Ours is a bit of a fairytale romance. Paolo was born and raised in Italy. Myself, Brandy in the American mid-west. We met while living in New York City and have counted our lucky stars ever since. Creative, goofy and introverted, we truly found each other. Together we are Paolo and Brandy, husband and wife, photographer and writer behind ALOR (Art of Living on the Road).
ALOR is about living with passion, by doing what we love. Together. Traveling, discovering new food and wines, photographing and writing our way around the world. As an artist, Paolo creates work for his collection and I write the stories behind his artistic inspiration, based on our travel destinations.
TPM: What kind of travelers are you?
ALOR: Our travel style has very much become a lifestyle. We are explorers who pack light and travel hard. Often for months at a time. We pass on mass tourism but never pass on the best local cuisine. No matter where in the world we are, we end each day with conversation over a bottle of wine and a sunset view.
TPM: Why did you decide to create the ALOR website?
ALOR: In 2015, we launched ALOR to give voice to the growing awakening of Generation X. The Baby Boomer path to success eroded, with us, right in the middle. Like many of our peers stuck in unsatisfying jobs, we saw trouble ahead. We decided to sell our stuff and hitting the road. Start over. This time, making whatever sacrifices needed to ensure we could focus on doing what we love for a living. Photography and writing. Sharing our story is our way of saying it’s never too late. The time, is always now.
TPM: Along with the ALOR website you also run ALOR consulting. Can you tell our readers a little about ALOR consulting?
ALOR: Absolutely! Before Paolo and I started ALOR, we had worked for over twenty years, ten of them in New York City. As a photographer and a writer we are a unique, mobile storytelling team. Positioned specifically to work anywhere in the world a story needs to be told. Our philosophy with ALOR comes from the fact that we are both students of cinema. As storytellers we know people gravitate to details and revel in grandeur. The opportunity to connect, engage and grow an audience lies in these extremes. Thus our mantra, create outside the middle.
TPM: You both love art, wine, and of course travel. What are some of your favorite places you have travelled to that has the best art and wine?
ALOR: We absolutely love this question!
Living in Manhattan gave us an appreciation of how unique it is. New Yorkers are surrounded. The best wines are shipping in from around the world. The streets are full of galleries and museums. “The best” come from around the world to New York. A stark contrast for many of our favorite European experiences.
In Italy, France and Spain, the wine you drink, the art you see, is by in large, regional. Both historically and contemporarily. While it’s tempting to think of just the big cities like Rome, Paris and Barcelona there are regional treasures throughout each country. We could and would, love to spend a lifetime exploring region by region through Italy, France and Spain.
It’s not that we can’t find art and wine in other areas of the world. Take Burma. Believe it or not there is a vineyard in Burma and the temples and stupas, gilded in gold shaped by praying hands are awe inspiring. Art is everywhere to an open mind.
European art and wine however speaks most directly to our souls because it’s part of who we are as people. It’s part of the art culture we are adding to in our own lives.
TPM: What’s your favorite thing about traveling?
ALOR: Traveling keeps us open and engaged, helps us feel every moment of our day. It’s a state of heightened awareness and appreciation. We live very consciously while we travel. Filling our eyes, witnessing details, learning. Our lives are shaped by travel. From altering what we eat and drink to what we read and create.
Travel simultaneously challenges and validates our perspective and understanding of the world. Each trip serves as a reminder that we actively choose this life. Made sacrifices to have it.
TPM: How many countries/states have you visited?
ALOR: We’ve been to all but eight states. Between the two of us our country tally is 45. We accelerated our travel rate rapidly over the last two years. I think we might be travel addicts.
TPM: What do you think is the biggest sacrifice you have done for the sake of traveling?
ALOR: Despite how much we travel, we are not independently wealthy. While living in New York City, we spent a month on the road and still paid $5,000 in rent and utilities back home. Honestly, it made us sick.
We decided if we really wanted to travel, we had to make big changes. We essentially shifted our New York City cost of living into travel funds. In 2015, we sold our stuff and hit the road. In 2016, we only paid to live exactly where we were. All we need is one carry-on suitcase each.
In the back of our heads we think we may one day have a home but honestly, we may never. We’re okay with that uncertainty but it’s definitely a sacrifice to comfort and security to pursue this lifestyle.
TPM: What’s the best/worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?
ALOR: Best pieces, “fill your eyes” from Paolo’s Mother. “Always keep a change of clothes in your carry-on” from my Mom. Thankfully we either haven’t received or haven’t listened to bad travel advice… yet!
TPM: Where is your next travel destination going to be? Why?
ALOR: We’re in the process of exploring parts of the Pacific Northwest that are new for us and loving it. This summer we’re headed back to Italy which always leads to side trips. This year, likely Germany and possibly a trip to France. We feel comfortable leaving things open in Europe.
We’re also planning to see Africa with Paolo’s parents later this year. They are travelers too, but at the age where adventurous journeys are not something they would consider without us anymore. So it’s our honor to help keep them on the road one big trip each year.
Travel is something that’s important to pass down. While Paolo and I don’t have kids, we fully plan on taking my niece and nephew with us on trips when they are old enough. That’s an experience I simply can not wait to have.
TPM: What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about travelling nomadically?
ALOR: Traveling nomadically is incredibly freeing. The potential to go, do, see and try opens up the world to you and you to it. Be prepared to learn more about yourself in one year, then all your years up to date added together. Be prepared to be humbled. Be prepared to be challenged.