Interview with Sebrin Elms of The Clumsy Traveler

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Interview with Sebrin Elms of The Clumsy Traveler

Meet Sebrin – newlywed, travelphile, book-lover, and crazed cat lady. She and her husband, Kevin, took a 3-month honeymoon around the world, leaving their jobs, families, and beloved kitties behind. They’ve since returned, and Kevin is now working in the creative field and Sebrin is freelance writing and working on her travel blog, The Clumsy Traveler.  

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You recently went on a honeymoon around the world. (Congratulations, by the way!) What sparked the desire to do this trip?

I had studied abroad in Uppsala, Sweden and learned that many of my friends and classmates had traveled to various places before their studies. I realized just how little I had seen of the world in comparison. After I came home to graduate and eventually took a desk job, I would take multiple breaks, secretly read travel blogs, and research travel destinations. I knew I wanted to take a long trip around the world like some of my idols and friends and was trying to think of the perfect time to do so. My husband and I both hated our jobs. I eventually quit my desk job and went back to serving at restaurants so I could work as an editor, while Kevin was serving at a famous bar in West Hollywood. It seemed like, even though we didn’t have a plan to come back to, our current situations were not ideal anyway. Kevin wasn’t quite as on board with the plan at first, but once we added in a few spots he had always wanted to visit, it was game on!

 

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Where did you go and how did you decide?

We went to Norway, Germany, Morocco, Indonesia, and Australia. I originally made a plan to travel through Southeast Asia and Africa for 6 months. Kevin didn’t quite have the travel experience like I had, so those destinations and amount of time seemed a little intense. We brought the itinerary down to 4 months and added Norway and Germany into the mix. In the end, we came home after 3 months due to a volcano eruption in Lombok, Indonesia, which forced us to reroute our journey and come home early. Australia was a completely last-minute decision, and it ended up being our favorite destination on the trip!

 

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How did you balance planning a wedding and a honeymoon? How long did it take you to plan? Did you leave immediately after your wedding?

To make it to Oktoberfest and squeeze in everything, we left two weeks to the day after our wedding. It was very, very difficult to plan both huge milestones, work, and have a social life. I had a lot of ‘must-haves’ for the wedding. Some people suggested we scale back our wedding dreams to fulfill our honeymoon. But a girl wants what a girl wants! So we worked very hard for two years to save and make it all happen. We stopped hanging out with friends, going out to dinner, and buying clothes so that we could save every dollar we could. We were pretty damn miserable. It started to feel like maybe it wasn’t worth it. But once the bridal shower happened, the bachelorette party in Vegas took place, and friends from around the world came for the wedding festivities, it was more than worth it. What made it very easy was planning our wedding/travel for two years. We didn’t actually set the date until 14 months before our wedding, but it gave us time to make the right financial decisions with our apartment, decide what our budget was, and coordinate details on a master calendar so we wouldn’t forget to send save-the-dates or get our travel vaccinations. LOTS of spreadsheets were happening!

 

What advice would you give to others thinking about doing an extended honeymoon?

Don’t be afraid to slum it every once in awhile. Honeymoons are meant to be luxurious and at times we had very romantic moments. But to make our honeymoon last as long as it did, we occasionally stayed in hostels, bought cheap food at grocery stores, took long bus rides instead of flights, and had nights in doing absolutely nothing. It’s important to balance your wallet as well as your energy to travel for such a long time! I would also make sure that communication with everyone is very clear. My family was used to my wanderlust, but Kevin’s family was terrified! We made sure to talk to each other as a couple and as a growing, extended family. We let them know where we were going, gave them some numbers/emails to reach us, and contacted them once a week.
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Would you do anything differently?

I definitely wish we had saved more money. I don’t regret any wedding day purchases, but I wish I got a little more creative with making money. I wished I had used Fiverr to make money on the side or sell some stuff I didn’t want anymore. We had saved a lot, but no one ever says, “I have too much money” while traveling.

 

Did you quit your jobs before you left?

