Liebster Award 2017

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I received the best news this weekend. My sweet blogger friend Lauryn from Le Travels has nominated me for the Liebster Award! Lauryn shares both my beloved hometown of Atlanta and my passion for making travel a lifestyle even within the constraints of having a full time job and limited funds. She is an expert at packing plenty of amazing experiences into one short term trip abroad. Currently, she's blogging about her recent travels in Italy and Switzerland. Check her blog out and follow her instagram (@letravelgram) for more gorgeous photos! 

I am so honored to be nominated for Liebster Award by a fellow blogger who knows how much work it takes to plan trips, create content, and publish on so many platforms consistently. The award aims to recognize new and underexposed bloggers who are creating great content. Liebster in German means "dearest" and it is basically a great tradition of bloggers sending a little love to other bloggers. This means so much to me as I approach my one year anniversary of blogging!

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As a nominee I have been asked to answer the following questions about myself.

+ What's your favorite thing about traveling?

Waking up in a strange bed in a new place surrounded by new sights and smells and sounds. I could not sleep in if I tried. I think I've woken up with the sun on pretty much every trip because I'm so excited that I don't have to be anywhere (except the occassional touristy 4AM sunrise tour).

+ Where is your next travel destination?

Good question! Hopefully, Hawaii and/or Peru! I'm usually an insanely organized traveler, but my last trip to Europe was completely spontaneous! I've had to sacrifice the planning a bit this year in order to keep up with the demands of blogging, social media, my social life, and my day job. Someday I'll catch up!

+ What is your favorite experience you've had while traveling

Oh wow, this is hard. Frolicking in the endless lavender fields of Provence, seeing the Great Wall of China covered in freshly falling snow, swimming beneath a powerful waterfall in a remote part of Bali, watching the stars from our tropical, open air villa in Saint Lucia, hiking to the most stunning views in Yosemite National Park, exploring the ancient temples of Siem Reap, eating an amazing farm fresh meal from a Michelin star chef in the South of France, everything about Florence/Tuscany... I can't stop they've seriously all been so amazing.

+ What is your favorite country you've visited so far and why?

I get asked this all of the time, so I should really have a standard answer by now. Let's just say Thailand had everything you might want from a trip abroad: strange and delicious new foods, five star service at two star prices, endless attractions, otherworldly beauty, and wonderful people with tons of culture! Runner Ups: France, Italy, Indonesia!

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+ What do you do when you're not traveling?

Plan more travels! I never want to stop traveling. Sometimes of course, I have to come home and make more money, so I work as a healthcare system engineer for a hospital. This just means I consult on hospital processes and work with a lot of data to help make things run a little smoother and more efficiently. I also work on my photography and my blog as often as I can, and I love reading and listening to podcasts so if you have any recommendations let me know!

+ If you could only take 3 things with you on your travels what would they be and why?

My camera, extra batteries, and extra memory cards

+ If you could travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go and why?

I would take a road trip from Vancouver down to San Diego. I love the West Coast so much, and lived there for the rosiest part of my childhood, so now I try to get out there at least once a year. The last time was Seattle in January, so I'm ready for another trip.

+ What inspired you to start blogging?

I really, really wanted to create a travel app. I did a ton of research and started on some code, but scrapped it pretty quickly. The big tech companies own too much of the data and they are making it pretty difficult to enter the app space these days. After feeling pretty defeated, I realized I could still help people travel by sharing my own experiences. That same year I really became aware of the blogging world and totally fell in love with the concept.

+ Do you prefer traveling at a fast pace or slow and relaxed?

Fast-paced! I couldn't travel at a slow pace if I tried. I seriously don't know how to relax and there is too much to see and do! Maybe I should go to one of those Pura Vida yoga retreats in Costa Rica. I always promise myself though that I'll go back to some of these destinations and spend a full month or season or year there to really absorb the place.

+ What is your greatest achievement so far in life?

