Thanks to travel bloggers Jeff and Erin at AWeekOrAWeekend, I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award. This doesn’t really mean I’ve won anything, technically–it’s more of a fun way for bloggers to spread the word about other blogs they like (kind of like a word-of-mouth blog-tagging game). I’m not sure exactly what the criteria are (Number of followers? Page rank? Blog less than a certain number of years old?), but regardless of whether I’m technically eligible or not, I thought I’d put my fingers to the keyboard and actually participate in this chain-letter game. Thanks for the nomination, Jeff and Erin! Hope our paths cross someday 😉
Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:
- When you receive the award, post 11 random facts about yourself.
- On your blog, answer the 11 questions from the blog that nominated you.
- Pass the award on to other blogs that deserve recognition and ask them 11 questions. Make sure you tell them you nominated them.
- You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you.
1. Where was your first holiday?
First ever? Whew. Mom? Dad? (please feel free to weigh in here) I honestly have no idea. Where was the first place I ever visited? Grandma’s house?
2. Backpack or wheely suitcase?
Depends on where I’m going 😉
3. Two-in-one haircare or separate shampoo and conditioner?
Um, separate. I don’t care that it adds extra weight and is more bulky–that two-in-one stuff is an invitation for a flat, greasy ‘do that just won’t cut it.
4. Africa or Asia? Why?
Well, since I’ve never actually been to Africa, this is kind of a biased question. So, let’s say Asia. But….I’ll preface that by saying I’ve certainly got dreams of going to Morocco someday on my mind….
5. What is your favourite travel film?
While I wouldn’t say I have a favorite film about travel, per se, I would say that my favorite “travel-related” films are typically filmed in places I’ve been. For one, every time I see the magnificent Azure Window from the tiny island of Gozo (it’s actually kind of a Mediterranean go-to as far as the movie industry goes), I feel a pang of lust in my chest….and I’m instantly returned there, every time. The power of the visual, I suppose–it’s stronger for me than most anything else.
6. Harem pants or board shorts?
Well, since I’m not a surfer and I’ve never worn board shorts, I guess I’ll go with harem pants on this one? I did buy a beautiful pair of silk harem pants in Thailand for wearing around the house, and I must admit: they are probably the most comfortable piece of fabric I’ve ever put on my body.
7. Guidebooks or get lost?
I’m a guidebook gal all the way. I’ve never gone on an international voyage without one, and I even bought an Arizona one when I moved to the Southwest so that I could learn about my new stomping ground. Honestly, while I know they are biased and subjective (like any piece of writing, right?), they are a great way to get oriented with a new place and to learn to find your way around an unfamiliar city. Plus, they are a great starting point for doing research while traveling, which, in case there’s no internet where you’re traveling and you’ve got a blog post or story due, is wonderfully helpful.
A tip about reading guidebooks, though, from my experience: Try to take the advice and “must-sees” lightheartedly–don’t try to recreate someone else’s trip or try to check off everything in one guidebook. For one, the “must-sees” are probably only one person’s “must-sees,” and a lot of spectacular places might have been left off the list for that particular publication. I just came across a very interesting critical spin on the guidebook–check out Laura Pulido’s A People’s Guide to Los Angeles if you’re interested in seeing what I mean. She eschews the traditional Los Angeles guidebook “must-sees” and documents 115 little-known sites in the city and its suburbs where struggles related to race, class, gender, and sexuality have occurred. Through her critical re-visioning of her beloved and complicated city, she introduces her readers to people and events usually ignored by mainstream media and, in the process, creates a dynamic history of Los Angeles. While the work has gotten its fair share of critiques (it’s a “slum tour,” as some have said), I think the work is brilliant for asking people to re-think their assumptions about guidebooks and how true they are.
8. Mountain or beach?
Beach. Hands-down, I’m a water bug and a sun bug through and through.
9. Travel pet-peeve?
Forgetting one of my electronic chargers. It is no fun trying to find a compatible cell phone charger, laptop charger, camera charger, etc. in a foreign place. And if you can’t speak the language in the place you’re traveling, bump that up ten-fold–it’s nearly impossible! (I so fondly remember trying to buy a compatible external hard drive for my camera images in Taiwan….now that was an experience). Thank goodness I’ve learned how to use my hands and pointing abilities so well over the years (when you travel alone, knowing how to point, grunt, smile, and nod are kind of a necessity).
10. Money-saving tip?
Think of your travels as an investment, if you can–they’ll last much longer and linger more beautifully than any one product you can buy 😉
11. Dream destination?
While I certainly have dreams of going to particular destinations (seeing the pyramids someday, for instance, or returning to Spain, the first place I ever stepped foot on outside my native country), I think about this question very delicately. Destinations, like people, are not static–they change all the time. My relationships with those destinations change all the time.
11 Random Facts About Me?
1. I just defended travel writing for 3 hours in my PhD comprehensive exams on Monday.
2. My fiancee proposed to me in my parents’ living room on my 29th birthday.
3. I have an orange tabby named Giuseppe who loves to eat more than any creature I’ve ever met.
4. I speak Spanish.
5. I am fascinated with the world and love the feeling of movement–in a car, a plane, on foot, by sea….you name it, I’m on it or I’ll do it.
6. I am an industry mutt–two parts grad student and writing teacher, one part writer and blogger.
7. I live in a city that somehow developed in one of the most inhospitable places on this continent.
8. I will beat you at Settlers of Catan more times than I’ll lose. Promise.
9. I love watching serial television shows with my fiancee.
10. I’ve been writing since I first picked up a pen when I was five years old….and despite a few creative dry spells, I’ve never really stopped.
11. I journal every night, whether I’m in my own bed at home, on the road, or anywhere else.
Travel blogs I’m giving a shout-out to: