“The Liebster Award 2016 is an award that exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.” The Global Aussie, Official Rules of the Liebster Award 2016
Last year I decided I wanted to start blogging professionally. Until then it had been a creative outlet and hobby. It’s so encouraging to see that hard work and patience pays off. I’m excited to share that I was given a Liebster Award by UK blogger Stephanie Fox of Newcastle & Travel. A snap-happy social media marketer, Stephanie uses her blog as an outlet for her overflowing photo collections. I love that she doesn’t consider herself a travel blogger, she just enjoys taking photos and visiting new places in her hometown of Newcastle and abroad. She seems like the perfect person to meet up with for tea and a walk in the park. Stephanie nominated me and asked me ten questions. I have nominated other bloggers and asked them ten questions. Here are the questions I’ve been asked:
Where was your first ever trip abroad?
I would say my first official trip abroad was a 10 day Contiki tour through Europe. I started two days early in Paris with a visit to the Palace of Versailles. Then flew to London to meet with my Contiki group. After a whirlwind trip visiting 9 countries on a tour bus with fifty of my new best friends, the tour ended in London. I stayed a few more days at the Generator London Hostel and was even able to hang out with my roommate from the Contiki who happened to live in London. I’d taken cruises to Mexico before then, but, I don’t really consider that going abroad. Mostly because I had so little time to explore.
Underneath the glowing Eiffel Tower at Night
A Castle in Germany
Is there anywhere that you could go back to again and again and never get bored of?
I could easily explore Europe for the rest of my life. The countries are very close, it’s like driving from state to state in America. It takes more time to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles than it takes to drive from Paris to Amsterdam. What’s not to love about super affordable domestic flights and the Eurorail which travels all over Europe and can easily and inexpensively get you from Germany to Croatia? Affordable travel is always key for me, Europe is rich with culture, history and affordable travel options.
Winged Victory, The Louvre, Paris
The strangest place you have been?
The strangest and downright creepiest place I’ve ever been is the Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany. I can honestly say that I’ve never had a more haunting experience. As I walked from the barracks to the gas chamber area and the section for special prisoners, all I could do was cry. I’ve learned a lot about the second world war in and out of school, but nothing prepares you for what you feel when you’re actually there.
Dachau Concentration Camp
Dachau Concentration Camp Barracks
The most luxurious place you’ve been?
I’ve stayed at some nice hotels, but to me, luxury is about an experience. The most luxurious travel experience I’ve had was a Couple’s Weekend I planned with an ex-boyfriend. We spent two nights at the Golden Haven Hot Spring Spa & Resort in Calistoga. Calistoga is a sleepy resort town in wine country California. It was only about an hour drive from where I lived so it was the perfect getaway. Calistoga is famous for its natural hot springs and the resort has a natural hot spring pool and the room had a spa bathtub with natural hot spring water. Our package included wine tasting at a nearby restaurant so we headed to dinner then went for a walk through a nearby vineyard. The next day we relaxed with a couples mud bath and hot wrap. It was one of the most relaxing and luxurious mini vacations I’ve had.
Plan a day for someone visiting your hometown:
My hometown is Marin County, California, just minutes away from San Francisco. So to be completely honest, there are just TOO many amazing suggestions I could make! From hiking and biking to shopping and sightseeing, the list is endless. My suggestion to someone visiting my hometown would be to make a list of the things you want to do, whether that be walking across the Golden Gate Bridge or wine tasting in Napa Valley. Pick a number one thing then branch off from there.
If wine tasting is on the top of your list, stay at a vineyard and take a day trip to a castle, Castello di Amorosa to be exact. If the city’s more your speed, eat and drink your way through the Bay and join a food tour or pub crawl. Picnic at Golden Gate Park then walk to the Botanical Gardens. Or you can head to the iconic Castro Theater for a classic movie or Sing-A-Long. The possibilities are endless.
What is your favourite dish you’ve tried abroad?
Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes at home or abroad. I was recently able to try it in all it’s authentic glory and I couldn’t get enough. Literally! I must have eaten it once a day while I was in Thailand. Sometimes with shrimp but most often with chicken. My go-to place was EatThai at the Central Embassy Mall. It’s a great place to eat authentic Thai street food in the luxury of a mall food court with seating and air conditioning.
Where is the furthest place you’ve been from home?
A few months ago I visited South East Asia and China. That was unquestionably the furthest I’ve ever been from home. Culture shock is an understatement. Visiting Thailand after the passing of the King and while the country was in mourning was overwhelming. Read all about that here. Being a fat black woman with rainbow hair in Asia was an experience, but I loved it so much that I’ll be heading back soon for another adventure.
Marble Temple, Bangkok Thailand
Is there anywhere you don’t want to visit?
I want to see it all! Unfortunately, there are places that would be unsafe for any traveler. The bottom line is, if they don’t want me there, I probably wouldn’t want to visit.
Where in the world is your favourite sunset?
I’m missing Thailand terribly. So my current favorite sunset was my last day there. I took these photos as I waited to board the ferry. There was something magical about the suns reflection on the river and the contrast of the monks saffron robe and yellow stripe on the ground. Read all about what I did in Bangkok here.
What is on your travel list for 2017?
I’ll head to SoCal for the Coachella Arts & Music Festival in April. From there I will go down to North Carolina for the summer. I’m hoping to attend New York Fashion Week in September, then Thailand in October to travel around Asia for six months! I plan to go to Cambodia, Laos, India and Japan by the end the year. I also recently started a body positive Instagram community called Fat Girls Traveling which I’m really excited about.
Thanks again to Stephanie for the nomination. I’m passing the Liebster Award on to a few fantastic travel blogs that I’ve discovered recently. Each one is different and unique.
Without Google Translator I wouldn’t even be able to read the French fashion and travel blog Details of Perrine. However, the images are so stunning there’s no need to comprendre. Perrine is the lady in front of the lens and does a great job combining beautiful destinations and looks of the day. She also loves hats as much as I do.
Carly is the teacher and traveler behind the blog Flight of the Educator. She’s traveled to over 45 countries and writes about it on her fun, light-hearted blog. Carly is a bright personality who seems like she’d be a blast to party with.
Abstract Heaven is the labor of love for Aussie blogger Christine Woolmer. Her travel guides are incredibly detailed and her images are crisp and bright. She has a great eye for photography.
I have so much in common with Shelly of Passport Perfection. We are both Americans planning to move abroad this year. We also share an affinity for planning. I look forward to following her adventures in Germany.
Congratulations! Here are my questions:
- How has travel changed you as a person
- What places have you crossed off your Bucket List?
- What’s your favorite travel-related book or movie?
- Is blogging your profession or hobby?
- If you could choose one Superpower what would it be and why?
- How do you afford to travel? Any useful tips you can share?
- Do you prefer group or solo travel? Why?
- What is the most unique meal you’ve had while traveling?
- How do you stay motivated to post regularly and stay engaged on social media?
- What are the Top Five Places you’d like to visit?