Today’s travel blogger interview features Prue and Becks of Straight On Detour. A couple of girls who refuse to be scammed when they travel.
What are your names?
Prue and Becks
Which country do you come from/call home?
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
We’re kind of a mix of most of these. We backpack for long periods of time, in some instances up to 6 years but we have also found jobs and made a base in countries we have travelled.
Right now we have set up a base in New Zealand for a year so we can regain some sort of routine, build up an appetite and some cash for our next big adventure.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
We work hard for a few months somewhere, save as much as we can and then blow it all on travel… and REPEAT. We’ve made a base in Thailand, Tanzania, Australia and now New Zealand. Combining work and travel allows us to explore a culture deeper, allows us to feel a little ‘normal’, slows down sight-seeing and also helps us regain our itchiness for travel, something we’ve never ever lost.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Prue: The first trip I remember taking as a 8 yr old kid was a 10 camping trip out to a deserted island in the south of the great barrier reef. A cyclone came and we had to hide under the only structure on the island, the composting toilets!! I thought it was great.
We watched turtles struggle up the beach to lay their eggs, swam above 60 string rays which were congregating to breed and saw a man eat a giant trevally’s heart whilst it was still beating… this trip was where my life-long love affair with the ocean began.
Rebecca: I remember being on a road trip with my dad in Scotland, it was a grey rainy day but he turned to me in the car and suggested “shall we go look for waterfalls?” I was young and waterfalls back then thrilled me so I nodded eagerly. When we caught the sight of water we’d pull over, trample up a hillside and check it out, getting soaked, splashing in the puddles and loving every minute, it was such a thrill and it taught me that any day is what you make of it.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
China hands down is the most surprising place we have ever visited. We were in awe, bewildered, challenged, astonished almost daily. We completely underestimated the incredible natural beauty of the west, the sublime ‘farm to plate’ food and the adventures we stumbled across along the way.
There were days we couldn’t wait to leave. I’m the first to say there are challenges travelling in China but equally there were days that were so unique, so special that they would have us standing in the immigration office waiting for our next tourist visa.
Our 3 months overland through western China remains to be one of the best adventures of our lives.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Plenty and if you haven’t had any you would be lying. Travel is often spontaneous and most of the time will lead to something, someone, somewhere amazing but on those rare occasions you can find yourself in a disappointing or even grim situation.
We were once trying to get a cab in Naples, the driver bartered with us on the street side for some time, quoting a price 3 times that we should be paying. After several minutes we came to an agreement, loaded our bags and took off. Seconds later he turns around to us with a slick grin, “yes the price is 20 Euro” (as agreed) “but including luggage it is 30.”
That was one step too far, without thinking my taxi door opened and I was exiting a moving vehicle, albeit a slow one since there was traffic. Several buses, tons of cars and even a police vehicle watched me ignore my drivers pleas to continue the drive, open the boot and remove our things in the middle of the city.
This driver thought he had the upper hand but he didn’t. We ended up walking to the port and were very happy at our win, he wouldn’t treat two backpackers like that again in a hurry.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
The story about the cab driver above is pretty funny when we look back on it. HA!
Sitting on a jam packed local bus somewhere in Java, Indonesia we were asked by the local bus driver to pay for our fare. Knowing no one else had paid for one yet we refused. Back and forth we joked with each other to the point where things almost turned sour (it’s important not to lose face in Indonesia so conversation/arguments must be kept light), but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. We explained in our very best Indonesian over and over again that no-one else has paid and the fare he was asking was outrageous. Impressed with our efforts, use of language and patience his frown receded and transformed to a huge grin and reached out to shake our hand. He merrily trotted back to the front of the bus without any money. The local man next to us who hadn’t shown any interest what-so-ever started smiling also and congratulated us for not falling for the con. He even gave us his cap and a pack of cigarets as a gift. Weird and wonderful things happen in Indonesia.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
We arrived to Naples in the evening and walked the 300m from the train station to our hotel. We walked right into a frenzied brawl with women wailing, men being beaten, blood all over the sidewalk and 13 police cars and their officers trying to regain control over whatever was happening. The following days we continued to see robberies, 4 year old pick pockets and a city in squaller, our expectations of Naples and the reality was the the biggest contrast we have had to date.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Hardest question ever.
