Wow, can you believe it? This marks my 100th post! By now, you all probably have figured out a little about me, but I figured I’d share a little bit more about myself. I’ve seen this little game posted around the blogosphere lately, so it’s time I joined in. I’d love to hear your ABCs as well, so feel free to re-post on your blog and/or respond in the comments. Thanks for reading my first one hundred posts – and thanks for sticking around for the next hundred!
Age you went on your first international trip
I crossed borders in my infancy – that’s what happens when you spend half of childhood in Niagara Falls. Crossing the Canadian border had no magic for me, so I usually consider my first international trip heading into Mexico in 2002. I went on my first solo international trip in 2007 – a great European adventure!
Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where
It’s really, really hard to top Oktoberfest beer at the Paulaner tent. Okay, it’s impossible! That said, I’d definitely put a few Belgian white beers ahead of some of the other German beers (sorry, Hofbrauhaus…) There wasn’t a lot I enjoyed about my trip to Brussels, but the beer definitely made the list.
Mexican. Not that fake Mexican you eat in your hometown, but the truly authentic Mexican food you can only find in Mexico. I love the simplicity of a lot of their flavors, and honestly it’s just plain hard to top fresh seafood. A little lime, some garlic, some chiles, and I’m good to go. I’m sure this is some of the reason that I’ve returned to Mexico a few times…. (I’m sure my answer will change when I finally make it to Japan to taste sushi made by the pros!)
Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why
Favorite: How on earth could I choose? I’ve had great vacations in so many places and happy memories from everywhere I’ve been, but I think I’ll have to settle on Barcelona. It’s just such a beautiful city, and there is a ton of energy pulsing through the city without it being hectic the way New York is. The people are friendly, the food is incredible, the climate is perfect, and there’s a lot to do. I can’t wait to return.
Least Favorite: San Francisco. I know it’s a world-class city, but SF just didn’t do it for me. We had decent weather, tasty food, and laughed until our faces hurt at Beach Blanket Babylon but I still ended that portion of a trip with a bit of a *yawn*. Perhaps because I had just spent a splendid week visiting Carmel, Big Sur, and Yosemite?
Event you experienced while traveling that made you say “wow”
Watching Mike cross the finish line on his Ironman in Louisville, KY. I had been less than excited about the rest of that roadtrip, but cheering for him that one day made everything so worthwhile! Amazingly enough, he did all the driving on that trip – including the morning after his race!
Favorite mode of transportation
By boat. I love being out on the water, watching fabulous scenery pass by, and sometimes even marine life. It’s so relaxing for me, and somehow stimulating at the same time. I do like a good roadtrip though, and train trips (when done properly, like the Europeans!). Flying is okay – I like that it gets me to my destination quickly but actual time in the air doesn’t excite me.
Greatest feeling while traveling
Meeting new people. While traveling, you get to meet so many new people – everyone from locals to fellow tourists. I love that it’s so easy to strike up a conversation and be friendly with people who start out as perfect strangers. I still keep in touch with a few people I’ve met along my journeys!
Hottest place you’ve traveled to
How about summertime in Richmond before I moved here? Ha.
I remember being really hot in Banos, Ecuador, but that may have had more to do with riding a bike in the mid-afternoon (yes, it was warm and sunny, but probably not absurdly hot). Honestly, I don’t do well in the heat, and usually plan my vacations to avoid extreme highs. I’ve worn a jacket in Death Valley, shivered in Key West, and managed to be in Grand Cayman on a (literally) record-cold day.
Incredible service you’ve experienced and where
We had wonderful individualized service at Hotel Zum Kreuz in Sankt Peter, Germany. Our hostess, Barbara, just couldn’t do enough for us! She told us all about the area, provided directions, served us dinner, and even sent us home with jams and spreads. I wish there was more to do in that town because I’d love to just spend a week at her B&B! What a fantastic example of how incredible service is out there even without traveling luxuriously.
