Grantourismo - 12 months, 24 destinations, countless experiences
Warning: If you love traveling, this post might cause some envy.
Lara Dunston and Terence Carter are a couple I’ve been following for over a year through their blogs and Twitter updates. Laura describes herself as a perpetual globetrotter and travel writer and Terence describes himself as a travel and editorial photographer. They’ve been traveling extensively, with Dubai being their base, for the past few years.
Towards the end of 2009 they announced they'd embark on a new travel adventure in 2010 called Grantourismo. Partnering with HomeAway Holiday-Rentals, they will trade hotel rooms for holiday homes and travel slowly, live like locals, do and learn new things and give something back at each destination they visit. They plan to visit 24 destinations in 12 months aiming to explore more enriching and authentic ways of travelling, and make travel more meaningful and more memorable.
Their Grantourismo tour started off in January in Australia, where both couples originate from, after spending their Christmas and New Year holiday there. This was followed by a stop in Dubai where I got to meet them at a small party they hosted at their Dubai holiday home on the Palm Jumeirah island. It was fun little soiree with great company. Lara and Terence are a lovely couple and great hosts. They are interesting, funny and served some very delicious food and drinks.
Lara explained that their reasons for pursuing a 'living like locals' and 'sustainable travel' theme is because 'we are fed up with seeing the negative effects of the globalization of culture everywhere, the fact that every market in every city of the world is starting to look the same, that fast foods are starting to taste the same, that every cinema is showing the same old blockbusters'.
So they are now on a mission to find interesting neighbourhoods in cities where people can stay and find local markets, shops, art galleries, artisans at work - and buy local produce to cook, try local food from smaller neighbourhood restaurants that are off the beaten track, visit small local galleries instead of the mega-museums, and essentially consume local culture, local products, and spend money locally.
The Dubai party was a bit of a warm up before the official one that was held in London few days after the Dubai event. They are now in Morocco and the Grantourismo blog is updated regularly and includes great insights about the neighbourhoods they are in, the people they meet, music they hear, food they eat and even some delicious recipes with local flavours depending on which city they are in (my favourite so far is the Weekend Eggs series).
I wish Lara and Terence the best of luck in their travels and will continue to follow them through their updates online. Who knows, maybe I get to see them again in one of their destinations this year.
Grantourismo on Twitter @gran_tourismo
Lara's website www.cooltravelguide.blogspot.com
Lara on Twitter @laradunston
Terence's website www.terencecarterphotography.com
Terence on Twitter @terencecarter