I don’t usually get too personal on my blog. I try to keep the content light and fun. However, for this post I’m going to take the time to explain my life a little better.
I think a good starting point will be my wedding. That’s what the above pictures are of. As you can see, we didn’t have the big fairy tale wedding with the white dress. We were married in a courthouse, and I went shopping the night before for the dress I would wear.
We were only engaged for about two weeks before we were married, and it was over Christmas. I had two weeks to get everything ready for a wedding, at Christmastime. However, that wasn’t the only thing we were taking care of at that time.
The reason we were in such a hurry to get married was because we were moving to Scotland in just over a month for my husband’s new job. In order for me to come along (get my travel paid for, get a visa, etc.) his company wanted us married.
Marriage was something we had talked about and knew was in our future. We had been dating for a few years and living together. We both loved each other and knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.
A courthouse wedding didn’t seem like the worst idea to me. I personally start to hyperventilate when I think of planning a big wedding and then having to be the center of attention at it. A courthouse wedding seemed like a much better alternative, and it was all we could do… given our time frame.
My husband proposed with the beautiful ring pictured above. I can’t tell you how much I love this ring. He had it custom made through Beautiful Petra on Etsy. She did an absolutely astonishing job on it, and was able to finish it in a very short amount of time for him. I still can’t believe it’s mine every time I look down at my hand.
However, a wedding and moving weren’t the only things on our minds. With my husband taking this new job that would have us move to Scotland, we both had to quit our current jobs. I was working as a Morning Show Producer at a news station in Green Bay. I had been working there for a couple years, and it was an awesome job. However, it was also part of the reason my husband took this new job. Neither of us was completely happy with the jobs we were currently working, and we needed a change.
I was tired of the long, weird hours I had to work (I was usually going in at 1 a.m. and working until 9 a.m.), and working every single holiday and weekend with hardly any vacation time. Oh, and the pay is less than stellar (news really takes a tough person to survive in it).
I do have many fond memories of working at the station, but I was definitely ready for a change. My husband and I had always wanted to travel. So, we jumped at the travel opportunities his new job offered us.
We would be living in Scotland for at least 6 months and then moving to another country for his job. So, we decided if this was going to be our lifestyle, we would no longer need our apartment. We packed up everything we owned and picked out what we wanted to keep and what we were going to get rid of. We mainly just kept some sentimental items and clothes; the rest was given to charity or sold.
To recap December 2012: we quit our jobs, got engaged, packed up our apartment, got rid of nearly everything we owned and moved in with my parents for a couple weeks. I got my wisdom teeth removed (and of course one of them became infected), we sold my husband’s car and prepared to put mine in storage and celebrated the holidays with as many friends and family as we possibly could… because we didn’t know how soon we would see them again.
We were married January 4, 2013 with just our parents, siblings and grandparents present. This was probably my biggest regret of having a courthouse wedding. I really wanted my close friends present, but we just didn’t have the room in the courthouse to invite all of our relatives and friends. I was also sad my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents on my mom’s side weren’t able to attend. My grandparents were in Florida helping take care of my aunt, who was dying of pancreatic cancer.
She passed away a couple weeks after our wedding day. She was a big part of my life growing up, and I miss her dearly. She and my uncle traveled the country in their motor home, and really enjoyed life. I have always wanted to emulate her love of life and travel.
I was very excited to take this new opportunity that involved international travel. I knew my Aunt was very proud of this decision. It was actually the last thing we spoke about.
My husband and I were supposed to leave the 18th of January for Scotland. So, that did not give us much time to fill out and submit our visas. That is also why my husband and I do not have the same last name. I would not have been able to get a new passport, social security card, etc. and apply for my visa in a two-week time frame. I kept my maiden name and applied for my visa.
If you have never applied for a visa in the UK, let me tell you, it is one heck of a process. I honestly think going through that visa application process was the most stressful time in my life. It would also be a time when my husband and I would have to make some very tough decisions.
We had our suitcases packed, our goodbyes said (my wonderful brother and sister-in-law had thrown us a going away bash) and we were anxiously awaiting our visas in the mail. However, they never came. Two days before we were supposed to fly out…our visas were denied. My husband’s new place of work had made a mistake and put us in a really bad position.
Reapplying for a visa in the UK is generally a waste of time from what my husband’s new job’s lawyers said. Therefore, we were stuck between a rock and a hard place. We had literally given up our entire lives as we knew them for this opportunity.
His company made “promises” for other abroad assignments, but nothing ever came of them. He ended up working from my parents’ home for 3 months. It was not a good time for us, let’s just say.
The end of that February my husband decided to make a job change, and applied at a different company. That company was Guidewire. We drove down to Chicago for his interview (which took place inside Willis Tower, aka Sears Tower), and then we proceeded to hold our breath.
He received an email on our way home that he had been hired. It was wonderful! Our lives were back on track, and my husband was about to work at a company he had admired for years. For the record, he was a Senior Implementation Consultant, and, now, is a Practice Director (as 0f 2022). Also, Guidewire is an insurance software company that is based out of San Mateo, California.
His new job moved us out to the Bay Area in California for a little while. We then went to Oklahoma City for an assignment and then to central Wisconsin (about an hour away from our hometowns). We also visited various places in India and Italy during this time. We were able to do our trips to India and Rome with very little cost because we had so many hotel points saved up.
