The Travel Gauntlet: Andrew vs Emily

Da nuh. Da nuh. Danuhdanuhdanuhdanuh (that’s the Jaws music, obviously). What’s that lurking in the water? It’s only the Travel Gauntlet! And it’s coming to get two brave travellers and quiz them both on their travel knowledge and experiences.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Haven’t ventured in before? Allow me to explain. Every fortnight, we send a member of our staff and one of our wonderful online community through the Travel Gauntlet. We ask them each five questions designed to test their attitudes to travel, and challenge them to amuse us with their travel-related anectodes.

It’s a tall order, but if you think you’re up to it, drop me an email, and I’ll send you over five questions of your very own.

Ready to meet this week’s contenders? Let’s do it.

In the red corner, it’s…

Travel Expert Andrew Rae from STA Travel Exeter! Here he is jumping for joy in Zermatt, Switzerland at 3,100 metres in front of The Matterhorn.

Andrew certainly has a spring in his step in Switzerland

And in the blue corner, it’s…

Travel enthusiast Emily Luxton from London! Here she is doing what she does best – travelling, of course – at the Marjorelle Garden in Marrakech.

Emily looking lovely in Morrocco

Step into the Travel Gauntlet

Put your best feet forward Andrew and Emily – the Travel Gauntlet has opened…

  Andrew Rae, Travel Expert at STA Travel Exeter Travel lover Emily Luxton
Where in the world have you found the tastiest food? Italia – nowhere does it better! FACT! In Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia. With a tiny bit of help from a local guide I went fishing and caught my own dinner: a few red snappers and one small barracuda. We ate them barbecued on the beach that night with a side of chips from a local restaurant. Freshest dinner I’ve ever had!
What’s your weirdest travel experience? Whilst utilising my travel insurance to the max in a Honduran hospital, I was required to have a tetanus shot in my backside, at the same time I was listening to the song ‘Macho, Macho Man’ on the hospital radio at 3am. You couldn’t script it! Walking through the Djemma el Fna in Marrakech and hearing a young Arabic guy shout “Come an’ ‘av a butchers” in a perfect cockney accent! It was fairly bizarre to hear that in such an exotic setting, over the sounds of snake charmers’ oboes and the call to prayer.
Urban hunter, or rural explorer? Rural explorer. As much as I love a good city, nothing is better than getting off the beaten track and into the big wide open spaces, meeting the locals with a traditional way of life (some of whom may have never met a foreign tourist) and seeing the raw, and frankly epic natural beauty of the countries your venturing through. I’m definitely a rural explorer; there are so many more adventures to be had once you get out of the city. This year I was lucky enough to watch the sunrise over the Erg Chebbi dunes in the Moroccan Sahara – no city experience can come close to that!
Guidebook, app’d up, or travelling blind? Guidebooks are fine before you go to get ideas, but on the ground, I travel blind. It keeps everything a surprise and gives you experiences and opportunities you would never get with your nose in a book. I like to read the guidebook at home before I leave, but then go it blind once I’m out there. I find it helpful to know simple tips like how much a taxi ride from the airport should be, so I’m prepared for haggling. Once I’m in a new country I like the surprises that travelling blind brings.
Before I’d gone travelling, I wish someone had told me… …to learn the basics of the local language. Although in the majority of the world you get by with English, being able to cover off the day to day things in the local lingo is much more fun (especially for the locals listening to you) and gets you involved in the country more. … to stop packing! Forget about “just in case”: you won’t need a jumper in the desert.

Andrew, Emily – you’ve bowled us over with your travel knowledge. Frankly, I’m astounded, impressed, and a little in awe right now. Thanks for taking part!

Want to take on the Travel Gauntlet? Step up to the challenge – email us and you could be the next star of the STA Travel Blog.