Sunshine Blogger Award
Celebrating Those Who Spread
Positivity 🙌 Creativity 🎨 & Sunshine 🌞
Summer in Spain means a lot of good things – island hopping, my favorite local festivals, and sipping refreshing drinks at the seaside.
It also means renewing my immigration paperwork. Photocopies in duplicate and triplicate and staples and paperclips and translations and signatures and a whole lot of other tasks that are even less fun than they seem.
Stressed and depressed after a particularly rough couple of days of preparing residency paperwork, I opened up my trusty laptop to find not one, not two but THREE nominations for the Sunshine Blogger Award!
Way to put some sunshine in a cloudy day! 🌞
The Sunshine Blogger Award is a way for bloggers to show their appreciation and recognition for fellow bloggers who spread positivity, creativity and sunshine through their story telling, so of course it means a lot to recognized by some of my favorite fellow travel bloggers!
My first nomination came from Punita at 100 Cobbled Roads, whose poetic prose and dreamy-hued photography tell the story of her journeys in search of history, culture and (of course) cobbled roads.
The next shoutout came from Leah & Declan of Officer Travels. After years of devouring travel shows, blogs and documentariess, they did what many only dream of – sold their possessions and decided to take their chances in the world at large, using their creativity and love for photography to share the world with their readers.
Last, but definitely not least, Sarah and Josh of Veggie Vagabonds sent me some lovin´. These two have been a huge inspiration to me since I was first introduced to their blog. Not only do they share practical tips on sustainable travel, ethical eating and green living, but the recipes they share are nothing short of mouthwatering.
The Rules of Engagement
- Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog(s)
- Answer the 11 questions that blogger has asked
- Nominate 11 new bloggers and ask them 11 questions
- Inform your nominees through social media
- Display the rules and the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post
To keep this short & sweet, I decided to choose 4 questions from each of the brilliant bloggers who threw a nomination my way.
Questions from 100 Cobbled Roads:
1. What is your earliest memory of travel, maybe as a child?
I grew up in Southern California and all of my family vacations were road trips in the stunning southwest US of A. It´s hard to pinpoint a specific memory as they seem to be intermingled together in a sort of amalgam of magical moments…
Clapping along with the enormous elephant seals at Moro Bay.
Feeling microscopic hugging ancient redwood trees in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.
Sipping Arizona Iced Teas in the backseat of the station wagon while crossing the vast sands of Death Valley toward Joshua Tree National Park.
But the trip that made the biggest impression on me was the first time I peered out over the breathtaking crevices of the Grand Canyon.
Twenty-something years, thirty-something countries and 5 visits later, I still believe the Grand Canyon is one the most majestic sights I´ve been blessed to see.
2. What´s one cliché about being a traveller you never want to hear again?
When I began travelling in my early 20s, it used to drive me crazy when people assumed that I came from a wealthy family or that I was ¨lucky¨ to be living the life I was.
I began working full time when I was 17 and juggled a couple of different jobs at 50+ hours a week while in university, I made very strategic decisions to learn languages, apply to jobs in the travel industry and pursue contacts that would help me to work abroad or take extended time off.
That ain´t luck, babycakes.
Tour guiding in New Zealand, volunteer coordinating in the Dominican Republic and training Student Reps across the US and Canada were all thanks to securing solid contacts with international travel companies and NGOs and putting in plenty of overtime to stand out from the competition.
All of my trips and travels and social media humble brags have come from a lot of hard work, and it´s always a bummer when people try to write off your lifestyle as ¨lucky¨.
3. Describe a time you were emotionally overwhelmed while on a trip.
I spent a few summers working abroad with an NGO in small villages in the Dominican Republic, which definitely came with an assortment of unique challenges.
One summer I had a weekend off and was staying at a charming little bamboo hut in Cabarete along the eastern coast of the island. It looked like I was all set up for a perfect weekend of peace and quiet… until I become violently ill with a stomach bug. And then the hurricane warnings began. And then the winds started to roar.
What was supposed to be a quiet weekend on my own to recharge my batteries at the beach became a wild ride of torrential downpours and torrential tummy trouble – with no electricity, no cell phone reception and no idea if the roof above me would blow away. To say I was feeling sorry for myself would be an understatement.
Spoiler alert: I survived.
4. The biggest travel dream that you have fulfilled?
I´m terrible at choosing the biggest/scariest/favorite anything, but I do have a bunch of contenders.
Watching the sunrise reflect off of the lily ponds at Angkor Wat.
