As a bit of an interlude from the usual travel blogging I am chuffed to announce that I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by the wonderful, friendly, sassy Jenny Stephens over at her wonderfully named blog; exploreadventurediscover. You should go check her out- she clearly knows a good blog when she sees one! Check out her blog to discover more about her travels around Australia, Europe and South East Asia then read more about why shes moved to Germany; she’s such a lovely chick and I guarantee you’ll get a good read over on her page.
Sounds good… but what is a Liebster Award?
The Liebster Award originated in 2011 as an online award that is given to travel bloggers by travel bloggers. You take your award and pass it forward. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. It’s a great way to explore new blogs and expand your network in the blogging community whilst also showing others that you appreciate their hard work and talent.
So what next?
The official rules of The Liebster Award vary, but generally it is agreed that if your blog has been nominated and you have chosen to accept it you must:
– Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. TICK, she’s a superstar.
– Display the award on your blog by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. Images you can use for your 2016 Liebster Award can be found here. TICK, albeit a slightly modified logo.
– Answer your nominator’s questions and create 11 questions for your own nominees to answer. TICK.
– Nominate 5 to 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. TICK.
– Give 10 random facts about yourself. NO TICK. F THAT. I cherish my privacy.
– List these rules in your post. TICK-ISH.
Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated 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. TICK.
Response to Jenny Stephen’s Questions…
1. What inspired you to start writing a blog?
For the past 5-6 years, the Wife & I have traveled more than our fair share of the planet, taking weekends or weeks off from work to travel near and far. Our travelling has got to the point where I realised a few things. Firstly, I don’t ever want to forget these incredible journeys – I need to write them down! Secondly, we always seem to get ourselves into funny & amusing situations – I need to write these down! Thirdly, we have picked up lot of wisdom and tips that would be useful to others – l need to write these down! Since blogging we’ve also picked up invaluable tips from others whilst making a few people chuckle along the way so it’s already paid dividends. It’s also been a great escape from the monotony of my daily routine whilst allowing for a few creative juices to flow.
2. Tell me three things people might not know about you?
I’m guessing you know very little about me. If you think you do, I am officially scared, so I’ll keep them simple and a little bit travel related.
1) I work in central London and have a constant love/hate relationship with the city. There’s no place in the world so eclectic, so exciting and so enjoyable but yet it’s also grey, expensive and up its own arse. I always return from adventures and end up in the same love/hate circle until we adventure off again..
2) Since I was a child I’ve always wanted to retire abroad. Traveling for a living or working abroad was never really on the cards until I’d grown up and these things become infinitely more difficult (family, friends, work etc) but I have always dreamed of sunshine, cocktails and a slow paced life somewhere hot and sandy before the wrinkles start showing.
3) Actually, for fact number three, I hate sand. I’ll retire somewhere hot and dry, perhaps. But definitely not sandy. My old man often recalls how I would cry like a baby on holiday as a… baby… whenever they would put me on the beach. Not much has changed. I mean, I don’t cry… I just dislike the feeling. Particularly when you’re wet and it sticks to you and-oh-my-goodness-I’m-going-to-stop-right-now because it’s stressing me out just thinking about it. NEXT!
3. Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
Real life. I tend to write about where I am going or where I have just been. Starting the blog 6 years after my first real travels means I’ll often throw an old curve ball out there, usually in the form of a memorable tale, funny anecdote or epic travel fail.
4. How has your attitude to blogging changed over time?
I never really read blogs before i started writing one. When i started I thought “wow… I’ll never get as big as these guys” and that still is very much the case, however, I’m not out to get more subscribers or followers. Quality over quantity, perhaps. My blog is for me and for anybody who feels like tuning in; I’m not chasing any numbers here. I’ve since found soo many similar, travel-minded people and it’s a blessing to know that there’s more travel nuts in the world. Now I’ll turn to travel blogs for advice, tips and inspiration rather than TripAdvisor or random web articles. It’s nice to have real opinions, photos and articles from real people without the click bait, adverts and commercialism of the tourist industry.
5. What’s one of the best places you’ve ever been and why?
Marrakech, Morocco. It was such an ‘out of this world’ experience. I’d never been to a place so relatively close to home and experienced such a massive culture shock. Just a 3 hour plane ride from London and it feels like another planet. The heat, the language, the dusty roads, the people, the culture. It was soo different and soo amazing. The place is a labyrinth and we loved the massive contrasts between the busy souks and crazy streets to the calm Oasis behind the closed doors of the hotels, riads and spas. In this Islamic city wealth is kept very private. Properties will have no windows and deceitful exteriors at the end of sandy, shabby lanes but once you’re through the door you’ll find pure luxury (plus endless rooftop pools, a few bars and lots of sun loungers). The new town caters to the western tourists with high end boutiques and hotels but inside the old city walls is where it’s all happening.
