Destinations Magazine

11 Questions from JennyRTW - Liebster Blog Series

By Livingthedreamrtw @livingdreamrtw
Living the Dream in St Lucia An interesting blog series known as the "Liebster Blog Awards" is going around that we were recently tagged in by our friend JennyRTW.  The interesting thing about this series, unlike other "tag your friend" series is that have been around in the past is that there is absolutely no commercial backing, sponsor, or any huge driver in pushing it to go forward.  Just some honest fun amongst bloggers in an interview-like series where the tagged blogger asks others up to 11 questions who then continue the chain with new bloggers from here until eternity.  (A great summary of the "Liebster Awards" can be found here by another blogger who did some digging on where it came from).
As one of our goals for 2013 is to get into the personal side of us as bloggers and individuals, this series seems like a great fit to get the ball rolling.  Since Jenny has some awesome questions, we feel like we'd be doing ourselves a disservice to ignore it! 
Which is the weirdest food you’ve tried when traveling?
Lets see - there was the scorpion and snake in Beijing, those were not too bad and in fact rather tasty.   The silk worms in Hanoi had a creamy/pinto bean texture after they were cooked in oil.  But the winner for the title of weirdest food would have to be the Balut, or fertilized duck embryo, that I also had while in Hanoi.  The ducks that are consumed in Balut are not only just fertilized, they are practically newborn.  In retrospect, eating a preborn duck is probably not the most ethical things to do, but it is the weirdest thing I could stomach trying.  Don't worry about the fears of it sounding disgusting; Balut, like everything else, tastes like chicken.
Balut in Vietnam
Which book has inspired you to travel?
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. There is little to say after that as it is quite literally the perfect story.  Of course, I don't want to ruin it if you haven't read it yet so go get a copy and read it through in one sitting!
Do you have a favorite song you listen to when traveling?
Not particularly.  We tend to get hooked on one or two CDs for a while and then cycle them out when we get burnt out.  But like everything with travel we also start enjoying styles we wouldn't normally like at home entirely due to where we are at and what we are feeling at the time.  Lady Gaga now reminds me of Thailand, and I'm quite okay with that.
What is the first thing you do when you return?
Without fail I head to the nearest Chipotle and get a burrito.  Whether I am away on a business trip for work or traveling around the world for months, I always end up at Chipotle to feed my addiction.
If you could pick one country that you could visit the way it was 100 years ago, which one would it be and why?
Ironically enough, I'd probably say China.  Get rid of all of the manufacturing, Western involvement, automobiles, and over population like you have today and China would be like a whole different country.  That is, of course, if they'd let a Westerner like me in to begin with which is a completely different hurdle we'd have to cross altogether.
If you had to live in a decade other than this one, which one would it be, and why?
Do I really have to choose?  Modern medicine and indoor plumbing are a few of my favorite things.  I suppose I would say during the reign of the Egyptians 3,000 years ago.  Perhaps during the time of Ramses II when Abu Simbel was constructed just to see how they did it.
Abu Simbel, Egypt
If you could visit one fictional place, which one would it be?
As much as I would like to say Middle Earth, it is too easy to get on to a plane and head to New Zealand to see it in real life.  Instead, I think I'll go with Wonderland.  Talking creatures, potions that make you grow and shrink, a bunch of crazy people who seem semi-sane, a disappearing cat, and a crazy old hag wanting to chop your head off?  Yeah, sounds fun!
What was your biggest travel faux-pas?
I take a 90L backpack with me when I travel long-term.  I've had enough practice now that I can get it to weigh less than 14 kg, which is still pretty heavy (especially considering 5 kg is the bag); but I use it so I have tons of room for souvenirs without having to make tons of shipments home.
A Hot Mess of a Packing List
Which food do you miss most when traveling?
While my addiction is to get a Chipotle burrito as soon as I get home, I can easily say that I don't miss it when I travel.  It is more my tried and true dish after getting home solely due to the fact that, if I have to be home, I want it.  Generally speaking, I do not miss any foods when I travel other than a good pizza or perfectly cooked cheeseburger.  Like Chipotle, it is not so much that I miss it but rather all recreations outside of their original locales just aren't the same and are some of the dishes I flock to when my taste buds have worn out for the locale style.
What was your scariest travel experience so far?
I don't think I've been in a position to call any experience "scary."  Paragliding in Austria was definitely rough on the nerves for the first second due to my distaste for heights.  A night time scuba dive in the Red Sea was also unsettling but amazing at the same time as I got to see Lion Fish for the first time.  Riding in a taxi in Egypt on the highway wasn't necessarily scary for me, but for the 3 other people in the cab who were screaming at the top of their lungs as we dogged traffic at top speed.  But scary? Nothing yet.
Who was the most interesting person you’ve ever met traveling and why?
One night at dinner in a hawker center-esque restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam a man was seated next to me.  We started talking as most people do at these communal seating places to avoid the awkward scenario of watching each other eat in silence.  As it turned out, the man was an engineer like myself and was a high level executive for a big racing company's SE Asia division who has also lived in various places around the world over the years. For privacy's sake I don't want to give out any details, but lets just say that it was a great conversation talking about how to succeed in our fields, balance travel and work, and a number of other issues a travel-loving engineer like myself goes through!
The second most interesting person I met would be a famous movie star at a hotel we stayed at on our honeymoon in Spain.  Again, I do not want to give out any names out of privacy, but it was definitely cool to have a star struck moment with only a "hey how are you doing" exchanged between us.
Communal Dining in Hanoi, Vietnam
Tagging Future Bloggers
The part that I particularly like about this series is that I get to tag other bloggers who I would like to interview.  While I'm not tagging a full 11 people like JennyRTW did, you could say I am hosting an article just for being able to do this alone.  So to the following bloggers, you're it:
Michael @ Art of Backpacking
Kirsty and Poi @ No Place to Be
Dustin @ Skinny Backpacker
Stephanie @ Twenty-Something Travel
Erica and Shaun @ Over Yonderlust
Amanda @ A Dangerous Business
Gillian and Jason @ One Giant Step
Adam @ Travels of Adam
Questions for You
As this Liebster Blog Series appears to have been originally designed to tag "new" bloggers to help them share a bit about themselves, I am going to depart from the standard travel related questions as all of the writers I'm tagging have been around for many years. 
The following are the questions I have for the tagged bloggers:
  1. What has been your favorite blogger meet-up story?
  2. If you could only eat one foreign meal for the rest of your life, what is it and where did you have it?
  3. What is your biggest piece of advice for new travel bloggers out there who may stumble upon this interview in a search?
  4. What is your biggest travel regret?
  5. What is your number one travel plan for the next year?
  6. What is the most you've ever spent for travel in one calendar year and what were the biggest items?
  7. What travel activity are you looking forward to most in 2013?
  8. Are you secretly saving for any once-in-a-lifetime destinations?
  9. What is your go to activity when you visit a new city or region?
  10. Is there a travel blogging style that has taken off in popularity that you absolutely refuse to embrace?
  11. Where do you see the industry heading in the next year? 5 years?
Hopefully the tagged bloggers continue the chain of this awesome series - one of the few of its kind that are not sponsored in any way, shape, or form.  Of course, I asked some pretty deep questions so we'll see how it goes!
11 Questions from JennyRTW - Liebster Blog Series

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