Strange Places Podcast: The Quest For Divine Lasagna with Quinn and Jake

We talk about traveling with family, finding great food, and exploring the catacombs of Paris.

Listen to the episode:

full-width Photo: Quinn and Jake in Paris

In this episode learn about:

  • Traveling with Family.
  • Jake's quest to find the best lasagna in Italy.
  • Exploring the catacombs in Europe.
  • Audio and walking tours.
  • Exploring the Louvre (how to avoid the crowds)
  • Finding good beer abroad.
  • Hiking with lightning.
  • How to explore randomly and have unique travel experiences.
  • Planning trips vs. not planning as much.
  • Communicating with your travel partner.
  • Cell phone plans for travel.
  • Traveling to Cuba.
  • Hiring online itinerary planners (Via Hero).
  • Riding on top of buses in Nepal.
  • The Colosseum and its history of naval battles.
  • Tourist activities that harm animals (and humans).
  • Bull fighting in Spain (don't go) and the running of the bulls.
  • Getting on the plane last when you fly.
  • Trying to sit in empty exit aisle seats.
  • Lost luggage.
  • TSA Pre-check and airport security.
  • Storing your KTN number in your passport.
  • Keeping spare passport photos.

Episode transcript:

Thom Hey guys. I'm here with two new guests, two of my friends Quinn and Jake… Say hello guys.

Quinn and Jake Hey Thom

Thom Quinn and Jake are friends of mine here in Salt Lake City. And they're going to be chatting with me for the next some odd minutes and probably up to an hour. So… and we're going to talk a little bit about some of the trips they've been on and other random things that come up. I think Quinn, mind sharing a couple of fun travel tips with us, too.

So to get started, you guys, what's your next trip coming up?

Quinn We are heading to Italy next week, actually, with my entire family, extended family and Jake. And this will be the first time that Jake has joined us on a family vacation. And it should be pretty fun. We're going over Christmas to Italy, and we're starting in Venice. And then we stay there for three nights. And then we head over to Rome. And yeah, it should be a lot of fun. It's gonna be. My family's very fun and laid back and Jake. It's going really well with them.

Jake But getting the invite, like feeling the pressure, you know?

Thom Oh, yeah. Like a big deal. High pressure.

Jake Yeah.

Quinn I mean, it’s gotta be funny the whole time.

Yeah, no, actually they’re awesome. And it will be a lot of fun. They're super cool to hang out with. And like, yeah, just really, I'm really looking forward to it.

Thom They're gonna be listening to the episode so it's good you said that.

Quinn No, it's fun, though. So we're going with, so it's Jake and I. And then it's my grandma who is young and fun. And my aunt and uncle. And then I have two cousins who are both little boys. And one is nine turning 10. And the other is 12. My little brother is 11. And he's coming with us, as well as my parents, my mom and dad.

Jake And that's her entire family. The whole family, which I think is awesome, because you can all hang out. And it's not like overwhelming. Yeah.

Thom Do you have a little brother? That's pretty young?

Quinn Yeah, he's 10. No. He's 11. Yeah. And so it's fine because we have two cousins that are both boys too so they sandwich him for age.

Thom I love how you said, your young grandma's coming.

Quinn Well, she is because sometimes you think about traveling with other people. And I've done this before. And it's like, not very mobile. And they're kind of stodgy and she's fun and hip and cool.

Jake She's so cool.

Quinn When I was like 10, she, we were out together. She took like, she ordered a beer with dinner. And she took this huge, like, sip and goes, “Quinn. I hope one day you grew up to love beer”. And that was like her, like, bless you, child. So yeah, so it's gonna be fun. This is the first time in a long time that we've done a family trip over Christmas. But it's great. Because we get to spend time together. And we don't really need material things. And we would much rather just hang out and travel and explore. And, you know, what an amazing present to get to hang out as a family and Jake and so yeah, it'll be it'll be really fun. Yeah, I'm excited. So that's our, that's our next trip next week.

Thom Sweet. Yeah.

Um, how long are you going for?

Quinn So we actually fly to Denver, because that's where my extended family live. So we leave next Friday for Denver. And then we leave Christmas Eve, I believe for a while. It's overnight trip. So we get there Christmas Eve in Venice. And then we're there for seven days. So three days in Venice. And then you take the train into Rome. Four days in Rome.

Thom Rome is cool, is it your first time in Italy?

Quinn So I've actually spent a week in both places. But this is Jake's first time.

Jake Yeah, I’ve not been there. And like, man, I wish it was a month but I'm happy to go for a week too.

Quinn Scouting to go back.

Jake Yeah, it's just like you like you make that flight. You feel like you really want to make it worth your while, so to speak. And it'd be awesome to stay.

Thom You know, the flight home is optional.

Jake Yeah, for sure.

Quinn Um, we come back New Year's Eve actually. So it's gonna be a long day. I think it’s like thirty hours or something like that.

Jake And then we're going to rage Yeah.

Quinn And then and then staying up till midnight, obviously.

Thom Yeah, that sounds like a good trip. So Quinn you were in Italy previously, when was that?

Quinn A long time ago. So, one year my family went to Rome for Christmas. But this was 12 years ago, I think, or 13 years ago. So two years in a row, we went to, we went on vacation for Christmas with the family. But that was before all three of the boys were born. So we went to Rome for a week. And then the following year, we went to Barcelona for a week, which was a lot of fun. And in that interim, in that year, my aunt and I actually went to Venice for a week just the two of us and it was an amazing trip and it was so fun. I mean, it was just us and meanwhile my parents were in Costa Rica so they got a reprieve from me and I got to go on a fun trip with my aunt so yeah, it was a lot of fun. That was when we used to travel a lot and then we kind of took a break when we have little boys running around and so now this is this is our first time going on a trip as a family so it should be fun, it'll be a lot of fun.

