Our Interview with Blane
This week we’ve interviewed Blane Bachelor. Get to know her travel tips and stories. Among other accomplishments, she is the co-founder of Girls Who Get Around. We encourage you to follow her as she has some amazing experiences to share.
Tell us about yourself — how did you catch the wanderlust?
I think I was born with it. My dad was in the Air Force and we lived in London when I was a small kid, which was an experience I remember vividly. But I really got turned onto travel as an adult when I flew, literally, around the world, to visit friends in London, Italy, and then my dad on a work trip in Australia, and then home. I’ve been to almost 30 countries total.
How do you save for/pay for your travel?
I’m a freelance writer/journalist, so one of the best perks of the job is that I get to travel fairly often, and usually on someone else’s dime. But I’m still a very frugal traveler. I use frequent flyer miles whenever I can, and I watch the little things, too. I hate paying for bottled water, for example, so I always carry a reusable bottle with me, and when necessary, I have no problem doing laundry in my hotel sink.
What resources do you use in planning your trip?
First, I go to an established travel outlet like Fodors (full disclosure: I write for them) to get an idea of the destination. Then, I’ll do a general Google search to turn up more info – Google News is especially helpful for recent updates.
What is the cheapest/best value experience you’ve had traveling?
Visiting my friend Josh while he was working for the Peace Corps in Jamaica was a memorable one. He borrowed a friend’s Jeep and we crashed on his friends’ couches across the island. I also find that South America in general is a wonderfully affordable destination.
Describe your favorite foreign food encounter.
I lived in Barcelona for a year and became good friends with a local and her family, the Piqués. I learned a lot about Spanish and Catalan food from my friend’s mom, Rosa. She taught me how to make tortilla española, a quiche-like dish that I still love. And I’ll never forget the seafood paella she made us while on a weekend away in the tiny fishing village of Palamós.
Share with us your most interesting/nerve-wracking/epic travel experience.
It’s hard to count the highs, but a few of my favorites are marching, or “playing mas,” at Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, cruising in a circa-1952 taxi along Havana’s waterfront, and my now-husband’s proposal at a beautiful music hall in Barcelona. As for the most nerve-wracking, swimming with stingrays in Belize a few hours after learning Steve Irwin was killed by one and 40-plus hours of traveling to arrive in Australia rank right up there.
What is the best beach on earth?
I’ve been to plenty, but I’m from Florida originally, so I’m a bit biased. In my book, nothing tops the sugar-white sand and emerald water of Destin and Santa Rosa in the Florida Panhandle. It’s not the most culturally diverse place – it’s nicknamed the Redneck Riviera, after all – but it’s still pretty magical, especially in the offseason.
What book(s) have you read that really provoke the wanderlust?
I’m a huge fan of J Maarten Troost. He’s written three books, and their titles alone – The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Getting Stoned with Savages, and Lost on Planet China – tell you that you’re in for a treat. He’s a hilarious, fabulous storyteller of his misadventures in far-flung places like the South Pacific and China.
Do you have any legendary travel souvenirs?
I have a collection of small, hollowed-out gourds that are used to drink a tea called maté in places like Argentina and Uruguay. You pour the tea and pass around the gourd, and sip out of a metal straw. It’s all about sharing and camaraderie, and though I’m not a huge fan of the tea itself, I think it’s just a really neat cultural experience. You can buy the tea in the States now, but I’ve never seen the gourds themselves. Mine are a cherished reminder of my travels and the people I’ve met along the way.
Blane Bachelor is a San Francisco-based freelance writer/journalist and a regular contributor to Fodors.com, Foxnews.com, and Sherman’s Travel. She’s also the co-founder of the travel site Girls Who Get Around. Visit her personal website at www.blanebachelor.com, or follow her on Twitter at @blanebachelor.