We are the Wandering Wheatleys – aka Val, Nick, and our little traveling toddler, Humphrey.
Before our baby came along, Nick and I took two amazing around-the-world trips. The first was a year and a half trip that started in 2013. The second began in 2016 and led to us living in Ho Chi Minh City for 2 years where we gave birth to Humphrey.
Read on to find out the amazing journey that resulting in the Wandering Wheatleys travel blog!
The Early Years
Nick and I originally met back in 2005 – Nick had just moved from Atlanta to Portland (Oregon) and I interviewed him for a dismal job in life insurance sales. He politely declined the position but took another job directly across the hall.
Things were strictly platonic until 2011 when we reconnected over a love for bowling and karaoke and it took me picking up and moving to Hawaii for Nick to realize the deep passionate love that was emanating in his heart for me (I’m writing so I’ll recall the story how I want…). I rid myself of my worldly belongings and moved to the gorgeous island of Oahu and he followed shortly thereafter.
Our First World Trip
In 2013 we again ditched our home and all of our things to take off on a 15-month adventure across the world. We started in Argentina (and were promptly mugged on our first day) and spent 6 months bumming around South America. We trekked along the Inca Trail in Peru, swam with pink dolphins in Bolivia, and caught giant tunas while deep sea fishing in the Galapagos Islands.
Then it was on to Southeast Asia where we got tattooed by a monk in Thailand, explored the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, dressed like the locals in Myanmar, and suffered surfing injuries in Indonesia. From there we bought a converted camper van in New Zealand and spent 3 months driving around the North and South islands trying not to kill each other in our cramped living quarters.
Oh, and we got engaged in Laos!
We ended that adventure chapter of our lives with an amazing 5-week trip across India which is arguably one of the most amazing and difficult countries in the world. We visited the Taj Majal, slept on a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala, and dined on street food in Mumbai.
With full hearts and a dwindling bank account, we moved back to the USA feeling ready to “grow up” and tackle the next stage of our lives.
Back in the USA
We moved back to Portland in June of 2014 and got real jobs. And we got married in the Dominican Republic in March of 2015. Well, we actually got legally married in Vegas but that’s another story. But we couldn’t stop the persistent nagging feeling that the travel bug leaves once you’ve been bitten. We were filling our apartment with stuff but it never really felt like home.
We started saving, ploting, and planning our next great adventure.
Our USA Roadtrip
In October of 2016 we were ready to hit the road once again! We sold most of our belongings, rented a small storage unit for a few of the irreplaceable treasures we accumulated in our travel, and moved out of our apartment in Portland. We packed up our 1994 Ford Bronco and spent 6 months driving from Portland to the Florida Keys and back again on an epic US road trip.
We spent our days hiking through our beautiful National Parks and our nights sleeping under the stars. Some of our favorite adventures in the USA were swimming with manta rays in Crystal River, hiking to Havasu Falls, winning the lottery to visit The Wave, getting lost in the hoodoos of Goblin Valley, and camping in White Sands National Park.
Our Second World Trip
Once we had enough of mice sneaking into our car and living in gross stinky camping gear, we knew we were ready for another journey abroad. In April 2017, we booked the cheapest flight we could find to Europe which happened to land in Venice.
From Venice, we took a ferry across the Adriatic Sea to Croatia and journeyed south through the Balkans – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, and finally, Greece. We toured ruins and strolled through so many old cities that we lost count. And we ate all of the cheese and drank all of the wine along the way.
From Greece, we traveled to Turkey because everyone told us not to (we’ve never been known to follow the rules) where we took a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, swam in turquoise blue travertine pools in Pamukkale, and wandered through the endless market stalls of the grand bazaar in Istanbul.
After we finished exploring Europe, it was off to the Middle East to see the Lost City of Petra in Jordan and the Great Pyramids in Egypt. And then we made a quick stop in Paris on our way back home to spend the holidays with our family in the USA.
More World Travels
After ringing in the New Year in the USA it was time to get back on the road so we booked a flight to Morocco. We wandered through the endless alleyways of Marrakech, shopped til’ we dropped in the souks, and road tripped to the Sahara Desert.
Over the following year, we went island hopping in the Philippines, experienced an earthquake in Taiwan, took a train across Uzbekistan, drove a motorhome around the circumference of Iceland, and got pregnant in Latvia!
Living in Ho Chi Minh City
With a baby on the way we knew we needed to settle down for a bit. One of the items on our endless bucket list was to spend a few years living in another country. So in June 2019 we decided to make Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam our home base.
We were due to have our baby boy in early 2020 and we’d read that Vietnam had excellent (and inexpensive!) healthcare. And a thriving expat scene. It was a no-brainer!
We spent two amazing years living in an apartment in Saigon and enjoying all of the chaos that came with it. Cruising around on the back of motorbikes, eating steaming bowls of pho at tiny plastic tables, taking weekly Vietnamese classes, and haggling at the markets were a regular part of our daily life. Saigon is like no other city in the world, and we absolutely fell in love with it.
And then we gave birth to our adorable baby boy, Humphrey, in January 2020. The focus of our lives changed from experiencing all that the city had to offer, to making mom friends and going on baby dates.
We also realized just how important it is to be close to your family members when you have a little one. COVID made it impossible for anyone to visit and difficult for us to leave. So in May of 2021 we made the decision to relocate back to the US. We love Vietnam and would love to make it a regular travel destination in the future, but it was time for Humphrey to finally meet our friends and family members!
Back in the USA… for now
So now we’re back in the USA and just bought a house in Asheville, North Carolina! For the next year or so we plan to be working on home renovation projects, chasing around our toddler, and planning more amazing travel adventures. Thanks for following our journey!
If you happen to be in the area make sure you drop us a line at [email protected]!