We’re Liebster award winners!

 

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Actually, there’s no trophy or cash prizes associated with the Liebster award. The award is more like a baton passed from one blogger to various other bloggers, a kind of chain letter that shouldn’t be broken. I don’t usually get involved with chain letters. But ignoring a nomination is considered both bad form and the harbinger of bad luck. I’ve heard of some people getting genital warts from ignoring a Liebster nomination. The idea of the award is that it exposes the reader of a blog to other blogs and the people behind it, which is a good thing. In our case we received our nomination from Trupti at Exploring the Blue Marble. Thanks Trupti!
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The Rules of the Liebster award

  1. Link to the person who “tagged” you.
  2. Answer the 10 questions that the person asked you.
  3. Look for 10 bloggers and nominate them.
  4. Come up with your 10 questions for the new nominees.

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favorite-places

Above: Some of our favorite countries
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Answers to the questions given to me

 1. How many countries have you visited so far and which one would you return to in a heartbeat?

30 countries. Thailand, Germany and Italy are some of our favorites so far.

 

2. What type of research do you do before traveling to a destination?

I get a guide, usually Lonely Planet (I now download them on my Kobo). I also try to find blog posts from other bloggers on the destination I’m going to.

 

3. Name 3 of your favorite travel writers and/or wanderlust-inspiring books you have read?

Wilbur Smith has by far had the most influence and I have almost all his books. When I was younger I dreamt of hiking across the African plain, swimming in the pools of the Zambezi, and saving a woman who’s nose is “a big too big” and smile “a bit too wide” (readers of Wilbur Smith will know what I’m talking about J). I lived in Zambia as a child and visited later as a teenager; reading his books always bring back romantic memories of Africa. Other writers: Bill Bryson (love his humor – I have many of his books) and Tony Horwitz. Horwitz is a journalist who mixes travel and politics with a humoristic twist. 20 years ago I read ‘Bagdad Without a Map’ which covers his trips through the Middle East. Fantastic book that provides a lot of insights to the people and places in the region. Unfortunately nothing much has really changed since it was written in 1992.

 

4. What are some must-have items you pack whenever you travel?

Toilet paper and wipies. Cause shit happens and hygiene is a good thing.

 

5. If there was anywhere in the world you could be right now, where would that be and why?

I’m writing this on my balcony in Montreal and there’s a cool little breeze even in the middle of summer. Right now I’d like to be in a little mom and pop restaurant on a Thai beach, eating some kind of spicy noodle/chicken dish while looking out over the beach and contemplating the snorkeling that I’ll be doing this afternoon.

 

6. What do you look for and seek when you travel?

I like landscapes, quietness, and scenic hikes. I prefer small towns to big cities and love nature. I especially love mountains, coastlines and beaches. Lissette (Spanky) is more cultural than I am and between our interests we usually cover a good mix of everything.

 

7. Any tips on travel writing, photography and social media usage which you would like to share?

Writing: write the way you talk, don’t change your voice because you want to write like someone else. I think it’s important to be honest about experiences, even if you don’t like a place. Don’t be wishy-washy. People will either like you or they won’t. Photography: with experience you can train your eye to recognize a good photo and learn how to best frame surroundings to make the focus of your photo stand out. Just practice. I love landscape photography and have a good eye for it but I’m horrible taking photos of people. It’s something I need to work on. Social Media can be frustrating because everyone tells you that the next hottest thing is this or that. As a new blogger you feel stretched in all directions and often feel like you are spinning your wheels. Still a work in progress for me but my one tip is to get on Stumbleupon; it’s brought me more traffic than all the other social media sites combined.

 

8. Where is home for you?

Montreal at the moment. But as of mid-July (very soon) we will be leaving the city for long-term travel. Time will tell for how long or where it will take us.

 

9. Do you prefer traveling solo, as a couple, with friends or family? Why?

There’s pros and cons to each. I used to travel solo when a single guy and had some really good times. You tend to be more adventurous when travelling solo and meeting people is easier because you are more approachable. But I also found it a lonely experience and always hoped to meet someone who I could travel and share my experience with. I love travelling with Spanky, I’m much happier. I also find that you get more authentic experiences with locals travelling as a couple; when travelling alone you’re  always ‘that single guy’.  People are generally much warmer and more open to us as a couple and we’ve met some great people who we are still in contact with.

 

10. What is one thing you wish you had known before you started your travel blog?

My biggest regret is that I didn’t start it earlier. We’ve met a lot of nice people through the blog and most bloggers are very personable and will help you out with any questions you may have on a destination or on technical questions having to do with blogging or social media. We’ve only been at it a year but have already met a few people, some of who were very helpful especially in the early days when I was a bit overwhelmed by some of the technical aspects. We hope to expand our network as we travel over the next year. It’s always nice to meet a friendly face when you get to a new location!

