Real Life Minimalist Update (and Giveaway!): Betsy and Warren Talbot

Betsy + Warren Talbot

Update: The giveaway is now closed, and the winners are announced at the bottom of this post!

I always love to hear updates from my Real Life Minimalists, and find out what they’ve been up to since they shared their stories here with us. And boy, do I have a treat for you today—a special RLM update from Betsy and Warren Talbot of Married with Luggage!

The last time we heard from Betsy and Warren was over a year ago. At the time, they had just sold their house, and almost all of their possessions, and were planning to embark on a four-year journey around the world. I recently had the pleasure of catching up with them, and thought you’d enjoy learning where they are now…

F: So, please fill us in! Where in the world are you, and what have you been doing for the past year?

B+W: We are currently in Germany, and we have spent the last year traveling around South America, dodging a volcano, hiking the Andes, dipping down to see the penguins in Antarctica, and then cruising up the Atlantic to England as the only passengers on a repositioning polar cruise ship (for free, no less!). We spent the summer touring around Europe, house sitting and visiting with friends, and we just celebrated our one-year anniversary of travel. It has been a whirlwind year!

F: You made a radical lifestyle change to live your dream. What role did minimalism play?

B+W: There is no way we could be living the life we have now if we had not started on the path to minimalism five years ago. We already knew the basics, so it was fairly easy to kick it into high speed 3 years ago as we decided to go on this journey. Because we sold everything we owned – house, car, possessions, even the kitchen sink – we are now mobile enough to move at moment’s notice, taking advantage of every opportunity for adventure. Everything we own fits into 2 65-L backpacks. We could not have such a full life if it was still crammed with stuff. In fact, had we not started minimizing in the first place we would never have even been able to entertain the idea of long-term travel. I would say that minimalism is the key to our new lifestyle, both in realizing we could actually do this crazy thing and in the day-to-day of living it.

F: How does it feel to live out of a suitcase? Do you ever miss having a house, furniture, or the myriad other possessions that typically fill our lives?

B+W: We get this question a lot! The things we miss from our previous life all revolve around people – the friends and family that we see less often in our new life, but that we make a point to stay in touch with via Skype and email more than before. We do not miss any single possession that we owned before. In fact, it would be hard to even try to remember most of them. This concept seems harder for people to understand than anything else we have done – saving money, spending 24/7 together, giving up careers – and I think I know why. I struggled with my pack rat tendencies all my life, and if someone had told me 10 years ago I’d be living out of a backpack, I would not have believed them.

F: What have you found to be the greatest challenge of a nomadic life? The greatest reward?

B+W: The biggest challenge remains being apart from our family and friends. We still stay in touch for all the important things, but we do miss 1000 little things. Our friends and family miss those little things in our lives, too, since there is no way we could put every experience in our blog.

For that one downside, though, there are a myriad of pluses. Our relationship – which was good to start – is now rock-solid. Once you plan and save for a big adventure like this, follow through with it, and live with your partner 24/7 through some of the biggest highs and scariest lows of your life, you will either make or break your relationship. Second, there is a huge confidence boost that comes with exploring the world and negotiating your way through transportation, lodging, and communication difficulties, not to mention the joy you get from meeting new people and experiencing some of the most beautiful places on earth. And last, the feeling of complete freedom – that you can go anywhere you want anytime you want and stay as long as you want. Everything in our bags contributes to enjoying the life we love, and there is not one thing extra to weigh us down.

F: What’s your favorite experience of your journey so far?

B+W: The people, definitely. Both the people that we have become, the people we get to meet and befriend, and the people who get to see what average Americans are like instead of relying on caricatures of us from the media. We are learning and teaching as we go, and for curious people like us, it is a perfect kind of life.

In terms of specific places, though, we would both say Antarctica is pretty spectacular.

F: You’ve recently written an ebook called Dream Save Do – very exciting! What’s it all about?

B+W: We wrote this guide to show everyday people how simple it is to take control of money and focus it toward living the life you really want instead of sustaining the one you don’t. People ask us every day how we managed to create this fantastic life because they want to do it for themselves – maybe not to travel the world, but who doesn’t want a chunk of money to chase a dream?

The guide is over 100 pages of practical steps, inspirational nuggets, and the creative financing strategies we used to amass the cash for our dream, and it also includes videos from us as well as credit card debt reduction expert Adam Baker of Man vs. Debt. Last, just because we want there to be NO reason why anyone can’t do it, we have included a 3-month email followup system to help keep readers on track. We’ve done everything we can to set up an environment for success. You can learn more (and get a launch day price discount on October 18) at

F: What are your plans for the future?

B+W: As I write this, we are heading to the airport in Germany to fly to Thailand. We’ll be staying there for the next six months as we work on our website development business and write in an effort to fund our dream long-term. You see, once you accomplish a big goal like this, the stakes keep getting higher. We’re no longer satisfied with 3 or 4 years of travel. We want to make this a lifestyle, living and working around the world at our own pace and on our own terms. So stay tuned for much more from Married with Luggage. We’re just getting started!

