Carolyn Plemmons, 27, and Bryan Harris, 28, ditched their corporate jobs for a free-spirited life of travel — in more than one sense.
The couple, who met through mutual friends in Virginia Beach, Virginia, five years ago, travels for free by volunteering in countries around the world in exchange for room and board.
From landscaping to cooking, they’re learning about different cultures, befriending locals, and picking up new skills with good, old-fashioned elbow grease.
'My degree was in international studies, so that's something I've always wanted to do, and one day was like 'I'm just gonna do it,' and we talked about it and made our dream become a reality,' Harris said.
They decided to see the world through volunteering to better understand other cultures and live like locals.
'We didn't want to go to the cities that when you Google a country, they're the first to pop up and all it is is tourist traps and seeing this museum and this monument,' he said.
'All the ones we've done include room and board, so we are literally visiting these places for nothing,' Plemmons said.
'Most of the people did not speak English, so that became a challenge, but we all worked together and used a lot of sign language -- Google Translate at times -- and got to try a lot of traditional Bosnian food that we cooked for the guests every day,' she said.
'If we don't feel comfortable with something, we tell them straight-up,' Harris said. 'It's always good to be honest. I don't want to end up in a hospital in Bulgaria, just like they don't want to take me there.'
'We've had so many people tell us 'I wish I could do this,' and I just want to tell them that you can!' Harris said. 'We made huge life changes. We cut our cable and cell phone bills, no more going out to eat, no more going out to drink. We really budgeted. We set the goal and we reached it, and anyone can do it.'
'It's really cool because you get to help people out and you get to experience new cities, new towns, cultures, all over the place, in a way that you wouldn't ever get just hopping on a plane and staying in a hotel or resort,' Plemmons said.
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