To illuminate the world’s beauty while moving lightly through.
Hey, thanks for visiting LightTraveling, where our aim is to illuminate the world’s beauty while moving lightly through.
We are a husband and wife team chasing dreams of slow and immersive travel. We left location-rooted careers in the U.S. to become digital nomads and work while traveling around the world, as a freelance travel writer (Jess) and cycling guide (Matt). This leap was long in the making. For most of our “adult” lives, we followed a traditional, privileged path…college, careers, overwork. Then, an experience occurred that changed everything.
In 2004, during a dream trip in Thailand, we were floating in a long-tail boat off the coast of Krabi when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit. To say we are fortunate to be here today is an understatement. When we returned to the U.S., we struggled to understand our existence and soon realized the path we were on wasn’t for us. We made a decision: In 10 years, we will quit our jobs, sell everything, and explore more of this beautiful world. A dream was launched and goals set. We worked to save money, bank courage, transition careers and acclimate family and friends to the leap. In 2015, we embarked on this adventure and we’ve never looked back.
As we journey, our philosophy on travel continues to evolve. When we first began, we were moving to a new city or country an average of every five days – for almost a year, we pursued that whirl-winding pace. Sure, we enjoyed the adventure, but “ticking places off some list” wasn’t for us. We have found that getting to know local communities below the surface and savoring day-to-day life is what motivates us. Parachuting in, as they say, isn’t our style. We’re likely to spend a month, often several months, in one location. And, we find ourselves going back to many of the same communities; to the point that we’ve strangely developed a few mini-residiences around the world – a completely unexpected twist.
Thus far, we’ve had the privilege of living our lives in Italy, France, Spain, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Morocco, England, Thailand, Spain, the UK, Cuba and Myanmar. In each of these places, we’ve developed friendships and gained a greater understanding of cultures, differences and commonalities.
Along the way, we’ve also experienced the joy of lightening our weight, both physically and philosophically. We no longer own cars or accumulate “stuff”. Two backpacks, one laptop, one yoga mat and a couple of bikes, that’s basically our gear. We have also become more aware and concerned with each passing day about the planet’s sustainability, so you’ll find we share tips and stories about how we can each – Matt and I included – live and travel more responsibility.
We hope you will reach out and say hello. And, we hope through this new site to nudge you into chasing a few dreams of your own. Thanks for visiting, we’re grateful for you.
Here’s the message you will hear echoing throughout LightTraveling:
Travel need not be far-flung to be meaningful. Grand discoveries await around every corner, even tucked into seemingly familiar nooks of an oft-overlooked hometown.
To travel is a privilege.
The opportunity comes with responsibility. To be open in embracing different cultures and backgrounds and willing to consider your impact on the places and people you encounter.
To seek and embrace the unknown, allowing curiosity and compassion to lead.
To happily move the lines of entrenched comfort zones. To connect with those not normally along your path. To soak in the world’s beauty through new eyes, if only for a short time.
To leave a place unaltered or better than you found it.
Here’s what we do:
Jess Simpson Freelance writer specializing in travel and sustainable living. I am a frequently published writer with 75+ bylines for Architectural Digest, Fodor’s, Mental Floss, Bustle and Intrepid Travel, among other publications. My bi-weekly “Travel Secrets” column for Paste magazine has been one of the site’s most popular features. Areas of interest include cycling, running, food and wine tourism and sustainable travel. – Jess
Matt Simpson Cycling fanatic and pro cycling guide. I launched Cycle Trentino in 2015 to share the beauty of cycling in northern Italy with other riders. Every summer, we customize cycling camps and vacations in the Dolomites, and now – in an unexpected twist – also plan tours in other seasons to Croatia, France and Spain. Visit www.CycleTrentino.com and let’s connect on Strava.