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Meet the Gypsies : Chris & Heather of A Brit & A Southerner
1. Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you now?
We are Chris and Heather Boothman from ‘A Brit and A Southerner’. Chris is originally from Ramsbottom, England (jokes aside, it’s a small town about 15 miles north of Manchester) and Heather is from the other side of the pond in the beautiful metropolis of Jonesboro, Arkansas.
We currently live in Jonesboro and both have full-time jobs at Arkansas State University which for most folks makes traveling difficult but for us, it works pretty well as we are fortunate to receive some good fringe benefits such as vacation time.
2. What’s your packing strategy? Heavy or light packer? Suitcase or backpacker?
The good old packing strategy – well, I would have to say that we are both pretty good when it comes to packing and for the most part we are light packers. Of course, it gets a little trickier when we are going away for 2+ weeks, especially for Heather, but for the most part, a lot of our shorter weekend trips encompass just a carry-on bag.
Can you be both a suitcase and a backpack person? I guess that is what both of us would be classified as because we can’t go anywhere without our trusty backpacks for electronic items and essentials, but we prefer to leave our clothes and non-essentials in our suitcase. Personally would prefer to not have to mess with anything like that and just deal with it when we get to our destination but fortunately, Heather is a little more planning savvy and we tend to get everything organized prior to traveling.
3. How do you afford your travels? Budget traveler or lean more towards luxury?
You know this is the million-dollar question right? How do any of us afford to travel? Well, it’s something called a credit card. No, just kidding! All jokes aside, budgeting for your travel arrangements is tough especially when you work full-time and have to juggle everyday life, bills, rent, meals, etc. with trying to budget for your scheduled trips.
I admit that we are not the best at saving so I am not going to lie and say we set money aside because we rarely do. I don’t have a problem booking a trip on a credit card because I am confident enough that I can track my credit cards and make sufficient payments to not accrue substantial amounts of interest.
Of course, if money was no object I probably wouldn’t be giving you the same answer but I honestly prefer not to worry too much about the cost of travel.
I think we are a combination of both a budget and luxury traveler. We don’t go overboard and have to stay at the Ritz-Carlton when we go somewhere but at the same time, we don’t hold back and stay in a local motel with bad reviews.
4. If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
Another really tough question because there are so many places around the world that we have yet to see and more importantly that we want to see. The old bucket list is growing rapidly and we literally can’t keep up with it.
But….if you are going to make us select somewhere, I would go with Iceland. Everything I see about this country looks so spectacular and it’s just a location I have to see for myself. New Zealand is also up at the top of my list and I am hoping we will get there at the end of 2014!
5. Is there anywhere you won’t travel to and why?
I have no desire to go to any of the Middle-Eastern countries such as Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Oman, etc. I think the simple answer to high danger is good enough to explain my reasoning behind that.
If you had asked me this question a few months ago, I would have said Asia which may be surprising to many. I think my main reason behind this would be the food because I don’t like either British or Americanized Asian cuisine. However, I have recently changed my opinion and there are certain parts of Asia that I would love to explore such as Singapore and Japan in particular.
6. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve eaten?
I am not the adventurous type when it comes to cuisine. I have tried sushi before and didn’t like it plus I have tried Chinese food which is adventurous in my eyes, does that count? Sorry, I am boring when it comes to trying new foods. I will defer this question to Heather who is a little more adventurous. Heather tried kangaroo when we were in Australia for our honeymoon and really enjoyed it, so I think that’s a little away from the norm.
7. What’s the best thing about traveling together as a couple? The disadvantages?
I think the main benefit of traveling together as a couple is that you get to share your adventures and experiences (both good and bad) with the love of your life and soul mate. There is nothing better than seeing a spectacular attraction and sharing that memory with someone else. Money can’t buy happiness for sure and neither can it buy you those memories you will cherish forever when you look back on the trips you took as a couple.
The disadvantage of traveling as a couple – surely there can’t be any right? That’s what I think Heather would love for me to say. On a serious note, there really aren’t that many bad things that can come of traveling together but those aspects that spring to mind are when one of you gets sick, you are increasing the likelihood of this spreading to your partner. Also, spending all day, every day with each other is always likely to cause a few disagreements and arguments but that’s part of married life anyway!
8. Chris you moved here to the US from the UK. What’s the one thing you miss the most? Would y’all ever move back to the UK?
I have been asked this question many times before and aside from the obvious answer of the family for the number one thing I miss most, I would have to say both golf and football. I came to the States on a golf scholarship playing collegiate golf in Kansas but whenever I realized that wasn’t going to work out as a career path, the amount I have been able to play has dwindled dramatically. That’s really hard to take when that is a passion of yours!
Every British guy (well most that I know anyway!) is an avid football fan and I am no different. I miss watching my local team, Ramsbottom United and have to be content following them on Twitter (sad I know!).
I would like to think that we will move back to England at some point just so that Heather can experience the lifestyle there. I am currently working on becoming a US Citizen so that if we do decide to move back to England, should that not work out the way we want, I won’t have any immigration issues coming back into the States. We are really happy with our life right now but are starting to weigh out our options for our next move, whether it is in the internal USA or back to England – all I can say is watch this space!
9. With you both working full time how do you find time to travel so much?
It’s tough I’m not going to lie! As I responded earlier, we are both very fortunate that we have jobs at Arkansas State where we get good amounts of vacation time and also that our schedules are flexible enough that we can take off a Friday or Monday and take a long weekend trip somewhere.
Plus our main trips of the year come at Thanksgiving in November and Christmas (we usually get between 2-3 weeks’ vacation!).
10. What’s the #1 item on your bucket list?
To see as much of the world as physically possible for both of us!
I think we both really have the travel bug right now and as long as we have that I want us to take advantage of it. I am sure there will come a time when we don’t have as much of a desire to travel all the time but until that day arrives, let’s just keep checking off places and things to do from our bucket list.
11. Most importantly, where to next?
Well, this is a little bit of a sore topic in the Boothman household. I am heading back to England for a week at the beginning of March to spend time with my family while Heather is slaving away at home. We have a trip to the North-Eastern US States (Boston etc.) in May booked and we plan on road tripping 6 different states and into Canada that long weekend.
Long term travel plans include the end of the year where we are considering heading to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand for the Christmas and New Year period. Aside from that, wherever life and our travels take us!