This blogging award nomination came as a complete surprise to me, since I consider myself to be very blogging and social-networking-challenged! I’m incredibly honored to be included!
The word “liebster” has German origins and can be translated to a variety of English meanings, such as lovely, kind, pleasant and beloved. The origins of the Liebster Award are unknown, but it is a virtual award given to bloggers by other bloggers. In turn, the person who wins the award pays it forward by nominating other well-deserved bloggers. It’s an awesome way to get to know other fellow bloggers and discover new (soon-to-be favorite) blogs!
Who Nominated Me
I was nominated by the lovely Taylor of World Trippin It. Taylor just graduated from college only a few days ago, and in another few days is going off on her solo round-the-world adventure starting with Iceland (definitely a dream destination of mine)! What an incredibly exciting time for her! We had previously chatted a little where she said that she was nervous about going solo, but I think she is so brave for doing that, and especially at such a young age. I really wish her the best of luck and I can’t wait to start following along on her adventures.
Taylor’s questions to me
1. When did you begin traveling and why?
I started my round the world adventure on April 1, 2014! I blame this whole travel madness on my boyfriend, Daniel, who owns a small online business. At some point, he realized that he can work from literally just a laptop, which means that he can work from anywhere in the world. After he made up his mind that he wanted to work and travel, I had two options: 1) say bye to my love, or 2) quit being scared, quit my job and pension plan, and go along on the adventure. Guess which one I chose? :)
For the full version of the story (mainly D’s story), you can check out: Rise, Death, and Chase of a Dream
2. What is unique about your way of traveling?
We try to live during our travel as the locals live. We also try to extend our stay in areas if possible, in order to save some money (for example, we’re staying in each city in South America for a month). And because D does still work quite a bit on our travels, traveling slow allows us enough time to really experience the city even while working. And I realized that I’m kind of a lazy traveler and like sleeping in (which totally currently fits in with the late-to-rise Buenos Aires lifestyle), so I don’t feel too bad about doing that when I have so much time!
The only exception is that we will be moving more frequently in Europe (staying only about a week in each city), because Europe is so small and easy to travel between countries. But I’m already worried about what that means to my sleeping schedule!
3. How do you sustain or save up for your travels?
Ok I’m cheating on this one, because D works and earns a monthly income. But I did save up quite a bit before I quit my job. Mainly because I was madly saving for a house down-payment, since I thought that was the proper next step to achieve the Great American Dream. I guess that savings is going towards a more worthwhile cause now!
4. What is the most unique destination you have visited?
I visited a series of little canal towns near the Shanghai area (often dubbed “The Venice of China”). They were absolutely gorgeous. One of the cities was very famous for their silk production… and for dressing Chinese royalty and even Western celebrities in their gorgeous silk gowns. I got to visit the silk factory, where they showed you the entire process from silkworms to silk!
5. Which destination did you visit that affected you the most and in what way?
I would have to pick another China adventure for this one. Years ago, my dad took me and some of his family member to HuangShan (literal translation: Yellow Mountain), which is one of China’s most well known mountains mountain ranges. We spent 2 days hiking through the range, mostly by way of its famous stone steps, carved into the mountainside. During our hike, we encountered local old men carrying long poles on their shoulder with food baskets hanging off of each end, manually delivering the food up to the mountainside restaurants… enduring hours of hiking up those stone steps with heavy cargo. We ate at that restaurant. It didn’t feel good.
I will always remember this trip, not only because of its beautiful scenery but also because it made me realize how hard people work in other countries.
6. Have you ever traveled while in debt? If so, how did you pay off your debt and continue traveling?
Luckily, no. I was very fortunate to graduate college with no debt. And I had already paid off my car before setting off on our travels (and then sold that car).
7. What has been your favorite activity throughout your travels?
For the readers of my blog, they know that I like to eat. I even have a Foodie Friday series. And I honestly do think that trying the local cuisine is one of the best parts about travel. BUT! What I like doing the most is adventure activities. Right now, we’re mostly traveling through large cities, so there’s more eating and not too much adventuring going on. But in the past, my favorite travel activities have been the adventure ones, such as horseback riding through Bryce Canyon, and whitewater rafting down the Kern River in Level 4 rapids.