Thom Yeah that's awesome. Jake what are what are your, I guess ideas of what Italy is going to be like?

Jake You know this sounds so dumb but I'm so just looking forward to the food. Oh yeah. I love Italian food so much and lasagna, I went on a tour of Salt Lake a while ago and just going to every place I could find lasagna to find who had the best one.

Thom Oh, I remember that.

Jake Yeah. And so yeah, I'm really looking forward to the food, obviously the architecture I mean it's just blows my mind when I think that these some of these cities are so old. Here in the States we've got the oldest thing we have is you know, like 400 years old maybe some places? Yeah, maybe? But yeah, it's just it's just crazy to think about. Yeah, those are the two biggest things.

Thom Yeah the architecture is really cool there. What is it the Pantheon or the Parthenon that’s in Rome? I can never remember. One is in Greece and one’s… but the one that's in Rome that has like the hole in the middle is really amazing. And I guess was one of the first, one of the earliest uses of concrete in architecture like that. I've heard if it's ever raining in Rome, you should go there because the rain falls through the center of that hole and it looks really cool. So I never got to see that but that would be really cool.

Jake When were you there last?

Thom In Rome I went when I was like 22 so it was nine years ago yeah. But I loved Rome, I loved the forum and just that whole city is like when you get to the area with like the huge - I don't know what that building is with the like statues all around. And it’s kind of in just near the Coliseum - all that stuff is hard to remember where it is. But it's just an amazing downtown. Like you're downtown. But you're also like, amongst all these like crazy things. And architecture and yeah, I loved Rome, I actually went and ate at a place just outside of town. And if you guys want I could find out the name of it. Because it was like unbelievable. It was - my friend Sean had dated this girl I think well, he lived in Turkey or something. I don't know the timeline. But she met up with me in Rome, and then took - drove me outside of Rome to this place. And it's like this really old restaurant with like picnic tables inside, like really long picnic tables. And everyone sits at the same table, you know, like 100 people to a table and they just serve you like basically what we would call charcuterie. Just big balls of mozzarella like fresh and prosciutto and all these like fresh, fresh baked bread and all this stuff. And they just like chop it up on a huge wooden block in the middle of the table. And it was incredible.

Quinn Wow, that sounds amazing. Rome has the oldest coffee shop. Is that right? Café? Yeah. And so that's right outside the forums, I think or somewhere around there. So we have that on our list to go to. But it's been around for – do you remember how many years? - it's been up and running for, I think 750 years or something like that, which is again, like what you were saying Jake.

Jake They would probably have a killer pumpkin spice latte.

Quinn An amazing one.

Jake That restaurant you're talking about how they bill you for your food? If it's like communal like that? Well, it's - you have here like group you're going with but it was it was really funny. It was rowdy and the waiters were like, you know, it's hot and sweaty and loud. And just like really crazy. And you feel like you're in another era or something. And, and the waiter would come up and, you know, say something in Italian. And we, we all kind of looked at each other like, do we are we ready to order and he was already gone. It's like, I don’t time for this. And so like, you got to be ready to like, order real quick.

Quinn How did she find out about that place?

Thom She's from Rome. I can put you guys in touch with her. But you guys probably have an itinerary with your family. So being that it's just a week.

Jake It's very brief.

Thom Yeah, this is like an hour outside of Rome. It's a bit of a drive - but it's underground too. It's like underneath the road or something… weird. I can't remember. Exactly. It's all a little fuzzy.

Jake There's some cool stuff underground in European cities. I think the catacombs are fascinating. And I know there's some in Rome that, I’d really like to check out.

Quinn There's actually quite a few, like thirty four different batches, well, that are open but you found 70

Jake I don't remember the number. Yeah, I was kind of overwhelming because I just wanted to go to like THE catacombs. Too many choices. So I quit.

Quinn We went to the catacombs in Paris. So, and that was pretty cool.

Jake That was super cool. Have you been there?

Thom No. In the catacombs?

Jake Yeah. Oh, man. It was nuts. Like they're pretty deep. Do you remember how deep they are?

Quinn No, but I just remember going down, down, down, down.

Jake And then yes, filled with so many bones.

Thom So what's this is it. I don't really know the history of the catacombs that you just used to take dead bodies down there, and just let them rot?

Quinn They had the plague. And so they had so many bodies piling up. And so they ended up making them into this weird kind of like…

Thom It was during the plague?

Quinn It was a plague. I don't know if it was the plague. But they have some sort of disease that wiped out a bunch of people. I wish I could remember.

Thom Maybe the catacombs have been around for multiple plagues or something.

Quinn Yeah. I mean, they're just filled with… you become numb to the fact that there are skulls and every skull is…

Thom A person

Quinn Exactly

Jake Yeah it doesn’t seem real. It’s so weird.

Quinn And they have them stacked into, like hearts.

Jake But the trippy thing is, so there's like, the path that you take, you know, but that's just a blip in the like, web of the tunnels. Have you heard of like, people, like, there's people like, know, like secret entrances. And go exploring and then like, every once while someone will get lost and die? Worst loneliest death ever.

Thom Yeah, that's pretty rough.

Quinn Yeah, people think that they can make it back. And so they take their own ???

Thom Some rat comes and eats your cookie crumbs.

Quinn Yeah, exactly.

Thom That's what I remember from Paris was rats. There's so many rats when I was there.

Jake Oh, no. We did see rats in the park near the Eiffel Tower.

Quinn Yeah, but that was the only place we saw them.

Jake Yeah, but they were like, bold.

Thom They're used to people for sure. I was, I was with a group of people from my hostel. And we ended up walking from like soccer all the way down to Arc de Triumph. And then down to the Louvre. We walked that and that's like, really far end to the Eiffel Tower. And, you know, kind of hit everything.

