Over the last almost two years, we have surrounded ourselves with people much like ourselves. Our social circle has been comprised of yoga teachers, corporate dropouts, travel bloggers, digital nomads, and perpetual nomads. It has been inspiring to be surrounded by people who sort of “get us,” who understand the life we lead.
Recently, though, we took a precarious tiny step back into our former lives. During our week in Seoul, we were privileged enough to stay at two Marriott properties, the Courtyard Marriott Times Square, and the JW Marriott Seoul. At both properties we were offered access to the executive lounge.
Travel Bloggers in an Executive Lounge
Now, for those of you who are not high end luxury or business travelers, executive lounges are pretty much the norm at many hotel brands, particularly at overseas properties. The lounges are almost required additions to big city hotels that cater to international businessmen. We frequented executive lounges while Eric was a Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum member, even when we were unemployed during our first round the world trip. It was sort of ironic to know we were sharing space with various movers and shakers, when we were on a round the world backpacking trip.
But, it has been awhile since we had lounge access. Even when staying at chain properties using points or free certificates, we have no status that grants us access to the complimentary breakfast, the free cocktails at happy hour, or the comfortable space to work with free wi-fi. We often miss out on the lounges with an expansive view of the city and free coffee all day long.
During our two stays in Seoul, we relished the opportunity to have been granted lounge access. It was actually pretty nice to have some place to get work done, or to break out the travel laptop to write during happy hour over a free glass of wine or scotch.
So, what does this have to do with how awesome we are?
Why We Are Awesome
I read every blog post or article I see about how hard it is to be a travel blogger. They generally revolve around warning people not to assume that it is easy to become successful as a travel blogger. It is not a get rich quick scheme. It take a long time to gain traction.
Most of all, it is very hard to use a blog to support a travel lifestyle. I don’t. Even with the success we have had with the travel blog, it does not support our travel lifestyle. Eric’s Amazon business does, and we do occasionally dip into savings for expenses. We are still trying to figure out the balance, even after 2 1/2 years doing this.
Yet, we are totally awesome.
Gaining access to the lounges at the Courtyard Marriott Seoul and the JW Marriott Seoul, meant that we were surrounded by businessmen and because we were in Seoul, career military men who were in town for the US-South Korean joint military exercises. I overheard conversations involving “profit splits,” “earnings before tax,” “semiconductors,” and the phrase that shook me to my core: “transfer pricing.”
This was my former life, and if I hadn’t escaped the predictable life, it would have still been me. I was half expecting a partner from my old law firm to walk into the JW Marriott Seoul executive lounge. It would not have surprised me in the least.
That said, we had some amazing conversations, with a military reserve officer, a few businessmen from Australia, and even the business partner of Phil Marriott, of the Marriott family, you know, of Marriott Hotels. Each and everyone of them (in addition to many of the managers at both properties) exclaimed to us, repeatedly “you guys are awesome!” In fact, several members of the Marriott brand have referred to us as “Power Bloggers” – that I like.
The word awesome was used so much, I felt like it was a catchphrase for a cheesy nineties sitcom. For the people in the corporate world, we are awesome, we are inspirational. Several of them left conversations with us thinking about their lives. One thought so much about it that he came up to us the next day with several questions, including “what do you do about health insurance?”
It was an interesting place to be. To be so different from the people we talked with. It is also quite intentional that I post this blog, about being travel bloggers on American tax day. Although my job did not revolve around filling out tax returns and hitting an April 15 deadline, it is a day that still reminds me of how happy I am to have the life that I lead.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together they have traveled to over 70 countries.