Tag Archives | Recreation

A Math Genius and a Russian Beauty?

What do you get when you combine a math nerd (Harvard-Applied Mathematics Degree) and a Russian-born business guru?   AcoupleTraverlers.com of course!   (Luci says that they are going to have smart kids…not sure what that means.)  In this week’s installment of our 7 questions series to get to know other couple travel bloggers better, we want you to meet Dave and Vicky.  They set out to backpack, wander and eat their way through the back roads of Asia and Europe.  And the best part is, you are invited along for the adventure.

Blog: www.acoupletravelers.com

Twitter: @coupletraveler

Facebook: Acoupletravelers

One of our fave parts of their blog is of course their Pinterest page.  Check out the food pins!  But don’t do it on an empty stomach, you may end up licking you screen.  Not a good look for you.

Lets get to know them a little better:

Russian beauty1)     Tell us a little about yourselves.  How long have you been together?  How did you meet?

We met way back in high school, in the library of all places (He said: haven’t been in one since). One thing led to another (she said: I liked his taste in books) and we ended up fighting…I mean dating for 1.5 years. Until college that is. Then we were actually just fighting so we broke up albeit stayed in touch over the years, to wind up back together senior year. Just in time to move into an apartment together in DC. Since then we’ve been dating for 3 years and looking forward to another 3.

1000Fights:  Love it!  You guys are getting a great start.

backpack airport2) 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: Hercules would be pretty cool. I always remember watching that tv show as a kid and really enjoying the adventures as well as the battles. Maybe he’d introduce me to Zeus? Here’s to hoping Vicky writes Xena…

She Said: Ariel the mermaid. I used to love watching the Little Mermaid cartoon and movie when I was little and would dream about discovering the seas with her. She would definitely make a great scuba diving partner, to say the least!

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

He said: I go back and forth between loving nature or wanting to be in the cities. It’s a bit of a grass is greener mentality that I’m working on. Still, favorite city has probably been Tokyo, Japan. It was dynamic but also tame in a way. On the other end of the spectrum maybe Jiuzhaigou in China for it’s peace, tranquility, and spectacular landscape.

She said: So far favorite destination has been Japan, for the sushi alone. Oh, the fish! The delicious, fresh fish. Best meal of my life hands down has been with our couchsurfer in Tokyo at his favorite sushi restaurant. Japan as a whole was incredibly modern, efficient, and beautiful with polite and friendly people the whole way through. It was our first stop on our trip and we had some amazing experiences with our couchsurfing hosts.

4)  Harvard-Applied Math and Boston U-Business.  Holy cow you two are smart!  What has travel taught you?

He said: The biggest thing I’ve noticed with travel is the amount of downtime I have, which results in a lot of reflection. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life but travel is enabling me to sit back and think for a minute instead of being so distracted all the time and moving from one day to the next without even time to process. Overall I think I’m realizing how independent I can be and what I can accomplish on my own. I have no regrets about opting to take time off and am very confident in us being able to support ourselves through our own ventures.

She said: Travel has taught me that it’s definitely possible to get out of the daily grind of the 9-5 office life and still be learning and developing your skill sets. You don’t need to be in a classroom or office environment to learn, you can learn by observing the people around you and the different experiences you have. It has taught me to be more patient and go with the flow more. Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and let things go. Got on the wrong bus? We can get out at the next stop. Missed our train? There will be another. With more free time travel has shown me that you can be happy almost every day, especially when you are making all the choices and do not need to systematically get up and do anything.

Japanese man5) We love your buck-list!  But there is one item on your list that we are really curious about: take a vow of silence for 5 days?  Explain?

He said: As I mentioned before some of my best travel moments are just spent reflecting. This is aided by removing distractions such as belongings, long to do lists, and technology (I have no phone, no tv…). Taking this to the extreme would be to removing communication and simply try to meditate for a bit. At the very least, it will keep Vicky from nagging me for an entire 5 days.

She said: This would be the most difficult thing to cross off a bucket list – no talking for 5 days – that would be intense. On the other hand, I do believe that it could be a unique way to reach peace within yourself and have time to reflect on everything in your life. I don’t imagine it would be easy but it could be a really interesting experience.

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

He said: Cliché but going to go with world hunger. How could I not? It blows me away that some countries are obese and others are malnourished and NEITHER is living a healthy life style. How does this make any sense? Why are we not shifting food from one part of the world to the other…there’s plenty to go around.