Walking amongst giants at the Surin Elephant Project in northern Thailand 🐘
Black Water Rafting beneath millions of glittering glow worms in the caves of Waitomo, New Zealand 🌟
Being swept away by the passion of a spontaneous flamenco performance in the caves of Sacromonte overlooking Granada´s Alhambra 💃
I´ve seen some beautiful things in my day.
The two biggies that have as of yet have remained unfulfilled are hiking Machu Picchu and crossing the entirety of the Great Wall of China. Here´s hoping I´ll be writing about those experiences sooner rather than later!
Questions from Officer Travels:
5. How do you afford to travel, especially for those who travel full time?
Teaching English, teaching yoga, tour guiding, leading volunteer projects, hostel reception, waitressing… I´ve done it all!! Will work for TRAVEL!
For the last few years my main source of income is from teaching English in Spain, which I would definitely recommend to anyone considering living abroad. There are a few different organizations that sponsor foreign teachers – I worked with both the Ministry of Education and BEDA and am now working toward converting to a stronger Visa to continue living in Spain.
6. If you could move anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I moved from Los Angeles to Madrid in 2011, to Cambodia in 2013, and to the Canary Islands (Spain) in 2014 – first Santa Cruz de Tenerife, then Las Palmas. If I hadn´t moved to Spain (and fallen in love 🙄), I would have almost definitely moved to New Zealand on the working holiday visa. Sadly time slipped out of my hands and my clock turned the big 3-uh-0 when I wasn´t watching, so that one´s off the menu.
Nowadays I plan to stay in Spain pretty permanently (note the lack of commitment there), but I still daydream about returning to Asia and living for a couple of years in Vietnam or Taiwan.
7. Is there anything you do on your travels/in everyday life to try to minimize your environmental impact?
First let me just say that I love this question!
I´m a strong advocate for slow, sustainable travel, which is one of the reasons I´ve chosen to live and work in various countries as opposed to jet set here or there for a week or two.
Off the top of my head, here are a few ways I try to be mindful about my environmental impact:
- Minimizing my use of single use plastics (shopping at bulk stores, carrying reusable bags, etc.)
- Using trains or buses rather than airplanes, when possible.
- A vegetarian, low dairy diet (with the occasional cheeky pescatarian cheat)
- Consuming in-season locally grown, organic food
- Shopping at locally owned businesses or markets for regional products
- Encouraging my students to live sustainably and to appreciate mother Earth through recycling projects, recycled art projects and outdoor field trips
8. How did you come up with your blog name?
¨Getting lost¨ has always been a way I´ve defined myself as a traveller. I´m not a big planner and I always trust the recommendations of locals over anything in guide books, so I make it a point to keep my itinerary loose and to get chatting with strangers who might help me find some hidden gem.
Get up, get out is partly just for alliteration (y´all know I love a little alliteration!), but also a call to action. Don´t just dream it, do it!
And last but not least, a few questions from Veggie Vagabonds:
9. What is the funniest thing you’ve witnessed on your travels?
I don´t know if it´s the funniest per se, but a few years ago I had a run-in with google maps. My partner and I had just arrived to Battambang, Cambodia and were on the hunt for some noodles and a guesthouse, when suddenly we see the Google maps car coming around the market snapping photos of the street view. We jumped up and down a bit, flailing our arms and rucksacks and trying to get in the shot.
A few laughs and on we went about our day. I´d all but forgotten about the sighting until a few months later, when my partner sent me the screenshots that he had somehow tracked down on Google maps! There we were, baggy elephant pants and all, forever immortalized on a dirt road in Battambang.
10. What is the culture you’ve fallen in love with the most?
Another one of these “most” questions! So tough to answer, so I’m going to take the flaky way out and name my top 3.
Cambodia: The first country that came to mind when I read this question was Cambodia. The Khmer culture is rich and timeless, yet today’s Cambodia has been through so much and so many are still struggling to fulfil the basic necesities. Despite the need and despite the poverty, Cambodians are some of the kindest, most generous and most welcoming people I´ve had the pleasure to spend time with. The relationship I formed within the community where I worked are like family to me.
Dominican Republic: Every afternoon in the DR, I´d walk down a dirt road from my project site to one of the local colmados (corner shop) for a cold drink, a warm chat and some hot dance moves. Dominicans love to have a goodtime, and you never have to walk too far to find bachata beats and people who know how to move to them. I love the lust for life in the Dominican culture, and the quickness and warmth with which they take you in.
