Park City couple Cheryl Acheson and Rick Hyman know the difference between travelers and tourists.
A tourist is someone who visits places to see famous landmarks, while travelers “may get lost and experience the unexpected,” they say in their blog, Travel Is Beautiful.
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“We go to places not knowing what we’re going to see and do,” said Hyman, whose primary responsibility is taking photographs. “It’s always an adventure.”
Hyman and Acheson started the blog nearly 18 months ago and have visited Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland since.
We go to places not knowing what we’re going to see and do. It’s always an adventure.”Rick Hymanblogger
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Closer to home, the couple has traveled to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, as well as Yellowstone and Zion national parks.
They even wrote an entry about mountain biking in Park City, Hyman said.
“The goal of the blog has evolved as we have gone through it,” he said. “The current goal is to be an example of what you can do as you travel.”
Acheson, who is the primary writer and editor of the blog, said she and her husband usually like to travel alone, but do make some exceptions.
“We went to Istanbul this year and we had private guides for four of the five days we were there,” she said. “We got to see things that we wouldn’t have known what to look for, and we got a history lesson with the tour guides.”
One of the guides was a local photographer, Hyman said.
“He took us to the back shops that are located over the Grand Bazaar,” Hyman said. “These back shops are where people, craftsmen, have worked for centuries, and we were able to watch a craftsman make hand-poured brass castings of various items.”
The couple also met a young Syrian refugee. Turkey has become a landing spot for thousands fleeing the Syrian Civil War.
“The guide was able to translate his story,” Acheson said. “So we were able to hear it first hand, and not third hand.”
Acheson said if it weren’t for the guide, she and Hyman would have gotten lost.
“We also wouldn’t have known how to ask if we could take photos,” she said.
One of the most inspiring trips for the bloggers was one they took to Croatia last year.
“(The Balkans) just survived a war and everyone who lives there had been affected by it,” Acheson said. “Some lost their parents, some lost their homes, and you can see where shells have crashed into some buildings. But the people there have a phenomenal spirit and it really was uplifting to see and interact with them.”
Another rewarding excursion was to Yellowstone to participate in wolf tracking with guide Leo Leckie.
“He introduced us to the world of wolf trackers,” Acheson said. “There is a whole community of people who love the wolves, and they have their phones, walkie-talkies and all kinds of ways to contact each other.”
Hyman and Acheson spotted some wolves, included a couple that faced some bears over a recent kill.
“Leo also explained to us how wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone,” Acheson said. “He also talked about the politics and concerns that surround the complex issue of the wolves. It was so much more than we thought it would be.”
Most recently, Hyman just returned from a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon.
“We’re in the process of writing that blog,” he said.
In order to record their travels, Hyman and Acheson shy away from bulky equipment.
“I shoot with a Leica camera, which is relatively small and not too obtrusive,” Hyman said. “I like it because it also can take some high-quality photos.”
Both will take notes and then Acheson will convert those into stories.
“It’s challenging because it’s like going back to my eighth grade grammar class,” Acheson said, smiling. “I also have to write in a way that draws people in.”
Accuracy is at the top of Acheson’s list.
“We don’t want the blog to be about us coming in and interpreting things through our filters,” she said. “To do that, we’ll look for historical references of the areas we visit, because we just want to show the places as it is, not as we perceived it.”
Travel Is Beautiful is gaining notice from other outlets such a local podcast called “Couple Co.: Working with Your Spouse for Fun & Profit.”
“We are happy people are interested in our travels, because we want people to go out and experience these places for themselves,” Acheson said. “We want them to get out there and learn new things.”
Park City couple Cheryl Acheson and Rick Hyman have started a new travel blog. For information, visit travelisbeautiful.com.