Some of you know us in real life, but most of those who read our blog have never actually met us. We have an “About Us” page that introduces who we are and how we came to be in Europe, but let’s be honest. How much can you really know someone from a brief blurb like that? Not well! I mean, I just found out this week that my husband’s family actually had an indoor house cat for awhile when he was growing up. Maybe this doesn’t seem like shocking news, but my husband and I grew up together. I thought I knew pretty much everything about him, and certainly his childhood pets. So in an effort to share a bit more about ourselves, here are 33 “fun facts about me” you might not know about your favorite travel couple.
We’re just gonna go out on a limb here and assume we’re your favorite travel couple. In the event we’re not, break it to us gently.
1. Two Small Potatoes are Carrie & Travis. We met in Fernwood, Idaho during the fall of 1988 when we were both in grade school. That means we’ve known each other for 33 years!
Hence the 33 in “33 Fun Facts About Us…”
Here’s a little throw back from the 1990s when we were still in high school.
2. I don’t have any tattoos, even though I think a lot of them are really cool. I’m too indecisive; I could never decide what to get.
3. Fact: huckleberry cheesecake and strawberry rhubarb pie tie for the best dessert ever.
4. Trav says his greatest pet peeve is “being interrupted.” He said this when I interrupted him to ask what his biggest pet peeve is.
5. Every year on October 1st, we start listening to the soundtrack to Nightmare Before Christmas. We usually watch it at least once a year too, like most people watch their favorite Christmas movie in December. We actually have a friend who claims it is a Christmas movie.
Matt Wamsley, you’re wrong!
6. Travis once won a cherry-eating contest by fitting 30 cherries in his mouth.
7. Idaho is famous for its potatoes. We’re both from Idaho. It’s why we named our blog Two Small Potatoes. Ironically, there are no potatoes in North Idaho, where we’re from. They’re grown in south-eastern Idaho.
Fun Fact: Wanna know a random fun fact about potatoes? Idaho grows more potatoes than any other state in the US, which is the 5th-largest potato producer in the world.
Germany, which is also famous for its potatoes, came in at #8 last year. Ireland? They were 84th on the list. And yet whenever I think Europe + potatoes, I think Ireland.
8. Here’s a fun fact about me: I love skinny dipping. Like, seriously love it. I love swimming in general, but doing it naked? Best feeling in the world!
9. Between the two of us, we have 22 nieces and nephews.
If you ever visit North Idaho, don’t drink the water.
10. Travis got his first rifle when he was three years old, which is also when he went on his first bear hunt. Now that’s not something everyone can say!
Of course, not everyone wants to be able to say that, but regardless of your feelings about guns, hunting is still a useful skill to have, at least where we come from. Not only did he learn a healthy dose of respect for guns from his parents, but Travis, his brother, and their dad provided for their family of six with a steady supply of elk steaks, canned venison, and possum stew.
Just kidding about that last one. I’m pretty sure they never ate possum.
Maybe squirrel though…
Trav will be the first one to tell you that hunting was pretty much the most important thing in his life as a kid – at least ’til he met me.
11. I had heavy metals poisoning for the first three years of my life and was really sick. Travis was run over by a car when he was six and ended up with a skull fracture and lacerated liver. It’s amazing either of us survived childhood!
12. I have a lot of nicknames. They’re weird.
When we were kids, my sister Deb called me Ooie Ham. She still does sometimes. My family calls me Harold (long story, and yes, I’m a girl). My brother-in-law used to call me Hairball. Travis started calling me Harold in high school. Now he calls me everything from Harold or Schmairb to Bumba or Schmairbnheimer. He just called me Schmibbity Bibbity a few minutes ago.
If someone calls me Carrie, I practically don’t even recognize my real name.
13. When Trav was a kid, his family had a black bear and a raven named Edgar Allan Crow for awhile as a pet. His family rescued them.
My family had a pet raccoon named Bandit, ferrets, rats, a tarantula, and a skunk. Plus cats, dogs, geese, chickens, pigs – your typical pets and barnyard animals.
14. Travis was voted the funniest guy in his graduating class in high school. He’s really funny!
15. Hands down, the question we’ve been asked most as Americans in Europe is, “Did you vote for Trump?“
16. The only time I’ve had food poisoning was while traveling in Panama.
Maybe don’t buy the discount chicken platter for $2.50?
Oh, who am I kidding. If it’s street food and it’s cheap, I’ll eat anything, anywhere.
17. We didn’t grow up with cell phones because they weren’t really around yet. Yes, we’re that old.
18. Travis can’t live without coffee. Morning, noon, and night. I love it too, but not like him. As soon as he finishes a cup, he’s already thinking about when and where the next one is coming from. Even when we’re camping, we always pack some way to brew a cuppa joe.
The perfect gift for him would be a road trip through all the best coffee plantations in South America. FYI: His birthday is in October!
19. Our dog thinks she’s a cat and our cat thinks he’s a dog. They both go camping and kayaking with us.
It’s as if the two somehow partially swapped identities while they were growing up together. We adopted our rat terrier, Ratatouille, as a puppy right about the same time my mom surprised us with Brisco, a ragdoll kitten that she’d found on Craigslist in need of a home.
