Nomadic Couples: Tiff & Chris “Vagabondway”

When Bello and I first decided to hit the road together, we only knew one other couple like us. On New York City behind, we became part of a community of nomadic couples. Fast forward a year and we have met over a thousand couples like us. People who are creating a unique life together, writing their own life maps and going on the road as nomads, travelers or vagabonds if you will.

Why do couples pick a nomadic life vs a settled life?

So why is it, that so many everyday couples just like us, are now turning away from home ownership. Living a more minimalistic life in order to hit the road?

There truly is no better way to find out, then to ask!

Meet Tiff and Chris, the couple behind VagabondWay. A couple who found the motivation to payoff all their debt and have now lived around the world, for a decade.

Tiff & Chris Vagabond Way
Tiff & Chris Vagabond Way

ALOR: Hi Tiff & Chris, where are you from originally?

Tiff & Chris: We both originate from western New York. We always add in the ‘western’ part otherwise everyone thinks we’re from NYC, but we’re actually about seven hours west of the city and grew up in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region.

ALOR: Your story of feeling like life was just around the corner really hit home with us.

What does living a meaningful life mean?

Tiff & Chris: It’s easy to get wrapped up in what we “should be” for people in any stage of life. Whether it’s the belief as a young person you ‘should’ have a job with a suit. Or, if you’re online 10K followers, isn’t enough. You won’t feel good about yourself until you have 20K.

These are never-ending cycles. They can become a façade in any profession. Living a meaningful life means creating habits that motivate and remembering life is a constant exercise in learning to be present and in the moment.

ALOR: We’d love to know how you did it, got out of debt.

What are your tips for getting out of debt?

Tiff & Chris: There is no major secret to what we did. It came down to having a goal: become debt free as quickly as possible. Once we agreed on it, we put all our energy towards that.

The three biggest ways (particularly when we were younger) to put money away were:

  • Limiting the amount we eat out
  • Not smoking
  • Limiting drinking

How do you stay motivated?

Get Tiff’s 5 Tips to Staying Motivated!

If you can take ownership and control those three habits in your life, it will free up a lot of money to put towards loans or save for other awesome things. We’re not saying we don’t ever do those things. We love going out for a good meal or having some drinks with friends, but we actively manage this area of our life. Our reward is having the funds to go on awesome adventures.

We have saved money in lots of other areas by finding creative ways to get what we wanted. For instance, we slept on a blow-up mattress for years and we’ve only ever bought used cars and paid cash for them.

Having a less expensive car also gives us less expensive insurance premiums. I cut open the toothpaste container and cut my own hair. Many small habits along the way can add up to big savings overall.

Tiff & Chris in Australia
Tiff & Chris in Australia

What’s the hardest part being a nomad?

Tiff & Chris: The hardest part, realizing just how big the world is! When traveling, particularly long-term you have so much freedom of choice, it can be overwhelming that you can’t make it to everyplace.

There is a conflicting feeling of wanting to stay in a really awesome place and wanting to move on to experience local life at the next spot. Learning how to strike a balance for what works for your own personal travel style and preference can take a bit of time.

What’s the best part of being a Nomad?

I [Tiff] daydream what it would be like if I could have multiple lives. I’d spend one as a horse trainer, a farmer, a traveler, a teacher and about 20 other things I really like to do. The most rewarding part is I get to live each of these dreams for a portion of the time. I spent a good fifteen plus years surrounded by horses almost every day. Then I switched and ran a lodge for three summers and grew an awesome garden. Next, I worked on a small family farm in Australia with potatoes and sheep.

Traveling allows me to step into each of these lifestyles for a bit of time which I find very fulfilling. I see firsthand all these different types of lifestyles and it fuels me to believe that each of our actions and decisions matter. I love this about traveling.

Pinnacles Malaysia From Tiff & Chris of Vagabond Way
Pinnacles Malaysia From Tiff & Chris of Vagabond Way

As nomads how far ahead do you make travel plans?

