It’s only been a short 3 weeks since I entered the wonderful world of travel blogging and I’ve loved every minute of it. (Seriously, who wouldn’t enjoy having an excuse to go to Pottercon all by themselves? I mean I only dressed up like HP and drank butterbeers as part of my blog “research”).
In this short time, I’ve been introduced to a great network of fellow writers and have been fortunate enough to meet people just as passionate about travelling as I am. As I’m such a “newbie”, imagine my surprise when I received my first nomination for the Liebster Award from BonBagage. Thank you very much for the nomination!
Liebster Award Rules
- Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
- Answer eleven questions that the blogger gives you.
- Give eleven random facts about yourself.
- Nominate at least 5 other blogs that you think deserve the award (with less than 200 followers).
- Let the bloggers know you have nominated them.
- Give them eleven questions to answer.
Q & A Time
Which country would you never visit?
There isn’t one, especially if the opportunity presents itself! I would like to visit them all but I am aware that certain areas can be quite dangerous so I definitely have some that I would visit before others. You’ll see me in Argentina before you’ll see me in South Sudan (maybe I’ll go for my 90th birthday).
Do you have a travel song you always listen to when going away?
I don’t think I really have a particular one for when I go away. I do tend to listen to depressing indie songs about leaving love. I couldn’t tell you why but it weirdly makes me happy. Maybe it’s the repressed romantic in me. I’m quite independent and love having my freedom so I usually never look back and am perfectly happy pausing my so called ‘real life’ back home for awhile. Maybe I secretly want to miss someone (I think this one’s for my therapist to over analyze)?
I also travel quite a bit for work so when I come back to New York City I always play ‘New York Groove’ by Kiss while unpacking or walking to my office. There’s nothing like walking the streets of New York after being gone for awhile. It’s my home and I love it here. It just makes me feel so alive.
What’s your most beautiful travel memory?
I’ve rewritten this answer so many times as I have so many good travel memories and I didn’t want to be maudlin but the way it’s phrased says ‘most beautiful’ so I decided to answer honestly. It’s a sad kind of beautiful but last summer one of my closest friends unexpectedly passed away. It was the first time I had lost someone really close to me.
I had been training for my first half marathon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and was set to leave the next morning for California. Her funeral was the same day as my race but I knew she would have wanted me to finish it. I was broken up inside but I ran it for her. I had taken the next 10 days off work so I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway by myself afterward. I believe we all grieve and say goodbye in our own way. Funerals are for the living, not the dead. This was my way of saying goodbye. I could feel her there with me sitting in the passenger seat of the car. I talked to her the whole way through Santa Barbara and Big Sur and Carmel. I laughed, I cried, I sang songs loudly and could hear her making fun of how terrible of a driver I was. I saw her in every sunset, every ocean wave, and every forest. It was beautiful and peaceful. I still can’t explain how incredibly close I felt to her during that trip.
What keeps you motivated when you’re blogging?
Thinking about my weekly “research” plans. If you don’t go, you don’t know right? I have a love affair with Manhattan and I love sharing my adventures with my readers. It’s fun to try new things and it’s forcing me to get to know my own backyard a little better. I’ll never blog about a place I haven’t been to.
I also enjoy writing about my own local haunts as more and more people are trying to discover places where you won’t find a tour bus. It feels more personal and you’ll likely see me at the places I write about as I frequent 92% of them!
Do you visit dangerous countries?
I think the term ‘dangerous country’ is misleading. Most countries have volatile situations in certain, isolated areas. There are places just over the bridge in Brooklyn that I would never visit at this point in time due to heavy crime. I avoid certain areas in certain countries and I can’t say I’ve ever been to what people think of as a ‘dangerous country’ like Afghanistan or Iran. Doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. I would really love to do some hiking in Pakistan.
Where would you like to live other than your home country?
London. Definitely London. I lived there for 2 summers in college and I just loved it. I’m lucky as my company’s head office is on Pall Mall so I get sent for work a few times a year.
I also have a huge thing for British men. I can’t help it. It doesn’t matter where in the world I am, if there is a British man anywhere in the city, I will somehow find him. I swear I met the love of my life at a rooftop bar in Ho Chi Minh City. I saw him when I first arrived and when he came over to say ‘hullo’, my friends just rolled their eyes and said, “of course Kristen, he would be a Brit” (If you’re reading this Dan – sorry I snuck out without so much as exchanging last names. I clearly wasn’t thinking as I had to rush to meet my friends for a tour but I enjoyed watching the Vietnamese sunrise with you. Message me if you see this!).
