Tag Archives | United States

The Best Mistletoe Moment of 2011


We have a winner!

A heartfelt thanks to each of you that submitted entries.  We were totally blown away by the number and more impressivley the quality of responses!  Incredible.  This just goes to show that love is alive and well.

Luci and I want to thank you our readers for making this an amazing year.  You have shared your travel fights, crazy adventures, and tender love stories with us.  We are so grateful for each of you! We wish you all many happy miles this coming year.

 While we don’t have a “prize” for them, our judges thought these two were incredible!   The two runners up:

Chris Walker-Bush  from Aussie on the Road

“It was seconds after the ball dropped on New Year’s and my soon to be ex girlfriend and I had fled the beach party on Robinson Crusoe in Fiji to find some privacy.  With our two year relationship set to end in 24 hours when she flew back to the States, tears stood in her eyes as we listened to the distant growl of the beach and felt the warm summer air on our skin. Underneath the gaze of coconut palms and the starry skies, I kissed away her tears and thanked her for the best two years of my life.”

 Mike Howard from Honey Trek

“It wasn’t in an amazing location, or under a starry night sky, and it wasn’t at the perfect time. It was in our kitchen, when we realized we wanted to quit our jobs and travel the world together. After an amazing evening with friends (two of whom told us of their recent journey and inspired us), we sat in our kitchen, staring each others eyes, realizing we were in fact going to make this a reality. That kiss, is the kiss that sealed our RTW fate, and we can not wait for more Mistletoe moments in every country we visit over the next 16 months.”

Without further ado….our 2011 Mistletoe Moment is:

The Kahle’s from Wanderlivin

“A wedding can mean many different things to different people. To the bride it’s the most important day of her life. That’s why when I was told my hairdresser canceled on me the day before the wedding I tried to shake it off. When half of my family couldn’t come because of Hurricane Irene I tried to shake it off. When my photographer didn’t show up – I couldn’t shake it off. Walking down the isle in distress I saw my husband and the way he looked at me as I walked down the isle. When I reached him I pulled his face down for a kiss before the minister could even start as the waves of Monterrey Bay crashed around us and bridesmaids giggled at the ministers disapproval.”

1000Fights: Isn’t that a tender story!  Congrats on your marriage!  We love it.  There will be time for fighting later! Luci says that they are going to have “cute” kids…not sure what that means. We wish the Kahle’s congrats and happy travels!

Thanks again to our “Celebrity” judges!

@travelcanucks   @sarahjstorer   @VagabondQuest   @confusedjulia

Ok…2012 is just on the horizon.  Get out there and make some Mistletoe Moments!

8

Couple of Sports

Do you ever have the  “What if” dream?  What if I sold everything I own and traveled?   Think of the places you would see.  Think of the people you would meet.   We want to introduce you to a couple that did just that!  Couple of Sports.  A few months ago we came across them on twitter, right as they were embarking on a year’s journey around the entire US in search of sport.  They are attending a sporting event in each state!  Of course we emailed them and said, “come watch a game on the Blue Turf in Boise.  We didn’t think we would hear from them again.  Well we did!  Mark and Jackie called us and we struck and instant friendship.  We had a chance to show them around our fair city.  They are two kind and inspiring individuals.

As you can imagine, one of our questions for them was….do you guys fight?  Living in such close quarters day in and day out, we would KILL each other.  We asked them to share their best fight:

 

Couple of Sports – A Different Kind of Food Fight

From the beginning, my wife and I have shared one thing: A love for food that knows no bounds. We love going out to eat, which is an ever-present part of dating that we continued into our marriage. We love trying out the newest trendy restaurant, finding that hidden gem, or partaking in the local street food when in a new city. And we both dreaded the necessary months of dieting, but always found a chance to reward ourselves with a night out.

But somehow, this food love-fest has sparked some of the biggest fights in our relationship. The main culprits? Either indecisiveness or stubbornness, depending on the night. We’re always on the same page at the beginning; we’re hungry, and don’t want to cook. But after that, things can go awry quickly.

“What are you in the mood for?” is a much more loaded question that you might imagine. Most often, neither one of us wants to be the decision maker, because we don’t want to go against the other person’s subconscious preferences. Inevitably, one of us will break down and choose a place to go, which could lead to an exchange like this:

–        “Ugh, Mexican food AGAIN?”

–        “But I thought you were open to ANYTHING?”

