planning out our travels and seeing some of the big attractions, our favorite travel experiences are usually the unplanned detours and the secret spots we stumble on that aren’t on the typical “tourist path”
One of the most important things to us is making sure that we are doing our best to travel in a socially responsible way. We always try to support companies who are treating locals and the environment well – even if it is a more expensive option.
Why We Travel
There’s something utterly addicting about travel. It’s like nicotine, but more expensive. Though it’s probably a little better for our lungs.
Let’s just say that the more places we travel, the more places we want to see.
Each place we’ve visited has given us reasons to fall in love. For some it’s the landscape, in others it’s the food or culture, and in others still it’s the people. Sometimes we are enraptured by it all. Those are the places that are hardest to leave.
But most of all, we love how travel shows us just how much good is in this world. There is kindness everywhere if you seek it. And the more we travel, the more hope we have for the future of this planet
Wanna know more about Two Wandering Soles?
Head to this page where we explain everything from how we got started, to the meaning behind the name “Two Wandering Soles”, to our core mission.
And we give you the answer to our #1 most asked question of all time: What is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to? (Hint: The answer is more complicated than you may think…)
Still have questions for us?
Check out the answers to our most frequently asked questions.
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