6. Name three things you always put in your backpack/suitcase.
1) Gorilla pod. A handy little tripod that wraps around pretty much anything. It rarely ever gets used but it’s great for time lapses, static video and such alike. It has come just about everywhere since day one.
2) Anker Powercore 20100 Battery Pack. The newest addition to the bag but already firm favourite, packing 2010mAh it’s got enough juice to charge your phone 6-7 times over plus 2 usb slots to do it with. Its perfect for long journeys, road trips and times when electricity just isn’t feasible.
3) My eye mask. I’m a funny sleeper. I feel like I can go days without sleep or sleep for days, both at the drop of a hat… I suppose that’s what shift work does to you. However I never feel more comfortable sleeping than when I have an eye mask on. It’s not so much the darkness I like; its more the feeling and pressure on my eyes – it’s relaxing.
So there you go, send me off with an eye mask, a battery back and a gorilla pod and I shall return with a blog posts worthy of some new subscriptions! Ha!
7. Name a few favourite books (preferably travel-related) – I’m always looking for new recommendations!
I’m not a huge reader. I mean, I’m probably more than your average man… I have and use a library card and everything – but I just find it so much easier to pick up my phone and browse the Web or Youtube than pick up a book.
When I do pick up a book I sometimes turn to crimes or thrillers but you’ll usually find me clutching a comedy. My favourite series however is a 3-part trilogy by Simon Toyne; in which a newspaper reporter’s brother goes missing deep inside a Vatican-like secret religious cult. It not my usual choice but I was absolutely hooked.
If you’re after fun travel books you can’t go wrong will Bill Bryson. Since you’ve (Jenny) been all around Australia you’d probably love ‘Down Under’!
8. What’s the first thing you do when you arrive in a new place?
Go for a walk. Suss out the area. If we arrive day or night, rain wind or shine we always explore a little. We’ve landed in new places that were both scary and frightening in equal measures but after a little mooch around it really helps to open your eyes to your new surroundings, the local customs and people.
9. How will your blog look in 5 years time?
As a self confessed Youtube addict I’d love to say it would be more about videos of places I’ve been to. Not so much of me as, well, who likes seeing themself in camera, but more about from my perspective. Only down side is I’d want to revisit everywhere I’d already been and start it all again! 🙂
In reality, more of the same would be nice. If I can keep producing content for 5 years I suppose I’d have to set a new goal then….
10. How would you describe your travel style?
We like comfortable, affordable travel with a few luxuries whilst we’re away. I’ll always opt for an economy seat on a plane and never take a long haul coach or train. We don’t scrimp and save whilst away but we try to enjoy ourselves within our limitations. I don’t care too much where I sleep as long as it’s safe and clean; but there will be special occasions when we splurge. Hostels are a no-go. Travelling with the wife, always.
11. Any travel goals for 2016?
Being that we’re half way through the year I’ll take a look at the next 12 months… We’ve booked up Venice and Rome in September and Iceland in January. Both were booked in advance at stupidly low rates. Next May will hopefully be our big trip to India to celebrate/commiserate turning 30. After that perhaps we will have a bit of luxury in Santorini, Greece. All of these are bucket list places for us so happy days. I suppose our goals will be to experience new things and broaden our horizons… whatever that means.
My 11 Questions
1. What made you start writing your blog?
2. What motivates you to write your blog posts?
3. If you had to move to a new country permanently, where would you pick and why?
4. What has been your best experience while travelling?
5. What is your favourite way to travel long distance around a new country; train, plane or car?
6. Does your career involve traveling/will it ever?
7. What is the most disappointing place you have visited?
8. Have you had any travel fails of your own? Whats your favourite story? (Missed flights, language barriers, bad choices etc?).
9. Whats next on your travel itinerary?
10. What will your blog be like in 5 years time?
11. What destination best describes your personality?
Thanks for reading!!
Thanks for sticking around and thanks again to Jenny for the Liebster Award nomination. She’s helped pick me up at a time when I was feeling down and too busy. Expect this blog to hit the road running again and soon. I’ve two busy blog posts lined up for you; one being about our time in the beautiful Halong Bay as we continue our Vietnam adventure. The other is me debating ‘is it wrong to order a takeway pizza whilst travelling?’. Stay tuned y’all!! Keep dreaming, keep flying, keep discovering! 🙂