About Us


We are Laurence and Jessica Norah and we are pleased that you stopped by to learn more about us and our blog! Our blog is written for curious, intelligent, savvy folks who like to engage in global independent travel. Liking cats is preferable, but not required. We’d love to have you stick around.

Unlike some of the big travel websites, we only write about places we’ve been and things and products we’ve actually tried. So no worries about reading a post about the top 10 things to do in Panama even though we’ve never set foot there! We sincerely hope that our stories, advice, research, and anecdotes on this website will entertain, inspire, and help you become a more savvy independent traveler. In addition to sharing our travel stories and advice, we also like to occasionally spice things up with some travel-related research information or a post on some interesting travel history. Yeah, Jess is boring like that and loves research, history, and books. 

Our Story

Laurence and Jessica Norah top couples travel bloggers Independent Travel Cats

Laurence and Jess met in 2014 during a travel conference in Italy and got to know each other on a subsequent short press trip. Two months later, Laurence flew to San Francisco to see if the spark in Italy was real and 10 days in California led to the beginning of a romantic relationship and the forging of our travel blogging lives. Laurence had been traveling and blogging since 2010 at his blog Finding the Universe while Jess had been blogging with her prior partner Ethan since 2013. In 2015, we joined forces both as a couple and as a blogging team. We have now been traveling together for over a year and have visited 12 countries together. In 2015, we also got married aboard the Queen Mary 2 in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! We left the United States and are currently based in beautiful Scotland, near Edinburgh. We are still relatively new to traveling with each other, but have plenty of wonderful adventures planned for the future. We hope that you’ll join us as we move forward in both our new marriage and our exciting upcoming travels. It’s a progressive journey together and we look forward to learning more about each other and picking up some useful travel wisdom along the way. We hope that our adventures and savvy travel advice help you along on your own travels and journey in life!

Laurence and Jessica on beach Point Reyes California

Laurence and Jessica snowmobiling Finland

Cunard Queen Mary 2 wedding at sea cruise

Meet Jessica Norah

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Hi there! I am originally from Ohio and currently call the San Francisco Bay area home (although in 2016 we plan to make Scotland our new home). My passion for travel began when I was young. My parents would take us on annual one-week long vacations each summer. It was on these long road trips–crammed into a car with my younger brother–that I really begun to appreciate travel. Then when I was 16, I got the opportunity to travel to Europe and I was really hooked. I fell in love with Paris and wanted to travel the world. Unfortunately, college, graduate school, and work kept me busy and broke for the next 10 years. I am a bit of a workaholic and it would be 11 years until I would actually return to Paris. I vowed in 2012 that I would make time for travel no matter how busy, broke, or occupied I might be in other areas of my life. This has lead to so many wonderful experiences, from snorkeling in Hawaii to eating pho in Hanoi to trekking on Mt. Kilimanjaro! It also led for me to leave my job as a professional clinical research psychologist in the summer of 2015 and join Laurence on a nomadic journey that eventually led to setting in beautiful Scotland 6 months later. Travel is exciting, enlightening, invigorating, and inspirational for me and I hope you’ll join us on our adventures! 

Meet Laurence Norah

Independent Travel Cats About Us Laurence Brindisi

Hello! I’m Laurence! I grew up in the UK and the Seychelles, and my parents gave me a love of travel that I’ve always carried with me, with family adventures taking us through Europe and Africa. Yes, I have some pretty awesome parents. After giving a career in IT a go in the UK, I concluded it wasn’t for me, so since 2010 I’ve been traveling the world full-time and sharing my stories about my adventures, largely through the medium of my camera, over on my site Finding the Universe. I absolutely love travel (and photography!), finding new places to experience, as well as have adventures and fun on the way. I was lucky enough to meet Jess in Italy, at a travel blogging conference no less, and am delighted to be able to take part in adventures with her as an Independent Travel Cat! We hope you’ll follow our adventures together!

Meet Our Cats: Dodger and Dash

And yes, we do in fact have cats—which perhaps makes our website name slightly less confusing:) The kitties currently are living in Albuquerque, New Mexico with Ethan. These kitties have been included in many of our travels around the United States! Let us present Dodger and Dash.

Hello, I am Dodger. I am a 5-year old orange tabby. I was born in Albuquerque, NM and traveled with my parents to California when I was only 6 months old. I love to play fetch with my toys (take that dogs!), run around outside, and eat grass until I throw up. I am scared of just about all loud noises, particularly the vacuum cleaner. My favorite spot is perched on top of the bookcase.

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Hi all, I’m Dash. I am a 3-year old snowshoe Siamese and tabby mix. I was born in Santa Cruz, CA and was adopted when I was only 6 weeks old. I love chasing the laser pointer, play fighting with Dodger, and watching the birds outside the window. I am one tough cat, but I admit that I am also scared of that noisy vacuum cleaner. My favorite spots are curled up next to my parents or ‘hiding’ somewhere like under a blanket or inside a box or basket (even if I barely fit!).

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We hope you’ll stick around and follow us on our journey!