Meet the Travelers: Darrell and Oliver Hartman
Names: Darrell Hartman, Oliver Hartman.
Hometown: Whitefield, Maine.
Occupations: Writer (DH), filmmaker (OH), and co-founders of Jungles in Paris.
DH: Nepal, Namibia, Scottish Highlands.
OH: The Serengeti, Argentina, Nicaragua.
Dying to visit:
OH: The Arctic.
Bizarre travel rituals:
DH: I empty my wallet of anything extraneous. It’s a psychological thing about traveling light.
OH: Not packing enough underwear. It’s a constant.
In-flight relaxation regime:
DH: Plug in headphones and stash all things I want to read in the seat-back in front of me. Flying is a calmly productive time for me.
OH: Shoes comes off, blanket goes on, and I start checking out what movies are playing. I can’t do work on an airplane.
Always in carry-on:
DH: Water bottle.
OH: Any expensive camera equipment I’m bringing.
Concierge or DIY? DIY, but when we’re working we won’t say no to a little help.
See it all or take it easy?
DH: I tend to like to pack things in. But I’m mellowing out!
OH: Take it easy. I like to connect with locals rather than spend time with a tour guide or run through too many spots.
Drive or be driven?
DH: Be driven. Just less to think about!
OH: Be driven, because it makes filming easier. My normal travel style is public transport.
DH: Peter Matthiessen, the writer. He went to wild places and examined them deeply but without too much sentimentality. He was comfortable traveling alone, but often went out with expert naturalists, which helped him see the world in a poetic and scientifically objective way. And more than being simply respectful of foreign ways of living, he was curious about them too.
OH: Paul Farmer, the founder of Partners in Health. He’d sleep in churches in the U.S. just so he could save up to go back to Haiti to work. That passion and willingness to rough it in order to truly connect with people stuck with me.
Favorite childhood memory: Our family has a camp on an island in the northern woods of Maine. No electricity, no nonsense. Various moments from there sit deep in our hearts.
Weirdest thing seen on travels:
DH: The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in India.
OH: When I was living in Nicaragua, a stranger in this small town came up to me, put a piece of candy in my pocket, and said something to me that I didn’t understand. My Nicaraguan friend, who was with me at the time, didn’t understand it either but told me in all seriousness that I’d just been approached by a witch.
Best hotel amenity:
OH: Great sheets.
My favorite hotel is:
DH: Amangiri in Utah because of total desert immersion.
OH: Luwi Bush Camp in Zambia because it’s super-remote, low on frills, and has pretty much zero separation from nature.
I dream about my meal at:
DH: The Painted Lady in Newberg, Oregon. My girlfriend and I stopped in for a meal this summer on our road trip through the Pacific Northwest.
OH: This roadside taco stand in Merida, Mexico. I had on my giant backpack and two hours to kill before my bus came. I remember the stand had this mountain of chopped onions. I ordered tacos until I couldn’t eat anymore.
Everywhere I go, I check out the:
DH: Second-hand bookshops.
OH: Ladies. And the supermarkets, gyms, bookstores, nightclubs, and post offices.
When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by:
DH: Taking a walk or a run. Hopping on a city bus.
OH: Devouring maps.
We always bring home nothing. Both of us are pretty non-acquisitive. Although our kind of souvenirs (prosciutto, apples, miniature wallabies, hypoallergenic Siberian kittens) never make it through customs.
If I never return to:
DH: Vegas it’ll be too soon because no matter how you dress the place up, it’s just 100 percent gross.
OH: Tegucigalpa, Honduras, it’ll be too soon because I truly did not feel safe.
We travel for the enjoyment of superficial differences and the recognition of common humanity.
FOLLOW OLIVER AND DARRELL