Billie and Steve are the authors and blog owners of SantaFeTravelers.com and this would be the first time that I’d be featuring a blogger that focuses mainly on one destination.
If you are heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico then this blog is definitely for you. Billie and Steve writes about a lot of helpful tips about this place and they also manage a travel company that helps tourists plan and arrange tours around the area.
Billie, aside from co-managing their travel company also used to work as a concierge and now as a writer covering Santa Fe and other areas.
Get to know more about Billie and visit her at Santa Fe Travelers. But before you click away, check out my short interview with Billie.
How did you discover your passion for travelling?
“My dad had wanderlust; my mom was a real homebody. On weekends he and I would get into the car and go on adventures.. Because of this, I developed a love for road trips. Fortunately, Steve Collins, my husband/travel and business partner shares that passion.”
What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?
“We rented a vacation cottage for a week from an ad in the New York Times. It boasted “great ocean views.” I should have known it would be a dump- it was too cheap. I asked the owner a lot of questions and he gave me great answers. It turned out they were all lies. On our way to this small, out of the way town, we stopped and spent all our cash on a week’s worth of food. When we arrived at the cottage, it was clear we couldn’t stay there. There was a water view, if you craned your neck and looked between the oil storage tanks. The bed sagged; the living room was a row of kitchen chairs lined up and the kitchen, well…. We knew we’d be miserable here. A call to the owner to ask for a refund fell on deaf ears.
This was clearly a case of Caveat emptor. So, in the olden days before ATMs, we set off on the road without money. (In full disclosure, there would have been no money in the bank account if we had an ATM. I’d paid all our bills before we left.) We had a credit card and a check book. We threw ourselves on the kindness of strangers as we journeyed up the Maine coast. And they were kind. Bed and breakfast owners from Bar Harbor to Calais took pity on us and agreed to hold our checks until we got home. We had a serendipitous and unexpected adventure and a far better vacation than if we stayed in that odd town that our son, a teenager at the time, said was right out of Twin Peaks. Things happen for a reason.”
What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?
“We’re lucky. There are a lot of wonderful travel memories. It’s hard to pick one, but spending my birthday on a magical island in the middle of a lake in Ireland is sure up there at the top.”
taken at BBQ U – Billie Frank (middle) with Steve and Steven Raichlen (pic courtesy of The Broadmoor)
What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?
“That I have to be flexible, because, no matter how well you plan, it won’t happen the way you think. Take what’s before you and make it work and more than work; make it special.”
What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?
“I’m not a constant traveler and I marvel at those who make their lives on the road. I couldn’t do it. I start craving home after a few weeks. When we do travel I’m motivated by the mystery of what lays ahead. What adventures will I have today? What interesting people will we encounter? Will the day be one we always remember?”
This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
“I LOVE food, so my perfect travel celebrity travel companion would be someone equally enamored with eating. A culinary tour with food writer and former Gourmet Magazine editor Ruth Reichl would be an incredible experience. I love her approach to food writing, you can taste the food she describes and she has a good sense of humor. The restaurants and markets we would explore, would, I’m sure be memorable.”
Where’s your favourite place in this planet and why?
“I have two, Santa Fe where I live and the West of Ireland. Both those places make me feel as if I’ve come home. In 1984, sitting on the top of the Puye Cliffs, I felt like I’d come home. It’s one of the reasons we’re here. The first time I set foot in Ireland, I had the same feeling. I would go to ancient sites and weep and not know why. It was as if I’d been there before.”
What’s your best tip for newbie traveller?
“Act like you know where you are and what you are doing all the time especially in dicey areas. Ask directions in places that feel safe. That confidence can make a real difference.”
What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?
“We were late for a ferry and in our haste, drove away from a gas station with the hose still in the tank. Gas was spurting everywhere. I ran into the convenience store to alert the clerk. There was a long line. I was in a bit of a panic and tried to explain we had an emergency. “Ma’am, you’ll have to wait your turn.” I again tried to explain it was an emergency, he wasn’t going to listen. We had to make that ferry, car reservations were hard to come by, so off we went. It wasn’t funny at the time; I worried the entire vacation that they were coming to arrest me any minute. But, distance made it funny. Almost a quarter of a century later we still laugh about it. It’s a bit of a family legend.”
What do you think about yourself?
“I’m a strong-minded woman, clear on what works and doesn’t for me. If I don’t want to do it I don’t. Since I was a child, I have been marching to the beat of a different drum.
I’m also missing the tact and diplomacy gene and have to work hard sometimes not to offend, though, I’m not always successful. I pretty much say what I think. Think of the kid in the Emperor’s New Clothes.”
“Our blog is a few things. Our main mission is to provide information on Santa Fe for people who live here, want to visit here or want to learn about the area. We also cover food, often local, because we both love it. We also write about our travels, which are more limited than we’d like at the moment as we have a travel-planning and tour business (The Santa Fe Traveler) that needs our time and attention. We plan to be on the road more in the future. Got to get those things ticked off the bucket list!” – Billie Frank
Editor’s Note: Pictures are provided by Billie, 2nd picture courtesy of The Broadmoor