Ever hear of the Liebster Award? Me neither. Until recently, that is. I was reading someone’s blog (sorry, I’ve forgotten who’s now) and they had been tagged to answer some questions and then nominate more bloggers to answer similar questions. It was a fun Q&A sort of thing, and I discovered even more cool bloggers by following up on who had nominated them and who they nominated in turn. Fun!
Lo and behold, shortly thereafter the kind folks at Tourist Guide Central (@touristguidec, aka: Chris & Heather) included me in their list of nominees! Thanks again, guys! Here, by the way, is a link to the their post: The Liebster Award.
Liebster Award, for the unitiated, works like this:
- You get nominated with a list of 11 questions to answer
- Post your answers
- Come up with 11 questions you would ask
- Nominate 11 bloggers to answer your questions
Sort of like a chain mail met up with a blog circle. So here we go. Below are my answers for Chris’ questions, followed by my list of blogger nominees. I’d encourage you to visit their blogs – darn fine folks with great humor, info and insights. (Note to the bloggers: Please tweet me or comment below when you’ve posted a response – I’d like to link to your response from this list so people can follow along more easily.
Answers to Questions from Tourist Guide Central
Where is your favorite place that you have visited and why?
While I could return to New Orleans time and time again, I’d have to say Washington, DC takes the top spot for me. Surrounded by monuments commemorating our American history and heroes, the workings of our government, and places of lore and legend, you get such a feeling of what America was, is and could be. If you have the chance, tour the monuments at night, also; they seem even more sacred in the quiet. Every US citizen really should visit at least once in their life – being there, you begin to realize what being “an American” is all about. (Realizing that US citizens are not the only Americans, I added quote marks as we US’ers tend to think of ourselves as THE Americans.)
Do you have a preferred method of transportation when traveling?
I love to fly! Not just the sense of being airborne, but the whole experience – minus the crabby passengers. It’s fun to people-watch, and fascinating to chat with fellow fliers about where they’re from and where they’re going. I always get excited when I land, especially in a new place – that airport is the gateway to new experiences, adventures, friends, family…who knows what else?
When booking flights, do you prefer to book through third parties such as Expedia & Travelocity or directly through the airline?
Generally, I prefer booking through the airline because I usually have more control and better options. However, I always check with the OTAs just to validate pricing.
What is your favorite drink both at home and on your travels?
Non-Alcoholic: Coffee. Nice thing is you get to know a lot about different aspects of a city, and you get to meet the locals, from every day folks to avant garde culturistas, pre-teens to venerable aged. You can see some of the local art scene, sometimes hear its musical soul, learn about its past, present and future, all in the confines of a coffee house.
Alcoholic: I tend to be a Beer Guy and I enjoy trying local brews wherever I go. Much like coffee houses, brew pubs are a great place to soak in a locality. Craft breweries often have tours (with samples!!) and the brewers themselves almost always seem happy to chat about what they’re working on. I’ve gotten some great lessons about old beer traditions and new technologies…and great drinks to go with.
What souvenirs do you like to collect from your travels?
I’ve kind of given up on the souvenirs, outside of snapshots. I mean, the fridge can only handle so many magnets, my cupboard is chock full of coffee cups, and I’ve enough t-shirts to clothe a small country. I have plenty of room for snapshots and memories, though, and they always seem to be the best souvenirs anyway.
What are your packing techniques? What are the “necessities” when traveling?
Oh gosh, I wish I had some packing technique. I really only have one true necessity: I’m blind as a bat, so glasses, contacts and backups always go first. Other “necessities” (with the air quotes) include my smartphone* and assorted accessories, laptop or tablet (or both!) depending on the trip, and the requisite toiletries. I TRY to be sure I have clean undies for every day (unless it’s a long trip with laundry options) and then try to stuff half of my closet in the remaining space. That never works, so I toss out anything that won’t fit the weather, and all but two pairs of shoes (the styles dictated by the type of trip). Clothes vary with the season, reason and destination, but I usually end up with just one bag to check for long trips, or just my carry-on for anything a week or under.
*Smartphone truly is a necessity and a smart move for me. It has combined my phone, Point & Shoot camera, portable game system (not that I really used it) and music player, the latter being of the utmost importance. I pack less but actually take more. Win win!
Where is the one place in the world you would travel to tomorrow if timing, finances and anything else were not an issue?
