I was very excited to be nominated by Michaela of Awe Inclusive for the ABCs of Travel I’ve seen go around the travel blogosphere for months now. It took me a little while to complete my answers. (Well, not complete them, but get time to give them proper thought and attention.)
But I finally have. I’m very grateful Michaela nominated me so I could participate in this. There’s two parts to the ABC’s of Travel:
- Answer the ABC “questions,” and
- Tag fellow travel writers to share their ABCs.
Below are my answers followed by my tags.
A – Age you went on your first international trip:
If crossing the border into Mexico counts as International, then I was young. Like two or three. If International is considered crossing the Atlantic or something like that, then 41.
B – Best foreign beer you’ve had and where:
I do drink beer, but not regularly. And when I travel, I rarely drink at all. However, one of the best, most unforgettable drinks I’ve ever had were these banana rum shake things when we stayed at Club St Lucia on St. Lucia. You could get them with or without the rum. Either way was divine! We drank them sun up to sun down. (It was an all-inclusive place, drinks too, so why not?)
C – Cuisine (favorite):
Oh boy, this is a hard one. I love fish, but due to certain allergies I can’t eat most of it like I once did. Which sucks. But the Top Three I seek out regularly are: Japanese, Greek, and Indian. We also eat a lot of Mexican food. (Amazingly, Nashville has a fantastic Hispanic community and tons of excellent Mexican restaurants, on par with the type of ones we enjoyed when we lived in Arizona. That was a happy discovery when we moved here.)
I’m also a fan of pizza, but that’s one thing we haven’t found here: a super fantastic pizza place. We had awesome pizza in unexpected places, though. Like Anchorage, Alaska and Port St. Joe, Florida.
D – Destinations – favorite, least favorite and why:
I don’t have just one favorite destination anymore. As far as countries, I always love jaunting up to Canada. After having now been to Turkey, it’s on the list too. I can’t wait to get back!
As far as cities, I’d have to say:
- Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
- St. Augustine, FL
- Fernandina Beach, FL
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Charleston, SC
- Prescott, AZ
- Jekyll Island and St. Simmons Island, GA
- Cozumel, Mexico
- Chicago, IL
- Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
As far as least favorite go, I’m not a fan of New York City. I want to love it like so many others do, but it still has yet to enchant me. Also, even though I’ve been there a few times, I’m not a big fan of Nassau, Bahamas. (I get tired of the sales pitches, “Let me braid your hair, pretty lady.” “Buy a coconut drink, lady.” “Come drink some rum, lady.”)
E – Event you experienced abroad that made you say wow:
This is a hard one. The scenery we saw on our Alaskan cruise made me say, “Wow!” So did seeing the salmon run. That was super cool.
Then there was seeing the Chateau Frontenac. It was spine-tingling to look up and see it as we were stepping off the boat. It was a Bucket List item and after having almost kicked the bucket, I was so happy to still be alive and getting a chance to see it.
And then there’s Istanbul. It’s the largest city I’ve ever been in, even bigger than New York. For a metropolis, there was an intimacy and charm I wasn’t expecting. I loved how the people walked arm-in-arm on the streets and all the outdoor cafes and fresh-squeezed juice stands. I fell in love with it like I’ve heard others talk about Paris, Rome, or Barcelona. That strikes me as a “Wow,” because I had no idea it would have that effect.
F – Favorite mode of transportation:
G – Greatest feeling while traveling:
The sheer thrill of adventure. Of being somewhere else, being out of the day-to-day routine, and getting to experience new things, see new sites, and meet new people. It’s that rush that feeds my travel bug.
H – Hottest place you’ve traveled to:
I lived in Arizona. I’ve suffered through 120+ degree summer heat. So far nowhere I’ve journeyed has topped that.
I – Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:
Normally I would answer that whenever I cruise I get outstanding service, but now I have to say Istanbul. It didn’t mater where we went, the people were super friendly and helpful. Most spoke English, at least enough to get by if not nearly perfect English, but even if they didn’t, they went out of their way to try and help and accommodate whatever needs we had. They absolutely put the American standard of customer service to shame. They raised the benchmark on going “above and beyond.”
