Hi everyone! We are Peter and Rachel and we blog at RTWreset.com. Starting July 5, 2018, we are taking a year off to travel “round the world” (RTW) as part of a “life reset” (hence our blog name!). We’re in our early 40s and have been married close to 20 years. We don’t have any kids and this is the first time in our marriage that we haven’t had pets. Peter is originally from upstate New York and Rachel is originally from Vermont. However, we have lived in Virginia since 2001 and consider it home. Rachel enjoys exercise and fitness, particularly Pilates. She also loves to cook and is an avid photographer. Peter does not enjoy fitness nearly as much as Rachel, but she drags him along to keep him healthy. He enjoys music (playing guitar and ukulele), oil painting, and eating Rachel’s amazing meals. Both of us enjoy great wine, as well as anything and everything on the water, like boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing.
We came up with the idea of a life reset in 2015. Both of us were working in stressful environments, we were in a house that was WAY bigger than two people would ever need, and we were trying to figure out what we wanted the next phase of our lives to look like. At that point, we had our first discussions about doing a RTW trip. We started reading blogs, purchased a few travel books, and printed a map that we marked with potential destinations. Then, like we suspect many people do, we talked ourselves out of a RTW trip by telling ourselves it was too extreme.
Shortly after that, in early 2016, Peter had a medical scare that resulted in a trip to the hospital emergency department. Thankfully, it was determined that it was nothing serious, but several medical professionals said that stress can do some strange things to the body. Hmmm, remember those stressful work environments? At that point, we made the decision to move to a small waterfront community (hello water!), sell the way-too-big house, find less stressful jobs, decrease our living expenses, sell all of the “stuff” that we didn’t really need, and reset our lives.
The transition was an AMAZING one, but the idea of a RTW adventure was still in the back of our minds. Peter’s medical scare had put things into perspective for us so we were more on board with living for today than ever before. In addition, both of us have been in our careers for two decades. We figure that we are halfway through…maybe. We both like our current jobs, the people we work with, and the companies we work for. However, we both need time to step back, reflect on things, and really evaluate where we want to go in the second half of our careers.
With all of this in mind, our RTW reset is more of a continuation of the post-medical scare reset. It’s also what we originally talked about in 2015. Most importantly, we know that if we don’t do this we will regret it when we are older.
1. How long have you been blogging?
We started secretly blogging in August 2017, which is when we started planning for our RTW life reset in earnest. We say “secretly” because we had our blog on complete lockdown since our employers didn’t know we were planning to leave them and we didn’t want them to discover our blog. As a result, we were pretty much blogging for each other (and some trusted friends and family) for around 7 months until we gave notice at our jobs and were able to tell people.
2. Are you a full-time blogger or do you also have another job/career?
Rachel is a physical therapist and Peter works in public relations. Once we hit the road we suppose we will be full-time life reset bloggers…at least for a year!
3. What got you started into blogging?
When we first discussed taking a RTW trip back in 2015 we had no idea how complex the process was. As international travel novices, learning about Visa requirements, vaccinations, what to do about our mail, how to file taxes when abroad, etc., were all things we knew nothing about. The more we read and learned the more notes and information we started writing down. Ultimately, these notes evolved in to our blog, which we are excited to continue with once we hit the road.
4. What is your blog about and how does it help others?
Currently, our blog is about our planning process. We’re covering things like telling employers, financial preparation, health insurance, vaccinations, gear and equipment, destination profiles, etc. Our goal is for the blog to serve as a resource for other people beginning a RTW trip or other extended travel. Once we are on the road, we will transition to talking about our experiences. While we will talk about destinations and experiences, we do plan to spend a lot of our time blogging about the “life reset” component of our experience. The funny thing is, we don’t know what those topics will be because we haven’t had those experiences yet and we’re trying to keep ourselves wide open for what the world will bring and show us.
5. What is working for you and your blog? Why?
Having two writers has been very beneficial. Rachel has been the destination and itinerary researcher and writer. Peter has been the logistics researcher and writer. Depending on the topic we sometimes team up… like when working on this! Because of this, we have two “voices” on our blog. Some might resonate more with Peter’s style and others might like Rachel’s more. We also have built-in reviewers and editors in one another, which is very helpful, especially since our styles are different. Rachel is less critical and more go-with-the-flow with posts. Peter, likely because of a career in public relations, is far more critical and picky about the written word. It truly is a nice balance.
6. What did not work out so well for your blog? Why?
We originally thought we would use Weebly for our blog. Peter had used it in the past and we thought it would be robust enough. End result – he built the site and we started “secretly” publishing blog posts. However, we noticed as we researched and read various blogs that Weebly did not seem like a common choice. We also quickly realized that it was not robust enough for some of the features that we like on other blogs. Because of this, we made the decision to switch to WordPress, which has proved to be a far better solution. However, this meant that Peter had to learn WordPress, rebuild the site, and utter a few curse words in the process.
7. What tools are you using that you can introduce my readers to?
As we just mentioned, we use WordPress as our blogging platform. We also recently started using Twitter and Instagram, as well as a service/app called HootSuite that allows us to manage both from one platform. We film all of our vlogs (hosted on YouTube) using a Sony RX100 camera and Zoom H1 audio recorder. The videos are created in iMovie on our MacBook Pro.
8. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a blog?
Write for yourself first. We mean this in two different ways. The first is to do a secret blog like we did; that’s not to say to do it as long as we had to! However, we think having a small library of completed articles when you launch your blog helps with confidence and your blog will feel more established. The second way to “write for yourself first” is to write about topics that truly interest you. For example, we have been writing about RTW trip planning because it is interesting and relevant to us. This makes the blogging process fun and enjoyable (most of the time!).
9. What do you have planned for the future of your website/blog?
The entire research and planning process has been exciting and certainly part of our life reset. However, we are really looking forward to the “Life on the Road” section of our blog. We’ll talk about destinations and activities, but we are most excited to blog about what this experience tells us about ourselves and what we want the next part of our life together to look like.
10. Where can everyone find you?
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