New Zealand: ¨Get amongst it!¨
You´ll here this expression time and again in New Zealand, and people living those words to the fullest. The months I spent in New Zealand were filled to the brim with surfing, snow boarding, climbing, caving, sky diving, bungy jumping and all in all just living life to the fullest. Aotearoa is one of the most beautiful countries I´ve laid eyes on, and the Kiwis definitely know how to appreciate her!
11. If you could spend 6 months travelling with any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Absolutely Anthony Bourdain.
And I know it sounds a bit cliché so soon after his passing, but for years I´ve practically idolized his zest for life and flair for travel. Whether it be hunting down empanadas in a back alley in his beloved Colombia, slugging one too many rakias over a game of tavla in Turkey or sharing travel tales on an overnight train in Thailand, I can´t imagine any celebrity I´d rather share it with.
12. (bonus question!) Biggest travel regret?
In 2010 I spent some time living and working in a cave hostel in Cappadocia, Turkey. Many guests who came through were travelling north, having just spent time in Syria.
Accounts were unanimous. Syria was home not only to some of the most incredible architecture and phenomenal food, but moreso, to the kindest, warmest, friendliest people.
We heard so many tales of families inviting backpackers to have dinner in their homes or to stay the night, tales of young men looking to share a cup of tea and listen to travelers´ tales, of shop keepers and guest house owners asking time and time again if you were enjoying your stay in Syria –
– ¨The people have been kind?¨
– ¨The food is good?¨
– ¨You will tell other´s to visit our country?
As my time in Cappadocia wound down to a close, I decided to go north to meet a friend in Istanbul instead of south to discover with my own eyes all of the beautiful stories I´d heard. I´ll visit next time, I thought to myself.
I wish I had seen this captivating country for myself, I wish I´d laughed with shopkeepers and played tavla in a smoky café. I wish I´d experienced first-hand the kind warmth that seemed to radiate from this beautiful land.
But most of all, I wish and hope that Syria and her people will once again be wrapped in warmth, beauty and kindness. And this time, I´ll see it with my own eyes.
Passing the baton, here are my 11 nominees who spread their sunshine around the world!
1. The tinberry travels are the tales of a Scottish travel blogger sharing stories, adventures and travel related nonsense as she explores the world bit by bit.
2. Eli, the partying traveler, is fresh out of college and chose to see the world rather than bother with a career right away. He´s been partying in 39 countries across 5 continents.
3. Kate Korte, a student, writer, and a cheap flight fan in her third year of university. Kate believes that every student should travel during their degree, and that she wouldn´t have the confidence or knowledge she does today if it weren´t for her travels.
4. Martina and Jürgen of Places of Juma, who´ve been traveling together for more than ten years, aiming to inspire others to travel more.
5. Luisa of Amaixico, whose been travelling since she was a baby, mostly around her beautiful native country, Mexico.
6. Rachel On Route describes herself as a country bumpkin from a small town in England. She and her partner have been travelling since 2010, and have lived and worked abroad on working holiday visas in New Zealand and Canada.
7. Rohan & Max of Travels of a Bookpacker have travelled to over over 80 countries between the two of them, with family, friends, strangers and now together.
8. Lakes and Lattes blogs about her two passions – food and adventure – as a way to remind herself to capture and reflect upon moments that to make life incredible.
9. Anja of The Mint Story blogs to share travel experiences with family, friends, and other travellers partly to present the beauty of her homeland, Croatia.
10. Heather of Trimm Travels, who has a passion for travel, food, photography and conquering her neverending bucket list!
11. Mei & Kerstin of Travel with MK fell madly in love in 2001 and have been travelling the world together ever since.
And hey, a bonus question, a bonus nominee!
12. Jem of that Kiwi Hiker Girl in an introvert who prefers to spend her free days in the bush. Hiking is her happy place, and she blogs about beautiful hiking destination in New Zealand.
1. What is the most meaningful connection that you´ve had with a local during your travels?
2. What is the most meaningful travel photograph that you´ve ever taken?
3. Have you ever travelled somewhere that was completely different than you´d expected, for better or for worse?
4. Tell me about your favorite travel fling. Don´t be shy 😉
5. Which country do you think you could explore forever and never run out of things to see and do?
6. What´s the one destination at the top of your list that you´ve somehow yet to visit?
7. Tell me about a time you´ve received help or experienced a stranger´s kindness while on the road.
8. What makes you miss home while you’re exploring foreign lands?
9. What advice would you give to someone about to embark on their first ever solo journey?
10. What do your family or loved ones think about you gallivanting around the globe?
11. Why do you travel?
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