She said: Going in the same direction as Dave, I would go with solving the problem with the shortage of water in this world. In the US we’ve have huge 6 Flags water theme parks in plenty of states with kids just throwing water around and sliding right into huge pools of it, yet there are people in other countries with barely enough drinking water. It just doesn’t seem right.

7) You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?  We heard something about a forgotten credit card?

She said: Oh boy, don’t even get me started on that credit card situation! I completely lost my cool and flipped out. It was pretty terrible. There was a lot of screaming involved until I finally calmed down and tried to think rationally about how to fix our crisis (He Said: I believe it was me who thought rationally…this little interjection is why you always should be the last one to edit an interview). It’s not so much huge fights anymore as much as constant bickering. Dave has lost our map a handful of times, and somehow he always manages to leave our water bottle everywhere. Not the biggest deal, just annoying.

He said: It’s true several years back right before our big Italy group a credit card, through which we had booked all our hotels on, may or may not have escaped my wallet. That would have been a good time for a vow of silence. In more recent news, I lost our map for the third time. At the end of the day it’s more like 1000 travel bickers than any one big fight. Kind of like a volcano letting out some steam to avoid the big eruption.

 

Aren’t they fun!  We truly hope that we come across them in person during their travels!  Give their blog acoupletravelers a look.  Thanks again to Dave and Vicky for sharing with us a little more about their grand adventure.

Are you a couple traveling together?  Would you like to be asked probing questions and have all of you secrets posted on the Internets?  Just contact us!

6

Three Things That Will Ruin Your Vacation

The Devil is in the Details

At times, on our blog and others “we” glamorize travel.  Our posts are dripping with pics of white sandy beaches, dense lush jungles, and wild and crazy adventures.  We kind of like it that way.  But at times, we must take a step back and fill you in on some the more “boring” yet practical details of travel.  We hope that these “Devil is in the Details” posts help.  Let’s dive in:

customs visaVisas:

Some countries want to make it as difficult and confusing as possible to get into.  Other countries want to collect half of their gross national product by charging unsuspecting tourists for the “privilege” of coming to their country.  One of their best tools in inflecting this pain and suffering is the almighty VISA.  Sheepish tourists land sleep deprived and loaded to the gills with cash to spend on trinkets to take home to prove that they have been somewhere.  They are herded through a zigzagging maze to the Visa window.  At this point in your adventure, a stuffy uniformed attendant lightens your wallet.  Nothing says, welcome to our country, like taking your money.  (Some more interesting visa charges: Bahrain: $280, Russia $150, UAE $250, but Angola takes the cake with a whopping $600. Ouch!)  Don’t say we didn’t warn you.  Hey Angola….enough already.

Visa requirements are one of those know before you go details.  Every single county is different.  Some countries require you to purchase the Visa weeks or even months in advance.  One of our friends neglected to look into this detail, and tried to board a plane to Vietnam.  Bad idea.  Vietnam requires a Visa that takes weeks to get.  Once you pick you destination and book your tickets, seek out info on the all-important Visa.  Regrettably, we couldn’t find a website that had all the requirements of every country in one place.  We would recommend your own due diligence and look it up the old fashion way-one country at a time.

The Checks in the Mail:

One of the key details you should never neglect is mail collection.  Sounds like a boring detail for sure, but life can get really interesting if you neglect it.   Make arrangements with friends, family, or a service to regularly check your doorstep for deliveries.  Better yet, arrange with the major package delivery companies to hold you items.  Put your regular mail service on hold.  If you live in the States you can do that HERE.  Nothing says, “We are not home, here are some packages you can steal, and feel free to come back and break into the house because we are gone,” than a stack of goodies on the doorstep and mail gushing out of the box.  Bad form.  You might also be at further risk of identity theft if a Baddie takes your credit card bill out of the box and goes on a shopping spree in Angola (granted they have $600 to get into the country).  Really bad form.

moneyMoney, Money, Money:

In the immortal words of AC/DC:  “money talks.”   We could write an entire post on the topic of travel money.  Let’s keep it simple.  Step one is to have good credit cards which means – ones that don’t charge horrendous fees and interest.  That is a given.  Step two is to let them know where you are planning to travel.  Turn the card over, call the 1-800 numbers and give them all your details.  Ask about exchange rates on the card and fees.  Take at least three different types of cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.  Time and time again we have found that one card didn’t work at one ATM or hotel while another did.  Compare the benefits and don’t keep them all together.  Each traveler should have their own card.  Leave copies of each card, your passport, and medical card at home.  One little suggestion that we always do before departure is buy some foreign currency before we leave from our local bank.  We do this for a number of reasons.  It avoids stress of finding an ATM right out the gate.  More importantly, it helps you acclimate to what the new currency looks like, and what denominations are available.  Some currency is different sizes and colors.  Having some of the new cash in hand creates options for you.