–        “Well, I thought you wanted something new!”

–        “Fine, YOU decide!”

And the vicious cycle is repeated yet again.

On the flip side, one of us wants sushi REALLY badly, and the other one wants pizza. There’s no real compromise there, unless you trek out to multiple places. On those nights, either one of us doesn’t get what we wanted, or we decide to be uber-stubborn and not go out at all, so neither of us can be happy.

We tried to hedge our bets by making a list of places that we wanted to try out. In order to make it on the list, we both had to agree that anything on the list would be something that we would both be willing to eat. This proved effective at times, but still led to fights when we each wanted to go to the place that we had put on the list.

And now that we’re traveling the country in an RV, our food fights have just changed locations. We still argue about where to eat, when to eat, and how many fast food stops is too many. But with limited refrigerator space on the RV we’ve quickly learned one thing: Compromising on food choice is a lot better than eating ramen for the 4th straight night!

 

1000Fights:  What a great fight!  We wish Mark and Jackie the very best out on the road!

 

 

 

5

Lake Bled: Girl’s Fantasy Camp

Okay ladies-What makes your travel fantasy? For 1000Fights, it’s a vacation without a fight! But if you can’t have a fight free trip, try the next best thing-a real life fairy tale.

1000Fights visited the former Yugoslavia-for most Americans they know very little about this region. What we heard most was “Isn’t there a war going on.” No, that was 20 years ago and the former Yugoslavia is now one of safest places to visit in Europe. If you are looking a fairy tale spot then head to Lake Bled, Slovenia.

Want to see a bunch more of our Lake Bled pictures?  Just jump over to our facebook page.

Less than an hour north of the Slovene capital of  Ljubljana, Lake Bled is a glacial lake nestled in the Julian Alps. Affordable (our room was only 89E) and pristine, Lake Bled is the poor man’s Switzerland with better views and less people. The Lake is small. You can walk around it in less than 90 minutes on a beautiful walking path that takes you right to the shore of the lake in places. On our walk, we bought an artist’s rendition of the lake for 5E. Again, cheap!

But what makes Lake Bled a girls fantasy is the surroundings. In the middle of the Lake, is an island topped by a church. Rent a row boat for less than 10E and make your spouse row you across the lake. Once you reach the island, make him carry you up the steps to the church. If your spouse makes the 99 steps, you’ll have a happy marriage. If you don’t, well, you’ll be like 1000 Fights. Ring the bell the church bell and a wish will come true. Guys, if you don’t want row, you can get in an oversized gondola called a plenta and someone will row you along with 10-12 other lazy tourists.

lake bled slovenia

If the steps, wishing bell, rowing and the Lake aren’t enough to feel like you are a world away, there’s a castle perched on the granite cliffs surrounding the lake. Hike up to Lake Bled Castle or drive and enjoy the oldest castle in Slovenia.

Lake bled slovenia

Top off your visit to Lake Bled with cake! Every princess needs a cake and at Lake Bled you can enjoy the famous kremšnit. The cake has a layer of whipped cream followed by vanilla custard and topped with filo dough. As someone who loves, anything creamy, the cake is worth every calorie. But skip the filo dough on the top.

Lake Bled and Slovenia in general is simply not to be missed.   The are many cheap flights in and out of Ljubljana or there are reasonable international flights into nearby Venice, Italy.  You might want to consider one of many holiday packages that include hotel and airfare.

6

The Ghost Towns of New York City

So what makes for a good ghost town? Tumbleweeds and shanty buildings? Dusty and deserted roads?

A ghost town is the remnants of a place that is a shadow of its former vibrant self. A place that once gleamed with the sparkle of humanity only to find itself deserted and isolated. If we follow this definition, there are three really captivating ghost towns smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world, New York City! Join us as we explore these modern day ghost towns.

Immigrants Landing at Ellis Island

Ellis Island

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
 I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”-Emma Lazarus  

Perhaps one of the most recognized statues in the world, Lady Liberty stands with her lamp extended, welcoming the world. At her foot rests our first stop in our quest to find the ghost towns of New York.

Ellis Island was a sight to behold in its hay-day. The Island housed the largest and most prolific immigration station in the world from 1892 till 1954. The Island has had a number of nicknames in its storied history: “Heartbreak Island” and “the Island of Tears.” Heart break references the fact that a small number of immigrants were not allowed entry into the US after their treacherous ocean voyage.