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costa rica sunrise.

My nominees

Some of the below appear on my ‘Favorite Links” page, I’ve been following them for a while. Others are newly found favorites that I always check out for their latest posts. Please don’t be angry that I’ve nominated you :) .

Brad at My Wanderlist

Robb at 10 Degrees Warmer

Jonny at Backpacking Man

Erika at Bisbocci Abroad

Daniel at Daniel McBane

Sarah at Sarah on the 808.

Rhonda and Mike at Travel? Yes Please

Zara and Ashray at Backpack Me

Frank and Vera at Frank About Croatia

Hayley at Lovepuffin

 

My Questions

1. When did you start up your blog and what got you into blogging?

2. What’s your favorite destination? And what has been your least favorite?

3. What travel experience has most touched you? (ie. moved you)

4. Do you consider yourself a full-time traveller? If so, how do you finance your lifestyle of traveling and/or living abroad?

5. Do you get goosebumps just before arriving in a new destination? What destination made you the most nervous about visiting?

6. What do friends/family think of your lifestyle?  Have you had to face negative reactions?

7.  How do you chose your next destination? Do you have a few non-negotiable criteria for places you’re thinking of going?

8.  What is the most important piece of advice you would give a newbie blogger?

9. What was your scariest moment while travelling? How did you react to it? Did it make you question your lifestyle?

10. How often do you come home? And has travel changed you definition of “home”?

 

 I look forward to reading your answers! Thanks again Trupti for nominating us!!

 

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Comments

  1. Fantastic! Thank you for participating, Frank. It was great reading through your answers. After nominating bloggers, I look forward to that the most. It is so refreshing to learn about your experiences and how you see things from your perspective. Thank you for taking the time to write such great answers to my questions. I really enjoyed reading them! Keep up the great work with the blog. Looking forward to reading more about your upcoming travel adventures!

    Happy Travels!
    - Trupti
    Trupti Nayak recently posted…10 things to bring back from Greece as souvenirsMy Profile

  2. Nice one! You hit the nail on the head there talking about writing the way you talk. Too many of us may try to sound like literary geniuses instead of just letting the words flow naturally and effortlessly. Nothing wrong with being all literary of course, but forcing it can be easy to spot. Especially if you’re horrible with the grammars like me.
    Devlin recently posted…Top Ten Things To Do In Cancun During TBEX North America 2014My Profile

  3. This was great. I loved learning more about you and your process for writing!!
    Valen-This Way Paradise recently posted…Beach Porn Alert: 7 Reasons Why You Need To Put Lagos, Portugal On Your Bucket List NowMy Profile

  4. Thanks for the nomination! I’ve actually been nominated a few times before, but ignored it since this isn’t really my kind of thing at all. You likened it to a chain letter and that’s a pretty fair comparison. Since I’m not the least bit superstitious, I’m afraid I’ll be ignoring it once more. It also doesn’t help that I speak German…putting everything else aside, I just can’t get past the ridiculous award name. All that said, I do enjoy reading other people’s responses, but a post like this would be out of place on my blog and I simply wouldn’t feel right nominating ten other bloggers.
    Daniel McBane recently posted…Inle’s Floating Gardens and some Buddhist HypocrisyMy Profile

  5. Many thanks for the honor, BBQBOY and SPANKY! :)
    Daniel’s comment above made me very curious… we were also nominated a couple of times before but I had no idea what the name meant.. funny! :P
    Zara recently posted…Can you trust TRIPADVISOR reviews?!My Profile

    • Yes, us too. But the people who nominated us never left a link or told us what to do. So I basically forgot about it…until Trupti nominated us and told us we would die if we didn’t participate…

  6. Nice read! Thanks for the writing and social media tips. I also agree with your solo vs. couple travels observations. Being part of a “couple”—in my case, traveling with a good college friend made me/us more approachable to other couples…more open and relaxing maybe? Whereas when I travel solo, I still meet friendly people, but it’s just a little different than if I was with someone else. I certainly do love traveling by myself, but I hope to meet someone down the line who loves it just as much as I do, like you and Spanky! Safe travels! : )

    • You’re the sweetest Sarah. Took me 10 years of being single and a lot of crappy dates to meet Spanky, so I know what it’s like. But then someone comes along and it’s like you’ve known them all your life. I’m sure the same will happen to you.
      And if not at least nobody is going to be nagging you about your snoring ;) .

  7. Congrats! Great job!
    Laura recently posted…In Search Of Nessie. Loch Ness and the Scottish HighlandsMy Profile

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