Every Thursday, A Dangerous Business will be shining the spotlight on a world nomad, travel blogger, armchair adventurer, or just someone really cool in the travel world. This week, the travelers are Beth and Randy of Beers and Beans. Beth and Randy are a freewheelin’, 30-something couple with a 7lb hound named Chachy. Beth is a professional photographer and Randy is a professional journalist, and they blog about their adventures on their eclectic travel website. Their travel stories have also appeared in USA Today Travel Tips, the San Diego Reader, San Diego Uptown News, BootsnAll Travel Network and other travel websites.
A traveler is someone that sees beauty in the in-between. Anyone can be a traveler and I don’t believe you have to actually travel anywhere to be a traveler — the mind, heart and imagination are very powerful tools.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
Beth: Meeting long-lost family members in Lacedonia, Italy.
Randy: Staying in the hotel where William Burroughs wrote “Naked Lunch” in Tangier, Morocco.
3. How about your proudest travel moment?
When we arrived at our first WWOOF farm in Italy, there were acres of grapes that needed to be plucked from the vines. Looking at it we wondered how we were going to get it done in time — we didn’t think it would be possible. But along with all the other volunteers we managed to clear them all in 2 weeks time and we were all very proud when the job was complete.
Well we’ve had several mishaps in Mexico, but we love it so much we keep going back!
Recently in Europe we had a pretty bad mishap on an overnight train from Vienna to Switzerland. We had to give our Eurail passes to the attendant and I (Beth) had a really bad feeling about it. That night I dreamt that our passes were lost and we didn’t get them back. I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. Sure enough in the morning our passes had magically disappeared. We had barely used them at that point and I know they were stolen by the attendant because NO ONE ever checks the names on the tickets with the names on your passport, so technically anyone could use them.
They tried to get us off the train saying they would contact us at our next location, but we refused to leave because we knew we would be screwed if we left. Finally we did leave with the manager and 2 attendants and went straight to the Eurail office. After a few hours, the Austrian conductor had to buy us new tickets because we refused to leave without them. It’s not really a location specific problem (and we really loved Switzerland and Austria regardless) and we would still ride on trains in Europe even though this happened. However we definitely tried to avoid overnight train rides after that so we wouldn’t have to hand over the tickets again.
Besides our electronics, we are both hooked on our silk sleep sheets. We sleep with them every night when we travel.
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
Baggage. All of it. Except the camera and sleep sheets — we’ll keep those.
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
Less is more. It’s true in almost every aspect of traveling. Travel lighter and you will be happier, you’ll do more and feel more free, then you’ll stumble into experiences you never could have imagined. Traveling light cannot be overrated. Also, don’t try to cram everything in. The quickest way to ruin your travels (besides a heavy bag) is by doing too much. It seems backwards, but if you do less you will experience more.
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
We would both love to live in Paris. We absolutely love that city — it really inspires us and makes us feel creative and alive. Whenever we arrive we feel like we are home.
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
Beth: I’d really love to go hang out with the mountain gorillas in Africa. That is an experience I’d really love to have.
Randy: I really want to island hop for a year on a sailboat in the Caribbean.
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
Preparing the night before for your travel days is key. Write down the address you are headed to, figure out the train/bus schedule, buy your tickets if you can. It’s a pain to do all this stuff but it makes a huge difference on the level of stress you’ll have on the actual travel day. We’ve actually arrived in new towns with no idea where we are going — all the information would be online and then we’d have to try to find wifi or an internet cafe. If you prep the night before, you’ll have all this written down in a notebook which will save you tons of time.
And lastly but certainly not least — watch out for those space cakes!
Are you a travel blogger who has something to say on these topics? Do you know of somebody really interesting in the travel universe that you’d like to see interviewed? Speak up! The Thursday Traveler needs some interview subjects.