The wonderful Jessica of Tiny Portal recently nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thanks! It’s an award given to bloggers by bloggers. Cool, right? I’m supposed to answer Jessica’s questions, then nominate some other fabulous bloggers to answer some questions I’ve created. Y’all know I’m wordy, so let’s get cracking!
1. Where was the first country you fantasized about traveling to? And have you made it to that country yet?
The first place I fantasized about traveling to was India. I haven’t made it there yet, but I will shortly.
Waiting for it to cool down then I think I’ll take a quick weekend trip to visit the Taj Mahal.
2. What has been your favorite and least favorite food adventures?
My favorite food adventure involves eating pork. It’s a close tie between stuffing my face with Gamjatang in Korea and making it a personal mission to try several different types of Lechon while in Cebu, Philippines. My least favorite food adventure was very recent. In fact, I’m still gagging at the thought of eating that vile dish. While in Lebanon, I tried “fried brains with pine nuts.” I have no idea what animal’s brains I tasted, but that thing was atrocious. This coming from a woman who has eaten bugs, live octopus, and enjoys occasional fried liver and onions. Brains are not for me!
3. What is one thing you always bring with you on your trips (a picture, a favorite scarf)?
This isn’t going to be very sentimental, but one thing I always bring with me on a trip is some type of packing cube or pouch. Those things help me to organize my life while on the road. Practicality for the win!
4. Are you a kindle reader or do you stuff ‘real books’ into your bag? Why? And are you reading anything fun at the moment?
I loathe carrying around books. Plus, I get hand cramps from holding them while lying down and reading at weird angles. I used to stuff my iPad with e-books and devour them using the Kindle app. The last book I read was this summer called Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite Van Geldermalsen. A friend loaned it to me after she heard how much I loved visiting Petra, Jordan.
5. How much research of preparation do you do on a country before traveling? A few TripAdvisor perusals, learn a few words in the local tongue, make Lonely Planet your bible, or just show up and hope for the best?
Usually, I am a super type A planner when it comes to travel. I research the hell out of everything via TripAdvisor, my travel group buddies, and googling to see which bloggers have written about their experiences there. I obsess about details and plan a packed itinerary. The language I generally pick up on arrival. Meaning, I might learn the basic hello, how are you and thank you. I’m slowly getting away from this now. In Zanzibar I had an itinerary that was chock full of stuff to do, but once we arrived I decided to let it go and enjoy being with my then boyfriend. In the Philippines and Thailand, I had a list of things to do and highlighted my MUSTS. Once I arrived, I made sure the MUSTS were mostly covered and was flexible with the rest. Recently, a friend and I went to Beirut. She planned everything and I had one suggestion. For the most part, all I had to do was show up and enjoy myself. It was a nice change of pace for me.
6. What was one of your scariest, can’t believe that just happened, I’d like to go home now experience?
The scariest was when I fell in a ditch before crossing the highway in Santa Marta, Colombia. I twisted my ankle pretty badly and was very shaken up about the ordeal. I remember calling home and crying my eyes out. That feeling passed after a few days on the beach.
7. What was one of your funniest, can’t believe that just happened because it’s so awesome, this is amazing experiences?
I went to Sri Lanka with friends. While visiting a mosque and lookout point near Unawatuna, we happened upon a drum circle. One of my girls decided to not only join the fun, but also steal the show. It was the best moment of impromptu glee and intercultural appreciation I’ve seen yet.
8. Tell us 11 interesting/hilarious/weird and wonderful things about yourself.
Instead of doing this list style, I’ll be sneaky and add 2 things in a few sentences. Here we go… I don’t eat PB&J because it looks gross, but I love octopus sashimi. I’m afraid of heights, but I’ve been bungee jumping, hiked across suspension bridges, and climbed stairways to heaven. I’m obsessed with forts and lighthouses. Flying makes me gassy; I crop dust often. I like trying the local alcohol whenever I travel. I’m not the strongest swimmer, but I snorkel and jump waves anyway. I try to wear the same outfit when I travel – cardigan, t-shirt, and sweats.
9. What are 3 things you’ve learned about yourself while traveling?
1) I loathe going to museums and churches. Unless it’s something really unique and vibrant, it all starts to look the same. Old building, lots of writing, stuffy smells. No thank you. I’m much more interested in seeing what’s happening right now than being cooped up in an old building reading a bunch of placards.
2) There will be at least one day where I will be sick. I will have the trots (aka traveler’s diarrhea) and life will momentarily suck. Knowing this, I now carry wet wipes, immodium, and pepto with me every time I travel.
3) I need to be around water. This doesn’t mean I must have an island or beach vacation all the time, but being near a body of water on vacation does something wonderful to my spirit.
10. What do you tell people when they ask you about your travels and whether or not you’re afraid or how you can ‘afford’ the travel life?
I try not to live my life in too much fear. If I have a really bad feeling about a place, I don’t go. There aren’t many places that I fear, though. Most of the fear I, and many other Americans, have has been shaped by misinformation or by extremely skewed views portrayed in the media (or other fearful/misinformed people). Don’t let fear keep you from trying something new. See for yourself. When it comes to how I can afford my travel life… I simply do. Though I make significantly more money now than when I first started traveling as a student, I still follow the same principles I did back then. Each time I get paid, I throw money at debt repayment, a savings account, a travel fund, and current bills. Whatever remains is my play money. Having money set aside for travel and an academic calendar means I can plan ahead or be as flexible as needed with trips. I take advantage of airfare sales as much as possible, look for groupons or deals in the cities I plan to travel, and try hard as hell to stick to a reasonable budget while I’m on vacation. I can afford to travel because I make this a priority.
11. And where are you headed next? Or where do you want to head next?
My next trip is likely to Oman or Bahrain. My family is coming to visit for Christmas and we might do a day or overnight trip just to have a look around. I love that I can fly to another country for a short trip to see something new for relatively cheap. Up next on my big wish list are: The Maldives, Seychelles, Iceland, and the Grand Canyon.
Even though it took me 3 months to write (because blog hiatus), this was pretty fun. Let’s have a look at the rules, shall we?
So you’ve been nominated for The Liebster Award. Now what? If you choose to accept it, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
1. Thank the person who nominated you (That’s me, Timah at Live. Travel. More…), and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which have been provided by me (please find them at the end of the post)
4. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know about this information!)
5. Create a new list of 11 questions for your nominees and attach them to your post
6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here—That’s what I did)
Once you have written and published your post, please:
7. Inform the nominated people/blogs and let them know that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it! I know I hadn’t until I got this awesome nomination)
And come back to this blog and post the link to your Liebster Award post so I can read your writings and be jealous of all the cool things you’ve done.
AND THE NOMINEES ARE…
Robin of 9 to 5 Wanderlust
Sheryll of The Wanderlust Project
Gary of CatchGifUCan
Ceri of Not in the Pink
Yvette of The Roaming Filipina
- What’s your favorite type of lodging? Are you a super luxe hotel, or are you a have tent will sleep kind of person (or somewhere in between)?
- Show us your favorite photo from the last place you visited.
- What’s your favorite travel accessory?
- Show us a photo (or video) of the most memorable experience of your travels?
- If someone were to visit the city where you currently live, what would you recommend they do, visit, or eat?
- Where will you go next?
- Imagine you’re going on your next vacation and are only limited to packing your belongings in one bookbag. What would you pack in it?
- Tell us about an embarrassing moment you’ve had while traveling.
- What resources do you use to help you plan your vacations?
- If you could get rid of or skip one thing/procedure/process while traveling, what would it be?
- The last thing you do before leaving and the first thing you do when returning from a trip is ______?