Welcome to Big World Trip, a travel blog about a family following one of the world’s "most-traveled" people around the planet.

Michael Runkel, my husband, best friend and forever tour guide has traveled to and photographed all 193 U.N. countries in the world and most of the world’s provinces. Only around 150 people in human history have achieved this- more have ventured into space!

Part travel inspiration, part family travel guide, I write about what it’s like traveling as a family with an “extreme" traveler and photographer, whether on assignment or to shoot a new territory. (You can find his work everywhere from National Geographic to Condé Nast Traveler.)

 Photographer standing over cliff in Faroe Islands, Denmark.

Through our travel experiences, we encourage families to get out there, leave small footprints, spread love, & raise the next generation of compassionate, curious global citizens.

 Mother with daughter in Estuyroy, Faroe islands, Denmark

Hi, my name is Samantha, I was a musician and recording artist before meeting Michael on a chance expedition trip to the Antarctic Peninsula. After replying “political podcasts and audiobooks” when I asked him what kind of music he listened to, I promptly changed course, traveled with him around the world and moved to Germany. (That’s what you do for love, eh?) Read more about our story here and here.

Eight years, seven continents, 50 plus countries, two little explorers and one very southern-Californian German accent later, we are still out in the world together.

Peshmerga, Kurdistan

Michael and I are of the same philosophy: we travel to report about the world.

It’s our responsibility to share a different perspective and to challenge the status quo, especially in today’s changing times. It’s travelers being necessary diplomats. It’s observing and participating in the world’s big conversations- the ecological, technological, political, and cultural shifts- that are changing our landscapes. It’s our children being door openers.

It’s reaching beyond our borders, both at home & afar. And it’s doing the best we can to raise our kids to become compassionate, curious global citizens in this ever-changing world.

 Tradfitional dressed Kuna indian woman holding a white baby, Achutupu, San Blas islands, Kuna Yala, Panama

Our kids need to be a part of the conversation, because they are the ones who will inherit it.

Follow as we embark on our third round-the-world trip together, this time as a family of four.

Will parts of it be hell? Yes. Will we in no uncertain terms at some point want to toss Sia into the Mekong River? Probably. But we know from experience the challenging parts are the parts to live by, the parts to remember, the parts to love.

Thank you for joining us!
The Runkels



1 | San Juan Island, 2019.
2 | Dune 45, Sossusvlei, Namibia, 2016.
3 | Faroe Islands, 2017.
4 | With the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan, 2013.
5 | Photographing a Himba community, northern Namibia, 2016.
6 | Kuna Indians, San Blas Islands, Panama, 2016.