This week’s guest post comes from Crystal, blogger behind Travel and Table. She explains ‘For some, thoughts of a Travel and Table blog are associated with roaring jets, foreign soil or exotic food. Let’s face it, not all of us will go skiing in the Swiss Alps, dine at a five star restaurant weekly or create their own recipe for chocolate soufflé! While I do enjoy using my passport, I think that Travel and Table experiences can be found anywhere, locally or abroad. Every experience adds value to our lives in some way. It’s up to us to determine that value. Just remember, more doesn’t necessarily mean better.’
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
My name is Crystal Ragland. I grew up in rural Arkansas and I’ve lived in the Dallas, TX metroplex since I graduated from college. Up until I got married, the only travel I had ever done was to visit family in another state but I’ve been making up for lost time ever since!
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
I am a part time traveler but I’m a full time travel planner. If I’m not on a trip, I’m thinking about and planning my next trip! I enjoy researching places for others to visit as well and I am available to help others with their travel needs. I take at least two 10 day trips a year plus several smaller trips in between.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
My husband and I made a conscious effort to live below our means from the beginning of our marriage. Now that the children are older, we have the time and the money to travel!
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
I don’t think that I can pick just one place! Like my blog says, “I have a good time wherever I go”. I think that great experiences can be found anywhere, locally or abroad. Every experience adds value to our lives in some way. It’s up to us to determine that value, more doesn’t necessarily mean better.
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
While every time at bat can’t be a home run, I try to stay positive and take something good away from each experience.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
Just three?? I REALLY want to see the Northern Lights! I’ve seen some of Europe, but I’d like to see northern Europe also. Someday soon, I hope to be able to spend an entire summer in Europe. Canada has to be on the list too. And I have got to squeeze Costa Rica in somewhere in between! And the Galapagos Islands. I can’t help myself! I have a curiosity that is satisfied with travel.
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
First, I take my camera to document everything! I literally take pictures of signs so I can remember the names of places. After you’re on the road for several days, things can run together and as a blogger, it’s not just about the travel, documentation is essential!
Secondly, I have to take my itinerary. I am a planner. I plan every day of travel before I leave. With that said, I am all about flexibility! I have a skeleton of an itinerary with phone numbers, hours of operation, etc. so I don’t have to spend precious travel time doing research. Weather and schedules change so you need to be flexible. I have my list of “must do/see” and then another list of “if we have time” items.
Thirdly, comfortable clothes and shoes. I usually pack too much to wear, but I have to be comfortable. Weather and temperatures change constantly so I try to layer accordingly. And there’s nothing worse than your feet hurting on vacation. Comfortable shoes are a must. As a woman, I love fashion, but comfort takes precedence when you’re on the road.
8. What makes you happy and why?
I love people. I enjoy spending time with family and friends but I enjoy meeting new people. My husband teases me that when we both meet someone new, he thinks, “there’s someone new” and I think, “there’s a new friend!”. You never know what you have in common until you start sharing information. The world shrinks dramatically when you find your common interests.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started blogging in July of 2016. My blog began as a result of much encouragement from my family and friends. I love meeting people and sharing the stories of our lives. My eyes literally light up, I start talking fast and I get so excited when I talk about travel and trying new restaurants. I had been doing so many reviews on restaurant apps and travel websites, that I decided that I needed to make it my own. Although I’m just getting started, I have so many ideas and so much travel ahead of me!
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
I consider my blog to be a voice for towns and for businesses with little or no marketing budget and shining a little light on them when possible. I enjoy big, luxurious vacations as much as anyone, but I love to be one on one with small proprietors, learning about their experiences and their lives. Why do they do what they do? What circumstances brought them to where are now? Where do they like to travel? What are the best local places to visit? What brings them joy? I really enjoy travel and I enjoy good food and there’s nothing I enjoy more than sharing the information I’ve learned with other people
From ESLT – thank you Crystal for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