Within the last few weeks I had started to receive some lovely messages from people who have found the blog useful or have enjoyed what I am writing. I also had a few of my guest posts published on other blogs and have just been asked to write a piece for a pretty large men's health magasine in the UK.
Then, just as we reached the Philippines, and on the back of all of this good news, I got another lovely surprise when I found out that I had been nominated for a Liebster Award! This award is designed by bloggers, for bloggers and is aimed at encourage the community, raising profiles and generating interaction between bloggers! The icing on the cake is that was that I found out that I won! (Hence the fancy new header on the website!)
I would like to thank Mikayla Jane from Mikayla Jane Travels for the nomination. You can check out her fantastic blog here. You can ready about the rules of the Liebster Award on the excellent blog Diary of a Domestic Diva here.
Mikayla also had 10 interesting travel questions for me, so here are my answers....
1. What gadget do you take on every adventure?
I am a little bit of a gadget geek, so I actually have a lot of gadgets in my backpack. I suppose the number one item would be my trusty GoPro 4 Silver. I also carry the dome attachment to allow me to take photos like this one!
Also, I couldn't travel without my Macbook Air. Its light, powerful and allows me to blog or edit from just about anywhere. Add to that my trusty, (read old) iphone and a budget drone and I am ready to take on whatever the next adventure brings.
2. Do you rather traveling solo or with people?
I am currently 7 months into a years backpacking Trip and have spent most of the time backpacking as a couple. During this trip, I did have the chance to travel solo around Taiwan for two weeks. Whilst I had an amazing time and met some truly awesome people, it just wasn't the same. I love having someone to share the experiences with, even if she isn't interested in exploring any of the local gyms with me.
3. Do you prefer budget traveling (such as camping) or luxury? (golden trimmed bathtubs?)
Due to the length of our trip, the luxury option really isn't viable. That being said, we did rent a suite in Bali for our one year anniversary, which was amazing. Overall, I don't think you really experience somewhere as much when your hotel is so nice you don't want to leave. One of the best things about a cheap hotel is that you are forced to go and explore or make friends because there isn't really anything else to do.
4. What is your top travel tip?
For my niche, I have written a few travel fitness articles, from what to pack for your trip, to the best supplement stack for backpackers and even a guest article from a very good personal trainer about how to workout in your hotel room when there is no hotel in town. You can find my articles on my blog, or check them out by clicking here.
5. How do you pass the time on long flights?
Flights really don't phase me much anymore. I remember as a child bringing my gameboy and a spare packed of AA batteries as my inflight entertainment. If you were extra lucky, you might even have a seat within the first 4 rows of the communal TV, meaning that you might just about be able to make out what film they were playing. These days even budget airlines seem to have a USB port to charge your phone and an inflight entertainment system that lets you choose from a selection of TV shows or movies. If that fails, I suppose you can grab the resistance bands out of your bag and bang out some curls, but who wants to be that guy?
6. What's the most adventurous thing you have done, that's taken you out of your comfort zone?
During the last 7 months, we have managed to do some truly amazing things. Taking local busses across Sumatra in Indonesia was a stand out experience due to the sheer chaos of the whole thing. I think one of my favourite things happened only recently when we went swimming with whale sharks in Oslob in the Philippines. The photo speaks for its self and it was amazing to be in water with animals of this size.
7. What has been your favourite travel destination?
For me, Laos was a real stand out destination. It was a country that we went into with no expectations and knowing almost nothing about the place but we were blown away by the people and the unreal scenery. It is a difficult country to navigate, but well worth it. Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang may be two of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen.
8. What has been your least favourite travel destination?
At the risk of alienating a lot of people, it was probably Vietnam. Let me say this first, I did meet some amazing locals here, we stayed in some lovely hotels and they even had some amazing gyms. But, I found a lot of the people to be rude, pushy and dishonest. Almost everyone we came across in our travels tried to rip us off and not to the extent of a little bit on the price because we were tourists, but in 5000% increases in the price. This happened time and time again, from taxi's, street food vendors, boat tickets. In addition to this, three separate people tried to mug a friend of mine in Hoi An on New Years Eve and someone tried to steal money from my by shirt changing me. By the time our trip was over we were both ready to leave. This is no way intended to be a slight on the Vietnamese in general, but in some ways a trip is the sum total of the people you meet and we met a lot of bad people on our trip!
9. What destination is on the top of your bucket list?
The last place on our list for our final stop is the Maldives. The endless white sand beaches, sandbar islands and fresh local fish are pretty much synonymous with the word paradise. Given that we will be travelling on a backpackers budget I guess we wont be staying in the super high end luxury hotels, but just getting to see this place before global warming totally submerges it is enough for me.
10. Who do you dream of bumping into on your travels? (a celebrity? long lost family member? favourite fellow travel blogger?)
I would love for my little brother to be able to come out and spend some time with us on this trip, but he's just got a new job so I don't think he will be able to take much time away from work before we are due to come home. He is a gym addict like me, and you can check out his instagram here.