Discovering New Blogs: The Liebster Award

liebster2A few weeks ago I nearly fell of my seat when I discovered my blog had been nominated for an award, The Liebster Award, by No Time For Travel. As a very new, and reasonably part time blogger, I was very happy that someone out there had read my posts and liked them. A bit more digging and research (and thankfully a very informative summary from No Time For Travel), and I learnt that the award means German for sweetheart or lovely, and is a blogger to blogger award for new bloggers, that is thought to have started in Germany in 2010. A blogger is nominated, is given 11 questions to answer, and then thanks and acknowledges the blogger that nominated them in a post, answers the questions, and nominates 5 more bloggers with a new set of questions to answer. It seems that the rules have morphed and developed somewhat, but I think the important thing is that the essence of the award is retained; it’s a way of reaching out to people, passing on some blogger love and showing appreciation for posts you’ve enjoyed, and supporting fellow bloggers.

So, it’s a kind of modern day chain letter, but without the badly photocopied letter through the door promising 200 chocolate bars by buying just one (did everyone else have those? I was simply unable to comprehend why I wasn’t allowed to participate and, infact, still am to this day). I digress. There are lots of rules out there, I am following No Time For Travel’s:

“Thank the blogger who nominated you, and include a link to their blog.

Provide answers to the eleven questions from that person.

Give nominations to other bloggers, who have less than 500 Twitter followers.

Ask them eleven new questions.

Let them know about their nominations, so that they can proceed with the award process.”

Here are my questions and answers…

What is your best travel memory and why?

This is hard! I think it has to be from the Danum Valley in Borneo. On one of our treks we had gone quite deep into the rainforest, off the tracks, looking for wildlife. Suddenly, there was a family of red leaf monkeys all around us, adults and babies, playing in the trees. It was magical.

Equally, I’ve made some memories to last a lifetime in Ibiza. A completely different type of memory; that island may be the road very well trodden but for good reason. One year, I had gone to stay in a beautiful hacienda style villa with my closest and dearest friends; already a recipe for success. We decided the dodge the sunset crowds at café Mambo, and drove into the hills then down to a deserted beach to watch the sun set over the sea. Sunset, sangria in hand, with my best friends in the world – you can’t get much  better than that.

Red Leaf Monkey

Deserted Ibiza sunset...

Deserted Ibiza sunset…

Do you prefer solo travel or travel with a companion?

Hmm, that’s a tricky one. As a rule I would say with a companion. If you’re lucky enough to have someone special to travel with then those memories become shared memories, they will remember different things to you, like different things to you, so somehow you see more of a place I think. Also, I think you can often be your best as part of a team. I’m good at planning routes, getting us to our destination and finding cool places, but can I keep track of my possessions from one minute to the next? No! That said, I lived in France whilst at uni as a Teaching Assistant, and I decided to make the drive to near Montpellier alone, and was of course completely when I got there. It was one of the most confidence inspiring experiences of my life and I loved my solo adventure!

Thailand with my best friend

Thailand with my best friend

Do you have any regrets from your travel such as places you missed or things you would do differently?

I don’t think you can have travel regrets – if you go somewhere for a limited amount of time you will never see everything you want, and you can’t always get it right with your itinerary. It’s about just living and breathing what you do see, and learning as much as possible. You can definitely have things you would have done differently; one such thing was Thailand 2008, my first stint of travel with my best friend. I suppose if I think about it I would not have first lost all my cash, and then basically allowed my bank card to get stolen, meaning two separate trips to two separate police stations! It is all part of the experience though, and travel distasters usually make for the best stories so, que sera!

What is your preferred method of travel e.g. train, bus, boat, camel etc.

First of all I do not like camels. They are incredibly bony and uncomfortable, a bit smelly, and the camels I rode in Egypt were not well looked after so not a good experience. I’m sure a more authentic desert safari would be wonderful, incidentally. I love boat rides, especially small boats or out on deck where you can see the water and get the wind in your hair.

Do you pay attention to reviews on sites like trip advisor?

Yes, 100%! I would never book anywhere without first checking it out on Trip Advisor. As I have a job, my travel is in short, sharp bursts. If you have only a few weeks, you don’t have time to stay in a bad place. Of course it’s different if you are travelling indefinitely, but in general I’m a meticulous review checker!

Have you ever got lost while travelling and what happened?

