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Feeding the Addiction with the Travel Addicts

Traveling is an addiction!  So says our latest featured traveling couple Laura and Lance of http://www.traveladdicts.net.  We totally agree!  This week’s installment of 7 questions with a traveling couple, are two wanderers that have found a way to make couple travel work for them.  What impresses us most about Lance and Laura’s story is that like us, they started wandering a couple locally.  You don’t need to start with some huge international adventure.  Get in a car and go explore together.  Ok…without further ado… lets get to know these two:

Blog:  Travel Addicts

https://twitter.com/TravelerAddicts

https://www.facebook.com/TravelerAddicts

http://pinterest.com/traveleraddicts/

First off, tell us a little about the two of you.  How did you meet?  How long have you been blogging?

couple travel

Lance and Laura of Travel Addicts.net

In 1999, Laura moved from Texas to New York for college, and Lance moved there from Colorado just after graduating from college.     We met on an October night at a concert in the city and went for ice cream after the show, and that was that.  We were broke, so for several years, all our travel was in the United States—Washington, D.C., Boston, Dallas, Denver, Maine, and San Francisco.  For our wedding, all our guests would have to travel, so we decided to have a destination wedding in the Bahamas.  Since then (2006) we’ve been in full travel mode while working to support our travel habit. We’ve been writing Travel Addicts since 2008.

1) How many countries visited between the two of you?We’ve been to 43 between the two of us, and 33 of those were together on 5 continents (just Australia and Antarctica to go). We also still travel around the U.S. as much as possible, especially for work.  Highlights for us have been Italy (our first overseas trip together), Egypt (it was a trip of a lifetime right after the revolution and we could see the country going through tremendous change) and Peru (Machu Picchu left us speechless).

 

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

She Said: My sister. We have a ridiculous amount of fun together. Plus, she’s six years younger and hasn’t had as many opportunities to travel (yet), so it’s really cool to see her experience certain things for the first time. There’s nothing like travel to blow your world right open, and watching that happen for someone else is amazing. Our Egypt trip was a family trip, and for months leading up to it she was trying to prepare herself for the experience. She just kept saying, “You don’t understand—I’m going to Africa.”

He Said:   Laura’s sister.  (But, Anthony Bourdain would be a close second – he’s done amazing things and I appreciate his snarky wit and attitude.)

 

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

He said:  In our experience, there are things we absolutely love about every place we’ve ever been. But, if I had to pick only one place, I’d say Italy.  It is a place I could keep going back to over and over and over again.  It has a rich history, an amazing culinary tradition and some of the best wine on the planet.

She said: Italy is hands down my favorite, but Egypt probably had the biggest impact on me.

4)  Lance, sounds like you parents took you to all 50 states before you graduated high school!  Holy cow!  Is that your inspiration to travel now?  Why is it important that parents travel with their children?

He said:   My parents strongly believed in guiding my education with real-world experiences. For example, when I studied the Civil War, they took me nearly 3,000 miles (by car) to see the battlefields and learn about the war in person.  While I was not home schooled, my most important educational learnings were on those trips. My mother made sure I made it to every state by the time I graduated high school (it happened by 8th grade). Since then, I’ve visited every one of the lower 48 at least twice. Travel is a way for parents to connect with their kids on a whole different level and teach them things that no school could ever provide. Using travel as educational enrichment is something I’m really passionate about.

traveling woman mosque5)  We understand that you guys visited Turkey.  It is one of our fave destinations.  Tell us, what was your honest impressions?

He said:  I hadn’t really known what to expect with Turkey. It was not our first Islamic country (we’d been UAE, Oman, Morocco and Egypt previously), but it was our most memorable for the beautiful mosques. The natural beauty of Cappadocia was the highlight of the trip. Taking a hot air balloon ride over the region is one of the greatest bucket list achievements. But, on the downside, I nicknamed Turkey as The Land of Bland – the food was good and flavorful, but I like a lot of spice and I found it lacking.

She said: I didn’t really know what to expect either. It’s not like when you say, “I’m going to Paris,” and immediately have visions of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysees and WINE. But I loved it—the remarkable history of the land and the buildings (particularly in Istanbul), the beautiful tile work, the drama of the antique pool at Pamukkale, the stunning landscape of Cappadocia. There’s so much we didn’t get to see, so I really hope we have the chance to go back.

6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?
He said:  Cow farts.  Seriously, they’re awful.  In addition to nearly incapacitating anyone within a 50 foot radius, they are also comprised of methane, which significantly contributes to our global warming problem.  If I could do anything, I’d tackle the cow fart problem.

She said: I really don’t think I can follow that…

1000Fights:  Um…..yuck.

couple travel peru7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?
She said: When we were driving around Iceland, it seemed like we stopped every 10 minutes to look at a waterfall. Don’t get me wrong, they’re beautiful and impressive, but after number 20, I had had enough, at least for a little while. Lance decided he wanted to stop at “one more” (Hengifoss) which happened to involve a hike of several kilometers. It was no more than 40 degrees (in August), it was pouring rain, and the wind was whipping.  I realized I was spending my vacation time being miserable, hiking up to something I didn’t want to see anyway when I could be in our warm car. Lance wasn’t too pleased when I decided to turn around.


