Who are the people behind The World Was Here First? Well, to make a long story short, we’re Michael and Maggie--an Aussie-American couple who fell in love at a hostel some time ago and have been inseparable ever since. We try our hardest to satisfy our passion for travel while living in London.
But, since you’re here, let’s make a long story long…
I (Maggie) grew up in a family that loved travel. I think the wanderlust gene implanted itself deeply, generations back. On school holidays, where other kids were going to Disneyland, my family was heading to Europe. I was never raised with the mentality that travel was attainable only for the super rich. I learned from an early age all about credit card miles and finding budget accommodation, about prioritising what to spend your money on. And I’ve still never been to Disneyland.
Still, I was always hungry for more. I remember staying home sick from school and longingly watching the Travel Channel, seeing people in far-off places eating strange food, walking around sights that were older than anything I could find in America. I used to dream of solo travel, aimlessly wandering around foreign cities while sleeping on trains. It was always a goal in my mind, that as soon as I was able, I was going to travel as far and as much as I could.
As soon as I could get a job, I started saving every penny with the ultimate goal of travel. And, by the time I felt I saved enough, I embarked upon my first solo trip: Mexico. I fell in love with the country and still feel a draw to go back. Thinking, at that time, that I had sufficiently satisfied my travel itch, I settled in Southern California for a couple of years until the urge to travel overwhelmed me once more.
At this point, I wasn’t in a position where I could take more than a couple weeks off to travel, so I used some of my savings for a short backpacking trip around Central Europe. Far from quenching my wanderlust, that trip pretty much just fanned the fire because less than a year later, I had quit my job, terminated my lease, sold my car and most of my belongings, and was ready to embark upon a multi-month backpacking adventure around Eastern Europe.
I left the States with as few things to tie me down back home as possible, with the eventual plan to settle down somewhere abroad in the far back of my mind, it was the most freeing experience of my life.
Meanwhile, 8,000 miles away …
Michael’s uncle used to quiz him on world capitals, leaving him with an intense longing to see these places he was learning about. He used to gaze at the world map on his desk, dreaming about exploring foreign cities far away.
Besides the odd family holiday around Australia, Michael and his family didn’t travel abroad much. At the age of fourteen, however, his family purchased an around-the-world ticket, taking him to his parents home country of Latvia, London, and the USA and Canada. While travel had always been on his mind, this first overseas trip got Michael dreaming even more about donning a backpack and wandering the globe.
During his university years, he looked for any excuse to travel; including maximising his summer holidays to go on long trips to Israel and Southeast Asia and doing a year-long exchange in Edinburgh. During his time in Scotland, he took every opportunity he could find to grab cheap flights across Europe. He gained an affinity for solo travel and relished the freedom of living life on the road.
After university, conventional life took over and Michael started working. But now, instead of maximising time over summer holidays, he focused his attention on maximising his paid annual leave. Throughout the next few years he continued to explore Southeast Asia as well as venturing into China and India. But at some point, the daily grind began to be too much and lure of the road too overwhelming to ignore. And, much around the same time, Michael quit his job and sold his things and headed to ... Eastern Europe.
Not much more than a week into our solo Eastern European adventures, Michael and I met and have been inseparable ever since. Together, we have travelled to most of Eastern Europe and have eventually settled down in London … but we don’t plan on stopping here! The two of us are still dedicated to maximising our time off and are constantly on the prowl for cheap flight deals to new destinations while also exploring this new country we call home!
Keep up with our antics, gather some insight and information, and learn how to live like a traveller by following our blog!