Beerandbeans.com Interview

Posted by admin | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 19-12-2010

Our travel interview today is from Beth and Randy who run the fantastic Beerandbeans.com website.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Beth:  I’m 5’1”, I like long walks on the beach and cheap wine.

Randy: I am freelance journalist from San Diego, Calif., working hard to become location independent. For the last several years, I covered the crime beat for a San Diego weekly, but I gave up the position recently to become a globetrotter.

Beth: oh yeah, I’m also a photographer and I’ve joined Randy in the quest to be location independent through our travel blog BeersandBeans.com. I also have an irrational fear of being eaten by an alligator.

How did you get into traveling?

Beth: My parents gave me the gift of wanderlust. They weren’t hippies but they managed to cart me and my 2 sisters around the U.S. throughout most of my childhood and teenage years. We never traveled with an  itinerary which was a lot of fun but sometimes left us in some strange situations. For instance, one time we had to sleep on the floor in the ballroom of a hotel. Another time we had to sleep in the car and woke up to wolves howling all around us. We would drive for sometimes 8 -10 hrs straight just so my father could visit ghost towns that he wanted to include in a book he was writing. We would get there and there would be like 2 people, a donkey and a half crumbled building. It drove my mother crazy so whenever she got behind the wheel she drove as fast as she could through all the sites which would then drive my father nuts. It was hysterical and definitely the beginning of my itchy feet.

Randy: Beth really was my catalyst for traveling. Whether it was day tripping through Baja, Mexico, or hopping an $8 flight to Guatemala, Beth showed me that it was possible to live on the road.

What have been some of your most memorable experiences:

Beth: My fathers parents are from southern Italy and I had always heard stories about their small village, Lacedonia. Not many people from my family had visited. This past autumn we kicked off the first leg of the big trip in Europe. Crossing the border to Italy was very emotional for me and discovering long lost family members in different parts of the country made Italy an experience I will never forget.

Randy: Driving down Highway 1 (The Ring Road) in Southwestern Iceland as the sun rose over the black sand Atlantic beaches. I had seen many sunsets since moving to San Diego in 1998, but it had been a longtime, probably 14 years, since I saw an ocean sunrise.

What are you doing now?

Beth: Right now, I’m at home for the holidays, editing wedding photos, trying to take the blog up a notch and working on getting things in order for the second leg of our trip, which will most likely be South East Asia.

Randy: I’m working on putting my voice back into my writing as well as getting more involved with our travel blog, beersandbeans.com.  Now that I’m not working for a newspaper, I’m looking forward to ditching the inverted pyramid and the non-objective, “Just the facts, ma’am,” approach of hard news reporting for a bit.

What websites do you run?

Beth: Currently, we operate BeersandBeans.com, our flagship travel site. I also run NarikosNest.com, for my wedding photography  business.

Randy: My personal blog is iamrandy.com. I am also in the process of starting up several more travel sites, including Travelthrusandiego.com.

Gray Cargill from Solofriendly.com Interview

Posted by admin | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 30-09-2010

Our travel interview today is from Gray Cargill of solofriendly.com

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a forty-something woman who enjoys solo travel. I’m also a travel blogger and an avid (amateur) photographer. I’ve lived in Vermont almost my whole life and have worked in the non-profit field for the past twenty years.

How did you get into traveling?

I’ve always enjoyed traveling. We didn’t travel a whole lot when I was growing up because we were pretty poor, but I did travel to see relatives in other states and went to Germany for a month to visit my father, who was stationed there. I loved seeing how different life was in other places, outside of Vermont. It was so much more exciting. After college, I didn’t have the money to travel for a few years, and when I did, I didn’t have a traveling companion. I was of the mindset that you needed to travel with someone. But I finally decided that life is short and I didn’t want to wait for someone else, so I just started going on my own. My first big trip was a three week course through my University in England studying Shakespeare (which was a perfect way to be introduced to England!). I next fell in love with Las Vegas, which I visit every year. In between, I’ve been to Mexico and Canada, but most of my travel has been domestic. There are so many places I wanted to see in the US (and still do).

What have been some of your most memorable experiences?

My international travel has been pretty amazing. Germany and Austria are beautiful countries, and I feel a real tug toward England because I’ve read so many books set there. My helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon was pretty mind-blowing; seeing the Canyon from the air is definitely an experience I won’t forget soon. In Las Vegas, I got to pat an African lion cub; it was one of those touristy photo opps, but still. . .how many people can say they know what a lion cub feels like? I visited New Orleans in the post-Katrina era, and I really fell in love with the city and the spirit of its residents. They love their culture fiercely and won’t give up on it. From a negative perspective, my trip to Mexico was memorably awful. I got food poisoning the night before I was to go to Tulum to see the Mayan ruins. I didn’t want to miss it, so I forced myself to get on the bus, and I started feeling sick, so I got up to head to the bathroom in the back of the bus and blacked out. Luckily, two men on either side of the aisle saw what was going down—me!–and caught me before I could get hurt. But I only made it through half an hour of the tour before I had to catch a cab back to the resort, I was just so sick. If and when I return to Mexico, I’ll be doing things differently.

What are you doing now?

I work full-time at a non-profit in Vermont and when I’m not there, I’m blogging or hanging out with friends. I also serve on the board of my condo association. I’m planning a November trip to Paris for a week, which will be my first trip to Europe since 1994. That’s exciting for me. Then I’ll be headed back to Las Vegas around Christmas.

What websites do you run?

My oldest blog is SoloFriendly.com, a blog for solo travelers, which I’ve been writing since 2008. In the spring, I launched a new website (with blog) to help people plan their solo Las Vegas vacations called The Vegas Solo.

What tips would you give someone wanting to go traveling?

  • Find a way to do it. If you don’t think you can afford it, you can. There are numerous websites out there that will tell you how to save your money for travel, travel cheaply, and secure jobs or volunteer work overseas.
  • If you don’t have anyone to travel with, go alone. I’m not the bravest person in the world by a long shot, and I travel alone. If I can do it, 99.9% of the traveling population can.
  • Don’t think that there’s only one flavor of travel. There are many different ways to travel. I’m a vacation traveler; I travel for a week or so at a time. Others are nomads. Others will travel for a few months at a time for around the world. Figure out which style of travel works best for your life.
  • But most importantly, do your research ahead of time. You don’t have to know everything about your destination, just enough to know the dos and don’ts, where to stay, and how to get around. Knowledge is the most important tool a traveler has.