Does “the world” count? Honestly, I’d love to take a Round-the-World tour. Really, that’s the only answer I can give with any degree of permanence because, if I had to choose just one location, my answer would change daily. That’s a lie – it could (and often does) change five times in a minute. What I can say is that we (wife and I) are in the planning stages to visit ancestral homelands: Ireland and Vietnam (quite a combination, huh?) which we have “always wanted to do.”
What are your favorite sports teams and have you seen them in person?
I don’t really have favorite sports teams, but I live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, home to the Dallas Mavericks, Cowboys and Stars, the Texas Rangers and FC Dallas, and I’ve had the opportunity to see them all play. We’ve been privileged to be the host city for the World Series, the Super Bowl, The Stanley Cup finals and NBA finals. Oddly, the activities surrounding those games were much more exciting than the games themselves!
Do you have a favorite image from your travels (please share a link to this page)?
For some reason, I’ve always liked this image of a homeless man in Victor Steinbrueck Park in Seattle. He sat so still while all these birds swarmed around him, which would have completely freaked me out. I thought it was a great metaphor for the area around Pike Place Market: flocks of tourists swarming and squawking while the Seattleites remain calm and still, enduring yet another gray day.
Another favorite is this image of Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It was a warm spring day and the Quarter was crowded. We had just left Café du Monde; it was packed and we couldn’t find a table so we took our Beignets to go, stopping to take this snapshot as we were walking down to the river.
Which social network do you prefer to use and why? E.g. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.
I use Twitter a lot for things related to the blog and my interests. I love the quick nature and sometimes random nature of it. For more long form and for personal use, I rely on Facebook. It’s been a great way to keep in touch with friends and family around the world.
What are the determining factors on your travel plans? How do you decide which destinations you travel to?
We do have a list of places to cross off but, generally, we don’t set out just to mark places off the list. When we can travel is often a large factor in the decision process. With our youngest still in high school, the calendar is not wide open and sometimes travel is dictated by school, work or unique opportunities. Absent any particular need to go somewhere, travel plans usually begin with “What do you want to do?” (Somehow, it usually involves sand and alcohol.) The answer helps narrow down “Where do you want to go?” with an eye on the aforementioned list.
My list of Nominees
Funny thing, this internet blogosphere. You find a blog and, after following along for a bit, you get a sense that you know this person in the ether. Of course, they don’t know you’re watching, reading every word, waiting for the next move, hanging on to their…hold on, that’s stalking. My bad.
So no, most of you don’t know me outside of odd Twitter sightings and Followings (speaking of stalking) or maybe (hopefully) visiting the blog. This exercise may help introduce us, maybe even build a little relationship and networking. I know some of you are super busy, but I do hope you’ll take time for this Q&A. I don’t mind waiting…I can be really patient. Okay…done yet?
Again, I really hope everyone reading will check out the blogs below. There is some great writing, fantastic photography, funny stories and great info. Just be careful – you’re likely to lose yourself for many, many well-spent hours.
Yvonne @JustTravelous / Just Travelous
Gina @SuuperG / Gitana Blog
Jeff @Eurotravelogue / Eurotravelogue
Chris & Tawny @CaptainandClark / Captain & Clark
Hillary @TheNomadGrad / The Nomad Grad
Liza @AMauiBlog / A Maui Blog
Carolina @TravelCultural / Cultural Travel Guide
Mike @CruiseCurrents / Cruise Currents
Tracy @Tgingersnaps / Gingersnaps, A Broad - See Tracy’s post here
Randy & Beth @BeersandBeans / Beers & Beans
Jason @JasonsTravels / Jason’s Travels
And finally, My Eleven Questions for the Bloggers:
- What’s your Go To photo gear? Not what you’re hauling out for that frame-worthy landscape, but your daily blogging workhorse? Are you slinging a DSLR? Smartphone? Point & Shoot?
- What is your favorite piece of travel tech (high or low)?
- Related to that, do you have a favorite travel app?
- Do you ever blog by device – phone / tablet?
- What should you not leave home without…and when was the last time you left home without it?
- Who are your blogging/writing/travel heroes and why?
- What intrigues you most about travel and blogging?
- Whether you like to travel solo or have a travel BFF, what do you think makes that great?
- Destination that surprised you the most, and how so?
- Favorite destination(s) or places you’ve been to the most?
- Best trip ever?
There you have it, my contribution to the Liebster Award! (Bows and exits, stage left.)