I don’t know why I got involved in this, but someone in a travel blogging community was seeking blogs to nominate for a Liebster Award, which is supposed to be for newer travel blogs and those with smaller followings (after four years I can still name my regular readers).liebster award

Anyway, thanks to Wanderlustbug.com for nominating me. She has some good travel info on the site and some very nice photos, which reminds me that I really need to upgrade my camera again.

Because she asked politely, I’m supposed to answer a few questions:

What is the destination that stands out the most for you and why?

This is a difficult one to answer. I have great memories of all my trips, and some of the reasons a place holds a particular significance can be personal–and I’m not one to share all those details online. Most recently, I fell in love with Cambodia–there’s beautiful culture and history, and I enjoyed the food. Most of all, I found the optimism of the people I encountered to be most amazing. Despite the difficulties of life there, I would be willing to move there for an extended time.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

What is your ultimate travelling anecdote?

Someone else should be the judge of this one. There’s four years of travel stories on this site to sift through. Sometimes the stories blend together in my head.

Why did you start blogging?

I started after grad school as a way to showcase my writing skills–the plan was to review books, movies, and TV shows. Then, I headed off to China and turned it into a blog about my experiences there. I rebooted as Booze, Food, Travel because I was living back home and wanted to continue writing, just not about China so much. I’ve continued despite low readership because I still want to write about my experiences and I know a few of my friends back home still enjoy reading.

When did you catch the wanderlust bug?

My first trip outside the US was to London to study abroad for a semester. When I couldn’t find anyone to take weekend trips with me, I headed out on my own.

What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

I’m not sure what I’ve eaten in some cases. I regret not ordering the grilled unicorn leather jacket in Saigon (I bet it tastes like charred rainbows). I’ve probably drunk more unusual things–like the snake wine in Vietnam. I also had what claimed to be snake blood and seahorse medicinal liquor in China, but considering the price, I doubt it contained either. I have eaten Cajun alligator sausage, blowfish sashimi, donkey, puffin, and whale.

smoked puffin breast

smoked puffin breast

What is the one useful travel tip you always share with new travelers?

Relax and try to take things slow. Be friendly when strangers approach you for conversation but still remain skeptical–it may take a while for the ulterior motives to reveal themselves.

Is there a place you have visited that didn’t live up to your expectations? Why?

Tainan. I can’t believe how much I disliked my weekend there.

Tainan bridge night

At least Tainan had some decent views

Is there anything that you regret from your travels?

Always. But I can’t live in the past and dwell on what I did wrong or what I missed.

What two things do you ALWAYS take on a trip?

A book and a notepad.

What is at the top of your bucket list?

I don’t have a bucket list. But I have yet to travel to South America or Africa. I’d also like to see eastern Europe.

What do you hope to achieve with your travels and your blog by 2017?

I’m going to use my paid vacation days even more efficiently and visit a few new countries (assuming I can get a decent flight from Taipei that doesn’t involve an 11-hour overnight layover in Manila). I’d also like to write a bit more often–I still have a travel guide to finish.

There's still more to see around Taipei and nearby towns

There’s still more to see around Taipei and nearby towns

Now, I’m supposed to nominate a few other blogs for this award (they, in turn, should nominate more). I also have to give them 11 questions to answer on their blog, yadda yadda yadda, until every travel blog is full of posts like this and no one can tell the difference. It’s what makes the travel blogging world go round, right?

SoloTravelGirl – I met Jennifer a few years ago in NYC. She was the first regular reader on my old blog.

Priya’s Obsession – Bit of a fun read that I haven’t kept up with recently. Certainly should catch up.

The Minty – Because if you’re hungry and/or thirsty, this will just make you desperate for more. Also, we met some years ago at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic.

Postcards and Places – Seems like an interesting read. I just got into it.

  1. What do you think makes your travel blog unique?
  2. What is the best meal you’ve had and what made it special?
  3. What was the most cringe-inducing beverage you tried? (The cheap beer we drank in college doesn’t count.)
  4. What are your travel plans for the rest of the year? What trip are you most looking forward to?
  5. Why can’t I get no Tang ’round here? (Bonus points for an appropriate response.)
  6. Is stinky tofu really as bad as it smells?
  7. What is your favorite souvenir from traveling?
  8. Do you still write postcards? Why? It’d be so much easier to use an app.
  9. Why should I visit you?
  10. What is your favorite book to either inspire travel or to take on a trip?
  11. I don’t like odd-numbered lists, so I’m not going to ask any other questions. Is that ok?

So, now the people I nominated can go harass some other people. Enjoy.