So there’s been this neat little internet meme going around the travel blog universe – My Travels A-Z. I was tagged by a fellow blogger, so of course I have to participate. Do you think I would going to turn down the chance to talk about myself and travel? NEVER!
Without further ado, there are my travels A-Z!
A: Age in which you first internationally travelled.
2! Granted it was a family vacation and I don’t remember a whole lot except that a bee stung me and I made a friend with a little boy named Zachary (at least that’s what my brain is telling me). We went to St. Lucia in the Caribbean and stayed at the Club Med resort there. The first time I travelled without my family was when I went to Nova Scotia with Kate (of Canuckiwi Kate) when I was 19. The first time travelling internationally without family was when I was 20. I went to Edinburgh with my friend Darcy to visit our other friend, Lindsay who was away studying there.
B: Best (foreign) beer and where.
My favorite must be Coopers Pale Ale. I know it’s a standard over here in Australia, but it really is delicious – Plus the added benefits of no additives or preservatives make you feel a little bit better about drinking your pint (or schooner… or middy). The first time I actually tried it I was out on the Nullarbor Traveller tour, our bus had a few flat tires and it was getting fixed. We were at a proper country bar in the (extremely) small South Australian town of Arno waiting for the mechanic to bring the right tools and change the tires. What a delicious beer-filled 2hours that was!
C: Cuisine (favorite)
Oh boy… you don’t know me. I like everything. And I will eat anything – at least once (My bikini bod shows it too! Haha). Sushi (salmon sashimi…drool!) and Thai food (red curry beef, YUM!) are probably two of my favorites. Honourable mentions go out to a good matter paneer dish at an Indian place. But then again, I’ll always be a sucker for a good pub feed – fish and chips, steak with chips, anything with chips (again… great for the bikini bod – I know).
D: Destinations (favorite) and why? Least favorite and why?
Favorite: Sydney – It’s where my heart is. I truly love this city and it really feels like home. Paris – how can you NOT love Paris? The beauty, the history, the art and architecture, the language, the stylish people… it’s amazing. Walt Disney World – the happiest place on earth! REALLY! I’ve been 10 times in 25 years… and would go back in a heart beat.
Least favorite: Brisbane – sorry. Auckland – again, sorry. Am willing to give both another shot, but just found that they lacked character, and I found myself getting a bit bored.
E: Event you experienced that made you say “wow”?
New Years Eve in Sydney 2010. Bam.
F: Favorite mode of transport?
As the Angus and Julia Stone song is called: “Big Jet Plane” would have to be my final answer. But also walking, horse trekking, bicycling.
G: Greatest feeling while travelling?
That “WOW, I’m finally here” feeling you get when you stand in the middle of a place you’ve seen in pictures and books a thousand times. Also connecting with like-minded traveling folks is an awesome feeling, making friends with people who truly share the same passion as you.
H: Hottest place you’ve ever travelled to?
For a few days during my stint with the Western Exposure tour (from Perth to Exmouth, in Western Australia) we experienced a few excruciatingly uncomfortable, sweat-from-places-you-didn’t-even-know-had-sweat-glands days of high-40degree weather. Thank god for the air-conditioned bus. Not so much can be said for the majority of the accommodations we stayed in.
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?
Flying first class on Cathay Pacific from Toronto to Hong Kong. Most incredible service ever. The two flight attendants (for the 3 of us in first class) took the absolute utmost care of me. I even received a little handwritten note with my dinner from them wishing me well on my round the world journey!
J: Journey that took you the longest?
My first big long-haul trip to Dunedin, New Zealand took me a whopping 36hours from entering Toronto’s Pearson International to exiting the Dunedin airport in the safe care of my darling friend, Kate. This involved 3 hours (pre-flight) at YYZ, a 1.5 hour flight to Chicago, a 2 hour layover, a 3.5 hour flight to San Francisco, a 7 hour layover, a 13 hour flight to Auckland, a 4 hour layover, and finally a 2 hour flight to Dunedin.
K: Keepsake from your travels?
