Emily and Hudson Crider have been to 167 countries so far. Their goal is to seem them all.
Courtesy of Emily and Hudson Crider

  • Emily and Hudson Crider have been traveling the world for seven years. 
  • Their goal is to visit all 195 countries, of which they’ve done 167 so far. 
  • Spending 24/7 together, they have had to learn to communicate well and apologize quickly. 

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Emily Crider. It has been edited for length and clarity.

When Hudson and I started dating when we were both 16 years old, I never would have guessed that we would one day travel to every single country in the world together.

In college, we heard a quote that we both liked: “Think of the stories you want to tell someday, then go out and live them.”

We wanted to tell stories of travel, so started dreaming up an idea of spending a year traveling the 50 states in an RV.

The dream kept bubbling once we were married in June 2012, when we were both 21. We lived frugally so we could save while working full time jobs, and planned for how we could make our American trip a reality.

The couple got married when they were 21 after dating for five years.
Courtesy of Emily and Hudson Crider

But when Hudson’s dad died in 2015, it was a reminder that we literally aren’t even guaranteed tomorrow. So we bought an old RV from Craigslist, not wanting to wait any longer to start our dream. From 2017 to 2018, we managed to visit every American state, during which time we fell more in love with each other and with travel.

We decided to travel internationally, which eventually turned into wanting to visit every country in the world.

We eliminated big expenses to afford our travels

We planned for how we would afford it. In addition to using our savings, we would work remotely teaching English, sell products online, and create content online. We eliminated all big expenses — we don’t pay for rent, don’t own a car, and don’t have kids. Most of what we own can be packed into our backpacks.

And then we just went for it.

For the last seven years, Hudson and I have spent most of our waking moments together. To date, we have visited 167 countries and have 28 to go.

Living with someone in such close proximity for so much time has at times, had its challenges.

We have noticed that when we are tired, stressed, rushed, or hungry, we tend to get into arguments, so make every effort to avoid feeling that way whenever possible. But we definitely do still argue, just like any other couple.

We had to learn to be good communicators

There was one time we rented a car to do a self-safari through the Serengeti when we nearly ran out of gas while lions were lying in front of us in the middle of the road. Times like these can be a little stressful, but we’ve learned to work together, and fortunately, we managed to make it home.

The couple has learned to communicate better by spending so much time together.
Courtesy of Emily and Hudson Crider

Another time, we were on a chocolate tour in Switzerland. I can’t even remember what the argument was about, but I do recall stuffing our faces with chocolate while arguing, eventually laughing about the whole scenario.

Through all of it, we’ve had to learn the art of good communication — there isn’t space to do otherwise. If one of us is feeling tired and irritable, we talk about it rather than holding it in. If we disagree with each other, we deal with it immediately. Instead of holding grudges, we are quick to apologize and move on.

We sometimes need time alone

I have loved getting to watch and know Hudson in constantly changing circumstances and cultures over the last seven years. The way he is able to connect with every person we meet is incredible.

Despite our love for spending endless hours together, like every couple, we sometimes need space to be alone. So we encourage each other to do things we individually enjoy.

After they’ve visited all 195 countries, the couple wants to settle back home and start a family.
Courtesy of Emily and Hudson Crider

One thing I really miss when traveling is the community you get from living in one place for a prolonged period of time. We miss our families and solid friendships. But we both feel we are experiencing a different type of community by traveling. We constantly speak with new people, learning about their cultures, their beliefs, and their lives. We’ve both been so inspired to be better people after receiving such kindness and hospitality from those we have met.

As much as we love travel, we plan to finish our goal of visiting every country within the next year. We’re looking forward to starting a family and putting down roots. But I would never trade these years of travel. It has been so good for our personal growth and our relationship.

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