Tag Archives | africa

Why I Love a Traveling Girl

I recently stumbled across a blog post by a young man bemoaning dating a girl who loves travel.  The post outlined the aggravating draw backs of having her being gone “all the time,” and always thinking about the next place she was headed.  Once I got done yelling at my computer screen, I started to write this post in my head.  Here goes:

Love Traveling GirlOne of the greatest pieces of advice my beloved grandmother, (who loved to travel by the way), gave to me was to marry a girl that you can sit across the breakfast table with for the rest of your life.   Somehow I followed this wise advice and found just that person.  Travel definitely played a role in why I asked Luci to marry me.  Travel makes you smart, interesting and sexy!  So what makes a traveling girl so great?

Are you a traveling girl….or love one?  Give us a follow on Facebook.

Smart Women Travel

The most dynamic and interesting women I have met in my life have been travelers.  Call me crazy, but travel really makes people interesting.  One great example is the Evelyn Hannon, the Jouneywoman.  If you haven’t checked out her blog, you must.  She continues to criss-cross the globe in search of adventure and fulfillment.  I hope she doesn’t kill me for saying this,  while she is advancing in years, it hasn’t stopped her from her mission to explore and discover.  Now she supports and encourages other women to follow in her footsteps.  What a great example.

Smart women travel.  One attribute that comes shining through with traveling women is their ability to delay gratification.  They are willing to scrimp and save for 6 months to spend two weeks in the Tuscan country side.  Sacrifice is a critical life lesson for relationships.  It is a cold hard fact: the best things in life take time and effort.  As poor newlyweds putting ourselves through college, we had to be creative in our travel destinations.  We both did internships in areas that had interesting places to discover.  Every weekend we would map out where we wanted to explore next ….on one tank of gas.  Traveling women find a way to make it work because discovery is so important to them.

Peru woman travelTravelers tend to be readers.  Another appealing aspect of finding yourself a traveling girl is they tend to be well read.  As many of you loyal Fighting Couple readers know, we do extensive trip prep.  This involves reading about interesting angles of our trip.    Yes, my traveling girl reads Frommers and Rick Steves.  But she also read, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” before we visited Savannah, GA or “1453” about the fall of Constantinople before visiting Istanbul.  The potent combination of reading and exploring makes living exhilarating.

Traveling Girls are Dreamers and Doers

The travel industry has marketing the dream down pat.  You are bombarded by these high gloss destination magazines of white sandy beaches and cool breezes blowing the palm trees.  They offer the eyes of the beholder an escape and a dream.  The thing about traveling women is, they see these dreams…then they make them happen for themselves.   One of the quirky things about Luci is that she wants a destination to look just like the dream.  We have a good laugh occasionally when we both say…this doesn’t look like the brochure.  On the other hand, we have visited places that we will never blog about because they are just that pristine and amazing and we want them to stay that way.  Traveling women make their own dreams come true.  For those of us that are lucky enough to love these women, we are invited along for the ride.

woman travelTraveling Women are Selfish?

Traveling women are intriguing to me.  While family is undoubtedly important to these wander lusters, they elect to leave home and family behind occasionally to focus on their own self-improvement.  Many mistakenly view this as selfishness.  Dive a little deeper and you see a person investing in themselves to be a better mother, wife, sister or friend.    How is this selfish?  Reaching out, and understanding the world around you is the exact opposite of self-focus.  Taking the education that travel can dish out: appreciating beauty, understanding diversity, experiencing first hand real poverty, making friends, learning the difference between needs and wants are all lessons learned on the road.  In turn these lessons are taught to our children.  How much more powerful is a lesson on valuing diversity to a child coming from a person that has visited the Soweto or Auschwitz?  Likewise a lesson on poverty having slept in a grass hut in Swaziland?

Travel is Hard

Traveling women know how to do hard things.  I am not naive enough to believe that  intercontinental travel is for everyone.  It is certainly not.   It is exhausting, it can be expensive, and certainly takes a lot time.  Travel at times means learning a new language, culture and adjusting to unfamiliar cuisine.  It means dealing with ambiguous situations.  The dangers of travel are real and common.  One of the dividends of travel is that it makes you stronger and helps you to exercise common sense and problem solving. How are we going to find the right train to Fontainebleau or how am I going to find my wife I left at the Louvre because I was hungry?  As you face a challenge, meet it head on and achieve your intended goal, you become resilient.  Would we have been bitten by leaches staying home and working in our cubicle?  Not likely.  Travel can be fraught with disappointment and difficulty.  At the same time there is something reassuring about getting yourself lost and working your way out of the situation.

woman beach thailandWhere Do You Find Them?

