The liebster is an “award” passed from blogger to blogger. It comes with no money, trophy, or – as far as I can tell – item I can sell on ebay. Yet it gives me enormous pride to accept my nomination from fellow blogger, Kristina, at Seize the Globe. Kristina, thank you!
Now, I have to pay it forward in true liebster tradition.
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
My 11 Answers:
1. Do you prefer to pack well in advance (weeks) or the night before?
I pack the night before – or even day of a trip. I am a blow and go kind of person and we travel extremely light.
2. What is your current location and what is your next destination?
I am currently at my home in Budapest (I am an American working in Hungary). We have several trips planned in Slovakia and Hungary over the next two months. The next time I will board a plane will be to meet our kids and attend the TBEX conference in Athens, Greece in late October.
3. What is the goal for your travel blog?
My blog isn’t, per se, a “travel blog”. My husband and I have lived in Central Europe for three years, and I plan to retire next year. At that time, we hope to live here and there for a few years before ultimately heading home. I hope others may read my blog and be inspired to live their dreams. If they find a few travel tips, that’s great too.
4. I won’t ask you to name your favorite country. Instead–what is your favorite continent? Why is it special to you?
My favorite country is easy, France. I am, and have always been, a Francophile – I love the culture, the food, the art, history, wine, cheese, chocolate (insert shopping list here… ). I study the language in the hopes this will be one of our future homes.
5. What is the most bizarre food you have ever eaten during your travels?
I don’t eat too many bizarre foods. In Hungary, I have tried brains and tongue. Hungarians tend to eat every single body part – so all organs are available in most any Hungarian restaurant. But I have a very queasy stomach – so adventure eating is not my strong suit.
6. Do you prefer to solo travel, with a group, or just a single partner?
I don’t mind traveling alone – and I have for years. But I prefer to travel with my husband (or my daughter! She is a great travel partner.) We never travel in a group (unless we meet up with a group of friends). I like to pick what I am going to do, where I am going to eat, and when to move on without the constraints of a larger group.
7. Do you take advantage of travel rewards (points, miles, travel rewards, etc.) to fund your trips?
Not that often. I have tons of miles on British Airways which I will start to use once I retire. For now, I am building them up. We tend to fly home with little notice and it is harder and harder to get a free ticket. As long as we live in Europe, we are focused on local travel. We can get to so many places across Europe inexpensively. We will spend our points when we no longer have this option!
8. What is your best overall flight experience? Airline? Departure? Destination? Duration?
I love to travel – but I hate the physical part of moving. I guess my favorite way to travel is by train. You show up at the station, buy a ticket and board without anyone searching or x-raying anything. When we travel across Central Europe, we rarely buy a ticket in advance. That spontaneity of just going is one of my favorite parts of the adventure. Trains are hotbeds of interesting travelers and great conversationalists. Recently, we traveled from Rome to Salerno. The high-speed train was fantastic (they served drinks and the ticket was cheap – you can’t beat it!).
9. What is the best part about having friends all over the world?
Given I have worked in international jobs for years, I really do have friends in nearly every country it seems. I like getting the local insight on places to visit, things to do, out-of-the-way restaurants. I am always asking my friends for recommendations for places I could not find alone. And when they suggest something, I go do it.
10. What is your dream RTW itinerary?
My goal is to live in a series of countries for an extended period of time (around three months). So our RTW trip will be slow. I would start in Paris (of course) for three months, maybe go from their to Courtmacsherry, Ireland for six months (I don’t have a time limit, do I?). Stop in Philadelphia for a few months to see our kids. Onto Vietnam for the winter. Nepal, India, and someplace in the Middle East (I have visited Jordan – I would love to go to Syria if it settles down). Once we get to Istanbul, Turkey – we will slowly come home by living in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. Then crawl up the Croatian coast and back to Budapest.
11. Which flight search engine/tool do you prefer the most?
It depends where I am going. In Europe, I look at Ryan Air, WizzAir – the discount airlines first. Then, I try something like Skyscanner or Expedia. I usually purchase directly from the airlines once I find a ticket I can afford. And of course, we always check the train.
Give 11 Random Facts About Yourself:
1. I have visited all 50 of the United States.
2. I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue.
3. I make a fantastic wild mushroom ravioli (from scratch!).
4. We moved to Bratislava, Slovakia without ever having visited.
5. My first dog and my first son share the same name (no, my son is not named Spot).
6. My dream man is 97 and named John G. Morris.
7. I am ridiculously afraid of rodents (especially the tiniest of mice).
8. Everything I own is in a storage unit in Colorado.
9. I am a reading junkie.
10. I don’t carry a cell phone.
11. My favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate chip mint.
My Liebster Award nominations:
This was difficult. I tried to find 11 blogs – 11 exceptional blogs not yet discovered by the world. Then, I read the original liebster guidelines which indicate I must name five to eleven. I have elected to select these 10. Congratulations bloggers!
(in no certain order):
1. Alex at Alex Will Travel. A University of Colorado grad living in Budapest. I believe in karma.
2. Elaine at The Whole World is a Playground.
3. Annika at Live Laugh and Explore.
4. Sammi at Wander Lustin.
5. Tom Paul Josef Smith at Travel Live Dream.
6. Abbi at Life in a Ruck Sack.
7. Sigurdur at The Red Head Explorer (I have a soft spot for red-heads).
8. Babeth at Beyond My Comfort Zone.
9. Claudette at Mama Loves Paris (no explanation required).
10. Kristina at Klavier Zimmer (the Practice Room).
I hope you will all accept this nomination and follow the guidelines listed above to pay it forward. Congratulations!
My 11 questions for you:
How do you come up with topics to write about?
Do you research trips before you go? And if so, how?
Do your family and friends support your travel?
Where is your current home?
Where were you born?
What is your favorite trip ever? And why?
Why do you write a blog?
What is your single dream destination you have not yet visited?
Who is your favorite travel writer? (and if you don’t have one – a favorite blogger?)
Describe a memorable meal from your travels?
What do you do to improve your writing quality?