About the Bonds
When Carrie and I met at our pre-departure training for the Peace Corps in 2007 it was our mutual love of travel that sparked a connection.
I had been travelling my whole life but for Carrie it was a newfound passion. I was born into a family of avid travelers. I took my first trans-Atlantic flight at the age of three months, which was soon followed by an epic series of flights with my mother from Northern Ireland, where she is from, to the Philippines where we lived for the next few years. Growing up my father worked in London with the U.S. Navy. Living in London and the rise of budget airlines allowed me and my family opportunities to explore much of Europe.
A major turning point in my life was in 2002 when I took my first solo trip to Bangladesh. I never thought my two-week trip to see college friends would fundamentally alter the way I view the world and travelling. This trip showed me that there was much more to the world than what I saw and experienced in Western Europe and North America and that I was capable of traveling on my own and wanted to do more of it. I returned to Bangladesh two years later to complete an internship at a leading microfinance organization in Dhaka. These experiences were leading factors in my decision to join the Peace Corps.
Carrie, on the other hand, grew up in a small village in Central New York and didn’t really travel much until her adult life. After high school, she took a few years off to explore the U.S., living and working in different cities across the country. At the age of 25 she spent a month backpacking through China. Apart from Mexico and Canada this was her first international experience and it changed her life. She fell in love with the challenge of learning how to navigate an unfamiliar culture, country, and language. Soon after Carrie made the first of two trips to the West Bank where she conducted field research and strengthened her Arabic language skills for her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies. Carrie strategically planned her trips so she had stop overs in Europe and enough time to travel around the Middle East. These experiences ultimately motivated Carrie to join the Peace Corps after graduating from university.
During our two-year service in Jordan, we took trips together to Cyprus, Egypt, and Israel, but it was while we were backpacking through Eastern Europe in the summer of 2008 when we realized we were destined to be companions in life and travel. The following summer I proposed to Carrie in Panama during a two week backpacking trip through Central America. Since we’ve been together we’ve lived in five countries (Jordan, the U.K., Italy, Morocco, and the U.S.) and have traveled to 68 countries combined.
Carrie and I have both come to believe that the right kind of tourism can be a driver of equitable and sustainable development. We both saw the positive (and negative) impacts that tourism can have while living in Jordan-I lived in the heart of the religious tourist trail, Madaba, and Carrie lived just a few miles from two of Jordan’s main tourist sites, Petra and Wadi Rum, and went on to explore the role of tourism and development in our master’s work.
With each trip, we try to maximize the positive impact on the local economy by staying in locally owned and operated hotels, eating in locally owned and locally sourced restaurants, and buying locally made products.
We started Backpacking with the Bonds to help travelers think about how they spend their money while they’re travelling and intentionally design their trips to contribute to the sustainable and equitable development of the places they visit.
Our travel as of August 2017
Albert - 89 countries and independent territories
Carrie - 77 countries and independent territories