In this interview with Cathy Merrifield and Frank Parrott of RoarLoud find out how Tanzania differed from their expectations. Also find out why one of them is known as “Wildcat!”
What is your name?
Cathy Merrifield & Frank Parrott
Which country do you come from/call home?
We are from the United States living in New England.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
We backpack locally and on some of our trips. For now, we are part time travelers but full time adventurers.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
We work full time and save by travelling locally in between bigger trips.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
My first big trip was in high school to England. I was 15 years old and it had been my first time on a plane. We left Boston in the middle of a snow storm, after a long delay. Our luggage didn’t make it on the trip. A couple of days without all my clothes was torture for a teenage girl!
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
In reading about Tanzania before our trip, we were prepared for possible corrupt officials and scams. We heard to be careful at markets and in towns. Yet once we were in Tanzania in towns and at market places, we only encountered kind people. Of course people tried hard to get us to buy their goods, but all were very nice.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
We have been pleased to not have any bad experiences travelling. Not every trip has been perfect, but we haven’t encountered any issues on our travels that made us say that was “bad”. Before trips we read up on the issues with the area and prepare for scams, but fortunately never had to experience them.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
The story that we can look back now and laugh at was on our arrival to Tanzania. In the dead of night, an unmarked van was taking us to our hotel. Our driver suddenly drove off the main road into a series of winding, sketchy alleys. We thought, “No way a luxury hotel would be down this dirt road”. As we whispered plans to each other about what we would do if we were to be mugged, we pulled to a 15 ft. gate with spikes along the top. The nervous/relief laughter we let out was pretty comical…along with the visual of us quickly trying to hide the make-shift weapons we were trying to “McIver” in the back seat.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
We went to the Finger Lakes in New York in April, unfortunately it rained every day. Each waterfall we went to see was closed due to ice on the trails. We could see the beautiful falls of Watkins Glen in the distance but couldn’t get close enough to get good photos. It was frustrating to be at such a beautiful place but unable to fully enjoy it.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
We really love our home state of New Hampshire. As much as I love seeing new places and travelling the world we know that we are lucky to live where we do. New Hampshire has 48 4,000 foot or higher mountains to adventure on and countless more that are smaller but still great. We are a quick drive from the city of Boston which is a great city with a lot of culture. The coast is also only a couple hours away for us. With beauty like the following photos it is hard to not love it here.
Fall in New England is picturesque!
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Our bucket list grows daily! Highest on our list is the Azores, Iceland, Peru, Newfoundland and Belize.
How do you stay fit while travelling?
Most trips we usually are hiking at least one day if not backpacking. Generally I like finding the tallest mountain nearby to hike when we travel. Sometimes we also visit parks and smaller mountains for short hikes. We also love to kayak, swim, snorkel and sail. Both of us are too curious to sit still for long and even on beach days we explore the sand looking for shells or sea creatures.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Once you have the travel bug there is no cure. Both Frank and I have always loved travel. Our trip to Tanzania to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro only made both of us want to explore and travel more.
Kilimanjaro was life changing. It has made us want to travel even more too!
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
We travel part time and work full time in non travel related jobs. One day when our children are older we plan to travel full time.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Why did you pick the name RoarLoud?
My nickname given to me by hiking friends is Wildcat, a combination of my name and my constant curiosity about life. From the nickname my battle cry in tough times became a roar. I would often say life is short- roar loud. I love that RoarLoud has become associated with challenging yourself and pushing past difficult situations. I shared stories of encouraging others to roar loud in this blog.
When did you begin your website RoarLoud?
January 2015, we just had our year anniversary on the 4th January!
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
Our blog started to chronicle our adventures especially of our trip to Africa. The blog has now become a place to encourage others to get out and explore both locally and worldwide. Not everyone can travel but anyone can find adventure even in their own home town.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
Our blog encourages people to look at their free time as a way to explore around them with a sense of adventure. Not everyone can go hike Mt. Kilimanjaro but smaller adventures at home can also be fun. Our site is there to show others about places they may not have heard of and adventures that anyone can have.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
We do offer social media promotion of hotels and tour companies. We would like to eventually have some tshirts and travel gear.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I really enjoyed my first collaborative post that I did for my anniversary blog. Each blogger contributed their moments they faced fears and overcame them. I call those roar loud moments. I loved everyone’s unique contributions and honesty.
Who takes the photos and who writes the blog?
For our blog it is very much a collaborative effort. Usually Cathy writes the blogs but Frank has written many especially the reviews. Frank usually takes many of the photos but Cathy has taken many of the photos on hikes mostly as the camera is on her pack!
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
We would recommend traveling when you are in school as much as possible. The best discounts are for students! We both wished we had travelled more, before having responsibilities that prevent us from travelling at times.
I believe in travelling locally when longer trips are not possible. When we aren’t on a trip, recharging on the weekends or even day trips locally is great. Adventure can be found anywhere and your own home region can probably surprise you if you try something new.
What has travel taught you?
Travel continues to show me pieces of myself, I have yet to meet. Each trip I leave a piece of myself with the people I meet and take with me experiences that change me. On Kilimanjaro I learned I can achieve amazing things, when I never give up.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Turkish Airlines
Favourite country? St. Lucia
Favourite city? Düsseldorf , Germany
Favourite beach? Ogunquit beach in Maine
Favourite food? Chocolate for Cathy, steak for Frank
Favourite language? English for Cathy, Spanish for Frank
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://roarloud.net/
Twitter handle? https://twitter.com/RoarLoud
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/RoarLoud-798552366881677/?ref=hl
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/u/0/117971827004890502403/posts