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Margaret and John: Pre-Expat World Travelers (Chicago)

Margaret and John of Lost & Found Travel are a very creative, talented, warm, super funny and irresistibly charming world-travel team: She writes the words, he takes the photos…

… and together they also create entertaining, informative and beautiful videos about exotic places, cultures and food from around the world. They definitely know how to find, enjoy and recommend Happier Places!

Margaret and John are a married couple currently calling Chicago home (“the greatest city in the world” according to them). John is originally from Wisconsin, but Margaret is actually from the Windy City. It’s clear how much she loves and knows Chicago when you take one of her award-winning tours. Luci has and freakin’ loved it! Probably more importantly, Travel + Leisure ranked her company Chicago Elevated as “Number 1 among the best sightseeing tours in Chicago”!

Chicago skyline captured by Margaret of Chicago Elevated - Happier Place
Chicago skyline and marina captured by Margaret of Chicago Elevated and Lost & Found Travel

One of the reasons her tours, and also Margaret and John’s travel reports, are so popular must be their sense of humor. Both of them aren’t just funny by chance. They’ve both studied and practiced improv; Margaret was even part of the famous Second City Comedy Club.

Margaret and John’s first big trip together was to Thailand in 2008. That’s when they promised themselves to make travel a priority in their shared life. Fortunately for us, they also decided to share what they’ve seen, heard, and learned (“sometimes the hard way”) via their Lost & Found Travel website!

Recently, they’ve described themselves as pre-expats who feel like they’re just about to live somewhere else. (We totally get that idea – having been expats and ex-expats – just didn’t realize we were pre-expats first.) They’ve recently spent 3 months in India – and are probably already planning the next big or even biggest getaway. We can’t wait to see which place they will show us next! But first, they answered a few of our questions.

Jawahar Kala Kendra Art Center in Jaipur, India - photographed by John of Lost and Found Travel
Jawahar Kala Kendra Art Center in Jaipur, India – photographed by John of Lost & Found Travel

What do you do?

Margaret owns her own tour business [Chicago Elevated] and has started workshops to help train other tour guides. John is a jack of all media trades – a photographer, videographer, content consultant and builder of websites. We’re both travelers filled with 1/2 wanderlust and 1/2 homebody.

Why do you do what you do?

As a couple, we travel. We don’t have kids, so we have this chance to see the world and we both feel compelled to honor that chance. Then on top of that compulsion, we both have this strong need to document it. Margaret writes and John does the photos, videos, etc. We spend our time traveling, finding a way to share it with other people. For that reason we can’t “vacation.” We don’t think we’ve ever really done that together. We can’t sit on a beach and sip cocktails; it’s not in our DNA. We are compelled to get up, get on our feet and start walking. We think we all have a responsibility on this earth to share with each other what’s it’s like in our little patch of the world. That’s what moves us: to see as much as we can and share as much as we can.

Diwali in Jaipur, India - photographed by John of Lost and Found Travel - Happier Place
Diwali in Jaipur, India – photographed by John of Lost & Found Travel

General Happier Place category?

Margaret: Water. Always water. I miss it desperately when I’m not near it and anywhere I settle down has to be near something or my mind will never be able to fully relax.

John: The woods. Since we both are urban dwellers, any chance to get into the woods is where I feel most at home. Hiking, fishing, mountain bikes; anything that immerses me.

Specific Happier Place locations?

Margaret: It’s the lakefront at sunrise. This is why Chicago is such a great place for us! I’m a lover of architecture – the mother of all arts. But what’s so great about Chicago is that you have this city of steel and strength, and it all sits on the 5th largest lake in the world. The dichotomy of city and nature is in balance in Chicago. There is something so joyous in watching the sun come up over the city you love. Each time, it’s the most amazing thing to watch that orb pop out of the horizon. I actually cheer it on and give it a clap when it shows itself.

John: The woods, at home in Wisconsin. Because it’s the dirt that I’m made out of.

Chicago Lake Front photographed by Margaret of Chicago Elevated
Chicago Lakefront photographed by Margaret of Chicago Elevated and Lost & Found Travel

What do you always bring out into nature with you?

Margaret: As little as possible. A camera and a notebook and pen. Oh, and maybe a little extra TP. The joy of going into nature is that you don’t need much. I feel like in the city it’s always about ID and money and your wallet and your phone and your laptop and….the great thing about heading out into nature is that you don’t need all that extra life getting in the way. But my hands get itchy if there’s nothing to write with.

Do you have any Happier Hacks or other outdoor tips?

Margaret: I’ve been getting into “natural movement” stuff lately – so I’m working on not just “being” in nature but also, moving through it better. So I’ve been hanging from more trees, climbing more trees! Lifting logs and rocks and walking barefoot on grass and rocks. Trying to interact more instead of just “moving through.”

Indian monkey photographed by John of Lost & Found Travel - Happier Place
Indian monkey photographed by John of Lost & Found Travel

A dream destination (in space or time)?

Antarctica. Living in Chicago means learning to love cold weather. Whenever we travel, we’re always hot, lol. We would love to see a completely different view. It seems that ice and snow is one of the most peaceful landscapes – it’d be great to see the extreme.

Words of inspiration?

The Four Agreements work for us:

The Four Agreements - Happier Place

What we love about the Four Agreements is both of us have different ones that are sticky for us, or harder. John is already impeccable with his words, while Margaret struggles there. Margaret, however, doesn’t take it all so personal, and John struggles with that one. That’s why we’re a good couple, too, and good travel partners – we have trouble with different things, so we can pull each other up when it gets rough.

Find Margaret and John and their tours and travels online:

Chicago Elevated: TwitterInstagramwebsite

Lost & Found Travel: InstagramFacebookTwitter — YouTube — website

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Margaret and John of Lost & Found Travel and Chicago Elevated in Nepal - Happier Place

2 thoughts on “Margaret and John: Pre-Expat World Travelers (Chicago)

  1. Thank you for the feature! This got us so excited to get traveling again and also to remind us of the great friends we’ve made along this crazy way. <3!!!

    1. Yes! Love reading that! Your interview and photos get me excited to get traveling again, too, and of course reminds me of the great friends I’ve made. Super stoked to be able to feature you on the site and looking forward to hearing from other people that they discovered you here and how inspired they are by you and your creativity and travels. Wish I could go out on Chicago tour with you this week. But maybe we’ll see you down here soonish. If all else fails, we always have our Nepal dream…
      xx Luci

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