Don't be guiri!
Bethaney Davies is one third of Flashpacker Family – a semi-nomadic, globetrotting family from Christchurch, New Zealand. Bethaney, Lee and their toddler Reuben spend half the year at home and the rest out exploring and enjoying the world. Flashpacker Family is a family travel blog that has great tales from the road, tips on travelling on a budget & travelling with a toddler and information on living a location independent lifestyle.
Bethaney took the time to tell us about her family and travels in this inteview. Enjoy it!
– What is the most impressive place in the world you have ever been? What advice would you give to someone who wishes to travel there?
As a family, the most impressive place in the world we’ve been to was the Grand Canyon. It’s a truly incredible site that must be seen to be believed. We spent six weeks living in Las Vegas last year and visited the Grand Canyon as our first stop on a three week South West road trip. The South West states of the USA are wonderful area to drive around. Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and California are all very different but the landscapes, food and sites to see are fantastic. If you’re going to visit the Grand Canyon, either take one of the helicopter trips from Las Vegas or do it as part of a road trip. Stay overnight in Tusayan, Arizona which is just outside the national park limits and therefore much cheaper. The admission fee to the Grand Canyon costs almost half the price of an annual national parks pass so if you’re planning on spending more time in the US, go the pass.
– What do you hate to forget in your suitcase?
My tweezers and a little magnifying mirror! I am a constant eyebrow plucker and do it almost every day. I have a great little mirror with suction cups that sticks to a larger mirror, the wall or window. I wouldn’t leave home without it. I also couldn’t leave behind my son Reuben’s special blanket. Even if it’s 40 degrees and we’re on a jungle trek in Thailand the blanket has to come with us!
– What would you say to those travellers who are afraid to travel on their own, and end up going to a travel agency even if they do not like taking part in organized tours?
If you’re afraid of travelling on your own, start with a tour. It can be helpful to have a local guide and a group to lean on when you’re in a new country, especially if that country is radically different to your home. Culture shock can be a scary thing. Once you realise how easy travel is and how much money you save by booking it yourself, you’ll want to go it alone. I think going on organized day trips are a good idea if you want to get the best of both worlds. They’re great for meeting other travellers and you can ask your guide plenty of questions about local customs, language, food, etc, but still head back to your own hotel room at night and do your own thing the next day.
– What kind of food have you tried on your travels and you found it delicious/surprising? Can you recommend us any place where to try it out?
I love Asian food. My son Reuben has eaten spicy food since he was a baby and loves Thai food. I was a vegetarian for 12 years and travelled a lot during that time. As a vegetarian, you can miss out on a lot of great food if you’re worried it might contain meat. I much prefer to travel as a meat eater. I’m not scared to dig into a big pot of “street soup” or eat “mystery meats” these days. One of the cuisines I have greatly enjoyed in my travels was that of Burma. A lot of people had told me the food in Burma wasn’t great but I really enjoyed it. It’s like a mix of Thai, Chinese and India food. Mohinga – a delicious noodle soup was my particular favourite. It’s sold in every restaurant, hotel and street corner in the country and is even eaten for breakfast.
– Finally, tell us something that happened to you travelling and that you will never forget…
On my trip to Burma I had the fortunate experience of meeting a Buddhist monk. It had started to pour with rain and I was caught without an umbrella so he offered to share his with me. He suggested we retreat to a tea shop and wait for the storm to pass. We drank tea and he practiced his English with me. He’s been taking lessons and I was the first foreigner he’d ever practiced with! A few days later, he invited me over to the monastery he lived at. I met the Abbott (head monk) who taught me a little about Buddhism, in limited English, then we had a home-cooked vegetarian lunch. After lunch we visited the orphanage for boys that was attached to the monastery and meet some of the kids. It was a wonderful experience!
Thank you Bethaney for your time and dedication in the interview. Do you want to know more? She also runs an online guide to Thailand and works with Lee on a Las Vegas travel guide. You can follow Bethaney on Twitter and Facebook.