The Travel Gauntlet: Adam vs Laura

Welcome! Come in, pull up a chair, we’re all friends here! But don’t get too relaxed. What you’re about to witness will have you on the edge of your seats. Get ready for the ultimate battle of travel prowess; a clash of the titans (if the titans had backpacks and copies of the Lonely Planet).

What am I talking about? It can only be the Travel Gauntlet, our fortnightly blog feature that sees a loyal member of our staff going head to head with one of our wonderful blog readers. They get thrown into the Gauntlet and each attempt to answer five questions that will test their travel knowledge, experience, and general skill at telling witty travel related anecdotes.

Needless to say, it’s not for the feint hearted. Reckon you’re well travelled enough to give it a go? Go on! Just drop me an email and I’ll send you five questions to answer of your very own.

The Travel Gauntlet’s had a bit of a makeover this week – look at it, showing off, with it’s pretty background image and cute passport style pictures. Yep, it’s safe to say that it’s back and better than ever. If I were this week’s contenders I’d be afraid, very afraid.

Let’s meet this week’s brave travellers…

In the red corner, it’s…

…blog reader and travel lover Laura Richards! Here she is with a very large sandcastle during a road trip through Morocco.

Now you don't see sandcastles like that in Brighton...

And in the blue corner, it’s…

Travel Expert Adam Bewick from our store up in Durham! Here’s Adam making friends in La Paz, Bolivia, where he worked in a bar.

Adam was a big hit with the ladies in La Paz

If their pictures are anything to go by, they seem like a well travelled pair. But are they nomadic enough to handle what the Travel Gauntlet has in store? Let’s find out.

Where in the world have you found the tastiest food?
Adam Adam
The tastiest food I’ve come across was while camping in South Africa on an overland trip. After a day of hiking along the Wild Coast we returned to camp to a fresh homemade ostrich pie made by our truck driver. This washed down with a home made Malva pudding (sweet pudding usually made with apricot jam, yum!) and a beer made for one tasty meal.

The tastiest food I’ve ever eaten has to be in India. In 3 weeks of being there I didn’t eat the same food twice and aimed to try something different every day. Everywhere I went, I tried to eat the local specialty. I tried mutton biryani for the first time – a special dish in Hyderabad and so full of flavour.

What’s your weirdest travel experience?
Definitely at an animal sanctuary at the end of the World’s Most Dangerous Road bike ride in Bolivia. When we were walking through the sanctuary a spider monkey ran behind me, took my hand and started to walk beside me. He didn’t leave my side the entire time, and spent most the time either walking around holding my hand or sitting on my knee.
It’s a toss up between having a police officer flag a car for us to hitch hike from the airport in Mombasa (where only registered taxis are allowed to pick up passengers, so everyone driving past thought we were a police sting), or taking our little rented Ford Ka off road to see a lake in Morocco, led by a local gentleman who’d fallen in love with my friend.

Urban hunter, or rural explorer?
I would say I am more of a rural explorer as you get more of a chance to meet the locals and get involved, rather than be stuck in a fast paced environment. I think it makes it even more exciting when you do get to a big city and see a complete contrast.
A bit of both! I love getting to know the hustle and bustle of a new city, but equally find myself falling in love with the remotest of places, when you head off the beaten track.

Guidebook, app’d up, or travelling blind?
I much prefer travelling blind and getting constant surprises throughout the journey. It is always practical and handy to have a guidebook to check up on things (and so you don’t get too lost) but there is nothing worse when you see people walking around staring in to their guidebooks and not taking in their surroundings.
I’d say eyes half shut! I normally have a guidebook with me, but I never use it as a bible… more as a reference book if I’m stuck for ideas. The best adventures tend to happen when you just turn up and see what happens.

Before I’d gone travelling, I wish someone had told me…
…not too plan too much. For the first couple of weeks on my first backpacking trip I had done a lot of research and had planned a lot. After the second week I pretty much abandoned all my plans and decided to just go with it. This helped me meet some amazing people and have some awesome experiences that I otherwise would never have came across.
…not to be embarrassed to talk about bowel movements! Absolutely everyone has a dodgy tum at some point when traveling, the best thing to do is laugh about it if it’s you, and sympathize if it’s someone else (it could be you tomorrow!)

Adam and Laura absolutely smashed it there – I can’t decide who’s weirdest travel experience I enjoyed more. Thanks for taking part, guys! Now it’s your turn, lovely blog reader. If you want to take a trip through the Travel Gauntlet, just drop me an email and I’ll hook you up.