This weeks feature on our 7 questions series is a couple that are taking an amazing journey: Lara and Terence of http://www.grantourismotravels.com/. Each week we try to highlight some of the great couple travel bloggers out there. We ask a few questions, review their blog, and of course we ask them to share some FIGHTS! Let’s get to know Lara and Terence:
First off, take a look at these stats!
365 days on the road
54,000 miles traveled
44 tours taken
499 blog posts
57,000 pictures taken
Amazing! If you were to ask us what we want our blog to become, just take a peek at theirs! What we admire most is not so much how many locations they visit…but how they travel. They really try to get to know the folks they meet on the road. They interview people they meet. They ask really thought provoking questions. In addition, they also find time to do some kind humanitarian service. Right from the front page of their blog their mission statement: “To make Travel More Meaningful”. These are really great world citizens. (They also have really good playlists!)
Check them out:
@gran_tourismo, @laradunston and @terencecarter
7 Questions with the GranTourismo:
1) How many countries visited between the two of you?
He said: We’re not those kinds of people ;) but almost 80 countries I think.
She said: We’ve travelled almost everywhere together, since we first started bouncing around the planet together around 20 years ago. When we were two years old! ;) So as a couple we’ve been to just over 70 countries I think, but then I experienced another half dozen South American countries when I backpacked around there for a year when I did research for my Masters degree.
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: Marco Polo. I want to travel back in time with him and see if he really went to China and bought a white knock-off iPhone 4. And discovered noodles.
She Said: Philosopher Alain de Botton, as he’s the only other person I know of who seems to enjoy hanging out in airports as much as I do. Or travel writer Paul Theroux. I want to find out if he really travels as spontaneously as his writing suggests, jumping off trains at the last minute. Who really does that? Oh, actually we’ve done that once or twice…
3) What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?
He said: Tokyo.
She said: Tokyo. And Venice. And Damascus. Oh, and Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and Madrid, Barcelona, Bangkok, Beirut, and, um, Marrakech… You asked for 10 ‘favourites’, right? (Lots of cities starting with ‘M’ and ‘B’ there… do you think that means something?)
4) If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?
He said: I’d be in Vietnam for a good phở bo koh (Vietnamese beef stew with rice noodles), with an ice-cold beer on the side. I’ve probably done enough degustation menus for one lifetime. Marco will have the noodles too, but with a crisp Pinot Grigio.
She said: Some handmade pasta with whatever local seafood has been bought fresh that day from the Rialto Markets at a family-run restaurant we love in Venice called Antiche Carampane. And I’m going to have a crisp Pinot Grigio with that too. (The restaurant I’m talking about: http://grantourismotravels.com/2010/06/20/no-pizza-no-lasagne-no-tourist-menu/)
5) How do you pick the places you visit? Spontaneous vs. planned?
He said: Both. Dictated by the region we’re in and who has offered us a story. And dictated by Lara.
1000Fights: Smart man! Listen to Lara.
She said: As we’re full-time travel writers our work determines where we travel. If we’re heading to Bangkok to research a book, we know we might be there for 2-3 months, but while we’re there we might get a few magazine commissions to do stories in, say, Saigon or the Mekong, so we’ll do some spur-of-the-moment travel too. At the moment we don’t travel purely for pleasure, but, hey, some people wouldn’t call what we do ‘work’.
6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?
He said: Anodyne Top 10 travel lists or poverty, whichever is easier. I’m guessing poverty.
She said: I can tolerate Top 10 travel lists, and have been guilty myself of writing a few – travellers love them and they can be fun, so I’m going to go for poverty. It’s the cause of so many other problems: crime, violence, domestic violence, child abuse, drug and alcohol dependence… yep, definitely poverty. Oh, and earthquakes. But that’s two…
7) You knew it was coming…what has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?
He said: Venice. I used to loathe it. Now I’ve been told I love it and want to return. Or at least that’s what the tape loop Lara plays every night when I sleep suggests.
1000Fights: See advice from above!
She said: Cape Town. HomeAwayUK (http://www.holidayrentals.co.uk/), who sponsored our grand tour of the globe, wanted us to go to Cape Town for two weeks last year, but Terence didn’t want to go. We’d heard so many horror stories from South Africans over the years who’d fled to Dubai or Perth because they’d been robbed and experienced a carjacking, so Terence wasn’t looking forward to having his camera gear stolen. But, shhh…I had my doubts too. We did end up going and we stayed in a beautiful home owned by the loveliest family, with truly stunning Table Mountain views from our bedroom balcony (check them out here: http://grantourismotravels.com/2010/11/11/time-lapse-table-mountain-cape-town/), just two minutes walk from Camps Bay beach. We loved it. Just take a look at these pics and you’ll understand why: http://grantourismotravels.com/2010/11/11/camps-bay-cape-town-the-beauty-of-being-by-the-beach/. But we also loved the place for reasons we never expected to, for the resilience and spirit of the people we met for example… but that’s the beauty of travel, right?
Thanks for Lara and Terence for sharing with us. You can really sense that these are really down to earth people that travel to gain perspective and understanding. We salute them. Visit their blog! We do think that their fights is a little on weak side. They need some work in this area. Now if Luci and I could just find someone to sponor us for a trip around the globe!
Fun interview. I’ve enjoyed following Terence and Lara on their blog and now it’s nice to learn a few more things about them. They sound like people I’d love to meet.
She’s even wrong about the fight. I didn’t want to go to Africa because I was never interested in becoming a specialist writer/photographer on Africa because the food and the music don’t really turn me on. Nothing to do with safety. I have my gear insured. If someone approaches me with a gun they’ll have a whole bag of beat up camera gear. And a week or two later I’ll have shiny new stuff.
So there. Has that given the fight a bit more sting? ;)
Okay, so maybe it was me who didn’t want my stuff stolen…hmmm… I definitely could *not* replace my beloved little bits and pieces collected from our travels – not in two weeks anyway! And I definitely didn’t want to have to deal with the hassle of waiting for insurance to buy new camera gear. And I *did* have major issues about safety after years of listening to terrifying stories, but once we were in Cape Town we quickly picked up safety tips on where not to go, what not to do, etc, and we didn’t have any issues.
Memo to self: work on new tape loop ;
1000 Fights: thanks for the kind words in the intro, you two. We’re touched. Really. We’ll have to follow your example in the fight department. It was a bit weak, I know. We’ll work on that for you and report back in a year’s time! BTW, our ‘grand tour’ was one year, but we’ve actually been travelling continuously for 5 years. So you’d think we’d have more quarrels to report on, wouldn’t you? Hmmm… :)