The travel blogging world is dominated by women!   It really is.  Us guys are way too slow to value the education that can come from leaving the home port and discovering the globe.  Maybe we do travel but, we just don’t write about it.  Traveling women are easy to spot.  They are constantly posting pictures of food and interesting road signs on their social media sites.  Pinterest pages of “traveling girls” are cram packed with green Peruvian jungles, rolling Tuscan vineyards and Irish blessing memes.  Traveling girls have a twinkle in their eye when they talk about the next road trip they are planning.  Guys, go get them!

Candidly, finding a traveling girl has changed my life for the better.  Regardless if we are in remote Africa or climbing Machu Picchu as we explore together, I continue to be impressed with my bride’s passion for the new and unknown.  She chooses the path less traveled, and that has made all the difference for us.

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A Ticket to South Africa

“All I wanted to do now was get back to Africa.  We had not left it yet, but when I would wake in the night, I would lie, listening, homesick for it already.”—Ernest Hemingway

They say that you shouldn’t start blog posts with a quote.  They say that it some how takes away from rest of the post.  I think that is bunk.  Hemingway was onto something.  His thoughtful comment completely captures how we feel about Africa.  While our visit to South Africa was short, it changed us forever.  We want to take you along on our discovery.

Township south Africa

A view of Soweto

The Soweto

Our African experience began in Johannesburg, South Africa, affectionately known as Jo’Burg.  We endured the long flight from the States.  It continues to amaze us that you can board a flying tin can and travel half way around the world in less than a day.  Once we got our feet underneath us, we joined up with our guide Henry and headed for the Soweto.  Soweto is short for “South Western Township.”   The sprawling shanty metropolis is the home to 1.3 million people.  It has a rough and difficult history that we won’t dive into here; needless to say, we felt that it was important to see and attempt to understand first hand.  Our guide drove us around the Soweto, pointing out the hospital, when electricity came to the area, and how all the city functioned. Our guide took us into a couple of homes. We met the families that lived there.  Our “abundance guilt” bubbled up in our hearts.  A visit to the township was powerfully instructive. We ended our tour at Nelson Mandela’s house and mentally exhausted.

The next morning we hired our rental car for our adventure.   You would think that we would engage a Range Rover for the self-guided safari that we were embarking on?  No, we went cheap.  We opted for the four-cylinder Chevy Aveo.  Bad decision.  But we will save that story for a little later.  We headed north on highway one.  Our destination:  Zimbabwe.

Going into Zimbabwe

Crossing the border into Zimbabwe

Destination Zimbabwe

One of Luci’s lifetime goals is to visit Zimbabwe.  Why would an Idaho farm girl set a crazy goal like that?  We do not know.  The journey took a little over 5 hours.  As we approached the border crossing, we began to have second thoughts.  Zimbabwe does not have the friendliest relations with our fair country.  We parked at the South African checkpoint on the south bank of the Limpopo River.  We went in and were greeted by a grim-faced bureaucrat.  We explained our intent to cross into Zimbabwe, get our Passport stamped and return.  We both saw the blood kind of drain out of his face.

“Why are you doing this thing?” He politely asked.  We smiled and tried to explain.  Rather than attempt to counter our stupidity, he instructed us to do a number of things for our safety.  “Pull your car around to the front of the building, it will likely be stolen or broken into.  Go there, come back quickly and see me when you return so I know that you have returned safely.”

Zimbabwe border

Welcome to Zimbabwe

At this point, both of us were having second thoughts.  If our rental car company didn’t want us to drive across this river into this country, why in the world are we going across?  Like walking the plank, we bravely marched across the baboon ridden bridge.  We were headed by foot to Zimbabwe.  We were obviously tourists. Luci had her camera around her neck.  We didn’t have our belongings wrapped in a sheet or carrying grocery sacks across the bridge on our heads like others crossing.  As we approached, we were welcomed by camo-clad militia men with AK-47s strapped to their backs.  Each in turn looked at us with healthy suspicion.  We nervously whispered back and forth to each other…”keep walking, keep walking.”   We entered the run down custom’s house.  It was sheer craziness.  Crowds pushed forward to face the three to four border agents that were behind bars.

The heat that day was blistering.  Humidity was off the charts.  The air was close in the steamy small room.  We were unsure of ourselves.  Our naivety was written on our faces.  A couple of different agents came from one of the back rooms and pulled us aside and suggested that we pay them to make the process go faster.  We declined.  The price was adjusted.  Again we opted out.  In the developing situation, it soon became clear that the likelihood that we were going to make it out of the experience without our wallets being lightened significantly was highly unlikely.  Was it worth it for the Passport stamp?  I said, “Let’s go.”  We walked out.  We dashed back across the bridge to check back with our caring friend and find our car unmolested.  We had accomplished our goal.  We had set foot in Zimbabwe.  The adventure was just beginning.

South Africa Safari woman

The view from the veranda of the lodge.

 

A peaceful outpost

We made our way back into the savanna of South Africa.  We had done our research and found a quaint bed and breakfast on a small reservoir, the Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge.  This was our first taste of the night sounds of Africa.  It was wonderful.  We had our dinner on the veranda overlooking the water and listened.  We recounted our brave adventures that day and started to connect with the place that we had traveled so far to see.

The next morning we would head out on our self-serve safari to see some of the most incredible animals in the world.

Africa was truly a grand adventure!

 

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Couple Road Trip Survival Guide

How to survive a long road trip

Long road trips can be great couple time for busy couples.  They also can be an exercise in trench warfare.  We put together some handy tips to make your next trip a little more civil.

Bigger is Better

A confession:  I am a bit of a petrol-head so this is area that I feel passionate about.  One of the most often overlooked “secrets” to a happy road trip is the choice of car.  Now I know the first thing that you are going to say is…but I don’t have the budget to rent an S-Class Mercedes.  You don’t have to.  First off, when you do your initial car rental search, don’t just select the economy class only, search three or even four levels above.  Check out the luxury level.  We have found that at times the luxury or even the SUV price is cheaper than the mid size.  Crazy huh?

road tripIf you headed out on an extended road trip, don’t skimp on the car.  Pay a little extra for size.  You are likely to spend more waking hours in this metal box.  Skimp a little on the hotel.  Size does a number of things for you:  larger cars ride smoother, are more safe, give your more “personal bubble space”, and typically have dual climate controls (very helpful).  Although tempting, never, ever rent a convertible.  I know, they are sexy and the desk clerk is going to give you a great deal on one.  Don’t do it.  The problems with convertibles are many.  First off the are small.  Trunk (boot) space is at a minimum.  Convertibles (unless they are a BMW, MB, Porsche, ect.) are LOUD.  The outside noise is going to get annoying.   Driving in any sort of weather can also be harrowing. Convertibles are great for a day or two in places where going “topless” is a must.  Leave them at the rental agency on the long trips.    A few more pesos on the right car will go along way.

Lets recap:  cast your rental car search wide.   Price out a number of different car class options, and invest a little more than you would normally.  Rent the largest car that you are able.  Our last pointer would be to ask for an upgrade at the rental car counter as well.

Give America Car Rental a look for great deals on rental cars.

The Three F’s

We classify stops into three general categories: food, fuel and fun.  A word about food.  If you follow our posts at all, food is extremely important component to our relationship.  I know all of you health-nut types out there are going to mummer…but fast food makes for the best option on road trips.  You can defiantly make healthy choices at fast food places.  Get out of your car and order to go in the restaurant.  This gives you some much needed vertical  and lou time, but why sit in the restaurant and eat?  If it takes 30 minutes to sit and chow down the whopper you could be 30 miles down the road.  The sooner the road trip ends the better.  Fuel-let your blater define fuel stops.  Don’t wait till the tank is on E.  Fill up mid tank during a bio break.  Save yourself time.  Stops equal slow.  The last F is important.  Build in some fun on the road trip.  Find stops where you can get out, and do something active.  Get the blood flowing again.  We have found outlet malls to be great stops.  It gets you apart (very helpful).  They also get you walking.  Make the most of your food, fuel and fun stops!

rental car

We had a few problems with our rental car in South Africa.

Tunes

Many wars have been fought over control of the radio dial.  The Fighting Couple are not immune from this clash.  Luci loves Broadway tunes.  She really does.  She loves to sing along.  Me….not so much.  On the flip side…I do enjoy me some bluegrass on occasion.  Luci….not so much.   On our most recent auto expedition we chose an audio book: Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank Abagnale Jr.  Great book!  Books on tape are amazing “time killers”.  Most novels are 8 hours long and if you pick the right one, time flies.  It also give you a topic for discussion.  Cool huh?

The Little Things

couple road tripThe little things on road trips make a big difference.  Buy/borrow/rent a gps.  This small item has almost single handedly saved our relationship. This little devices of genius save time, prevents arguments (darn!) and most importantly they find food and fuel.  Gotta have one.  Don’t rely on an Iphone or worse a wireless connection to navigate.  Trust us.  The other small thing is keeping the car clean.  Junk and clutter are distracting to the driver and they invade on the “personal bubble space”.   The little things can make all the difference.

Couple road trips can be a ton of fun.  It gives you quality time to talk, listen and fight!  These are just a few of our hints to make the trip a little more enjoyable.  So what have you found that works?  How do you avoid killing each other on long roadies?