Yes, and what an adventure we had. My best friend and I were in Thailand, travelling by service bus from Chang Mai to Kanchananburi, where we were going to see the Bridge over the River Kwai. We took a service bus to a city somewhere in between (it may have been Nakhon Sawan), where we had to get local buses to Suphan Buri, and then a bus from Suphan Buri to Kanchanaburi; the whole journey is about 9 hours. We took the wrong bus, and ended up on a very local, rickety service bus full of extremely well dressed (and extremely helpful) Thai schoolchildren, where we ended up in a town called Lopburi. No problem I thought, we will get a bus from here to Suphan Buri; apart from there was not another bus until the next day! Lopburi was not a tourist town, in fact people were winding down their windows to look at us. There were only 2 hotels in the whole town and at one point, much to our secret delight, I thought we were going to have to stay at a five star conference type place for Thai businesspeople. Fortunately or unfortunately we found somewhere more suited to a student backpacker’s budget, and went out to the mall for pizza. Despite the malls and pizza what was great about this was we were just witnessing normal life in Thailand. The town was no doubt pretty affluent, but there was not a tourist in site. The Thai hospitality and friendliness of the people was, however, just as good if not better than everywhere else we’d been.

Favourite Country and why

France! It has to be France. I studied French at university, lived there for a year, and am addicted the language, the wine, and the cheese (pass the camembert?! ) The French philosophy on life is a good one; their food, their produce, their landscape, is there to be savoured, celebrated, and enjoyed. Progress will not get in the way of quality of life, and woe betide anyone who should try and make work impede on this.

Beautiful Narbonne, and Narbonne Plage, where I lived for a year.

Beautiful Narbonne, and Narbonne Plage, where I lived for a year.

Narbonne teaching

Fresh faced Teaching Assistants

Do you have a guilty pleasure when you’re travelling?

Pizza. For a girl who eats mostly world cuisine whilst at home (my favourite things to cook are Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup and Pad Thai), at some point during a trip I have usually had enough of spice and fish sauce and want to go out somewhere for pizza.

What can you not travel without?

Lots of things! I don’t travel light! Definitely a good book, and I suppose, make up. I even had my jungle beauty planned for my recent trip to Borneo. It’s not about being caked, but I like to have  fresh looking face, and would never travel without a BB cream, some mascara, and a good bronzer or highlighter.

Do you prefer desert, ocean, mountains or rainforest?

Rainforest! I love wildlife, nature, and trekking. It was basically a childhood dream of mine to go to the rainforest, you can read more about it here. Ocean would be a close second, because I love scuba diving and want to get my open water done soon.

What are your travel plans for the next 12 months?

After a big trip to Borneo which pretty much broke the bank, the next 12 months are going to be about Europe. I’m currently thinking about a wine and cheese tasting weekend in a Chateau in France; probably in the Loire or the Dordogne. For the summer I’m thinking a mini Eastern European road trip. A good friend of mine recently did a trip of North Croatian beaches, Trieste, into Slovenia to a beautiful town called Piran, then into Prosecco country in North Eastern Italy. You can get between all of these countries in a few hours, so it’s perfect if you’re short of time. Equally, if in Croatia, the lure of the Dalmation Coast will be very strong, so details TBC but I have wanted to go to that part of the world for a long time.

Piran, Slovenia

Piran, Slovenia

 

Here are my nominations, and why:

The Travel Luster: An intelligent travel blog with some real substance to it, and a big focus on culture. I have enjoyed her posts on Botswana. She has slightly more followers, but I really connected with her blog.

Adventure Lies Infront: Travel blog about Australia, with some really useful tips in there. My best friend lives in Adelaide, and it’s not an often blogged about city, so good to read about that.

A Gypsy Breeze: A carefree blog of travel adventures. Classy and fizz fuelled, and with hints of Italian Stallion – makes for a good read 🙂

Travelin’ Kait: One very clever teen blogger, on some beautiful travels, writing about what she sees. I love the post about Rome, what a beautiful thing to be inspired by.

Unexpected Wanderluster: A group of girls blogging about life, travel, and experiences. Some deep thoughts that I can get on board with, a good mix of writers, and a good mix of topics.

Bloggers, here are my questions for you…

1. Favourite travel destination?

2. If you could travel with anyone, who would it be?

3.Tell me about someone you’ve met travelling that’s stuck in your mind.

4. Favourite cuisine whilst travelling?

5. What do you miss most about home?

6. What’s the most important thing you’re looking for in the places you choose to stay?

7. City or country, and why?

8. What’s your favourite travel / adventure activity?

9. Have you had any pivotal or life changing moments whilst travelling?

10. Tell me something you have learnt from a culture you’ve visited, that you have taken with you.

11. Where’s next in your travel plans?

 


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