This is the reason why I can’t wait to get to the Central America leg of our trip, so I can start having more of those types of adventures! I want to go zip-lining through the jungle! And canyoneering down waterfalls!
I also absolutely love animal encounters. Anything to do with animals are always at the top of my bucket list. So I can’t wait to get somewhere with more of those too. My favorite one so far has been snorkeling with a sea turtle in Hawaii.
*Yes, NT – that girl on the horse is actually you, because I don’t have a picture of myself from that trip with me!
8. Do you collect anything on your travels? If so, what?
Yes, I do, actually! I used to collect things like shot glasses and magnets. Now, I have to be cliché and say that I collect pictures and memories and immortalize them on this blog.
But I make exceptions for owl figurines. I actually have a small collection of owls from my travels. I have an obsession with owls, and luckily it seems like that each country makes their local handicraft in owl designs. I have a little owl figurine from China made from the local red clay, with the traditional intricate carvings. I have another one from Zion National Park made by the native Indians there from their special clay. And most recently, I added one from Chile carved out of the special lapis lazuli blue stone.
9. What do you enjoy most about traveling?
I like experiencing and learning about new cultures. I like seeing how people live in other countries. Most of the time, I’m amazed by how different is it from Southern California. And of course, I like that I get to spend so much time with D now. :)
10. What was one person that influenced you about your travels?
Instead of just naming one person, I would have to say it’s all the travel bloggers out there! Growing up, we didn’t travel too much as a family because we couldn’t afford it. Neither of my parents have been to other countries except for their home country of China, and the United States. Travel was just never part of our lives, and I didn’t know anyone else who traveled either. When D and I started talking about long-term travel, we discovered all these travel blogs, written by normal people just like us. Except they have turned their normal lives into extraordinary lives. That truly inspired me to start believing that travel is possible way of life!
In turn, I nominate:
Adelina of Pack Me To: Adelina is back home in Vancouver after working and traveling abroad in Europe for years, but her blog is anything but dull! She writes some of the best guides for Europe that I’ve seen, and I am relying heavily on them for my Europe tour this summer. She is also incredibly sweet and really made me feel welcomed when I was stumbling my way into this crazy world of travel blogging.
Urska of Endless Roads: Urska produces some of the most wanderlust inspiring photographs I have ever seen from any travel blogger. All her photo essays make me want to travel there RIGHT NOW! Especially since she goes to some of the coolest places on Earth. I’m currently loving her photos from Africa.
Upasna of Life On My Plate: Upsana blogs from India and shares her backyard adventures in her hometown and her travels through the world, as well as restaurant reviews and recipes. Another fellow blogger who lives to eat!
Tara and Jessi of Outbound Adventurer: A blog I recently discovered, but immediately loved. Their tagline “Geeky treks from around the globe” draws me in, being a former engineer. And seriously, stop right now and read this post Sharing the World’s Stories, a poignant reflection on why we travel.
Hannah from Eat Sleep Breathe Travel: Another new blog for me that I love. Hannah is a witty storyteller who makes you feel like you’re catching up with an old friend. She is currently backpacking across Europe, and her goal is to make it to 25 countries by the time she turns 25 in June this year. I’m rooting for her!
My questions for the nominees:
1. You know me… I love to eat! What was the most bizarre food you have ever eaten on your travels?
2. Do you have a lowest travel moment story?
3. And is there a wonderful travel moment that really sticks out in your memory?
4. What is an absolutely indispensable item you must take with you (not including laptop/phone)?
5. What’s something that you are afraid of, have a phobia for, or would never do?
6. Is there a city/country that you would LOVE to live in one day?
7. As travelers, most of us try to be budget conscious. But what is something that you would absolutely splurge on?
8. What’s something that you really miss while traveling (not including family, duh)?
9. What kind of traveler are you… do you plan everything to the last detail, or play by ear?
10. If you’re traveling solo, what’s the biggest struggle? If you’re partnered, what drives you crazy?
I have had a lot of fun doing this, and I hope you guys have fun too! And again, thanks Taylor for the nomination!