Seeing how we share every bit of our current lives with you, we thought we should rewind a bit and tell you where the heck Arbours Abroad came from. For our friends and family that have been around from the beginning, this will be a trip down memory lane. To all you new readers, we hope this gives you a better idea of the two behind Arbours Abroad!
Just A Girl and A Boy
Alright here’s the deal. Jason grew up as an only child running around the woods playing “cowboys and Indians” by himself. Outside of his mom and dad, he didn’t have much other family around. Heather grew up in a completely opposite environment… She’s one of six children and has a huge extended family. Our family backgrounds are as different as black is from white, however, one thing we had in common was always being outdoors. Both of us grew up camping, hiking, driving through the mountains, rafting the beautiful Rogue River… you get the idea.
We met in high school through mutual friends at youth group. Attending different high schools meant that we really only saw each other when our mutual friends would get together. It was the typical high school friendship that turned into married life years down the road. And by typical, we mean… Heather was crazy about Jason, but Jason wanted nothing to do with her for six months until he finally came to his senses and realized Heather was a great catch… 😉
We can’t really put a finger on where our traveling passion came from. We could attribute it to the outdoorsy lives we both grew up living, mission trips we went on throughout high school or family vacations… who knows… but that desire turned into a burning flame we couldn’t put out, which eventually led to Arbours Abroad !
Our junior year of college, Heather did an internship in Africa, and Jason studied abroad in Finland. Que us adding to the fire!! These trips changed both our lives. Being away from each other for so long made us realize how much we wanted to be together forever, and living in a different country meeting other traveler’s made us both just want to travel more! From that point on, we knew we would be traveling again and again, although we had no idea it would lead to the life we’re living now. We finished out our last years of university, and by December 2012, we were engaged and planning a mountain top wedding.
Then Two Became One
July 18, 2013, we gathered with our friends and family (and a few random strangers) on top of Mt. Ashland in Ashland, Oregon and said our “I do’s”. Don’t worry guys… if you’re sad you weren’t there… Hapa Productions did a killer job at capturing our perfect day. You can watch the video below, it will be like you were celebrating with us.
People say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Frankly, we have no idea what they’re talking about. Our first year was radical! We moved back to our hometown of Grants Pass, Oregon where Heather taught kindergarten and Jason was a physical therapy aide. Jason applied for graduate school on the East Coast of the United States, and we decided if he didn’t get in, we were going to spend a year traveling. Whether we were moving across the United States or traveling for a year, we knew we needed some major cash, so we both grabbed a few extra side jobs.
We worked our butts off for that year. (More on exactly what we did in a post soon to come). Between the two of us, we were holding seven different jobs. How the heck we managed to have dinner together every night, explore on the weekends, and visit with our friends and family during the week that year is still a mystery. But we did it… and the hard work paid off!
Multiple interviews, and waitlists later, Jason was told he didn’t get into graduate school, so we were off traveling! Our plan was to go to SE Asia, but the Lord had a different idea. Repeatedly, the Lord was showing us that South America was where we were supposed to go. So, we bought one-way tickets to South America, gave ourselves two months to road trip in the United States to visit friends and family, and left having no idea when we would be back. (Our post next week will give way more detail how we packed up and left! Be sure to subscribe to the blog to not miss out!)
The Beginning of Arbours Abroad
We wanted to journal about our experiences and have a place to share our travel photos and stories with folks back home. However, social media platforms like Instagram only allow you to share so much, so a blog seemed the most logical. Driving to our going away party, Jason was frantically searching for a website to host our blog. Somehow, the name Arbours Abroad came up, and we went with it. After all, we are the Arbours, and we were heading abroad!
[For those of you interested in starting your own blog, we’ll be posting soon about what we’ve learned.. In the meantime just know, we began hosting on wordpress.com, but moved to our own domain in January 2016.]
August 30, 2014, we left. We road tripped from Oregon to Washington DC, down to Florida, and all the way back to California in two months. Talk about a trip of a lifetime!! If you’ve never road tripped before… do it!! We can guarantee it will be life-changing! Check out how to road trip through the US on a budget here.
October 26th, 2014 we started the abroad part of Arbours Abroad by jumping on our one-way flight to Peru to begin backpacking through South America. Little did we know, we would spend the next six months venturing through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.
Let’s rewind a bit. While we were on our road trip, Jason submitted a new application to physiotherapy (UK’s physical therapy) school. This time we decided, “Why stay in the States when we can attend school abroad?” Putting all our eggs in one basket, Jay submitted his application in October for school in Scotland. We waited months and months to hear back from this application and took off to South America not knowing if we would be moving to Scotland that December or not. We finally got word back that Jason would be considered for the 2016 cohort, however, we had no idea what that exactly meant.
In February 2015 just after finishing our Torres del Paine trek, Jay was offered an interview, which would be held April 20th in Toronto, Canada. You can read more about how we got from the bottom of South America all the way to Canada here. By June, we were told he was accepted. We spent June and July road tripping, yet again, in the United States. Knowing we were going to move to Scotland for at least two years, we wanted to see as much of the states as possible and visit family and friends one more time. We spent the month of August cycling from Seattle to San Francisco, became Uncle Jay and Auntie Heather in September, and stayed close to our immediate family for the last couple months in the States.
The Continuing of Arbours Abroad
In January 2016, we moved to Scotland. Leaving our friends and family was harder than expected, but we were so stoked for this next step in our lives. Ten months in and we are still loving our time here!! Jay’s physiotherapy program is loaded with practical experience. He has six different five to six-week placements scattered around Scotland with plenty of holiday (vacation) time in between. His schedule, accompanied with our van purchase, has enabled us to travel to so much of this country and get away on many quick trips to other places in the UK/Europe.
We are so blessed to be living the life we do, and it would be a complete shame to keep it all to ourselves. So, we’re here to continue sharing our experiences and hopefully inspiring you to get out and see more of the beautiful Creation this world is filled with.
Don’t forget to subscribe to ArboursAbroad here, or by filling out the form below. You won’t want to miss our tips, and we’re sure you can learn from all our travel experiences, both good and bad (we have them both)! If you have any specific questions, please leave them below! Who knows, we may even do an entire post dedicated to just what you’re asking!!
Next up… How to Travel : The Initial Leap