We all love a great romance, right? You know, those stories where a little girl and boy grow up together and fall forever in love...the kind that only happen in movies?
Today, we're presenting a behind-the-scenes look at a real life love story that will have you swooning, one that demonstrates young black love at its finest.
Amirah, creator of Cool Young History and Travel Noire contributor, shares a look at a life lived throughout the world with her husband on her side. Amirah was born in Germany and raised in the Midwest. After graduating from Howard University with an accounting degree, she set out to live in sunny Los Angeles. It took two years in Corporate America to realize that maximizing someone else's profits was not her dream. She quit her career, sold everything and began 'Honeymooning Indefinitely' with her husband in September 2013.
They've been to over a dozen countries; you can currently catch them gallivanting throughout Europe.
So, where has their ambitious joint wanderlust taken them? How do they do manage it -- what allows them to hop from country to country and sustain themselves? How has their indefinite honeymoon impacted their quality of life?
Find out on the next episode of Dragon Ball Z! Sike, sike... it's all here below. For anyone who dreams of living a life on their own terms, holding the world at their fingertips, you will find this read eye-opening and inspiring. Trust me, after hearing Amirah's story I'm just about ready to quit my job, pack up and escape across the world as well (with or without a bae by my side).
PBU: Were you and your husband both big on travel before you started dating? How easy or difficult was it, especially when first beginning your journey, to travel together 24/7?
Amirah: I have always been big on travel. I was an Army brat, my parents moved all over the states, so I’ve enjoyed moving my entire adult life. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, but my parents were from the east coast, so I never had a strong connection to the area. I moved to Washington, DC for college and then to Los Angeles after graduation. My husband, Jarrell, is also from Columbus; we’ve known each other since we were 7-years old. He went to college in Ohio and always wanted to move away.
He’s always been very ambitious so when we got married, he pushed me to make my dream of living abroad and traveling the world a reality. Neither of us had ever traveled out of the country (I was born in Germany, but moved back to the states before my first birthday), I didn’t even have a passport. So we both traveled all over the states, but weren’t world travelers at all. We’ve always been best friends so spending all of our time together was very easy for us; it was our dream lifestyle. We knew we would never be happy spending 8-10 hours a part everyday for typical careers.
You both quit your jobs, sold your belongings, and bought one way tickets to Central America. Tell us about your very first leap? Was it well planned out or did you navigate as you went along?
The first leap was actually supposed to be going through South America. I found a volunteer website and convinced myself I was going to teach English in Peru. I found the program, talked with the director, I was sure of it. I was supposed to start in November, but our lease was up on October 1. I found really cheap flights to Panama, so we booked tickets and figured we would trek through South America to Peru. I am part Panamanian so we thought it was very fitting to start our journey there.
A month into our stay in Panama the school in Peru pushed back my start date until January. We decided to just cancel that idea and trek through Central America instead. In December we caught a flight glitch and booked tickets to Italy for $140 out of New York. That’s how we ended up heading to Europe. So no, we did not have a solid plan at all. We actually spent the first year just going wherever the wind blew us. We decided to do more of what we want this year, so we mapped out our travel plans for the entire year. It’s very exciting, we are both looking forward to some of our upcoming destinations.
How do you typically choose which country is next? Do you and your husband always agree on where you want to travel?
I do most of the travel planning. I keep our schedule very flexible and I decide where to go next based on opportunities available. So if I book Jarrell to paint a mural in London, that immediately moves London to the top of our travel list. Or if we’re asked to house sit in Greece, we’ll be going to Greece. I won’t book a place unless we both agree on going, but we are very open-minded and interested in seeing everywhere. However, sometimes one of us is more excited than the other. We’re going to Amsterdam and Germany next. Jarrell is most excited about Amsterdam, while I am ecstatic to see where I was born in Germany. In the beginning I picked our locations based on where we could fly to the cheapest, I discuss how to do that in my new eBook.
How did you both initially begin working for yourselves? (As in, what type of work/freelance did you do?) What's your personal preferred way, now, to make money on the road?
Jarrell has always been entrepreneurial. In college, he managed nightclubs and threw parties. He’s also a fine artist so he’s also created paintings, murals and illustrations.
Once I began my career as an executive in retail I really liked the salary, but felt that my time was more valuable than what I was making. I felt I had a better chance at financial success on my own as opposed to working for someone else. My first venture was an online clothing store. It was a failed business, but I learned how to build websites, which has been a valuable skill. I’ve grown to love all my failures. My favorite way to make money now is by creating digital products, because I create something once and can resell it over and over, without having any physical inventory. I’m a big advocate for creating streams of passive income. I also really love working as Jarrell’s agent, booking artist gigs for him. Watching his artistic dream come into fruition is beautiful.
If you had to choose one country, which would be your favorite so far? What experiences made it extra special?
Granada, Nicaragua is my favorite place in Central America. I loved the weather, the food, the architecture and the people. We rented a studio apartment and spent a little over a month there. Majorca, Spain is my favorite place in Europe. It is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. We spent two months there dog sitting and really loved it. Italy is Jarrell’s favorite because of the language, the slow pace of life, the (amazing) pizza and the emphasis on art and wine all over the country. We lived in Umbria, Italy for three months in a small village on the border of Tuscany. Italy will always have a special place in our hearts because it was our introduction to Europe. We both loved Rome. We walked around with a map and got lost in the architecture of the city for a week.
Other than being able to say you've seen some of the world's most fascinating sights, what effect has this indefinite honeymoon had on you?
Whenever you set out to achieve something and make it happen you change as a person. To do that together is unexplainable. Traveling and writing were my dreams and now that’s what I do. Jarrell wanted to focus on art and now that’s all he does. Our ‘indefinite honeymoon’, as I began to call it because of the amazing time we were having everyday, has been the manifestation of us creating the life we want.
What would be your most practical advice for any readers who also want to work for themselves and enjoy a self-designed life?
My advice would be to dedicate time to discovering yourself. Research yourself the way you do your favorite celebrity. Figure out what makes you tick and what you like to do. What have you longed to do for so long that you can’t even remember when the longing began? That’s your calling and you should focus on that. Don’t worry about making money, because that’s working backwards. I wasted a lot of time brainstorming ways to make money before I finally gave in and just focused on what I love to do. Following your calling and passion will lead you to the financial success that seems to motivate so many of us.
I recently wrote my first eBook, 101 Ways to Travel The World For Less Than $10 A Day, which explains how to leverage different skillsets for what you want. You can utilize these skills whether you travel or not.
Thank you so much for sharing your AMAZINGGG experiences, Amirah! One final question to wrap it all up... do you see yourselves settling down in one home base again anytime soon?
It was my pleasure, I love what you two are doing! As an HU alum [like Adrienne] that also moved to LA after graduation [like Kristen], I had to support!
As far as us settling down, I do not think we will be stopping soon. Our plan is to travel until the 2016 Olympics in Rio, then we will stay put for a year or so. But the way our lives are set up, we just follow opportunities. So if a great opportunity calls us to New York tomorrow, we will head that way. We’re just doing what makes us happy, and right now we’re really enjoying hopping around countries with backpacks and a Macbook.
Follow the young couple's beautiful journey at CoolYoungHistory.com, where you can also find great travel hacks and entrepreneurial advice. Feel free to get in touch with Amirah if you'd like to know more about her nomadic adventures, and check them out on Instagram and Twitter @CoolYoungHistory!