We Two Drifters are huge fans of romance and adventure. We are always so thrilled to share the tales of other globe-trotting couples in our interview series. Introducing our newest couple Aviv & Paulina of Leaving Wooster.
Hello! Please introduce yourselves!
Hey there! Shalom! We’re Aviv + Paulina, husband and wife who left our NYC home of 10 years and minimized our lives down to carry-on luggage to travel the world. We’ll be on the road for a year this April. So excited to be featured on Two Drifters!
When did you first start traveling together?
We started traveling on April 1st of last year — that’s when we took our first flight out of the States. That said, we actually sold all of our stuff in November of 2015. We apartment-hopped in NYC for 6 months to soak up experience in the city and live in as many neighborhoods in Manhattan as possible before leaving for good. So technically, we were on the move in November of 2015, traveling from apartment to apartment in Manhattan. Then we started our global adventure in April. We suppose it depends how you define travel! 🙂
How would you describe your travel style?
The short answer is: we go with the wind!
The longer answer is this: the idea to travel the world came about because we wanted to live differently. That’s really what defines our travel and that’s what we’re excited to celebrate on our website, Leaving Wooster. We literally woke up one day and decided that we wanted to feel free-er. Free of possessions (so we sold everything that wasn’t essential) and free of liabilities (so we gave up our loft in NYC and all the obligations that come with being a New Yorker). We created ways to work online and started buying one-way tickets everywhere.
When we get to a destination, we want to feel like locals living in the place, so we’ll rent an AirBnB for anywhere from 3 weeks to a month and a half, and we’ll immerse ourselves in the culture as best as we can — taking language classes, going to open air markets, finding yoga studios to attend, etc.
If we could, we would try to live everywhere. We want to feel every culture and become a part of it. For that reason, that’s probably why we’re not necessarily jumping towards every tourist opportunity in each place. Sometimes we’ll leave a city feeling like we’ve missed seeing important things, but for us, it’s really about experiencing what it’s like to be alive in a different place and amidst a different people. We’re more focused on discovering some kind of life routine in each location. Then, when we feel it’s time to move on, we check flight destinations from wherever we are and pick the most cost effective, interesting option. Traveling with a carry-on and a backpack each, we’re light enough to go anywhere at anytime. Oh, and after 10 years of winters in NYC, we decided we had to chase the summer, so weather has been a determining factor as well!
What has been the most rewarding part of traveling as a couple?
The most rewarding part of travel has been the realization that we are each other’s home. It’s that simple. Living the way we do, you learn to embrace and even love the unknown. That said, things don’t always flow and we don’t always jive with a place the way we envisioned. In situations like that especially, our greatest reward is knowing that it doesn’t really matter where we are or what situation we’re in as long as we’re together. We’re home wherever we go! What’s that Ed Sharpe song say? Home is wherever I’m with you? Yes. That realization has been the greatest reward.
What has been the most challenging part of traveling as a couple?
Honestly, we might have to change this question to “What has been the most challenging part of traveling as a couple who has a travel website?”. Truthfully, sometimes our visions are different and that can be quite challenging to feel the pressure of business seep into our “go with the wind” experience. Also, you have to find your work dynamic and that can be tough as well.
It’s also worth mentioning that keeping up with our business on the go is definitely challenging. Of course, we could just write travel hacks all day but that’s not what we’re really doing with Leaving Wooster. Rather, we’ve succeeded in living differently and we want to share what we’re learning with the world — that said, it’s a challenge to reflect on that growth in real-time. All in all, it’s a phenomenal learning experience both for us as individuals and as partners that work together.
Have you ever had a fight on the road/while traveling, and how did you handle it?
First of all, I (Paulina) have been blessed with one of the most patient souls alive. Somehow, whenever there’s a fight we’re much more focused on getting back to loving each other rather than wasting time feeling angry or upset. That said — of course we disagree and of course fights happen. What I’ve noticed about us is that we have such profound respect for each other that we’re automatically curious to step into the other’s shoes when fights do take place. We tend to approach our disagreements the same way we approach our travel: with curiosity. Patience and compassion naturally surface with that sense of curiosity and respect. With that, we always come out smarter and more in love when the storm passes. You have to let it run its course sometimes.
Can you share your funniest, most humorous experience traveling together?
Just one? But there are so many! 🙂 The first one that comes to mind is from our trip to Cuba. We decided to ride horses through the tobacco farms in the valley of Viñales and hired a tour guide to take us along. He was a cute fellow that likely drank one too many mojitos that morning. We each had our own horse and the guide introduced us to them as “Tequilla” and “Cuba Libre”. Throughout the 1/2 day that we spent with our new companions, Paulina got very attached to Cuba Libre and had some deep and profound conversations with him (Paulina’s also slightly afraid of horseback riding so she had to talk to the horse to keep her cool). By the time we had to say good-bye the tour guide had apparently forgotten the original names he made up, and renamed our horses to “Daiquiri” and “Mojito”! Paulina was heartbroken that she had been calling her horse by a fake name the entire time. That was also the moment she understood why the horse gave her the cold shoulder the whole way… 😉
Where have you been that you would recommend as the top destination for couples travel?
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with a slight challenge: rent a place in the rice fields of Ubud in Bali or visit Haad Yuan in Kophangan, Thailand. Or take surf lessons in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. 🙂
How long have you two been together?
We met and started dating in June 2008, then got married in August 2010. 🙂
Do you think your relationship would be different if you didn’t travel?
We have learned SO much more about ourselves through our travel this past year. Not only did we learn that we can live differently — without a permanent address and all the comforts of modern life, but we’ve also learned that we can experience that growth together and stand by each other’s sides through it all. So yes, our relationship would absolutely be different if we didn’t travel. WE as individuals would be different if we didn’t travel. But mostly as a couple, we’re not sure that we would have been called to support each other in such profound ways both physically and mentally had we not embarked on this experiment and adventure. (No plans of stopping yet either, by the way!)
How do you define love?
Paulina’s family is Lebanese, and Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet travels with us wherever we go. Over the years, we’re continuously inspired by the way he describes love and marriage:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
What do you think is the glue that keeps relationships together?