Boiseans Luci and Mike Willits write a travel blog. That doesn’t mean their 18-year marriage is always a dreamy Hollywood thing – “shmoopy,” as Luci Willits says, a reference to a classic “Seinfeld” episode that used the pet name to great effect.
The name of their blog, “1,000 Places to Fight Before You Die,” a nod to the travel book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” is a clue.
“People who know us know we have an edge to our relationship,” said Luci Willits. “My mother said, ‘Your relationship works. I don’t know how, but it works.’ ”
They share key beliefs, one being that travel, while not always smooth, is still always worth doing.
It makes one “more grateful, more knowledgeable, more curious, more empathetic,” said Luci.
And it makes them funny.
The couple’s willingness to share their humor, travel tips, frustrations and occasional missteps – getting fined at the Slovenian border because they hadn’t realized they were supposed to be paying toll fees along the roadway, for example – has gained them fans around the world.
Their 4-year-old travel blog just won a USA Today’s 10 Best award. The competition, decided by readers’ votes on the travel website, pitted the Willitses against more established bloggers. Their closest competitors were a Canadian couple who blog full time, with close to 90,000 Twitter followers.
The Willitses have 6,000 Twitter followers, 1,000 Facebook page likes, and demanding jobs. Luci is the chief of staff at the Idaho State Department of Education. Mike is a marketing manager at Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance.
“For our little humble blog to make it was pretty cool,” Mike said Wednesday. “It’s so exciting, I almost can’t believe it.”
The fact that readers decided the win means the most to him.
“People seem to be able to relate to our fighting,” he said.
The two got the good news Wednesday. They started checking the USA Today website at 7 a.m., refreshing the screen until news of the victory popped up around 10 a.m.
“We’re ‘the little blog that could,’ ” said Luci.
Victory comes with bragging rights. And will likely draw more readers. The blog already has begun to attract calls from advertisers, Mike said.
Anna Webb: 377-6431
Boise couple share secret: Travel, fight, write, repeat