Wait, what? We actually won an award? Yay! Well, its not exactly some prestigious writing award but we’re still happy to be nominated. So what the heck is this Liebster award anyways? I’ll explain in a sec, but first we want to thank those who nominated us.
As I type this from Malaysia during a thunderstorm, it seems appropriate to use the old adage “when it rains, it pours!” I say this because we actually got nominated twice within the same 24 hours by fellow travel bloggers – first by Pink Sneakers On The Go and then by Landon & Alyssa at Uneven Sidewalks. For peers to recognize our little space on the web, that is sincerely an honor. So thank you to both Pink Sneakers On The Go and Uneven Sidewalks for the nods.
What is a Liebster Award?
A Liebster Award is a way for bloggers to recognize other bloggers they like. It helps bloggers discover other blogs and welcome them to the community! So while this Liebster Award thing really isn’t a huge deal, we like the idea of it helping to promote other bloggers. So we’re having fun playing along and shedding some light into our crazy lives as we respond to our nominee’s questions.
The Awarding Process?
When you are nominated by another blogger, you are asked to answer 11 questions that they pose to you in a post on your blog. Then you are to nominate five more bloggers of your choice and ask them 11 original questions of your own! This keeps the award going and recognizes bloggers everywhere! Tag your nominees in your social media so they can participate!
11 Questions: Have A Peek Into Our Life of Travel!
What motivates you to travel?
We just love to experience new things and the adventure that it brings us on. Whether that’s summiting the top of a volcano to check out the amazing view or making our way to a secluded monastery to taste a rare beer. We crave seeing what’s around the next corner and then getting to know that place.
Everywhere we go seems to bring on something different that we end up loving it for. We’re motivated to travel by discovering just what that special something is.
What item do you carry with you that makes you feel at home?
(1) Heather has to travel with a jar of peanut butter. On a long travel day it becomes an impromptu meal or on a grueling hike it provides some much-needed energy. But above all of that, it gives her a taste of home while often in a land of exotic eats.
For me I carry two things that remind me of my two former “homes,” which were Florida and Michigan. (2) First, I travel with a Miami Dolphins polo shirt that gives me the warm-and-fuzzies whenever I put it on, as a subtle way to root for my favorite NFL team.
(3) I also carry around a Bell’s Expedition Stout to represent one of my favorite Michigan breweries. People think I’m crazy to be traveling around the world with the added weight of a bottle of beer in my backpack (and rightfully so). But its just a little reminder of my former home. One of these days I’ll crack it open at the right moment and I’m sure it’ll taste all the better.
What is the funniest incident you’ve had while traveling?
Oh, I don’t even know where to begin. We’re constantly dealing with different cultures and languages, which creates all sorts of rib-tickling situations. Now add fatigue on top of that and give us a couple of drinks and you’ve got a comedy scene just waiting to unfold, or maybe an international incident. Grab some popcorn!
It’s really hard to pinpoint one single funniest incident. Perhaps check out our Top 20 Worst Travel Experiences, which highlights some good laughs during our 2014 adventures.
What is a common attribute among other travelers that you notice and that annoys you or encourages you?
Here are a few of our common pet peeves that have really been irking us lately among fellow travelers:
- Those who don’t know how to move to the side of an escalator or moving walkway. If you don’t want to walk, that’s fine; just step to the side.
- Those who don’t attempt to learn just a few basic words in the native language. “Hello” and “thank you” go a long way.
- Overusing a selfie stick and having no regard for others nearby.
- People who push & shove and ignore queues.
- Littering (I mean really? I thought everyone stopped that decades ago.)
Dear fellow travelers, please quit doing all of those things immediately. Just stop. Thanks! 😉
Do you have a fan club, friends and family who support your travels (So awesome what you are doing!), or do you have to support your decision to travel on your own. (No I’m not crazy, just enjoying life)
It’s been a little bit of both. When we first set out, some of our friends and family weren’t particularly supportive of our admittedly unusual lifestyle choice. On the surface it does seem a bit crazy. I mean, we both had nice lives with decent jobs and then we dropped everything to set out on an indefinite trip around the world.
But once you dig deeper and understand that its something we planned and prepared for, for over half a decade, you understand this isn’t some whim to travel but rather a carefully orchestrated plan to satiate our lifelong dreams. Then consider the fact that we’re still working a little on the road, all in addition to making other financially wise investments and decisions, and you’ll see that this crazy lifestyle has all been a prudently architected design. (One of these days, I hope to try to write a blog and explain it all in detail and provide a guide for other likeminded people.)
Since launching RoamingAroundTheWorld.com, we found a lot of support from close friends, family, and even unlikely places such as old friends from high school, former co-workers, other bloggers, and people who simply discovered our blog online. Whether they realize or not, all of these people who are cheering us on provide us with tons of support and encouragement that really keeps our spark alive during each additional destination we visit! So thank you to you all!
And during this second year of travel we’ve been absolutely thrilled to actually have friends come out and meet us to share some of these incredible experiences with. Their presence, conversations, and friendship provides us with a little taste of home that gives us the energy to keep on moving.
What has been the most difficult obstacle you’ve faced while traveling?
So much to see and never enough time! We have a serious problem with trying to pack it all in. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) often gets the best of us. This keeps us traveling at an insanely fast pace in efforts of trying to experience it all, which is very difficult to do with long-term travel.
We rarely have time to check emails, write that next blog post, get some work done (and hence earn travel money), or even call our friends & family back home. Despite all the fun we’re having, it really begins to ware on you. Whenever we have down time, we tend to spend that simply planning our transport and lodging for our next several destinations. Next thing you know, we’re off again and still have 17 things on the to-do list that didn’t get done.
