We are Don and Becky Hardy, a husband and wife team exploring the world on a personal, nonprofit basis (very non profit!) since late 1999.
We have each had a lifelong interest in travel, and had seen some interesting corners of the world before we were married in 1995. Our families’ roots are in the American mountain west, Don being raised in Wyoming with family in Montana. Rebecca is from western South Dakota and graduated from the University of South Dakota. She has a masters degree in international transactions from George Mason University in Virginia. Rebecca has always had an interest in other cultures, and following the “velvet revolution” and the fall of communism, she moved to Czechoslovakia as a volunteer teaching English and basic capitalist theory. As Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Alan Simpson -- and later as a director and senior policy advisor to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington -- Don traveled to many regions of the world, meeting with various political leaders and being introduced to many cultures.
After living and working in Washington, D.C. for many years, we knew we wanted more out of our lives, and more control over our time, expenditures, experiences, and future. After extensive planning, we sold most of our worldly possessions (including, painfully, a Cessna airplane, and Corvette and Miata convertibles), sold our home in Virginia, and (gulp!) quit our jobs so we could become full time nomads in search of loftier, more fulfilling dreams to be found in the world’s nooks and crannies.
Now that we’ve been “out here” since 1999, we have never wished we were back in the political rat-race. Not even once! Our hours and days as “gypsies” are far more fulfilling than when we were cogs in a giant political and economic machine. We sincerely enjoy each other’s company and love being alone together. We feel blessed to have the opportunity to spend so much time with the people we love, doing the things that we want to do. We have sacrificed many material possessions and significant financial comfort to attain this lifestyle, yet we refuse to end up like those who delay living their dreams only to have them derailed by poor health or unexpected obligations. We find that life's most valuable rewards surface during the journey, and that the greatest forms of wealth emerge after shedding traditional material possessions -- the ones that actually own us until we get rid of them.
Summary of the expedition to date: We departed Washington, DC in December, 1999, and headed to the western states and then to our new winter home in La Penita de Jaltemba on the west coast of Mexico. In the spring we drove north, bought a trailer and pulled it to Canada’s Yukon, to the Arctic Circle, and on to Alaska. Returning to the “lower 48,” we flew to Portugal and lived in the town of Sintra. A few months later we stopped in the USA enroute to Thailand, where we lived near the Bridge over the River Kwai and ended up as volunteers living at a mission hospital near the Thai/Burma border serving Hill Tribes and refugees fleeing the Burmese Army.
We returned to the USA on a family medical emergency, drove a circle-route around the USA, then flew back to Asia, intending to remain there for a year. We were on a remote eastern Indonesian island on the now-infamous date September 11, 2001. Instead of continuing on to Nepal as planned, we returned to the USA, helped with a family health crisis in Arizona, then bought a beautiful sailboat which is now our home. On the day we bought her in February 2002, we began cruising full time, sailing our lovely “Pioneer” all over the east coast, Florida Keys, and throughout the Bahamas.
In April, 2003 we sailed back to the Chesapeake and braced for Hurricane Isabel. We left Pioneer safe “on the hard,” and drove to the western U.S. and back to visit and assist relatives, and then again across the country to Arizona, from which we departed for Asia. Until early 2004 we explored Nepal, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand before returning for another family emergency. We sailed Pioneer on the Chesapeake through midsummer 2004, before taking an extensive road trip through America’s “old west.” We returned to Pioneer and sailed her across more than 1,700 miles of open ocean from the Chesapeake Bay to The British Virgin Islands, and from there across the northern Caribbean and through the Bahamas enroute back to the USA.
We sold Pioneer in the spring, 2005 and headed first to Montana, where Don underwent very extensive spinal surgery. While he was recovering, we spent the summer in Wyoming. That was followed by eight months in Arizona, as Don began drafting the biography of Senator Al Simpson, a multiyear project. Early summer 2006 brought us to new headquarters in Red Lodge, Montana. In early 2007 we returned to our favorite Asian nations (Thailand, Laos, Nepal and Cambodia) before spending time in early 2008 in South America (Peru). We spent the winter of 2008 back in Asia, exploring extreme northern Laos and returning to old haunts in Thailand. We returned to Asia in late 2009, spending two months in Nepal, India and Vietnam. Then we went to Cabo Sal Lucas, Mexico, and in early 2011 on a cruise from Miamii to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal.
Our site is intended to encourage people to initiate their own quest for our world's nooks and crannies. You'll discover paths leading to the most rewarding discoveries of all -- understanding and perspective.
Please let your friends know about our noncommercial website. Our sole goal is to encourage people to explore and come to understand their world.
Update 2012: In 2005, Don’s former boss tracked us down in the Caribbean to ask if he would like to write his biography. Shooting From The Lip; The Life of Senator Al Simpaon was completed and released in the second half of 2011 and was well accepted. The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, even threw a March, 2012 party in the book’s honor.
As we complete this website in May 2012, we thank the legions of wonderful people we met along the half million miles of our travels throughout the world. Our lives are more meaningful because of you.
If you have comments or questions, please use: mail[at]twogypsies[dot]com.