Who We Are

We hope you get to know us through our experiences and stories on the blog, but in case you wanted some additional background, here it is:


Hi, Internet. I’m Mike (@MikeBaniak). I’m a Chicagoan by way of Cincinnati, Munster (Indiana), and Dayton – so up to this point I have been an undisputed Midwesterner. Prior to roaming the world, I was a Starbucks manager and, most recently, an associate in a fancypants Chicago law firm. A proud member of the 4-time World Wiffleball champion Club Ripped, I have yet to meet a sport I am not interested in (especially baseball). There is very little I wouldn’t read, and I am hoping for recommendations about books I can read either about the places we are visiting or written by someone who is from that place. I enjoy a good beer in a dive bar (ok, at Finley Dunne’s and almost any kind of brown liquor (not crazy about rye), and would probably pick Skyline Chili as my last meal if I ever get the chair. Stop judging me. If you read this blog you may notice a lot of Simpsons quotes and references. That’s because it is the best show to ever grace the airwaves and I can’t come up with better witty remarks on my own. Most importantly, I had the good fortune to meet the other half of this blog during our freshman orientation at the University of Dayton 13 years ago, and I’ve been holding on for dear life ever since.


Hi, I am Anna (@acbaniak)! Born and raised in St. Louis, I am an avid Cardinals fan and believe Ted Drewes’ concretes are the best dessert in the world, but I am probably pretty biased. I am a proud member of Team Hot Mess and have run several of my best half marathons with those lovely ladies. My favorite holiday is Halloween, and I have a closet full of costumes and wigs to prove it. My guilty pleasures include obsessing over Project Runway, impromptu dance parties, and singing loudly at inappropriate times. The last one would be ok, except I really can’t carry a tune, but I sing with conviction and specialize in Journey and Kelly Clarkson songs. My career path has been more of a winding road than drag race. Along the way, I’ve interned at NASA headquarters, designed and tested diesel engine brakes, sold drugs (legally), and most recently raised funds for the American Heart Association. I am looking forward meeting new people on the road and excited for the adventure that lies before Mike and me.

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