Welcome! We’re Matt and Alysha.
Here’s a Little About Us
Hey there! We’re Matt and Alysha, the two (gluten free) travelers behind this site, and we are so grateful that you’re taking the time to click through to this page to learn a little more about us.
The first thing that you should know about us is that we’re totally normal people.
Except for our secret (not-so-secret) superpower: we’re both excellent travel planners.
We’re really good at it. So much so that people in our lives want to go on trips with us for the sole reason that we’ve planned it.
This site has been built over the course of the past five years or so with the intention of bringing our structured way of thinking about travel planning to you to help you plan your next trip.
We plan every single one of our own trips, which usually involves huge Excel Spreadsheets (jk, Google Sheets now – who even uses Excel anymore?) with color-coded pages for things to do, eat, and drink, places to stay, tours and activities, and more.
We’re not into planning every single minute of our trips – there still has to be some flexibility to wander a little bit – but we do like to have an idea of what our time is going to look like.
We know that approach isn’t for everyone. Some people like to play it fast and loose, not planning anything until they arrive and figuring it out on the fly.
But that’s not us.
We’re planners. We don’t just want a walking tour, we want the absolutely best walking tour we can find. Which means taking the extra time to do the research to find it.
Which, in a lot of ways, is good for you whatever your style is.
Either you’ll be able to steal our itineraries and basically just copy and paste for your own trip (we say “steal”, but we want you to do this – it’s the whole reason we put so much time and effort into them!), or you’ll be able to take bits and pieces for your trip.
What You Can Expect From Us
We know it can be overwhelming thinking about planning a trip to an unfamiliar place.
Our first international trip together was to Chile and Torres del Paine National Park, which was a logistical nightmare compared to some of the more recent trips we’ve taken.
We’ll do our best to proactively think about all the questions you might have about the destination we’re writing about – how many days do you need, where should I stay, what should I absolutely not miss, how do you get between cities/places, what to expect in each season, etc. – and answer them in the guide we’re putting together.
You might be wondering about the name Wheatless Wanderlust (or you might not – we’re going to tell you about it anyway!). Matt has Celiac Disease, which means he can’t have even a crumb of gluten without his body throwing a fit.
Which, as you can imagine, has a pretty big impact on our travels.
Originally, this site was a way to share our gluten free finds around the world with Matt’s fellow Celiacs to help make traveling gluten free a little bit easier.
Since the beginning, we’ve expanded the scope of the site to include other types of guides too, because to us travel is about more than what you can or can’t eat, but the intention remains the same: to help make your life a little easier, and help you plan an incredible trip.
Today, we still write those gluten free travel guides to help Celiacs find good, safe food options, but we really specialize in super detailed itineraries. We spend a lot of time structuring them in a logical way to make the most of your limited vacation time.
It All Starts With Our Own Experiences
Crucially, our guides are based on our own personal experiences in the places we’ve visited, which is something that’s surprisingly rare in travel writing these days.
Throughout our guides, you’ll find the little details that make the difference between an okay trip and an amazing trip, like the specific paella cooking class we did in Barcelona, or the wine tour to the Douro Valley outside of Porto that ended up being our favorite experience on our three month European extravaganza in 2021.
Oh, and in addition to doing the legwork of planning our trips, we also pay for everything ourselves. No sponsored content here!
We see a lot of guides and posts out there on the internet that are sponsored, but you’d only know it if you read all the way to the bottom of the post and read the small, italicized text buried there. It drives us NUTS.
We strongly believe that this is important for a couple of reasons.
First, it allows us to accurately decide whether something is worth the price. Is the $20 walking tour worth the upgrade from the free tour (spoiler: the answer is almost always yes)?
It also allows us to have a more objective view of the things we’re writing about without outside pressure to give a good review.
Last, and arguably most important, it means we’re paying the (ideally local) businesses we’re writing about – the walking tour companies, the cooking class providers, the bars and restaurants – for their products and services, which in turn helps them build their businesses and continue to serve you!
Here’s a brief, incomplete history of Matt and Alysha’s time together as travel (and life) partners.
We met on a boat on the San Francisco Bay. Matt was interviewing for a new job in San Francisco, Alysha was living in the city, and they hit it off.