A couple more posts that you might enjoy:

5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Men…While Traveling.

The Man’s Guide to Traveling with a Woman

 

 

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7 Questions with Traveling 9 to 5

In our continued quest in introduce you to some of the best traveling couples, this week’s installment is one of the best.  Meet Caroline and Josh of   www.traveling9to5.com.   This duo, after working in the corporate world decided to sell (almost) everything they owned and travel the world for a year.  Their fun blog captures the ins and outs of travel as a couple.   One interesting fact about Caroline, she is a professional “cart wheeler”.  Check out her cart wheeling board on pinterest!

Give them a follow:

couple traveling1) How many countries visited between the two of you?

We have been to 18 countries between the two of us and have at least 7 left to visit this year. All of our international travel has been together. We are that cheesy couple that met in high school and got married right after college traveling together since we both had passports.

2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?  (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)

He Said: I would travel with Chris Guillebeau from the Art of Non-Conformity. I’d probably still be at my old job if it wasn’t for his blog and inspiration.

She Said: I would travel with Matt… the dancing one. I love to dance, more specifically I love to dance badly. His videos still make me laugh and inspire me to keep traveling. I haven’t met him yet, but he seems as if he has a good time traveling, adventures to new locations and has some wicked dance moves.

couple at cooking school3)What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?  Why?

He said: Thailand. Especially Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It’s the only country on our trip that we’ve been to  more than once. I absolutely loved the people, the food, the noise and the energy of these cities. We met so many great people and enjoyed so much good FOOD.  I can’t wait to return.
She said: Botswana. I have never fallen in love with the sky and the stars as much as I did in Botswana. Camping in the middle of nowhere lends a certain peace while at the same time is scary as &@*% considering there are wild animals creeping in every shadow. The colors of the sunset and sunrise are incredible, the terrain is constantly changing, the people you meet are so unique… I could go on forever!

4)  If you had to eat one last meal, what/where would you eat?

He said: I’d have Vietnamese pho ga (chicken soup), fresh french bread and butter, my mom’s buffalo chicken mac & cheese, a fillet mignon with sauteed mushrooms and finally, some homemade chocolate chip cookies. I’d make sure to have some Thai desserts too, so Care could eat off my plate. :)

She said: Do I have to limit the number of courses in the meal?
I would start by jumping on the first flight to Thailand .
I would pick up a fresh coconut smoothie from Pa’s stand at the Chiang Mai Gate night market.
Next, red curry from the small shack in Chiang Mai
Finally I would end with my three favorite Thai Desserts:
Mango Sticky Rice – a BIG serving of it with lots of coconut milk and fresh mangos.
Mochi Balls covered in coconut with brown sugar and more coconut in the middle
Coconut pudding balls from the street
HEAVENLY!

5)Seriously, on your site there is a tab titled: Exercise!  What’s up with that?

He said: You’ll have to ask her. :)
She said: This one is my fault. I was a personal trainer with Equinox back in Chicago. I promised my clients that I would keep up with my own workouts and document them along the way. I am a bit of a health/fitness junkie. So most of our adventures are hiking, walking, cycling, anything to get the extra exercise in!  Traveling and exercising isn’t easy, so I carry a jump rope everywhere I go and focus on a lot of body weight exercises. Many more travel workouts are on the way!

woman doing cart wheel

Caroline-The Cart Wheel Queen!

6) Josh, loved your post on “retiring” at a young age.  Tell us about
how and why you made this decision.

He said: (Caroline actually wrote this post!) Americans make a big deal out of retirement. It is seen as a phase of life that is to be feared and endlessly prepared for. That you should sacrifice everything now so you can hopefully enjoy your life when you are old. Instead I think it should be embraced as a positive change of direction. You can experience a “mini-retirement” way before your 60s. For us, it isn’t retirement in the traditional sense. It’s opting out of the rat race and choosing to live a life that fulfills us. We will still work, and we’ll still work hard, but we plan on working for ourselves and writing our own life story instead of having someone else write it for us.

