FITTER Interview Series: Kelsey & David

Meet Kelsey and David Tilley, a motivated and active married couple who made their international travel goal a reality this year.  Get ready to be inspired...   

Fitter: First, a bit about you guys…who are you cool people?

Kelsey: David and I were both raised in the Midwest and moved to California a few years after we got married.  We are blog writers, travelers, and one of us is a graphic designer.  More importantly, we are passionate, active, determined, hard-working individuals.  We believed we could re-define our daily “normal” and are now five months into our year-long international journey!

David and Kelsey Tilley on a hike in Vietnam near the Mua Caves.

David and Kelsey Tilley on a hike in Vietnam near the Mua Caves.

Fitter:  I love that you wanted to re-define your daily normal.  How did you make that dream a reality?

Kelsey: Knowing the power of writing down goals, David and I put it on our five-year plan with the hopes of setting out in the fall of 2016.  We worked hard to align ourselves with that goal by saving money and thinking of ways to mobilize our lives.  By the summer of 2016 we were set on making it our reality and with the help of co-workers, family, and friends, we were able to hit the road right on time!

Fitter: Fitness was such a regular and important part of your lives in California.  How has that changed now that you’re on the road?  Do you still value it as much?

David: Fitness was a huge part of our identity in California.  Our communities were rooted in the weekly classes and clubs we attended.  It was hard waking up our first Monday morning abroad knowing that our lululemon Run Club would not be meeting us that night – although I’m sure they would have loved to join us for a jog around Thailand!

Kelsey: To stay in tune with our fitness goals we reached out to our good friend, JD Alex – fitness coach and badass crossfitter – who put together a plan for us.  Three workouts a week with two days of cardio between…it’s perfect!  We typically do JD’s workouts in our hotel rooms and then either hike, swim laps in the pool, or climb the stairs.  We want to make our workouts a part of what we are doing while we are experiencing a new city.  We find ways to challenge ourselves and spike our heart rates while exploring!

While in Bali, Kelsey took a yoga class where the studio,  Intuitive Flow , was built on stilts.

While in Bali, Kelsey took a yoga class where the studio, Intuitive Flow, was built on stilts.

Fitter: Have you tried any classes or events abroad?

Kelsey: It’s definitely a change in routine from our daily Orange Theory Fitness and SoulCycle classes, but yes, if the workout is unique to where we are, we’ll jump into a local studio.  In Thailand we joined some of our friends who live in Bangkok to attempt Mauy-Thai (Thai kickboxing).  David and I loved the challenging combinations but had to laugh at ourselves as we missed basic instructions due to the language gap.  We also attended an amazing yoga class in Bali.  The studio was built on stilts, giving us a perfect tree line view while enjoying the natural heat throughout our practice.


Fitter: Tell us about your fitness community in California.  I know it was really important to you.

David: The community we had in Palo Alto was really special – they are an incredible group of like-minded individuals looking to push their physical limits.  We were challenged and encouraged daily by amazing people like Ginny at SoulCycle and Shyamal at lululemon Run Club.  We felt blessed to say the least.


Fitter: How do you stay motivated now without your community or weekly routine?   

Kelsey: Even though we don’t get to see or talk with them daily, our community still inspires us! Beyond health and wellness, having a community of fellow runners, indoor cyclists, and crossfitters who have continually encouraged us to run longer and jump higher has done huge things for our motivation.  David and I are challenged daily with situations outside of what we faced in our normal life back home.  Having the ability to push through and find solutions is something we attribute to repeatedly facing tough physical challenges and overcoming them with the help of an amazing community behind us.  And, of course, having a partner who is equally interested in fitness and competition helps a lot too.  If I do 50 push-ups, David does 51!   


Fitter:  So, what’s next?  What’s your next fitness goal?

David: After completing our first marathon the day we before we left for Thailand, we knew we had to have a new challenge on the horizon.  We’re thinking of a triathlon once we return to the Bay Area and jumping back into half-marathons with our friends.


Inspiring, right?!  If you want to follow their daily journeys, check out

@ajourneylife on Instagram.  And for city highlights and travel tips, visit their website at   

Sophia Wong