Welcome to Two Blue Passports

Boca do Inferno. Cascais, Portugal. June 2016

Boca do Inferno. Cascais, Portugal. June 2016

Welcome to Two Blue Passports, a website designed to share creative and practical travel experiences between friends living across the world. We’re two young American women who love the experiences travel affords. Whether that's exploring a new city or trying a new food, there's always something different to see, smell, hear, or taste. We’ve found through our years of planning trips that tips from friends always turn out to be the best travel advice. We’re here to help you choose your own adventure and spark the travel bug within. But first in our best Mick Jagger impression, “please allow [us] to introduce [ourselves].”

Amanda and Morgan at Jeronimas Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal. (June 2016)

Amanda and Morgan at Jeronimas Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal. (June 2016)

An intro from Morgan

Isn’t it funny how life surprises you? Let’s rewind a year to May’15. I was a few months away from marrying my now husband (Dan!), living in San Francisco, and working a desk job at Gap. Before one gets married, it’s completely “normal” to freak out about the future…or at least that’s what people kept telling me. My mind would often wander, fast forwarding my life through buying our first home and having kids. I was worried that I wouldn’t have time to find my passion and go on epic adventures once that married life started. Of course, that was completely unrealistic knowing my husband, but at the time it seemed logical. During one of these episodes (they always happened in the dark before bed of course), I turned to Dan and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could live abroad and travel the world?” We went back and forth for a few minutes before concluding that the only way it would be possible was for one of our companies to sponsor us, but at the time neither of them had positions that would suit us. We ultimately fell asleep and never gave the question any more thought.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving. We have been married 3 months, taken our first major trip together to South Africa for our honeymoon, and are now in Florida with our family for the holiday, when Dan gets pinged by his manager saying she’s just gotten back from a business trip to Dublin. She proceeds to tell Dan that she can’t believe their team doesn’t have a presence in the international office and casually mentions that maybe they should pitch it to the higher ups. At that point, it was a far-fetched idea that would require a lot of heavy lifting to accomplish, yet the seed was planted.

Well here we are the following July and we’ve been living in Dublin since March. It was a no brainer decision to give up our rent controlled apartment with parking in SF, leave my job and put all our belongings in storage for the adventure of a lifetime…or so I thought. I’ll be honest, I struggled at the beginning (and continue to struggle on some days) with the idea of not contributing financially as well as on a greater level to society. For those of you who know me, I’m a high achiever with an A-type personality and a tendency to get lazy if I don’t have an exact goal or plan. Learning to live with unstructured days has been a challenge unto its own. But I digress…

In reality, I have become a full time travel planner, expat, and adventurer. We are based in Dublin during the week, but travel as much as possible on the weekends. We have Europe at our fingertips with the convenience of budget airline Ryanair based out of our home airport. As much as I would love to click my ruby slippers and travel like my favorite fashion bloggers, that’s just not possible. Staying at 5 star hotels around the world that cost upwards of $1,200 a night (yes I’ve looked them up, haven’t you?) doesn’t fit into our current lifestyle. Le Sigh. Instead, I spend my days creating unforgettable itineraries, finding the best places to stay for our $$, and searching for flight deals. I’ve learned a lot about planning fabulous trips spanning from quick 2-night weekend jaunts to full extended vacations. I’m here to show you that it’s possible to find your version of a glamorous Insta-worthy trip while staying budget-conscious.

Amanda, Dan and I at our wedding in New York. August 2015 #certainlyfurst

An intro from Amanda

Dan (Morgan's husband) and I met back in 2012 when we became temporary roommates for a couple of months in San Francisco. Dan and I both worked in the South Bay of San Francisco (read: long commute), so our schedules would often match up. One night, I was watching the Bachelor (Sean Lowe’s Season) when Dan came home and sat down on the couch, pulled out his computer, and pretended he was not at all interested in the show. The next Monday, I got a text from Dan that read, “Bachelor tonight?” He was hooked.

The Bachelor started a beautiful friendship and soon enough, Dan met Morgan, and we were instant friends. Third wheeling with the two of them became one of my favorite activities. For the next three years, we saw each other once a week during Bachelor/Bachelorette season. I’d squeeze between them on the couch and we’d bond over our mutual love for reality TV.

Fast forward to early 2016. I’m working at Airbnb, just returned from a 3 week trip through Cambodia/Vietnam and am already itching to plan my next trip. We were deep into Ben’s season when Dan and Morgan announced that they might be moving to Dublin. I freaked a little bit and in standard Amanda fashion, made it all about me. How could they leave me?!?

Well, they did...and I am so excited for the adventures that they’re going to have. Instead of photoshopping myself into all of their pictures, I’ll get to experience their trips and keep in touch with Morgan through this blog. I’m excited to share tips that will allow you to experience a city outside of what you can read in a guide book.

Morgan and I the night we met on Halloween 2012!

Now what can you expect?

Now onto what you’ll expect from the blog. The idea came about back in February when Dan and Morgan were getting ready to leave San Francisco. We were having a farewell dinner when the conversation about keeping in touch came up. We started joking about writing a blog to keep each other updated on our lives in Europe and SF, since we would no longer have our weekly Bachelorette dates. At first, we toyed with the names Dear Morgan or Dear Amanda, which would match the theme of written letters to each other through the blog. But we also were looking for a one-stop shop website that would outline clear and creative travel itineraries without the need to read through paragraphs of prose to find the gems.

Well here we are! The idea has evolved a bit. We ultimately landed on Two Blue Passports as a means to share tips and creative itineraries with each other as well as other seasoned or first time travelers to ease the planning process. We’re going to mostly cover itineraries and advice, but also some fashion and interesting things happening in our cities. We already have some great places to recap, so follow along on our journey. We’re hoping our posts help ease the travel planning process and inspire great adventure. First up, Portugal for beaches, castles, and pastries.

Morgan CertnerWelcome