All photos courtesy of Sheba and Ronnie Dunston
When Dr. Sheba and Ronnie Dunston decided in 2013 that they wanted to travel to 100 countries together, they had no idea that their personal goal would be an inspiration to thousands. Now, five years later, not only have they reached their 100 mark, but they've done so by maximizing their hotel points and not paying for a hotel or resort within the last three years.
They've also created a massive social media following with people wanting to know more about how they made their traveling goals a reality while still holding on to their full-time jobs.
“People were asking a lot of questions about our goal, what we were doing and how we were doing it,” Sheba tells Because of Them We Can. "And I think once we started getting all of those questions we figured this was bigger than us."
She explains how both she and her husband Ronnie work full-time jobs with the government and put in extra work hours each day in order to have an extra day off at the end of the week.
“We both work for the federal government where we have every federal holiday off,” says Sheba. “For me, I work 10 hour days and work a four day week where I have every Friday off. So think on a holiday weekend where Monday is a holiday. I have Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and then I’ll take one extra day off on Tuesday so that I can have a five-day vacation."
In 2016 the couple created a Facebook group named after their popular hashtag #Roadto100Countries. Ronnie explains that the goal of the Facebook group is for he and his wife to not only answer questions about their experiences, but for like-minded travelers to also come together and share their journeys along with any tips they have for saving money. With the Facebook group turning into a huge resource for more than 9,000 travelers, Ronnie and Sheba have now turned their hashtag into a website called roadto100countries.com that's set to launch soon.
"The point is to help other people see the world and travel the world for a fraction of the cost,” says Sheba. "Most people want to travel but think they can't afford it and they think it's too expensive. It can be, but it doesn't have to be."
Ronnie explains that the goal for he and his wife is to change the mindset that many people have about traveling. He details how their website will have an "each one teach one" approach where they will share all of the tools and tricks they use to travel at a decent cost. He adds that in addition to a "tricks to travel system" where they will educate people on how to best use the points and miles system to get cheap airfare and hotel stays, their website will also offer training videos, a travel fit series and #roadto100countries merchandise for their supporters.
"2019 is going to be a big year for us," says Ronnie. "Our goal is to help 10,000 people next year with the tricks to travel system."