Tiff & Chris: Currently we are traveling around Southeast Asia for at least a year. We started in Indonesia, spent three months in Malaysia and two of those months were in Borneo which was a dream come true.

As big wildlife lovers spending that much time in Borneo was a top priority. We are working our way through Thailand and heading north from there. Our goal is to be in India or Nepal by spring time because we want to try to see tigers in the wild.

Beyond that, we don’t officially have anything lined up yet. Learning to say I don’t know what I’m doing is a lot better than having an answer I am miserable to give.

Currently, a big goal of this trip was to do the things we have always wanted to do but could never seem to find the time in regular working life. We have been putting a lot of effort into our photography, writing, and blog and would like to see where that might lead.

Vagabond Way Tiff & Chris in Chile
Vagabond Way Tiff & Chris in Chile

ALOR: Tiff & Chris, thank for giving us so many insightful answers, tips, and ideas.

Where can our readers get more advise on becoming a nomadic couple?

Tiff & Chris: We love connecting with other travelers and looking to make our site more interactive, so please stop by and drop us a line. We also have a new feature where we are show casing traveler stories. Sign up for the newsletter and check it all out at www.vagabondway.net and catch our almost daily photo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+.

11 thoughts on “Nomadic Couples: Tiff & Chris “Vagabondway”

    1. I love to see fellow nomads and travel bloggers supporting each other. Getting a shout out from Tiff & Chris on Vagabondway.net literally made my day. That’s support and inspiring one another. Here’s to nomads!

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  1. LOVED IT! Tiff and Chris are quite the adventurers! Their blog site is excellent, fun and informative to follow. Thank you for featuring them.

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    1. Thanks Jim, we couldn’t agree more! Glad you like the article with them. Hint we’ve got another motivation tip based artical from Tiff & Chris… just around the corner (today!)

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      1. We felt very lucky to have Tiff & Chris share more of their story with us. Being a nomadic couple can at times be isolating, finding connections to other couples helps us all stay part of a community. All be it a mobile one!

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  2. Very nice story, life goes on for the rest of us back home. Do you ever think about what you miss being so far from loved ones or do you just look forward to the next animal sighting.

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    1. Hi Tom, first thanks for the compliment on the story. I can’t speak for Chris or Tiff with my answer here. I can say, Bello and I for our part miss our families terribly. However, this year we spent three months in Europe and saw his parents in Italy and Spain. That’s the most time he had back home in a decade. If we had kept our jobs in NYC that would never happen. The same with my family in Ohio. In the entire decade of working a corporate job in NYC I would get about 3 weekend with family a year. This year, we spent a few solid months in Ohio and again had more quality time then we have for a decade. Part of our decision to hit the road and work for ourselves was about flexibility. As a couple we have family around the world. 15 vacation days a year means not ever seeing anyone for more and 5 days at a time. So yes, when we travel we miss family. But now, when we are home, it’s for months not the weekend which our families appreciate far more. Us to. As our parents age, I couldn’t face not being able to be around or be home when I needed to because a company only gave me so many days.

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    2. Hey Tom, All the time! Oh my goodness we always are thinking of home. So people ask us this question pretty frequently and here is how we have tried to find our balance. About every year we make a point of going home to spend time with both our families – usually a month minimum because that is 2 wks with my family and 2 wks with Chris’ family. While we’re away I send emails to our core family every couple of days and I have to limit myself on facebook otherwise I’m on there forever looking at pictures. We miss all those daily life things a lot. But we also would be unhappy if we weren’t experiencing what life is like on the other side of the world – at least for a chunk of time. So we try to stay in touch with family and close friends as much as we can and now with all the free and cheap forms of technology it’s the easiest time to do so. So I guess for me, being on the the road is similar to ‘regular life’ back home. Some days on the road I see a picture of a couch in a magazine and just want to sit on it in a home, while other days back at home I’m like when can I stop vacuuming under the couch? The thing is, whether it’s in person or other ways of communication, we make a lot of effort to stay in touch with those close to us and we feel a lot of love in return.

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