This is my first year as a travel blogger and had never heard of the Liebster Award until I was nominated by fellow travel blogger Agnes from BackyardDestinations. Basically, if you get nominated, you answer the nominator's set of 11 questions via a blog post and in turn nominate other bloggers you know and love. It works somewhat like a chain letter, with the point being that people get a chance to get to know new bloggers out there. So, thank you for the nomination and here are my answers:
1. What inspired you to start blogging?
My husband. I've always been a super detailed planner of trips and was often helping friends and family make their own travel plans, but just for my own amusement and mostly because it's how I'm naturally wired. Colin (my husband) has encouraged me for many years to share those skills for planning and organization with the world and 4 years later I finally did by starting Type A Trips. Here's a quick life excerpt and a possible reason why he thought I'd be good at it - for our honeymoon in 2010 we went to Greece and Italy for a month and he loves to tell the story about how he woke up on the first day of our honeymoon and I wasn't there - instead, laying on the pillow was a 26 page itinerary telling him when to eat, sleep and shower. It's a bit of an exaggeration, but it really was 26 pages.
2. Hotel or hostel?
Most definitely hotel. I've never actually stayed in a hostel, but I struggle with having to share things in life so thinking about sharing a room or a bathroom kind of freaks me out.
3. What’s one place every traveler should visit and why?
Tough one. Honestly - every traveler should spend time visiting their home country. I'm always amazed at how many people have traveled the world, but know little about where they come from - myself included. I'm just starting to really explore the US one city at a time and I'm continually in awe of the incredible food, culture, people, history and scenery I've got in my own back yard.
4. How do you handle situations when travel itineraries don’t go as planned?
I cry. Remember how I told you about our honeymoon? Well, about a week in we were in Florence and had plans to take a train to Lucca (my favorite Italian city); however, I read the arriving times instead of the departing times and we missed not one, but two trains! And yes, I cried. Luckily for me, I have a husband who is the complete opposite of me and in times like this his easy-going travel personality kicks into high gear, calms me down and helps me to see the big picture... specifically reminding me, "Lady - you're in Florence, it's ok!"
5. What is the most breathtaking sight you’ve seen internationally?
I lived in Florence in 2006 when Italy won the World Cup. On the night of the final game, everyone (and I mean everyone) flooded the streets in celebration. It's a surreal and breathtaking feeling to be part of a party where the entire country is invited - hundreds of thousands of people cheering, crying and hugging for a single cause. It's something that as Americans we don't get a chance to experience because we all have our individual teams and allegiances, but it's a memory I'll never forget.
6. What’s the best food you’ve had abroad?
There's a tapas bar in Barcelona called Cerveceria Ciudad Condal that I dream about. The wait is usually at least an hour and people literally line out the door well past midnight to come here. Every single dish that comes out is bursting with flavor and leaves your mouth watering and wanting more.
7. What invaluable experience(s) have you taken away from traveling?
Try to find some way to connect with people who actually live there. We will often book a Vayable tour, which allows us to have intimate, cultural experiences with locals when we're in a new place. We've done everything from market tours in London, cooking and eating an authentic Italian meal with an Italian family at their home, to a midnight street food tour of Queens. These are some of the memories we cherish the most.
8. Do you prefer air or ground transportation to get around?
Air. I try to pack in as much into every minute of a trip and usually find that I can gain more time back into my trip by flying. Saying that, I love train experiences when the scenery is epic and you get to see a side of the country you usually wouldn't get otherwise.
9. What is one thing you must always have with you while on the go?
Hand sanitizer. Yes, this is a lame answer, but if you've ever gotten sick while traveling abroad, you know why I can't go anywhere without it.
10. Describe an interesting person you met while traveling.
Taro Kobayashi is the owner and head chef of Mame - a tiny sushi restaurant in the very unlikely city of Eugene, Oregon. We met Chef Taro during a west coast road trip we took in 2012 and we randomly made reservations during our 2 night stay in town. The restaurant only has 4 tables and about 6 seats at the bar where you can sit and interact with the chef as he makes the food. Instead of ordering from a menu, most people just do the "chef's choice" where you just tell the chef how much you want to spend and he creates a personalized sushi sampling. Not only did his food blow my mind, his personal story of transformation, which led him to becoming a chef was inspiring.
11. What is one place you could visit again and again?
If you haven't figured it out by now by reading this post, I'm being way too subtle... I could visit Italy again and again and again. Specifically Tuscany, but I love all of Italy. I've been fortunate enough to go every few years and hope to be back again in 2015 (Colin - this is my not so subtle way of telling you what I want for my birthday).
Now it's my turn to nominate some of my favorite bloggers and ask them questions:
What is the best bite of food you've ever had?
If you could describe your blogging style in 3 words, what would they be and why?
What is one thing that makes you smile, no matter what mood you're in?
If I handed you $100, how would you spend it?
Name one thing always in your carry-on luggage.
Who encourages you most in your life?
What is one place you've never been to, but are dying to visit?
How do you find time to be a blogger?
What was your favorite childhood television show?
How do you define your version of the perfect trip?
Name one food you just couldn't live without.