Vagabonding Case Study: Dave and Emily Carlson

Dave and Emily Carlson

Age: 28

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Quote: “ It’s exciting to buy stuff when you’re in the planning phase. It makes you feel like you’re already in the process. But resist the urge – you need much less than you think.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful?

The book was recommended to us by a friend. When we read it, it resonated with us right away. We felt like, yes! This is not only WHAT we want to do, but WHY we want to do it. It has been a useful resource in all stages of our trip planning and has kept us focused. We also loaned the book to friends and relatives who thought we were crazy. It saved the long explanation!

What is your job or source of travel funding for this journey?

We worked and saved for 5 years to make this dream a reality.

Do you plan to work on the road?

No, when the money runs out, we’re going home. Part of the purpose of our trip was to get away from work…we were kinda workaholics.

What was the reaction of your friends/family/colleagues as you planned your trip?

Friends were thrilled for us, and a little envious. Family was mostly supportive, but a few begged us not to go, citing terrorism, natural disasters, and other dangers. Colleagues were pretty split on the issue. Some thought it was wise beyond our years, others saw it as frivolous and irresponsible.

Any tips or lessons learned from the travel-preparation process?

It’s exciting to buy stuff when you’re in the planning phase. It makes you feel like you’re already in the process. But resist the urge – you need much less than you think. And once we started packing our bags, a lot of stuff got returned to the store.

How long do you hope to spend on the road?

9 months

Which destinations do you hope to visit?

Turkey, Greece, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Hong Kong

Which experiences are you most looking forward to?

We’re looking forward to trying new things – new foods, new viewpoints, meeting new people. We are both creative people by nature, so this diversity feeds our creative spirits.

What are you packing for the journey?

We each have a 40 liter backpack, which fits in the overhead bin of an airplane, so quite small. 3-4 sets of clothes each, toiletries, a camera, a Kindle for our guidebooks, an Ipod Touch to keep in touch with the world, a SteriPen water purifier, and a few odds and ends like flashlight, umbrella, first aid kit. You don’t need much, really, and we find that we use EVERY single thing that we brought.

Do you have any worries or concerns about the journey?

Of course! Things are constantly changing in the world – politics, weather, etc. but you can’t let fear of those things paralyze you. All you can do is stay up to date on the current situation and make informed decisions. We also have some apprehension about re-entering our “normal” lives. The job market in the US is getting more uncertain, and we realize that we may have a hard time when we return.

How can we best follow your adventures?

On our blog! It’s a collection of snapshots and stories from our journey. You can also see our itinerary and reading list (we have one for every country!)


Are you a Vagabonding reader planning, in the middle of, or returning from a journey? Would you like your travel blog or website to be featured on Vagabonding Case Studies? If so, drop us a line at and tell us a little about yourself.

Posted by | Comments Off on Vagabonding Case Study: Dave and Emily Carlson  | September 21, 2011
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

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