Frank and Marie Nelson built a reasonably normal, stable life in New Zealand. But once their kids headed out into the world, they decided to travel. “Travel” to them didn’t mean booking a tour somewhere, being herded on and off a bus, staying in four-star hotels. Frank and Marie set off for wherever they wanted, found jobs, and stayed awhile. What better way to experience how others live?
Frank is a writer, which means he can dive into any type of work knowing it will someday be material. His excellent ear for dialogue gives immediacy to each locale. Whether it’s driving a van for a summer camp on Cape Cod to working in the media and information services department of an Australian university, his curiosity and humor stand him in good stead. Marie is a nurse, and in demand wherever they land. Because of their excellence in their chosen professions and their ready-for-anything spirit, they can choose where they want to be and make a living once they get there. By doing so, they can immerse themselves in new locations much more than a traveler passing through for a week or a month could. Travel truly became a way of life for them.
Some of the funniest anecdotes are from the stretches of time they spend in the UK. Their livelihood comes from working for an agency called “Animal Aunts.” They’re pet sitters. Some of the animals are ridiculously spoiled. Some are old, some are rambunctious. The humans are even odder than their pets. Anyone who’s ever looked after someone else’s “Little Muffin” or been owned by a pet will laugh out loud during these sections.
Their honesty about dealing with sometimes too-much togetherness is refreshing. They neither pretend every moment is rosy, nor wallow in the less pleasant times. They simple take the strength built on years of strong marriage and raising a family to get through it. Frank and Marie are friends in addition to being husband and wife. They have the best of both worlds traveling with each other. They know how to have fun, even when the situation is less than ideal. They are ready and willing to give each other time apart to pursue personal interests. And, when they’re unhappy with a situation, they take action to change it, instead of simply enduring and whining.
All You Need is Luck covers the first two years of six years’ worth of travel. May the next installment come out soon. They are the perfect traveling companions.