Saturday, 2 August 2014

Wandering Two months in, Two award nominations

It was a nice way to end the month of July by being nominated for our 2nd Award - The Liebster Award. As we start off August, the last month of Winter for me here in Australia, and we venture into Start Wandering's 2nd month online, I am so pleased to be nominated by Bon Bagage

In just two months I have learnt so much, not only about the world out there as others see it, but about myself as I embrace writing and inspiring others every single day. I didn't think I had it in me, but with encouragement, growth and inspiration I am surprising myself as well

Liebster Award Rules

  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award
  2. Answer eleven questions that the blogger gives you
  3. Give eleven random facts about yourself
  4. Nominate eleven blogs that you think deserve the award (with less than 200 followers)
  5. Let the bloggers know you have nominated them
  6. Give them eleven questions to answer
Which country would you never visit? 
That's a toughie.... A few things go through my mind when I think about this. Most tourists are too quick to judge a country, or a destination because of something that occurred a decade ago, or because the media hype displays it as a gang-infested, war-torn or a health stricken place where people of the western world should avoid. It may not be the right time to travel to certain parts of the world, at some point, but that is what makes history. A country beating adversity, some with wounds to show for it, and for the world to see and learn so it doesn't happen again. WWII was defined as the war to end all wars, and when I visited a concentration camp in Germany, the deaths, the propaganda that went with it, were there to educate our future generations - that this should never happen again.
OK that's the end of my rant about that, now to answer the question. In terms of possibility it would probably be North Korea. 

Do you have a travel song you always listen to when going away? 
I read this question, and knew exactly which song I would pick - always has been always will be: Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (2009). 
I first heard this song from my brother who shared it with me while he was travelling throughout Europe. I missed him, envied him, and wanted to follow his footsteps. It was on my playlist as I backpacked around Europe in 2010, and when I was returning home, the folk band helped embed those memories until the next trip. When I met Shaun shortly after I returned, I finally understood what the lyrics meant. We have travelled far, far away from our hometown, but it feels home whenever I am with him, and that is what keeps us travelling.

I would also add any song from the soundtrack of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Ben Stiller picked some killer songs to amp up the feeling of wanderlust, including Space Oddity - David Bowie. 10, 9, 8, 7.........

What’s your most beautiful travel memory? 
Overall, the moment in New York City framed in my mind forever, when Shaun got down on one knee and asked me to marry him in New York city. That is irreplaceable and I cannot describe what that visit to Manhattan feels like to anyone, NYC will always be magical to me. 
One that I can share with you to do yourselves, is head to the top of Mount John in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand, at night. This place is known to have very little light pollution and apart from Antarctica is the most southern observatory in the world. It was also the world's first sky-nature reserve. Not only is the ride up the mountain in complete darkness fun enough (the headlights of the vehicles can destroy the telescopic lens), but when you're up there you can guarantee to see dozens of shooting stars, so many wishes were made that night. We also saw Jupiter through one of the five telescopes in the observatory. What is really cool is the astronomers at the top of the mountain help you take photos to get clear pictures, just like the naked eye, where you can see how here on earth we form part of the gorgeous Milky Way. 

On top of Mt John Observatory looking into the Milky Way sky
What keeps you motivated when you’re blogging? 
Photos. Whether its photographs I have taken on previous trips, current photos or pictures of destinations I plan to travel to and need some inspiration, the vision is created within these images. I might also have a moment, where it will all just click, an epiphany if you like where a smile, even tears of happiness met my face. Earlier on today this happened to me going for a stroll on my local beachside, and that has motivated a draft I am working on at the moment, and a few other things in the background. 
Reading my fellow bloggers, their ideas, their stories and their experiences is extremely inspirational. It is warming to know that so many people in all different places around the world all share the same passion, goal and experiences and most don't share the same language. That is incredible, and what makes this blogging industry impact the rest of the world. All it took was reading the blog of a young traveller one day, and two days later I had created this. No set-up, no foundation, just an idea and my fingers are energised using this keyboard when I am spreading the passion of wander. 
Finally, it is the jealousy. I am going to be honest, seeing friends on my personal newsfeed who are travelling while I am not kind of drives me crazy. Especially when they are somewhere that I have been or plan to go. I get that FOMO feeling (Fear Of Missing Out), and I swear it puts me into a bad mood for hours. But I am genuinely happy for people getting out there and seeing the world that I love so much, I know, I know, I can't have mother earth all to myself.

Do you visit dangerous countries? 
If we're talking the over-exaggerated media reports on dangerous locations worldwide, it might look like I actually listen to what they say. But if were the case as everything is reported, I would never leave my lightly padded bedroom. Danger is measured on the perception of the traveller, the most dangerous experience I have had to date isn't crossing the streets in Ho Chi Minh City (how much sense does their traffic make?), but a terrible night in Paris - more on that in a later post. Given the unfortunate events that lead to the death of a fellow travel blogger, Harry Devert, maybe Mexico. But I wouldn't say I felt in danger any more than walking the streets of my own city. 
If the question is aimed to see if I like the path less travelled, then hell yes! I am all for venturing into little villages, speaking with my hands, and experiencing the thrall of what is truly foreign. The danger aspect hasn't crossed my mind, I would love to trek the mountains of Afghanistan, shark dive in J'Burg, and travel through Africa from top to bottom. My head is in the clouds half the time, I may be naive but the world is meant to be seen. Danger or none, make the most of it. But always travel safely, and don't push the boundaries.

Where would you like to live other than your home country? 
Everywhere.... I could live in the Mountains of Canada, the beaches of South East Asia, the meadows and atmosphere inside Pubs in Ireland, or the Latin American culture of food, dance and carnival. The thing is I plan to do all of these things as a part of my bucketlist for life experience, not just to tick off a landmark or say I tried the top 10 cuisines in the world. But to immerse myself in another continent for as long as I can, to say not only did I step foot on all continents but I lived, breathed and experienced the different corners of the globe. 
Then after all that is done, I could probably do the unthinkable to Australians and settle in New Zealand. 

