What is this ‘Liebster Award‘ and why the hec does she keep shoving it in our faces?! …is a question you might be thinking right about now. Nominating other bloggers for Liebster Awards are a way for bloggers to bring attention to other blogs, perhaps lesser known (though this isn’t always the case) to their own readership. Dell on Movies nominated me for one about a month or so ago, and I wrote this blog post and nominated some more film bloggers. And then, the lovely Mel over at Footsteps On the Globe (also fellow Manchester resident!) nominated me a few weeks later. But of course her questions were more travel-y so there wouldn’t really be any crossover between the two… Am I allowed to another? Pleeeeease??
However, with one small change. I know this is about bloggers finding out about other bloggers, but the reality is the travel blogging networking is huge, and let’s face it, I’m way more of a film blogger than a travel blogger at the moment. That’s just logic considering I don’t get around as much as I would like… therefore I won’t be nominating anyone else and giving these invisible people any questions to answer, because I really don’t know of any more up-and-coming travel bloggers other than those already nominated. I know, that’s so bad, but everyone and their mother seems to be a travel blogger these days!
But I will thank Mel (cheers Mel! 🙂 ) and answer her 11 questions…
1) How do you choose your next destination?
I’ve always said that I will go anywhere, I don’t think there are many places I wouldn’t enjoy going to. However, at the moment it’s definitely cost that decides where I go. I do love going on websites like Skyscanner, picking a month and seeing where the cheapest place is to go to in that month. But aside from cost, it’s watching the place on films (I’m looking at you Iceland in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013))
2) Aside from your passport, what is the one item that you cannot leave home without?
Obviously I wouldn’t leave without my phone and money, but a decent pair of shoes. I took my Doc Martens to Belgium as it rained a bit while we were there and we did a lot of walking, and I took the fluffiest, warmest boots I could find to Berlin in mid-winter and my feet where the only ones that didn’t freeze up, which was lucky because I’d just had a tiny operation on my big toe! Good shoes are the kind of thing you can’t often buy ‘when you’re there’ and can make or break a trip.
3) How do you work out what to pack for a trip of several months?
I have only been on one trip that’s lasted a couple of months, and that was when I was a Camp Counsellor 3 years ago in the USA. There were loads and loads of suggestions for what to pack but looking back some of what I took were a bit ridiculous. Why would I need water-proof walking trainers AND wellies? Surely when it was raining I would just wear the trainers? I am glad I didn’t take too many clothes though as it was nice to pick up $4 t-shirts and vests in Target and wear them out. I would say think about the weather, think about items you can buy in the other country, and think about items that duplicate in use (going to walk around a city in your vans and converse at the same time are you?!)
4) What is the best way to keep in touch with people back home when you are away travelling?
Facebook first, then text, then email. Facebook is great because you can use your accommodation’s WiFi before or after you come back for the day to chat to any family members (my mam and sister are on Facebook) without any extra costs to your phone. When I was in the states I used Skype occasionally and I would use email to update my Nana. So a bit of everything depending on what you’re doing and who you’re speaking to!
5) What type of accommodation do you usually go for and how does it enhance or affect your trip?
It’s definitely a budget hotel for me. I’d obviously go for the best hotel I can get for my money, but I don’t mind somewhere basic if it’s cheap enough and looks safe enough.
6) What useful gadgets do you currently have in your rucksack?
My Olympus Pen goes with me everywhere now and has given me the best pictures I’ve ever taken, as well as my iPod classic (yep, I still use my 6-year-old classic rather than put my music on my phone so I can conserve battery) and my HTC One. I should really think about getting an iPad at some point…
7) Is there anything that you always look up about the country before you leave?
Most of the places I’ve been to so far have been really self-explanatory in terms of ‘must-sees.’ How do you not go to NYC without going to Times Square? How do you go to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower? Once I’ve got the must-sees down, then I start to pick out a couple of restaurants I want to go to and a few places bloggers have recommended. I want to know enough so I don’t miss anything obvious, but I don’t want to feel like I’ve got millions of places to see and things to eat without leaving room for spontaneity.
8) Which travel blogs are you most enjoying at the moment?
Jesus, which ones am I not?! All of the top travel blogs really are just that, top. I’m loving following VickyFlipFlop as she travels from amazing place to amazing place, and she’s recently introduced Never Ending Footsteps to me which has the best monthly summaries (especially if you’re a bit nosey like me) and, of course, The Travel Hack has been a longtime favourite and I’ve started to follow all the bloggers that now contribute to The Travel Hack to so that’s 8 more bloggers to add to the list!
9) What piece of advice would you recommend to a first-time backpacker?
I have never gone backpacking before! It’s definitely a no-brainer that I will be at some point though, does anyone have any tips for me?!
10) How do you make your blog stand out?
Excellent question and I’m still working on that.and I am progressing and improving at a very steady pace. My eventual aim is to be a film and travel blogger, and this is quite a difficult niche to get right so I’m taking my time and learning from others. Hopefully, I’ll end up with a professional looking blog that I feel really proud of, that both film and travel bloggers/readers can connect with and get something out of it.
11) What is the most underrated place you’ve been to?
That’s a tough one because, despite being really really lucky, in the grand scheme of you know, the entire world, my travel percentage is supremely small. It’s seen a few cities around Europe that I wouldn’t say are at all underrated, but I have travelled around a lot of upstate New York and it’s an exceptionally pretty area. The Finger Lakes region and the Appalachian regions are absolutely beautiful and you can go on lots of hikes and visit wineries with these great big vineyards that just seem to appear at the side of the road after driving past random field after random field (though do NOT drink and drive!).
We stopped in one place that also made homemade honey and fudge (for the 19-year-olds on the trip who couldn’t drink wine like me!) and Niagara Falls wouldn’t be a million miles away. It was really relaxing and just so nice and perfect if you’re a couple looking for a relaxing trip but not a typical beach holiday.
Thanks again to Mel for the nomination! 🙂