Have Fun. Give Back.

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by Julie Gauthier

I’d like to introduce two extraordinary people. They’re friends of mine, and they’re doing something amazing and marginally insane.

I met Liz and Kip, who are married, when I lived in Washington, D.C. Liz is originally from Colorado, while Kip is a Louisiana boy (well, north Louisiana anyway). They are two of the most fun and interesting people I’ve ever met, and they’re on an adventure of a lifetime.

They started by purchasing a home in a transitional neighborhood in D.C. and then spent the next year renovating — mostly by themselves. The house had an extra bedroom, which they rented out through www.airbnb.com for the next few years. While they had various strangers living in their house pretty much all the time, they were able to save a ton of money despite their both working for non-profits.

In March, they quit their jobs, took their savings and frequent flier miles and launched out on a year-long backpacking journey around the world.

Yes, really. They have a rough outline of countries they’d like to visit (Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Jordan, Kenya, Brazil, Micronesia and Palau — among others.) They are quite literally making it up as they go along — to often hilarious and dramatic results. And they approach every day with such enthusiasm and fearlessness, it’s hard not to be inspired.

One of the primary motivators behind their trip is to do good in the places they go — they’re trying to spend 1 day out of each week serving in some way. From joining in a harbor clean up in Palau to helping scientists count whale sharks in the Philippines — to even small acts like helping villagers carry water and firewood — they’re doing good while having fun. And it looks like a LOT of fun. You can follow along with their adventure through pictures and blog entries at www.1of7.org.