Given the nature of travel blogging, it is a relatively rare time when I can say that I met the people I am interviewing, but in this case, I got to meet Pete and Dalene during my somewhat crazy thirty days of the Ultimate Train Challenge, when they were housesitting in Brussels.
It was in Brussels that we bonded over my quest to find crazy hats for the train challenge, I picked their brain on housesitting (they are perhaps the biggest experts today in that area), watched them care for an old and infirm cat, drank much excellent beer in a local pub, stole wifi from an upstairs neighbor if perched just-so on their couch, and inadvertently got caught on video doing a spontanous chair dance.
Shockingly, I am not embarrassed by any of that. Pretty sure they aren’t either — well, they might be embarrassed for me, but that is a different point entirely.
In any case, I count them on a very short list of my best friends in the travel blogging world, love them entirely and want you to also.
1. You, unfortunately, have been condemned to die, but fortunately, you get to have any meal in the world before you go. What is your menu?
Pete: Argentinean steak topped with blue cheese, homemade perogies, asparagus. Tiramisu for desert and a few bottles of Amarone.
Dalene: Argentinean steak with a side of tagliatelli bolognese, buttery movie theater popcorn, chocolate cheesecake, and some of my grandma’s pickled carrots. I will likely explode from overeating before my condemners even get to me.
2. Current musical group you most want to see live, that you have not yet.
Pete: Beck, I can’t believe we haven’t seen him perform yet.
Dalene: We actually talk about this all the time, and yes, Beck is at the top of the list for both of us. We’ve been to many festivals and concerts around the world and always seem to miss him.
3. Best present you have gotten for each other.
Pete: I can’t think of the best, but I can sure think of the worst. I actually got Dalene a shower curtain for her birthday. I have no explanation, but if there is ANY consolation it was right after I proposed to her. I wish I could even say that it was a joke.
Dalene: Lucky for Pete I forgave him for that one and gave him the best gift ever – travel! In the early days of our marriage, I got a bonus from work that we weren’t expecting. I didn’t tell him about it, and booked us an extra long weekend getaway to Miami. I cleared it with his boss before we went, and only on the morning we were leaving did I tell him where we were going. When he got out of the shower (with the fancy new shower curtain, I might add), I had “Welcome to Miami” by Will Smith blaring on the stereo. I think that might make me the coolest wife ever. Or at least top ten.
4. Most annoying person in the world.
Pete: Sarah Palin, how the eff did she actually get a tv show after everything?
Dalene: We just got back from a tour in Morocco where our guide played Celine Dion’s Greatest Hits several times a day. Needless to say, she’s risen to the top of my annoying-people-list. If I happen to come across Celine in a dark alley, she will be the unfortunate recipient of a decisive throat chop.
5. Who is the dead historical figure you would have most wanted to meet?
Pete: Che Guevara. I’m sure we would smoke back a few cigars in that session.
Dalene: George Orwell. I would love to get his current thoughts on the state of the world.
6. You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours. Give me your itinerary.
Pete: I don’t ask much. Just a couple of kayaks and one of those stilt houses on the water in Bora Bora or the Maldives equipped with a personal chef and pistachio peeler.
Dalene: I’m lame. I’d go home to visit my family and friends. That seems like the hardest place to get to sometimes.
7. Your biggest pet peeve is? (and by pet peeve, I mean something so insignificant that it is embarrassing to admit it bothers you)
Pete: Cleaning Dalene’s hair from the shower drain. Drives me nuts cleaning that out.
Dalene: Wow, I can’t believe he brought that up, disgusting. Mine would have to be people that can’t accept that I don’t like certain foods. I ALWAYS hear: “You don’t like mushrooms? Well, why don’t you just try this dish? I’m sure you’ll like it!” Ugh, I am in my thirties, I am well aware of my likes and dislikes. Leave a chica alone for once.
8. Which celebrity would you let your spouse go on a “one-night-only-hall-pass-date” with?
Pete: Eddie Vedder, the guy defines cool (I believe Dalene actually had this “exclusion” written into our marriage contract).
Dalene: Scarlett Johanssen. No wait! Zooey Deschenal. Ah, what the hell, it’s only one night, let him have a sandwich!
9. You two are the housesitting masters — give us all one hint on how to get our first gig… cause I am trying!
Pete: Be quick on the draw and express LOTS of interest. If they have pets, tell them how much you love pets. If they are in Italy, tell them how you much you love Italy. Make them know that you are very interested and how it can benefit both of you.
Dalene: What Pete said. I also think that couples probably have an advantage, so maybe it’s time to find yourself a lady friend, Hodson (if only to boost your housesitting profile).
10. Who plays you in the movie about your life?
Pete: Jemaine Clement – Sort of fits my dorky-ness, and I would like to see him pull off a Canadian accent.
Dalene: An old friend used to tell me that Rashida Jones and I look alike. I wish, but I’ll take it!
11. Let’s hear one of your guilty pleasures — a good, embarrassing one (or two).
Pete: Does Yahoo news count? For some reason I always click on those damn “An Asteroid Is Going to Hit the Earth and End Civilization” articles and it always ends up being “possibly 2000 years later”. I’m a sucker. (Case in point see attached!!)
Dalene: I am a total gamer. I spend way more time playing on my iPod then I’d like to admit. I would also trade an appendage for a bag of Old Dutch Dill Pickle Potato Chips right now – they are my absolute weakness.
12. Who is your favorite writer, past or present?
Pete: I am horrible with authors and names as I never used to read all that much. But I must say that I really enjoyed reading my first Hemingway book last summer so I figure that’s a pretty safe bet 🙂
Dalene: I highly prefer to read historical non-fiction, so I bounce between authors based on my area of interest at the time. However, if I had to choose, I would pick the Canadian icon Margaret Atwood. Her mind is so twisty and creative.
13. You are able to ask one question to anyone in history and get a 100% honest reply — what is your question and to whom?
Pete: Ok, well the guy is still alive but I still want to know: David Lynch – Can you please tell me what Mulholland Drive is truly about?
Dalene: I would ask Michael Jackson to come clean on where he’s been hiding out. I swear I saw him in Bolivia.