I am really proud to announce that my humble little website Bemused Backpacker has been kindly nominated for the Leibster Award by the inspirational Emily over at Innocent Nomad.
Leibster is a German word meaning ‘dearest’, and the award is for up and coming blogs or websites. I’m first of all extremely happy and grateful that anyone likes what I write enough to even consider nominating me and spreading the word, but secondly, and perhaps more importantly I’m extremely thankful to anyone and everyone who has visited my site. So this post is as much a thank you to all of you who have and continue to read my work as much as it is a thank you for the nomination.
So without any further ado and no more gilding the lily, here are my answers for the award questions. I hope you all enjoy reading it.
1. How many languages do you speak or do you ever learn some of the language of the country you are visiting?
I’m universally awful at languages, I wish I could speak another language fluently. I can speak basic French and German thanks to half remembered school lessons and time spent in Germany, and I know a little Japanese thanks to a lifetime of Japanese Martial Arts training that drilled a list of basic nouns and phrases into me, I simply expanded my vocabulary a little over the years, but it is very far from being fluent. Or even conversational for that matter! I do think it is really important to try and learn at least a little of the language of the countries you visit as it helps you to integrate and interact with the locals on a much deeper level, and I still remember smatterings of words and phrases from most of the regions I have been to. I just wish I was smart enough to be fluent in at least one of them.
2. What country are you visiting next?
Well I have a plane ticket booked for Singapore in a few months, and from there I plan to go to Malaysia again. But I’m also planning a few more trips to South America that aren’t fully booked or finalized yet.
3. What is the first thing you pack (not counting your passport or underpants)?
Who says I pack underpants? ;D It’s got to be a notepad and pen, hey, I’m a writer, and an old fashioned one at that, what do you expect? I always buy a new one for each trip, almost ritualistically really, just to scribble down my thoughts, ideas and disparate chapters for my next novel. Apart from that it has to be my camera. Those are the two things I could never do without.
4. Do you prefer to travel solo or with friends?
Solo travel is absolutely the best way to travel, I love it! Every backpacker and world traveller should experience solo travel at least once in their lives. Apart from the obvious benefits of being able to do what you want when you want, there are so many intangible benefits to solo travel. It makes you stronger, more independent, more self confident, more at ease with yourself and comfortable in your own company, in short it makes you a better person. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without solo travel.
Saying that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with travelling with a friend or partner too, do both! Just as long as you are travelling!
5. Do you prefer hostels or hotels?
Both. And more besides. I frequently stay in both even on the same trip. The world is so full of different accommodation options, why limit yourself to just one or two types? I’ve stayed in fleapit dorms and luxury hostels, budget pensions and luxury spa heritage hotels, I’ve camped out in jungles, deserts and mountains, stayed in jungle hides and longhouses, Buddhist monasteries, castles, military barracks, yurts, trains and a whole host more accommodation options besides, and I really have loved the unique experience of them all. Backpacking around the world isn’t just about the stereotype of slumming it in backpacker hostels, sometimes it is yes, but there are so many other different experiences out there too.
6. What is your best or favourite travel tip?
Just one? Haha, okay. If travel is your dream then be brave and jump straight into it with both feet. Whatever excuses you are using to stop yourself from travelling (no money, no time, too many commitments, a career, a boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever) then stop it! They are just excuses! Just forget them all and go! I absolutely promise you won’t regret it! Backpacking or taking a gap year will be the best thing you can ever do for yourself and those excuses are just robbing you of the opportunity to experience that!
7. If you could live in any country and never leave, where would it be and why?
Singapore. I absolutely love that country, every time I go back there it feels like I am coming home. I have a lot of very fond memories from there.
8. How spontaneous are your trips?
It depends on the trip, I have been backpacking where I have quite literally quit work, bought a ticket and been on foreign soil in the space of a few days! But I also obviously plan some trips too. Even in those planned trips I try to leave a lot of leeway for spontaneity too though.
9. If you could sit next to one person on a plane, who would it be (dead or alive)?
Brian Blessed. First of all the man is a damn legend, second of all any idiot who reclines their seat into my knees will get a deafening bellow of ‘Gordon’s Alive!’ for the entire trip!
10. Name your top three favourite blogs!
I really can’t! There are just too many and this is one where I will gladly sit on the fence! ;D
- Thank the person who nominated you and link back up to his/her blog.
- Answer the 10 (or 11!) questions which are given to you by the nominator.
- Nominate other bloggers for the award who have less than 200 followers.
- Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer
- Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.
I’m absolutely sure some if not all of these are much more established than 200 followers, but my pay it forward nominees are (drum roll please)…
And my questions are …
1. Why do you travel?
2. What was the biggest reason/excuse that almost stopped you from travelling? And how did you overcome it?
3. What’s your favourite travel experience so far?
4. What’s your worst travel experience so far?
5. What is the hardest part of travelling for you?
6. What advice would you give to anyone wishing they could go backpacking right now?
7. If you lost your backpack over the side of a dodgy bamboo raft off a Thai island what one item would you save before it sank?
8. What is your most embarrassing travel story?
9. What is your biggest, boldest, ultimate bucket list item that you absolutely have to have done by this time next year?
10. Promote your blog, this is your space to tell the world why they should come and have a look at your site!
I’m looking forward to reading the answers! So once again, thank you to Emily from Innocent Nomad for the nomination, and thank you to everyone else who has taken the time to read this.