Amongst bloggers, there are a collection of chain letter -style awards that routinely do the rounds on networking groups. Essentially, one blogger receives the award, and then needs to nominate x number of other blogs and so on. This serves two purposes, firstly you help each other to drive traffic to each others’ blogs, and secondly, the backlinks seem to help improve your ranking in Google searches. Also, it’s damn nice to have someone write in public that they love your work. However, these awards do seem a little bit fake and a lot like spam, so while I’m very honoured and grateful to those who have nominated me, this will be the first and last post of this kind. Sorry if this post seems sassy and apathetic, but that’s just who I am as a person.
Blogger Recognition Award
I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Yukti @ Travel With Me 24/7
Initially, I was a bit concerned about the authenticity of this award, and I was curious about its origin story. After some fairly extensive Googling trying to find a page where this award had originated from, or what the actual “rules” were, I decided to attempt to unscramble the egg. I clicked on the oldest “OMG I won the Blogger Recognition Award!” post I could find in the first 10 pages of Google, and then followed the “thank you” links back until I got to the end. Or the start. Whatever. It turns out this award was started by Eve at Eve of Night, you can see the original post here.
Select 10-15 Blogs You Want to Give the Award To
10 or 15 seems like a lot.
Tell the Story of How Your Blog Got Started
Fed up with not being able to find information about the destinations I wanted to visit, and having to read semi-edited listicles written by people who couldn’t punctuate a sentence (not the bloggers reading this, you guys are great!), I decided to start cataloguing the how and where of the bizarre and somewhat unusual places I’ve been lucky enough to visit. As my mother always told me, bigger idiots than you…
Give Two Pieces of Advice to Other New Bloggers
1. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. Your blog is your voice, and your voice is the only thing that will separate you from the 1.2 million other people writing about the same destinations as you. Most people who read your site regularly will never visit the places you’re describing, they’re reading because they want to hear what you have to say about that place. Don’t do them a disservice by trying to adopt some sort of Lonely Planet impartial facade.
2. The only way you’re going to make real coin doing this is if you started writing a travel blog seven years ago. Please don’t misunderstand what I mean – I’m not saying you’ll be making money in 7 years, I’m saying you needed to have started 7 years ago. So if the only reason you’re doing this is that you think that you’ll be able to quit your day job then you’ve probably got another think coming. Do it because you have something worth saying.
Versatile Blogger Award
I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Annika from Born to Be Adventurous
The Versatile Blogger Award is a blog award that has its own blog. While that’s a bit bloody meta for me, certainly makes it easier to find the rules.
Select 15 Blogs You Want to Give the Award To
15 seems like way too many.
Tell the Person Who Nominated You Seven Things About Yourself
- I don’t believe fruit should be served at the same time as meat, and I think ham and pineapple pizza is an abomination.
- When I was a kid, my mum told me that Transylvania was a fictional place where vampires come from and I believed her until I was about 23.
- I played roller derby for a few years until I tore 2 ligaments in my ankle during a co-ed game in 2014.
- I would always go to Berlin again.
- My job skills include living alone and asking dogs to make my decisions for me.
- Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I hear Russell Brand’s voice saying “Of course you can’t sleep, you haven’t even unclenched your jaw!”
- My favourite book is Crime & Punishment by Dostoyevsky.
I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Tasmin & Alex @ Life Begins with Travel
For reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, this one seems the least spammy of the three of them. You can find the official rules here, if you really think that reading them is a productive use of your time.
Write a Short Post About Your Favourite Blog (That’s Not Your Own)
There are so many established blogs that I could rave for days and days about – I’ve mentioned Megan Starr on my site more times than I can count. Nick @ Concrete & Kitsch shares my love of Soviet Modernist architecture, abandoned buildings and alternative travel. He’s also been a huge supporter of mine since (virtually) day one, which I am tremendously thankful for. Nate @ Yomadic and Darmon @ The Bohemian Blog are so cool it makes me want to cry. I’ve not met either of them, but I already know that if I ever do, I would fan-girl so hard, make a massive fool of myself and then spend the next 20 to 30 years thinking about it every time my mind wanders. I’ve already said that I would always go back to Berlin, and Seb @ Between Distances certainly doesn’t help that.