Work-life balance. Early in my career I realized that if I wanted to travel, I needed to start as soon as possible. I created a lifestyle of traveling instead of waiting for some mythical retirement. I am shocked how many people do not use their vacation days. The work will still be there when you get back, and as long as you get your work done, no one think twice about you taking the time. You do not even need to take a long period of time off or go abroad necessarily. It's amazing what you can fit in to long weekend or even 36 hours domestically. My best advice to others, start living your dream life now and protect your time from people and things that don't support it.

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Now for the fun part, I get to nominate five of my favorite underexposed bloggers for the Liebster Award. I have met so many fun and authentic bloggers this year who have given me the greatest support system during my first year of blogging. So without further ado, here are my picks!

  • Fiji Wanderer (@fijiwanderer): One of my favorite bloggers to follow right now is Rachael from the Fijiwanderer. She and her husband are Aussie ex-pats currently on a year long honeymoon in the tropical paradise of Fiji. Her background in marketing and freelance has allowed her to work with some amazing resorts and beach clubs throughout the island. Rachael is one of the most authentic, funniest girls on social media right now and I'm so grateful for our virtual friendship!

  • The Traveling Honeyvee (@veezypie): Maria Vee is a high-fashion manager by day in New York City, and a budget backpacker by night. Her content is fun, creative and super helpful, and she uses Instagram as her main travel diary. Most recently she shared her tips and tricks for traveling around Machu Picchu. I'm currently planning a trip there myself and her stories literally answered all of my questions. Maria is another one of those authentic and friendly travel girls who just make my insta feed so much brighter.

  • Wild Hearted World (@wildheartedworld): Dana has a huge heart for sharing her love of traveling with the world. Originally from Australia, she is now living the dream of traveling full time. This year she has already traveled throughout Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bali. Most of her photos are self portraits, too which is amazing!

  • Hey Ciara (@heyciara): Ciara is a fellow Houstonian who quit her corporate job to travel full time. I love following her because she is so honest about her travel experiences and her photos are absolutely stunning. Check out her recent travels throughout South America and Europe.

  • Not a nomad blog (@notanomadblog): I found Monica's blog while searching for Lake Como tips, so her SEO must be amazing. This no longer surprised me, though, when I learned that she is a badass web developer, so clearly she's knows her way around a blog. Monica moved from Arizona to Germany to work at a start up and now runs a blog teaching us all how to have a career and travel too. Her stunning photos are reminiscent of the very popular @helloemilie, but with her own style.

  • Robyn Woodman (@robynwoodman): Robyn has an amazing story that will inspire anyone. She also happens to be a life coach and an incredible writer. After going through some tough times, Robyn is committed to living her best life and helping others believe that they can live their dream life too. She lives part time in two of the dreamiest places, Italy and Charleston, which is really just not fair, but if she can do it maybe the rest of us can too.

  • The Awkward Traveller (@theawkwardtraveller): K is probably the friendliest traveler out there. I seriously feel like everyone knows and loves her in our travel circle. That's because she is fun and authentic (are you guys seeing a trend in my nominations yet?) and actually finds ways to connect with her readers. I also wanted to give her a shout out because she just published a novel and you should definitely pre-order it on Amazon here.

Okay I was only supposed to nominate five bloggers, and somehow now there are seven on the list and there are still more of you I want to recognize, so Feature Friday is just going to have to become a thing here.

Here are your questions girls. You can read more about the Liebster Award rules here.  

  1. What is your favorite experience you've had while traveling?

  2. Where is your next travel destination?

  3. Do you have a favorite travel fail and what did you learn?

  4. What is your favorite activity while traveling?

  5. What advice would you give to someone planning their first trip abroad?

  6. What do you do when you're not traveling?

  7. What highs and lows have your experienced while travel blogging?

  8. What advice would you give to someone starting a blog?

  9. Are you a spontaneous traveler or do you prefer to have a plan? In either case, how do decide where to go and what to do on your travels? (Ex: Tripadvisor, blogs, recommendations from friends, etc.)

  10. If you could travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go and why?