And when we went by the Eiffel Tower there were like, there were like, 1000 rats. And I chased them all into a corner, and they all were, like, piling up in this big like, ball in the corner.

Jake I'm glad they didn't turn on you.

Thom Yeah, I know. They could have just swallowed. Yeah just throw me in the catacombs. So did you guys do a tour of the catacombs?

Jake It was not like a guided tour. They were guided tours available. We kind of just showed ourselves around and eavesdropped on a tour or two.

Quinn We had an audio guide.

Thom Oh, yeah. Yeah the little headphones thing.

Jake Those are actually great.

Thom Was it an official one that came with the entrance fee?

Quinn We paid extra and yeah, it was worth it. I would say we learned a lot more than you know, the placard don’t really tell you anything.

Jake Yeah, plus they are all French. But we did do some of those, like Rick Steves audio tour things.

Thom Oh, yeah. On your phone?

Jake Yeah. And those are cool.

Quinn Cool down on them in advance. So we did one through the Louvre. And we only had you're only in Paris, I think for three or four days. It was pretty brief. We were trying to hit everything because neither of us had ever been there before. So I had planned like, down to the hour we're going to be it was a little much, but we ended up hitting almost everything that we wanted to see. However, we got to Paris, and I think the Louvre was open late at night. And so it was a Friday night, it was open until like 10, and we got there at 730 or seven. And so we were just cruising through. We downloaded the Rick Steves app for his guided tour, I guess. And then we hit all of the big things. And then because that was only an hour that allowed us more time to wander with the two of us, which was fun. And it was surprisingly empty and was fun, don't you think?

Jake Yeah no, it was really cool. I would have loved to spend, I mean you could spend days going through the Louvre. Like you can't take it all in and a couple hours.

Quinn By the end you’re just like…

Thom When I went, I just was like, “Okay. Where is hardly anyone going?” And I ended up kind of gravitating toward the Egyptian arm of the Louvre. And that was amazing. It was like so many artifacts from Egypt that had ended up there that were you know, mummies and sarcophagi, I guess. Is that the plural? And that was that was really cool.

So I've heard - Did you guys go see the Mona Lisa? Because that's what everyone does, right? What were your thoughts?

Quinn It’s small.

Jake It’s small, it's very crowded in that room. Yeah, it's like, I mean, you got a look at it if you're there, I guess. But it wasn't… I didn't study it.

Thom And everybody's taking pictures of it.

Jake Yeah. No, that blows my mind when people do that.

Quinn Jake and I got a good selfie with her in the background.

Jake It was kind of like an ironic selfie though, right?

Quinn We actually ended up kind of, to your point. We ended up in the basement. Remember, underneath the Louvre? And that's where they had excavated some of the old building.

Jake They had some of the original foundation. Did you see that? Do you remember that part?

Thom Yeah, I remember this part of the Da Vinci Code.

Jake I don't remember that part of the film. But the original foundation - when did they start construction on that place?

Quinn I have no idea…. forever. Dawn of time.

Jake I was like, like, just so fascinated.

Quinn But it was just us, remember, which was pretty incredible. Because the Louvre is obviously one of the most popular places ever. And we basically had the ground floor to ourselves, which was nice to get away, especially after seeing the Mona Lisa. And kind of elbowing your way, jostling your way through the rest of it.

Thom It can be nice to be like the only people on a tour. I did a tour in, let's see, where was I? Budapest. There's a castle there. And underneath - Have you guys been to Budapest? - there's a castle. And like, underneath for a long time. Well, during like, I guess it would have been during World War Two. Or during the Cold War. They had like a fallout shelter down there. And it was really intense. And so I went, someone recommended it to me to go and take a tour of the fallout shelter. And I showed up. And this was like 22 year old Tom, you know, like young whippersnapper. And yeah, it was just one this girl this, like, gorgeous girl doing the tour. And me and I was, you know, with her for like, an hour, just like touring this place. And it was really funny. Yeah, I had a huge crush on her. It was actually a really cool place. They had, you know, so many... They used it as a, I think it was a hospital during World War Two. And then it became a fallout shelter after that. And they put in all these like, weird shower systems. And there were gas masks and all these like, big crazy suits and medical devices that were really weird and stuff like that. So there's kind of a cool tour.

Jake That sounds awesome. Was your tour guide a local?

Thom She worked there…

Jake I've just been surprised at the amount of tour guides that are not locals.

Thom Oh, yeah, that's true.

Jake Which makes it you know, they're usually fun and entertaining. I don't know. I guess I never really considered it until I started noticing like, but I wouldn't be a tour guide in Salt Lake. I mean, do people do that? I think a lot of those people like went and studied abroad in you know, some city and then they fell in love with it. And so they learned a ton of stuff. And then they're like, okay, maybe I can just do walking tours. And yeah, take tips from people. Yeah.

Quinn Netty and I did a walking tour in New Orleans when we were there. Netty is my friend and, all of our friends, really. And she and I went to New Orleans, and we went on this tour, and the guy was like, an aspiring actor and just wanted the limelight on him. And that's why he became a tour guide, you could tell he was just like, the loudest one yelling always, you know, like, you’d be next to other tour guides. And he'd be like, “Pay attention to me. I have the fun voices!” And we were like… Standing in the square, but he…

Thom He probably works there right?

Quinn He totally did. And it was those free tours. And it was it was a decent one. At the end you just tip them the amount that you think it's worth it. And yeah, I mean, it was fun and it was a good hour. And we learned a lot and, and we had a charismatic, if you can call him that tour guide. So yeah, that was fun.

Thom Yeah, I've been on a few of those walking tours. And they're usually pretty solid.

Jake I, we found that if you do them towards the beginning of your stay in the city, it's good. Because then, like, get the lay of the land, so to speak, and learn some things. And then you're like, Oh, yeah, let's go see that. And you hadn't thought of that before.

