Who We Are, Why We Travel, and Staying Motivated After Failure

Married Couple Traveling

I started this blog without a proper introduction for us and a little about who we are would have been a good place to start, one would assume. So, we are a newlywed couple from the United States, traveling around the world in search of that perfect place to raise a family, living the dream. Our names are Amanda and John. We’re the Tallman’s. We’ve been together 3 years and through travel, we grow closer and our relationship grows stronger with each trip. Currently, we are between trips and had to take a detour back home for a bit to regroup. With our first major travel experience under our belts, a little wiser and a little smarter, we can’t wait to get back out there and continue our search for that perfect place to call home.


Who we are

We come from Elyria and Lorain, Ohio. Just a couple of small cities that nobody’s heard of, built on an all but faded industrial industry, placed inconspicuously under the shadow of Cleveland. You may have heard of that one, home of LeBron, Drew Carey, rock n’ roll, and the crappiest football team in the NFL. Cleveland through and through is truly the Dawg Pound, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone that lives in Cleveland, or comes from Cleveland, has their own story to tell about overcoming the hardships of a city somewhere in between recovering from a broken past and changing for a better future. The “struggle” here is real, much like the rest of the U.S. right now, Cleveland has become a battleground of ideologies.

Cleveland HDR by StickWare @flickr

Why we travel

We love Cleveland, but damn do we hate it just as much. Cleveland, much like the rest of the U.S. is changing, or perhaps more accurately has not changed when it needs to the most. The U.S. as a whole seems to be regressing to a far worst time in our country’s history, being consumed from the inside out by social, economical and political turmoil better left in the 20th century. There is no American dream left here for us, there’s very little money to be made, no affordable healthcare, a shit educational system that we can only afford if we don’t eat, and a political body that can at best be described as childish. The heroin epidemic in our area is on the rise, violence, hatred, racism and corruption is everywhere. The U.S. is eating itself alive.

Photo credit to Getty

By no means do either of us hate our country, we love it, we love the ideals that it had always stood for and feel that one day it will be saved from itself and the people in power. There is after all still hope. A social movement is growing in the U.S right now, you can see it everywhere, the good people of this country, the common decent oppressed people of this country are tired of the way things are and change is on the horizon. The people always have been what makes the U.S. great and the people are who will eventually save it…or destroy it…who freaking knows anymore, 2017 messed everything up. So, that being said, until things are sorted out, at the moment it’s not a place either of us wish to raise a family. We decided shortly after getting together that it was time to follow our dreams of traveling the world. That it was time to leave.

Photo credit to Getty

Staying motivated after failure

We planned our escape. Amanda went to school to teach aboard, it seemed like the best options for us to make the move. We booked a one way trip to Europe and didn’t look back. We spent 3 months in Europe playing email and phone tag with the school that was supposedly placing her in a job. With each passing day and one problem after another, our hope of actually getting a job through them was dwindling. By the time we gave up on the placement we were quickly running out of money, living in Budapest, working at a hostel for free room and board. In retrospect, we should have just waited for her school to place us before leaving home, but we had always wanted to travel Europe and this seemed the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, our timing and the school’s placement sucked.

Sick and still hard at work while we stayed at Avenue Hostel

We had decided after the first signs of trouble to start looking for jobs ourselves. I didn’t have very much luck finding anything that would help us get a work visa. Amanda found a couple seemingly great teaching opportunities in Vietnam and China. Unfortunately for us the jobs she got offered in China turned out to be identity theft scams, thankfully we found out before buying tickets and applying for visas. The job offer in Vietnam was great to start, but was not full-time and there was no guarantee I would be able to find work in a little Vietnamese village, we sadly had to turn it down. As much as we both wanted to go and experience Vietnam ultimately we decided that it was too big of a risk. So, with our visas expiring for the Schengen Zone in Europe and only enough money to return home we decided it was time to go back and regroup.

Taco night at Avenue Hostel. Such fun!

Learning and moving on

Mistakes were made, we may have been a little too excited to get our adventures started and probably should have, saved more and waited longer to leave home. We put our faith in her getting a job aboard and sadly it just didn’t work out. We thought we had researched everything, and really we had, we thought we were more ready than we actually were, and we thought we were really, really prepared…seriously, we could have survived out of our backpacks for a year.

All the gears. Next time we will be traveling much lighter.

Time, visas and money were the only things that stopped us from continuing, we didn’t want to get stuck somewhere and have to be deported, which would make our next trip even harder. We seriously considered just going nomad and wandering around Europe, though ultimately we decided it would just be better to go home and try again later. We could have done a few things differently that probably would have kept us from coming home at all and should have had a backup plan established before we left. But, we really did put a lot of our faith in her school and getting placed quickly, which ended up being our biggest mistake.

Our last night in Budapest… saying goodbye to all our new friends was the hardest part of coming home.

Now, a year later we have recovered from our little setback, learned from our mistakes and are almost ready to begin our next adventure. We learned so much from our first long-term travel experience it’s hard to consider it a failure. Our focus has been redefined, we have new ideas how to make our dream a reality and best of all, after getting a taste of traveling we are even more motivated to get back out there and live the dream.

Cheers to a successful trip! Even though we were coming home early we are already excited for next time.


Two Traveling Texans



5 thoughts on “Who We Are, Why We Travel, and Staying Motivated After Failure

  1. NIce to meet you Amanda and John! A bummer your first attempt of living and working abroad didn’t work out for you! But glad that you didn’t give up hope! I also moved to Europe to teach English and if it helps, I wrote a post a looong time ago (at least 2014/15) so perhaps it might help, might be a bit outdated but hey, it could: https://www.caliglobetrotter.com/want-to-teach-abroad-in-germany-in-europe/ Happy 2018! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so mad at that company for not doing a better job placing you. I love that you are not dwelling on it and not letting that stop you from fulfilling your dreams. And it also makes me sad to see what is happening to the US. One of the reasons I moved to England. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  3. Wow, this is a very candid post. I really appreciate the background story on why you felt leaving the US is the right time for you. Even though we are neighbours (Hi from the north! Well, Thailand for now!), the insights you shared in this post is very different from what I see and read in the news (well, when I actually make the time to read the news).

    Sorry to hear about the identity theft scam! How did you learn it was a scam? Would love to hear more about what happened if you’re willing to share. And which Vietnamese village would you have lived in?

    Setbacks happen a lot when it comes to nomadic living, I can attest to that! But at some point, you just learn to roll with the punches lol

    I look forward to hearing more about round 2 of your travels 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard

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