Thanks for visiting our travel blog, Passports and Photographs! We are Ron & Audra from Texas, married for 34 years with 4 kids and 2 grandkids. We retired a little early in 2021 in our early/mid 50’s and have made it our goal to visit as many places as we can. Well…Audra made it OUR goal. Ron isn’t always as excited as Audra to be traveling again but he’s always glad we did when it’s over. We’ve been to over 20 countries and lived in 4 of them.
I wish I could say something exciting about how we quit our boring life sucking jobs to travel the world but that’s not our story. We met way back in the late 80’s in a gigantic nightclub. No, it wasn’t like that. We both worked there and it was one of the best times of our lives. 3000 people a night, loud music, and no responsibilities. Until, we found ourselves preparing for our first child. That changes everything! All of a sudden we found ourselves thinking about things like car seats and health insurance. Our fun-carefree-days were over. What to do next??
Well, Ron decided to join the military. And with that we were not just traveling the world but moving to different countries (Japan and Italy). The best part…we didn’t have to pay for it!
Our Travel Style
We like our comforts but also love to save money. It’s a balance. Staying in a fancy hotel is great but we’re also just fine with camping in a tent. Audra is all about saving money where she can and using that money to go on more trips!
It might be surprising to know that we’re actually homebodies. We love being home, watching movies and our shows, and working on our hobbies and side projects. Again, it’s a balance. It’s always exciting to head to a new destination but it always feels good to be heading home.
Why you should travel
Travel is some of the BEST education you can get. You learn so much about cultures, history, art, and just connecting with different people you may have never had the chance to meet. In return, those trips will teach you about yourself.
You’ll find that you learn things about yourself that you didn’t know. Whether it’s finding out you’re more adventurous than you thought (or not) or maybe you’ll discover a passion for ancient history you didn’t know you had. Traveling will open your eyes and heart to things you never knew existed.
You might think that traveling to foreign destinations is out of reach. I get it. Traveling isn’t cheap. However, it’s also not impossible. If you’re reading this then chances are you know it’s not completely impossible to do. You’re already taking that first step to researching places and figuring out how to make it happen. I’ve spent my whole adult life living on a tight budget. The military doesn’t pay well and when you have four kids you have to make that money stretch. I’m actually a bit weird in that I love the challenge of seeing how much we can get for a small amount of money.
What you’ll find here is travel resources, photography tips, destination guides, stories, itineraries, and lots of photos! I hope to spark some curiosity and ultimately a drive in you to get out and explore the world. We should all strive to discover more about global cultures and experience things we might not have ever considered before. Keeping to my craft, I’ll also show you how you can take better photos of your very own travels. Whether you’re using an iphone or a professional camera, when the trip is over it’s the memories that remain and our photos are proof of a life well lived!
Interesting Facts About Us
We once won a Jeep Wrangler from a Dr Pepper can purchased from a soda machine. We were just 3 months from military life and didn’t need the jeep so we took the cash instead. $10,000. Yes, back in 1990 you could buy a brand new jeep for just 10K!
We wanted 3 kids but our 3rd pregnancy resulted in identical twins. The pregnancy ended up being a rare twin issue called TTTS and that resulted in them being born at just 28 weeks. This was back in 1992 and all but one of my doctors had never even heard of this problem. Luckily, we all survived.
Ron has published a book in late summer of 2023. It’s something that has been in the works for a VERY long time but didn’t fully come together until he retired from work in 2021. If you’re interested in purchasing it or reading what it’s about, head over to his website Run of the Leopard Dogs which is also the title of the book.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”Anthony Bourdain
My name is Audra and I’ve taken my addiction for travel and my love of photography and combined them here. I’ve been traveling my entire life, moving three times by the time I was just two years old. I moved from the US to the Netherlands at the age of four. That move to Europe is what started my lifelong passion for travel.
I’ve loved the medium of photography and for over twenty years now it’s been my profession. I owned a portrait studio for many years photographing families and babies, proms, military events, and a few weddings. I also spent three years photographing hotels before choosing to focus more on travel photography.
I’m Ron and I served in the Air Force for 20 years before my first retirment, worked another 11 years as an IT Leader, and then retired for good in 2021. Would you believe I never left the state of Texas until I was 25 years old? It’s true. I don’t share the same sort of DNA based travel obsession that drives my wife, but I do enjoy traveling and have a deep respect for history, sociology, and culture. As a photographer, she must simply experience “the shot”. I’m good finding the exact same picture on Google.
Audra is an optimist. I’m a fatalist. She always plays the perfect movie envisioning the happy path of the trip while I play everything out in its worst-case scenario. I figure if I do that then I can only ever be impressed by a better outcome or satisfied that “I was right”. In the end, it usually falls somewhere in between. You can always count on me to level out the bliss!