Quinn Sometimes they’ll give you good recommendations to tell you where to go. One of Jake and I favorite tours that we went on was in Brussels, and that was our chocolate and beer tour and that was pretty incredible.

Jake Yeah, that was those things. Oh, man. It was the best beer. It was like a six or eight hour long thing.

Quinn It started with chocolate. And so we had, I think, five or six little local chocolatiers. And then we moved to beer. And the guy said that he had intentionally done it that way. Because previously, he had done beer first, but then everybody was so tanked that they didn't want any chocolate. But yeah, by the end, we're all friends. And we're hanging out with everybody like we've known them for years. And bouncing from bar to bar drinking. Really, really alcoholic beers.

Jake Yeah. Do you ever drink delirium? Yeah, so I saw some of those Belgian beers that, you know, you see in the liquor store you like, do I feel like spending that much money on a beer right now, you know, those beers, you say, Well, you know, but they're all local. And they're two bucks, you know, and it was just like, oh, wow. Oh, yeah. It was so cool.

Thom Yeah, oddly, when I'm in Nepal, those are the only high point beers you can get. Which was Belgium. Yeah, Belgians like Duvelle and some of those are, you know, a few of the nicer restaurants in town will have those. But yeah, the, the beer selection in Nepal isn't good.

Jake Do they have any local beers?

Thom Yeah. They have Everest and Gorkha and can't remember what else but they're all bad. Really bad.

Jake Do they get exported?

Thom They're like, huge 32 ounce like a ?????? and they have this like, like, all the beers in Asia come in these big bottles. And they're kind of just this skunky flavor lager that I always yeah, the ones I have drank a lot are like in Thailand. And in Indonesia. They have what is it Chung in Thailand and then they have Bintang in Indonesia and those they make me so sick after I drink them for like a month I just…

Jake Because they're so skunky or?

Thom I don't know maybe it's like the water they use in them or something or maybe I'm just sick already because I get a little I get a little sick when I travel for a long time.

Jake I wonder if they make those beers out of rice instead of barley because I know some are some light beers are brewed with rice.

Thom Tiger is.

Jake Oh yeah. I've had Tiger.

Tiger is a rice bear. I don't know about the others. But Tiger is from Thailand. I think. I'm not sure. Beer selection in some countries is as rough. I've struggled with that before.

Jake Yeah, that that seems like is it kind of countries more… certainly not Third World. What's the word I'm looking for?

Thom Just developing countries. Yes, I think so. And like Nepal, I think a big reason is a combination of a real religious control of the government. And also, well, corruption basically. So like, if you try and start a brewery, it's going to be really difficult there. So that's why there's huge monopolies of these terrible beers. And, you know, it's like America. Ha-ha. I mean, we don't have as bad of a situation but yeah, I don't know. I've talked to people in Nepal before and just saying like, man, it would be amazing to start a brewery out here and make some good beer because it's one of the things you just want so bad when you get off these long like two or three week tracks it's just like man I just want a really good beer. And any beer will do and a lot of cases but…

Jake Man two or three week tracks I want a really good beer after one hour hike. Like I can imagine the jouncing you've had…

Thom Yeah well we have beers on the track. But it's like once you get back it's like celebration time you know, take a shower. First heated shower in three weeks is pretty amazing. So, what hiking have you done while you've been out?

Jake Well, we were in Colorado last year and we summited a 14-er which I realized doesn't mean shit unless you start from the bottom. You could drive to 13,000 feet…

Thom Was at Pikes Peak or?

Quinn No we did ????

Jake Where is it, just outside of Denver? But I mean, its cool being that

Quinn It’s so popular though. It's way too busy. You are. It was it was basically like being in a mall. Like you just had a line of people just cruising up in front of you. And you just pass people and…

Jake We did a great one in Wyoming in the Tetons. What was it called? Alaska Basin. That's right. Have you been there?

Thom That’s not Grand Teton.

Quinn That's on the Idaho side of the Grand Teton.

Thom I know there’s one in the wind, in the Wind River and called like Hell’s Stairway or something like that?

Quinn That might be the one that we did.

Thom I did one with Ryan and Ryan decided to like run of course you know like 13 mile loop or something through the mountains while me and Annette like took it one chill stroll up there.

Jake You know what that's hilarious because we were in the wind with Ryan and he wanted to summit whatever peak it was and we're like all right we're good.

Quinn And it was shady too.

Jake And it was getting late

Thom Which peak?

Quinn I dunno it looked like an elephant ear or something.

Thom Lizard head?

Jake I'm not sure I don't remember.

Thom Yeah I ran into - we were hiking out there and ran into this guy, Anthony Mara who I'm probably going to have him on the show I'm hoping but we just randomly ran into him and he was going to the top of Lizard Head and there was lightning and like a huge snowstorm coming in and it was like “You're going to do that right now?” it's like “Yeah we're gonna try we'll see how far we get.”

Jake What are your thoughts on hiking atop a mountain when there's lightning?

Thom No No. Is my thoughts.

Jake Me too. I was up just it was just up Grand Peak or one of these close ones up Mill Creek and there was a storm coming in and I was like, I'm done like, and I started bailing. And there's still people going up the trail. I'm like, “Hey, man. Like there's stuff like pretty close”. Yeah. Okay. Thanks. Yeah. Like, all right. Bye. Crazy.

Thom Yeah, that's interesting.

Jake Like, I wasn't sure if I was being overly cautious or if they're just like, dumb. Maybe not dumb, but just I don't know what the word is.

Thom Did they look dumb?

Jake No, they didn't. But I still think they might have been.

Thom Yeah, looks can be deceiving.

Jake Maybe they just didn't know. Maybe. I don't know.

Thom Who knows? I mean, sometimes you want to just go for it.