Hopefully one of these days we’ll find a balance to it all but until then, it’s definitely been a huge obstacle for us that we’ve completely brought onto ourselves.
What has been your best food experience while traveling?
When asked about superlatives in places we’ve traveled to, Heather and I don’t always agree with one another. But when asked about our favorite food experiences, we are both quick to respond with “Greece!” And our complete awe of the cuisine there goes so much further than gyros and Greek salads (although those were really great too).
The plentiful seafood provided for fantastic bases of hearty local specialties throughout week of island hopping. The delicious overuse of rich olive oil, tangy lemon juice and fragrant oregano has my mouth salivating right now. And, oh then there’s all of those beautiful hunks of feta just haphazardly thrown into so many delectable dishes. Yum!
Then there were all sorts of unique finds that we never expected. For instance, snails, smoked eel, and even some salty prosciutto-like ham that nearly rivaled the serranos we enjoyed so much through out Spain.
Speaking of which, both Spain and Mexico also both make for close runners-up as our favorite food destination. But we’d have to say that every meal in Greece was collectively our best food experience while traveling.
What are your budgeting techniques while traveling and how do you keep track of your spending?
We tend to splurge in countries that allow us to do so and then dial things way back in more expensive countries. For example during our recent month-long journey in New Zealand, we stayed in hostels nearly every night. But then when we arrived in Thailand, we used 4-star resorts (or higher) most of the time. The funny thing is, the costs between the two were actually pretty comparable. In fact, I think the swanky Thailand resorts came in a little bit less than our humble New Zealand hostels. We try also try to linger more in low-cost destinations and race through high-cost places.
We really like to take advantage of whatever local specialty is offered at reasonable rates. For example, in Belize you can get a full lobster dinner with all the fixins for $8 but a beachside massage will set you back nearly $100. Meanwhile in Thailand, we found massages as low as $5 and lobster dinners at nearly $100! So, we eat our lobster in Belize and get our massages in Thailand and never switch that up.
To keep track of our spending we use an app, simply called “Travel Expenses” on Android. Heather enters in all our expenses, which we review periodically to keep tabs on our poor dwindling budget. Those aren’t very fun moments during our travels but are necessary to keep tabs on it all.
How do you maintain your health while traveling? Staying fit, eating healthy, etc…
Each day we’re typically hiking, climbing, swimming, cycling, paddling, or simply walking a few miles with our heavy packs on searching for our hotel; so that all really helps to keep us fit. Just how fit? Well, let me tell you a little story…
Before our travel lives, I typically sat all day in meetings or in front of a computer. I never worked out and only occasionally took in a physical activity every few weekends. To compensate for my lack of exercise, I tried to eat a healthy vegetable-rich diet low in carbs, sugar, and fats.
Then during our first three months of travel, which was through Central America, I ate like crap. I had no disregard for unhealthy food whatsoever. Fried food? Yes please! Decadent desert? Bring it! Choose between several beers or a sugary mojito? I’ll take both!
The result? I somehow dropped 35 pounds in just 3 months without even trying. 215 became 180 in just 90 days! I attribute it all not to our unhealthy eating, of course, but rather to the increased level of activity that we were now doing everyday. This was a huge contrast to my former sedentary lifestyle.
What do you enjoy most about traveling?
For us, it’s all about those awesomely unexpected experiences. Sometimes it’s not about the destination itself but that pleasant surprise you stumble across along the way. That’s it. That’s what we enjoy most about traveling.
How has traveling changed your life?
Really our lives as we knew them have completely changed from what they once were before we embarked this journey.
At this moment two years ago I would be stressing out on how I can wrap up a work assignment after a 12-hour day only to head home, have the “what do you want for dinner” conversation, and maybe watch something on TV for an hour before falling asleep.
Today we find ourselves here in Malaysia, trying to finish up this fun blog post, figure out whether we’ll next head off to the jungle or the beaches later this week, and we’re deciding on what street hawker stall we’ll try for dinner tonight.
A lot has changed and we love it.
This is the part where we nominate five other new-ish bloggers for the Liebster Award. Drum roll please…
- Liz and Josh at Peanuts or Pretzels
- Jessica at She Dreams of Travel
- Natalie at From Tourist 2 Local
- Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide
If you were nominated, here are your questions:
1) What do you enjoy most about travel?
2) What is currently the top destination you desire traveling to? Why there?
3) Do you have any quirky travel habits that others may find strange?
4) What piece of travel gear would you never hit the road without?
5) What prompted you to begin blogging about travel in the first place?
6) What has been the most difficult obstacle you’ve faced while traveling?
7) What’s been the most memorable accommodation you’ve ever stayed at during your travels (good or bad)?
8) Would you recommend traveling to your hometown? If so, what are some insider recommendations you’d give to others visiting your city? If not, why should we stay away?
9) What country or destination have you found to be the most surprising? Why?
10) What has been a favorite beer you’ve discovered while traveling? (Not a beer person? Tell us about an interesting juice, tea, wine, soda or cocktail instead.) Cheers!
11) Share with us one of your favorite travel tips!
Loved reading this guys!! So happy for you following your dreams and living them everyday! That is an amazing accomplishment and is truly inspiring! Wishing you safe and happy travels! PS- Are you ever going to Africa?
John Widmer says
Thanks so much Jessica! Means a lot. And thanks so much for following along!
We want to go to sub-Saharan Africa so bad. New Zealand has always been our dream destination and now that we’ve crossed that off the list, we have our eyes set on Africa. Unfortunately, I don’t think its in the cards for us right now but hopefully we’ll make it there some day!