What are your names? Heather and Peter
Where are your hometowns? The English Lake District
How did you meet? 14 years ago Heather put an advert in an adventure travel magazine, hoping to start corresponding with people all over the world and maybe sleep on their sofas whilst traveling! Instead, Peter, from the south of England responded (not quite the exotic destination Heather had envisioned) and we became pen pals for over a year before meeting for the first time up in the Lake District. The rest is history!
Do you have a blog? http://www.conversanttraveller.com
What is your favorite destination? Luang Prabang in Laos. Perfect for climbing waterfalls, discovering secret jungle plunge pools, chatting with monks, exploring temples and taking local open-air cooking classes. Although it is a city, Luang Prabang is so remote that it’s relatively quiet, extremely laid back and a great place to spend a week both chilling and adventuring.
What was your longest trip and to where? Our South American honeymoon was about a month long, which was plenty of time to fit in 10 flights, snorkelling with sea lions in the Galapagos, climbing the iconic peak in all the Machu Picchu photos, pretending to be cowboys on the slopes of Cotopaxi, and being mistakenly detained in a smuggling incident. Note to self…next time you visit Peruvian salt mines and purchase a kilo or two to sprinkle on your chips back home, remember that the officials in the Galapagos will assume those packets of white powder are either cocaine, or sand (it’s illegal to take this from the islands), and will act accordingly!
What is your favorite international city? Marrakech
How many countries have you been to? 30
How many continents have you been to? 5
What is your least favorite city and why? France. We’ll probably get hate mail for this, but we do find the culture very aloof and unfriendly. We’ve always felt so unwelcome on our visits, especially in Paris, and some people have been downright rude. It’s a sentiment we know is shared by others, which is a shame since some of the French landscape is beautiful. Despite being our nearest neighbour, we won’t be back in a hurry.
What is one place you have no desire to go to and why? New York. Yeah, we know, what’s wrong with us? We’re just not city people, and find the bustle and urbanisation all a bit overwhelming. Heather gets stressed by the crowds in our local supermarket, so don’t think NYC will ever be top of the list.
What is your favorite travel accessory? A buff! Great for keeping the sweat out of our eyes when we’re in the jungle (which seems to happen a lot even though Heather hates bugs!), for a bit of sun protection in the desert (Heather hates the heat too!) and to hide a bad hair day (not something Peter really struggles with!).
What are your travel pet peeves? Heather, being a true Brit, I hate people who think it is okay to queue jump, especially when we’ve been standing in an orderly line for over an hour, at passport control, or to get into the Vatican. It’s just not on. Peter thinks there is nothing worse than a coach load of tourists descending on a beauty spot and ignorantly standing right in front of the camera and tripod that I’ve just spent 20 minutes setting up for the perfect shot. Usually when they eventually leave, the weather has closed in and the moment is gone.
What is your favorite blog or website? We love i-escape for off-the-beaten-track luxury accommodation inspiration.
What is your favorite airline? Emirates
What is your most embarrassing travel moment? It was the middle of the night and we were sitting dejectedly at the roadside in the middle of nowhere deep in Guatemala. It was unbearably humid and we were sweating buckets. The bus had broken down, again, and the driver had disappeared into the night some time ago. Hubby and I were the only tourists and were surrounded by a group of seedy-looking Guatemalan men who were discussing selling me, the white female gringo, as a prostitute to the highest bidder. Unbeknown to them I understood Spanish. I didn’t know whether to feel uncomfortable with their conversation, or indignant at the ridiculously low price they were suggesting the experience would be worth. Although to be fair to them I’d been wearing the same clothes for days, and was desperately in need of a shower. Luckily another bus rumbled past and we jumped on, not caring where it was heading. Anything to escape the fear, and the shame!
What is your dream destination? The Amazon! Heather had a National Geographic poster of the Amazon rainforest on my bedroom wall as a teenager, and it became the inspiration for starting a life of travel. Yet I’ve never been (probably because of the heat and bug thing again) which is a bit ironic. Really need to rectify that!
What is your best travel tip? Don’t be spontaneous! I know, everyone else says it’s a great way to travel, but we find meticulous planning ahead enables us to make the most of every minute, and not miss anything spectacular just around the corner simply because we didn’t know about it! Besides, half the fun is in the research!
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