Thailand beauty

What if something happens abroad and you need currency quickly?  While we have yet to face this challenge, learn more about international money transfers.  Accidents, robberies and other “stuff” can happen whilst abroad.  Knowing a few of your options is never a bad idea.  We get asked a lot about traveler’s checks.  We don’t believe in them.  They end up being more of a problem than a solution.  During a visit to Israel a number of years ago, I struggled to get them cashed in a pinch.  This search cut into my get out and vacation time.  Credit cards have become the payment tool of choice in most countries. Nothing says, “I don’t travel and I have no idea how to function in the 21st Century,” like buying travelers checks.

Heed these three details and you will have a much better trip.   Never neglect the so called little things.  Now go back to looking at the glossy pictures of pristine beaches and green jungles…this stuff is no fun.  Happy travels from the Fighting Couple.

Did you neglect a “detail”?  Did it impact your travel?  Drop us a line below in the comments section and tell us about it!

5

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

 

 

4

7 Questions with Landing Standing

One of our favorite parts of hosting a couple travel blog is getting to know other like-minded couples.   We posed our 7 questions to fellow couple travel bloggers Meg and Tony of LandingStanding.com.  In January of this year, the brave couple left jobs, family, and friends and set off on a grand adventure to explore the world.

So what does exactly does Landing Standing mean?

Landingstanding

Land-ing Stand-ing: The act of leaping without looking, loving without fearing, and dominating anything life throws at you while never losing balance (well almost never).

 Give their blog a looksee!

www.Landingstanding.com

https://twitter.com/landingstanding

http://www.facebook.com/LandingStanding

 

1)  We loved your post “Traveling with Women-Why every man should.”  What have been the greatest lessons traveling with the opposite sex?
He Said: You run into a ton of problems when you travel, big and small. My instinct is to try and fix them or at least offer a solution… definitely NOT something that women are always looking for. After numerous attempts and failures to get this into my head, i’m proud to say that I now, almost always, actually  listen to Meg and just say, “I totally understand,” instead of, “here is what you could do.” Total travel relationship saver.


She Said: The biggest lifesaver for Tony and I has been assigning roles to each other while on the trip that work to each of our strengths.  I am not sure if this stereotypically follows specific gender roles, but he is much better with handling our money, passports, and important documents, while I am in charge of hotel reservations and directions to get us from point A to point B.  I am more detailed oriented and like having a solid plan when traveling to a new place, whereas Tony is cool going with the flow and figuring it all out when we arrive.

 

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?.)  Why?

He Said: Anthony Bourdain. But not as buddies (no way I could  keep up with his partying when he was younger and probably still can’t), but as a special guest on his TV show No Reservations. We watched 2-3 episodes of his show per weekend when preparing for our trip because it was at the intersection of our two giant passions… travel and food. Especially food.

She Said: Harry Potter. Broomsticks, portkeys, apparition, and Floo powder are much cooler means of transportation than coach class on an airplane!


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

He said: We’re in Berlin right now and have been totally stunned by how awesome this city is. Who knew? We are currently in the middle of a project to start our own business and Berlin has an incredibly vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. We have been to a lot of amazing places, but Berlin has skyrocketed to the top of our list of foreign cities we could live in after our travels.

She said: I hate to sound cliché, but Paris was pretty magical.  We used my hotel points to stay in a fancy Hyatt Regency in the center of the city and spent 4 days pampering ourselves and eating our way around the city.  Coming from Peru after just hiking Machu Picchu, this mini-vacation in the city of lights was much needed.  Plus, we celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary while in Paris.. amour!

 

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

couple travelHe said: I’m worried about Meg with this question… her brain might literally explode trying to pick just one location, let alone one meal… For me it is super easy and simple. Some amazing prosciutto and salami, some wedges of great cheese like pecorino, bleu, and camembert, and the freshest bread I could find. Then drive out to a cliff, with Meg, overlooking some great expanse of nature and just chow down.

