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Nori Chakshuvej was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1975, but moved with her family to the United States in 1982. After several stops in San Francisco, Boston, and a small town in Delaware, the family settled in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., her father an ophthalmologist (Chakshuvej is Sanskrit for eye doctor), her mother a real estate broker. Nori has one sister, Patra, who is currently an indentured servant at JP Morgan Chase in New York, in the investment banking analyst program.

Scott Brixen was conceived in Hawaii, and born in Boston in 1973, but spent most of his early life in Sandpoint, Idaho. Scott’s father now works at a pharmaceutical packaging company, having made the unorthodox transition from sawmill management in 2002. Scott’s mother is a receptionist for Sandpoint school district’s administration office. Scott has one sister, Jennifer, who lives in Portland, Oregon, and works for Salomon Smith Barney as a broker’s assistant.

Nori and Scott met in a Mexican restaurant in Hong Kong in 1998, and their relationship has been hot and cheesy ever since. Both were working for US investment bank Morgan Stanley - Nori on the IT side, and Scott in Equity Research. After a few years in Hong Kong, they moved to Singapore, living there for one and a half years before moving to Sydney, Australia. Their jobs allowed them to travel widely throughout Asia, for both business and pleasure.

Friends and relatives wondered if Nori and Scott actually did any work – postcards and e-mailed photographs from exotic locations seemed to arrive too frequently. But the answer is that they did work, far too much actually. After eight years at Morgan Stanley, Scott was still stressed out, working late nights and weekends, and wondering if there wasn’t something more to life than just trying to make more money.

The idea of taking a long trip to see the world, de-stress, and consider other options had been kicking around in Scott’s mind for several years. But each time Scott and Nori got close to making the big decision, Scott’s company would move them to a new location, keeping them both interested, and opening up new travel possibilities. However, after a very tough 2002 in the financial markets, and having spent nearly two years in Australia, the timing seemed right to ‘pull the pin,’ and in early 2003 they made the decision to leave their jobs and begin the adventure.