Traveling Lives: Meet Mike Willits
Mike and his wife, Luci, are busy parents and professionals whose goal it is to visit at least one new destination each year together – they’ve been to 38 countries on six continents since they got married! They also run one of the most popular couples travel blogs in the world, 1000 Places to Fight Before You Die, to share their adventures and encourage other couples to strengthen their relationship through travel.
NAME: Mike Willits
RESIDENCE: Boise, Idaho
OCCUPATION: Regional Marketing Manager
How have you made your life a “traveling life” and why?
Our travel life together began on our Honeymoon. At that time, I did most of the planning for our adventure. We took a week long trip to Lake Tahoe. (We highly recommend the area to traveling couples.) At that point I said to Luci, “Where are we going next year?” That started a tradition of every year taking a couples trip. We add $100 for each year we are married. Over time the radius of options expands. We take turns picking the destination. Sometimes I think this is the only thing keeping us together! We look forward to our annual trip with just us.
Why is travel important to you?
We love travel. Working full time outside our travel life makes us value our time away even more. It is a chance to recharge the batteries and refocus on our relationship. Perhaps the biggest benefit is gaining a little perspective. Getting away from the pressures and grind of work and every life helps recenter your priorities.
What are some of your first travel memories?
My first travel memory was to Taiwan. I remember the sensory overload of visiting a new place, tasting new food, hearing a different language. I was definitely infected with the travel bug! Since then we have visited six continents, swam in six seas and set foot in 38 countries. I just wish that Antartica was a little easier to get to!
What is your most significant travel memory and why?
The most significant travel memory would be our visit to Kruger National Park in South Africa. We elected to do a self-guided safari. Which is surprisingly easy to do, and will save you thousands! You see the same animals, in the same places.
We saw some flat-out incredible sights. One in particular is burned into my memory. We were perched on a ridge. The sun was setting in the distance lighting up the sky with reds, yellows and orange. Below us was a river bend with the savannah in the distance. Elephants and hippos were playing in the water. It was so amazing.
What are some misconceptions friends & family have about your travels?
Everyone thinks that we must be super rich to afford to travel. Candidly, nothing couple be further from the truth! Traveling is a priority to us, and we save funds throughout the year to afford to travel. We maximize the use of travel points and use a few travel tricks to make the world ours.
What advice do you have for others who want to incorporate more travel into their lives?
Our biggest suggestion is dream a little. Where would you like to go, if you could go anywhere? The next step is to commit to yourself that you are going to make that dream a reality. Create a plan to get there. How much is it going to cost? How much would you need to save each month to get you there. Then do it.
Often, once you buy a material thing, you have buyer regret. The interesting thing about travel is rarely to regret the experiences you have on an adventure. They live within your mind forever. Don’t give up on these dreams, they make life very rich.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
We want couples to know that there is something special about traveling together without the kids. You are not a bad parent by leaving them at grandma’s house. In fact, I am convinced that you are a better parent. Strengthening your marriage will help your kids. Get out and discover the world together.
Where are you headed next?