She said: Ahhh too many choices!  Tony and I have had some AMAZING meals together, but traveling the world has also made me miss the comforts of home.  For my last meal, I would have to stick to my roots and choose my mom’s famous baked mac & cheese and my dad’s succulent Korean BBQ spare ribs… And of course finish the meal off with a giant bowl of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (Phish Food, New York Super Fudge Chunk, Half Baked… Any of those flavors would do!).  As far as where I would want to eat this last meal, it would be in my ultimate dream destination, Bora Bora, looking out over the Pacific Ocean in an overwater bungalow with my man by my side.

 

5) How has traveling brought you together as a couple?

She said: When we were back in the States, I travelled a lot for work and only saw Tony on the weekends.  We are now with each other 24/7, which has been both wonderful…. and eye-opening!  Yes, we sometimes bicker more than we ever used to back home, but we also have gotten to know a great deal more about each other during the past 6 months on the road and have become a stronger couple because of it.  There are some rare occasions where we want to strangle each other and put space between us, but every time I discover something new during our travels, I am so glad I have Tony there to share the experience.

He said: Still being attracted to each other after food poisoning in a Bolivian hostel = true love.

 

6) You guys have written a number of times about staying in hostels.  We have never been that brave.  What advice can you give to couples about staying in hostels?  How do you pick ‘em?  Seems like they cater to the single traveler crowd.  How do you find “couple” time?

He said: In South America you can definitely find cheap private rooms that are sometimes only slightly more expensive than the beds in dorm room. We always look closely at the ratings on the hostel booking websites before booking to make sure they rank high on location and cleanliness.

She said:  We actually haven’t stayed in a hostel for several months now.  We have become spoiled in Europe with apartment rentals, staying with friends, and leveraging my hotel points.  Hostels were a great option in South America – especially Patagonia where hotels were expensive (and often non-existent), but besides being a great place for meeting other backpackers, they can get old fast for a travelling couple.  Unless it was significantly more expensive than staying in a mixed dorm, we opted for private rooms and we always researched reviews on Hostelbookers.com and Hostelworld.com to find the most suitable hostel in our price range.

 

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

Couple TravelShe said:  It wasn’t so much of a fight as me being a complete bee-otch.  We were on the overnight bus from hell from Uyuni, Bolivia to La Paz.  The journey was supposed to be 9 hours long, but due to road floods, the bus had to go off-roading to get to La Paz and it ended up taking 15 miserable hours to get there. With little to no snacks packed, a bus seat that didn’t recline, and a broken window that blew freezing air into my face all night, I was devastated.  Hungry, cold, and tired was the trifecta to my perfect storm and Tony got caught in the eye of it.

He said: Very true. I think I blacked out from the sheer ferocity of it. Nail your windows shut and hide in the basement… Hurricane Meg is a once in a century storm!

 

1000Fights: That was a blast!  As you notice quickly when you discover their blog, in most of their pictures they are in each other’s arms.  You really get the impression that this is a strong couple.  Thank you Meg and Tony for sharing, and we hope we meet you guys out on the road someday.

13

The Man’s Guide to Traveling with a Woman

 

5 Things Every Man Should Know About Women…While Traveling.

How do you travel with a Woman?  Not long ago we did a post relating little know secrets about how to travel with men.  We have now turned the tables and offer you hommes a few insights on how to travel with the fairer sex.  While every person has their own travel style, and we certainly don’t want to paint every woman into a box, there are a few helpful general tips, that if understood, can help couples find greater harmony on the road.  So here we go:

Keys to traveling with a Woman

Miramare Castle, Triste, Italy

It’s all about the journey, not the destination.

Men, for whatever reason have a “let’s get there attitude” when traveling and doing other things. As women, we tend to focus a little more on the path.  Men: build in a little extra time into your schedules.  Be flexible. Here’s an example from our recent trip to Venice which turned into another 1000 fights. We were driving from Triste, Italy to Venice.  We were looking through tourist books and spotted an amazing castle cradling the bay outside of Triste.  It wasn’t in our plan.  Mike had an Excel spreadsheet that kept a strict schedule with everything we were to see that day and the castle wasn’t on the list. He didn’t even know about the castle. Of course Mike was like, “Gotta get on the road, got to see Venice, got to obey the spreadsheet.” After a fight that resulted in zero pictures of Mike and I together at the castle (in fact, Mike wouldn’t even take pictures of me-our friends were the photographers), we went to the castle.  We ended up seeing one of the most incredible sites of our entire trip.  Mike admitted he was wrong three weeks after the trip, and I have a few pictures of a fairy tale castle in Italy. Guys take the hint.  Be flexible.  Slow down a little and enjoy the ride!

