Who is Where We Went Next
We are Cole and Haleigh, the couple behind Where We Went Next. We are avid hikers and adventure junkies — who will opt for an epic day outdoors over a cozy one spent inside, any day. We created Where We Went Next as a space to encourage adventure in others, as well as a deep appreciation of nature, and our bodies’ ability to explore it.
With our words, we hope to inspire you to get outside and explore new hobbies, while equipping you with everything you need to know before you get started.
Our Story: How We Met
Cole and I met while serving as Peace Corps Volunteers in the Philippines from 2015 – 2017. I was in Education while Cole served with the Coastal Resource Management sector. Apart from the two weeks we spent training together as one cohort, we spent the next two years living on different islands, separated by a 12 hour bus commute, two hour plane ride, followed by another two hour bus trip. It was a wild start, but one we wouldn’t change for anything.
In those two years, we explored every nook and cranny of the Philippines. We snorkeled with whale sharks in Donsol. Cliff jumped in Siquijor. Freedove the sardine run in Moaboal. Cave trekked in Sagada. Scuba dove with thresher sharks in Malapascua. And, floated our way through WWII wrecks at 100+ feet below sea level in Coron. It’s safe to say that our love for one another was built on a strong foundation: a shared love for adventure.
When our service allowed, we’d also sneak away to nearby countries. We spent our first Christmas together sipping tea in Taiwan, took a much need glam-cation to Bali, and reunited with family in Hawai’i. It was on that trip to O’ahu that I distinctly recall telling Cole, “we will live here one day.”
Our Love for Adventure + Travel
Following our close of service from the Peace Corps, we packed our entire lives into packs and set out for a two month Southeast Asia backpacking adventure. We summited Mount Kinabalu in Borneo. Rode bikes through Angkor Wat. Traveled the coast of Vietnam by train. Stayed in a 130 foot treehouse in Laos. And, spent a week diving off a live aboard in Thailand.
To this day, those two months we spent together are still some of the best of our lives. During this trip, the idea of Where We Went Next was born. While we couldn’t yet travel full time, nor knew if we had the desire, we did know that we wanted to travel as often and as adventurously as our budgets and jobs would allow.
Cue move to Hawai’i — I’m not sure there has ever been less planning involved in such a life decision. We moved, first, then all the pieces fell into place. Just as we trusted they would. Cole got accepted into the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Natural Resources and Environmental Management graduate program, and I landed a teaching job.
Our Life in Hawai’i
Flash forward three years and here we are. Still waking up daily in awe of the island and its beauty.
We spend every free moment we have hiking, surfing, diving, climbing, camping, kayaking, spearfishing, and slack lining. We have so many outdoor hobbies it makes fitting them all in quite the challenge. As far as problems go, that’s a pretty good one to have.
Sometimes our favorite adventure of the week, though, simply involves us, a blanket, cold beers, and the sun setting over the ocean. It’s in those moments we are reminded of just how lucky we are to call Hawai’i home. Do we think we’ll live here forever? Honestly we don’t know. But, what I can tell you is, we have no intentions of leaving.
Our Dream Life
2020, the infamous year of quarantine, brought so much positive change to our lives.
I discovered that my heart was no longer in teaching and put in my resignation. I became a digital wellness coaching, something I’d been wanting to say yes to for years. I mustered up the courage to utter the words, “I want to be an adventure writer,” out loud, and invested in a writing mentor.
Cole accepted a position with FEMA, and we both now eagerly wait to discover where we will go next. Hawai’i will still be our home-base, we just might be spending a lot of time elsewhere.
We converted a Eurovan. What started as a run down 2003, three-rowed, mom mobile is now a wandering soul’s dream space. We decided to rent it out on Outdoorsy so others could experience O’ahu the way we come to love it.
While I wouldn’t say we’ve yet arrived at our dream life, I can confidently say we are finally taking steps in the right direction. We want to have the freedom to go for a sunrise hike on a Monday. Cook pancakes on a Tuesday. Leave for a spontaneous trip. Surf on our lunch break. Do work we love. Help others. Adventure, every day.