The Unsettled Life: Married and Traveling the World

Ops! The title is not for me, I’m still single and available! I got to know Dina from my good friend and have been communicating since then to share our thoughts of traveling. I guess traveling has been a lifestyle for us and it comes with a price. But I always believe concrete satisfaction is momentary and abstract fulfilment is forever. Traveling is about financial consciousness, time management and human communication too. And to conclude how much I admire Dina as a nomad backpacker, spare your time to read her life as published by “Jakarta Globe”. So, dare you be the second couple to do so?

Dina Rosita and her Canadian husband, Ryan Koudys, were living normal lives that many would have described as perfect. But then wanderlust took hold and the two decided to follow the path that really made them happy: traveling the world.

Dina, a bright, energetic woman, was born and raised in Surabaya and met Koudys while they were on a one-year study exchange program in Tokyo. After finishing her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the Bandung Institute of Technology , Dina moved to Canada to live with her husband.

Before setting out on the backpacker life, Dina said they spent several years as “a normal, ambitious couple.” While Koudys was working at a software company, Dina was busy pursuing her master’s degree, spending most of her time in the lab. The couple only spent a few hours together each day.

“At some point, we realized that we had sacrificed so much and were enjoying the world too little,” she said, adding that it wasn’t the kind of life they had wanted. “We decided to slow down, take a break and explore the world.”

In April 2009, the couple decided to leave behind their lives, arm themselves with two backpacks and start their journey around the world.

At first, Dina said, they only planned to make a one-year trip. But ultimately, they changed their minds.

“The more we traveled, the more we wanted to see,” she said. “The world is so big and mysterious, and it continues to intrigue us.”

So far, they have visited more than 35 countries, and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Dina said they considered themselves permanent travelers, nomads, even vagabonds. For more than two years, they have covered some exotic terrain, including Europe, North America, Central America, the Caribbean and North Africa.

Dina shares her travel stories on her blog, Dua Ransel (Two Backpacks). Besides inspiring others who want to travel, Dina finds the blog a useful tool for keeping in touch with old friends and other backpackers.

Many of the comments on the blog have wondered how the couple finance their travels. Dina said at first they used their savings, and as a programmer, Koudys was still able to keep his job on the road by working online.

In one of her entries, “10 Tips to Fund Long-Term Travel,” Dina shares her experiences with financing the couple’s journey. Among other tips, she advises “don’t buy any souvenirs” and “be smart in finding promotional prices.”

Dina said the biggest challenge faced by all travelers and backpackers was leaving behind their everyday lives. She said that as a couple, she and Koudys had sacrificed a lot.

“We can’t have a house. We’ve delayed having kids,” she said. “I abandoned my career and we get to see family and friends only rarely.”

She also pointed out that they carry very little, because “everything must fit in our backpacks.” Things can also get inconvenient when one of them gets sick. But at the end of the day, she says, traveling is their passion.

“We have so many experiences and get so much satisfaction from living on the road. Things that most people consider normal have become less and less significant for us,” she said. “We are not living normal lives, we are living our dream.”

When visiting a new country or city, Dina said they always wanted to experience what made it unique. She said they tried to learn about local cultures and interact with residents. They also enjoy archaeological remains, historic architecture, museums and local foods. Of all the places they have visited, Dina said the most memorable journey was their time in New Zealand.

“The beauty of the nature is just amazing,” she said.

Dina said she was disappointed that she had not traveled around her native Indonesia more extensively. The couple have explored Java, Bali and North Sulawesi. In Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Dina and Ryan enjoyed the underwater landscape, which Dina said was “the most beautiful we’ve seen so far.”

“We are looking forward to exploring Indonesia more extensively,” she said.

And although she’s been traveling the world, Dina said that Indonesia would always be her home. “Indonesia’s nature is really gorgeous, while the culture and traditions are very unique and intriguing,” she said.

When abroad, Dina said what she missed most about Indonesia was the food. “The food is some of the best on earth,” she said, adding that it was impossible to get really good Indonesian food on the road.

Dina said she and Koudys sometimes argued, as married couples do, and that most of their quarrels revolved around eating.

“Traveling as two people with different interests means that we will inevitably disagree on what we want to do,” she said.

“I like to have meals two to three times a day, while Ryan is comfortable with just one to two meals. I don’t like walking around hungry, while Ryan thinks we could better use the time for something else.”

The 31-year-old traveler is planning to publish a book someday, which she hopes will inspire others to follow her path. At the moment Dina and Koudys are in the city of London, in Ontario, Canada, about two hours from Toronto, for a family event. Dina said they would be moving soon, but haven’t decided yet on their next destination.

“We’ve got so many places on our to-see list, and that’s going to be very difficult to decide.”

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