 

Cleanliness is next to Godess-ness

I don’t know how many times I have said…for men…the world is your urinal.  Traveling, as we have in third world countries, the facilities are not always ideal.  No problem.  But there is a clear and bright line between rustic and disgusting.  Third world or first world, some truck stops are dens of disgusting.  Men take this little hint, when the facilities are sub par,  DON’T ARGUE.   Try saying things like…”Let’s find another place” or “There is a hotel just down the road, lets go over there.” My hero!   One option we highly recommend is skipping the hotel and renting a vacation apartment instead.”

 

man-taking-photoPictures are the best souvenir

Its all about the social media and the Christmas card.  Deep down, women are vain.  We really are.  Men could care less how their outfit looks or if their makeup is smudged.  OK maybe most men don’t care about their make up.  For us frau-lines, we truly want our vacation pics to look really good.  Why do we take vacation pics?  To show them off to all our friends on Facebook!   Our photo shoots might take a little long.  Guys, take it from me, you want us to look hot for these pics, it will make all of your old girl friends # jealous!

 

The whole flowers thing

This is likely the hardest concept for men to understand.  Women like cute things.  Cute things can come in the shape of purring cats, daffodils, teacups and cutie-bug kids.  We are going to take pictures of them, we are going to cuddle them, we may put an entire tour on hold to take pictures of a bunny.  I can’t tell you how many pictures we have of the dafodills in front of Jane Austen’s house!  They were incredible!  Guys, this is really going to test your patience.  Take a deep breath.  Count to 10.  Trust me, if you make a big deal about this, you will be removed from our “cute” list.  This will not bode well for you later.  Girls can I have an “amen?!”

 

Dinner in Venice ItalyA little more talk and a little less action

Women need to talk.  We need to communicate.  We need to discuss.  Guys: a couple of different options for you.  Some of you are talkers as well, so no problem.  Some of you are good listeners, no problem.  If you are neither or your name is Mike, a few ideas for you.  Let your spouse known that you need some time to talk. You finally have some time together, and for women it’s all about communication. If you don’t know what to talk about, we suggest “The Book of If: Questions for the Games of Life and Love” by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell.  On a four hour drive through Croatia, we found out a lot about each other. Like, “If you could fire someone from work, who would it be,” or “If you could relive one romantic date from high school just as it was, which would it be.”  Some answers we had to plead the “fifth.” But overall, it’s a great way to get a conversation going.

If communicating together isn’t your thing, join friends you meet on the tourist trail for drinks before/after/during dinner. Meeting fellow travelers is one of the most dynamic experiences that can create lifelong friendships and maybe a few Facebook friend requests!

Gentlemen, these are a few little hints for keeping us gals happy whilst on the road.  Every women is different, but take these ideas into consideration and know your travel partner.

Gals, did we miss anything?  If you could tell you guy just one thing that would make life a little easier out there, what would you tell him?

16

Why Do We Do This?

“Life throws so much at you: bills, pressure, work, stress, kids, “real” life, drama, mother-in-laws, mortgage payments.  The day in and day out battle of life slowly drains the love out of our relationships.”

 

An enlightening question from a friend this week….”So, why do you blog?”  My first automatic response was something like, “To share our travel ideas, to be a part of the travel blogging community, give encouragement to others, to get out and see the world.” Yada, yada, yada. Blah, blah, blah.

But the real reason we travel blog, is YOU.  Boil it all down, we want others to find happiness in their relationships.  Luci and I have our struggles that’s for sure and as our “catchy” blog name reflects…our relationship is far from perfect.  We fight.  A lot.  But it’s ok.

cote adzurWe count ourselves blessed to have visited some incredible places together during our 15 years of marriage.  But when it comes down to it, these places don’t really matter.  (We are totally serious!)  What matters most to us was that we did it together as a couple.   The number of stamps in our passport doesn’t matter.  What matters is what is stamped on our souls.

