Richard (Richmander) and Tracy (Wonton), a couple in their 20s, are originally from southern California. The first thing you should know is that they are not your typical travel-couple. If you are expecting a lovey-dovey site, in which a couple shares stories of their bonded joy of travel, move along. While most travel couples probably bonded over their love of travel, there was a period of time where they were on the verge of quits because of the infectious travel bug.
Best friends since high school, Richard and Tracy eventually made their way to different universities, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara, respectively. Despite the distance, they thought they would give it a real shot in their 2nd year of college after Tracy returned from a trip from Canada (pre-Skype era), and Richard realized a relationship was worth the effort. 4 hours of a drive could be manageable right? However, Tracy always dreamed of studying abroad and had been studying Italian for 2 years in preparation for her semester abroad in Italy. As her passion for travel continued to grow, Richard’s hatred of airports, good-byes, and distance magnified alongside. Her semester abroad in Padova, Italy was a test — one they almost failed miserably. This was also before the what’s app, viber, and almost-everyone-has-a-smart phone era, which made it extra tough.
Their first adventure together, however, proved to be a turning point. The year before they graduated, Tracy convinced Richard that a winter break abroad would be an amazing experience. It was pulling teeth. They had their first trip (Richard’s first flight ever) in December 2009 to the Netherlands and Belgium, and Richard was surprised at how much he enjoyed exploring new places since he had never been more than a few hours drive from home up until then. It was on that same trip that they watched the movie Up for the first time. Richard would hate admitting this, but the first 8 minutes got him a little teary eyed. Pixar told a better love story in 8 minutes – without any dialogue – than Stephanie Meyer did in 4 books and 5 movies. Since that trip, they have tried to travel as often as they can. Carl & Ellie’s relationship is a reflection of theirs in some ways. Ellie is a bit of a spaz, extroverted, independent and travel-obsessed like Tracy, and Carl is down-to-earth, introverted, supportive, keen on detail, sensible, and the one who is ready for the adventure. He’s also the one who tends to look grumpy but has great heart, and who is pretty darn funny without trying to be (*Correction: Richard tries. He tries to be funny as much as Chandler Bing tries, and it is awesome).
They also found out that they have similar tastes in travel experiences and compliment each other well. Tracy loves planning, and Richard likes to be spontaneous and go with the flow. They enjoy traveling on a budget, doing exciting adventure activities, and experience culture like locals; they leave resorts and packaged trips for large family vacations.
They recently got engaged in January 2015, and they will be embarking on their RTW adventure in summer of 2016!!! Richard will be leaving his job as a cost analyst in aerospace, and Tracy will be saying good-bye to her high school English students. They created this blog to share their planning, budgeting, tips, and adventures with other travel seekers, and they hope it will be beneficial! Also, it’s for their family and friends to randomly check on to make sure we’re still around.
Enough about them as a couple, what about them as individuals and these ridiculous nicknames?
About Richmander (written by Wonton)
Where did this nickname come from? Sure, many of us that grew up in the 90s have a small recognition of Pokemon. Don’t act like you didn’t. It was awesome. Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Charmander is a pokemon that eventually evolves from Charmander to Charizard. Richard’s high school friend once referred to Richard as Richmander and explained that one day… far away, he will start his official career and settle down….thus fully evolving into Richard. See the morphology of the ending suffix? I thought it was stupid. Whatever. The English teacher in me should think it’s clever, I guess.
10 random facts about Richmander a.k.a. Richard
1.) He thinks the name “travelgasms” is stupid. “Tracy, you can’t just make up things and put 2 words together because you feel like it. Why can’t we just call it Travel Stories or 2 real words that actually exist?”
2.) He received his MBA after some serious nagging on my part.
3.) He has 3 siblings: one old brother, one older sister, and a younger sister.
4.) He worked at Disneyland and saw a depressed Peter Pan smoking.
5.) He is Mexican.
6.) He secretly loves Taylor Swift and calls her TSwizzle.
7.) He’s never tried to put contacts in because the idea freaks him out. Even eye-drops are a mission for him. Think Rachel Green in friends with the eye infection episode — but worse.
8.) He was on his senior prom court as a prince, and as much as he did not want to go originally and will play it down, he still has that scepter.
9.) He can’t swim very well, at all.
10.) Peace and quiet during “his bathroom time” is one of the best parts of his day. This is also why, when possible in our budget, we will spring for an ensuite bathroom.
About Wonton (written by Richmander)
A wonton is a Chinese pastry. Tracy is not Chinese. But hey, I thought tempura was Indian. I’m lucky I can successfully put my pants on correctly, but this girl can basically sleep for 4 hours and be as energetic as a Toddler in Tiara amped up on Red Bull and Mountain Dew. She LOVES fast food, even though I constantly warn her of the dangers of being so American. I want to write danger signs on her to protect everyone else as Tracy has adopted the “Only Tracy exists at this moment” attitude at all times whether it is driving or walking through Target. Regardless, she is a pretty alright (pretty alright in my dictionary is higher than the average person’s awesome) person, and this is probably why we have been together these past 7 years, and I still call her “my little wonton” even though she hates it.
10 random facts about Wonton a.k.a. Tracy
1.) She loses her keys (car or school) at least once a week.
2.) She doesn’t use chopsticks the “correct way”.
3.) She was a 2010 Houston Teach for America Corps Member, which is why we relocated to Houston for 2 years. She is on her 5th year teaching, in Los Angeles now, and she is still going strong. Screw statistics.
4.) She is almost always right. I hate that. Whenever I’m right, I tell her to “say it again”.
5.) She won Teacher of the Year in 2014, and I am still very proud of how hard-working she is. I’ve met some of her students; I’m surprised she hasn’t hit one.
6.) She fractured her knee on our trip to the Dominican Republic, and it’s never quite been the same.
7.) She will purposely save up miles, points, and travel vouchers on specific trips we can go on together, just so she can argue “but the ticket / accommodation is free!” so she can convince me to go.
8.) She always eats popcorn with nacho cheese and jalapenos at the movie theaters. The artificial cheese and butter addiction is definitely lowering her lifespan.
9.) She is somehow both a workaholic and a travelholic.
10.) She once cried because we did not have ranch for buffalo wings (first world problems). She argues that you had to be there.
The nicknames will be fairly interchangeable.