We had lived out of Marriott Hotels to build up points. It worked out well when we were in Oklahoma City because we stayed in a Residence Inn. These hotels are basically apartments. You have a stove, oven, dishwasher, sink, living area and an actual bedroom area. Our hotel in central Wisconsin was also nice, but we did not have the kitchen area… which had been tough.
Fortunately, we were not far from my parents and they let us stop by on weekends… when we needed to get out of the hotel for a day. They also let us use the closet and dressers in their spare room to store our clothes. That was how I was able to keep up on the outfit section of this blog.
However, our time in central Wisconsin did come to an end – after nearly 2 years. We were actually only supposed to be there for 6 months to a year. We really came to love this area and all of the new friends we have made.
I was able to get a wonderful job as a substitute teacher (thanks to the suggestion of a new friend). That job was perfect for our situation. My schedule was flexible and when I quit, I didn’t put a company in a bad position…because substitute teachers come and go quite frequently. I taught everything from kindergarten to high school, as well as gym and special ed. I really loved it!
My time here had also given me an opportunity to continue volunteering for the Red Cross. I started this volunteer process when we were in Oklahoma. We were there just days after the tornadoes hit Moore. (To read more about this, check out my OKC post under travel.)
I was able to participate in a full-scale operation at Camp Randall (where the Wisconsin Badgers play), where we pretended it had been bombed while a race was happening (similar to Boston). The local police, fire department, Emergency Management services, the UW-Madison campus employees (including the dean) and even the FBI out of Milwaukee participated. I received some intense Public Affairs training that day. I’ve also helped install fire alarms for local residents, and I would write for my chapter’s blog. It’s been a great experience!
I had also been able to volunteer at the local humane society. I absolutely love animals, and one day I will have a big, fat English Bulldog. Until then, I will continue to volunteer at animal shelters and pretend my mom’s dogs and cat are mine, haha.
- Update: we ended up adopting Miss Kitty and Buddy and Pippa from our local animal shelters.
The pictures below are of two of my favorite doggies I walk at the humane society.
Update as of 2023…
Shortly after I wrote this post back in 2015, we moved to Princeton, New Jersey for my husband’s job. Then we moved back in with my parents for a few months in 2016.
Then, we FINALLY started to move abroad in 2016. We lived in Japan, Australia, Argentina and, most recently, Russia! (Again, this was thanks to my husband working for Guidewire.) We ended up buying our first home together in the US just before we left for Russia too. (That was a bit of an ordeal, but it was absolutely worth it!)
We were able to make our dream come true of living internationally for 5 years! As of 2023, we are living in our home in Wisconsin, USA. With how the world of travel is trending now, we’re not 100% sure when or if we’ll live abroad again. Things have changed so much after 2020… only time will tell.
For now, we’ve been working on making our house a “home,” and snuggling our fur children, Buddy, Miss Kitty, and Pippa, as well as our nephew, Henry, and niece, Claire! It has been nice to be close to our family, after being on the road for so long.
I am also proud that this blog has become my full-time job since I had written this post! (Now when we travel, it’s typically for my job! Like our recent trip to Peru). This blog was something I had been unsure of how to explain to friends, family, and new acquaintances for so long. (How can being a blogger actually be a job?!) However, since it has grown so much over the last 8 years, I no longer feel embarrassed to explain how Have Clothes, Will Travel is MY business, and I do make a living from it. I talk more about how I make money blogging in this post.
Our current plans for 2023 are taking a trip to Curaçao in early February – I am partnered with Sandals Resorts and am really excited to check out their new location there. We’re also looking to do more domestic trips this year, from Florida to Vegas and more. I also have A LOT more exploring I’ll be doing in Wisconsin. (Check out my Wisconsin travel section, here.) As always I’ll be sharing my adventures on here and my Instagram! You can also sign up for my biweekly newsletter by entering your name and email below!
That is the story of our lives, so far! Thanks for taking the time to read this long post, and I hope it gives you a better idea of what’s happening with this blog.
- Read next: About Me
- Read next: We’re Moving Across the World!
- Read next: We Bought Our First Home!
- Read next: Meet Miss Kitty
- Read next: Meet Buddy – Our Furry New Family Member
- Read next: Remembering My Incredible Grandma Booth
The photo gallery below is a bunch of super old pics of my husband and me. Enjoy!
Great biographical. We also are quite nomadic in our lives. So many parallels. My father passed of pancreatic cancer also. We flip houses, buy rentals and travel almost non stop. Your story is very interesting. Keep it together.
Oh wow! I’m excited to have found someone with a similar life to ours. And I am so sorry to hear about your father.
What a fascinating life you’re leading! All the travel is enviable. Most people don’t see the world the way you and your hubby are doing. And, regarding your courthouse-wedding, it got the job done. You can always have a party later to celebrate your marriage (e.g., renew vows). Too many gals get all caught up in the party-aspect of weddings and forget its primary purpose is to create a marital union. That is what counts.
Oh gosh, thank you for taking the time to read this post. And I don’t regret the courthouse wedding for a moment. We may do a renewal of vows one day..but we’ll see. 🙂