Many thanks to Pam from A blonde around the world, a fellow Travel Blogger from Italy, who has nominated me and nine other Travel Bloggers for the Liebster Award, just one week after I received my first Liebster Award Nomination. Liebster is a german word and means most favourite. The Liebster Award isn’t a real Award, it has mainly been designed to introduce other Blogs, so I am very happy to be nominated twice within a short period of time and after answering Pam’s questions, I will pass the ball to ten other Travel Bloggers.
1. When and why did you start your travel blog?
I started my Blog on WordPress.com in October 2012, mainly to tell my family and friends at home there about my travels, instead of trying to squeeze all my experiences of a multi-week trip into a story of about 15 minutes.
After researching on WordPress.com, visiting other Travel Blogs and getting in touch with other Travel Bloggers, I realized that my Travel Blog might also be interesting for others who are not part of my family or friends (yet). Only about five months ago I have moved my Blog from WordPress.com to a self-hosted Website. I will probably purchase a Multilingual Plugin in the near future to design the appearance of my Blog more professional and to make my posts more pleasant to read.
As a journalist who works for a daily appearing regional newspaper I absolutely love writing. I love to connect with other Travel Bloggers and I am happy that I started my own Travel Blog one and a half years ago. As someone who is already travelling alone for a long time, I highly regret that I didn’t start blogging a few years before.
2. What is the core value of your blog?
As a female who frequently travels solo I want to encourage other females to do the same as I believe that you never learn as much about yourself as when travelling solo and that it makes you stronger each time. As someone who is in a relationship I want to show you that travelling without your partner is possible and that it doesn’t automatically mean the end of the relationship; at least for my relationship it works quite well so far.
3. How do you organize your trips?
In former times I used to support friends of my Mom who are travel agents in booking my flights and hotels with them till I had to find out in March 2008 that I would have saved about 200 Euros when booking the same flight online. Ever since then I book my flights, hotels et cetera online through meta comparison websites and I think, I have saved quite some money since then.
When I would like to make a stopover on my way to a destination, I give my prefered Airline a call and ask them to research the cheapest option for me. That always worked superb so far. I think, I have often got a good deal, mostly without spending endless hours on airports all over the world.
4. The most beautiful place you ever visited?
This is really hard to say because there is definitely more than one place I would call the most beautiful place. Amazing sights and natural wonders like the Kinabatangan river in Borneo, the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia, the Great Wall of China, the Ancient Town in Chengdu, the Yangtze river, the karst landscape of Yangshuo, the Ancient Town in Lijiang and the Tiger Leaping Gorge in China, the Ganges in Varanasi in India, Luang Prabang in Laos, several places I have visited in Tibet, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Laguna San Rafael in Chile and the Iguazú Falls in Argentina but also the metropolises Beijing, Dubai, Bangkok and my hometown Cologne come instantly into my mind. And of course, there are many more.
5. The weirdest place you visited, and why?
I have been thinking about this question for quite a while, but honestly, I haven’t been to any real weird place yet. Maybe this is yet to come.
6. The weirdest custom you got to see abroad?
In Asia, especially in China, many little kids wear splitpants instead of nappies. These pants have a long split at the back which allows the kids to go to the toilet inside the streets. I don’t find that weird by itself as I have heard about splitpants before travelling to China.
When we were on an overnight sleeper train from Shanghai to Xian a danish guy and me were sharing our compartment with a young chinese couple and their little child plus the two grandmothers of the baby (an experience definitely to remember, post follows soon). Our chinese guide who was in the compartment right next to ours advised us not to leave our bags and shoes on the floor as kids in that age sometimes tend to pee and poo on the floor in the train and it even occurs that they pee into foreign people’s shoes. He has even witnessed parents of those kids laughing this behaviour off instead of holding their kids back of doing so. I haven’t seen it myself but little kids who pee into foreign people’s shoes and parents laughing it off are definitely the weirdest custom I have ever heard about so far.
7. Do you make any sacrifice to stick to your travel life?
I definitely do. I live quite cheap and don’t have to pay high rents what allows me to save some money each month which I use for my travels.
8. Solo travel vs travel in company?
As I have mentioned before I started travelling alone at the very young age of 15 and I love to travel solo, but I also love to travel with my partner. Apart from him I am quite picky when choosing my travel partners because I believe that you should have the same idea about travelling when setting off for a journey together.
In the past five years I sometimes used an Adventure Travel company for my trips when travelling solo seemed to be complicated logistically, due to language barriers or when I was limited on time. Of course I can’t choose my travel partners on those tours but the majority of people travelling on this type of trips have a similar idea of travelling.
9. The most disastrous trip and why?
That was a trip through Western Malaysia in November 2012. After visiting Malaysian Borneo in January 2011 I really wanted to explore the Peninsular Malaysia as well. I would have normally travelled across Malaysia individually and by myself, but I have been robbed out the year before in broad daylight right in front of the Opera House in Hanoi by two guys on a motorbike and I had researched, that this sort of robbery is quite common in Malaysia as well. Therefor I decided not to travel alone on this trip and booked a tour with a canadian Adventure Travel company which should have taken me from Bangkok to Bali through southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Java and Bali. It was a so called YOLO (“You only live once”) tour and it was absolutely not my thing. The people in my group were more into partying and drinking most of the nights instead of being interested for the places we visited on this trip. Some people were even so drunk, that they had a hangover the next day and couldn’t join the group when visiting important sights. I got sick in Malaysia (not because of this trip) and left the tour in Singapore. I would have normally only recovered for a few days and would have done everything to rejoin the group in Yogyakarta, but as I didn’t like the whole style of the trip, there was no reason for me to do so. I sometimes take an Adventure trip but this was my first and definitely my last YOLO tour.
10. Your next destination?
I have fairly specific travel plans for late summer respectively Fall 2014, but honestly, I would love to keep them secret for now as a major part of the trip would be to a politically sensitive area. Therefor I don’t know if my plans really work out. It would be along a route less travelled by western tourists but also by locals and it has been a dream trip of mine for several years. Definitely stay tuned as I will reveal the secret in the next few months once I know how things go.
But now it is time for my nominees:
- Ashley from AshleyAbroad
- Bama from What an amazing World
- Cat from Sunshine and Siestas
- Corinne and Jim from Reflections Enroute
- Jessie from Jessie on a Journey
- Julie from Les Petits Pas de Juls
- Juno from Runaway Juno
- Meghan from Soulshine Traveler
- Madhu from The Urge to Wander
- Ruth from Exploramum and Explorason
And those are my questions which you can answer if you like to:
- Which country has touched you the most?
- Do you have a place where you could go back again and again?
- What do you like most while travelling?
- Are there things that annoy you while travelling?
- What is the most important item you take with you on every journey?
- What is the craziest thing which happened to you while travelling?
- What was the most bizarre you have ever eaten?
- Tell me a taxi story!
- Tell me a train story!
- When and why did you start your Travel Blog?