Q&A With Lauren and Ryan from Flat Earth Magazine

Q&A

An introduction to the couple behind Flat Earth Magazine. 

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What is your favourite country?

Lauren:  Definitely Greece. The Islands, beaches, food and people make this country unbeatable.

 Ryan: The U.S.A. It seems like a horribly obvious choice but there’s one reason it’s my favourite, The National Parks. I think they are unrivalled anywhere in the world. Driving into Yosemite or Joshua Tree felt like arriving on a different planet.

Lefkas Greece
The crystal blue sea of Lefkas, Greece

 What is your favourite city?

L: London! Obviously there’s the home advantage but you can’t argue that London is the best city in the world. It’s so multicultural and there’s always something going on or a new area to explore.

R: Brighton. This is the closest place I have to a home city and wherever I go in the world I’m always holding places up to it in comparison. It’s a place that I feel really proud to be connected with. To grow up in a place where everyone and everything is accepted and loved.

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

What is the best gig you’ve ever been to?

L: Beyonce at the O2 Arena, London. I’m a die-hard fan of Bey and attending this incredible concert with some of my favourite people on the planet was something I’ll never forget. We were right at the front and I’m sure that she flashed me a smile…

R: Foxygen at the Komedia in Brighton. It was only a small gig but Foxygen had incredible stage presence. They make music that is really inspired by sixties and seventies San Francisco and it felt like we jumped back in time. The crowd became like a community, all looking after each other and enjoying the music and atmosphere in unison.

 What is your favourite book?

L:  Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres. This novel is perfection. WWII Kefalonia provides the backdrop of this incredible tale of love and war. De Bernieres style combines the perfect mix of comedy and heartbreaking reality. It will also make Kefalonia top your travel wishlist!

R: I couldn’t pick one. It’s ever changing but as a general rule it always seems to be an American Novel in one form or another. For the sake of this I’ll say Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums as it encapsulates the nomadic experience of free travel.

Nullabor 6
On the road in Australia

Who is your favourite Author?

L: Bill Bryson. The ultimate travel writer and an absolute joy to read. With books ranging from adventures around Australia, the USA and the UK to fascinating reads on language and literally the history of everything, there is nothing this wonderful man can’t make entertaining.

R: Again no single favourite. But the one’s that really stick with me are Albert Camus, Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain and Paul Auster as novelists. And Robert Hughes as a really accessible and enjoyable non-fiction writer and art critic.

Give us a quick overview of your travel history.

L: I’ve been lucky enough to travel from a young age, ticking off lots of Europe as well as roadtrips around Canada, the US and Barbados with my family. Independently, I backpacked around the world when I was 18 and am now roadtrippin’ around Australia for the next year or so!

R: I took a 6-month road trip around the U.S.A aged 18. I worked as a volunteer around National Parks in the South West, bought myself a van and toured the country from San Francisco to Miami. In the same year I also cycled for 6 weeks around Europe with some friends. We started in London and ended up in Oslo, Norway via The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. A few trips to Europe whilst studying and now living in a car once more in Australia.

Camping in Tasmania
We are currently camping in Tasmania

What is your top travel tip?

L: Walk down the side streets. This is where you will find the real heart of the cities or villages you stumble across in your travels. It’s where locals live and often socialise. It’s also where some of the best shops, cafes and restaurants lurk.

R: Never plan too much. I hate the idea of doing an itinerary bus tour of a country. Thousands have done it before you and thousands will do the exact same trip after you. Introduce an element of chance and originality. Have an experience of a place that is completely unique to you. Rough it!

Your least favourite city?

L: Manilla. I wanted to love this city as I had read so much hate on it. Unfortunately, my slightly asthmatic lungs couldn’t handle the intense pollution and the obscene divide between rich and poor was awful.

R: Manilla. The traffic was horrendous and the airport one of the worst I’ve ever been to. The poverty of many was hidden behind flashy multinational head offices and there was really very little that redeemed the city.

Manila, Philippines
The divide between rich and poor in Manila

Your worst travel experience?

L: Being sick on my Birthday in Palawan, The Philippines. I wrote about this experience on my blog, thestudenttravels.com. Being sick and away from home is the worst, being sick and away from home on your birthday is just unbearable!

R: Being jobless and running out of money in Melbourne. I had no car so it was impossible to leave and find something else. I felt trapped in the same cycle I had left at home of struggling to make ends meet and working shit jobs I hated. It worked itself out in the end though.

Countryside or City?

L: Both! I used to be an adamant city lover but in my old age, the gentleness and peacefulness of the countryside has won me over. I like to base myself in the city and surround myself with culture and people but have the countryside as a weekend retreat!

R: To live just outside the city, so the amenities and cultural offerings of the city are readily available but it’s just as easy to get away and spend some time in the quiet serenity of the countryside. 

Australia Countryside
It doesn’t come more peaceful than this in the Yarra Valley

Beach or Mountains?

L: Beach. I am a waterbaby and like nothing better than jumping in the sea on a hot day. Throw in my newfound love of surfing and you’ll find it difficult to tear my away from the sea.

R: Mountains. I love the beach but there’s nothing like a mountain landscape to fill you with awe and a sense of sublimity. That feeling when you round a corner and see a peak towering above you in the near distance is unrivalled in any other landscape.

Kangaroos on the Beach, Australia
Kangaroos on the beach in Australia, what’s not to love?!

First holiday abroad?

L: Zakynthos. I can’t remember much of it but it probably sparked by lifetime love affair with Greece!

R: Somewhere in the South of France. I don’t remember much except being bullied in a campsite mini golf course and bathing in a bucket outside my tent. Much the same as how I’m living now.

 Favourite Food?

L: Mexican. I can’t pass a burrito place without indulging. It’s like a disease…

R: Mexican and Chinese. They are both so different I couldn’t choice a favourite out of the two. Maybe pork dumplings doused in Jalapeño hot sauce?

Dumplings in China Town, Melbourne
Dumplings at our favourite Melbourne Chinese, Juicy Bao

Backpacker or Flashpacker?

L: Flashpack. As I’ve gotten older the lure of dorm rooms and dirty hostels has really worn thin. If the circumstance calls for it then I’m all for roughing it but give me a nice bed and a swimming pool and I’m not complaining!

R: Not entirely sure what exactly is meant by the two terms. All I do know is, I fucking despise hostels. I really believe the days of the hostel are numbered. I don’t want to travel 20,000 km around the world to live in a room with 5 lads from Luton. I think nowadays also there are far better budget options, camping or using Air BnB for example.

Flashpacking in Bali
Flashpacking in Ubud, Bali

What is the first thing you do when you arrive in a new place?

L: Eat! I am such a foodie and there’s nothing better, in my opinion, than tucking into the local food. My favourite game in new countries is to blindly order things off their menu and see what turns up. I’ve had mixed results as you can imagine…  

R: Grab something to eat. I’m hungry all the time but especially once I’ve just arrived in a place. We usually just dump our belongings and go for a walk to find a nice cafe. It’s a good way to get your bearings, get a feel for the place and its people and fuel up.

If you are a fellow traveller, blogger or wanderluster then we’d love to hear from you! Complete all of the above questions (or just pick your faves) and send your answers to enquiries@flatearthmag.com. We will feature your answers and link back to your pages and social media accounts. We look forward to hearing from you!