couple wearing slicker7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

She said: Our most recent argument was over Josh’s top notch driving abilities. We recently drove ourselves through Botswana and Namibia in a 4×4 Toyota Hilux. Prior to arriving in Africa, Josh hadn’t driven anything in a long time bigger than a motorbike. We got in our new home, a HUGE diesel 4×4 truck and he suddenly is Mario Andretti. He is driving over tree trunks, whizzing around cars and plowing through 3 feet of sand. I am terrified, and do what any strong-minded wife would do…I become the backseat driver that no one wants to have. I yelled out when it looked like we were going to hit trees or were plowing through thorn bushes and insisted he slow down as he tried to jump the potholes on the endless gravel roads in Namibia.
He said: It was awesome. I’m just trying to keep us from crashing into elephants, and Care keeps yelling, “Left…LEFT!” … I have no idea what this means. We both got pretty fired up over how we should warn each other to watch out for something in the road, which is a pretty dumb argument, but we were so mad. It was just a stressful drive with animals coming from every direction, but I was an awesome driver.
She said: LEFT means “look to the left, we are going to crash into a tree”. We had a $2,000 deductible, we shouldn’t be driving the huge truck like we are on a race track!He said: I had to drive fast enough to not get stuck in the sand, unless we wanted the added adventure of digging ourselves out of the sand while looking for hungry wild animals.

She said: This is why we left this argument in Namibia. :)

1000Fights:  We love it!  I think that this is the very first time we have had a fight in the post!  Impressive!
Seriously aren’t these two a kick?!
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3 Great Places to Cool Down as a Couple

Summer is here!  Its time to hit the beach!  We are always on the lookout for the perfect summer travel ideas for couples.  Are you trying to come up with a great place to cool down as a couple?   We have some sizzling ideas for you.  In coming up with our three recommendations we established three key factors: 1) It must have amazing water.  2) It must offer something for couples. 3)It must be fun!

Lets start!

Nice, France

Eze, FranceWater:  Poetry has been written for centuries about the lovely waters of Nice!  The Nice area, also called the Cote d’Azur is believed to be one of the oldest regions inhabited in Europe by humans!  Not hard to believe once you take in its beauty and warmth.  Nice offers miles and miles of sandy sunshine laced beaches.  Pick your spot and soak in the sun and enjoy the warm water.  A word of warning to those of us prudes visiting the region from the states.  The economic downturn in Europe has forced a number of women in the area to only afford to buy the bottoms for their bikinis.

Couple angle:  The city’s formal name is Nissa La Bella or Nice the Beautiful.  Take evening strolls together along the seafront.  Pop into one of the many street side cafes for a late dinner.  Love in always in the air in Nissa La Bella.

monte CarloFun Factor:  Two of our favorite places in Europe are right up the road from Nice.  The first is Eze.  Eze is a castle fortress on a rock outcropping.  It is truly a magical place.  There are little shops and cafes as you wander around the quant city.  Our second favorite is Monte Carlo.  If you are a regular follower of the fighting couple, you know of Mike’s crush on Napoleon and that he is a petrol head.  Monte Carlo suits both of these addictions.  The “country” is home to one of the finest Napoleon Museums in the world.  Of course if you time your visit, you can take in the Grand Prix, one of the best motoring events in the universe!

 

Las Vegas

Pool scene in vegasWater:  Granted Vegas is not perched on the Mediterranean, nor does it have the sandy beaches of the Caribbean but it truly is an oasis in the dry desert.  Vegas literally offers over 100 plus pool resorts!    Vegas offers indoor and outdoor pool options.  Some may require you to be guest of the hotel, other charge a cover fee and others still offer cabana rentals with just about any amenity you can imagine!  The king of the Vegas pool scene is hands down the Wynn Hotel.  Evian Water spritzers?   Yes.  VIP pool?  Yes.  Poolside black jack?  Of course.

Do keep in mind, a number of the pools cater to couples and prohibit anyone younger than 21.

Couple angle:  Las Vegas has a so much to offer couple travelers.   Lets start out what the city offers the active couple.  For those couples that want to hit the links together, there are over 100 different golf courses in the Las Vegas area.  You don’t have to go far to find excellent mountain biking and hiking trails.  Couples can take in one of the excellent shows or concerts offered.    Vegas also offers some of the best outlet mall shopping in the west.

Putting together a romantic evening in Vegas is a sure bet.  Get your evening started at one of the many excellent dining choices in the city.  Check out one of our fave Mexican Cantinas.  After dinner why not take her on a gondola ride in the Venetian?  For those the like something more on the wild side, why not a roller-coaster ride or even a helicopter tour over the city of lights?  Whatever you choose,  Vegas has it!

Fun Factor:  Ok…this is Vegas, need we really need to discuss the fun factor?

 

Durbin, South Africa

South Africa BeachWater:  The tip of South Africa hosts one of the most beautiful coast lines on the Planet.  Lazy shadows from lush vegetation and the cool Indian Ocean breezes make the Dolphin coast of South Africa our last pick.   Located a short drive west of the thriving metropolis of Durban, the beaches of South Africa are second to none.

Couple angle:  The Dolphin Coast is a couple’s paradise.  Choose one of the many full service resorts, and get ready to be pampered.  Send him out to go deep sea fishing and take in a full day massage at a world renowned spa!  Team up and play on one of the championship golf courses where all kinds of wildlife will cross your path!

