A few weeks ago I stumbled across Globetrotter Joe’s blog and was instantly impressed by his determination to build a library in Tanzania. Having spent a great deal of time in Uganda and, after my first visit, returning home and setting up a social enterprise (Global Handprints) I felt like we had several things in common. I reached out to him to make a connection and offer, what I hope, was some support in his endeavor – just a simple ‘what you’re doing is great!’ What I didn’t expect was, a few weeks later, to receive a nomination from him for a Liebster Award!
If you’re not from the blogging world, or are new to it, it’s ok if you have never heard of this before. I know I hadn’t until I started blogging. It’s an online award that gets passed on between bloggers, with bloggers nominating their favourite bloggers who go on to nominate their favourite and so on. The purpose is to recongnise the hard work and dedication that goes in to a travel blog and to highlight and credit new blogs, helping them get found and discovered.
In accordance with the Liebster Award rules, anyone who is nominated must
- Acknowledge and thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog (Thanks again Joe)
- Answer the questions they have been asked
- Choose 11 other bloggers they think deserve the award
- Think of 11 questions for their nominees
- Combine all of the above into one blog post (that’s this one!)
So, here we go, below are my answers to Joe’s questions from his Liebster Award post.
1)Why did you start travel blogging?
I started blogging mid last year when I came back to South Africa following a trip home in which many friends said they never really know what I am doing or where I am! I started it as a way to share what I am doing with family and friends; once I started blogging and delving into the blogosphere I became fascinated with the camaraderie and networking that happens and am now expanding my blog into other areas as well as a diary style blog.
2) What are your travel plans for 2016?
When I came back to SA last year I had a new mantra, not to plan things following a few years of the best laid plans falling through. So this year is a blank chapter ready to be written! I started the year in the Western Cape in South Africa, having traveled across and down the country in a caravan. I am hoping that over the course of the year I get to finish the circumference of this country and then start to head north into the neighbouring countries. I will be going home later in the year for friends’ weddings but I also have to leave South Africa sooner than that to renew my visa so am currently working out where to go for that trip!
3) When did you first get bitten by the ‘travel bug’?
Hmmmm, to be honest, I don’t remember when it first happened. I was lucky to travel in Europe when I was younger with my Mum and I always knew I wanted to take a gap year and travel then. I have always had lists of places I want to go to having read endless books and articles. I used to spend hours in book shops looking through Lonely Planet guides of places I wanted to go at some point. However, I would say my first trip to Uganda is the trip that fully opened my eyes to the rest of the world and just how much there is to see and do.
4) How many different countries have you visited, and which is your favourite?
I have visited many Europeans countries – growing up in London makes that relatively easy; Turkey, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Hungary, Brussels, Germany, Latvia all spring to mind. I have lived in Australia, Canada and now South Africa. I have also travelled to the US, Thailand, Venezuela, Colombia, India and several African countries. Uganda is my favourite.
5) Which do you prefer – Hostels or Hotels?
That’s a tough one! I love staying in hostels because you get to meet so many people and they can usually be found in the ‘real’ areas of a new location. However, there’s nothing wrong with a fancy hotel every now and then too.
6) What’s the biggest travelling mishap you have ever experienced?
Not long after I had got to South Africa I flew to Zimbabwe and was told on arrival that I didn’t have any blank pages in my passport so they couldn’t give me a visa. I smiled sweetly at the security guy and found a page that had a very faint, old stamp from a European country on it and suggested he stuck my visa over the top of that – no one will know I reasoned with him. Laving the airport, I promptly forgot all about my passport being full. When the time came to check in for my flight back to South Africa from Bulawayo one Sunday afternoon I was told there was no way they could let me board. Apparently it is against all airline regulations for people to board planes with no blank pages in their passport when the country of their destination requires a page for a visa. I tried pointing out that I had a 2 year South Africa visa so they wouldn’t be sticking anything else in the passport. I tried telling them that the Jo’berg security obviously hadn’t cared when they let me board the flight to Zim. I spoke to management. I cried. Eventually, someone somewhere felt sorry for me and allowed me to check in, literally just in ttime to board – I walked through baggage check, onto the runway and onto the plane!
7) Do you like to plan your trips, or are you more spontaneous?
It depends where I am going but more often than not I like to be spontaneous once I get somewhere. I am a pretty organized person in my very day life to when I am away I like to switch that off and just go with the flow to really experience somewhere.
8) Can you speak any other languages?
I studied both French and Spanish at school but I don’t use either so I will have to say no I don’t!
9) Which travel destination has been your biggest let down?
Venezuela – I was super excited to finally go to South America, somewhere I had wanted to go for ages. I was thrilled at the prospect of one month there exploring. However, within a few days I was disappointed, the country was literally nothing like I envisaged it would be! I was expecting an array of bright colours, friendly people, fresh fruit and a tropical feel. What I was met with was rude, unfriendly people and my memory of the country is of this drab, miserable place (apart from Angel Falls) However, I crossed the border into Colombia and within miles the differences were huge. I loved Colombia. Also, I was robbed in Venezuela (touch wood the only place for it to have happened so far so I don’t think that helps my memory of the place!)
10) And which travel destination was way better than you thought it would be?
Uganda – I had always wanted to go to Africa and to volunteer so when I was able to combine the 2 by spending a summer working at a partner school to my Uk one, I was excited. However, I didn’t really let myself think too much about what it would really be like because I knew I was going no matter what. It was only when, the day before I left, a fellow teacher who had been mentioned the fact the toilet was a hole in the ground at the bottom of the head teacher’s garden that reality sunk in. I spent the whole plane journey wondering what I was letting myself in for. Within 2 days I was in love. I have been back several times and it’s a country that makes me feel at home; its beautiful, the people are welcoming and the cultures are fascinating.
11) What one piece of advice would you give to someone about to set off on their first big travel adventure?
Get away from the tourist traps! Yes, I know we all want to climb Table Mountain (or take the cable car like me) or see the Taj Mahal BUT don’t let these activities rule your trip. The best way to see and experience somewhere new is to get off the beaten track (it’s a cliché for a reason!) So, make sure you’re safe and get out with the locals exploring the culture and customs away from everyone else who is there on holiday!
Ok, now for my nomination…I have spent a great deal of time reading travel blogs and can honestly say choosing 11 to nominate was hard! However, here they are:
- Toni from Enchanted Serendipity
- Alicia from Blissful Travelher
- Steph from Worldy Adventurer
- Jess from Global Jess
- Steffani from Full Nomad
- Luke from One Way Travel
- Kyle from Drift Away Travel
- Lily from There She Goes
- Becca and Alex from Roam Wild and Free
- Rachael from Crumbs On My Map
- Gabby from Packs Light
And here are my questions for you guys!
- Are you a full time Blogger or do you have another job? If you have something else, what do you do?
- What was the first trip you took that you blogged about?
- What is the thing in your life that you’re most proud of achieving?
- Name 3 travel books or movies you would recommend to fellow travellers.
- What is your travel style? (slow, responsible, luxury, backpacker, ‘fit as much in as I can’)
- Have you ever volunteered before? If so where and how did the experience impact you?
- What is your most embarrassing travel story?!
- What 3 things do you have to pack in your hand luggae?
- What is your number 1 tip for surviving a long plane or bus journey?
- What is the number 1 thing or place on your Bucket List?
- What do you miss most about home while you’re away?
I am looking forward to reading your answers J