Jake And what would you do? Okay, you're on a peak and there's a lightning storm. What is your best option if you can't descend?

Thom So I've heard that the way you deal with it and I'm probably wrong about this but you can like lie down in kind of like gullies or whatever and and the way I've, the analogy I've heard is you picture a really big ball rolling across the terrain and anywhere the ball wouldn't touch is the least likely place the lightning strike so like yeah, like even a little ditch. If you have nothing around if there's a little tiny ditch you can like lie down in that and that's better than nothing so if you have lightning crashing around you, you know every 10 seconds then that's what I would do but if it's you know not very often I'd probably just run off the mountain if I could.

We had a close call I think two years ago up on Superior doing that knows it was scary a lot of lightning coming in just out of nowhere like blew in from American Canyon toward us so yeah we just ran for it.

Jake Yeah that seems the most natural response for you don't want to wait it out if you don't have to.

Thom Yeah

Jake Quinn, what are your thoughts on lightning?

Quinn I don't want to get hit that's about it. I play it safe.

Thom Okay, so to get us back on track a little bit here. I want to ask you guys when you are traveling what are some of the things that you do that is you know, maybe unique or stuff that you feel like you've changed while traveling that you, would recommend other people?

Jake I know Quinn's got some good stuff. Let me just I'll just say that the biggest thing I've learned is you don't need as many clothes as you think you need. Yeah, you can pack light and then you know, it's no big deal.

Quinn And wash your underwear in ???

Jake And waste your one night and ??? washing your underwear in the bathtub.

Thom I’ve definitely washed my underwear in a sink a couple times.

I always pack an extra shirt in my carry on. So when I like land during a layover something if I have a long layover I like to like put a fresh shirt on. So I'll gross from the flight. If it's like two big flights.

Quinn I mean, you want to plan obviously, but you still want to you know, you don't want to overplan and I'd say and that's been something that we've been trying to find a good balance between. There are a lot of good online resources now, so that you can almost plan your entire trip if you wanted to. But I don't know that that's the way to go. Some of our favorite things that we've done all traveling have been, you know, just because we stumbled into them when we were in ???, which is this little town outside of Prague, we went walking at night time, and the town was completely vacant, because it was February and it's a day resort. And we stumbled into a bowling alley that was underground and it's just us and a few locals and they were just shooting back the ??? and bold and Jake totally impress them with the skills but no, it's it's I don't know, I, I kind of feel more fulfilled when I plan because then I like know what I'm going into. And then I really kind of picture where I'm going before I get there. And then when it all works out. There's that fulfillment, but yeah, you also kind of don't, don't over plan. What do you think?

Jake Well, I think you are the best of planning like Quinn seriously. It's like amazing. She I mean, that's just kind of how your mind works. But you plan really well. And so my advice is, get yourself a travel partner that's a good planner.

Quinn Yeah, talk about the way that you want to travel to. Because I feel like that's been really important, like getting us on the same page. Because I think that time that we went to Europe, and it was just super planned that was almost too much for you. Right. Like, it was, it was almost too much for me to we were just going from thing to thing to thing, you know.

Jake You gotta like, get them. Most of them were there but also wanted to still be relaxing. I do anyway.

Quinn But I mean, I don't know. It's just, I think going with finding someone that you travel well with is really unique and special. And so talking about it beforehand, like even just kind of covering those bases. Like, how do you like to travel? What do you want to do? Like, what's too much? What's too little? I think that's important, too, for a new relationship. And it's definitely a test, right? Like, if you don't travel well together. Like could be a big red flag. Yeah.

Jake Because when we went to Western Europe, we had only been dating for less than a year. And I mean, it's all relative, I guess. But for me, that was like, Oh, shit like this, you know…

Quinn Two weeks nonstop together.

Jake And it was awesome. I was so great. Like, no flaws and problems whatsoever. But that was just lucky, I think.

Quinn I think too, we kind of talked about it. And we tried to, you know, clarify some stuff before we land, and like, how we wanted to travel and what we definitely did want to do, and when we definitely didn't want to, yeah, I don't know.

Thom I was just gonna say, I think I'm, I'm more on the don't plan spectrum or the side of the spectrum. I think a lot, I don't know, because when you don't plan you expose yourself to just screwing up big time. And like, I definitely am kind of a slacker and those terms where it's like, you know, you don't want to go so little planning where you show up in a country and they're like, do you have a visa, and you're like, wait, what now? You know, that's like the lower end if, like you if you really don't plan but I think for me, sometimes it's really cool, especially in really under developed tourism areas or something is to figure out how you're going to get from A to B. And that can just be an adventure in itself. But that's more if you have a lot of time, right, you're not going to do that on a seven day trip. Because you can burn a day or two.

Quinn Yeah but that’s that's really important. I mean, some of my most cherished memories are when you stumble into somewhere and are super pleasantly surprised. However, I think because technology is so accessible and you know, I have full coverage and full data every time we travel. So it's really easy to feel like you should or could pull up TripAdvisor every time you’re hungry. And so it's, it's very appealing for that reason. But then sometimes you go into a place that you have stumbled into, and you're disappointed, and you're like, well, shit, I'm only here for, you know, 15 meals or whatever. And now I've wasted quote, unquote, one of them. Like, I wish I would have done more research. It's also tricky, because I'm vegetarian. And so like, when we were in Prague, I really needed to do some research beforehand, because a lot of places didn't have vegetarian options. Czech food is not naturally vegetarian, you know, I'm less worried about Italy, because cheese, great. But in Prague, we tried a couple times just to, like, wander in somewhere. And not only is the menu not translated at all, but they just didn't have vegetarian options. And that that's a deal breaker for me. So. So in that case, we really, I did plan and I had backups and I made an Excel spreadsheet that…

Thom I love spreadsheets,

Quinn And it said, from our hotel in every direction from our hotel, how many minutes away it was. So I knew that if we were like, northwest of my hotel, that we would be closer to like this chunk of restaurants.

