In the latest in my series of World Travellers I catch up with another couple. Married for almost 40 years, running a marvellous website and travelling the world! Meet Billie and Steve from Santa Fe Travelers!
Who are you?
We are Billie Frank and Steve Collins and together we’re the Santa Fe Travelers. Billie is a former concierge, who is a freelance writer, blogger and tour planner these days. Steve is a former chef and hospitality professional who enjoys taking pictures. We’ve been married almost 40 years.
Where are you from?
Now we live in Santa Fe, NM. I’m originally from New York City and Steve’s from Iowa- it was an unlikely match.
We spent most of our married life together in New York’s Hudson Valley, about an hour and a half north of New York City. We moved to Colorado in 1996 and to Santa Fe in 2004.
What is your favorite way to travel?
Slowly. We are big road-trip fans. When on the road, we like to stay somewhere for at least a week. We like to get a sense of the area: the people, the culture, the history, the geography. We prefer renting a cottage or apartment because we love having a kitchen. While we love dining out, shopping in local markets and cooking the bounty of the area we are visiting is part of our passion.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
It’s hard to narrow it down, but we both agree on Ireland. We love the west. The ocean, the lush green mixed with stark, wind-blown wild places, the pubs with their traditional Irish music that speaks to our souls and the ancient sites that are all over.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
Our travel experiences are almost always good. That said, we once rented a cottage on the ocean with a “great view,” (paid in full) from an ad in the venerable New York Times. We arrived to a dump, with collapsed mattresses (he swore they were firm), no furniture to speak of and a view of oil storage tanks on the shore. We had bought a week’s worth of groceries. It was so dismal we couldn’t even spend one night. The owner refused to give us a refund. We had no money; we’d spent it all on the groceries (it was before ATMs). We embarked on a wonderful and unplanned road trip for a week paying for it with credit cards and personal checks (it was a time when people were more trusting).
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
Research your destination. Find out what it has to offer, what others have liked about it and then figure out what rings your chimes.
Travel slowly. Don’t go to places to just say you’ve been. Stay in a place for a while and get to know it. Immerse yourself in the local geography, history, food and culture.
Make sure you have enough money. It always costs more than you thought it would.
What are your future travel plans?
At the moment, we’re a bit tied down. We’re heading to Oregon and California. We land in Portland and we’ll drive down the coast to San Francisco and then points south. Living in the high desert, we really miss the ocean. It’s one of the few things we don’t like about living in Santa Fe. Millions of years ago, it was ocean here. Sometimes, if you close your eyes when the wind is blowing, it almost feels as if you are there.
Billie Frank and Steve Collins have been traveling together for almost 40 years. They own a trip-planning and tour service for people visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico. They also have a blog, Santa Fe Travelers, offering lots of Santa Fe info and posts on their travels. Billie is also a freelance travel and food writer and Steve is learning to use his camera. You can find them on Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks to Billie and Steve of Santa Fe Travelers for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured (there’s a HUGE waiting list at present), either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!