Fun Factor:  Visiting South Africa without going on a safari is kind of like going to Paris and not kissing!  There are so many different options for going on safari, it is guaranteed to fit any budget.  Ever wanted to ride an elephant?  Now’s your chance!

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Seven Questions with I Should Log Off

Buckle up, make sure your tray tables are up!  We are going to introduce you to a travel blogging couple that is always on the move!  So, what do you get when you  mix two marathon runners, a beach comber, a run with bulls in Spain, and a lust to wander?  Answer:  Jillian and Danny of www.Ishouldlogoff.com.  Each month we highlight a couple that are living their dreams….and telling everyone about their adventure.  Meet Jillian and Danny:

coupleJillian and Danny Tobias spent 21 months traveling around the world. Together they have explored 50 countries, covering famous overland routes like Capetown to Cairo and the Old Silk Road.   Traveling mostly overland, the couple experienced the eccentricities of the world and lived to tell the tale! From eating grasshoppers in Mexico to exploring underground tombs in Sudan and hand carved grottoes in Western China, they took life by the horns.  They blog about their travels and adventures off the computer at their website: www.IShouldLogOff.com.  You can find them on facebook: www.facebook.com/ishouldlogoff or follow them on twitter: @ishouldlogoff.

We put our infamous 7 questions to this wandering couple.  Here are their responses:

1) Tell us about running with the bulls!!!! 

spainIt was actually much easier than you’d think.  I had had a ‘procedure’ done to my foot the day prior so I played it safe but basically I waited for the gun shot announcing the bulls were off.  Everyone started stampeding and so did I.  Next thing I knew, there were bulls and everyone was standing to the sides of the street.  The bulls ran by and we kept on running after them, now singing triumphantly!

2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?  (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)

She Said: Indiana Jones – you know every day is going to be an adventure!
He Said: Ben Franklin.  Not sure why, it’s just what popped into my head.

1000Fights:  Ben Franklin? Are you into kite flying?

3)What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?

He said:Africa.  Everyone always asks for a favorite country and it’s just not possible to choose one as they’re all so different.  Africa on the whole though, felt like legitimate travel where something unexpected could and did happen each and every day.  It was difficult and challenging but in hindsight it was also the most rewarding.

She said: Africa without a doubt.  I loved the adventure of traveling somewhere seriously off the beaten path.  It was certainly a challenge, but we were fortunate to meet lots of great people and our overall experience was amazing.  Traveling in Africa really opened my eyes to true hospitality – it is a very humbling experience to be offered food and water by those touched by famine and tragedy.

4)  If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?
He said:  I don’t care, so long as I’m with my closest friends and family.

She said: One last meal ever?  I’m depressed even thinking about it! I think I would get fish tacos in Baja, Mexico.  Delicious, fresh, spicy… I don’t think I could ever get enough, those were incredible!

India

5)We see a ton of your pictures of your guys jumping.  How do you time that perfect? He said: I am actually a super-hero and levitate in place while Jill tries to time her jump with the person taking the photo!  (I wish, in truth we probably have 10 bad jump shots for every good one)

She said: HA! Sometimes it takes us a long time to get that right.  At the Taj Mahal we kept having Indian families sneak into our picture.  It became somewhat hilarious; eventually we gave up and walked closer to the Taj where we took the “perfect” picture after six more attempts!  In Beijing we tried lining up the shot before handing it over to a Chinese man who didn’t speak English. He took shots of the sky before handing the camera back to us.  Eventually we found an English speaking tour group and just asked.  By the time we finished the trip we were experts at timing!

6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?
He said: Education.  There are a lot of stupid people all over the world, but mostly it’s that they haven’t been given a real education and base their knowledge on things like MTV and the movies.  This is a problem everywhere, in all countries, and it’s a shame.

She said: Education is a good one, but I think clean water is really the next big step the world needs to make.  Having access to healthy drinking water will save so many lives, and have a trickle down effect giving children the opportunity to go to school and women the opportunity to participate in economic development.

 Jordan

7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

She said:  Well we certainly bickered a lot. It is hard to stay mad at someone or have a big blowout when you depend on someone so much.  Most of our fights revolve around the idea of too many captains on the same boat… We both like to control things.  Let’s say we don’t tandem kayak well together…every time we get in a tandem boat we begin fighting, almost instantly!

He said:  I’m not allowed to talk about that….

1000Fights:  that’s a little bit of a cop out!  A huge thanks to Jillian and Danny for sharing!

 

One Great lesson we can learn from Jillian and Danny is to get out there and see the world.  What  a great example to couples.