On a boat somewhere in the middle of the ocean or Becks would say on top of a volcano.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
As fast as we tick them off, the longer the list grows. Here are some big ones we really want to achieve in the near future.
1. swimming with humpback whales
2. climbing Nyiragongo lava lake in the Congo
3. explore the ruins of the most peaceful city in the world, Catalhoyuk, Turkey
4. Sit and stare at a colony of rock hopper penguins for at least 2 hours
5. Sail the Atlantic
Can you imagine life without travel?
Travel has become part of our character, we’re not who we are without it.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Saving to travel.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Straight On Detour http://straightondetour.com
When did you begin your website Straight On Detour?
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
Honestly, to record what we do. Without the blog I don’t think we would be bothered writing our adventures down or have worked at our photography and videos the way we have. We often look back through our archives and pinch ourselves: “WE DID THAT?!” It’s a pretty cool feeling.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
Our website is all about showing people that you can get anywhere in the world and do anything you want to do without spending too much money. You can swim with beluga whales, see lava, find blue fire, seek wild polar bears on a budget. Our blog not only gives you ideas for your bucket list, it shows you how to do them yourself!
We also promote finding your own adventures. Leave others bucket list alone and find what gets you going, because when you do that’s when travel will be most rewarding.
If that means going to France to drink wine in a little country town for a month and you don’t get a chance to see the Eiffel tower, who cares… I can tell you which will mean more to you.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
‘How I, a Solo Female Traveller Managed to Travel the World for a Decade’ would have to be up there…. It’s a long piece with lots of facts and adventures in it.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I loved writing ‘RomeAntics’. It’s a little romantic piece I wrote after a midnight stroll in Rome.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Recently we’ve just completed a 100 day ‘Ultimate Canadian Road Trip’ where we bought a Ford Explorer, threw a tent in the back and avoided any city we came close to in favour of natural landscapes. We’ve spent years travelling by bus, train, plane, tuk tuk, Jeepney, hitch-hiking, motorbike but nothing felt as free as having your own wheels to take you wherever you want to go.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Find out what you love and head straight for that, don’t listen to the bucket lists of others because knowing what you love most is the key to loving your travels. If you love nature then don’t chase cities, it’s that simple.
What has travel taught you?
That’s a hard one as it has taught me so much. Travel has taught me that opportunities will always arrive when you need them, that nowhere in this world is off limits should you persevere to get there and that there will always be something new to discover.
As a school student I wasn’t drawn to world history but as a traveller where I go is almost a connect the dots of history and I’m extremely fascinated. I’ve just finished ‘A history of the World’ by Andrew Marr, a book that I never though I’d even open, let alone read.
Couple or solo travel? Why?
Both Becks and myself have travelled solo and as a couple and they are such different experiences. We loved our bachelor days on the road, travelling wherever the wind took us, or wherever the beer flowed but we also love sharing experiences together, curling up under the stars and reminiscing about the day. Also travelling as a couple gives us more balls, we are more daring and push our travels further as a duo. We would never have slept on a stranger’s floor, hitch-hiked western China or camped on the side of the road on our own….
What one destination could you visit again and again without ever tiring of it?
Indonesia. We’ve been back a few times and spent over 8 months in the country and we still have a to-do list to-die for!
Why is travel so important?
Travel adds perspective, not just between those who have and those who don’t have but it makes us realise how small we are in this world, how little we really are – a very humbling lesson and one I’ve grown to cherish.
Our travels are sacred to us.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Qatar or Malaysia Airline – best plane food, noodles for breakfast is always a winner!
Prue: Wategos Beach, Byron bay, Australia
Becks: Crantock, U.K.
Prue: Tempeh Penyet
Becks: Napali Pizza from Naples!
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://straightondetour.com
Twitter handle? @Straight_On_D
Facebook page? facebook.com/Straightondetour/
Google+ profile/page? plus.google.com/u/0/+PrueSinclair89