Hi fellow travelers! We’re Brigitte and Jake and we run the blog Nothing Familiar.
Our love for traveling together began in 2010 when we drove California’s Pacific Coast Highway. This was followed by a trip to Puerto Rico, and then we decided to do something kind of crazy…
Our First Backpacking Journey
In 2014 what started out as a backpacking trip through Europe, quickly expanded into a full blown world tour. Over the next year we traveled extensively through Southeast Asia, South America, and Central America.
From floating down the Mekong River on a long boat in Laos to driving across the salt flats of Bolivia, every new country we explored only fueled our desire to see more. Back then we traveled with zero plans and no expectations, just a severely dwindling bank account!
Towards the end of our first year abroad was also around the time we started Nothing Familiar Travel.
The Start of Nothing Familiar
After spending one morning zip lining through the Ecuadorian jungle, we were laying in our hammocks and day dreaming. How could we continue this life of travel? We wanted to keep exploring the world, but after almost a year on the road we were out of funds.
So we did what any normal person would do and googled “how to start a travel blog.” After spending a few hours throwing around names as an intense rain storm poured down around us, we decided to take the leap. We started Nothing Familiar with very limited wifi, on a 3 year old tablet, and nothing to take photos with except an older iphone!
Moving to Spain
After returning home for the summer to work we thought of a plan. Instead of going back to normal life we would work and save all summer and move to Spain. The goal was to have a one way ticket, perfect our Spanish, and try to make it work.
Well after three months of tapa hopping around the South of Spain we realized we had come no closer to figuring out full time travel. For now we decided to head home, and put our dreams of living and working abroad on hold.
Back to the “Real World”
In 2016 we went back to corporate office life. Although now enjoying living in sunny San Diego, we were still constantly searching for a sense of adventure. We were what most people would call successful. Good paying jobs, benefits, retirement plans, and a great life… Just not for us!
Somewhere between getting engaged and planning for a “traditional wedding” we started to think about what we wanted in life. With a little over one week notice we called our families and told them we were going to elope. Soon after we dropped another bomb that we were quitting our jobs (again), and heading back out on the road!
Choosing a Life of Travel
So now we needed to save hardcore. As in only eating out if it was $1 happy hour tacos, packing our lunches, budgeting groceries, carpooling to work, and getting every deal we could. After a lot of saving up we once again headed out into the world. This time with some better equipment, and the hope of going full time with our website!
Since then we have been back in Southeast Asia, South America, Oceania, and all over Europe. Dozens of countries later, and we are still loving every moment! We have written hundreds of travel blogs showcasing over 40 countries.
It has been a long grind to get our blog to the point it is today, but it has all been worth it. We now spend most of our days writing, hiking, swimming, travel planning, and always trying to grow and learn.
Where Have We Traveled?
Our love for travel didn’t start the day we set off on our first longterm trip in 2014. In fact, it actually began much earlier for both of us! Brigitte traveled for several years with her family growing up, and lived in countries such as New Zealand, Mauritius, and Singapore.
Jake studied abroad in college on Semester at Sea where he spent 3.5 months on a boat and visited 13 countries. It’s safe to say the seed was planted early for both of us!
Answering Our Most Commonly Asked Questions
Do You Work? – Let’s get this one out of the way… Yes! Of course we work, and much harder than we have at any corporate job to get to this point. We spend most of our time building our business, and constantly striving to improve our website. This includes writing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), promoting on social media, and networking. Sometimes our office is at a cafe overlooking the ocean, while others it’s on a high speed train or even night bus!
How Do You Make Money? – This is easily the most common question we get about our business! When it comes to Nothing Familiar most of our revenue comes from affiliate marketing, advertising, tours, and partnerships. Each month brings a different level of income depending on the season. We also do things non-blog related that most people aren’t aware of such as investing.
What Are Your Favorite Countries? – This is a tough one! Some of our favorites are Vietnam for its amazing street food and affordable lifestyle. Argentina was our biggest surprise as we went for three weeks, and ended up staying for six. Also, we love the South of Spain which we have always said is where we want to settle down one day.
Are You Married? – Yes! We were married in 2017, and have been together since 2010. Going on 10 years of love and travel!
Where is the Best Food in the World? – Our personal favorites are in Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam and Singapore. We’ve eaten more bowls of noodles than we can count, and crave the spicy flavors no matter where in the world we are. Some of the best meals we’ve ever had were while squatting down on a little red stool, and slurping back a bowl of noodles on a hot day.
Who’s Been to More Countries? – Current count is Brigitte at 62, and Jake at 60. We’ll see if Jake can ever catch up!
Do You Only Sleep at Hostels? – No, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t spent plenty of time in them! As we’ve gotten older we transitioned out of hostels, and more into hotels, Air Bnb’s, and even beachside bungalows. We still do spend the occasional night at a hostel when we have to, but we prefer something more private these days.
Will You Ever Settle Down? – Yes, at some point we are looking to have a home in Europe. For now we are enjoying mixing our time between exploring the world and living in Massachusetts.
Follow us on our journey for unique destinations, amazing eats, and advice, as we share our own success and mishaps along the way. We hope our blog gives you some cool new ideas, and inspires you to live out your own personal travel dreams… No matter how big or small!
Brigitte & Jake