It was love at first sight and they live in Hollywood (Florida), yet have thrived without a television screen for the past 14 months. The TV is not the only box they left behind, either. Recently, they walked away from their careers as well – to travel and to strengthen their marriage.
Lauren is originally from Trinidad and Kenin is a Cuban-American born in Miami, Florida. Together, they write a new travel blog, The Constant Rambler, which goes well with the fact they met in an online chat room 12 years ago. “We hit it off talking about music and then decided to meet up”, Lauren says, “we’ve been inseparable ever since”.
9 years ago, they got married, yet working 9-5 in an office took its toll. “It is easy to lose sight of why you work. You forget the things you dreamed about when you were younger. It is easy to get caught up in material possessions”, Lauren explains and adds, “Our trip was a sort of pilgrimage to find ourselves and re-find each other”.
That trip was a 35-day road trip across the US. They took their two dogs, Zoe and Punkin, and covered 9000 miles, crossing 24 US states. The trip “originally began as a 30-day road trip in celebration of Lauren’s 30th birthday”, Kenin explains.
Two people, two dogs, one car – did the trip strengthen their relationship or tear them apart?
One fact stood in their favor. These two are not afraid of moving – and moving a lot.
The Travel Bug
For Lauren, it began as early as 10 years of age. Her family moved from Trinidad to the United States while she was still in primary school. She connected with her new country pretty fast. “After being there for a short while I realized it was where I belonged”, she recalls, “I didn’t ever want to be seen as an immigrant in the US. It was a difficult transition at first but soon I realized I wanted to be an American”.
Her new American life didn’t mean forgetting life in Trinidad. When asked about it, she shares, “One of my favorite memories is going to the beach with my family when I was a child. At certain times of the year you could go and see the leather back turtles nesting. I absolutely love turtles! Kenin and I even have matching turtle tattoos. I didn’t go back very much as a child, but as an adult I go back at least twice a year to see my whole family”.
Back in her childhood, the focus was on the US. She started volunteering when she started middle school. “I did a lot of beach cleanup and worked with a lot of youth groups”, she says and emphasizes, “I wanted to give back to America”.
The move to the States gave her something too – the realization she wanted to travel the world. Kenin, on the other hand, comes from a family that “seems to be stricken with the urge to wander”, he says. As life would have it, his first trip abroad was to Trinidad. “After seeing all the differences in cultures I was hooked”, he remembers.
Yet they ended up meeting in the US. Since they’ve been together, the two have had more than 17 addresses in 7 different cities in Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Many of the re-locations were for work, many of their own choice, and Kenin describes them as “a weird combination of exhausting and exciting. It’s hard to tear away from your roots and move every 6 months to a year, but the trade-offs are these wonderful adventures. Every time we moved we were able to explore a whole other part of the US”.
For anyone looking for a similar form of nomadic lifestyle, Kenin recommends “to always stay nimble. We avoid buying too much furniture or other household goods, so it’s easier to move”. They’ve become such experts that they can now, according to Kenin, “pack a whole house for moving in two days”.
Unlike many other nomads, Lauren and Kenin share their wanderlust with two dogs. “Zoe is a 10-year old weimaraner. Punkin is a 12-year old Sheltie”, Lauren says, “They love to eat, play and nap. They spend most of the time in the car snuggled together sleeping”. The dogs “are very experienced travelers and have both been traveling with us since they were pups”, she adds.
Lauren and Kenin might be new at travel blogging, yet they’ve been traveling together for years.
Walking Away from their Careers
Before hitting the road on their 35-day road trip, “many different circumstances came to a head all at once”, Kenin shares. These circumstances added up to goodbye, day job. “It’s an absolutely grueling thing to do”, he says, and elaborates that “it’s hard to describe, one part of you is relieved because you are walking away from something that was completely exhausting and taking most of your free time. At the same time we were also leaving something we enjoyed, and in our case paid very well. On the other hand it gave us an opportunity to start our lives over and take it in a whole different direction. Many people live their lives collecting a list of dreams and regrets”.
Kenin points out that it is important to understand what one is getting oneself into. “We had hours and hours of discussion before we made the decision. You also need a good amount of money saved up and have to be comfortable with the idea that you are putting everything you own at risk“, he stretches. They took the leap, he acknowledges, knowing that “no matter where this journey takes us, we can always say we tried something different”.
Hitting the Road for 35 Days, 9000 Miles and 24 US States
The United States might be huge, yet that didn’t scare Lauren and Kenin. “We drove a lot”, Kenin laughs. More precisely, “We drove from Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington and back” in 35 days – while making “sure to stay off the interstates as much as possible and we always took a different route”, he explains. That meant driving 8-10 hours a day and he recounts that “there were a couple grueling days where we drove for 15 hours, then slept in the car, then moved on the next morning”. However, they made sure to give themselves a break every once in a while. “We also stopped for a day in different cities to rest and have some fun”, Kenin reassures.