Jake It was incredibly thorough, really impressive.

Thom This is next level planning.

Quinn I pull up Google Maps before we went and like, you know, eight minute walk from our hotel. Yeah.

Jake You would be an excellent, what are they called, like, travel agent - do those exist anymore?

Thom So there's, well, there's a new website? Well, at least for when we went to Cuba, we had to actually have an itinerary that was very planned out. And so we used a website called Via Hero. And you basically there's all these profiles of people, and they kind of say what they are into, like, I'm really into partying, or I'm really into scenery and the outdoors and hiking and you would just kind of pick the person who you thought fit your group mentality for the trip. And then they would plan stuff for you. So let's say lined up like all the dancing lessons for us with Mojito making classes, which turns out Mojitos are just like, you know, rum and water, and mint and shit ton of sugar.

Quinn That's a classic Cuban Mojito.

Yeah, and then what's the Brazilian when a Caipirinha or something, and they just don't put the mint and or something. And it's like, the same drink. So yeah, but it's interesting, you can hire people that are that are itinerary planners.

Quinn We have. So for this trip that we're going on to Italy, my grandma has used a kind of a travel agent, I guess you could call it. And he put together a bunch of lists, and like walking tours and stuff for a family for this next trip, and recommended a couple kid friendly tours. So we are actually going on when, when we tour the Coliseum and the forums that's for its kind of designed specifically to help with kids because, you know, their attention span is shorter, and you want it to be interesting for them. So we it's supposed to be both like, good for adults and kids and kind of bridging that gap. So we're doing a couple of those. And he has been informative. He recommended to that we since we are in Venice, over Christmas, that a lot of places are closed. So recommended a couple of restaurants that he knew were open and could make reservations for and then helped us with that. So that's nice. Because otherwise we might not have a place to eat on Christmas.

So I mean, I know they still exist. But again, trying to find that middle ground between over planning and under planning is tough. And, and like I said, I think I just feel more gratified I guess when I have planned and then stuff works out or I know what I'm walking into. You know, it's more fun to get excited about a city when you have a better base layer of what you're kind of going to expect. But similarly, you don't want to overplan it cause then you never get to discover what you want. I mean, if you look at TripAdvisor for Salt Lake, like I would not go to the top places. .

Thom Yeah, I'm gonna have to check that out. Where we're gonna have to pull that actually I'm going to just do it.

Quinn Well, Park Cafe number one for breakfast, which makes me feel very sad.

Jake Yeah, I'm not a big fan of Park Cafe. I'm sorry to everyone in Salt Lake listening to this that loves that place.

Quinn It’s got a cult following, But if you had to tell one person you have your best friend coming in town and really just go one place like you would not recommend the Park Cafe go wait outside for an hour and a half and get like…

Thom I'm not gonna say on this podcast what my favorite breakfast place is because then the line will get really long.

Jake Yeah, that's a, that's a good call.

Quinn But yeah, I mean, again, to when you're vegetarian, you do have to do some meal prep. But what are your thoughts Jake, on planning versus not planning?

Jake Well, yeah, like you said, Well, I mean, if I was traveling, I would probably just book a hotel and then show up and see what there is to see. Like, if you really weren't there. That's probably how I would do it. And I might miss out on a lot…

Quinn Like the Eiffel Tower.

But no, so I'm really glad that you like we kind of like almost balance each other out. Oh, yes. So I don't know. But like traveling with Thom, if, you know if we ever did that. That'd be maybe too chilled out. But it'd be awesome. You know, it's like, Okay, well, what's, what's going on here?

Thom It'd be fun. Yeah, I mean, the stuff I like is just being with a group of people who wants to do really ridiculous things. Like in Nepal, we would we take the bus and the buses in Nepal will fill up during like, you know, peak times or during just like long trips. And so a lot of people right on top of the bus, and most the time the tourists will stay inside the bus. But we would all just like jump on top. And that's like some, some really fun memories of just riding for two hours on top of a bus. And it's like, it's a long ride. And there's like power lines draping over like, touching you. And it's like, but it's fun. And, you know, most of the power lines don't have power going through.

Yeah, but stuff like that. It's always awesome. Or like, yeah, I mean, just doing spontaneous things is really cool. And I feel like the downside of planning is that you can gravitate toward these touristy things where instead of taking the local bus, you're going to end up on an on a tourist bus. That's like a sprinter van full of other tourists, you know, which is not as fun as like, I've literally had an old woman sit in my lap with a chicken in her lap on a Nepali bus. And just like she basically was sitting on top of me for like, an hour. And it was just like, I guess this is what we're doing this full bus.

Jake Yeah, you kinda limit your exposure to the true local culture when you do the more touristy things.

Quinn Yeah, I just, I maybe it's cuz I don't have enough... I don't take enough time off work or get to travel as much as I would love to. I mean, if I got to travel as much as I wanted to be gone for four months out of the year, at least. Yeah, but like, because we don't thinking about Jake's first time and Venice in Rome. Like, what if we went to Rome and didn't see the Coliseum? You know, that would be so sad for me, because that's such an impressive, incredible place that has so much history, you know, and yes, it's definitely like, touristy obviously, like, the locals are doing tours of the Coliseum. But like, that's, I guess why, I don't know. Maybe it's just FOMO. Yeah, like, you've got to do okay, so you're going to Rome, like, you have to do this - of course, you're gonna go see the Sistine Chapel of course you're gonna you know like so but then you do end up booking your entire trip around these really big things.

I do think though that having Jake will be really great because he and I can kind of tap out from the family you know like he kind of gives me an excuse to go just wander or whatever so again my family is pretty cool and just like laid back and so like they're already planning like kid trips and stuff like this and so they know that we're going to have an afternoon where we don't want to go to the kids museum or whatever it is and so like that gives me an excuse to not do that either and like go and just wander and explore, so.

