Kali: Any reasonably non-annoying person with an English and/or Australian accent. I love accents, so listening to someone whine like a Brit would probably make whatever they were whining about infinitely easier to tolerate.
Christy: I would totally travel with Wes from Johnny Vagabond for a bit; he’s hysterical and always manages to get himself into the most random situations. I’ve never met him, though, so he’d probably be like “who the heck is this random person following me around?”
3) What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?
Kali: India. That’s a large “destination”, but we find the whole country captivating. We visited Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra on an academic trip, and it was fascinating to meet with community leaders and develop a deeper understanding of the societal conditions we would have otherwise just seen in passing.
Christy: I really loved Cinque Terre in Italy. We visited with a friend of ours and the three of us hiked the entire way between the five villages. I have never seen so many stairs in my life; for weeks after that I would have a panic attack whenever we came to stairs! But aside from that little downside the area was beautiful and the gelato was abundant.
4) If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?
Christy: While wandering around the super sketchy part of Naples on our first backpacking expedition, we stumbled on a tiny little pizzeria where we had our first Italian margherita pizza and limoncello. I thought the limoncello was lemonade, silly me, so I gulped it down and almost died. But eating that pizza was like tasting the divine! We vowed to return, but didn’t write down the name and then got lost on our way home. For days afterwards we for searched and searched for that little Napolian pizzeria, to no avail. I refuse to die before I’ve tasted that pizza again, so I’ll find it eventually.
Kali: On that same backpacking trip we also went to Marseille, where we found this little Tunisian restaurant that had phenomenal mediterannean stew and couscous. We couldn’t finish it all, so we combined the couscous and stew and asked if they had a container for us to bring it home…. and they yelled at us! We don’t speak any French so we couldn’t figure out why he was so angry… maybe because we mixed the dishes? He thought we hated it? I don’t know, but he was really, really upset and he wouldn’t let us take our leftovers. We left the restaurant empty-handed and traumatized, but (while it lasted) the food was spectacular!
We love cheap, hole-in-the-walls with authentic ethnic food, and hunting down the best local joints is an important part of our travel routine. Other favorites include Il Vegeteranio in Florence, Dottie’s in San Francisco, and a little Ethiopian joint we never caught the name of near the train station in Rome.
5) How do you pick the places you visit? Spontaneous vs. planned?
Christy: Planned. Wait a minute….
6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?
Kali: People need to queue the eff up! Seriously, people, lines are a brilliant invention, and they make everything go smoother (I’m looking particularly at you, over-the-hill French matriarchs who look down your noses at young backpackers’ naive attempts to form an orderly line when you waltz into train stations at the last minute and push your way aboard before those of us who’ve been waiting for hours, but who don’t speak enough French to dare question the goings-on around us, realize what’s happening!). Ahem. And world peace, of course.
Christy: On a serious note, one of the most horrific things happening in the world right now is the ongoing trend violent gang rapes in the Congo. The extent to which sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war is devastating, so I would use my theoretical powers to address this issue (and its underlying systemic roots). But until that happens, you can make a difference now by donating to Doctors Without Borders, a great organization offering medical assistance and support to the women being affected.
7) You knew it was coming… what has been your greatest travel fight?
Kali: It has to be our infamous brawl in the Paris subway. We’re usually pretty tame when we argue, but this fight was fueled by exhaustion and frustration and mean Parisians who kept giving us the wrong directions while we lugged our heavy backpacks all over the city on our first day in Europe (combined with growing terror as time wore on and we realized there was NOWHERE to spend the night for under 300 euros). We took all that out on each other in the subway while trying to figure out which line to take. There was much screaming involved on our parts, and much disgusted eye-rolling involved by the people walking past us.
Christy: It certainly wasn’t our finest moment! We try to be nice to each other even when we’re fighting, but every civilized thing we’ve ever been taught just flew out the window. At one point we were so angry we just sputtered and glared. We find it quite entertaining to think about now, but at the time it was a hot mess. We were pretty ridiculous.