Whilst I was busy finalising the arrangements for my Cologne holiday (getting everyone checked in online, printing boarding passes and ensuring the cancelled Rail Network strike was still cancelled) and frantically trying to finish the three writing assignments I’d optimistically accepted just days before we were due to fly, I came upon a tweet in my notifications.
I saw my name and the word “award” in the same sentence. Now I’ve not received many awards in my life (although Stu regularly tells me that I should be given one for tenacity) so naturally my curiosity was piqued as soon as I realised that I’d been nominated for one.
So What Exactly is a Liebster Award?
The Liebster Award (from the German word meaning “dearest” or “beloved”) is a peer-nominated blogging award, typically given to new bloggers in order to encourage interaction, and to promote recognition of each others’ work. It’s also a great way of helping bloggers get to know each other.
As the majority of bloggers will likely recall, when you first start out in the world of blogging (travel or otherwise), you do feel as if no-one is reading your work (except possibly your parents), so I think that creating an award that acknowledges the hard work of like-minded individuals, is a fantastic idea.
How Does it Work?
- You receive a nomination, which is awesome!
- If you choose to accept the award, you write a short blog post in which you answer 11 interview questions posed by the blogger who nominated you.
- You then nominate five bloggers who you think are deserving of the award and pose 11 new questions you would like them to answer.
- You share the post on social media and let the lucky five bloggers know that they have received the award.
I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide. Sonja and I hiked the Inca Trail within days of each other (with the same trekking company), and since discovering this fact and subsequently becoming acquainted with her fantastic blog, I’ve enjoyed reading every single post. I feel honoured that, in a sea of other new travel bloggers, she chose me as one of her five nominees.
So, without further ado, here are my answers to her interview questions….
What trip or experience got your travel addiction started?
Ooh, that’s so difficult to answer! For as long as I can remember I’ve been a curious, inquisitive person with a thirst for knowledge and adventure, and an inherent desire to explore and understand the world around me. Even during some of the first holidays I took as an adult (which were package holidays to the Greek Islands, because they were cheap!), I’d wander off on my own with my camera whilst my friends lazed around on the beach. But I think it was the holiday I took to Thailand in 2002 that really encouraged me to explore further afield and taught me that independent, solo travel was possible, safe and affordable.
If you could be transported to any place right now, where would you go?
It’s got to be Thailand! It’s probably the country in which I’ve spent the longest amount of time, and also the one in which I experienced my first real taste of solo travel. I’m in love with the people, the culture, the climate, the landscapes, and the food. Oh, the food! My favourite parts of the country are the northern highlands – the rural mountain villages, the rice paddies, the hilltop temples, and the fact that much of it still retains its authentic Thai charm.
You have $10,000 to spend on travel. Do you do a bare-bones budget for a year OR one blow-out vacation to an exotic destination?
Bare-bones budget for a year. For me travel is all about the opportunities you seize, the discoveries you make and experiences you share, not about the standard of accommodation you stay in. Exotic just suggests that something is foreign to you and unfamiliar, so exotic destinations – like much of South-East Asia and India – can be visited on a budget. That’s my argument anyway!
If cost is not a factor: luxury hotel or picturesque campsite?
Haha, that’s a tricky one! Not that I’ve had much experience of them, but luxury hotels tend to make me feel rather awkward and out of place. Generally as long as I’ve got a comfortable bed, safe and clean living accommodation, and a hot shower (maybe wifi would be good too!) then I’m a happy girl. Can I choose glamping at this picturesque campsite? I really fancy staying in a traditional Yurt!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Cheese! I even tried to give it up for lent once. I’m not religious, it was more of a test to see whether I could do it; I lasted four weeks!
Are you a superfan of someone? Who is it? Be honest.
As in am I infatuated by or obsessed with someone? Sorry to be boring but I can’t think that I am! There are public figures that I admire and take great inspiration from (mainly musicians, those involved in travel or literature (Michael Palin was one of the first travel writers to inspire me), and comedian Bill Bailey) but that’s about as far as it goes.
Go-to airport snack to perk you up?