J – Journey that took the longest:
Coming home from Istanbul. 17 hours.
K – Keepsake from your travels:
Photos! I’m especially partial to silly ones and ones of me and my hub together.
L – Let-down site – why and where:
Ensenada. Earlier the same year that we went there, we’d also gone to Costa Maya and Cozumel, both of which were fantastic. They were clean and felt safe. Ensenada wasn’t necessarily dirty, but it felt more dangerous. And there’s just no delicate way to put how I really felt about it, except it struck me as a shit hole.
That said, it wasn’t all bad. After all, I did find the Whale Man with his beautiful message there.
M – Moment when you fell in love with travel:
I was raised traveling. I’ve never known any other way.
N – Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
I’ve stayed in a lot of nice hotels, like the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans and The Pointe Resort Squaw Peak in Arizona, but there was one we stumbled upon late one night in Aspen. There were no other rooms in town, it was 2 a.m., we were beat, and this hotel (who’s name I don’t even remember), had just one room left. It was not super fancy, but it was still swanky. The room was a suite with a kitchen and two bathrooms, and they gave it to us for a steal since we only needed it the one night: $50. Then the next morning we woke up to discover an outdoor hot tub on a deck overlooking one of the most scenic views ever. Sadly, this was before I always remembered to travel with a camera. But to this day that remains our favorite hotel room ever.
O – Obsession – what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling:
Funny signs and stairs/stairways.
P – Passport stamps, how many and from where:
Three. Quebec, New York, and Istanbul.
Q – Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:
Hmmm…another hard one. Two pop to mind.
I dragged my husband on an expedition to Gumbalimba Park in Honduras so I could play with the monkeys.
I also picked the New England/Canada cruise we did not only because it went to Quebec City, but also because it stopped at Prince Edward Island. I’m a huge Anne of Green Gables fan so I begged my husband to do an excursion to the Anne of Green Gables house with me.
R – Recommended site, event or experience:
Cruising. I was not key on our first cruise until after it was over. In fact, I hated it. But as the months passed and I thought back to how much fun I’d had and how relaxed I’d been just going from port to port, I realized I wanted to try it again. That was 10 years ago. I’ve been hooked ever since.
S – Splurge, something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:
T – Touristy thing you’ve done:
I love doing touristy things. I appreciate travelers who find off-the-beaten-path attractions, and sometimes I like to try and discover some of my own, but I absolutely love doing touristy things. So whenever I travel, I’m all about seeking the tourist spots and soaking them up!
U – Unforgettable travel memory:
My husband innately knowing his way around Charleston, even though we’d never been there before. We had just pulled into town, parked to let our dog out, Wayne took one look around and said, “Oh, I know where we are. We have to go that way, turn and we’ll be where we need to go.”
Sure enough, that’s what we needed to do.
I was like, “You’re so busted! You’ve have been here before. You had to be. How did you know how to get us around?”
He could not answer. And it was like that the whole trip. He instinctively knew how to get all around without consulting a map. Yet, he really hadn’t ever been there before…at least not in this life. We’re convinced he spent a lot of time there in a past life. It was super wild.
V – Visas:
W – Wine, best glass while traveling and where:
I’m not really a wine drinker and wouldn’t know a good glass from a best one. When I drink at home, though, I’m partial to Cupcake Vineyards Moscato and Zolo Vineyards Bonardo.
X – eXcellent view and from where:
Passing by the Statue of Liberty at sunset as our cruise ship left New York City.
Y – Years spent traveling:
Since I was in my mom’s womb, so 41.
Z – Zealous sports fans and where:
Shoot, soccer people the world over seem to be pretty zealous, but here in the South there’s some zealous football fans. Not sure who’s more zealous. I’m personally nuts for tennis, so I don’t pay as much mind to football or soccer. But I do know both soccer and football generate some mighty fierce fans.
I don’t know how many you’re supposed to tag. (I’ve seen some people do as many as five, and others only list as few as three, like myself.) At any rate, here are the fellow travel writers whose ABCs of Travel I’d like to read about:
Lewis of Southern Spirit Guide
Lisa of Wanderlust Women Travel
Michelle and Joey of Guy and Girl Travels