Meet: Corritta Lewis, Ex-Pat and LGBTQ Traveler | The Expedition
Corritta Lewis, her wife and son in Tennessee

Meet: Corritta Lewis, Ex-Pat and LGBTQ Traveler

Corritta Lewis is a self-described workaholic.

But after she and her wife, Mea, had their son in 2018, they decided to prioritize making memories—and showing him the world. They started planning and saving for a gap year that would take them from San Diego across the United States, then on to China, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and beyond.

They left in early 2020. Within weeks, the pandemic upended their plans. A few months later, Corritta lost her job. But, to their surprise, things worked out even better than they’d expected.

Last August, the trio moved to Playa de Carmen, Mexico. “We are glad we did,” she says. “We’ve been changed by our community here. And our travel plans have morphed into a charitable effort.”

Last Christmas, the family decided to buy gifts for all the kids in the neighborhood—including dolls, action figures, books, blocks, coloring supplies, diapers, wipes and more. 

“What started out as a way to put smiles on the faces of kids who were having a difficult year turned into something much larger,” Corritta says. “We are providing food, clothes, and personal hygiene products to families. Now we are working to set up something that can outlast us.” TKTK details about the charitable effort.

She talked to The Expedition about how families can support diversity in travel, the secret to traveling on a budget, and her hack for traveling with a baby. 

In three words, our travel style is…

Fun, budget-friendly, and slow.

Traveling during the pandemic has been…

Interesting. In comparison, traveling has been a better experience in terms of the experience. It was nice not being smashed together in tight spaces.

The number one thing people can do to support diversity in travel is…

Speak out. If you see something, say something. Do not accept how things are. Question your favorite brands. Why are most influencers white? Demand that companies be more inclusive. As consumers, we have more power than we believe.

Become an ally in the fight against prejudice, bigotry, and hate. Make friends of other ethnicities, races, religions, and backgrounds. The only way to support more diversity is embracing it, and what better way than starting at home?

The catalyst for deciding to take time off to travel was…

The birth of our son. After he was born, I returned to work in just seven weeks. It was heartbreaking and I thought, “This is ridiculous.” I thought it was despicable that dogs got more time with their puppies than new mothers got with their babies, so we decided to take time to be together as a family.

The family gap year was a chance to see our son grow. I didn’t want to miss a second, especially after severe anxiety and extreme guilt after returning to work.

It took nearly three years for us to…

Plan financially for our family gap year. We reduced expenses, saved money, downsized, reduced our tax burden, and found ways to make extra money. The itinerary was the easy part. Since our son was only 1 year old at the time, he could fly for free. We also relied on low-cost carriers and used travel hacks to save on luggage.

You’d be surprised at…

How easy it is to find cheap flights if you know where to look and are willing to be flexible.

Our best piece of advice is to…

Trust your instincts. Our family thought we were crazy to sell everything and travel with a 14-month old baby, but we did it. Deciding to travel has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. If you want to do it, don’t let anyone stop you.

To travel on a budget…

Do not travel like a tourist. When you become a full-time traveler, it’s not the same as being on vacation. We’ve learned to live like locals, instead of like tourists.

The moment I fell in love with travel was…

Watching a family play in the park in Thailand. You could tell they didn’t have much, but they were happy to be together. That’s what I wanted. I wanted a life where being in the moment and being with the people I love is more important than anything in the world. That moment was when the idea to give up meaningless possessions and travel freely popped into my head. Why collect things when we could collect priceless memories and have fun?

Corritta Lewis' infant son at the Byodo-In Temple in Oahu, Hawaii.
Corritta Lewis’ infant son at the Byodo-In Temple in Oahu, Hawaii.

The hack that we’ve been using since our son was a baby is…

His stroller. We check his stroller in a bag, but also use it for extra diapers, clothes, and anything else we may need, without being charged by the airline.

We do not go anywhere without…

Our son’s Kidco Peapod Travel Tent. It is the one thing we make sure is always in our suitcase. Our son has been sleep-trained since he was 5 months old, and we did not want to regress, so we transitioned him to sleeping in his tent.

The most family-friendly place we’ve visited has to be…

Orlando. There is something there for everyone, and the weather is great. Although the prices are high, there are so many fun things to do, not including Disney.

If I could change one thing about travel it would be…

How people treat others. We’ve worked hard to integrate ourselves into local communities, and many people see tourists in a negative light. A simple act of kindness can go a long way. Try to get to know the people, the culture, a little bit of the language.

The most important lesson I want our son to learn from traveling is…

To give more than he takes. It is the philosophy that we live by. The proudest moment I have had as a mother is watching our 2 year old give a homeless man his fries without being prompted or told. We were walking down the street, and he just stopped and handed them to him and smiled. It just goes to show you that your kids are always watching. Our son is with us when we go around the community and give families food or clothes.

As two people who grew up in Ohio, we go anywhere…

Warm. We like to be where the temperature rarely drops below 65 degrees. As someone who grew up shoveling snow, I never want to go back to anywhere cold.

We base our destinations on…

The cost of living. To travel longer, we travel to places where the dollar is strong. The less we spend, the longer we can travel.

We also try to go places where we can help people. Our philosophy on travel is to give more than we take, so we try to go places where we can become part of the community. You’d be surprised how much you can communicate with someone, even though you don’t speak the same language.

My wife is looking forward to going back to…

An elephant sanctuary we visited in Thailand. She is obsessed with elephants, so anywhere she can volunteer to help them is on her bucket list. I am looking forward to seeing the modern Seven Wonders of the World. We have visited two so far, so only five more to go.

When it comes to packing, we try to be…

Minimalist—but we are failing epically. Since our son is only 2, we travel with toys and activities to keep him busy. Plus, we’ve collected a few things along the way. Somehow, we’ve managed to fit everything we need into five suitcases. Over the next few months, we plan to decrease that to four suitcases, two backpacks, and a diaper bag.

My favorite travel app is…

Skyscanner. It helps me find the cheapest flights, for when we are planning to travel.

You can learn more about our family by…

Watching our videos on YouTube or following our blog. You can always find our latest adventure at It’s a Family Thing.

Sara Clemence is a freelance journalist, formerly travel editor for The Wall Street Journal and news director for Travel + Leisure. She's the author of Away & Aware, a guide to mindful travel.

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