Thom Yeah the Coliseum does is really cool down there's a lot of cool history there. I personally, my favorite part of the history is that they used to fill it up with water and have battles inside of it like on boats.

Jake I didn't know that!

Thom That's pretty trippy. They they only did that a couple times but…

Jake Sounds like an ordeal.

Quinn Yeah. Hand-filled pails of water…

Thom Well they were they were like the masters of running like, what are they called…

Jake Viaducts

Thom Yeah, viaducts. And so yeah and so they probably did it with that.

Jake Yeah that's awesome

Thom Yeah you're not giving the Romans enough credit.

Jake How many people died in the Coliseum does anybody have an idea.

Quinn Yeah, we read the stat, I don’t remember it but we've read it.

Thom A lot probably thousands but that's not that much in comparison to like I was talking with someone about I think our last episode we were talking about the pyramids the Mayan and Aztec pyramids. You'll go there and they'll have an altar that's like a just a big stone and they're like it's estimated that 20,000 people have been cut open and sacrificed on this rock and it's like wow yeah that's a lot of people on one spot that have been just butchered you know, so that's a morbid stat.

Quinn But there's also animals too that were killed in the Coliseum.

Thom A lot of lions and elephants and everything.

Quinn When we were in Spain they had, I mean bullfighting is still a thing, but we all just pretend like it wasn’t when we were there. We’re all vegetarians and all.

Thom Yeah that’s a soft spot for you

Quinn Can’t help it.

Thom Yeah so if you're listening don't go to bull fights. Or what are they called bullfighting, is that it? Yeah it’s not cool. In fact I remember I created like some software for back in the day for money laundering. It was like educational course about - no it was teaching you how to not launder money - it turns out that money from bullfighting is illegal in like to move across borders and stuff so a lot of the other countries penalize Spain for doing that stuff.

Jake Yeah I'm surprised it’s still a thing.

Quinn Maddy’s cousins did the running with the bulls like five years ago, which I can't believe that still a thing. We’re like the middle of Barcelona and like just open up the main thoroughfares for bulls! That seems so archaic.

Jake It’s a rich tradition.

Thom It’s crazy. I ran into this super old dude who was a backpacker when I was 22 on this trip of Europe and we were taking the train from like Sweden to Denmark and I ended up talking to him for hours. He’s a really interesting guy and he was like 80, 88 or something at the time and was backpacking through Europe and go into hostels and stuff and left his wife at home Georgia, like Georgia in the United States and he was showing me pictures of he did the running of the bulls or was there I don't think he like ran it… but he had photos on his little like point and shoot camera of a guy getting gored by the bull with its horn and it went under the guy’s rib and killed him, hit his heart. And so people actually die doing that stuff it's pretty crazy. I've seen the bulls attack people in videos and it's yeah. If you think you're going to just like some protected you know legitimate thing you can you can definitely die in the running of the bulls so there's significant risk in that.

Jake Yeah, no thanks. That’s gnarly. He just had a picture of it.

Thom Yeah he had a photo he had photos he was he was like showing me and you can see the guy was getting like lifted up by the horn and it yeah I guess it killed him. It's crazy.

Jake Yeah I mean play stupid games…

Thom If you mess with the bull you're going to get the horn…

Thom Yeah so in terms of going back to the trend of like traveling, how about airports and stuff like what what are your experiences and like what have you what kind of little hacks do you do to make traveling through airports and airplanes more comfortable. You're a tall dude Jake. How tall are you?

Jake I’m six three. My tip for being tall in a coach seat is to like the taste of your own knees. That’s all about that's about all you can do. You have to like upgrade to get any extra leg room you don't just get lucky anymore.

Thom So the hack that I use which is a little controversial but we, Annette and I always get on the plane last so everyone when they start calling the boarding zones and stuff everyone like jumped to their feet gets in line and there's and they're like we're getting on the plane and me and Annette just like whatever we wait till the very last person it's like scanning their ticket then we stand up and we go and scan our ticket and get on because you may as well just chill and sit. It's the same thing when the plane lands and it gets to the gate and they the seatbelt sign turns off and everyone like unbuckles and stands up and then you don't move for 5, 10 minutes and I always just sit in my seat yeah so there's no point. But if you do that and you get on the plane last like when you're boarding, if you see exit isle seats they're probably not taken so I just go and sit in the exit isle and then 50% of the time I get caught and they tell me to move but the other 50% of the time I get basically a free upgrade, which technically is stealing but I don't know, you know it's an empty seat so I don't feel that bad about it.

Quinn Jake likes to follow the rules.

Jake You know what I don't like though is like not finding space for your stupid carry-on in the overhead.

Thom I mean, it's never gonna be like, “Oh, sorry, sir. You carry-on doesn't fit. You can't come on the flight.”

Quinn Then they check it and then they lose it. I've had so many loss bags over the years.

Thom Delta lost my bags once.

Quinn I mean, they would find them eventually three days into your trip…

Thom They lost mine for three weeks and it had like a lot of stuff in it.

Jake Did you get all your stuff back?

Thom Well, they didn't even try to look for it until I submitted the insurance claim and it was for $5,000 that they were going to have to reimburse me and then they found it the next day was like the second they started reading that they were gonna have to reimburse me five grand they were like okay, we found your back.

Jake Oh, wow. That's like, that's good that you got your bag.

Thom Well as I was moving from New Zealand to the US and I had all my like climbing gear and like my motorcycle helmet and all my clothes and everything in this huge duffel. And they lost that. It was this massive rolling duffel that weighed like who knows how much. Well they found it like out in the middle of the desert at some weird Christian - it sounded like a like one of the like, pray the gay away camps or something in the desert in Utah, which is near here, I'm sure ha-ha.

