We are working parents (and now family travel bloggers) with busy schedules and active young kids who love camping and traveling the world. We believe the world is run by those who show up, and make sure that the four of us show up every day with open minds and open hearts.
Our goal is to inspire other families to travel even when it can feel expensive, time consuming, or unattainable. All it takes is an open mind, some motivation, and at least one individual in the household that can plan!
WHO ARE WE?
We are the Quills, which includes myself, Anthony, my wife, Kristen, and our traveling kiddos, Henrik and Betty. Our family has been traveling the world, living overseas, and exploring the great outdoors since the beginning. Our parents instilled us with a sense of awe at the world around us and the skills and mindsets to get out there and experience it. Whatever your starting point, we want to pass those feelings and skills on to you!
Anthony – Father, Chief Dreamer
I was born to a working class family in southern Minnesota. For a large part of my life international travel was out of reach. While our situation did not allow us to travel to far flung corners of the world every year, it did allow us to enjoy the bounty and beauty of Minnesota and our surrounding states. We camped, fished, hunted, and road tripped. While my mother gives me constant grief for my inability to remember those trips, I do know that they shaped who I am today.
I was fortunate enough to have multiple opportunities to study abroad. After a two week family stay in Costa Rica in high school, I decided to up the ante and travel the Yucatan Peninsula for a month on a Mayan anthropology course (Anthro what?) and another six months studying in Ecuador. My travel life seemed to snowball after these experiences.
I flew down to Brazil on a whim with a plane ticket, but no plan other than to surprise a good college friend of mine. She happened to be student teaching in Rio de Janeiro (spoiler alert… you can read her story below). The short story is we ended up getting married and created this blog together. Before we knew it we were on a one-way flight to Malta, newborn son in tow. I was offered a job based there and we couldn’t resist. Our daughter was born in Malta a few years later and when I was not traveling globally for this new job, we travelled as a family. We were busy, but we made the most of it.
We moved home to MN, COVID hit, and we had to pivot. We’ve gone back to our roots and spent the last three years camping and exploring the lakes and woods around us as well as going on some stateside adventures.
Kristen – Mother, Chief (and sole) Organizer
Like Anthony, I was born to working class parents, but that is where the similarities of our stories end. My parents were teachers. Before I was born, my parents moved to Saudi Arabia to teach in the international school system. Luckily I have a summer birthday, so they came back to Minnesota for the summer, had me, and returned to Saudi Arabia a few weeks later.
We then moved to a small town in Minnesota where I completed elementary school. Towards the end of elementary school my parents decided they still had the bug and we moved to Abu Dhabi. As time progressed, the life of travel seemed to become ingrained. A few years later we moved to Tokyo, Japan. I spent what some could say the most formative years of my life living in Tokyo. I was fortunate in that we travelled a lot. With time, I learned to speak Japanese and felt at home in Tokyo. Then graduation came and it was time for me to move back to the US for college.
I landed at Hamline University in Minnesota. For better or worse, Hamline had also let Anthony in! A common theme you will learn by reading about our adventures is that we have quite different personalities. I am a planner, pure and simple. I make lists, lists of my lists, and lists of my lists of lists. Anthony doesn’t. He just thinks and then acts, often in reverse, and often with unintended consequences. We ended up being a match made in heaven.
As a teacher-in-training, I was required to student teach in a real classroom. After teaching at inner-city school in St. Paul, I decided to shake things up a bit and teach at the American School in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. It was my first experience traveling independently and I loved it. The freedom and sense of adventure were amazing, even on my shoestring budget. I travelled the country for a month after my teaching was finished and realized that the only future for me was one that included travel. I had a surprise visitor towards the end of my stay, and as they say, the rest is history.
Anthony and I started dating soon after our return from Brazil and realized we were the perfect fit. I won’t bore you with the details, as they will all come out in due time, but the life of travel and adventure was present from day one.
Henrik – Older Brother
I’m Henrik. I am eight years old and love to explore. I spent the first five years of my life living in Malta. Boy was it hot there! I learned to swim in the ocean and took a lot of flights! I now live in Minnesota and love playing hockey and baseball. Since we came back, we’ve been camping a lot. I love the freedom that comes with being in the woods. And the fire. I love the fire.
Betty – Younger Sister
I’m Betty, not Elizabeth, just Betty. I was born in Malta (yup, I’m that special). I was pretty young in those days, so do not remember much but I do remember swimming a lot. Now that we’re back I love hockey and gymnastics. My motto is, if Henrik can do it, then I can do it better. I also love camping, even in the winter!
Travel and adventure are an individualized journey. What you will read about here is ours. Now is the time to write yours. This journey is about taking baby steps (at least most of the time) and slowly expanding your comfort zone, one experience at a time. We are all starting from different places. Forget about the beautiful Instagram-worthy trips and just get out there, whether it is camping in your backyard or a weeklong trip to Bhutan. They all count!