Last spring, Amy Seder and Brandon Burkley were ready to take their relationship to the next level. The New York City-based couple had been dating for over a year and had an appointment with a ring designer. But the day before they went to pick out the diamonds, they had an epiphany.
Over a bottle of wine while watching the sun set behind the Manhattan skyline, they came up with a new plan: to take the money they’d spend on a ring and wedding to quit their jobs and travel the world together instead.
“We were both working really hard, and I think we were both pretty unhappy in our jobs,” Brandon, 28, said. “But a lot of our most memorable times were trips together—that’s where we had the most fun.”
“We were living one trip to the next, having to get through four months of work until we could go to the next place,” Amy 29, added. They both were feeling stagnant in life, and while an engagement seemed like the appropriate next move, they took a step back and realized an epic trip was calling them more.
Although the couple can’t agree on whose idea it actually was in the first place, they do agree it was the right one. “Whoever started that conversation, we were both there mentally,” Brandon said. “We were both on same page. It was an immediate yes.”
They did go to the ring designer appointment, but ended up putting their marriage plans on hold indefinitely. Over the next year, they saved as much money as they could and gave their respective bosses their notice.
“And as the plan evolved, it turned more into a business,” Amy, who had been working at a photography studio, said. The two loved taking pictures and videos of their trips together and wondered if they could do that professionally around the world.
Brandon, who worked in finance, saw this as an opportunity to tap into more of his own creativity, too. They bought a drone to use for their photography and videography, gave their company a name (“Away Lands”), and began booking jobs—mainly tourism ads and commercials—for the year ahead. “We’re still learning something new with every project,” he said. “But we did something we were really passionate about, and it showed through—people tell us it’s really inspirational."
The couple has officially started the adventure together, with a visit to their hometown of Los Angeles and then on to Singapore in October for their first leg of the trip abroad.
“It’s scary and an adjustment,” Amy said. “But I feel like we’re experiencing as much as we possibly can, seeing the world, meeting new people, and working on projects that feel great.”
For a travel-centric duo who can list one of their first dates as a road trip from L.A. to Big Sur, Amy and Brandon say they understand the trials any couple will face trekking around the world together for such a long period of time—between airport delays, food poisoning bouts, and the general stress of getting from Point A to Point B, there are a lot. But they’re up for the challenge.
“Right before our trip to Big Sur, I texted Brandon and said, ‘There’s a 30 percent chance we’re gonna hate each other after this,’” Amy said.
“And I wrote her back and said, ‘I think there’s 100 percent chance we’ll fall in love,” he said.
Only this fairy tale doesn’t end with a wedding, but rather begin with a trip down the airplane aisle… and that’s all this couple wants right now for their happily ever after.