What’s the ultimate travel souvenir you ever got/bought?
When I was younger and my parents went away on vacation, they would always bring me back a Christmas ornament from wherever they were. I’ve kept the tradition alive by doing the same when I travel. I’ll buy one for my mom and one for myself. I love decorating my tree with them ever year. It’s my version of a scrapbook and it reminds me of my travels and my family. It does annoy my friends though because I’ve had to drag them all over town looking for an ornament a couple times, especially in non-Christian regions! In that case, I’ll normally buy some sort of craft item indigenous to the region and make it into an ornament.
Which trip are you planning right now?
In the short term, I’m planning some local US trips. I head to Monterey, CA to cover a work event (which is more fun than it sounds!) and I’ll have some free time so I’m heading up to Sausalito afterwards. I then head to Dallas, TX a few weeks later to go to a football game with friends and family (go FSU!!).
In the long term, my company offers paid sabbaticals after you’ve been there a certain amount of time so I’m saving up and planning for that. I’m starting at the tip of Chile/Argentina and making my way up.
Is there something you don’t like about traveling?
Planes! I know it’s super weird because I’m on a plane at least 4 times a month but I hate them. I’m afraid of flying and I also have trouble sleeping on planes and am quite uncomfortable (April was my first and last time flying straight on to Australia. I’ll be stopping in many countries on the way next time!).
What’s your favorite foreign food?
All of it! Seriously, I’ll eat anything. I love food and could never pick a favorite! I will say weirdly enough, the best dumplings I’ve ever had was in a little restaurant in Bali. I crave them on a daily basis.
Do you prefer traveling solo or with a companion?
A bit of both. I love being alone and there’s something so exciting about being on your own in a new city. You can have your own agenda and do anything you want without having to worry about pleasing anyone else. I also meet more people travelling solo rather than in groups. I find I’m more likely to bust out of my comfort zone and am forced to make new friends.
It is great travelling with your close friends too. It’s nice to have someone else navigate a map for a change and it’s great when you get together years from now and spend time reminiscing on all your adventures. It’s fun sharing those moments with people rather than experiencing them all yourself and having no one who understands whatever life-changing adventure you just went through.
11 Random Facts About Me
1. I’m a fake vegetarian. I eat seafood occasionally and if there is a food that’s culturally significant to the place I’m currently visiting, I’ll try it whether it’s meat or a bug!
2. I know more about American football than most guys do.
3. Cheese is my favorite food. I hate it when I order a cheese plate for dinner and my friends think it’s for sharing. Nope, it’s my meal. Order your own.
4. I’ve seen every episode of “Friends” at least a thousand times and I still laugh like it’s the first time I’ve ever watched it.
5. If you can’t tell by my super long blog posts, I talk. A lot. It’s actually closer to rambling than actual talking.
6. I’ve been onboard several superyachts thanks to my “grownup” job
7. I’m still afraid of the dark. And shadows.
8. I’ve never been to the top of the Empire State Building. In large part because Tom Hanks hasn’t said yes to going with me yet.
9. I’m still waiting for N’SYNC to reunite so I can live out my lifelong dream of going to their concert.
10. I’m very superstitious. I will not pick a penny up unless it’s heads up.
11. Whenever I have a geek-out moment over something, I think about the fact that my best friend is in daily Game of Thrones chat rooms. Then I feel better because there are bigger dorks than me out there.
Other great blogs that have less than 200 followers on Facebook that you should checkout are:
3. Travel Hacks
11 Questions for them to Answer
1. How many countries have you visited?
2. What was your favorite continent and why?
3. If you could be any safari animal, what would it be and why?
4. What’s the weirdest food you ever ate while travelling? Was it good?
5. What was your worst travel experience?
6. What’s the biggest challenge for you in travel blogging?
7. Have you learned any languages while travelling?
8. What is the most impractical item you bring with you while travelling?
9. Where is your home base (if you have one)?
10. Planes, trains, or automobiles? Which transportation do you prefer?
11. What is your biggest pet peeve when you are on vacation?
Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?
Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!