A number of interesting characters graced the halls of Ellis Island including: Composer Irving Berlin, Make up guru Max Factor, Comedian Bob Hope, Coach Knute Rockne, and Actress Claudette Colbert to name a few.

Visiting the island is truly an experience not to be missed. Take in the Statue of Liberty of course, but more importantly wander the Ellis Island Museum. Contemplate what it would have been like to enter these halls, the air filled with dozens of different languages. Take in the dreams and hopes of immigrants seeking a better life. Then wander outside to the “Kissing Post” where families long separated were once again united. Powerful! Don’t miss the holding cells. A somber remembrance of what must have been a terrifying experience for the small number of people that were detained here for a number of different reasons.

 

Hart Island

One of the most interesting and disturbing places in all of New York City is Hart Island. Modern history of the island begins in 1869 when the city of New York purchased the island for $75K. The Island has served as a Civil War Prison camp, a boy’s workcamp, a Nike Missile bunker, and currently serves as a potter’s field for the entire city. If you are looking for a spooky place, look no further.

At the midpoint of the Civil War, the Island was built up as a union prison for captured confederate soldiers. Over 3,400 Rebel soldiers where confined here. In the 1870s the Island was used as a place to quarantine people with Yellow Fever. The Island subsequently was used as a women’s insane asylum.

Today the Island is a cemetery. According to Hart Island Project, a group that is working to document the internments: The City Cemetery occupies 101 acres in the Long Island Sound on the eastern edge of New York City. It is the largest tax funded cemetery in the world. Prison labor is used to perform the daily mass burials that number over 850,000. Citizens must contact the prison system to visit Hart Island. There is no map of the burials and no one is permitted to visit a specific grave. The Department of Correction restricts visitation to those who can document the burial of a family member buried on Hart Island. Records at this location consist of intact mass graves since 1980.

New York city“Prison labor from Rikers Island is used for burial details, paid at 50 cents an hour. Inmates stack the pine coffins in two rows, three high and 25 across, and each plot is marked with a single concrete marker. The first pediatric AIDS victim to die in New York City is buried in the only single grave on Hart Island with a concrete marker that reads SP (special child) B1 (Baby 1) 1985.” Wikipedia.

The New York City Department of Transportation runs a single ferry to the island from the Fordham Street Pier on City Island. The only people allowed to visit the Island are those who have family members buried there, or get a permit for educational or research purposes.

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum

One of the most moving and interesting museums in NYC is the Tenement Museum. It is located at 108 Orchard on the Lower East Side. The museum is a window of what life was like for NYC immigrants from 1850’s through the Depression Era. NYC, during the hay day of the tenements, could truly be called a melting pot. Immigrants from all across the globe, were living in close quarters.,

An estimated 7,000 people lived in 97 Orchard Street between 1863 and 1935. Working with genealogists and volunteers, the Museum has identified 1,300 people who owned, lived, or worked in 97 Orchard Street. As you walk solemnly between rooms in the building you read of the desperate plight of its one time residents. Stories of single mothers that raised a dozen children. You learn of entire families that lived and worked in one tiny room. During our recent visit, we walkedthrough the narrow hallways and rooms walking through the experience of a German family whose husband left his wife to fend for herself and an Italian immigrant family.

One cannot help but be moved by the humble circumstances that those who occupied the tenements faced. The building lacked indoor plumbing and electricity. Electric light was not installed in 97 Orchard until 1924. Crime and poverty ran rampant. A host of different illnesses ravaged the tenements on several occasions. If you want to get a good idea of what immigrants faced in NYC, see the movie, “The Gangs of New York.”

Visiting the museum will take you at least two  hours. You must take a guided tour. Sign up ahead of time. You can pick between three tours and then walk back in time into the living rooms and kitchens of the past.  Once your complete the tour, cross the street and take in the visitor’s center. There are some great books and memorabilia.

New York City has so much to offer the couples that travel together. It’s one of 1000 Fights favorite places!   Book your flight and see ghost towns in NYC.  Have you been to anyone of these sites?

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you thought.  We love a good fight.

 

6

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!