He said:  Laura is a saint.  Our biggest travel disagreements always seem to occur when I’m driving in a foreign country.  There can be times when it is very stressful – you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t speak the language, can’t read the street signs.  The biggest disagreement was in France – we were driving from Dinan to Paris, and stopping in Chartres.  I was pulling out of the parking garage and stalled it on a really steep incline, cars were honking at me, and we didn’t know where we were going.  Our patience was short and we started to get on each other’s nerves.  But we got through it – and every trip since with a smile on our face.

A huge thanks to our friends Laura and Lance!  Give their blog a look-see: http://www.traveladdicts.net/

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Adventures in Chinatown

 

I love Chinatowns.  I really do.  I am an egg:  white on the outside and yellow on the inside. Some of the best places to discover in our major American cities are their Chinatowns.  Chinatowns offer an affordable visit to another culture and country.  Taking a stroll down the busy streets offers the sights, sounds, tastes and flavors of the orient.  It is not to be missed!

Some of our favorite Chinatowns: Washington DC, Seattle, Vancouver, BC, San Francisco, LA, and Lima, Peru?!

To really enjoy Chinatowns we put together a few helpful hints:

1) Learn some Lingo

2) Check out the Art & Music Scene

3) Bings! (Chinese Dessert)

4) Hang out with the old guys!

5) Gwa-lious! (Our secrets to navigate a Chinese Fruit market)

Learn some lingo:

How to say hello in Chinese
Hello!

Learn some Chinese!  I can’t tell you how many times, flashing a little of my mandarin skills has gotten me some great authentic grub.  At one establishment in DC, I engaged the waiter on the quality of koi fish in the tank at the entry in Mandarin.  After seating us in a preferred section of the establishments, I attempted to order a fish dish. My selection was promptly rejected. “Something better for you”. That little clue to what I was presented to eat was an understatement.  So good!  A little preparation can result in a huge surprise. After engaging waiters and owners of establishments, bills have discreetly disappeared.  It is a Chinese tradition.

Some key words to help:

Hello- Ni Hao

Goodbye–sye gian

Tastes very good- Hen Hao Chur

Thank you– xia,xia

Art and Music

One of the greatest attractions in Chinatown is the art and music scene.  The Asian genre of art is 1000s of years in the making.  Chinatown festivals include “double ten” day (Oct. 10th), Chinese New Year (early spring), and many, many other regional celebrations.  These are great chances to expose yourself to Chinese Music and Art.

Wall art

Chinese pastorals of falling water, green steeps, and animals are amazing:

Ever wonder what those little square red things are on Chinese paintings?  They are the artist signature, as well as his teachers, as well as his teacher’s-teacher.  You get the idea.  Paintings with many red marks is a really good sign.

Pottery

Don’t know who Ming was or how he was awarded a dynasty, but they apparently made some really amazing pottery.

Music

Chinese Music started at the dawn of Chinese civilization with documents and artifacts providing evidence of a well-developed musical culture as early as the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC – 256 BC). Today, the music continues a rich traditional heritage in one aspect, while emerging into a more contemporary form at the same time.  (Wikipedia)

Take a quick listen to some of the most haunting Chinese Folk music:

Bings

Chinatown is a delight to all of the senses!  Not just sight and sounds, taste too!  We could delve into the many delicant dishs that you only find in  Chinatowns…but desserts are rare. With that said, there is one really good exception, “the bing.” Bings are pretty simple: shaved ice, condensed sweetened milk, and some fruit flavors syrups. In the more authentic dojos, you can get real fruit! A passion fruit bing on a hot day is nectar of the gods!

Have your ever tried one?

YUM!

 

Chinese Chat

I really love to talk to old people. I love to chat with stringy bearded, glassy eyed gentlemen. They typically hang out in parks, around a board game, or they surround a small table with an elaborate tea set. Some of most meaningful conversations I have had in my life have been with these wise stewards. Conversation topics have ranged from expected topics: Sino-American relations, contrasting the traditional Chinese method of education.  We also covered some remote topics including the healing power of green tea, the long term harm that comes from drink beverages with ice(?????) and a particularly long and involved discussions of the virtues of breast milk.  Travel slow. Take a hot afternoon to sit in the shade of a with one of these fellows and the world will be opened to you.

The fruit

Asian fruit is so good! Some of my faves: yellow watermelon, yu longs, mega grapefruits, passion fruit. Some of these are available at different parts of the world, but there is nothing like an Asian fruit market. While living in Southern Taiwan, every morning we headed to the fruit markets for breakfast. These farmers markets offer fleshy fruits that are difficult to describe. We must offer a warning…fruit markets are usually adjacent to meat markets. These stands are not intended for the faint in heart. If seeing various family pets, snakes, and rodents displayed for purchase in non-living status, this is not the place for you.

 

Chinatown on Twitter:

 @sfchinatown  (SFO)

@312Chinatown (Chicago)

@scidpda (Seattle)

@OurChinatown (New York)

@LondonChinatown (London)

What is your favorite Chinatown?  What makes it special to you?

Leave us a comment and let us know.

 

 

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