As you know, we have started this series where we introduce you to our favorite traveling couples. Next up in our spotlight are Erin and John of the family adventure travel blog, LivingEZ, two American expats who settled in Australia with their daughter Cecilia.

Erin and John: The expats on a big island

When I ask Erin and John how they met, at the beginning of our interview, Erin smiles and answers: “John is so glad you asked, it is one of his favorite stories to tell! Fatefully, John wore a navy blue polo and khakis when he went to the local Best Buy one day to pick up a camera. Mistaking him for someone knowledgeable (a sales associate), I asked for his advice on batteries. He lacked helpful information in that department but he did know a lot about the new city (both of us had moved there within the past four months). We were also both getting serious about photography and upgraded to DSLRs on the same day. We started talking about travel plans and the awkwardness of meeting new people via meetup.com. The actual Best Buy associate eventually jumped in to interrupt our conversation, and said “Why don’t you guys make plans for this weekend and then I can ring her up?” We met at the farmer’s market to start our photography journey, became fast friends, and got married a little over a year later.”

Soon after, Erin and John moved to Australia. By then, they had just had a baby but when John got approached by a recruiter from LinkedIn about a position in Sydney, the couple just knew they had to accept it. However, not everything went as smoothly as they thought. “My biggest surprise was that moving internationally is actually not romantic at all – it is ton of paperwork!”  laughs Erin. “Travel might be dramatic and conjure up montages from Instagram, but international relocation is a legal process!” Eventually, the couple survived and made it to the big Island. “We love it here now” they say. “The best part for us is living car-free. We decided to stay in the city so we could walk and bike to work, the grocery store, and daycare. It has really given us a whole new perspective on travel, and what is really necessary. It is easy to toss a bunch of stuff in your car, but when we pack our bikes every item is evaluated. That has carried through to how we pack for our longer trips as well.”

Since they arrived in Australia, the couple just fell in love with biking and hiking in general. “It is a great way to see a lot as a family” they explain. “Even though Sydney is a major city, we are lucky to have tons of awesome hikes within and around the city. We love the coastal hikes that follow the rocky shore or harbor. Some of our favorites are the Kiama coastal hike, Coogee to Bondi, and Henry Head Walking Track. In terms of biking, we are looking forward to going down to Canberra for long rides as it is supposed to have some really nice paths.”

But the couple also travels internationally. They recently came back from a trip to Hawaii. “We loved it!” they say enthusiastically. “It was one of those places that we planned to visit “someday”, but it was so surreal walking through the Kilaeu Iki crater and realizing that day had arrived. We swam with wild dolphins while snorkeling, saw molten lava flowing down mountainsides, and gazed upon the rings of Saturn through a telescope at the Mauna Kea visitor’s center…”

And when I ask them about their best travel memory, Hawaii comes up one more time: “We have had a ton of great travel memories, but one is from our recent Hawaiian trip. We both had read about areas where Spinner dolphins often rest and play, and that are close enough to shore that people can swim out and see them. What we didn’t realize is how surreal it is to be floating looking down with light streaming into the blue water and fifty dolphins slowly rising to the surface all around you. We both became addicted to the incredible calm and loving nature of the animals. Luckily we have swimming backgrounds and were able to go out to places where we were the only snorkelers among the kayaks. In the following days we hiked to off the beaten path snorkel spots and ended up seeing the magical creatures three days in a row. It still blows my mind when I think about those moments in the water” recalls Erin.

I admire the capacity of the couple to travel all over the world, especially with a toddler. “John always mentions that our daughter, Cecilia had more stamps in her passport at two months than he did in his first thirty years!” says Erin joyfully. “We feel a bit guilty for separating our daughter from her extended family, so we make a trip back to the US each year. We also want to make the most of our time here, and we steadily cross items off our Australia bucket list. We have always loved hiking and biking, we just focus on it more now because it’s great for Cecilia as well.”

Before leaving Erin and John, I ask them if they have one piece of advice for new parents who like to travel. “You never know what is possible until you try!” they answer. “A lot of people set limits on themselves because they want to avoid uncomfortable situations and as a result they end up missing out on a lot. The expectations that you set while your child is young will determine what he/she regards as normal. For us, this meant starting Cecilia in baby carriers so that we could eventually transition her to our hiking backpack.”

I couldn’t have said it better and 100% agree with them. Don’t we all wish our parents were a bit like Erin and John when we were young? If you want to follow Erin and John’s adventures, make sure to check out their blog and Instagram!

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This post was written by Elisa Fourt.
Elisa Fourt was part of the Travelettes team from 2015 to 2017.  Elisa usually describes herself as a world citizen. She has lived, studied, worked and travelled in more than 60 countries throughout her life and she loves to share her passion for the world with others. When she is not planning her next trip or writing about the last one, Elisa likes to help people in need and get involved in various not-for-profit projects. She currently works for a NGO in the Middle-East. Follow her on Instagram @lisou.me