Because Kevin was a server and I wasn’t really happy where I was working, we quit without any regrets. We knew that we were going to struggle when we came back home, but I felt like finding the career of our dreams was going to come with struggles no matter where we were in our lives. The honeymoon just seemed like the right time to live out this fantasy while we figured out our true passions.

 

 

Have you learned new things about your husband after traveling together? What did you learn about yourself?

I thought I knew Kevin more than anyone, ever. But I realized I had a lot more learning to do. You really see the deep and raw part of someone when you travel. When someone is uncomfortable, tired, hungry, and confused all at the same time, you can’t put your best foot forward anymore. You see the real side of them, whether that be dark, exciting, or plain old boring. At first I saw parts of Kevin and thought, ‘Who the hell did I marry?’ In the end, it made us realize how perfect we actually are for each other, how alike and connected we are.

As for myself, I learned that I need to have more patience. I’ve always been impatient, but when I was in my travel discomfort zone, especially when I was hangry, I would have absolutely no patience for anything. It was then that I decided I needed a snack in my purse at all times!

 

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Tell us an interesting moment from your trip.

I think the craziest moment was that damn volcano eruption on Lombok, Indonesia! We were supposed to go to Thailand and then wander to Myanmar or Vietnam. But once the volcano started erupting ash the day before our flight, making it impossible for our plane to fly through it, we were stuck in Bali. We tell people we were “stuck” and they think it was the greatest thing ever, when in reality, Kevin and I became so miserable! Ha! At first, we were cool with hanging out and drinking by the pool, but we wanted to be cautious with our budget not knowing the situation. After being stuck for TWO WEEKS, we were cranky, running out of back-up money, and ready to get out of Bali. Still, the ash cloud was a-boomin’ and not letting up. We decided to skip Southeast Asia and go to Australia, resulting in an early return home, but surprising our family on Thanksgiving Day. At this point, we had been there for 31 days, which is over the allowed visa limit and customs had a blast with that. We almost missed our flight to Melbourne! But once the wheels got off the ground and we were in the air, we breathed the biggest sigh of relief. But that detour salvaged the whole experience because Kevin loved Australia so, so much!

 

What was your favorite destination and why?

I think Australia was a favorite for both of us. One of my bridesmaids and two other wedding guests live in Australia so it was a great surprise to see them again so soon! Sydney also has a lot of similarities to LA where we’re from. After culturally opposite experiences in Morocco and Indonesia, it felt good to have a bit of familiarity.

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Any tips for traveling with your significant other? How do you overcome challenges?

I think a lot of traveling couples out there will tell you that fights are inevitable. You’re going from a normal routine to spending 24 hours with them a day. 22, if you’re lucky and they go shopping without you. So fighting will happen and that took awhile for me to accept. I thought, “I’m a newlywed! Should I be fighting this much with my new husband?!” I would be a loon if I didn’t fight with him! I think it’s also important to recognize the type of travelers you are and compromise between the two styles. I go hard, fast, and crazy. I like to drink a lot, meet locals, and try adrenaline-rushing experiences. Kevin likes to take it slow, walk a lot, take tours, and stay in upscale accommodations. We had to make room for both of these personalities on this adventure and that took some time to get used to.

 

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What was it like coming home after such an amazing journey? What’s next?

Oh man, it’s awful, haha… Kevin had really hoped that this trip would knock the wanderlust out of me. In reality, it made me crave it even more! So now we’re trying to figure out our career goals, given the fact that we hated our previous jobs, and trying to save money to start a family in the future. All I want to do is travel, travel, travel! So we’re trying to plan short trips around the US this year. I’m hoping we can visit Europe in the fall or winter. Fingers crossed!

 

Watch their amazing honeymoon-around-the-world video:

 

To follow Sebrin’s adventures, check out her blog The Clumsy Traveler. You can also follow along on YouTubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

 

Do you have a question for Sebrin? Have you ever wanted to plan a honeymoon around the world? Leave her a comment below!

 

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