I’m aware that this is not a single paragraph about one blog, but I haven’t followed any of the other rules so why would I start now.
Provide 10 Random Facts About Yourself
8. Sometimes I feel like I’m all the pigeons trapped in all the metro stations in all of the major cities of Europe.
9. About 30% of the things I say are either direct or indirect Simpsons quotes, and I learnt more about world history from that show than I ever did at school.
10. I find it easier to imagine the end of the world than I do to imagine the end of Capitalism.
Answer 10 Questions From The Person Who Nominated You
- What is your most memorable childhood travel experience?
When I was about 9, my long-lost cousin came from the UK to visit us in Australia. My mum, my younger brother and I took him on a road-trip to see all of our extended family and do all of the quintessentially Australian things. Plus, I got to miss out on like 2 weeks of school.
- What is the best festival experience you’ve ever had?
At Big Day Out in 2010, I lost all my money and my hotel keys in the first 30 minutes of being there. Wait, that doesn’t sound like such a great experience! Yeah, well, it taught me not to worry too much about stuff that can’t be changed and that everything becomes a funny story eventually (some things do take longer than others).
- Where, in your opinion, is the most overrated destination, attraction or place you’ve ever been to?
Mannekin Pis in Brussels.
- 3 songs which remind you of your travel adventures:
Sex Pistols – Holidays in the Sun
Van Halen – Panama
Violent Soho – Gold Coast
The Smith Street Band – Don’t Fuck with Our Dreams
(Yep, written more than 3. Be thankful I didn’t list 43)
- What festival (anywhere in the world) is top of your list to go one day?
Either Holi Bhang in India/Nepal (drink a whole bunch of THC-laden tea and throw coloured powder at each other? Yes please.) Or Mardi-Gras in Louisiana for the same reasons.
- What’s the best and worst food, dishes or delicacies you’ve tried when travelling?
Worst, easy – that time I ate a whole pigeon bones and all in Egypt. The rotten fish in Iceland wasn’t that great either.
Best, God. I love eating. Ask me this 10 times and you’ll get 10 different answers. Australia definitely does the best cafe breakfasts I’ve ever seen, but my flatmates and I used to go to this dingy greaser in Streatham, London called The Winning Post, and it was so horrible it was amazing. You could get all the oily breakfast food for like £3. And there’s a cafe in Dnipro, Ukraine that does a peanut and caramel cheesecake you would change religions for.
- What’s the first thing you do when you arrive in a hotel room?
I’m usually in a hostel, so make my bed and find the Wi-Fi password are usually pretty high on the list.
- What would be your ideal road-trip, anywhere in the world?
Inspired by Mark & Kirsty @ Kathmandu & Beyond I would love to drive across the former Yugoslavian countries in search of Spomeniks. What’s a Spomenik, you ask? Google it, you lazy prick. You might even learn something.
- If you could travel through time, which year would you choose (past or future)?
Russia or anywhere else in the Eastern Bloc, Christmas 1991, or pre-revolution Iran.
- Would you rather go on a year-long trip, or 12 separate, month-long trips?
12 separate trips. After about 6 weeks, I start to miss home comforts, like sitting around in a towel, or having a poo in peace. Or making instant noodles without somebody telling you that you’re doing it wrong (why does everyone seem to have an opinion on this?!)
Nominate 5 – 11 Blogs who have Less Than 200 Followers
1, 2, 5, 11… I’m good at counting today!
- Vincent @ Vincent Vegabond
- Dan @ Fill That Passport
- Ashleigh @ Travelling Marshmellow
- Faith @ Life Out There
- Tim & Rach @ Nomadic Bones
Questions for My Nominees
- If I gave you an elephant, where would you hide it?
- How many hats do you have in your house?
- What question do you hate to answer, other than this one?
- What’s the best way to start a conversation when travelling, keeping in mind your answer to Question 3?
- What is your favourite word at the moment?
- What punctuation mark best describes you?
- What quote or travel advice do you hear all the time, but think is total BS?
- What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
- Where was the worst smelling place you’ve ever been?
