Andrew and Brenda Tolentino scored tickets to a U2 concert at Madison Square Garden in October of 2001. At the end of the show, Bono belted out “Walk On” from their seven-Grammy-award-winning album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind. It was these lyrics in particular that hit home for Andrew:
“All that you fashion, all that you make, all that you build, all that you break, all that you measure, all that you steal, all this you can leave behind.”
Except the husband and wife weren’t ready to wave goodbye to their successful 20-year careers in the fashion industry. Yet.
With the inspiration and blessing of their 10-year-old daughter, Bailey, the family is indeed ready to leave it all behind. The Tolentino’s are embarking on an incredible journey that even Carmen Sandiego would envy. They’re traveling the world, one dish at a time. And you can join their adventures through their food and travel blog/new business venture, Dish Our Town.
At the same time, we’re lucky to call the Tolentino’s MakeSpace customers. They used our closet-extending power as their full-service Nolita storage solution. Now, we’re helping the close-knit family live a nomadic life, one bin at a time.
We chatted with Andrew about his family’s upcoming trip and how MakeSpace is upgrading their life. Although they’ll be at least 3,700 miles from NYC at any point in time during their trip, their belongings will be only one visit to makespace.com away. Read on, gumshoes!
What storage service were you using before MakeSpace?
We actually never used a traditional storage unit. It’s because it was such a terrible experience when I moved my brother into a storage unit. Then he moved to Texas. Whenever I needed to get things for him, it was almost impossible to get into the building. It was literally like making mini moves every time I needed to go there and get him something to send to him. Because of that, we always ended up just throwing things away or clogging up our little home.
Why did you choose MakeSpace?
Your subway ad was aesthetically pleasing, and we’re all about that having been in fashion for so many years. But also, your service is cost-efficient. That makes a huge deal for people like us who don’t have storage for the next few years.
Most importantly, it was the user-friendly approach in which we’re able to retrieve and store items as expeditiously as possible, without having to visit a storage unit. We simply didn’t have the time to rent a car, put things in a car, and go to a storage unit.
One thing I hated was having to go to the West Side to some big storage unit. I could hardly find it half the time. I actually lost the key once so that was a drag. That’s another thing, there’s no keys with MakeSpace. Everything’s uploaded to the cloud and photographed for me so I know which bin has what. There’s a sense of security there.
You recently finished moving. How has MakeSpace helped your family during that process?
We were living in NoLIta for about 10 to 11 years. We’re a New York City family, we’re very busy, and we’re from the fashion industry so unfortunately we had too many things. We were looking to downsize, and even through that process, we realized that there were some keepsakes that we needed to archive in a place where we felt comfortable.
Part of our downsizing was moving out of our NoLIta apartment. We’re living with Brenda’s family between her sister down the street and her mother in Jersey for the next six months while Bailey finishes school. Then we’re heading out.
MakeSpace is helping us keep the important stuff from our apartment safe. The things in our MakeSpace bins aren’t necessarily the most expensive things, but they mean a lot to us. That’s the reason why we’re also very picky as to where we’re going to store our belongings.
It’s Winter now. We’re not traveling until July 2015. We’re going to have a changeover in our closet before we leave, and then we’ll be doing the same thing every four to six months. When we come back to the U.S. for the first time in December 2015, we’re going to need our Fall clothes. It’s nice to know that they can be delivered when we return and that we can store our previous season’s clothing in your bins, which will be in fine hands.
Because we’re going to be traveling around the world, there may be times when we’re going to need our things. You have a user-friendly website where we can always set up a delivery and have a close friend or family member expedite a shipment to us wherever we are in the world. That’s something that would have been an impossible request in the traditional storage unit situation. Imagine if you were one of my close friends and I called you from Thailand and said, “Listen, I need a couple of sweaters from one of the boxes” and then I send you to a traditional storage unit. You have to sift through all the boxes, get the sweaters, and send them out. In your case, I would just say, “It’s bin #2. Have it sent over,” and then you’d take our stuff out, put it in a box, and ship it to Thailand.
What are some items you’re currently storing with MakeSpace?
Many books. We’re limited to the ones that mean a lot to us. Also, Christmas ornaments. We collect them as a keepsake for each year that we’ve had our daughter. We also save her infant clothes as an archive. You can’t replace those items with money. Those are the important things we store with MakeSpace in addition to our clothes.
Tell us about your upcoming worldwide trip. What countries and cities are you traveling to and when?
We’re leaving the states the first week of July 2015.
1. Our first stop is Hong Kong, China for a few days, or maybe a week.
2. Then we’re headed to the Philippines and using it as a homebase while we’re in Southeast Asia. We’re going to stay with family in Manila for two weeks.
3. After that, we’re going to Philippine islands such as Boracay and other surrounding islands until the end of September 2015.
4. Bangkok, Thailand will be next because we have a worldwide bloggers conference there. We’ll be in Bangkok until the end of October 2015.
5. November 2015 is open for exploration, with Malaysia, 6. Cambodia, and 7. Indonesia as possible destinations. This is a very broad stroke because if we fall in love with a place, we might stay there longer.
8. We’re coming back to NYC in December 2015 for Christmas and a wardrobe change thanks to the help of MakeSpace.
10. Then we’re traveling to Paris, France in April 2016, followed by 11. Croatia in May and 12. Turkey through July 2016.
The only time we plan to be back in the U.S. is during the holidays every year. We’re traveling for the next three years at least, depending on how the business takes off and how much a part of our lives this becomes. It forces you to be nomadic. MakeSpace helps us live that lifestyle.
Are there any places and/or dishes in particular you’re looking forward to experiencing the most?
Find out at Dish Our Town!
The biggest point of interest for me personally would be the first few months in the Philippines. I came to the U.S. from the Philippines when I was 4. I’ve never been back. It’s extremely foreign to me even though it’s my blood.
When we go to Europe, Spain has always been our favorite country and we’d like to set up residency there. We’ve been to Spain quite a few times, but we’ve never been past Madrid going south. We’ve always gone north, so we plan to go south this time and experience the lifestyle there.
What are some of the key essentials you and your family are bringing with you on your worldwide trip?
We’re trying to redefine “essential” as we speak, but we do want to be as minimalist as possible. I always think that I can have five pairs of pants, five t-shirts, and some underwear and be happy. But long story short, we plan on traveling with backpacks and one medium-size rolley. MakeSpace is our virtual closet so we don’t have to pack too much for our trip.
Join the Tolentino’s at Dish Our Town. And bring your appetite because you’ll be tasting their mouth-watering journey through towns all over the world, one dish at a time.