We set out our blogging journey with a simple mission:  Encourage other couples to leave the kids with the grandparents for a week and go somewhere together.  If you don’t have the $$$ to do it today, set a goal.  Don’t be stupid and put it all on a  credit card.  BAD MISTAKE!  You will make things worse.  Trust us, a vacation that you saved and scrimped for will be sweeter.  Work together.  Save.  Sacrifice.  Then do it.  Most importantly don’t let the time together be wasted.   Savor every second.   Talk to each other.  Renew.

Life throws so much at you: bills, pressure, work, stress, kids, “real” life, drama, mother-in-laws, mortgage payments.  The day in and day out battle of life slowly drains the love out of our relationships.   It happens to us.  It continues to happen.  A loveless relationship loses hope.  You become roommates.  Then bad things happen.

So why do we blog?  What keeps us going?  It is you.  You on the other end of this Internet.  We hope that there is something that we write that inspires you to make a change.  If you could find one thing to work together on.  Just one thing…maybe something as simple as planning a trip together.

Change is hard.  Life is hard.  You need a friend by your side to face it.  We hope you have/find/love that special someone.

Bon voyage!

Mike and Luci

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Mistletoe Moments Celebrity Judges!

Responses to our Mistletoe Moments have been amazing!  So many great stories.    If you haven’t submitted yours, we want to hear from you!

We are proud to announce our “Celebrity Judges” for our contest!   So why do we need judges?  First of all, we would have to change the name of our blog if we tried to pick one! (www.100000fights).  In addition, we really wanted to highlight some great blogs out there to you our loyal readers.  Enjoy.

 

The Traveling Canucks

www.travelingcanucks.com

@travelcanucks

Cam and Nicole are couple travel bloggers based in beautiful Vancouver BC, Canada.  Their blog highlights some of the best travel locations on the planet.  Cam and Nicloe have great features on Turkey and are world renowned Beer aficionados!

The Naked Redhead

www.thenakedredhead.com

@sarahjstorer

The Naked Redhead-now we have you attention!  Sarah aka The Naked Redhead is a professional “Wing Woman.”  Her site (sorry no porn)  offers the tricks, tips and truths that will help you find that certain someone and get the most from love and life.  (Mike may or may not have a tiny crush on Sarah.)  Check out her site!

 

Vagabond Quest

www.vagabondquest.com

@VagabondQuest

Dina and Ryan of Vagabond Quest are “living the dream”.  They Left their hometown in 2009 and have been living on the road since!  Crazy huh?  Their blog highlights their adventures.  They include some amazing pictues and video.  They even captures a possum attacking Dina!  Yikees!

 

Confused Julia

www.homelessandconfused.com

@confusedjulia

Julia from Homeless and Confused is a kick!  Are you looking for a pithy blog with a side of fun?  Bingo!  You found it.  This English lassie has had exciting and crazy travels.  She is headed out on a whirl wind adventure this spring.  Give her blog a looksee.

We want to give a hearty thanks to each of our Celebrity Judges!

Ok, this $150 bucks is burning a hole in our pocket!

Please submit your Mistletoe Moment right now! 

 

Happy Holidays from 1000Fights!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We won! (well… kinda)

The couple travel bloggers at 1000Fights.com were recently invited to participate in the Accor Hotels City Blogging Tour.    Travel bloggers compete for a grand prize of a round the world trip.  FUN!  In additon to collecting votes (Please VOTE for us), bloggers must write four articles on different featured destination cities.  Every other week, the posts are judged and awarded bonus votes.

Our post titled:  “A love letter to Rio” won first place!  You can read the “award” winning post here.  One down three to go.  The next city is Rome!  What should we write about?

Ok 1000-Fighters, can you imagine how many fights Luci and I would have if we had to spend weeks together going around the globe?  That would make for some great fights!  Please VOTE  for us!  You can VOTE once a day per computer.  Dont make us beg.

Are you looking for cheap flights to Rio?  Look no futher.

 

 

 

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5 Secrets to get your “Indoor Girl” Outdoors

Amazon River trip oneSo how do you get you indoor girl into the great outdoors? Not as simple as it sounds.   (I must first do a shout out to all of your outdoor girls, you rock!)  Luci’s idea of roughing it… is a hotel without room service! Seriously, I salute Luci, she has braved everything from taking a canoe up the Amazon to sleeping in a yurt in the African savannah. We came up with a few hints to make venturing into the wild a little easier.

