In November 2012, Riley and Ally went on a 24-country trip over 9 months with their parents. Today, along with their parents, they encourage other families to travel, see the world and pursue their own dreams through their website, TheCourageVibe.com.
At the time of the trip, Riley was 16 years old and Ally was 11. The family purchased one-way tickets to Australia, and after that, had no exact plans on what they were going to do.
“We had taken the first step, and we were going to let things work themselves out accordingly”
Riley says that it didn’t sink in what they doing until several months into the trip.
“It was surreal, and a lot of fun. It really showed us what open intention could bring.”
In the 6 months leading up to the trip, the family discussed various ideas of where they might go. They purchased a large Ikea map of the world to post pins on the places they thought they might like to visit. Once on the trip they asked people the met in hostels, and locals, opinions on where to go
“It was the most organic and fun way to do it because we got other people’s flairs, which exposed us to new opportunities we wouldn’t have even considered”
Riley considers himself the “last holdout” in the family, as he originally didn’t want to go and leave his friends in high school. He says the excitement of what he would miss far outweighed the nervousness and any concerns he had.
The most memorable places to visit for them were Cambodia and Peru. They say that the people they met along the way were the most incredible part of the experience.
Both of them picked up the most language in Turkey, while staying with a local family for a month.
“Because we chose to immerse ourselves in cultures, the learning curve in which we achieved the languages was exponential”
Riley took online courses while travelling, applying the knowledge he was learning on subjects such as theology.
“It wasn’t until I saw my education applied that I started seeing myself as a student of life”
When Riley and Ally share their experiences with others, they keep the conversation as informal as possible, so people will feel comfortable asking questions.
“That’s what prepared us to take the trip. We were curious.”
Riley believes that the process of figuring out what is important to each individual is what motivates kids. Through this, they realize that life isn’t “one size fits all.” He believes that kids are taking advantage of today’s technology to connect with others and expand their horizons.
On the issue of teenagers and social media, he feels that kids need to surround themselves with the right people, in the right places, and they need to be proud of what they produce online.
Both Riley and Ally are entrepreneurs. Ally created a book to help girls find a style that works for them, and Riley previously founded a financial education corporation for millennial. He stepped away from this venture, as travel is his passion and he realized it would keep him ground in San Francisco. He now is in Portland, OR, working with start-ups in the travel industry providing marketing and consulting services.
Ally and her parents are travelling to the Dominican Republic to scout out places for their Courage Journeys, and Riley is travelling to South East Asia on behalf of a local start up to do market validation studies. In April, the formal Courage Journeys are taking place (see “INTERVIEW LINKS” for website).
Superhero: The Flash (Riley), Superman (Ally)
Cartoon: Tom & Jerry (Riley), The Smurfs (Ally)
Family Tradition: getting out in nature for hikes (Riley), eating their mom’s monkey bread on Christmas morning (Ally)