I usually treat myself to a Marks and Spencer’s king prawn and salmon salad. Or olives and feta cheese (yes, there’s definitely a bit of a theme developing here!)
Do you have a weird thing that you love that most people think is gross? Like peanut butter burgers or the smell of wet dog? (I’m guilty of the latter)
I’m desperately trying to think of something that’s not food! I used to come home drunk and eat my way through a can of red kidney beans. Thankfully I grew out of that one (although I’m still a massive fan of kidney beans). I also like the smell of creosote.
Most embarrasing costume you’ve worn (Halloween or otherwise)?
A good friend of mine once talked me into going to a fancy dress Burlesque party with her at our local pub, wearing a corset and a pair of black lacy knickers! I had to wear a long jacket over the top in a desperate attempt to retain some of my dignity.
What sense (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) do you appreciate the most?
Whilst I can’t imagine life without music, and all those sounds and aromas that bring a place to life, I’m going to have to run with sight. As a photographer, explorer and writer, the ability to see is paramount in my life.
You can only watch one TV series for the rest of your life. Which one do you choose?
I’m going to have to cop out of this one, as I rarely watch TV. In between my full-time day job, running my travel blog and various other writing assignments, I just don’t have the time!
A great set of questions there by Sonja, who I know had an incredible amount of fun putting them together.
Now for my own nominations for the next Liebster Award…
Leah from The Mochilera Diaries. Leah is a solo female traveller in search of the best adventure, astronomy and culture around the world (a girl after my own heart!), and I’ve loved reading her honest, well-written and thoughtful posts about her recent travels in Spain. Whilst I’ve only recently stumbled upon her blog, I’ve since discovered that she has also written a ton of posts on North, Central and South America, and SouthEast Asia, which I’m very much looking forward to reading.
Sarah from Sarahuntress. I’m totally in love with Sarah’s storytelling, and her incredible ability to evoke a very tangible sense of time and place through her writing. She was trekking in the Himalayas when the first earthquake struck Nepal, and her decision to stay in the country meant that she also experienced the second devastating tremor.
Laia from Colibrist. A regular contributor to the #SundayTraveler link up, I started reading Laia’s travel blog when she was travelling through Laos and writing about many of the places I visited during my solo trip through South-East Asia in 2006. She started a year-long round the world adventure in November 2014 and is currently in New Zealand.
Lavi from Lavi Was Here. Lavi left her job in corporate finance in March 2014 and, as well as travelling through parts of South America, Europe and Asia, she’s spent six months living in Madrid teaching English. The first post of hers that I discovered was about Chefchaouen, Morocco’s ‘blue town’, and I’ve been reading ever since.
Anna from Slightly Astray. I know I already nominated Anna for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award (and thoroughly deserving of it she is too!) but as a relatively new blogger (she’s been blogging for around the same length of time as me (late 2013)) I feel that I cannot possibly exclude her from this award. I love Anna’s personal accounts of life on the road, and her food posts!
My Liebster Award questions for the new nominees are…
- Are you a cat or a dog person?
- What the weirdest/funniest phrase, statement or question that you know in another language?
- What was the last book you read?
- What’s the most recent place (town/city) you’ve visited, and your favourite photograph taken there? Please explain why it’s your favourite and post the photograph as part of your answer.
- If you had to promote/sell your blog using just one post, which one would you choose and why?
- Have you ever made an embarrassing faux pas regarding the culture and customs of another country? (like I once made the mistake of sitting next to a monk on a bus in Thailand) If not, what’s the strangest custom or tradition you’ve witnessed whilst travelling?
- What’s your favourite cuisine?
- What’s your most treasured travel souvenir?
- How would you describe your hometown? and name five things I shouldn’t miss if I chose to visit.
- What are your pet hates?
- What’s your biggest blogging achievement thus far?
If you want to see the nominees’ answers (or in fact just discover some kickass new blogs) make sure you follow them on social media.
If you’re reading this and I haven’t nominated you (obviously your blog is just way too popular or I just haven’t discovered it yet!), feel free to answer any one of the questions above in the comments below, especially if there is a weird, interesting or amusing story attached 😉