They visited lots of family and friends, some of them they hadn’t seen in years, and also made new friends on the road. While they kept a loose agenda, Kenin explains that they “had to be in certain cities at certain times, so that kept us on schedule”.
The vast diversity of the terrain was mind blowing to both of them, as they went “from the flat coast of Florida, across the Rocky Mountains, to the Pacific Northwest, and then drive back through the desert”, Lauren remembers. The geography that won their hearts is diverse as well. “Some of our favorites were the California Redwoods and National Parks, the Oregon Coast Line, and the lava flows at Craters of the Moon in Idaho”, Lauren details. For these wildlife enthusiasts, the trip was anything but disappointing. “It was really cool to see the elk in the Smoky Mountains and the moose in Colorado“, Lauren shares, yet adds that their “favorite wildlife spotting was seeing the otters and seals playing in the ocean in California”.
Like many great trips, theirs wasn’t without its share of horror stories. “There were some tough days where we felt like we were pushing our bodies and minds to our limits, especially on the long driving days”, Lauren shares and adds that, “along the way I had altitude sickness at one point and Kenin did break his toe”.
Her incident happened out west in the Rocky Mountains. She realized she was affected by the altitude while they stayed in Keystone, Colorado, though, fortunately, it didn’t develop to something serious. His incident happened back east in the Smoky Mountains. “While hiking through a river I fell and broke my toe”, he remembers. The sight of the broken toe was photographically documented on their blog, alongside gratitude for the camera being waterproof. Kenin was the one holding the camera when he fell in the water.
From the Southernmost to the Northernmost Point in the US – Starting Tomorrow!
While some of the trip was exhausting, Kenin believes that it was “absolutely worth it”. Plus, they really do “love cars and driving, so it was great to be in the car for so much time”, Lauren asserts.
In fact, they loved it so much, they’re embarking on a new road trip tomorrow (October 1). Both Lauren and Kenin have a very competitive spirit, therefore the last trip had to be topped. “We decided we would drive from the Southernmost to the Northernmost point in the US”, Kenin says. “Our trip will take us from Key West, Florida to Deadhorse, Alaska”, he emphasizes, “and should cover about 45-60 days”.
According to Kenin, now that they’re travel bloggers, they no longer see themselves as “just two people enjoying a journey”. Blogging has changed their perspective. “We have to enjoy ourselves, but also capture moments that we want to share with the world” – hence, they plan to “take a lot more pictures”, he promises.
Nonetheless, they’ll keep some things the same. “We want to make sure that we don’t lose the wandering essence of our last trip. It’s critical to us that we don’t look at the trip as a business venture for our blog, but as a journey we are taking together“, Lauren stretches. As with the last trip, the current itinerary is loose according to Lauren, “to allow us to be spontaneous along the way”.
Lessons Learned, Lives Changed. A New Road Has Been Paved.
Ultimately, the 35-day road trip did everything Lauren and Kenin hoped it would do for them – and then some. “For us, our quality of life is much better, but we are living much more frugally. We can’t have lobster every night for dinner now, but we get to be with each other all day. It’s also helped our marriage grow much stronger”, Lauren shares.
The trip also helped them make the decision not to return to their old way of life. They decided to try their hand at travel blogging. On their travel blog, The Constant Rambler, they recently finished telling the story of their 35 days on the road. “Our vision”, Kenin declares, “is to be a resource for fellow travelers in order to help them achieve their travel dreams. We will do that by sharing travel tips, pet tips, reviews, ways to save money on travel, and pictures of the animals we see along the way. We are both absolute animal lovers and we want to share that love with everyone”.
For Lauren and Kenin, the present moment is about joy. “For now we are enjoying each other and taking advantage of the time off to work on The Constant Rambler“, Lauren remarks, “We are taking our next trip to Alaska, and then we would like to take some time off of travel to develop a book about our journey”.
In addition to travel, they enjoy music, cars, food and reading – all areas that go well with travel. “We have been together for a long time and have spent money on lots of things. We have never once regretted the money that we spent on traveling. Traveling is fun, educational, relaxing and necessary!”, Lauren emphasizes. She adds, “I want people to realize how necessary it is and go out there and wander a bit. It doesn’t matter if you take a short drive or a long walk, just get out there and explore”.
A big thanks to Lauren and Kenin for such an interesting interview! I hope your new trip is at least as fantastic as the next one!
Photos in this post are courtesy of Lauren and Kenin and used with their permission.
Follow their journey by visiting their blog, The Constant Rambler, and connecting with them on social media:
Did you enjoy this article? Check out my previous interview with a local – who happens to be my twin brother – Eyal, a music teacher from Israel!
Are YOU a local interested in feeling like a star? E-mail me at ayelet (at) allcolores.com and we’ll set up an interview!
What’s the biggest adventure you ever went on? Share it in the comments!