Jake You know we do is actually we've never checked a bag we just put everything in a carry on and make that work. It's great. You don't have to wait at the carousel.

Thom Oh, yeah. We talked about that on the last episode. No, no, checked baggage is amazing.

Jake The other thing I really like, it’s so simple, but I just get such a kick out of it is wearing a belt with a plastic buckle. You don't have to take it off.

Thom You have one?

Jake Yeah, they can get them - they're like… I think RAI has some sort of like Bison is the brand? I got a cheap one elsewhere. But yeah, it's just like a feed through little dinky buckle and it's awesome.

Quinn And you can walk through security. However, I have the goes Global Entry System. And so do a lot of people in my family and it makes, well it means I have GSA Pre check which means that Jake has TSA Pre check. But then when we actually go through customs I get to go through really quickly take but then Jake has to sit there.

Thom I need to get Global Entry. It lasts like 10 years?

Quinn It’s so worth it. I don't know, it's like 100 bucks for me it was a very weird interview, the guy was like nice-mean at the same time. And I was like, sweating like what's your name. I think I don't know ha-ha.

Yeah. But I got it. So it's worth it. I would I would highly recommend it.

Thom How much was it?

Quinn I think it was a hundred bucks. I thought it lasted forever. I'm disappointed to hear it may only be 10 years but um yeah it gets you to a pre check and it gets you through customs super fast like lightning and yeah it's that part is really nice.

Jake I finally just applied for it and there's I think three or four month wait time before I interview so I already paid them. And now I have to go interview at the airport. So get on it before you actually need it.

Thom Yes, I need to get in line. Yeah. Cuz next thing you know you'll be in like LA or San Francisco or something in a huge line. It is a different line too.

Quinn I flashed my card recently in Vancouver, when I flashed my card and I got us through the whole thing. I was able to pull you through with me and that was nice. So they give you a physical card, too.

Thom That's the interesting thing too, with pre check as well is that you can like kind of vouch for the person you're with which is weird.

Quinn They kind of automatically assign it for you. So every time I’ve bought our tickets Jake has had TSA Pre check on his thing because I get it on mine. Yeah, so they're just kind of lump us together.

Thom What’s your KTN number… I’m just kidding.

Quinn 589. I don’t know what it is.

Thom I actually that's a good travel tip that I do is I write my KTN number in the back sleeve of my passport, because that's a number, you always need, like if you're checking in for a flight and you forgot to add TSA Pre check, you're going to need your KTN number which comes with it and it's your known traveler number. And so I just like wrote it in pen on my passport, you can write on your passport no one cares, not on your face don’t draw on your picture, like a mustache and stuff. You might get into trouble.

But yeah, I wrote that in there and I also keep a bunch of printed passport sized photos that I tape inside the back sleeve of my passport, just because sometimes you need them for visas and stuff like when you go to India, you need to bring a little like, it's like two by two inch portrait of you on like a perfectly white background and you know they're always super picky with those passport photos. So I have just a bunch printed out that I have taped in there.

Quinn When we went to Europe. The first time we scanned our passports and send them send copies to my parents so that in case anything happened that well we would have the email receipt so that we could pull it up via phone in case we lost it or they were stolen and then they could always print them and send it back or I mean, just email us back to our friend Chris, Manny's brother lost his passport in Prague and it was a whole shit storm and he had to get the embassy involved. And they were stuck there.

Thom I’ve gotta renew mine. I think mine expires in February.

Quinn So that's something to it's like some places won't let you travel if your password is within six months of expiring.

Jake Really why what's the rationale?

Quinn Because if you overstayed your time there, you’d be illegal in many ways. But we ran into that my aunt and uncle had a date coming up and they were like you can't leave the country and they were like “What the hell are you talking about. It's one week trip!” It was like to Mexico and they were like, “Nope”. So they had to jump through all these hoops.

Thom Yeah. Good to know. That's brutal I would I would be very upset.

Jake I mean, it depends where you are, though, where you get stuck. Might not be the worst thing.

Thom Well, it's true. But if you can't get into the country in the first place…

Jake Oh that's what you're saying, yeah okay.

Thom If you're like headed out on vacation to Mexico, and they're like, “Nope. You can't come in,” and you're like in the airport.

Jake Yeah, with your flip flops on already.

Quinn And your plastic belt.

Thom Yeah, I gotta get me a plastic bag. My, my, I have an aluminum one that's made by Petzel that I travel with it's just like a little like tiny aluminum buckle and that makes it through like half of the metal detectors half isn't good enough. I need plastic yeah I gotta upgrade. Yeah.

Quinn One time when I went through one of those ones where they swab everything. And when we were coming back from Mexico and like whatever lotion I’d used triggered it and it was my mom and I and we were running late.

And I remember I was like my mom had already gone through and she was like, “I'm going to go to the gate and tell the flight is like tell them you're coming” so she left me and they like detained me in a Mexican like holding cell because they were waiting for a woman to come to like feel me up because they wouldn't allow a man to do it. There's like at this point. Like, I don't care. Like send anyone you want, but it was like the aloe lotion or whatever they had at the hotel triggered something on a swab and they thought it was like bomb something or other.

Hey, it all worked out, but it's stressful being alone.

Thom Could it have been the cocaine lotion I’ve heard about?

Quinn I mean yeah, maybe. Ha-ha.

Thom Nice, well. I think we've just passed an hour on the on the recording so I think we might wrap it up.

Jake Let's wrap it up.

Thom I think that was a good little chat. So thank you guys for coming on the show.

Jake That was a great way to spend an hour. Thanks for having us.

Thom The wine was good too. Hopefully we're not all like slurring, we're gonna listen to this tomorrow. Alright. Thanks, guys.

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