2

Army vs. Navy: A visit to the US Military Academies

In our series of articles on “Man-cation” Ideas:

The Battle of the Military Academies: Army vs. Navy

Besides being two of the premier war colleges in the world, Westpoint, NY (Home of the United States Military Academy at West Point) and Annapoilis, MD (Home of the United States Naval Academy) are fascinating places to visit! Both locations are steeped in American history and military tradition. We put together a primer for visiting both locations:

US Navy

US Naval Academy

U.S. Naval Academy (Founded: 1845)

Official Website 

“There’s a huge crop of astronauts, captains of industry, and prisoners of war. And, although not every Naval Academy grad will be a war hero or the president of the United States, every grad can aspire to embrace the values espoused by our Distinguished Graduate Award recipients.”~ George Watt

Motto: EX SCIENTIA TRIDENS-From Knowledge Seapower

Talk like a local: Students= “midshipmen”, campus= “the Yard”, the restroom = “the head”, drinking fountain = “scuttlebutt”.

Famous Grads: President Jimmy Carter, Sen. John McCain, Football star Roger Staubach, Basketball star David Robinson, 52 Astronauts

Mascot: Bill the Goat

2010 Football Record: 9 and 4

Cool Traditions: Herndon Climb  Cover Toss

Uniform: Midshipmen at the Academy wear service dress uniforms similar to those of U.S. Navy officers, with shoulder-board and sleeve insignia varying by school year or midshipmen officer rank. All wear gold anchor insignia on both lapel collars of the service dress blue jacket. Shoulder boards have a gold anchor and a number of slanted stripes indicating year, except for midshipman officers, whose shoulder boards have a small gold star and horizontal stripes indicating their rank. (Wikipedia)

 

United States Military Academy at West Point (Founded 1802)

Official website 

“Duty-Honor-County. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.”

General Douglas MacArthur – farewell address, 12 May 1962 to the Corps of Cadets

Motto: “Duty, Honor, Country”

Key terms: Student= “Cadet”, We found an entire Website of terms!

Famous Grads: US Presidents Grant and Eisenhower; President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis; Presidents of other counties: Anastasio Somoza Debayle of Nicaragua, Fidel V. Ramos of the Philippines, and José María Figueres of Costa Rica; Jim Kimsey, founder of AOL. Most importantly Gen. George McClellan (Mike’s ancestor that Lincoln fired)

Mascot: Mule

2010 Football Record: 7 and 6

Cool facts: Cullum Number  Spinning the spur   The West Point Military Reservation contains one of three U.S. Treasury’s gold mints.

Our visit to West Point:

We visited the campus on our recent trip to New York City. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. It is a great side trip for those interested in American History and militaria. West Point is not open for self touring per se. Visitors may take a nominally priced guided tour of the Academy grounds departing from the West Point Visitors Center. A valid photo ID is required for all adults 16 and over, and children must be accompanied by an adult. Check the center’s website for details.

We began our tour in the morning after taking in the visitors center. We boarded our bus, we had a very competent guide to explained the many traditions of the academy. He also pointed out the form and function of the many buildings on campus. The tour ended at the river side of the parade grounds. There you can take in statues and cannons celebrating the storied history of the place. While we were sitting in the grandstands the cadets assembled for lunch.

The surroundings and vista of the river is breathtaking. What a great place to go to school! The entire campus really has a New England prep school feel to it. Tree lined lanes. Monuments on every corner. Lacross players. You get the picture.

A little history from the West Point Website: “West Point’s role in our nation’s history dates back to the Revolutionary War, when both sides realized the strategic importance of the commanding plateau on the west bank of the Hudson River. General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in America. Washington personally selected Thaddeus Kosciuszko, one of the heroes of Saratoga, to design the fortifications for West Point in 1778, and Washington transferred his headquarters to West Point in 1779. Continental soldiers built forts, batteries and redoubts and extended a 150-ton iron chain across the Hudson to control river traffic. Fortress West Point was never captured by the British, despite Benedict Arnold’s treason. West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America.”

Our Visit to the Naval Academy

Like the Army installation, visiting Navy is also a great side trip. The 338-acre campus is located on the former grounds of Fort Severn at the confluence of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay, approximately 33 miles (53 km) east of Washington, D.C. and 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Baltimore, Maryland. Unlike the Army, visiting Navy is more of a self guided experience.

We began our tour at one of the many gates around the campus. Security is just as tight as West Point. Be prepared with IDs for anyone 16year+. We recommend starting your site seeing at the museum. Here you can pick up a self guided tour listing all of the buildings, ect. If you wish to take a guided tour: The U.S. Naval Academy Guide Service is housed in the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center, conveniently located inside Gate 1 at the end of King George Street.