Photos. They are the one thing that I absolutely cherish more than anything else. I have a few other knick knack items – a jade necklace, 2 tiny Buddha statues, a stuffed kangaroo scrotum on a keychain, sea shells from countless places, but I try to keep the useless-crap-collection to a minimum.”
L: Let down sight? Where and why?
I know I’m totally gonna get shit for saying this… but the Mona Lisa. I was severely underwhelmed by it. I can appreciate the great art value of it and it’s place it history, but the thing was tiny compared to what I imagined, the crowd of people you had to fight to get through just to get a tiny glimpse drove me mad… and on the other side of the room is a painting bigger than my house!
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in love with the feeling of going somewhere new and exploring whatever the world had to offer me. I remember being a kid and loving the sense of adventure of simply getting on an airplane and flying far away (usually 3 hours away… to Orlando, to spend some time at my family’s Disney time share). I remember in high school desperately trying to convince my friends that we need to take a ‘grad trip’ here or there – which of course never came to fruition because none of us actually had any money to spend on going somewhere outside Toronto. Definitely knew I had the bug when I managed to survive a 3 week trip to Europe – 1 week of which was spent solo travelling.
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in?
On my own/ without my parents: Probably the Hotel Le Germain in Toronto, but since that’s in my own hometown, I’m going to go with the Fairmont Vancouver airport hotel!
With my family: RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas- GORGEOUS and all-inclusive.
O: Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of?
Other than taking just genuinely beautiful pictures, I’m obsessed with the famous Mellyboo jumping picture.
P: Passport stamps. How many and from where?
Honestly I don’t know where my last passport is, but it definitely had my trip to Scotland and a bunch of Mexico and Caribbean trips in it. My current passport has 26 stamps from 8 countries. 7 from Australia, 3 from New Zealand, 4 from the USA, 2 from Iceland (entering/departing the EU), 2 from the Dominican Republic, 4 from Hong Kong and 2 from Macau.
Q: Quirkiest Attraction you’ve visited?
Not so much quirky… but I went to a live sex show in Amsterdam. That was jaw-dropping. Naïve me didn’t think they were ACTUALLY going to have sex on stage. Quirky though? OH! I’ve been to the Principality of Hutt River. It’s a micro-nation within Australia with royalty, their own currency and everything! I met Prince Leonard and Princess Shirley. I even have the passport stamps to prove I was there!
R: Recommended Sight, Event or Experience?
I’ve said it a million times, but the Nullarbor Traveller tour was absolutely amazing and probably the best thing I did in Australia, hands down (I should start getting commission, I promote this so much!). Sydney New Years is also high up on the list. Bungy Jumping in Queenstown is also another must.
S: Splurge! Something you don’t mind forking over for while travelling?
Unique and fun experiences! Especially adventurous experiences, like bungy jumping, or abseiling, or caving, or canyoning.
T: Touristy thing you’ve done
Lately? I’m headed to the Taronga Zoo in about a half hour, that’s pretty touristy. I try to do some of the major touristy things – the Eiffel Tower, visiting coffee shops in Amsterdam, taking a gazillion pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House (will never get old!). It’s just important to have a good mix of touristy and authentic experiences mixed together for the ultimate traveling experience.
U: Unforgettable travel Memory.
All of them. I keep my blog as a way to remember the little details, but I cherish every single second I’ve spent on the road… even those 5 days in the hospital in Melbourne. It all makes you a stronger and (hopefully) better person.
V: Visas. How many of them and for where?
2 for Australia. 1 Tourist visa in 2009, and a working holiday in 2010-2011. A working holiday visa for New Zealand for 2011-2012. Will need some for some African countries I plan on visiting in May… should probably get on that soon.
Y: Years spent travelling?
Serious travel? I’ve been seriously travelling for 2 years (on and off). I’d consider, though, since I took my first trip independent of my family when I was 19, I’d say I’ve been travelling for 6 years (on and off of course). Currently have been on the road for 73 days and counting…
Z: Zealous sports fan and where?
Tampa Bay! I definitely always check out a Tampa Bay Lightning ice hockey game any time I’m there (provided they’re playing during my stay.). I happen to know one of the star players on the team, so he’s usually pretty good about getting us seats