Be Prepared

We have found an ounce of prevention can equal a pound of cure. Going into the wild, you are going to meet two arch enimies to indoor peoples: Dirt and Bugs. While you can’t pack all of the creature comforts into the woods, you and pack a few things that make the go of it loads easier. Item #1 insect repellant. This stuff is perhaps the most important thing in your pack. Buy the good stuff. If you are going into the really adventurous areas (see Amazon, Nile and other non-blackberry functioning areas) you need a strong concoction with lots of something called DEET. DEET is magic. If you are going in a little less extreme area , find some non-scent insect repellent. The pros of DEET juice: protects the really bad stingers. The negatives of DEET: it smells to high heaven, and it is sticky. YUCK! If the areas you are headed to don’t have mosquito borne illness threats, use the non-scent stuff.

Set Expectations

Some of our best/worst fights came from different expectations. One of the keys in bringing someone that is not an outdoors person into outdoors is they tend to see what they fear most. If they hate bugs….then they will see the bugs. They will see the dirt. They will “think” they hear the dangerous critters in the night. One way to help your spouse is to say paint the picture for them: “There will be bugs. We have the spray to minimize their presence. We will be sleeping in nets to prevent them getting at us at night. Yes, there will be dirt. But, at such and such a point, we are going to shower and at another point we are going to swim under waterfalls.” Building what to expect can go a long way to make the trip bearable for the non-out-of-doors folks.

Share Your Glasses

One of the main barriers for indoor people is that they flat out don’t understand what drives outdoor people to go out doors. We encourage couples to find ways to communicate effectively. Sharing ones passion for the great outdoors can really help one spouse understand the other. One of our experiences in the Amazon really highlights this understanding. It was evening and we had been out on the river the entire day. Luci was swatting bugs in fine form. I invited her to sit on a bench overlooking the river and watch the sunset. Candidly, it was one of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen. The sky was lit up with dramatic reds and yellows. We just sat and watched. All of the sudden, the dirt, bugs and hungry jaguars in the distance didn’t really matter. She was looking through my glasses, she understood (for a few mili-seconds) why I love the jungle.

Wonderful Amazon SunsetMix it up

One of our little secrets for couple travel is to amplify. As our voyage progresses we go to better and better places. Start off with the camping trip, then end the trip at the lux resort. This does two things; it gives your spouse something to look forward to after roughing it. It also makes them remember the positive. Great idea huh?

Wanna see some more Amazon pics?  Including some spiders and creepy crawlies?  Just like us on Facebook.

Be a Hero

If your sweetheart isn’t really into the more adventurous destinations, and they suck it up and sacrifice for you, you gotta make it up to him or her. Slip her favorite luxury item into the pack. Do they love honey covered almonds? Stow some away in your pack and at the right time, bam! You are a hero. Even better, pack their favorite elixir… perhaps a bottle of 2009 Txomin Etxaniz (Basque country wine) and break it out at the right time and …..BAM! You are a hero.

That is it!  Our 5 tips for getting your “indoor” girl into the great outdoors.  Be prepared in advance of your trip, build realistic expectations.  Help you sweetheart understand what you love about nature.  Perhaps the best hint is to be a hero, look for little things along the way that will make the outing more pleasurable.  In the end, regardless if you are in the Amazon Jungle or taking touring caravans in the UK. Make the most of your adventures by following a few of the steps spelled out above.

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10 Things to Know for Your First International Trip

We put together a little cheat sheet for you folks who are attempting your first international trip.  These little hints are the sum of all our knowledge from visiting a couple dozen different counties on 5 continents.  These are the things that we wish we would have known, but were painful lessons learned out on the road.

1)Roll with it

Ok, this is your first trip abroad.  You happen to be the type A, planner type.  Take a chill pill!  Regardless of how planned you are, things are going to be different than you expect.  Roads don’t exist that are clearly on the map!  This is a really good thing.  Experiencing another culture, another language, and another environment makes you a better person.  You can understand and cope with differences better after your return.  You become more deep as a human being.  Just to recap, things are going to be crazy.  A lot of things are going to come at you fast.  Savor every moment!

2)Speak the Language

If you are a loyal 1000 Fighter, you know that we always harp on this.  It is so critical in order to really get to know a new country, you must, must, must know some of the language.  You by no means need to be fluent.  Its better if you are not.  You do need to know enough to engage in a small conversation without relying on your native tongue.  Our goal is always to know enough to chat up a taxi driver for 10 mins.  Know how to talk about the weather.  You don’t need to conjugate every verb, you need to know how to ask a kid their name, and how old they are.