- Let us assume there are two boxes on a table. In one box, there is a relatively normal turtle; in the other, Adolf Hitler’s skull. You have to select one of these items for your home. If you select the turtle, you can’t give it away and you have to keep it alive for two years; if either of these requirements are not met, you will be fined $999. If you select Hitler’s skull, you are required to display it in a semi-prominent location in your living room for the same amount of time, although you will be paid a stipend of $120 per month for doing so. Display of the skull must be apolitical.
Which option do you select?
Stop The Presses: Liebster Award Number 2
So, while I was writing this, I was also nominated for a Liebster Award by Nicole @ Lost in this Whole World
Answer 11 Questions From The Person Who Nominated You
- What is the best memory you have from travelling?
Obviously, there’s so many to choose from. I don’t think I’ll ever forget being a few metres away from white rhinos in Namibia. Ask me again tomorrow and I’m sure to give a different answer.
- What is the scariest thing you have experienced whilst travelling?
As long as I can remember, I’ve ben afraid of heights. When I was in Africa, everyone I was with was saying how they were going to go skydiving. The little voice in my head said “God, I wish I could do that!” and then I realised there was no reason why I couldn’t. Then, once I’d said out loud I was going to do it, I had to – if you haven’t worked it out yet I’m somewhat stubborn.
- Would you rather explore the deep ocean or outer space?
Space for sure. Fish smish.
- Have you ever visited somewhere just because you saw it in a movie or read about it in a book? Where was it? (If not, would you in future?)
Harry Potter Studio Tour, Karl Marx’s grave (does that count?), and have drunk myself across the world following in writer’s footsteps – Le Deux Magots, Paris (Hemmingway & Fitzgerald), Eagle & Child, Oxford (C.S. Lewis & Tolkein), Kennedy’s – Dublin (Wilde).
- If you could only take one more trip, where would you go?
Probably Central America, seeing as I’ve already paid for it.
- Do you prefer to go on solo trips or travel with a companion?
Usually solo, as you can probably tell I have a pretty unique sense of interests so it’s rare to find someone who wants to devote their holiday to seeking out the same things that I’m interested in.
- If you had to recommend one city for someone to visit, where would you recommend and why?
Depends who that someone was. If you love modern history, start with Berlin. If you love Impressionist art, go to Paris. If you love eating dill, come to Kyiv. There’s something worth seeing in every city. Except Brussels. Don’t go to Brussels.
- When you get writer’s block, what do you do to get past it?
Hasn’t happened yet. Go do something interesting, then write about it. It’s not a tough gig.
- What is your biggest struggle as a blogger?
Not having infinite time and money to travel and write.
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Is omnilingualism a thing? Just imagine a Babel Fish from Hitchhiker’s Guide, then you’ll understand what I mean. Haven’t read Hitchhiker’s Guide? Then stop reading this absurdly long post, you have work to do.
- What is your favourite Disney movie?
Emperor’s New Grove
Not Even Kidding, Liebster Award #3
…and while I was writing this, I was nominated for another Liebster award by Talek @ Travels with Talek
Answer 10 Questions From The Person Who Nominated You
- What’s your next “to visit” spot?
Central America, Iran, Central Asia, Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo…
- Where do your ideas come from?
- What’s the best blog traffic building suggestion you ever received?
Write content you’re proud of.
- What would people be surprised to learn about you?
If they’ve read all the way to here, probably not much. When I’ve had a really bad day, I’ll have a kids dinner – chicken nuggets, potato gems and tinned spaghetti.
- What’s the most unusual food you ever ate while travelling?
Whole pigeon (see above).
- Favourite travel book?
On the Road – Kerouac, or The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World – Eric Weiner. Marching Powder – Rusty Young is worth a read, not sure if it quite counts as a travel book.
- Most meaningful travel lesson?
It can always get worse. Or, always pack some underwear in your carry-on.
- Who is the most interesting or inspiring person you’ve met while travelling?
I met this fantastic Ukrainian lady on a train from Dnipro to Kharkiv. We were the only people in the carriage and even though she didn’t speak a word of English she insisted on trying to speak to me the entire 5 hours I was on the train. She fed me dinner, and blew me kisses when I got off at my station. I only understood about 30% of what she was talking about.
- What are your blogging goals for the next 12 months?
- Where are you longing to visit?
If you’ve read all the way to here, I owe you a beer and a shot next time I see you. If you tell anyone that this disclaimer is here, you render it null and void.