In the museum you can check out “The United States Navy Trophy Flag Collection”, begun by an Act of Congress in 1814 and given to the care of the Naval Academy in 1849, now totals more than 600 historic American and captured foreign flags. Included are the famous “Don’t Give Up the Ship” battle flag flown at the Battle of Lake Erie, the first American ensign flown in Japan (1853), and flags and banners which have been to the moon.

One of our favorites during our visit was seeing the Chapel. On January 26, 1913, the remains of John Paul Jones were interred in the crypt beneath the Chapel, inside a sarcophagus made of 21 short tons of Grand Pyrenees marble. In the deck around the crypt are inscribed the names of his ships: Bonhomme Richard, Alliance, Serapis, Ariel, Alfred, Providence, and Ranger. It is flat out amazing!

During our visit the midshipmen were marching around the grounds which made for some really great pictures.

Both of these locations are worthy of their respective side trips. Both could be done in a morning or afternoon. It is truly a moving site to see these young men and women who put their lives on the line for the United States.

So which is the best?  ARMY or NAVY?  Leave your selection below!

Have you visited the service academies in the states or abroad?  Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

 

 

 

7

7 Questions with Kali & Christy of Technosyncratic

 

We are continuing our series of 7 questions with some of the coolest couples out there traveling.  This installment we highlight Christy and Kali of Technosycratic.com.  They are currently driving around the us in an RV!  We will look for some more great fights from them!
Blog:  Technosycratic.com
Twitter:  @Technosyncratic
Follow’em!
1) How many countries visited between the two of you?

Only six countries thus far (Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, Canada, India), because most of our traveling has been around the United States in our motorhome.  There are just so many cool places to explore in our home country!  In another six months we’ll be moving abroad and traveling more extensively through other countries, though, so I imagine our number will increase quite a bit over the next two years.
2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?

Kali:  Any reasonably non-annoying person with an English and/or Australian accent.  I love accents, so listening to someone whine like a Brit would probably make whatever they were whining about infinitely easier to tolerate.

Christy:  I would totally travel with Wes from Johnny Vagabond for a bit; he’s hysterical and always manages to get himself into the most random situations.  I’ve never met him, though, so he’d probably be like “who the heck is this random person following me around?”

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

Kali:  India.  That’s a large “destination”, but we find the whole country captivating.  We visited Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra on an academic trip, and it was fascinating to meet with community leaders and develop a deeper understanding of the societal conditions we would have otherwise just seen in passing.

Christy:  I really loved Cinque Terre in Italy.  We visited with a friend of ours and the three of us hiked the entire way between the five villages.  I have never seen so many stairs in my life; for weeks after that I would have a panic attack whenever we came to stairs!  But aside from that little downside the area was beautiful and the gelato was abundant.

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

Christy:  While wandering around the super sketchy part of Naples on our first backpacking expedition, we stumbled on a tiny little pizzeria where we had our first Italian margherita pizza and limoncello.  I thought the limoncello was lemonade, silly me, so I gulped it down and almost died.  But eating that pizza was like tasting the divine!  We vowed to return, but didn’t write down the name and then got lost on our way home.  For days afterwards we for searched and searched for that little Napolian pizzeria, to no avail.  I refuse to die before I’ve tasted that pizza again, so I’ll find it eventually.

Kali:  On that same backpacking trip we also went to Marseille, where we found this little Tunisian restaurant that had phenomenal mediterannean stew and couscous.  We couldn’t finish it all, so we combined the couscous and stew and asked if they had a container for us to bring it home…. and they yelled at us!  We don’t speak any French so we couldn’t figure out why he was so angry… maybe because we mixed the dishes? He thought we hated it?  I don’t know, but he was really, really upset and he wouldn’t let us take our leftovers.  We left the restaurant empty-handed and traumatized, but (while it lasted) the food was spectacular!

We love cheap, hole-in-the-walls with authentic ethnic food, and hunting down the best local joints is an important part of our travel routine.  Other favorites include Il Vegeteranio in Florence, Dottie’s in San Francisco, and a little Ethiopian joint we never caught the name of near the train station in Rome.

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

Kali:  Spontaneous

Christy:  Planned.  Wait a minute….