Feeling inspired? Well, generous souls that they are, Betsy and Warren have offered to give away 3 free copies of their new ebook, Dream Save Do, to Miss Minimalist readers.

To enter, all you need to do is leave a Comment and tell us what dream you’d like to save for (traveling full-time? starting a business? staying home with the kids?).

I’ll keep the giveaway open until Monday, Oct. 17, at 5pm EDT, and use the random number generator at to select the winners. Please use the email address at which you’d like to receive the ebook; if you win, I’ll be passing it along to Betsy and Warren so they can email it to you!

The 3 winners (selected via the number generator at are…

Lynn, who on October 14th, 2011 at 11:01 am wrote:

Thanks for the really nice interview, I love reading about people who have made it possible to travel long term. That, indeed, is my dream too and what I am saving for!

tara, who on October 14th, 2011 at 4:09 pm wrote:

I dream of being able to stay at home with my son and work from home doing some kind of writing. And I could then grow a big garden to help me live more off the land.

Emily E., who on October 16th, 2011 at 2:48 pm wrote:

My dream would be to pay off student loan debt, become a lecturer who travels all over and meets interesting people, and to have a family of my own that I can afford to take on trips all over the world. I would love to write a book and my all time fantasy destination is Africa. I love this couple’s story and inspiration!

Congratulations to Lynn, tara, And Emily E., and thanks to everyone who participated–it was so inspiring to read about all of your dreams!

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201 comments to Real Life Minimalist Update (and Giveaway!): Betsy and Warren Talbot

  • My dream is to save enough to pay off our home quickly (the market changed the idea of selling it-for now) so that my honey can work from home building guitars and we can traverse the world with out children teaching them about life from experiences. Life is enriched and possibilities are endless when we open new doors!

  • jo-anna

    My dreams are living a life of travel and simplicity. My husband plans on travelling internationally and working after getting his chef red seal. I will continue to homeschool our two young children.

    So we are saving to get out of debt, and have a small backup reserve for our travels.

  • Gypsy

    Our dream is to sell everything and buy a small sailboat to travel the world on. We want to see the world and all its different cultures while doing what we love!

  • Wendy

    My dream is to have options. I want to save money and create a life where I have the option to travel if I want, or to take a couple of months off to spend with my family, or to work on an interesting project. I want to escape from corporate servitude. Minimalism plays a huge role in crafting that lifestyle. And I think Warren and Betsy’s book will address so much more than that.

  • Kelly B

    My dream is to continue to pare down my possessions and build a cash reserve so that I can spend 2-3 years traveling the world when I retire in 8 years. I have already started my journey by selling my home and renting a much smaller place, eliminating about half of my possessions, and much of my debt. Just need to get rid of that pesky student loan debt, so that I can put that money toward my dream!

  • Berit, Sweden

    My dream is to get rid of the clutter that is such a heavy weight on my shoulders. I dream about a life with less stress, more peace, less work and less commuting, less stuff and more time with my kids and friends, eating healthy and enjoying the moment. I know I am on the right track, still amazingly far to go though and so slow progress. Thanks for the continuous inspiration!

  • Kathy

    My dream is to be able to put my family in a living quarters horse trailer rig & us travel from show to show with only the horses & things in our rig so we could become full time haulers.

  • maureen

    I met betsey and warren at meet plan go in seattle just before they left on their adventure. I eould love to be able to take hubby and four kids on an extended round the world trip.

  • coco

    my dream is to be debt free!

  • Kathy M

    I dream of being home,taking care of my daughter,my husband, crafting and sewing more,living simple the way our parents parents be happy and fullfiled,in,the joy of my daughter face ..not working so much.. That wach day is dreaded..and sad. The light went out so long ago, want to feel,and laugh with less, so I feel empowered with more..more time to read.

  • Julie

    I, too, am saving for a travel dream – a year traveling the world. My husband and I did this for a month, with leaves of absence from work, and now we have the bug big time!

  • Angela J.Riley-Blanchard

    Oh to win a book on my birthday 10/18!! My husband and I have started our minimalism lifestyle a few years ago by selling off everything and moving into an RV. W’ve loved the freedom to travel but find ourselves once again filling up our space! We’d love some tips to save extra money to travel even more in this gas hungry economy.

  • My dream is to travel round all the American states, I love visiting there but I’ve only been to 4 so far so I’d like to see all the rest – the movie addict in me may be romanticising this a bit tho! :)

  • Nina

    run a small catering business

  • Melissa

    To not be living paycheck-to-paycheck!!

  • Northmoon

    My dream is to live on a small farm. I’d like to grow, raise and/or make whatever I need as much as possible so I can live an independent life. Plus I want to have lots of animals around and make a good home for them as well.

  • Onita

    Would love to have the freedom to pursue something which adds value to my community everyday.

  • Heather

    Honestly my dream is to be debt free so I can be able to dream of other things. Paying off my debt would ease so many of my worries and let think and dream of other options.

  • Odette Bragg

    I would like to have enough money for my husband to quit his miserable job of teaching school.

  • Trudi

    Wow, I just read the first answer to the first question to my husband and we both responded in awe. My dream would be to travel the world as well with my husband. My husband has a job that he loves but unfortunately the hours that he’s required to put in don’t leave him much time for anything else which makes me sad.