They kept in touch (Matt’s brothers like to bring up the fact that he would sneak down to the hotel lobby for Wifi on their trip to Central Europe just to text Alysha) and, a few months later, Matt moved down from Seattle to San Francisco.
We took our first international trip together to Chile to hike the “W” in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. It was a complicated trip, involving a series of flights and multiple buses to get down there, but it was unforgettable.
It was where “Mountain Matt” – a product of Alysha’s hard work to convince Matt that hiking was actually fun – and Matt’s love of photography was born.
2016 – 2018
Over the next couple of years, we took a few more international trips – Australia, Christmas Markets in Germany, New Zealand (read about our New Zealand South Island road trip), and taking our moms on a safari in Tanzania – though the idea of writing about them wasn’t something we were really considering at that point.
Wheatless Wanderlust is born! It all started when a coworker asked for my spreadsheet on gluten free options in Berlin and said “you know, I bet people on the internet would like this.”
Turns out, they did!
The site looked (and sounded) very different then, but the intention was always the same: to make it easier for you to plan an incredible trip.
We got married! After a somewhat long engagement, we got married in the backyard of a family friend one street away from the place where Alysha grew up in Northern California.
It was a medium-sized affair in the woods, with gluten free food and 90’s jams (curated by Matt, who loves him some boy bands – the Backstreet Boys Millennium tour was his first concert).
For our honeymoon, we went up to Vancouver Island, where we spent 10 days on a road trip around the island (you can read about it here).
This was a year of positives and negatives.
On the plus side, after a couple of years of planning and saving money, we quit our jobs to bet it all on a travel website and spend a year traveling internationally.
On the negative side, that happened in February of 2020, and you almost certainly know what came next. WHOOPS!
We had big plans that were supposed to take us to Colombia (we did get six weeks in Colombia, which was incredible – read about it in our Colombia itinerary), Europe, Sri Lanka, and more.
Instead, we moved in with Alysha’s mom, stayed there for three months, and then spent the latter half of the year living out of a Honda Odyssey with a bed platform in the back.
Our first stop was more than two months in the Pacific Northwest, which started in Oregon, which we fell in love with, and then up to Washington State.
From there, we made a big loop over to Wyoming, where we hit Yellowstone and Grand Teton, down to Colorado for Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park, and back through Utah, where we hit all five Utah National Parks. Ultimately, over the course of six months in 2020, we made it to 12 NEW national parks.
It was in the last of those parks – Joshua Tree over Thanksgiving – that we learned that #vanlife in the winter time isn’t particularly pleasant. So we spent the winter with our families in California and Seattle, and reconvened in the spring of 2021.
The world was still uncertain and travel hadn’t quite rebounded just yet, so we spent the first half of 2021 doing the same thing we did in the second half of 2020: a national parks road trip.
We hit the road in the spring and went down to Death Valley National Park, and then on to Arizona to tackle a little Arizona road trip from Phoenix to Sedona to the Grand Canyon. From there, we headed north to Zion National Park and looped back through southern California. In the summer, we headed to the Eastern Sierra (Mammoth Lakes was our home base) and Lake Tahoe, before making our way north to Glacier National Park, our 18th national park in just over a year.
Finally, in the fall we were able to spend the three months in Europe that we had dreamed about leading up to 2020.
We started in Portugal, moved on to Italy, where we spent six weeks and fell deeper in love with the place where both of our families originated, and ended with a month in Spain before looping back to fly back home from Lisbon.
It was magical, and it was where the idea behind this site was crystallized.
After 18 months on the road, living out of duffel bags and backpacks, we decided it was time to settle down and find a forever home that we could use as a home base.
Matt grew up in Seattle and always wanted to return to the Pacific Northwest, and we had long decided that Portland, Oregon was the place for us thanks to the combination of an amazing gluten free food scene (read about our favorite gluten free restaurants in Portland if you want to start drooling) and the proximity to both the mountains and the coast.
We moved to Portland in July of 2022, and adopted a new member of the family shortly thereafter – a 30 pound border collie mix we named “Lupine” after the purple flowers that light up the slopes of Mount Rainier in the early summer.