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

Kali:  People need to queue the eff up!  Seriously, people, lines are a brilliant invention, and they make everything go smoother (I’m looking particularly at you, over-the-hill French matriarchs who look down your noses at young backpackers’ naive attempts to form an orderly line when you waltz into train stations at the last minute and push your way aboard before those of us who’ve been waiting for hours, but who don’t speak enough French to dare question the goings-on around us, realize what’s happening!).  Ahem.  And world peace, of course.

Christy:  On a serious note, one of the most horrific things happening in the world right now is the ongoing trend violent gang rapes in the Congo.  The extent to which sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war is devastating, so I would use my theoretical powers to address this issue (and its underlying systemic roots).  But until that happens, you can make a difference now by donating to Doctors Without Borders, a great organization offering medical assistance and support to the women being affected.

7) You knew it was coming… what has been your greatest travel fight?

Kali:  It has to be our infamous brawl in the Paris subway.  We’re usually pretty tame when we argue, but this fight was fueled by exhaustion and frustration and mean Parisians who kept giving us the wrong directions while we lugged our heavy backpacks all over the city on our first day in Europe (combined with growing terror as time wore on and we realized there was NOWHERE to spend the night for under 300 euros).  We took all that out on each other in the subway while trying to figure out which line to take.  There was much screaming involved on our parts, and much disgusted eye-rolling involved by the people walking past us.

Christy:  It certainly wasn’t our finest moment!  We try to be nice to each other even when we’re fighting, but every civilized thing we’ve ever been taught just flew out the window.  At one point we were so angry we just sputtered and glared.  We find it quite entertaining to think about now, but at the time it was a hot mess.  We were pretty ridiculous.

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7 Questions with Our Momentary Lapse of Reason

Our Momentary Lapse of Reason

From their site:  ”Beginning in June of 2008 we (Tracy & Jason) left our families, friends, house & jobs in Denver to follow our dream of traveling the world. This website is a chronicle of our 2 year journey.”

When we started asking our fellow couple travelers to awnser our 7 questions, our hope was to really capture a glimpse into how and why they travel.  What makes them unique.  Our latest couple gives us that reflection.

Tracy is truely a fine photographer.  Her pics of India with their use of color and story telling are truely not to be missed.  We are also very impressed with their fighting skills!  Please enjoy.

1) How many countries visited between the two of you?Over 50

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 like Anthony Bourdain.  If I could have traveled in the 60′s-70′s, Tony Wheeler (LP author) would be a good companion as well.  Both are insightful and a little edgy.

She Said: Hmmm, I like Jason’s choice!  Imagine a personally escorted food tour by an international celebrity.  I could wrap my mind around that pretty quickly.

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

He said: I have to answer this in groups:  The Galapagos Islands have to be my favorite wildlife spot.  Angkor Wat has to be the most under appreciated ancient site but the place that keeps calling for more exploration is India.  It has to be the craziest place on earth and there were moments where I hated it with a passion but the more I have time to reflect, the more I miss it.

She said: That’s such a difficult question to answer.  We always tell people that we enjoy different places for different reasons.  SE Asia is our favorite region and within that region we love Indonesia (though we still have much to explore there), Burma & Laos.  Aside from SE Asia, we love eating in Thailand, Italy & Argentina :-)  The wildlife viewing in the Galapagos is amazing & diving Sipadan is a real highlight.  For natural beauty it’s hard to top Patagonia but we haven’t been to New Zealand yet (the USA is no slouch either of course!).  I could go on and on…I agree with Jason that India is high on our list to return to.

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

He said:  WOW, so many choices on this.  I have to go with what first pops in my head – Steak and wine in the breathtaking mountains of Patagonia, Argentina.

She said:  Lets see, it would have to include an incredible red wine, perhaps a goat cheese souffle appetizer followed by a blue cheese & tomato salad then a rare steak with crab legs.  For dessert, I love ice cream!  Thanks for making me hungry with that question :-)

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

He said: “SO, where are we going tomorrow?”  She picks the places, I plan the logistics of how to get there.  Of course, we both daydream all the time about our next adventures.

She said: I”m the A-type person in our world so usually I like to have a plan but I”m totally ok with changing it as we go (which we almost always do).

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

He said: Lack of Tolerance.  If everyone just showed a little more tolerance for people of other backgrounds/religions/countries etc. the would would be a nicer place.

