Being Awarded The Liebster Award

Nothing earns a #travelstoke hashtag like receiving two nominations for the Liebster Award!! What a way to end my travelmoon adventures on a high (and sweeten these dark January evenings). A big thank you to my nominators for not only visiting my blog (which is all us newbie bloggers really want!) but also for sending me this badge of honour to post on my blog, I am so chuffed! 

If you're wondering what the Liebster Award is, read on...

It's an online-exclusive travel blog accolade given by bloggers to bloggers since 2011, celebrating newbies joining the super-social community. Nominees are required to be within their first year of blogging and have less than 200 readers. The 'Official Rules' can be found here. So, with a big thank you to Diana, Hope and Rhiann for throwing a spotlight on Mrs A to B, I shall run with the baton to share with you my fave newbie bloggers too later in this post. 

First things first, let me tell you about the lovely travel bloggers that nominated me...

The awesome sisters over at MVMT Blog have collected over 35 passport stamps on their travels last year alone and have been sharing their helpful travel tips with a heavy dose of wanderlust since July 2016. Be sure to check out Diana and Hope's adventures to far-flung locations!

Globe-trotting Rhiann of The Travelling Bookworm arrived on the scene in Autumn 2016 and has a whole host of helpful tips on travel advice, from saving for your next trip to the best-on-the-market equipment to pack in your backpack. Embarking on her own book-worthy adventures to Vietnam in 2017, stay tuned!

And now, here are my answers to MVMT's questions...

Why did you decide to become a travel blogger? 
I had been looking for a route back into writing, a long forgotten passion from my uni days, that had fallen by the wayside of a 9-5. In July this year my life took an interesting turn as I got married (officially becoming Mrs A) and our first decision as husband and wife was to quit our jobs to travel the world. With the excuse for an extravagant "travelmoon", I seized the opportunity to use a blog to tell the tales of our adventures. What started as a means of communicating with my ol' Mum'n'Dad back home, was really masquerading my huge excitement for getting back into the blogging arena. So, here I am sharing my story from Miss to Mrs, from office gal to backpacker and travelling from A to B. 
Is blogging your full time job, or do you work a full time job on the side? 
For the past five months it has certainly been my full time "job" whilst travelling the Americas but since we returned to home in late December, it has evolved into my full time hobby alongside a job that funds my travel (and beauty...and shoe) addiction!

What is the most scenic destination you've travelled to? 
I'm spoilt for choice here after the year I've had! Machu Picchu and Iguassu Falls spring to mind but for something completely out of this world has to be the Salt Flats of Uyuni in Bolivia. An endless expanse of salt made for incredible trick horizons, sunsets and illusion photography. Plus by night, I have never seen a sky so illuminated with stars - a complete WOW moment.
Where did you receive your biggest cultural shock? 
Cuba, for all its 1950s charm, is the most bizarre place to travel. Having spent four months on the road, from rural Peru to the Costa Rican jungle, nothing prepared me for this time-warped Caribbean island. Forget everything you have learnt as a traveller, shun common sense and logic and then you'll get on just fine there!
Do you speak any foreign languages? Which ones? 
"Un poquito Espanol" has been my go-to phrase of 2016 as I've grappled with Spanish, a language I have never spoken before this year apart from The Offspring's 'Pretty Fly for a White Guy' lyrics (which legitimately helped me learn my numbers!). Having swapped languages for creative subjects at school, it's been a revelation how much French vocabulary has stuck around in the back cupboard of my brain. Despite this being largely unhelpful when I'm flapping in front of a Latin American, it's boosted my confidence to make it one of my 2017 missions to go back to language school!

What is your biggest travel fail moment? 
An exploding bottle of DEET insect repellent made for a particularly messy backpack when you add a box of green and yellow wrapped tampons into the equation. 

Do you prefer staying in hotels, hostels, airbnbs, couchsurfing or something else? 
Having had a taste of all of these this year, I have realised how much hotel vacations can keep you sealed in a 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton bubble and whilst the wifi is helpful as a travel blogger, I will always opt for the 'local' option. Family run hostels, airbnbs and casas are a fabulous way of experiencing 'the other side', getting fantastic tips and recommendations from the owners and soaking up the 'real' side of Place A and B.

What's the most bizarre food you've eaten whilst traveling? 
A Cambodian tarantula still tops the all-time list but this year, extraordinary meats include lama and alpaca from South America. Banana as a side dish to most Costa Rican meals will never be anything other than 'bizarre'.

What is your best advice for travelling on a budget? 
A) Actually do the math to work out what your budget it. 
B) Stick to it. I spent the last 134 days writing down every single expenditure we made from unexpected immigration fees to 'spending a penny' to know where we stood. Some days we strategically cut down to two meals a day with a late brunch and early(ish) dinner so we could afford something special, be it a private plane over Belize's Blue Hole or hangliding over Rio. I also recommend investigating bank accounts to minimise cash withdrawal fees - Revolut worked for us! 

Where are you off to next?
After 18 weeks on the road which concluded in Varadero, Cuba, I am so excited to be home in Blighty. Plus top secret developments are underway behind the scenes which could mean a relocation to a new continent is on the cards. Plenty of weekend trips to be had!

I am very pleased to be nominating the following bloggers for the Liebster Award for their gorgeous websites, witty writing and now my reliable source of wanderlust now I am back in England!
As the name suggests, Kamelia, is super savvy travel blogger. When it comes to making travel happen on a budget, you must visit her site for all the best tips and tricks. Round-trip of Europe for $193 anyone?
With the perfect fusion of travel and wellbeing, Jenn's mission is to inspire long-term travel with that ever-difficult balance of keeping fit and healthy when out of your usual routine. I imagine Jenn to be practicing her sun salutations on a dock overlooking the sea every morning!  
Natasha's blog is almost a year old to the day and it tells the travel adventures of a student blogger. Managing to squeeze in a side of adventure along with her studies, check out this blog for the Top 10 Reasons to Travel In Your Twenties (a personal fave post of mine!).
James claims to be an 'ordinary guy from Yorkshire' but his adventures and blog seem to suggest otherwise. Having lived in Canada and Thailand, James got the bug for land. Forget hopping on a plan to here, there and everywhere, check out this blog to give you a hint of exploring the world from A to B and all the bits in between!
A brilliant blog concept that follows the lovely couple - Juan Pablo and Laura - on their trips around the world. Giving the uniquely personal account of their experiences, you can read about these destinations through the 'his' and 'her' perspective. I love this set-up as not only do you get to know your writer, but you also learn more about each place through two sets of eyes!

Huge congratulations, you totally deserve it! Here are my questions to you...

1. What's the story behind starting your blog?
2. How do you fit blogging into your jet-setter lifestyle?
3. Which destination is top of your wanderlust wishlist?
4. What is your biggest #travelstoke moment of 2016?
5. ...and your biggest #travelfail moment?
6. What advice would you give to fellow new bloggers?
7. What blogging equipment do you find most useful on the road?
8. What have you learnt about yourself whilst travelling?
9. Do you prefer staying in hotels, hostels, airbnbs, couchsurfing or something else?
10. Where is your next adventure taking you?

I hope you all enjoy answering these questions!  

Mrs A x 

© Rose Tinted Spectacles

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