Turkish Breakfast

3)Just Try It

This little nugget of advice applies on so many levels.  Lets start with the food.  As you departing on your first international trip, you are going to see menus that look Greek even if you are in China!  When you walk into the food establishment, glance around,  pick out something that looks interesting and give it a try.  Why not?  (If your are in Cusco, Peru- give the guineu pig a try!) You have never been on balloon flights UK?  Follow rule number 3.  Just try it!   The beauty of experience days is stepping outside your comfort zone.

4)Ask a Lot of Questions

Luci is a real pro at this.  It is her reporter background.  Regardless if we are on a plane, in a museum, taking a nature tour, or just in a cab, she is always pumping anyone that will listen for information.  Why?  Frankly, you don’t know what you don’t know.  There may be another bigger unknown waterfall just around the corner.  There may be a cheaper place to buy your souvenirs just down the road.  The taxi driver might have a brother that runs a better tour.  All of these things have happened to us.  Only because we asked.

5) Follow your instincts

Traveling internationally, trust your gut.  One of our fave couple travel bloggers: Y Travel Blog recently did a post on safety tips for single female travelers, in this article Caz says: “Trust your intuition.  It always knows best. If something doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. There is a reason why you get that unsettled feeling in your stomach when you meet that strange person on the beach.  Don’t freak yourself out by imaginary monsters, but definitely pay attention to those little messages our animal instincts give us.”

If you are in a place that doesn’t fell right, leave. Common sense kinda stuff.  We must say, be careful of situations where your instincts are dulled: “see drinking too much barley pop.”

6)Smile

We give you permission to forget every other one of our hints in this post, please don’t forget this one.  This is the most powerful hint to traveling abroad.  The smile is the universal language.  Attempt to speak Turkish,  compliment them on their beautiful country and then grin ear to ear.  Your feeble attempts at communication  will be supplanted with the power of the smile.  If you are struggling figuring out the exchange rate and what all of the multi-colored monopoly money means…flash a big toothy grin.  No problems.   Smile at everyone.  Give the little children you pass on the street a warm smile, the old man in the chair in front of his flat a big one as well.  The returns from this small gesture will pay huge dividends.

7)Be Prepared

The old boy scout motto applies to international travel.  If you are going to the Amazon, buy some medical evacuation coverage.  If you are going to Tahiti and you only wear a certain sun tan lotion, bring it.  Think through things on a couple of levels.  Put your money in a couple different places.  Another couple of our travel friends, Cam and Nicole have a great story about this!  “How I got robbed by a Thai prostitute on the streets of Bangkok.”  Cam shared this story with us when we were up in Vancouver, BC this summer.  We are still laughing.  The moral of the story is always be prepared!

8) Don’t Follow the Other Tourists

It is soooo tempting when traveling abroad to do what everyone else is doing.  But didn’t your mom warn you about doing this?  If not, we are!  Don’t go on a tourist bender.  If you are prepared, and follow the other tips above, wander out of the norm.  See the undiscovered sites.  Are they still out there you ask?  YOU BET THEY ARE.  Will you get lost?  We sure hope so.  Some of our best moments traveling are when we get lost.  Be a leader, not a follower.

9) Show me the Money

Every place you go, you are going to need rupees, pounds, yens, or coconuts…Be prepared.  Exchange some cash at the airport.  Have a couple different flavors of credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, and something else.  Anywhere you go, money will flow.  Have some.  The law of travel we have found that is that ATMs are never close, and they are finicky.  Having cards from different banks is literally a lifesaver.

10)Pack Light

We really hate to put this one in.  How can we preach something we don’t practice? Mike is the all time worst packer.  He packs a ton.  He is a child of the 1980s so he has to match the seasons, with clothes for every event, restaurant, and setting.  Don’t follow his example!  Here’s why it is so critical that you follow this suggestion.  Luggage is heavy.  On every single international trip we have taken, we have ended up walking long, long distances with luggage.  It WILL happen to you.  If you pack heavy, you will be tired.  Good decisions are rarely made when tired.  Especially if you are traveling as a couple.  You can always buy more clothes when you get there.  In fact, this is a really good idea.

So that’s it!  Our 10 ideas that will make your life a little easier making your first trip abroad.  Now go and book those tickets.  After you come back, please share with us the lessons you learned!  We would love to hear your ideas and suggestions.  Just leave us a comment below.  Bon Voyage!

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