If we review a place we stay, a museum or garden we visit, or a place we dine, those reviews will be posted first through TripAdvisor under our StephandRuss6 account. Rats. That probably blows S’s cover, huh?
You’d think we could just send you to our account so you could see the reviews, but at least twice in the past few years TripAdvisor has declined to post our reviews, so they clearly need to be circumvented, or at least backed up. We haven’t posted too many reviews, but we’re ramping up the volume as we begin to travel more.
No one, ever, as of January 2019, has paid us to visit a spot or to review a spot. We’re open to that, but if it happens, we’ll be completely forthright about the circumstances of the review.
Why do we do reviews? We don’t have time to waste, so we’re not doing this to hear ourselves clack at the keyboard. We write reviews because we read and utilize reviews when we’re choosing a place to spend money and time. Writing reviews allows us to give back to the community of reviewers. You should do the same when you travel. In most instances we have been very well served by following S’s rule of reviews: find people who seem like us, and see what they say.
What sort of folks are like us? Well, here’s what we’re like. We’re not in our twenties or our nineties, so we’re aiming at middle-aged folks. We’re parents who travel with kids (older kids these days, but we traveled with them when they were young, too). That said, we do travel kid-free some of the time. We can’t stand crowds of tourists so we duck, dodge, avoid, and eschew “normal” vacations…no theme parks, no resorts (honeymoon on the Dominican Republic excepted). Steph is happy to dance with a crowd of locals, which she and the girls did at Maskanoo on Turks & Caicos. If the island has a non-tourist end, side, cove, or backwater, that’s where we want to be. We are keen critter watchers…this goes far beyond bird watching. We search our local environment for fauna, large and small -and we’re not immune to flora’s charms, either. We’re the sort who watches for whales and dolphins from the porch, and when we’re in the water we return to the porch to drift through the ID books, learning about the sea creatures we saw. If there are shutters, we look behind them to see what lurks in the shadows…often bats and frogs. We scan the skies for frigates and flamingos. And we’re always happy to discover resident lizards, especially iguanas. If there is a barrel of monkeys scampering through the landscape at dawn, S is quite likely to scurry after them with her camera, wearing nothing but a nightie…at least until she discovers that all the holes in the grass, the holes she keeps stepping on and around while monkey snapping, aren’t made by land crabs. Tarantulas, I’ve discovered, will get her to put shoes on her feet. We like to have one nice meal each day out at a restaurant – we explore the local dining scene. We also enjoy cooking, S especially, so we eat in at least one meal a day – this habit encourages us to explore the local markets and roadside stands. We’ll try darn near any non-poisonous food – usually delicious, sometimes explosive! We’re active…S runs, we both snorkel and swim, we both hike, and we love to walk through the historic district of any island we visit, traipsing in and out of museums, galleries, and such. We’re budget minded because we’d rather travel two or three times each year than travel once, extravagantly. Besides a few trinkets for family and our most wonderful house & hound sitter, we don’t do much shopping…the occasional piece of island art or an exotic bottle of gin or rum, but that’s about it. We’d rather comb the beaches and hunt the hills for little objects which will become part of the collection in our cabinet of curiosities.
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: if the text of a given review is sweet, kind, enthusiastic, and entirely polite, then S was sitting next to me as I typed. If there’s some salt, I take all the blame. For example, S did not suggest re-introducing dueling in order to cut the world population of politicians and political apparatchiks in half.
Click on through….
British Virgin Islands 2015, The Review
Turks & Caicos 2017, The Reviews