She said:  Wow, that’s a pretty difficult question.  When we were traveling around India it apparent that the lack of available fresh & clean water was a huge problem.  If I could solve one problem, I think I would bring the world plenty of clean water for consumption & agriculture.

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

She said: We took a Transatlantic cruise from Harwich to Boston to round out our Middle East & Europe segment of our trip and one day we stopped in Cherbourg off the coast of France.  Having read a lot about the amazing war & peace museum in Caen we decided to before hand to visit it despite the fact that it was 90 minutes away by train and our ship was only docked for 8 hours.  The ship was an hour late docking and on our way out we stopped and asked the information desk about trains to Caen.  We were told there was one leaving in 30 minutes and the train station was 25 minutes away with a return trip that would get us back into Cherbourg with a few minutes to spare!  We raced off, determined to make that train.  By that time I was thinking that it wasn’t such a great idea to head all the way to Caen (90 minutes away by train) and as we were racing to the train station I told Jason that I thought we should stay in Cherbourg for the day, after all, spending 3+ hours in transport just to see a museum when we only had 7 hours didn’t really seem worth it.  We thought we would have more time and I thought there was enough to do in Cherbourg.  Well, Jason’s the type of person that has a one track mind and while I was talking I could practically hear him thinking “Train, train, must get to the train.  Can’t miss that train.”.  He told me in no uncertain terms that we already decided to go to Caen and it was too late to change our mind…and so we went to Caen.  We arrived at the museum and enjoyed 2 hours there (which was probably less than half the amount of time we really needed as it was probably one of the best museums we had been to).  After racing around the museum trying to take it all in we raced back to the train station to buy our return tickets to Cherbourg.  DOH!  The train we planned on taking back was a summer train that expired on Sept. 1st and it was Sept. 5th…the next train was an hour later and would have gotten us back to Cherbourg AFTER our ship sailed.  We hightailed it to the bus station where they politely told us to take the train.  We thought about renting a car but we never would have made it.  Our last resort was a taxi…at a princely price.  As we raced down the highway watching the Euros add all the way up to 191.20 E (all the while converting it into dollars at 1 Euro = $1.50 USD) I muttered, “wow, that was a nice museum.”    It was certainly the most expensive!

He said: I don’t think many people realize how hard it is to travel…not vacation/holiday…but long term travel.  I can’t really remember a knock-down-drag-out fight but three weeks in, we were walking down a street in Malaysia about ready to call the whole thing off.  We both calmed down however and it all worked out in the end.

For more visit:  Our Momentary Lapse of Reason

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The Souvenir Dilemma

Dong Xi’s, Choch-Keys, junk, Dust collectors, trophies…whatever you call them… they are the items that you bring home as little mementos of your travels. The tradition is as old as time: Romans picked up Egyptian Obelisks…Greeks a golden fleece…hundreds of US midwesterns….I heart (insert town). Souvenierring is a time honored tradition. One of my favorites is exhibited above. My prized Whirling Dervish! My wife keeps hiding it as he continues to show up on various “highly visible”-her words not mine– places. I cherish my dervish. It really spins! I remember the tiny shop in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul where I discover this treasure. Tucked way back in vast dark passageways, was this little family selling metal wares. I tried a little Turkish, they a lot better English, and the result was an emigrating Dervish (and a lighter wallet).

Why do we do it? Why must we bring a piece of our travels home? Do we worry that we will forget the sights sounds and smells of _________? I really think so. I think that in our soul, we hope that one day when time creates a great chasm between the now and then, we will find the Dervish and it will bring a smile and a rush of memories to mind.

Sometimes these items represent a victorious negotiation. Perhaps a memorable shopkeeper or locale? Not sure some items will qualify…my I heart NY t-shirt never really spans the distance like my Dervish.

What is your favorite item? What reminds you of your adventure?

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Hit the Brick

redWine

Hit the Brick

“There isn’t any trendy food in the Treasure Valley!”–WRONG!

One of the best kept secrets in Boise…isn’t in Boise.  Located just down the road from Boise in Nampa, Idaho, Brick 29 is one of the very best independent food joints in the valley.  Highlights include: Bread Pudding, lamb shank, and of course the specialty dessert:  “The Brick”  basically it is a chocolate heaven!

Located in an converted Masonic Lodge, the historic property offers both ambiance and a hint of fun for the Idaho history buff.

Reservations are highly recommend.

Brick 29 on Urbanspoon

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