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Our 7 Super Shots

The Fighting Couple was nominated to participate in the HostelBookers 7 Super Shots contest.  Basically it is a chance to highlight 7 of our best pics from our travels.  Fun huh?   Selecting some of our faves was really tough.  We literally have tens of thousands of pics.   I love these kind of “best of” type posts.  They really bring back some great memories.   We hope you enjoy.  With our further adieu, here are our seven.
You can click on a picture for a larger view.

A Photo that takes my breath away

Far and away one of our favorite destinations is the Amazon.  The Peruvian Jungle offers so many adventures and lessons.  We captured this sunset our first night in the jungle.  It was so amazing!

Sunset in the Amazon Jungle

A photo that…makes me laugh or smile

You know those pics where someone is doing something “interesting”  in the background?  Yeah?  Well we had one during our visit to the Louvre in Paris.  We didn’t realize that we captured this “moment” until we got back from our trip!  Like they always say, when in Paris!

the paris grope!

A photo that…makes me dream

We miss Africa!  This shot of an African Lion we took while visiting Kruger Park in South Africa.  It makes us dream of going back to Africa!

Large African Lion

A photo that…makes me think

We spent the morning at Ephesus, Turkey.  One of the most interesting and enlightening attractions is the Celsius Library.  It has been restored and one of the icons of history.  Luci captured this shot when I was deep in thought…Ok..I look a little dumb.

 

Ephesus Turkey

A photo that…makes my mouth water

So I am guessing that half of the food pictured on this category will be from Italy!  We found a little cafe down from our hotel in Venice.   While Luci flirted with the handsome waiter, Mike gorged himself on the amazing food!  We cant tell you how good this was!  It was flat out amazing!

A photo that…tells a story

Bosnia.

Bullet holes in Bosnia

A photo that…I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)

Anyone who has been to Machu Picchu knows just how hard this pic really is!  There are so many people!  We waited and waited and at the right moment, Snap!  The day was perfect, the sun, the green hills.  What a special place.

The view from Machu Picchu

 

Those are some of our best pics!  Which is your fave?

 

Head on over and see the 7 Super Shots guidelines post which features a number of fantastic photos.  We would like to nominate to following bloggers for the I am taking part in HostelBookers 7 Super Shots‘  Contest!  

Cant wait to see their pics!

 

http://www.fourjandals.com/

http://www.donteverlookback.com/

http://www.passportandatoothbrush.com/

http://www.vowstotravel.com/

http://mrmrsglobetrot.blogspot.com

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The Whispers of Mt. Kilimanjaro

 

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

 

Her name, so utterly foreign yet bitterly familiar, still invokes Dickens’ ostensible opposites. To reproduce it from my lips freshens my mind with rivaling sensations of joyful enthusiasm and painful failure. Kilimanjaro. This is the story of my fight with her.

 

We met at Machame camp in Tanzania – our first date was a steep climb through lush rainforest was complete with monkeys, vines, and the two interacting in a natural manner. Though it was challenging, I was vigorous and her beauty and charm were intriguing. As our day’s journey slowed to an end, a taste of what to was to come arrived in the form of an eerie aberration – the landscape transforming from thick and green to misty and moss-strewn. Nonetheless it still had a strange allure, and camping just below the cloud layer offered a romantic sense of vulnerability. I admired her.

 

The second day brought an initial victory – plunging through a dense layer of fog, any temptation to attempt a retreat changed from the prospect of a leisurely downhill path, to a seemingly impenetrable floor of clouds. It was easier to go on. She was ruthless and uncaring as the slope sharpened. Plant life was sparse and the air thin as we crossed through 12,000 feet. I found myself out of breath – not only in awe of her splendor, but also aghast of her cruelty. By the time we arrived at Shira camp, I wasn’t interested dinner – African hot dogs and semi-fresh vegetables, preferring instead to rest. If she had embittered me with her heartless grind throughout the day, I forgot it altogether when she rewarded me with the most brilliant sunset these eyes have ever beheld. I loved her.

Given the austerity of the scenery on the third day, I should have known she would eventually break my heart. I may as well have been on the moon. There was a cold, fierce wind. Vegetation went from scarce to non-existent, along with oxygen, and my aching muscles were letting me know. My heart in particular, having to beat at twice its normal rate to oxygenate my blood, literally felt like it would beat right out of my chest. I trudged in the shadow of the peak – she, staring down on me with contempt, yet I, at her in admiration. By the time we arrived at camp it was dark – a blessing. Had I seen what the next morning would bring, I would never have awakened.

