It’s here! It’s here! Our exciting new traveling couples interview series is finally here! And have we got a cool couple to introduce you to first.
Meet Shannon and Michael Healey of Camera & Carry On!
This husband-and-wife blogger team is making their name in the travel blogosphere with some of the most creative writing in the business, not to mention a site just FULL of drool-worthy travel photos from the most scenic of worldly places. From warm beaches to snow-covered mountains, it seems like this couple’s been EVERYWHERE!
So what’s their story? In short: two years back, these die hard travelers embarked on a 6-month full-time travel journey, returning home refreshed with camera cards (and carry-ons!) full of memories to last a lifetime. The Healeys have settled stateside once again and now build on the memories from their short term — yet epic — full-time travel period by incorporating travel into their everyday American lives (which just so happens to be the theme of their blog).
Now that’s enough from me. Let’s meet the couple!
Hi! We’re Michael and Shannon, the duo behind [insert lots of flashy words here] travel blog Camera & Carry On. We’ve been galavanting around the globe together since 2006 and have seen over 30 countries, taken more than 60,000 photos, flown countless miles, snorkeled with 2 whale sharks, eaten several unidentifiable “food” items, and slept in 1 tree house.
The Travel Couple At a Glance
Names: Shannon and Michael Healey
Blog: Camera & Carry On
Quit Date: October 2013
Location Independent For: 6 months
Home Base: Boston, MA
Money Makers: (1) Michael’s full time creative director job (their main income source) (2) Shannon’s freelance design and photography gigs. Check out their [super-awesome] portfolios here and here. (While Camera & Carry On isn’t a big money maker yet, they’ve nailed a few sponsorships and paid opportunities that have made life a little sweeter.)
Posts They’re Most Proud Of — You’ll wanna read these!
- 67 Random Tips for Better Travel
- Not Just Piña Coladas, More Action in the Caribbean
- AMC’s “Mad Men” Are Back, But Where Did They Vacation?
Next Destination: Machu Picchu, Peru and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Q & A with Camera & Carry On
Q. When did you decide to quit your job to travel full time? How long after that did you actually quit?
Many moons ago, Michael got a great job offer that would bring us to New York City. After a few months of the NYC rat race, we knew it wasn’t for us. “What next?” we asked ourselves. Another 9 – 5, in another city? What did we really want to do with our lives? Before NYC, Michael’s new job had him start a few months in the London office. We really loved it there, it just felt like our kind of place.
So really, that was the original plan: figure out how to move to London. Unless you’ve looked into this, you may not realize, but it’s actually extremely difficult for Americans to work/live abroad. By the time we calculated the price of getting visas, moving, and everything else, it seemed nearly impossible to afford.
One hot summer night, we took a stroll along the East River, and Michael just blurted it out, “You know, the cost of moving and working in London is basically the same as just quitting and traveling for a while.” And that was it. We literally said, “F*** It!” and 4 months later, we toasted champagne on a flight to Beijing.
Q. What were the biggest influencers on your decision to quit to start traveling?
The biggest factor in our decision? Quality of life.
To quote ourselves, “Life’s a journey, right? How could I possibly stay in the same place, doing the same thing for years on end? I’m driven to make life for Shannon and myself the best it can be. I don’t think “average” and “satisfactory” are good enough. Everyone of us has the ability to live extraordinary lives, and for me, it’s all about keeping it fresh and exciting. That’s what travel is to me; it’s a shot of caffeine, a kick in the ass, and the climax of sweet love.”
Q. What was/is your game plan for getting by? (Did you spend a lot of time planning? How closely have you stuck to your original plan? What (if anything) has changed your plans along the way?)
We wanted to enjoy our travel without being burdened by work, so we set a budget to stick to for the entirety of our journey, which we were miraculously on point with.
Unlike the “backpacker” style of travel, we tend to plan out where we’ll be visiting and staying about a month in advance. The time wasted searching for a place to spend the night once we arrive somewhere, or the extra cost of last minute flights, just doesn’t appeal to us. So, we tend to have a rough idea of what our trip will look like ahead of time, but itinerary is not in our vocabulary.
Q. What made/makes your situation unique? (Why do you think YOU do it, while many others never do?)
Hmmm, what makes us one-of-a-kind? You mean other than our quirky personalities, uncanny ability to speak in acronyms, and our constant bursts of R.A.S. (Random Acts of Song)?
Everyone’s unique, and what works for us may not work for everyone. We’ve been on the move since we got together; moving cross country, trips to this place, or that one. For us, there’s just always been this drive to do more than what we were told we should do. I think a lot of people have that, but less possess the willingness to take the risk.
More than just the state of mind, we’re also very organized and budget conscious, and for us, I think that’s what really keeps us rolling.
