From Solo Travelers To Traveling Soulmates
By DeAnna Taylor
Leslie and Martina Johnson were simply two people who loved traveling the world, primarily solo until they met in 2015. From there, the love story unfolded and in 2017, the pair became one.
We spoke with the Johnsons about their love for traveling and they tell us about their favorite date destinations thus far.
Travel Noire: Prior to meeting, how often did each of you travel?
The Johnsons: Before meeting, we each explored about 4 countries per year. Martina lived in London and South Korea, and traveled solo throughout Asia and the Middle East. Leslie traveled throughout Europe by himself.
TN: Describe how you two met?
The Johnsons: We met on a flight to Kenya. Leslie was sitting in the row in front of Martina and started a conversation about the book that she was reading. Throughout the conversation, we realized that we lived about 15 minutes away from each other! It was really a God ordained meeting because Leslie almost didn’t go on the trip after his friend backed out. Meanwhile, Martina unsuccessfully tried to switch seats with someone else so that she could sit with her friends.
TN: Since you’ve been together, how often do you travel?
The Johnsons: We travel together about 10 times per year, and typically 5 to 7 international destinations. We’ve done 35 new destinations so far and a bunch of repeats.
TN: Where has been the perfect date destination so far?
The Johnsons: Our favorite date destination is Morocco because of the variety of dates that you can have. There are opportunities for luxury spa dates and fancy dinners but you can also have unique experiences like riding a camel to watch sunset and have dinner on a sand dune in the Sahara Desert.
However, Martina’s favorite date was in Egypt where we spent the day exploring the pyramids and then had dinner on the Nile. This had been her dream date for years so it was amazing when it actually happened. Leslie’s favorite date was his birthday dinner in Greece because he wasn’t used to someone making a big deal out of his birthday. Also, what topped off the dinner was as we were eating dessert, we realized that we had been sitting next to Jerry Seinfeld the whole time.
TN: How do you plan and budget for your travels now?
The Johnsons: We start the year off with a list of places that we would like to visit but flight deals help determine when and where we end up going. For instance, Sri Lanka was on our list this year and we wanted to go in October. But a flight deal in the spring came around so now we’re going in May. We oftentimes use credit card points for hotels or the Hotel Tonight app for short trips.
Our top budget tips are to be flexible with your dates and destinations, travel during shoulder season especially to expensive destinations and eat lunch like a king. Meaning save your bigger and more pricey meals for lunch instead of dinner.
TN: Where are you two headed this year?
The Johnsons: We were recently in Morocco. Later this year, we’re headed to Sri Lanka, Mexico City, Iceland and Trinidad. We also want to hit up a few domestic cities but haven’t decided where yet.
TN: Where can we follow more of your adventures?
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.