Journey that took the longest
I’ll spill the beans – it was a bus ride on my way home from Boston. There was tons of traffic (it doesn’t help that the route hits every metropolitan center on the eastern seaboard!), it took forever, and let’s just say the prior night’s activities left me feeling a little under the weather… Notice that bus travel didn’t make the cut for “favorite mode of transportation”.
Keepsake from your travels
I usually come home with nothing more than I brought, choosing to spend my money on the experiences rather than goodies. I end up with a lot of wonderful photographs of places I fell in love with as personal keepsakes.
Let-down sight, why and where
I hate to say this because it was still a really great experience, but I think it was swimming with the manatees. I had just built up my expectations so high that reality didn’t stand a chance. Manatees are lazy animals that don’t do a whole lot, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when they basically just napped like big blobs in the water. I love manatees, and I should have been amazed when I was able to get so close, but it was still a bit of a let-down.
Moment where you fell in love with travel
I’ve always liked travel, but I think it crossed over into “falling in love” while planning my solo trip to Alaska (2009). Traveling on my own gave me such a sense of freedom: I could go wherever I wanted, eat whenever I wanted, and change plans on a whim if it suited me. I was constantly stimulated by all that was going on around me and yet 100% relaxed because there was not a stress in the world. On top of that, there was such a sense of achievement to planning a trip and traveling on my own (in retrospect, it was really easy) that there was a certain high that carried me through the trip. Now I can’t get enough!
Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in
La Amada, just north of Cancun. Mike and I spent part of our honeymoon there. I fell in love with the pictures on the website and couldn’t believe it when I realized it was in our budget! It was so nice that I almost felt guilty when we left every day to go out and explore.
Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?
Funny signs! The most recent addition is a tank truck speed limit, but I’ve got a whole collection of laugh-worthy signs.
Passport stamps, how many and from where?
Not enough! There’s a lot more of the world to explore, and I intend to check it out!
Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where
Seriously, anywhere that you pay to dress up in goofy costumes falls under the heading of “quirky”.
Recommended sight, event or experience:
I’m a big believer that everyone should go out and see what they want to see. My must-see list is definitely going to be different from yours, so I fully recommend you start working toward the experiences that mean a lot to you!
Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:
Active experiences, especially if they get me away from crowds. I spent more money on a guided ice trek in Juneau than I would have spent on two nights of hotel!
Touristy thing you’ve done
I’ve done a million touristy things, and I’m not ashamed to admit that! Touristy is not necessarily a bad thing – thousands of people visit Neuschwanstein Castle every day, so it’s certainly touristy, but oh the views are so worth it!
Unforgettable travel memory
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll never forget flying over Niagara Falls because it gave me the perspective of seeing something that was normal to me as the truly extraordinary spectacle that it is.
Visas, how many and for where?
I’ve never had to deal with getting visas before entry, but China is first on my list for future travels.
Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?
From a connoisseur’s perspective, I think the German rieslings I sampled may top the list. From a personal standpoint, the best wine I drank was a house rioja in Madrid. It was good wine – not amazing – but I spent the afternoon overlooking a big square in the city and enjoying conversation with my mother. And yeah…the Reina Sofia was a little more entertaining with a few glasses of wine in me!
Xcellent view and from where?:
While I seek out views in all of my travels (a side effect of loving the outdoors), I’m lucky to live close to the Blue Ridge Mountains where there are views galore. It’s something I could never tire of.
Years spent traveling?
I’ve been traveling with my family since I was a kid, but travel became much more interesting as soon as I hit college and had control over the destination! Now it’s hard to revert back to sharing as Mike and I plan trips together 🙂
Zealous sports fans and where?
Imagine watching a football (soccer) game in a bar in Nerja, Spain. I don’t remember the exact teams that were playing (I’m not a sports fan) but I do remember one was Real Madrid and the other was from somewhere in England. The town is half full of Spaniards and half full of Brits – making it an exciting game to watch even if you’re just there for the people watching!
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