Woo – my first award nomination! Thank you to Violette and Antoine from Life Explorateurs who have been kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster Award!
What is the Liebster Award?
The Liebster Award is a ‘pay-it-forward’ award where a blogger nominates ten other upcoming bloggers to answer a series of questions. Each nominated blogger answers the ten questions assigned to them and then nominates ten new bloggers to answer a new set of questions. Not only is it a great way to discover new bloggers and make new friends, it is also a great way to pick up some extra knowledge, advice and travel tips along the way.
Here are my answers to Violette and Antoine’s questions:
1. What made you love travelling?
For as long as I can remember I have always loved travelling. I was born in England and we often used to take family holidays to France with my cousins. While I can’t remember much of it, I do remember how much fun we all had together playing in paddocks and attempting to catch butterflies.
My family is very big on travelling and have always stressed how important it is to see the world. Mum is particularly adventurous and has always encouraged me to go off-the-beaten trail and experience new cultures and far away places. She is the best person to call when I am homesick as she never fails to remind me how mundane life can be back home and how much more fun I am having away! She is also the best person for packing advice and travels lighter than anyone I have ever met.
(Dad will read this and point out that he too is adventurous…he once stayed at a 4 star hotel!)
2. Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging to try to fill a gap I found in the information and travel advice available online. When researching my big trip, I struggled to find information about grassroots volunteering and travel that helped communities rather than trying to make money off people looking to volunteer for a few days or weeks.
Grassroots Nomad focuses on sustainable volunteering opportunities and slow travel that allows you to travel responsibly and experience new cultures while leaving a positive impact. I hope to meet with other volunteers and organisations who share the same values and create a valuable resource for anyone hoping to combine their travels with volunteering.
3. What are your top 3 places in the world?
This is a very hard question and my answers probably change weekly!
At the moment, my top three places are all ones that have made me re-think my life and reshape my direction and path:
- The Sahara Desert. There is nothing in the world quite like sleeping under the stars in the middle of a desert. I can’t begin to explain how many stars fill the nights sky making you realise how big the universe is and how small and insignificant your problems are.
- Chobe National Park/Serengheti National Park/Malawi. Don’t make me choose! I LOVED my time in Eastern Africa and can’t wait for the opportunity to visit again. It was incredible to see so many thousands of animals in their natural habitat, playing and being silly. Baby elephants flapping their ears and tails and zebras frolicking like little children. Then there were the people in Malawi who were so incredibly friendly – I taught local kids how to use my camera and they were better than I was!
- Cuba. The culture, the people, the music, the rum, the dancing and the food. Oh, how amazing the food is! My trip to Cuba during ‘study break’ while on exchange was one of the best weeks of my life. I stayed with local families and we had dinner with a different family each night. I was on a Cuban Adventures Tour and our guide was a local man who showed us his favourite parts of the country. My favourite experience was stopping off at a house belonging to some of his friends for a delicious lunch of freshly caught lobsters and swimming in a waterfall in their garden. Now, many years later, I am planning on visiting Cuba again to see how much it has changed (not much, I hope).
4. What country would you go back to?
On my current trip I have been to a lot of amazing places but the one place that stood out for me as an unexpected highlight was Bosnia and Herzegovina. Not only is the country rich in history and culture, but it is the beautiful homeland of some of the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever met.
We stayed in Blagaj, not far from Mostar and were welcomed by our host family with whom we shared many cups of tea. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the country.
5. What country would you recommend for first time backpackers?
Hungary is an excellent place for first time backpackers to explore. It isn’t quite as busy as its Western European counterparts but is still very accessible and exciting.
Budapest is one of my favourite cities and I would love to go back again. It has everything a first time backpacker needs – lots of hostel choices, free walking tours/pub crawls, delicious food, an incredible night life and a rich history that will appeal to history buffs and party animals alike.
You can also go a bit further afield and experience life outside the tourist capital. We visited Szeged and were pleased to discover a beautiful college town that was incredibly easy to walk around and explore.
Hungary is a great intro to Eastern Europe. They country is well equipped to deal with tourists so it isn’t too complicated or challenging to get around, but it is still different to anything you will have experienced at home.
6. What is the most unusual food you’ve tried on your travels?
While on the Inca Trail I noticed that a lot of the porters were drinking a local drink and I was keen to try it – chicha de jora, or corn beer. Friendly tip…..don’t try it.
Chicha de jora is made from fermented maize and it is the colour of straw. Plus it tastes disgusting. Here is a photo to prove it.
7. Where is the most impressive scenery you’ve seen so far?
The wide open plains in Eastern Africa are incredible and only more so at sunrise or sunset. At this time there are a lot of animals roaming around, enjoying the cooler weather. There really aren’t words to describe how incredible this scene is so I will just show you photos instead!
8. What are your family and friends thinking about you making this blog?
No really, everyone is very supportive and they are always giving me ideas for new posts or articles to share. I am lucky to have so many people who are happy to listen to me get excited about every new blogging milestone and help me as much as they can.
My sister designed my beautiful logo, my Granny’s hand out my business cards at bowls and forward my blogs to their friends, and my brothers are always sharing my latest post on Facebook. My partner’s family are also very supportive and are spreading the word about my blog and following my travels.
My friends are all honourary employees of Grassroots Nomad (or volunteers as they are unpaid) – they are my best PR reps, editors and story idea generators.
Plus a lot of them know my travel stories so can help me out when I forget what I was going to write about!
This is particularly true when you are lucky enough to travel the world with friends and family! On this trip I have already traveled with my partner, one of my brothers, and my best friend, before heading off solo 🙂
9. What is the most unusual thing you put in your backpack/suitcase?
I pack very light so generally I will buy things on the road. My number one tip for people traveling is to take bubbles. Many of the children I have seen on my travels have never seen bubbles before and they lose their minds when they see them for the first time.
When I was in Malawi, I took a few bottles of bubbles with me and had to show the local kids how to blow bubbles and pop them. Before long they were squealing and chasing bubbles around having a great time. There is nothing like the simple enjoyment of bubbles!
10. These last questions are related to the picture below: What is your name? What is your quest? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
What is your favourite colour? Blue…no yel..ahhhhhhhhh (thrown off bridge). Monty Python and the Holy Grail is brilliant!
My nominees for the Liebster Award are:
- Jen @ The Social Girl Traveler
- Valentina @ A Waitress Abroad
- Donna @ Haute Culture Fashion
- Eloise @ My Favourite Escapes
- Victoria @ Onetravelbag
- Stephanie and Adam @ Road Unraveled
- Maikel and Avalon @ Angelic Travels
- Gemma @ Gemma Jane Adventures
- Catalina @ Miss Adventures Abroad
- Victoria @ The Girl On The Move
The ten questions to answer are:
- What is the best thing about your home town and why should people visit?
- What is your favourite part of travel blogging?
- When you are on the road, what do you make sure you always have with you?
- Why did you decide to take the plunge and start long-term traveling?
- What is your number one tip for someone looking to travel in a more sustainable and responsible way?
- If you wrote a travel memoir, what would it be called and why?
- What is your favourite photo from your travels so far? Why is it so special?
- Do you prefer to travel solo, with a partner or friends, or a combination of all of these?
- What is the most unusual mode of transportation you have taken?
- What do you do to spoil yourself when you are overseas?