Hi, I’m David, the founder of this project we call AwayGoWe. And that’s Lori, my partner in travel and life.
Since starting AwayGoWe back in 2010, this site’s changed a lot.
One thing that hasn’t changed is our passion for connecting travelers with the very best travel destinations and experiences on Earth through well-researched and insightful destination guides.
From the start, we’ve endeavored to create an indispensable resource for independent travelers and intrepid adventurers seeking out bucket list adventures and exceptional places to stay.
Read on for our oh-so riveting travel backstory to learn more about us and what sets AwayGoWe apart from the rest.
About David & Lori
Together, Lori and I have visited some 40 countries and have lived full-time in 8 of those doing what we love—exploring the world one fascinating place at a time and helping other travelers do the same.
But how did we get here, you ask? A bit of a long story, but here it is in brief-ish.
Early Travel Adventures
As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for exploration. My first overseas visits to Canada at age 11, and the UK at age 16, only fueled my deep curiosity for the world.
A study abroad semester and backpacking journey around Europe in 2001 opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. It’s also when I started my first online travel blog (one of a very few then).
2 Years in Mozambique
With little savings after college, but still filled with a sense of adventure, I joined the Peace Corps, serving in a fishing village in Mozambique for two years.
The experience had a profound impact on the lifestyle choices I would make in the decade to come, as well as my approach to life all these years later.
Returning to the U.S. from Africa, I quickly realized my stay there would only be temporary. Too many places to see, people to meet, and much, much more to learn.
Luckily, Lori shared this same passion and together we set out to live a life less ordinary while doing our best to leave the places we spent time in better than we found them.
Between Lori finishing her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and me starting a masters program in international development in 2010, we thought it might be a nice idea to backpack around the Dominican Republic.
We enjoyed the experience so much together, we spent the entire summer slowly making our way up the length of Peru and Ecuador.
And that’s how AwayGoWe got its start. It was a simple and fun way to record and share our experiences and provide helpful insights and tips to fellow travelers thinking about doing the types of things we found interesting and worthwhile.
Back to Africa
Through my overseas work, I gained unique and valuable perspectives on travel, particularly in the Great Lakes region of Africa where my work was focused.
I further honed my trip planning and coordination skills, as well as expanding my knowledge of the many locations I visited throughout Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. I even co-authored a major study on travel and migration in East Africa.
By the time we got married in 2012, Lori and I were progressing in our respective careers, but weren’t finding life in Washington, DC as satisfying as we expected. So, she quit her job as a PT, I took a leave of absence, and we set off on a six-month backpacking honeymoon around Asia.
Starting and ending in Shanghai, our journey took us around China, India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. We completely fell in love with Southeast Asia—Laos in particular—and vowed to figure out how to move there indefinitely.
1 Year in Belize
But not before living on the Caribbean for a year first, of course.
After Asia, an opportunity arose to support the efforts of a small rural health clinic in Southern Belize. Lori led the rehabilitation department and I helped with admin and fundraising.
Days were long and busy, but we saw every corner of Belize and even found time for overland adventures around Guatemala and the Yucatán Peninsula. This is where Lori and I began to develop a lifelong love of Caribbean overwater bungalows.
Cape Town to Kampala
At the end of our assignment, we weren’t quite ready to head back to the U.S. Instead, we got the cheapest tickets to Cape Town we could find (with a week-long stopover in Istanbul), and spent several months making our way overland through South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, ultimately flying out of Kampala.
This experience tested the limits of our patience, mental fortitude, and trip planning abilities, but we came away from it having learned a ton about the communities we visited, how to make better travel decisions, and how to be better travelers.
Following our time in Africa, we spent the next 18 months rediscovering the American West Coast, basing ourselves in Portland, Oregon for work and exploring what seemed like every nook and cranny from Vancouver Island, BC all the way down to San Diego.
4 Years in Southeast Asia
In June 2016, we welcomed our first son, Noe, into the world. Three months later, we moved to Vientiane, Laos. The opportunity we were hoping for had finally come through.
Noe received a first-class education in multiculturalism. And we learned valuable lessons on traveling and living overseas with an infant, and soon, a toddler.
Our time in Laos took to nearly every province of the fascinating country, as well as providing lots of chances to return to Thailand and Vietnam. Malaysia, however, is where we ultimately found ourselves spending the most time outside of Laos—falling in love with Sabah (Borneo), Kuala Lumpur, and Penang.
Yet, after three years of living in Laos, we were ready to move on to new places. By then, we had welcomed a second son, Riley, who had just turned one. Lori took on a 3-year assignment in Phnom Penh, working for a large international aid organization. The blog was starting to take off, and both our boys were happily off to nursery school down the street. It was about as perfect of a situation that we could have hoped for at the time.
Then, the Covid pandemic hit, sending the blog into free fall and eliminating the funding for Lori’s role after just one year.
3+ Years in Mexico
In late 2020, we did our best to make lemonade out of lemons and headed to Mexico. Speaking Spanish fluently and having spent a considerable amount of time traveling around Mexico, it had been a long time dream of Lori’s to relocate to Mexico for a while. We just thought it would be another decade or so.
We spent the better part of a year living in Sayulita, Nayarit, gaining temporary residency along the way. We then spent a year living in the picturesque fishing village of Chacala, just up the coast, before making the big overland (and water) hop over to Baja, where are now.
As this blog has continued to grow, our desire to make it as helpful as possible for you has also grown. In that spirit, you won’t find our vast archive of personal travelogues and daily life dispatches here (they’ve moved over to hammockhoppers.com).
Over the course of it all, we’ve booked and stayed in hundreds of hotels and guesthouses, from 5-star resorts to homestays. We’ve been lucky enough to spend more time on idyllic tropical beaches than most travelers. And we’ve picked up a ton of invaluable local knowledge and insights into the travel sector and tourism industry.
We’re no less curious about the world than when we started our nomadic journey all those years ago. But we are way better travelers and trip planners now. And we’re eager to use what we’ve learned along the way to help you pick the very best stays, get the most value for your money, and have the best vacation you can possibly have.
Our carefully-crafted destination guides and travel bucket lists feature less-visited corners, small-group, small-footprint tours led by local guides, and truly one-of-a-kind lodging in spectacular places are just the tip of the iceberg of what you’ll discover here.
We strongly believe that travel doesn’t have to mean a one-off vacation every couple of years, no matter what your travel budget may be.
Travel can be an integral part of the lifestyle you create for yourself, be it day trip explorations from wherever you call home, an extended “slow travel” adventure to some place new, or any activity that racks up miles and new experiences.
Curiosity, personal connections, and reflection are at the heart of our travel philosophy, wherever the road takes us.
Wherever we explore, we believe travel should be enriching, enjoyable, and sustainable. It’s our hope that AwayGoWe can help bring you one step closer to making your own bucket list travel goals a reality!