Photo Credit: Courtesy of Love in Strange Places
Update Story: From Meeting In A Bar In Bali To Falling In Love Around The World
It’s been about a year and a half since we first shared Jazz and Marc’s story. If you aren’t familiar with them, they randomly met in a bar in Bali and within 10 days realized that they wanted to travel the world together while growing their love for each other. Jazz is Jamaican-American and Marc is German with roots in Mauritius. Through differing cultures and even language barriers, the couple used the one thing they had in common to bring them closer, traveling the world.
They have been together for three years now, and have explored 20 countries together.
We had the chance to catch up with them to learn about the ups and downs of navigating the world together as a couple and what the future holds.
Travel Noire: Last time we spoke, you all were in Germany. Where are you based now?
Marc: I am based in Berlin, Germany while Jazz is currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Berlin is a crazy city and gives me the best mix of stability, freedom to express myself artistically and grow in the wild underground subculture of this grimy metropolis.
Having seen so many places together and apart, diving deep into different cultures and morphing from tourists to global citizens, I’m slowly beginning to understand that home is a decision rather than a place.
Now we have set a goal to be based in the 3 countries that align with our goals and desired lifestyles. Most importantly, where we collectively thrive financially and emotionally. Those places are Berlin, Chiang Mai, and Los Angeles.
TN: Since we last spoke in 2018, what have you two been up to?
Jazz: What we initially thought was going to be a trip from Asia to Europe creating and living with art communities turned to something deeper, a global healing pilgrimage. Together we faced our intergenerational traumas, let go of our attachment to the future, while surrendering to this strange fresh love.
I’ve been learning German and Thai at local schools while traveling, trying out new forms of elevated dance (aerial yoga, pole, aerial hoop, and fire staff), modeling in Europe and Asia all while running my brand Mali Pah https://www.malipah.com/ (a collection of tropical hair accessories and limited edition clothing made in South East Asia).
Marc: In the last year, I opened and closed a startup (producing sustainable houses), started and quit a job in internal medicine, rented an art studio to make paintings, bought an apartment, learned to play the ukulele, guitar, and flute, recorded my first original song in Los Angeles, performed on loads of new stages with beautiful and gifted musicians, and recently started a job as a mental health counselor for artists and business leaders in Berlin.
TN: Are you still traveling together often?
Marc: If I’m being completely honest, I feel like I’m currently in a state where I want to grow locally rather than internationally. For now, I am not interested in long, adventurous trips for the mere sake of traveling around. Now, I care most about a bit of peace and stability, an art studio and a fireplace to turn the things I want to create into a reality.
TN: What have these three years been like for you two?
Jazz: We’ve experienced long-distance love for months at a time, invested in businesses together, explored open relationships, gone to couples counseling and only now can we consciously express our lives desires. Because if you have yet to experience these elements together how do you know if a lifelong bond is aligned?
When we told the counselor our story all she could really say was “Oh my, of course, you are very stressed. I think everyone would be. You have already gone through more extreme situations than some couples I counsel in their entire marriage.” She realized our stress comes from real world problems like not having two (western) incomes, a network of friends and both of your families, a language barrier, no health insurance and no real, appropriate place to live. She was right.
We are just like every other couple who disagrees, but imagine what our discussions are about: what country to live in, culture shock when we cannot communicate, where to apply for citizenship so we both have health insurance or work visas.
There is so much gratitude found in our reflection of this journey together, it’s as if our relationship was made to take us around this world since the day we locked eyes in Bali. Many may think this is unorthodox but we are free.
TN: What are you both doing for income to support your passions and travels?
Marc: Investing in properties in Germany and Thailand, practicing medicine at a clinic in Berlin, copyrighting, political campaign strategy, and art exhibitions.
Jazz: Mali Pah e-commerce shop www.malipah.com, lecturing online, social media management, modeling, performance art, and travel-related gigs. You can find out more about them here: https://linktr.ee/vagabond.jazz
One of our most recent collaborations together is our new ebook Hippie Hustle a digital travel resource guide with over 120 apps and websites to assist with your full-time immersion abroad. Spiced with the illustrated anecdotes from 2 creative-preneurs who have spent the last 10 years exploring off the beaten path.
TN: What new tips can you offer new traveling couples wanting to create a similar journey?
Jazz: Set goals with each other for your relationship and read them together every day. Communicate openly with the person you are with and learn about each other’s cultures. Have all the uncomfortable conversations even if they scare you or lead to serious discussions.
Get as many passports as possible, research your roots and apply for citizenship if you think you are eligible. This will help you with visa processes and assist with long term travel plans. We both found out this year we met the criteria to get our mother’s native passports: British and Mauritian.
Eliminate as much debt as you can so your travels can be guilt-free. That being said, do not let money stop you from seeing the world. If you are given a gift of curiosity and passport privilege, utilize these presents your ancestors gifted you.
TN: Where can our readers catch up with you guys online to follow your journey?