Saturday, 12 July 2014

Start Wandering's first award nomination and first month

Capturing the view on top of Mt. John overlooking Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

After I finished publishing my latest post on my blog, all about new beginnings and connecting with fellow bloggers, over night I had received my first Travel Blogger award nomination! This is a first for me, and it comes EXACTLY one month from the launch of my journey blogging as Start Wandering. It is so warming to me, and I would like to thank My Rainbow Travel's Christine for the nomination and following the journey I have been on so far to even consider me. The nomination is for The Versatile Blogger Award, and a great tool to connect new bloggers amongst one another to learn and discover more about their passion that lies within, in particular among my fellow travel bloggers. It is also a mechanism to honour the bloggers versatility in this online phenomenon of an industry, and their quality of writing, uniqueness, love and passion in words, and photographic visualisation of love for what one blogs. So to be considered in any of these categories and recognised this early - I am also honoured.

There are rules in being nominated, and we all love rules so please find them outlined:
  •  Thank the person who gave you this award and include a link to their blog. Check
  •  Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly and nominate them for the Versatile Blogger Award. Check - see mine below
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. Check - read on..
My aim on this blog is to share my personal journey with my followers, and learn and grow myself through motivation and inspiration of others. So it is timely I share 7 little somethings about myself to help you get to know me a little better.

 1. What would be included in a mini-bio about me?

My name is Carissa, I am a 20-something Australian, with an Irish background on my mum's side, and English heritage on my dad's. I have been told my fathers family first arrived in Australia to assist settling the Blue Mountains with expolorers Wentworth, Blaxland and Lawson, which explains why it is imprinted in my blood to wander great sights. I am married to a 20-something bloke called Shaun, who made the cut as my ultimate travel partner after I returned home to Sydney after my backpacking trip solo around Europe. I stand at a confident 5'1" which has its advantages and disadvantages, too short to reach the overhead baggage, but short enough to stand without stooping.

Sealing the deal in Wine Country, New South Wales

2. Why travel?

Growing up I never really ventured beyond the local beachside suburbs on the south coast of New South Wales. By the time I was 12 I started high school which was a multicultural shock for me, meeting girls my age who mainly spoke English as their second language, and I felt ashamed but so curious to discover more about their nationalities, languages and customs. I started working as soon as legally possible to save enough money to travel once school was out, and in the meantime learnt basic Brazilian-Portuguese expecting to travel to Brazil after my 18th birthday. By the time I finished school I had a great paying job lined up and while my friends were travelling to the Gold Coast for Schoolies, I started a career. I eventually saved enough money and by my 19th birthday I had submitted my Australian Passport application, that was liberating - at least I got it before I turned 20. Me and my two girlfriends booked a cruise through the pacific islands, to get the teaser of travelling well and truly injected into my system. I made some great friends on that trip from all over Australia, and explored wonderful islands of Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu with P&O Cruises. That was all I needed to get started, I don't know what first tipped me off but by the end of 2009 I bought my backpack and started planning my European getaway. 5 years and a marriage later I have stepped foot on 4 continents, travelled 21 countries and countless cities. So why travel, because the world is meant to be explored and for me as a person I need to immerse myself in culture, misdirection and tread the less beaten track.

My first overseas holiday - Vanuatu (2009)

3. What is my biggest challenge right now?

I am struggling to find the balance between the daily grind and my love for travelling. I have been employed for 7 years for the same organisation, and perhaps it is the 7 year itch for my employment relationship that I am tempted to scratch. My husband and I also did the whole lets get on the investment bandwagon in Australia while property was booming, and have a mortgage which is a challenge only because money is the consumer of all fears - and I recently overcame my fears. Which is complementary to the reason why I started my blog.....

4. Why did I start my blog?

So complementing why I had been caught up in worrying about travelling while having a mortgage, I typed into google, "travelling with a mortgage" "debt vs. travel" and came across many individuals and couples who have mortgages and travel the world. Some people have children and travel the world, and a human is much more expensive than a mortgage the way I see it..... So as I read blog after blog of people who embrace their challenges and create a written testament to help others get on board their next flight, why don't I document my journey to my next adventure to do the same for others. Truth be told, I also needed something to do, I was bored, unmotivated and lost the zest for life - I also had been diagnosed with severe depression while living in Melbourne, Australia. While I was tainted with that "label" and the stigma attached to depression, I kept wondering why, I don't understand I am usually the happy person people come to for help and support and just to have a laugh. I can probably say two things have already treated my depression, the creation of this blog, and the start of my wanderlust once again as I bite the bullet and take on a guaranteed adventure within the next 6 months. I want my followers to also not be afraid to ask questions about depression, while I know a lot of people who suffer, 1/5 will suffer at some in their life and there is no shame, as you can overcome it with your bright passions, you just need to find the spark to light it.

5. Loves

Apart from my family and friends, and the obvious love of wandering the world, there are a few things I love. If you asked me 6 months ago, what do you enjoy doing, or what is your hobby I would have to sit there and think about it. I would think is wine tasting a hobby? I laugh now because, yes it is! I love wine, mostly red wine and throughout my travels I have tasted in some great locations, Central Otago New Zealand the greatest by far. I also couldn't answer because I lost that feeling of excitement from within when you should be celebrating life, and when I started my blog I found a love for reading and writing again. I mean as a student most of us hated homework, essays and assignments, but I find myself waking up before my alarm excited to type. And that is for you, my readers. I also have a love for sport, ice hockey, AFL, UFC/MMA, soccer (sorry football to the foreigners), cricket and so many international sports. I also have a major love for dogs and puppies and most animals, so wildlife conservation is close to my heart.

6. Fears

OK so apart from the generic phobias most people have, you know spiders snakes etc. I have no issues, yes there are lots of these things in Australia and although I don't see them often I do not fear creepy crawly or slithery slimey things. I fear something that isn't even alive and kicking, and that is scarecrows - literally terrified. There is no real way to overcome that type of fear, like diving with sharks, how awesome would that be! I also majorly fear living a life without any purpose. Maybe that is attached to the previous depressive state I was in, but it gave me perspective to feel the hunger for purpose again - and that is to see all that this world has to offer.

7. And hopes. 

I invision my future to be somewhat nomadic. I don't mind the backpack, or the barefoot wandering, or long haul flights, train trips or bus journey's, in fact I appreciate getting to a destination even if it is over 24 hours. Perhaps because in Australia you have to travel so far to appreciate this tiny earth's possessions. Over the next two years, I really aim to have stepped foot on the remainder 3 continents, Antarctica is the big challenge. My hopeful bucketlist includes living and working in a Canadian Winter, a European Summer, a South East Asia school and South American conservation.  Then the fun stuff like base camp of Nepal's Mt. Everest, Shark Diving in South Africa, see Cristo Redentor in the flesh and Polar Bears in Churchill, Manitoba.

Now that you have gotten to know me a little more, and I hope you can sense my passion for adventure, I want to get to know the fellow travel bloggers I have been following closely and who help invigorate my passion for wandering. 

1. Have Blog will Travel
2. Travelling Canucks - Family Travel Blog
3. Travelholic Nomad
5. Don't Forget to Move
6. Newlywed Vagabonds
8. To Travel Too 
9. NOMADasaurus
10. Bemused Backpacker
11. The Vintage Postcard
12. Girl vs Globe
And a few big players who can't go unnoticed
13. Young Adventuress
14. YTravel Blog
15. We Travel Together

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