Travel Tips from Blane Bachelor – Girls Who Get Around

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.

Newfoundland fishing

Catching Cod in Newfoundland

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.

Barcelona Cathedral

Interior of the Barcelona Cathedral

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.

Cuba Cars

Classic Cars in Havana

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.

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2 Responses to Travel Tips from Blane Bachelor – Girls Who Get Around

  1. I just drank some maté and laughed at the description, which referenced using a regular cup whenever your gourd is in the dish washer! Haha

    • Sheldon says:

      @AdventurousAndrea- Glad that you’ve indulged in the Mate. I lived in Paraguay for two years and watched people drink the stuff every day. They basically lived on the stuff. Another idea of how to make it if you’d like some variety you can boil some water with the Yerba and the strain out the yerba and add milk to the tea. They called it cocido (cooked) in Paraguay. Either way it is a fun thing to do. Sometimes some of my old friends get together and drink mate together.

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