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The GranTourismo!

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…

Tokyo Skyline

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!

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7 Questions with Vagabond Quest

Vagabond Quest


Twitter:  @VagabondQuest

Facebook:  VagabondQuest

Ready to read a really great travel adventure and love story?  Welcome to Vagabond Quest!  Dina and Ryan have been traveling around the world since April 2009 and are still going. They’ve hit 29 countries together. It’s their dream to be permanent travelers.  Their well put together travel blog is simply one of the very best.  One of the many fun features on thier site is the “Top Things” section.  They welcomed reviews from fellow adventurers on everything from fav travel gear to the best exotic food.    We posed our 7 Questions to Dina and Ryan.  Visit their Site!

1) How many countries visited between the two of you?

Together, we’ve been in 29 countries. Separately, we’ve each only got one country that we didn’t visit together.

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

She Said: Can it be a wallaby?

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

He said: Milford Sound, New Zealand

She said: New Zealand, the beauty of nature there is magical. The Milford Sound in the South Island of New Zealand brought me to tears.

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

He said: Dina’s Indonesian fried fish, wherever we happened to be.

She said: Difficult to pick, but I think it will be “nasi timbel” from Indonesia. It has delicious fried beef that had been marinated in deliciousness, served with  aromatic rice, a traditional kind of chili sauce, Indonesian sweet and sour soup, and bunch of other little stuff.  Very difficult to describe, but since I moved out from Indonesia 8 years ago, this is my biggest craving. Ryan even likes to mention “nasi timbel” just to tease me – he knows it drives me nuts to be reminded of it since I miss it so much.

(Dina is touched by Ryan’s response.)

5)How do you pick the places you visit? Spontaneous vs. planned?

He said: We wait for opportunities and take them, usually meaning we grab last-minute deals. Very little advance planning.

She said: Spontaneous more often, because of the last minute deals Ryan mentioned above. But once we pin point to a particular location, I like to read up about the highlights of the location, which we follow really loosely. We like to ramble and explore what we happen to find along the way.

6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

He said: Scarcity

She said:  For everybody to have a fair chance to live comfortably, at least in the beginning of their life.  It’s sad to think that many people just by chance were born in places that way under the poverty line or places that are very dangerous to live in. It could have been me. But if then in the future they mess it up themselves, it’s their own fault.

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

She said: To eat or not to eat! Ryan could eat only once a day or even less, no kidding. At one point of his life, he got all his nutrition from Coca Cola! For me, food is one of the main sources of enjoyment in my life. I’m so attached to deliciousness, and I can’t think clearly when I’m hungry. It angers me when Ryan decides that it will be a no-meal day.

Ryan replies: I sort of suspect she’s trying to fatten me up for some nefarious purpose. Seriously, though, I just don’t need to eat that often.

He said: Laundry. When/how to do it, how to dry the clothes, whether things are sufficiently clean, etc etc. I don’t have a lot of  enthusiasm for the topic and it drives Dina crazy that I don’t care. It’s an ongoing bone of contention.

Dina replies: Hey, I do all the laundry, hand-washed in the sinks! You don’t even have to do anything, and there’s nothing wrong  with inviting you to sniff at the clothes to ensure they smell fresh!

1000fights: Now that’s a fight!!!!   Well done you two!  You make us so proud!  Happy Travels.

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