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#rtwsoon Interview: Steph & Tony – 20 Years Hence

#rtwsoon Interview: Steph & Tony – 20 Years Hence

It’s that time of year when aspiring world travelers say goodbye to familiar surroundings and take off on their adventures of a lifetime around the world.

We did the same thing last year and we’ll be publishing TWO #rtwsoon interviews in the next two days with travelers who are leaving this week! The first interview is with Steph and Tony of 20 Years Hence who are traveling through Asia and Europe for 12-18 months starting in Japan.

As usual, all we can say is that we’re very jealous. Have fun you two!

At the base of the CN Tower in Toronto, CanadaWho are you?

To plagiarize our “About Us” section from our blog, we are Steph Harrison & Tony Kuehn. Although Steph is originally from Toronto, Canada, and Tony is originally from Minnesota, we met, fell in love in and got married in Nashville, TN where we have been living together for the past five years.

We have both done some traveling prior to meeting—Tony has been to nearly every major city in the U.S., and Steph spent 7-weeks backpacking around Europe & the UK in 2005—but together we have traveled to Canada (Montreal and Toronto), parts of the U.S. (favorite cities we have been together are: Miami, Charleston, Savannah, San Francisco, Chicago, & NYC) and Puerto Rico (which yes, is part of the U.S. but feels too exotic to lump in with the rest of it!).

Where are you going on your RTW?

Unlike some RTW travelers, we really do hope to travel all the way around the world on our trip! We are flying from Minneapolis, MN to Tokyo, Japan, and then plan to work our way west back to North America, traveling through Asia, Europe, & the UK. You can see a more in-depth overview of our route & the countries we plan to visit (always subject to change!) here:

When are you leaving?

Tomorrow! Our flight to Tokyo leaves on August 8, so we are in the home stretch now!

Steph & Tony in front of the Parthenon… in Nashville, TN!

Steph & Tony in front of the Parthenon… in Nashville, TN!

Why did you decide to go on this trip?

We are somewhat ashamed to admit this, but the genesis of this trip is somewhat hazy in our minds. We know that we have been intermittently dreaming & actually planning this trip for around three or four years at this point. Because we always knew we would ultimately be leaving Nashville (Steph was there as a graduate student and in the realm of academia, you rarely if ever stay in the same place where you did your doctoral studies), we initially conceived of this trip as a 1 – 2 month jaunt through Europe and the UK once Steph graduated. However, our plans slowly began to grow and 2 months became 6 months… After finding more and more blogs of long-term travelers, we realized that the possibility of traveling for a year or more wasn’t actually all that crazy!

The whole philosophy behind this trip is that rather than immediately transplanting ourselves to a new city and tying ourselves to new jobs with limited vacation time, this really was a natural break that lends itself perfectly to doing some extensive traveling. In the time since we first envisioned this trip, we have both changed a good deal, as have our goals and aspirations. We both feel we are at a bit of a crossroads in terms of how we want the next chapter of our life to unfold, and we are hoping this trip helps give us some perspective on the direction we’d like to move in, especially in terms of future careers and lifestyle. We’re both a bit burned out and feel it is time for a radical change!

On the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico

On the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico

What will you be doing to pass the time before your travels?

Well, there’s not much time to pass at this point! However, the past few months have been a whirlwind for us: Steph defended her dissertation and was awarded her PhD in May, Tony’s last day of full-time work was June 1, which we celebrated by going to Bonnaroo for the very first time! It was also a great way to say goodbye to Nashville, as we moved up to Toronto, Canada on June 30. We then spent the first 3 weeks of July living with Steph’s parents, running around getting critical trip preparation done as well as getting our two dogs—Rory & Emmy Lou (who you can learn more about here)—settled into their new home (they’ll be living with Steph’s parents while we are away).

We then drove down to Minnesota, where we have been spending time with Tony’s parents and will continue to do so until we leave! We’re trying to get the last-minute travel errands taken care of, as well as write all the “pre-trip” posts for our blog so that we can hit the ground running once we reach Japan!

If you could give just one piece of advice to a fellow #rtwsoon traveler, what would it be?

We think the one thing that has proven to be true for us is that contrary to popular belief, it’s actually hard work following your dreams. Our trip has been the result of a variety of sacrifices, and choosing to travel has sometimes meant NOT choosing other great things. At times leading up to this trip, we have been scared and sad, and this doesn’t seem to be a part of the journey that gets a lot of exposure.

So, we suppose our advice to fellow travelers or would-be travelers is to feel the fear and face it head-on. It’s always easiest to stay in your comfort zone and not push yourself, but we have found that challenging ourselves to make this change has always been worth it. Since committing to making our dream a reality, we have found that opportunities and helping hands we never could have imagined have presented themselves. So, whatever your passion in life, go at it full force and you will never regret it.

Visit Steph & Tony’s Website: 20 Years Hence
Follow Steph & Tony on Twitter: @20YH

If you’re heading around-the-world in the next 12 months and would like to be featured here, please contact us.

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