What’s the ultimate travel souvenir you ever got/bought? 
Other than my passport, and my very worn lucky four leaf clover socks, from my Pop's hometown in Northern Ireland. I would say the wine collection I have gotten from many overseas destinations. Some top picks from Central Otago New Zealand, and Niagara's Inniskillin ice wine. There are a few bottles that will remain closed for a decade. And we won't settle for that long anyway, so what a way to treasure a memory - in a bottle. And it will taste so very good.  

Tasting Inniskillin Ice Wine in Niagara on the Lake - Canada

Which trip are you planning right now? 
I would love to tell you, but its kind of a secret right now... Sssshhh. All I can say is I am preparing for the trip of a lifetime, a journey to Start Wandering. I will share this journey with all of my readers as it is being made and while I am away. Some very big things will be announced shortly, so I can only say keep reading and you will find out.

Is there something you don’t like about travelling?
Coming home... actually not even, its those last few days. You're still exploring, maybe 2 cities left, and these days flyby and these nights feel like they didn't even occur. You know that feeling, if you're a seasoned traveller, you too hate that feeling. I can only describe it as your heart stretching to hold onto every moment while it can, to embrace every sight, smell, taste and touch of your surroundings while you listen to the crowd rush around you knowing this is where I'm about to end up. Back to reality. The herding of people like cattle in their home cities, as they drag themselves to work each day. Yes that is the part about travelling I do not like. You feel it is unfair to fully enjoy the last couple of days, as you betray the city you're leaving. Such a bitter taste. 

What’s your favourite foreign food? 
OK I am going to nut this down to a few destinations and a few cuisines. 
1. Pintxos in San Sebastian - The Basque do their version of Tapas so right.
2. Che (Dessert in a glass) - A very specific Vietnamese dessert from Ho Chi Minh's Nha Hang Ngon - Sago, Coconut Milk, Banana, and Jellies. Also on par, is the Vietnamese Iced Coffee, a daily consumption while you're there, from anywhere.
3. Singapore Chilli Mud Crab
4. Given my extent of travelling throughout North America, I can't go past their take on foreign Mexican foods, and by far the Chimichangas from Hussongs in Las Vegas are the best! 

I can't go on my mouth is salivating! I am also a big fan of foreign wine.

Do you prefer travelling solo or with a companion?
Having travelled solo, or in groups with girlfriends, in the past, I am now converted to the trusty companion. My passenger for life. There is something special about exploring a destination with someone special to you. Whether you're in the car on a road trip and accidentally drive down the wrong side of the road, or get stranded in the international airport without a visa to your next destination, or experience some really unfavourable noises coming from the penthouse above your hotel room; I have someone to laugh it all off with. Not only that, the mini-meltdowns have brought us extremely closer together and have tested us throughout our entire relationship. We travelled as boyfriend and girlfriend, then we got engaged and travelled as fiance and fiance, then travelled as a married couple. The hardest has been as a married couple. Your funds are all derived from the same account, you know each other in and out, the flaws, the loves and the fears. And yet you wouldn't have it any other way. Shaun knows how to calm me down before getting on a flight in a thunderstorm (I'm in remission with my fear of flying - there is a cure!!). And I can negotiate the fees and costs for some of those big ticket expenses, car hire etc. We bounce off one another, because we still are individuals. 

My companion, Shaun and I - Fiji

11 Random Facts you might not know about me: 
  1. I'm part of 10% of the population being left-handed, and proud
  2. I've never broken a bone in my body, meanwhile Shaun has broken nearly all including two shoulder reconstructions and an ankle
  3. I used to really enjoy painting and drawing, and want to take it up when I get back on the road
  4. I am terribly afraid of scarecrows
  5. I have never owned a dog, and am waiting for the opportunity to own one finally - I love dogs
  6. I have two older brothers who have a major impact in my life
  7. I lived in Melbourne for over a year while my husband trained in Air Traffic Control
  8. Sunflowers are my favourite flower
  9. I am a major fan of Ice Hockey which is growing in Australia, I follow Vancouver Canucks (Bruins fans please don't take it to heart, I love the city Boston!)
  10. Shiraz is my drop of choice, followed closely by Pinot Noir (only from Central Otago)
  11. I am actually really addicted to computer games, but I will play for a few weeks then lose total interest. 
Now nominating 11 blogs that I enjoy following:
  1. Where in the world are you right now?
  2. Can you pinpoint the exact moment you knew this was what you wanted to do?
  3. When travelling what is your biggest challenge?
  4. Do you take tours when you travel or explore on your own?
  5. Name something, other than your passport, that if you lost in your baggage you couldn't live without?
  6. What is your favourite airport and airport experience worldwide? 
  7. What are the essentials you take on a plane, or long haul bus ride?
  8. What was the most confronting travel experience you've had, and why didn't it stop you?
  9. Was there a destination that surprised you and you fell in love with automatically?
  10. What does your first day consist of in a new city?
  11. You're at your favourite travel destination, and you have $10 left what do you do with it?
Can't wait to read each of yours - Go!

Follow your own path


  1. Thank you Carissa :) I have been super busy this week but now that it's the weekend I will have time to do all the fun stuff ;) So I better start typing, thanks for the questions!

  2. Thanks for nominating us. It's always such fun to learn about others. Once M. is home (he's currently guiding in Iceland) we'll answer the questions and post them online. Cheers!

  3. Thank you so much, Carissa! I'm honored. Looking forward to answering all of your questions. Thanks for showing Seize the Globe some love!