A little over a month ago, I realized how much I loved blogging and sharing my travel experiences. Now that I am done with university and have more time, I decided to become more serious about blogging and work toward joining the Professional Travel Bloggers Association. Within one month, I achieved well over the required page views to join! I am shocked at how quickly my little blog has grown lately: I now have readers in 95 countries in places like Tunisia, Iraq, and Svalbard and Jan Mayen. The latter are Norwegian islands so isolated in the north that they host the Global Seed Vault! I have no idea how all you found my blog, but I am so thankful to have you on my journey and to share all my adventures (and numerous mis-adventures!) with you.
Also recently, my blog was nominated for a Liebster Award. So what is that? My nominator, Travelling and Dreaming, explains it well, "Its origins are from Germany, and it’s an online award for new bloggers given by other new bloggers. No one loses and everybody wins, the nomination is the prize and the purpose of the award is to give those new bloggers more exposure in their new project, and support the blogging community. It’s a way to be discovered and it gives your blog a recognition award that you can show on your website! I mean, who doesn’t like that?"
Each person nominated is given 11 questions to answer by the blogger(s) who nominated her. I was nominated by Virginia and Enrique, travel bloggers at http://travellinganddreaming.com/. Many thanks for the nomination and the questions! Their blog is one of my favourites so be sure to check it out! Below are their questions and my answers.
Which is your favourite place in the World and why?
As you can imagine, it is incredibly hard to pick just one place. There are many places that have had a profound impact on me. I have to give the general answer of a hostel with an amazing atmosphere, travellers with incredible stories, and located in a city with loads of history, culture, and scenery to explore.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
The very first thing I think I can remember is meeting Minnie Mouse at Disney World when I was two. I fairly sure I knew I was on a trip then, even though I don't think I can recall any earlier memories!
Mention 3 things you would never want to travel without, aside from the basics like your passport and credit card.
1) My iphone. It functions as my camera, navigator, alarm clock, and communication device.
2) My ipod. I've had the same ipod nano since I was 15. It is possibly the most well-travelled ipod nano, having travelled with me to 22 countries! Yes, I can play music on my iphone too, but I try to avoid that during travel so I can save the phone's battery. I always have a soundtrack to all of my travels!
3) A good book. I can always remember what I was reading on each trip. For example, I was once on a night train between Paris and Barcelona, reading Out of the Silent Planet, which is the first book in CS Lewis's Space Trilogy. Without giving the plot away, I'll just tell you that there is a part when the protagonist is headed to space in a very tiny spaceship. I was in a tiny sleeper car and each time the train entered a tunnel, my ears would pop and I would wake up. Each time I dozed back into a shallow slumber, I would dream that my sleeper car was turning into a space ship and I was headed for outer space rather than Barcelona!
4) Okay, I know it only asked for three, but I cannot imagine travelling without a travel journal! I write in it every single day and document many moments that would otherwise go unnoticed.
What is the oddest place you have ever spent the night?
I've spent the night in some pretty dodgy places all in the name of travel! There was the time in Prague when I slept in a McDonalds until I got kicked out so I went to a bus station until I got kicked out there too, and then went to the only place open, a pub, until my 3:30 AM bus to Vienna. And there was also that time when I took a ten-hour night bus between Istanbul and Cappadocia two nights in a row. But I think the oddest place would be the time my friend and I spent the night homeless on the streets of Amsterdam with four 18-year-old Canadian guys we met on the train from Berlin. We went into practically every restaurant and pub that was open until they all closed at 5 AM. Then we walked back to the train station for a little over an hour before heading to the Anne Frank House because I insisted we get there early and beat the queue!
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling? What happened?
Oh, yes. There was the time when my passport, visa, debit cards, UK and US cell phones, driver's license, and virtually everything else got stolen in Barcelona. Eventually everything worked out, but it was a stressful (and expensive) experience.
There was also the now-nearly-famous Baby Brown Swiss Dairy Cow Incident when I took a sip of unpasteurized milk in Switzerland, broke out in head-to-toe hives, and spent the 8-hour bus ride to Florence, Italy thinking only of how H1N1/Swine Flu began by one little boy licking the snout of a pig and worrying that I had infected Switzerland with a new strain of cox pox.
Is there anything you do on your travels or in your everyday life to try to minimise your impact on the environment?
Right now, I don't have a car (well, she's in semi-retirement in Pennsylvania after barely getting me through last semester) and rely on public buses or walking to get anywhere. I also use reusable water bottles and grocery bags.
Mention 3 things you miss when you are travelling.
A closet, a gym, and reliable Wi Fi
Best meal you’ve eaten whilst travellling?
The first dinner I had in Italy. It was in Sicily and my first time sampling proper, authentic Italian food.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done whilst travelling? Where and why?
I would usually point to my dodgy overnight accommodation (or lack there of) that I mentioned above. However, I am known among my friends and blog readers for doing something stupid in every country. I often point to the time I accidentally overslept at a hostel in Prague, woke up three minutes before my bus was set to leave, fell down the stairwell, and proceeded to get locked in the basement. I managed to make it to my bus on time, however.
Are there any countries that you would never consider visiting? Why?
Under the right circumstances, no. Each country has its own culture and history and I am interested in seeing them all, even in unstable countries. There are safety concerns with this of course and I wouldn't travel into an active conflict. However, most places thought of sometimes as "unsafe" are actually safer than you might think.
Imagine you are only allowed to visit one more country, which country would you choose?
That is incredibly hard because my list of countries to visit is still so long, but I feel very drawn toward Australia at the moment.
Readers, now I need your help! As part of the Liebster nomination, I must nominate 11 other blogs. Do you have an emerging travel blog you'd like nominated? Or do you know of one? If so, comment below with a link. In the meantime, I'm hard at work on my 11 travel-related questions for potential nominees.
I have some more changes happening with my blog soon that I am excited to share. Thank you for sharing my journey with me so far and I hope you stay tuned!
Hi, I’m Crystal! I love to travel and am currently a graduate student in Scotland. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 27 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Travels, Crystal
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