Q. What are your goals for your blog/business/traveling life?
“Camera & Carry On signs largest travel book deal in history.” “Shannon and Michael voted best Travel Channel hosts.” “New reality show, ‘Traveling with Camera & Carry On,’ is huge success.” “Michael and Shannon caught in love triangle with Kate Upton and Johnny Depp.” Maybe? Kind of? Not really at all? No, we’re not going for headlines or tabloid scandals.
Truthfully, in even the smallest way, we want to inspire others to live their best life with travel in it. Whether that means cooking with flavors from around the world, or how to find those hidden gems off the beaten path. Each person’s path is an individual one, and they should be living it on their own terms. And for us that means continuing to make travel a priority, always being open to the opportunity for something new, and finding happiness in our everyday.
Q. At what point did you just know you could really do it? Or have you not yet reached that point?
For us, it was never really about having the guts to do it. We’ve moved cross country a few times, so quitting, packing up, and hitting the road has never scared us. Moving everything you own into a tiny, 5th floor storage unit in NYC, however, was daunting (and hellish – we do not recommend it). The toughest part is narrowing down the destinations and nailing down the money part.
Q. What’s the biggest thing you’ve struggled with since you started your new exciting journey, and what have you been doing to overcome it?
A lack of greens in China, losing our bags in Malaysia, or The Great Snow Chain Debacle of Switzerland… We’ve got some stories. Stay tuned for more to come on our blog soon! Besides a handful of Worst Day Evers, travel can be pretty exhausting.
Ok, it’s not really so horrible, but to counter that we tried to stay in each location for at least a week or two. That gave us time to unpack, get to know the area, and live like the locals for a bit. But every now and then constant movement catches up with you. Who are we kidding? Even with the lousy stuff from time to time, we really can’t complain. We’d rather spend our days trying to figure out which boat will take us to Koh Yao Yai than wasting away behind a desk.
Q. What’s the most awesome thing about the journey you’re on now?
Just being able to soak it all in. Not feeling like there’s somewhere we have to go, or something we have to do – that the here and now is it. Quitting to travel gives you that freedom.
Q. If you were single, would you have done it alone? Do you think it was easier to quit as a couple?
Single, solo, traveling alone? Umm… no. Haha. We’ve been a team for so long now, it’s hard to imagine what that would be like, but we honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s great to have a partner not only to lean on, but share experiences with. Not to get all cheesy, rom-com on this, but it’s really that much more special because we’re together. Ok, you can all go *awww* now.
Q. What advice do you have for a couple (or individual) considering taking the leap themselves?
Be prepared, use your smarts, and do a little research, but don’t hold back. You only have one life to live, so make the most of the one you’ve got. We put together this infographic to help explain our process and give others a guideline for creating their own, epic game plan.
If you are traveling with someone, it really helps if you share a similar travel style. Otherwise, it might be good to have a chat beforehand. 🙂
Q. Do you ever regret quitting or wish you had your old life back?
Absolutely not. Our only regret was not traveling full time for longer. We scheduled and budgeted for 6 months of comfortable travel, but easily could have stretched that to a year.
Q. Where are you now, and where to next?
Since our 6 month round-the-world adventure wrapped up, we now call Boston home, and have made it our mission to share and incorporate travel into everyday life. Not everyone can just take off, so we want to spread the word for those at home and on the go.
As far as destinations go, we just returned from a rum and sunshine filled trip to St. Croix. However, our BIG trip on the horizon is to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands: a winning combination of high altitudes and boobies (if looking that up, make sure to google “boobies the birds,” and not just “boobies”).
Final Thoughts from Shannon & Michael
Everyone’s story is unique. For us, it meant quitting our jobs to travel – for a while – but ultimately coming back stateside to make a little home for ourselves once again. We like having a home base, a dog (have you seen our Sumo yet, ‘cause he’s the cutest), and our bed. And we like it that way, giving us time to plan our next great adventure, while we manage our day to day and make the most of each moment when we aren’t exploring the other side of the globe.
Let’s Keep Chatting!
Have a question for Shannon and Michael about life or travel (or their adorable dog)?
Coming Up Next: Anna Ge and Daniel Relich (Slightly Astray)
I’ve been following Anna for almost a year now, since we found each other in the blogosphere and discovered we’d coincidentally both jumped ship from our full-time LA jobs at almost exactly the same time (just one month apart).
In her own words, Anna’s “an ordinary girl who meets boy with extraordinary dreams. What’s a girl to do? Quit her job and travel the world, of course!”
While I’ve followed their latest travel adventures (from Anna’s perspective) throughout Asia and on to Europe, I know fewer details about Daniel (her boyfriend and travel partner) and how they fund their adventures, so I can’t wait to learn more about this couple!
Know of an inspiring interview-worthy traveling couple?
We’d love to get to know them — and perhaps introduce them to our blog readers! Tell us about them in the comments or send an email my way.
About the Author
- In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.