  • My dream is to slow travel around the world with my husband like the Betsy and Warren.

  • Abbe

    I’d like for my husband to be able to quit his job so we could travel the world with our homeschooled children!

  • Claire

    I am not so much dreaming of what I could do if I saved up more money: I am happy with my lifestyle, with my financial situation, and with my house, even though it needs minor repairs. What I am dreaming of is what my life will be like once I have simplified and minimized, which I find maddeningly slow. Every night, I chip away at our mountain of stuff. Once I finish, I hope to devote more time to my kids in a peaceful environment. Right now I work to minimize after they’re in bed, and hopefully minimizing won’t take so long that they’ll get to the age where they go to bed later, and I won’t be able to spend time with them because I’ll still be culling/sorting/cleaning… ;)

  • Erin

    I love Betsy and Warren. I am an avid follower and would love to win a copy of their new ebook! My dream is to someday travel the US in an RV!

  • Robin W

    My dream is to simplify my home and life. Then being able to travel on little notice.

  • Lynne

    My dream is to travel the world, and to be debt-free of course!

  • I dream of being able to stay at home with my son and work from home doing some kind of writing. And I could then grow a big garden to help me live more off the land.

  • Jackie

    More travel, longer periods, especially during the winter to warm places :-))

  • Erin

    My dream is very much the same! I would love to be debt-free and traveling around the world with no more than what’s in my pack. It’s going to take a few more years to pay off the student loan debt, but I am making significant progress in minimizing my possessions. One step at a time I guess. :)

  • Joanna

    My dream is, in the short term, to be able to go to China with my husband and kids and have a wonderful experience…in the longer term, I would love to travel around the world with my husband the way Betsy & Warren do…oh, yeah, and to have no debt :)

  • Travel the USA with my beloved DH. Although we’d been saving and investing toward this and retirement we were badly hurt in the 2008 financial meltdown. Still trying to recover.

  • N

    I’d like to save enough to feel safe enough to stop worrying about tomorrow so that I can live the life I really want to live today.

  • Sarah Clarke

    I’d like to save enough that my husband could quit the job that drains him and do 2 things….(1) be a stay-at-home dad for awhile and (2) really figure out what he wants to do. The pressure of has never allowed for that time, and I believe he needs it.

    I loved this line: “take control of money and focus it toward living the life you really want instead of sustaining the one you don’t.” So good.

  • My dream is first to be debt-free, and then to travel the world!

  • Lin

    My husband and I share a dream of purchasing a 5th wheel RV and living in it while enjoying all their is to see throughout the USA. I think this is partially why minimalism appeals to me now. We’re looking at a huge downsize from a 2100 square foot home to about 300 square feet of living space.

  • Lorna

    I dream of saving enough to travel and not be tied down to one place all the time. So glad to hear from Betsy and Warren. I have been following them since last summer before they left on their new journey.

  • Rachel

    My dream is to grow a garden. We live in an apartment and I work full time. If I had the resources I’d quit my ‘out’ job and find a small bungalow with a yard. I’d love to grow dinners of fresh fruit and veggies with my kids!

  • My dear friend and I just came up with a new dream TODAY at lunch! We are going to rent an apartment together in Paris and explore the city as we’ve always wanted to for 2-3 months. (I won’t be surprised if we never come back!!)

  • Lori

    I think my greatest desire would be staying home with my 10 year old son and homeschooling him. I just know that there aren’t that many years left with him. He has already been in all fifty states by age 9 and 1/2 and now we would love to take him to Europe. It’s something to hope for!

  • Edie

    Thanks for a great interview! We are currently saving for a four month trip to Europe. Our youngest, in high school, is taking a semester off. It’s so exciting!

  • Anne

    I’d like to start small by traveling around the US with my family. We plan on a trip to India within 5 years.

  • Lauren

    My dream is to start my own business in order to create a more flexible lifestyle than the one I have now. I love to travel and every place I go to just makes me want to travel and see more! My current lifestyle and career do not allow for as much time as I would like to make this happen.

  • mizizzle

    Wow! What an inspiring read! I’d love to save more so I can work a little less (even though I love what I do), have more time to explore the world and myself, and also be able to give more of what I have to others.

  • Em

    My dream is to have enough money to adopt a child (or two, or three!) from an underdeveloped country.

  • Mimi

    My dream is to go back to school, (have a bachelor’s), to the Phd level and allow my son to have the same opportunity.

  • Neda

    My dream seems so simple- I would like to travel. To get the chance to experience different cultures and make friends around the world.

  • Gin

    I dream of taking my family of five to Russia for the 2014 winter olympics.

  • Tonya

    My dream is to retire comfortably in 20 years. My recent divorce has me in a jam, but I’m going to struggle to save money so I don’t have to work my ENTIRE life.

  • Andrea S

    Two big dreams: paying off our house within 5 years and extended travel throughout Europe! Love this post!

  • Tania

    Our dream is to pay off the house asap so that my husband can reduce his work hours, then save enough/set up a passive income source, so that we can come and go as we please…would be nice!!

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