A few weeks go, Emma, who runs the travel blog, 'Where's That To?' nominated my blog for a Libester Award. The award has been around for five or six years now, and involves bloggers nominating other blogs, which they feel deserve a little more exposure, for an award too. All nominees get given a set of eleven questions to answer in a blog post of their own. The rules of the Liebster Award can be found here.
It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise to be nominated by Emma, a fellow Bristolian travel addict. I've been following her blog since she started out, and it was great to know that she has been enjoying mine as much as I've been enjoying hers! (I particularly enjoyed this post from her trip to Costa Rica!)
I read about a million travel blogs each day, however, my nomination goes to Abi Rose Travels - the photography on the website is incredible and I love the design as a whole. Abi is currently in South America with her boyfriend, and every time I read a new post of hers, I get a tiny little bit jealous. (Yes, it is entirely possible to get jealous about travels whilst you're already travelling!) South America is already extremely high on my bucket list, but it climbs further up each week, it seems!
The questions I received when I was nominated:
Where did the travel bug bite you?
It's hard to pinpoint a specific destination, simply because I've always enjoyed the excitement of boarding a plane and heading off into the unknown. I vividly remember my first trip abroad, to Alcudia, Spain. I believe I would have been nine at the time, but nearly eighteen years later, I'm pretty sure I could still direct you from our hotel to my favourite restaurant there. (It was called the Jolly Roger, and they had a dog.) I guess if I had to pick, then Morocco may have tipped me over the edge towards becoming a full blown travel addict. I visited in the summer of 2005, at age fifteen, and in the fortnight I was there, climbed Mount Toubkal, North Africa's highest mountain (13,665 ft) and Mount M'Goun, North Africa's third highest mountain (13,356 ft) as well as getting my first real experience of a completely different culture. I definitely enjoyed travel before I went to Morocco, but after that, I was hooked!
Where in the world did you find the best food you have ever tasted?
This is actually a really hard question. I think the Indians' just about take the award for best food. I absolutely LOVED the food in Thailand, but after two months, I was starting to crave some slightly different flavours... India on the other hand - I was worried before I came here that I would get fed up of eating the same thing all the time, but there is SO much variety that I'm now upset that I won't get to try it all. Back last week I discovered Dabeli - which is basically a butter toasted bread roll filled with masala flavoured mashed potato and topped with a date chutney, spicy garlic and red chilli sauce, roasted peanuts, coriander and pomegranate seeds. They cost between ten and twenty rupees each (which is less than 25p) and they are completely and totally addictive.
If you were running a competition and the winner, who has never left their country won an all expenses paid trip – where would you send them and why?
Probably Thailand. There's a completely different language and culture, of course, and the opportunity to take plenty of 'off the beaten path' adventures. The whole country is beautiful, cheap and just the right level of crazy, though a lot of it is Westernised enough that it's very easy for someone to get by, find their way around and eat 'foods from home', if they weren't enjoying the unfamiliarity.
What's next on your bucket list?
Everything is on my bucket list! If I could click my fingers now, and be anywhere, it would probably be South America. I already know that it'll be a couple of years (at least) before I can visit though - I would love to spend a year there and I definitely need to get saving.
Do you prefer to travel by land, sea or air?
That hugely depends on my mood. I quite enjoy the sleeper buses and trains because it means I can read for a few hours, sleep, and then read some more when I wake up. I love being out at sea though - especially when it's really hot!
If you had to live somewhere you have never been for 5 years, where would you choose and why?
South America for sure. If I need to be more specific then I'd say Bolivia, purely because there is so much I want to do there, including a great volunteer project in the jungle which I'm keen to work on. I could take holidays to other parts of South America, become fluent in Spanish and eat lots of amazing food.
If you could only see one set of wonders (ancient, modern and natural) which would you choose and why?
I'd go for the (not so standard) standard seven wonders of the world. I'll be seeing my first (The Taj Mahal) in the next few weeks and I actually can't wait! I've seen so many photos of it, but I already know that they'll never compare to the real thing!
Which animal would you love to see in the wild and how do you plan to make that happen?
I would love to see wild orangutans. I'm pretty sure there are some really cool places to volunteer in Borneo, which would give me a pretty decent chance of seeing some. I don't know when I'll get round to it, but it's on my list! (Along with absolutely everything else!)
Which destination has been most in contrast to what you expected?
Thailand was a lot different to how I thought it was going to be. I guess in my head, I just had visions of drunk Brits everywhere, drinking buckets for breakfast and being loud and British and covered in UV paint. Koh Phangan was a little like that over New Year, but I spent quite a lot of time up North and away from the drinking and parties, and I ended up falling in love with Thailand, even though I think I'd subconsciously made up my mind to not enjoy it.
Beach holiday or city break?
Easily a city break. Beaches are nice to look at and take a quick photo and maybe go for a quick swim in the sea, but I find them pretty boring overall and I HATE sand. A ten minute trip to the beach results in finding sand in your bag/bed/mouth for at least a week after. There's a lot more to do and see in the city. I know I say I'm in love with a lot of places, but I really am deeply in love with Berlin - give me Berlin over a beach any day.
Which home comfort do you find hardest to leave behind?
I crave Nandos and Capri Sun a lot. I wouldn't say it was hard to leave them behind though! It's not exactly a home comfort, but friends and family are definitely what I miss most about home. Even when I have a really good day or do something really cool, there's always the thought in the back of my head wishing that a certain friend or family member was with me to see it. Last week, I was sat in a rickshaw driving through the crazy streets of India and I couldn't stop thinking about how I would love my brother to be there - just to see some of the insanity that occurs here every day. (He'd hate it!) If I ever see a particularly nice beach, I make a mental note of it because I'd love for my mum to see it. I really miss my bestie, Worm too - a FaceTime with him always cheers me up, even if I wasn't sad to start with!