23 fun facts + travel stories

happy friday! we are leaving for Taiwan in less than a week, which means I'm still trying to cram everything in that needs to be done/seen/eaten before we go. and as I was digging through my drafts yesterday I came across a post I started writing several months ago when Elizabeth of Wanderlust nominated me for a Liebster Award.

sad to say, this is not the first time I've been nominated for this kind of blog award and belatedly [or never] participated. I thought now might be the time to make the effort because Dana from Wanted an Adventure nominated me for another Liebster Award last week.

both of these ladies sent me some phenomenal questions related to traveling, and I knew they would be a lot of fun to answer. so today you are getting a two-for-one Liebster post chock full of fun facts and travel stories from yours truly.

first up are the questions I received from Elizabeth:

1. What gave you the travel bug?
I grew up in a family that loved to travel and took many vacations around the US as a child - travel is in my blood. I did my share of teenage complaining about it, but in truth I'm so thankful I was able to see so much.

2. How has travel changed you? 
traveling puts you out of your usual element - and that's when you learn the most about both life and yourself. for me, travel isn't just about seeing amazing places, eating new foods, or getting a tan: it's about growth.

3. What was your biggest travel blooper? 
shortly after arriving in Taiwan we took a trip to Hualien with some teacher friends. somehow we got booked at a hotel that rents room by the hour. we walked into our room to find a very interesting chair that was definitely not intended to be used for sitting.

4. Where are you going next?
back to Taiwan! 

5. Why do you blog?
partially to keep friends and family updated on our adventures, partially because I enjoy connecting with other bloggers... but mostly because I love to write.

6. What are your carry on travel necessities? 
I wrote a post last winter about my 12 travel essentials, but the two absolutes for taking on board would be something to read, and snacks. 

7. How do your families respond to your vagabond lifestyle? 
I think it depends on which family member you ask! but seriously, they've been really supportive of us [while at the same time letting us know we are well-missed]

8. What's your favorite city for eating? 
I lived in Manhattan for 6 months, so New York is definitely up there for me... but I also lived near Philly which has so many amazing places... and then there's Bangkok and Taipei too. can I just eat them all?

9. What's your worst transportation horror story? 
when I was 19 and flying home from a study abroad trip to Spain, I arrived in the Netherlands to find my connecting flight was cancelled. this was before smartphones and whatsapp and everyone having wi-fi devices, so I had no way to contact my parents. the airline wouldn't let me get my checked luggage so I ended up buying some clothes at the airport. they did, however, put me up at a hotel for the night. I met a girl from Rhode Island and we drank wine and swapped stories all night... ok, so not such a horror story.

10. Where do I absolutely have to go and what do I need to do when I get there?
Thailand is still my favorite destination. I would suggest spending a few days exploring the temples and the Grand Palace in Bangkok, hiring a driver to tour the ruins of Ayutthaya, and then heading down south to Railay beach for some relaxing. and of course, eat all of the things.

11. Tell us your top place that you want to travel to and what you would do there? 
I've had a fascination with Egypt ever since I wrote a report on the Great Pyramid in fourth grade. ideally, I would like to time travel back to the late 1800's and attach myself to a wealthy British family of egyptologists... but I would settle for visiting in modern times. I'd love to take a cruise along the Nile and stop and see... everything.

12. What is your favorite food?
even being gluten-free, I have a serious love for pizza. bacon, avocado, or any form of potato [chip, fry, mashed] also make me a very happy Jamie. and wine... does wine count as a food?

and now the questions from Dana:

1. What’s the best food you’ve ever discovered abroad?
xiao long bao, aka: soup dumplings. they're not gluten free, but they are pretty much the only things I "cheat" with nowadays.

2. Have you ever experienced reverse culture shock upon returning to your home country? How or in what way?
reverse culture shock hits me in a lot of ways when I come back to the states, but the biggest has to be the overwhelming feeling of being able to understand everything. commercials, signs, people's conversations... sometimes I really like being in my expat bubble and blocking that all out.

3. If you haven’t blocked it out, what’s the worst accommodation experience you’ve had?
as I mentioned above, we once accidentally stayed in a "love motel." I guess now it's a funny story to tell...

4. Do you prefer solo travel, with a friend/significant other, or group travel?
Husband and I have another married couple that we love to travel with. they are good friend of ours and we work well together as a group- but also can split up for couples activities or girls/guys nights.

5. What’s the place you’re most proud of having visited?
moving to Taiwan after having never visited Asia or done much international traveling was a HUGE deal for me. technically we aren't visiting... but I'm really proud that I was able to move there and not only adjust, but love it.

6. Has there been a place you’ve been disappointed with? Where and why?
Tanah Lot in Bali was a big letdown for me. I had done too much research beforehand [aka looking up photos on Pinterest] and the reality didn't live up. the crowds were insane and the entire area was one giant tourist trap.

7. Top 3 places on your bucket list?
all of Egypt, Istanbul in Turkey, and Machu Picchu in Peru

8. If I were to bump into you on your travels, what are the chances you’d have a map of the place on you?
maybe 25% chance of map... and that includes both paper kinds and screenshots on my phone

9. Finish this sentence: The thought of going on a long road trip makes me...
want to stock up on snacks.

10. To camp or not to camp?
we are planning to do some camping [or at least car camping in New Zealand and I'm really excited about it!

11. You arrive at your hotel and they tell you the Internet isn’t working. Your first thought is...
"dang it." but my second thought is "oh well, let's go find a drink."

if you're familiar with the Liebster Award, you should know that now it's time for me to nominate some of my favorite blog friends and let them answer some of my questions. well, I think I had two great sets of questions to work with, so I'm just going to let my nominees choose which set [or combination] they would like to answer! here are the five bloggers I'd like to nominate:

Polly // A Girl and her Travels
Christina // Route Bliss
Jackie // Boy and Girl Globetrot
Dannielle // Chicadeedee
Phyllis // Desperate English Teachers

if I've nominated you [and you decide you want to participate] then you should answer your choice of questions above in a blog post. link back to me [please] and then nominate some of YOUR favorite bloggers and write up some questions you'd like them to answer. most importantly: have fun!

last but not least, I want to say thanks so much to Dana and Elizabeth for nominating me!

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