The Leibster Blog Award
Today I learnt 3 things; that the German word for favourite is ‘liebster’, that there is such a thing as a Leibster Blog Award which is given by travel bloggers to travel bloggers and that I have been nominated for it. Lovely day! I was nominated by the very charming Karla of Traveller Soul (www.travellersoul76.com), whose blog about TEFLing in Korea is what convinced me to teach abroad in the first place, so I feel very honoured to get a nom from her. The Leibster is a way of sharing your favourite blogs with others and acknowledging a job well done. Here’s the jist (to the power of 11):
- If you get nominated as one of someone’s favourite bloggers, answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you and post 11 random facts about yourself.
- Share your favourite 11 other blogs by passing it on and asking them 11 questions!
I’m going to define ‘trip’ in this context as heading off with a back-pack, dog-eared guidebook and nothing booked beyond the first night, so with that in mind; 23 – positively ancient.
2- Do you travel spontaneously or does it have to be planned right down to the details?
I always plan right down to the details and then change everything within 5 minutes of arrival. I think I plan just as a means of languishing in the anticipation!
3- What is your favorite transportation? Airplane, Train, Bus, Car?
Sailing and Training; in three months I will head home from Bangkok, Thailand to Southampton, England – via train, taking in 11 countries, including the vast Siberian peninsula, which it turns out requires more research and bureaucracy than my dissertation did!
4- How many stamps are on your passport?
5- Do you prefer traveling solo or with company?
Dependant on the companion and location! There is nowhere I wouldn’t travel with my back-packing pixie friend Karen who is a constant source of travel inspiration and support.
6- What is the best international food you tried?
On the deck of a tiny fishing felucca on the Nile, cooked by a teenage lad with one pot and a portable stove; hearty mixed bean foul (pronounced like ‘fool’ rather than ‘foul’), creamy Egyptian feta with tomato and salads and no plates or cutlery – just huge steaming hot flatbreads and sticky fingers. Yum.
7- What does travel mean to you?
Freedom. Freedom from all the things you’re meant to be doing and all the things you didn’t do right or should have done differently. You can escape those pressures with travel not because it allows you to hide from them but because it allows you to see how meaningless they all are anyway; you really don’t need much to find happiness and purpose in life as clichéd as that is. When you travel you meet people whose opportunities and possessions are so meagre that they make yours look positively vulgar in their excess and yet these are often the happiest, most content people. I appreciate that’s not very original for a traveller to say but truths rarely are very original. “Travelling is like flirting with life, it’s like saying ‘I would stay and love you but I have to go…’”
8- What other languages do you speak other than English?
Je parle un petit peu de Francais/Chan peut Thai-dai nit-noy. I can also swear like a true Rugby fan in Cymraeg (Welsh).
9- Where will you go in 2013?
Across a third of the globe on the Trans-Siberian Express via, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, and France before touching down in Blighty. If I’m extra lucky I’ll be finishing up the year with my cousin in Franz Josef, New Zealand.
10- What is your best travel photo?
There’s so many I could submit for this but it has to be one of the sun breaking over the red mountains, taken from the peak of Mt Sinai with my best friend Karen. Stunning.
11- Where are you based? Tell us a bit about the city or town you live in!
I live in Lop Buri, Thailand. It’s famous for being the site of King Narai’s palace and for the fact that monkeys are to Lop Buri what pigeons are to Trafalgar Square. Lop Buri is often referred to as Monkey Town or Monkey City and its football team is known as the Monkey Army. If it sounds familiar it’s probably because Karl Pilkington visited it during the Idiot Abroad series. The monkeys of monkey town are a wonderful novelty and highly amusing… for about three days and after that they begin to resemble vicious mobs of street kids who’ll mug you for your ice cream.
11 Random Facts:
- I have an honours degree in English Literature.
- My Great Uncle Rhodi was a mad Welsh inventor and can be spotted in the Gregory Peck film adaptation of Moby Dick – Well sort of; he’s inside the mechanical whale furiously operating the glorified pedalo he designed to drive it.
- I once spent the best part of an eventful night in Penang, Malaysia in an illegal bar with a Yugoslavian gangster on the lam.
- I used to work for the housing department of Winchester City Council – someone once told us that the drying cannabis all over the bed must have blown in through the open window.
- I, and all my housemates, nearly got ASBOs (anti-social behaviour orders) in university for indecent exposure.
- I have an art/customising business in Britain called Blue Fairy Art; you can find it on Facebook or visit http://www.bluefairyart.wix.com/eira.
- Next year I am going to begin a masters degree in Professional Writing with the University of Falmouth.
- I once did all the make-up for a zombie movie so I can create mean zombie bites out of PVA glue and paint.
- In 2011 Blue Fairy Art and I won the Enliven award for Best Commercial Fashion Creations.
- I have been a vegetarian for 15 years; which is sometimes very difficult to manage in Thailand.
- When I was a teenager I sang on the Oriana cruise-ship for its launch ceremony.
My 11 travel Leibsters are as follows, and I thoroughly recommend checking them out since a few in particular have given me some really good advice over the years:
- One Way Ticket Phil (www.onewayticketphil.com). Dude knows his shit; plotted my way around Malaysia on a considerable amount of his advice.
- Travel Grapevine (www.travelgrapevine.com/blog/).
- Ben of Ben Away (www.benaway.wordpress.com). I’m fortunate enough to call this guy a friend and he also happens to be one of the finest travel photographers I know. He’s attempted with very limited success to teach me a thing or two from time to time, but some causes are lost from the beginning.
- Jon Sanwell of Without an H (www.jonsanwell.com). Stunning photo blog of Vietnam.
- The Great American Landscape (www.thegreatamericanlandscape.wordpress.com), beautiful photography tuition (see if you can find the low-light picture of the resting horse – exquisite).
- Michael Lai of Retiree Diary (www.retireediary.wordpress.com) who spends most of his time having adventures and taking beautiful photos of the things he encounters.
- Conserving Quirky (www.conservingquirky.wordpress.com).
- In Doha (www.indoha.wordpress.com). Ex-pats in the sandy land.
- Eric Murtaugh (www.ericmurtaugh.com). A really well-written entry to the travel-sphere.
- Anne O’Connell of Off Motorway (www.offmotorway.wordpress.com). Travel blog/veggie food combi blog! Perfecto!
- Sean and Michael of Budget Wanderers (www.thebudgetwanderers.net), no prizes for guessing what that one’s about!
And here’s my questions should any of my Leibsters wish to answer:
- What’s the worst culture-shock you’ve ever experienced?
- Have you ever gotten in trouble with the authorities in a foreign land?
- If you could return to one place you’ve visited where would you choose?
- What’s the most injured/sick you’ve ever been on the road?
- If you could live indefinitely in any country where would you live?
- Have you ever had a job on the road and what was it?
- What’s more important; authenticity or enjoyment?
- What’s your craziest travel-tale?
- If you could visit any place where would you go and why?
- Do you usually travel alone or in company?
- I’m stealing this one from Karla since it’s a goodun – What is your favourite travel photo?
Thanks to everyone that reads my waffle and to all the people that write such good blogs to inspire and educate the weary traveller. Eira Morgan-Jones now comes in Twitter mode so if you’d like to follow me and get regular updates about the random shit Thai 4 year olds say then its – @Eira_Abroad. Shameless plug over and out. Happy travels!