THE LIEBSTER AWARD 2016
I was recently nominated for the Liebster Award for 2016 by Lexi at KinesiOdyssey. It is an award to recognise new bloggers who are doing well and help get them some exposure. I really appreciate the nomination and will gladly accept it.
Lexi is one of those adventure seekers you love to read about. From fossil hunting, to climbing, to diving. She explores this world and has been sharing her travels on her blog. I’ve been known to go on an adventure or two myself and have some serious envy over some of the things she has done! Thank you Lexi! Hope you’re having an amazing time!
Here are the answers to the questions you put to me:
Solo travel or with a partner?
Travelling solo is challenging and will make you question yourself constantly. It is about personal growth and expanding your comfort zone. You get to do whatever you want to do. You can stay in your room for two days in your undies watching foreign films with no subtitles. You can eat your favourite meal 5 days in a row from the same place. And there is no one telling you the right path is heading in a different direction to one in which you’re going.
The inverse of this is you have no one else to rely on and thus, no one else to blame when shit hits the fan. When travelling with a partner, once your lunch is gone, you can stare at their plate until they give in and let you eat some. You can dip into their stash of Snickers bars while they’re not looking. And you will have someone who can go to the pharmacy for meds to stop your butt from exploding every 12 seconds from something you ate at the markets 6 hours ago.
Machu Picchu or the Vatican? Why?
I almost have to flip a coin here. These two are so different they’re almost on different lists. I have seen neither of these, but want to see them both. If I had to pick one, I would choose Machu Picchu. I could argue my choice was because of the great outdoors, the history, the journey, but in reality it came down to the llamas. I want to travel with llamas and all their weird, smelly weirdness. I think we’d get along.
What’s your lucky travel item?
My watch. This isn’t really a lucky travel item, but a lucky life item. My dad bought me this G-Shock watch when I was about eight or nine. I still wear it. I’ve had to replace the battery a few times and I have come close to losing it; once when the strap snapped up a multi-pitch ascent, and somehow it landed in my chalk bag, and another time while I was snowboarding and someone saw it fall off and returned it. Somehow it has stayed with me for 30 years. There is nothing unique or interesting about it. It is not an expensive watch. But it has been with me through a lot.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned while travelling?
Don’t take too much shit. When I started travelling, I bought a huge hiking pack, knowing I would also be able to use it when I was trekking through the forests of New Zealand. I filled said pack with every item I could imagine using, preparing myself for every inevitable disaster. What can I say? I was a boy scout when I was younger. I took the motto “be prepared” a little too literally.
Of course I returned home somewhat annoyed that I hadn’t needed my coral cut first aid kit or my dress shoes. In fact a rather large portion of my gear had settled to the bottom of my pack and remained there for the entire trip, like a giant, useless hairball waiting to be coughed up once I got home.
What’s your favourite word that you’ve learned from another language?
Retrouvailles, a French word that literally it means ‘rediscovery’ but is used to describe the joy felt when reunited with someone after a long absense, often in a romantic sense. It is such a beautiful meaning…and a beautiful word to say.
I do not speak French. But I love that word.
Most interesting thing you’ve eaten?
Ahh..well I suppose you mean “that I know of”. I’m quite sure some of the things I’ve eaten definitely weren’t what they said they were. I’ve also failed to eat a couple of things, usually because once they were in my mouth, I’ve suddenly realised they were either truly disgusting, or still alive and willing to put up a fight.
I’ve eaten a few weird things, including insects, snakes, crocodile, possum, rabbit. Maybe snake heart would be one of the most interesting.
What’s the #1 thing you do to stay healthy and in shape on trips?
I actually do exercise while I’m away. I train a fair bit when I’m at home and if I take time out it just hurts too much getting back into it. I can’t say I manage it all the time. I sometimes prefer to lie around drinking whisky or eating chocolate. Life is about balance.
I usually do tabata rounds. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. I mix up the exercises each day. You can get some high intensity for ten minutes and you can do it on the floor of your room.
I am fairly good at running. I just don’t like it. It takes too long, I find it boring, and it means I have to take along another pair of shoes just to run in. Too hard.
Favourite City Abroad?
Hmmm….Pretty close between Paris and Edinburgh. I know, so cliché, but I love both of those cities.
Coming from little, young New Zealand, we don’t have historical cities. Our country was colonised hundreds of years after many of the great churches in Europe were built. I love the historical significance of cities like Paris.
I also love how much these cities have influenced literature and for how long. Walking the streets of Edinburgh and knowing Robert Louis Stevenson wandered here too, writing Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Or in more recent times, JK Rowling writing Harry Potter.
Favourite city in your home country?
Auckland, I guess. I don’t really love cities. Auckland for its harbour, islands and the fact I know my way around. I don’t really feel like I have a home though. That is sometimes a bit sad for me. They say home is where the heart is, but I don’t know where my heart is now.
What’s your biggest, bucket list, dream trip?
I have been toying with the idea of having a career break and spending some time going on a backpacking adventure, not necessarily on one long adventure, but definitely getting away from the rat race and decompressing. Recent events have thrust the opportunity at me and smooshed it in my face. I have to take it, though not without some reservations.
Come April 2017, I will be off on a new adventure to Iceland, which will be the beginning of my time away. I have no idea what will happen between now and then, or after, but I will roll with it and land on my feet.
Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met on the road and why?
To call someone interesting is one of the highest compliments I can give a person. We have all met jaw-droppingly beautiful, intimidatingly intelligent, or just wonderfully, lovely people. However, when someone is interesting, to me that means a person has captured my attention beyond the fleeting. Interesting, fascinating, captivating. Those are the ones I like to surround myself with. They are the friends I keep. They are the women I find attractive. They are the people I love to know.
I sat alone on a rooftop of the Greenhouse Backpackers in Melbourne. It was my first visit to Victoria and I was enjoying the pleasant, balmy air of a summer evening, reading The Celestine Prophecy, having been recommended it during a spiritual stage in my life, which included carrying crystals, meditation and looking thoughtfully into the distance while contemplating the nature of the universe.
The Celestine Prophecy, for those who have not read it, describes an account of a young man’s journey through nine stages of enlightenment. One of these is understanding synchronicity; that there is no such thing as coincidence. Yes, I am paraphrasing.
Having just read this chapter, I was blissfully waiting for proof of such a theory, when one sat down opposite me in the form of Minker Chang.
Minker Chang was a British traveller who just happened to see me reading this book, and decided he would stop to have a chat. We talked into the night, and continue our conversation for the better part of three days as we wandered Melbourne exploring.
He was a practising Buddhist, a kind hearted man, with an easy sense of humour and a passion for making the world a little bit better. We haven’t spoken for some time, but I believe we are still friends.
Many of the things he said, and his ideas, were what made me want to travel more. I realised, talking to Minker, that although I had read a lot of books and felt I knew about the world, I needed to experience more of it.
So now that I have shared something about myself, here are my nominations and the questions I have for them.
- Who is the person that made you want to travel?
- Do you prefer wandering cities or getting into nature?
- What place have you visited that gave you real culture shock?
- What is the worst part about travel for you?
- Where is next on your travel list?
- What is the one place you really want to go?
- Do you prefer backpacking or luxury travel and why?
- Who would be your ultimate travel buddy?
- Where was the best meal you ever had?
- Do you have any travel horror stories?
- What place can you revisit again and again, but never get tired of?