Barranco wall engulfed the entire panorama – not saying “good morning,” but saying, “I’m insurmountable.” I believed her. Lines of porters, like ants, weaved their way to its crest; identifiable only by the white bags they carried on their heads. I set out, no longer greeting fellow climbers with a cheery “Jambo,” but with a disgusted sigh. At the top of Barranco I felt no joy, only the obligation to continue. If I allowed myself, I could feel satisfaction – even a thrill, but I couldn’t. I felt anguish. It was an endless cycle of descent before inevitable ascent. Torment. The climb to Barafu, the final camp, I made only with the motivation of cursing her through clenched teeth. I hated her.

 

With only a few hours to rest before we began the summit at midnight I had little sleep. Donning arctic winter gear and headlamps for our final encounter, I set out in conquest with a shard of hope. The altitude was taking its toll and nausea set in along with muscle cramps. I wretched. Still, I pushed along for 3 hours in the dark, each footstep barely ahead of the last, progress coming at great cost. My body was revolting. When I could push no longer, at 1700 vertical feet below the summit, I stared up at the moon and collapsed. I despised her.

And though she conquered me, stole from me all that I could offer, and left me hungry and wanting… I love her still. She respects me still. And neither of us will concede that we’ve seen the last of each other.

Guest Post by Brad from World Wanderlusting.    Brad climbed Kilimanjaro in September of 2010 with friends and co-workers on the Machame Route with Zara Tours (www.climbingkilimanjaro.com). He and his brother, Sheldon, write a travel blog: www.WorldWanderlusting.com.

1000Fights: Brad is a great friend and like minded traveler.   What a great post!  Poetry!  Please check out Brad’s blog and follow him on Twitter @worldwanderlust!

 

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A Room with a View

We need your help.  So we were fighting the other day.  You have no idea how many times we have said that!  But then again you are on this site.  We were having a “discussion” on which of our fave hotels had the very best views?  Hotel rooms are just that to us, rooms.  What is important to us is what you can see from the room.  Great views are travel porn.  One of Luci’s all time fave shows is “A Room with a View”.   In this “chic” flick, the heroine Lucy Honeychurch and bumbling chaperone Charlotte Bartlett find themselves in Florence with rooms without a view.  In the end, she gets the man, and they get a room, oh and it has a view.  As a result of this show, as we travel one of key requirements is an amazing view.

Our four contenders are:  Conrad-Istanbul, Hiton-Nice, Cavalieri-Rome,  and the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge-South Africa

Conrad-Istanbul

This is an amazing property!  It lands overlooking the mighty Bosporus.  (click on the pic below to get a better feel of the immense view)  You can see two continents (Europe and Asia) with this view! How many hotels can claim that?    The unique shape of the hotel makes for views of some amazing land and seascapes. What makes this hotel’s view special is your are treated to views with two senses: sight and sound.  Every morn and night you are greated with haunting renditons of the call to prayer for nearby mosques.

Please click on photo to get the entire view!

 

Hilton, Nice, France

What is better than a view of the French Rivera?  Nice offers some ob the best water and beach front  on the globe.  We understand the hotel sold to another chain.  Can anyone confirm that?  Regardelss the view of the swaying palms, the fine eye candy on the beaches and of course the azure water are not to be missed.  You are literally a hop, skip and a jump to world class beaches.

 

 

Cavalieri-Rome

Ok we weren’t going to reveal which is favored by who to let you the reviewer an unbiased opinion.  But this is Mike’s fave hotel in the world.  The mighty Cavalieri is one of the ugliest hotels on the outside.  It is about as glamorous as a cement box.  But what it lack in outward appearance, the inside and of course the views more than makes up for.  Located on a perch overlooking all of Rome and especially the Vatican, the view is breathtaking.   As luck would have, as we opened the siding door to our patio, there was a rainbow over the city!   The hotel is located in a 50 acre parklike setting.  We understanding that during conclave, rooms go for astronomical prices.  You could see the white smoke from your room!

 

 

 

Fairmont Zimbali Lodge-South Africa

Lastly, but certainly not least is the the Zimbali.   While our room offered a jungle obstructed viewof the Indian Ocean, a few steps down the path to the pool affords one of the most impressive ocean front views!  We visited the Zimbali at the end of our safari trip trough South Africa.  The resort lodge is an oasis for the soul.  The hotel has a number of freshwater pools right on the edge of the ocean.  We timed our visit on the shoulder season and had the entire pool area to ourselves.  Beat that view?  I dont think so!

There are some many great locations out there: an African Lodge, a Mediterian escape or even take in Kensington apartments for that matter!  Regardless if they are hotels, hostels, or even serviced apartments treat yourself to a great view!

Now is your chance to weigh in with your opinion.  Which is the best view?  Just leave a post below.

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