The two grew up rollicking around the house at breakneck speed, knocking over the occasional lamp and terrorizing our other cat. Then Touille abruptly stopped growing, topping out at 9 or 10 pounds. Brisco – the precocious little turd – ballooned to nearly double her weight.
Nowadays, Touille’s too wary of Brisco’s Edward Scissorhands claws for them to play together, but they both are super and love adventure. When we can, we take them on the random kayaking or camping trip, where they both follow us off leash wherever we go.
20. Another fun fact about me? I’m crazy good at puzzles. I once used my puzzling prowess to win a contest at a science retreat with Trav’s lab mates. It’s still the only time I’ve done a jigsaw puzzle next to a campfire with light from headlamps. It felt like taking gold at the Olympics.
21. The most searched phrase that mistakenly leads people to our Two Small Potatoes travel blog is “recipes with two small potatoes.” Haha, nope! We’re not a cooking site.
22. One of us may or may not have an outstanding bench warrant for his arrest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hypothetically, if this were true, it would be because of an unpaid parking ticket amounting to $40.
And hypothetically, if one were to send a series of respectful but righteously indignant letters to city officials contesting said hypothetical ticket, it’s possible that city officials might relent and waive the ticket. However, one of us may still no longer be welcome in the city of Albuquerque.
To our knowledge, there is no reward for this hypothetical bench warrant, so don’t be thinkin’ you can go all Dog the Bounty Hunter on us.
Plus there was that moving van vs billboard incident near Tucson…
23. I studied abroad in Costa Rica for a semester and absolutely loved it. So did Travis; he came to visit for 10 days while I was there. We’d move to South America if only he could find a job in his field.
25. It might surprise ya’ll to find out I spent two summers in Bristol Bay, Alaska working on a fishing vessel and two years as a petroleum inspector for oil refineries on the West Coast.
Or maybe not, actually. I’m not exactly a girly girl, though I did have to discreetly wipe away a tear when we watched P.S. I Love You.
There’s just something wholly satisfying about not just working in a male-dominated field, but excelling in it. After a year as a petroleum inspector, I was asked to train new employees in the field. I loved it. Rolling out to a barge at 2 am, bottomless cups of bad coffee, meeting with Customs officials to clear a vessel for cargo exchange – even the stench of seagull poop on the docks.
Here’s a little throw-back: remember when this hashtag was trending?
Sometimes the job really sucked, but no job is perfect. I didn’t like being on call 7 days a week and working up to 90 hours a week, but the pay made it worth it, thanks to the overtime. In less than a year, I was able to pay off my entire student loan debt – $3000 from a semester abroad in Costa Rica – and the last few thousand of Trav’s loans.
Of course, the grand irony is that I paid off our college debt with money from a job that required nothing more than a high school diploma. Go figure.
Now that I’m older, I’m much more concerned with environmental issues. In the future, I’d love to work for an eco-friendly tourism company or a non-profit developing renewable energy sources. I’ll always be grateful though for the pay – and even more, the experiences – that I gained from those two jobs.
Plus, Alaska is just plain AWESOME!
26. Travis is left handed; I’m right handed. He always sits on my left when we eat so we don’t bonk elbows. From that, we got in the habit of my thing just always being on the right. Which one is my Long Island Iced Tea on the counter? The one on the right, obviously.
27. The hardest job I ever had was as a case worker for Child Welfare. It was also the most rewarding.
28. In grad school in Oregon, Travis figured out what a specific gene does in fruit flies and got to name it. He called it midlife crisis.
Tip: For anyone who needs any custom artwork done, from logos to large paintings or sketches, check out Dale’s work at Brainbox Studio. He also drew the custom logos for our website. There’s seriously nothing the guy can’t design or draw, but his classic cars are especially cool.
29. Trav’s favorite music is opera. He gets it from his dad, who took him once a month to the local opera house in Emida when he was growing up.
30. The first country I visited outside the USA was Spain when I was 19. It’s still the only time I’ve been really lost in a city. I have the worst sense of direction.
Right after arriving in Barcelona for a month, I hopped a bus to go exploring. I spent the entire day seeing the sights before realizing I didn’t know the address or name of the hostel where I was staying. I didn’t own a cell phone.
Let’s just say I saw a LOT of the city that night before I finally stumbled upon my street and recognized it.
31. Our favorite countries in Europe (so far) are Switzerland, Iceland, and Romania. We still haven’t been to Norway though…
32. The worst food I’ve ever tried was sea urchin at a sushi restaurant. So gross.
33. In Oregon, Travis used to ride his bike 5 1/2 miles to work each day. During one commute in winter, his bike slipped on the ice and he crashed, knocking out a front tooth. He had a fake flipper tooth for months until he got an implant. While he had it, he had fun surprising people by suddenly wiggling it all over with his tongue. The reactions he got? Priceless.
34. Travis and I were both born at home. My sister, Heather, too. A local television crew even came out and interviewed my mom when my sister was born!
So how’d you do on our travel couple trivia?
Did you already know all 33 of these random fun facts about us?
Because one of these “fun facts about me” is a tall tale! Do you know which one? Tell us in the comments below and we’ll let you know if you nailed it.
What about you? Share an interesting fun fact about yourself with us too!