“People don’t take trips, trips take people”. John Steinbeck
Mary Locke is the owner of Skint Press, which is a Portland based company that offers guide books for travelers on a budget. They have recently published Skint Portland, For the Frugal Vagabond. Which is available on here on it’s website.
Eliza: What is the main purpose of Skint Press?
Mary: Skint Press aims to make travel accessible to everyone by publishing guidebooks that highlight the free and affordable aspects of a city. The small press diverges from traditional guidebooks by not only being a humorous, entertaining read, but by also having slant toward counter-cultures and incorporating untraditional resources, for example, a map of Portland-area liquor stores.
Eliza: What is the most expensive mistake travelers make?
Mary: Not meeting the locals. Locals are typically quite eager to share their city with visitors. Once while visiting Tasmania, my sister and I watched a small concert at our hostel. After the show we shot pool and drank beers with one of the performers who was from Tasmania. He was a very proud Argentine-Australian. The next day we loaded into his van for a tour of his favorite beaches. They were pristine. Often these experiences can lead to lasting friendships--and a place to crash when you come back to visit, ha. Skint Press' guidebooks replicate these kind of experiences in guidebook form. The book is full of articles by locals sharing their favorite insider spots.
Eliza: What makes cheap travel in Portland challenging?
Mary: Not knowing what's out there. Yes, you'll hear about Powell's Bookstore while you're still flying in on the plane. Anyone on the Max Red Line from the airport can tell you about VooDoo Donuts. Numerous books, weekly’s, and websites are available promoting Portland's happening and trendy restaurants, hotels, and bars. Publications regularly profile the popular, but not necessarily the cheap. Guidebooks by Skint Press fill this void, eliminating this challenge.
Eliza: What is the best place to get cheap eats in Portland?
Mary: Cheeful Tortoise, in downtown Portland, offers a hash browns, eggs, and toast breakfast for $1.99. It might not be listed on the menu, but they serve it, just ask. Another cheap downtown breakfast joint is Leo's Nonsmoking Coffee Shop, which has a shockingly cheap menu, and Portland's most gracious waiter, Leo. For more, you'll have to buy the book. The second edition of "Skint Portland" has a winter publication date, but is available for pre-order now.
Eliza: What makes Portland worth writing about as a city?
Mary: Portland is thriving! The restaurant scene in Portland has been growing for years and is currently flourishing. Strong, local ties bind communities in Portland, creating numerous collectives of diverse benefit, such as Bike Farm, Free Geek and the North Portland Tool Library. The Rose City is a breeding ground for creativity, where eccentric arts, such as Trek in the Park and the Adult Soapbox Derby, prosper.