We both grew up in Brno (Czech Republic), even though Marek was born in Znojmo. We graduated from the Technical University of Brno - Jitka in Business Administration, Marek in Electrical Engineering. We started to travel together during our college years and visited many places in Europe. In summer 1996, Marek left for USA to work on his doctorate. Jitka followed him before Christmas of the same year. While in the USA, she took entrance exams and was admitted to the MBA program at the University of Iowa. In the summer of 1997, we returned to Brno and got married. We spent our honeymoon crisscrossing the western states of the USA. We both successfully graduated in 1999 and found work in Minneapolis. Every summer we were gone to explore North America - we visited most of the states in the US, visited Canada, Mexico and Peru. But the major adventure came in 2003... our TRIP AROUND THE WORLD!
Trip around the world?
This idea first occurred to us in 1996 in Brno (Czech Republic), when Marek was leaving to pursue a doctorate degree in the USA. When Jitka joined him half a year later, we planned to stay in the USA only until we finish our studies. It was a good plan, but as it sometimes happens, it did not quite work out. Six years later, we were both long out of school, had good jobs and were in no hurry to leave America. However, we did not forget our dream. In 2001, we met a Dutch couple in Peru, who was finishing their 13-month journey through Asia, Australia and South America there. They told us about their experiences and about an entire community of backpackers who travel through the world. We were inspired. In September of 2002, we made our final decision. Next year we would go for a twelve-month trip around the world.
At the time we were leaving, we did not know how well we would handle the travels. Some say that people mostly react in one of two ways: either they give up within four or five months, or they fall in love with traveling and do not stop until their money runs out. :-) We learned to love traveling quickly.
However, backpacking around the world is not the kind of vacation that most people are familiar with. Traveling became a lifestyle for us, with its joys and pleasures, but also tasks, responsibilities and work. Instead of going to the office every day, we had to study travel guides, plan activities for the day and next week, search for hotels, buy new guidebooks, arrange for visas, look for buses and trains, maintain our website and write articles for Czech magazines. We did not escape the household routines either - hand-washing clothes in hotel bathrooms, buying food on markets and negotiating and bargaining and negotiating and bargaining all the time.
Nevertheless, adjusting to the nomadic life-style turned out to be easier than our return back to civilization. During the trip, we were in control of our time and enjoyed discovering something new every day. We have learned a lot about our Mother Earth and thousands of memories from our journey will stay with us forever. If somebody asked us now whether we would go again, our reaction would be clear: "When are we leaving?"