A big thank you to Kat from Kat Is Travelling for nominating me for the Liebster Award. According to the rules, I have to answer the 11 questions she set forth and nominate my own group of travel bloggers with a new set of questions. Here we go!
What’s your funniest story from travelling?
Funny? That’s tough. I used to teach preschool ESL in Thailand. I would teach a few English letters a week, so “T is for tiger”, “R is for rainbow” sort of thing. But I started noticing a strange trend over time – my students became obsessed with the word “octopus”.
For months after I introduced “‘O’ is for ‘octopus!'” they were still drawing the cutesy cephalopods with cartoon eyes all over the backs of their worksheets – even after I instructed through demonstration to draw a grinning banana or happy little penguin (“‘P’ is for ‘penguin!'”) instead. It was this inside joke with myself – like guys, why???
I always wanted to know what was so appealing about Octopus. It’s not like it’s a particularly easy word to say. It’s not like it’s a really cuddly or cute animal. I don’t think I knew what an octopus was when I was three.
2. What’s your favourite book of all time?
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I’ve read it like 5 times, marked it up, and recommended it to all my friends and family. Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust concentration camp survivor who wrote this book upon his liberation. I don’t know about you, but if there’s anyone I’d trust with the meaning of life, it would be a concentration camp survivor.
Read more: Books That Will Make You Think about the Meaning of Life
3. What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
Contact lenses/glasses. I’m extremely myopic. Like almost completely blind without contact lenses or glasses.
4. Who are your 5 dream dinner party guests?
Beyonce, Harry Styles, Obama, Freddie Mercury, Ellen Degeneres.
It’s a weird group, I know.
5. Where’s your favourite place in the world that you’ve visited and why was it your favourite?
It’s between Cappadocia, Turkey and Koh Tao, Thailand. Cappadocia was the most wildly weird and fascinating place I’ve experienced. The rock formations are magical, like something out of a fantasy story-world. Plus, I was traveling alone and in the middle of February so I was the only one around and that made it even more surreal.
In terms of Koh Tao, I always felt like it was my “spirit island”. It was the right balance of fun and learning/curiosity (the SCUBA culture), and I always met the best travelers there.
Read More: I F*cking Love Turkey
6. What do you consider the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
Take out student loans. It sounds lame but this was the riskiest thing I’ve done. Maybe it’s not a physical adventure but it’s definitely an emotional one.
7. Where have you been that didn’t live up to your expectations?
Baltimore continually disappoints me. I could probably talk about the crime, vacant housing, poverty, etc. but really the thing that makes me sad about Baltimore is that it doesn’t feel like a place where people are thriving. There’s no progress, things just sort of are.
8. Would you rather travel solo or with someone?
It depends. The majority of the traveling I’ve done has been solo, whether it’s moving abroad without knowing anyone or backpacking solo. But I’ve also spent meaningful time traveling with friends and even with my parents.
I’m grateful for my experiences traveling solo – that’s when most of my moments of self-discovery have happened (as well as moments of deep dark loneliness, but that’s a part of the journey to empowerment!). I think everyone should try solo travel at least once in their life even if it scares them. Especially if it scares them.
9. What’s the nicest accommodation you’ve ever stayed in?
I honestly got nothin. I have always stayed in hostels, stayed with friends, or couchsurfed. If someone wants to sponsor me and send me somewhere *fancy* I’m definitely available 😉
10. What’s the most played song on your iPod/music player?
At Last by Etta James (the Beyonce cover)
11. Where have you been where you experienced the biggest culture shock?
India. I flew to India after living in Thailand for year so I was no stranger to Asia, but India was a whole other world. The cities I visited felt post-apocalyptic – crumbling infrastructure, unsafe food and water, people teeming in the streets at all hours of the day, the cows, the dust…
But then there’s this whole other side – the culture is so colorful and rich. The saris, the bangles, the smells on the streets, the staring, the friendly people, the yoga and meditation, the Hindu rituals by the River Ganges, the amazing curries. Definitely a land of contrasts. And it felt like a different world.
Read More: Our Failed Trip to India
Well that’s it! Thanks again to Kat from Kat is Travelling for the nomination 🙂 To keep the cycle going, I would like to nominate
Gatien @ Not So Stoic
Julia @ Real World Culture Shock
Rachel @ Le Savoir Vivre / Savoring Life’s Moments
Elizabeth @ One Day I’ll Fly Away
Ben @ Paths Unwritten
And here are your questions:
- What is the scariest thing that’s happened to you while traveling?
- Whats is your most romantic experience while traveling? 😉
- What’s the meaning of life to you?
- What’s the weirdest animal you’ve encountered?
- What is your must-have travel accessory or piece of clothing?
- What’s your favorite place you’ve been to?
- What foreign languages do you speak/did you try to learn?
- What do you do for a living?
- Where in the world did you sleep the least and why?
- Where do you feel at home in the world?
- What keeps you blogging?
Those 5 for dinner—definitely the most amazing time.
Haha yes. I feel like Harry Styles would be way in over his head.
I’ve just arrived in Koh Tao and I already love it, cant wait to spend some time exploring!
That’s SO exciting! I hope you’ll be doing some diving while there. Other things I remember from Koh Tao… I always loved the spicy chicken noodle soup from the vendor outside the 7-11 at Sairee beach for lunch…and dancing barefoot in the sand at Lotus bar at night.
Hahaha I so agree about Baltimore, “not thriving” is a good way to describe it.
Yeah. I feel like it’s one of those insidious things that you don’t completely notice or understand until you leave.
Yay – this was really interesting. Love your answers! Good dinner party guests!
Thanks Kat! And thanks for the nomination – this post wouldn’t have happened without you 🙂