I would like to thank According to Zascha for nominating me for the Liebster Award! I've never been nominated for something, so this is really exciting! For those who don't know, the Liebster Award is an award for bloggers to become better known. Blogging requires a lot of hard work and dedication, so it's nice to get some kind of recognition
How this works is that the person who nominated you asks 11 questions, and then you pick 5 bloggers and ask them another 11 questions. It's pretty simple, so let's get to it!
1. What made you start traveling?
My parents often took me traveling when I was young, and it was common to go camping once or twice a year. We would always try to go somewhere different too, like to a different lake or a different national park. I started traveling by myself after high-school when I took a trip to Kingston, Ontario for the NEXT Generation Leaders conference. Here I met people from all over the world, and I was inspired to visit all of their countries like they had visited mine.
2. What's your favourite country?
Canada is of course my favourite country, and I could talk all about this place for days on end, but my favourite foreign country would either be Japan or Switzerland.
3. What country would you never want to visit and why?
I can't really think of any country I don't want to visit. Naturally, some would be more dangerous to go to, like Iraq or Libya, so I would probably visit those last, but I can't think of anywhere I wouldn't like to go and experience. I just want to go everywhere!
4. Worst food experience abroad?
I've eaten some weird things. I've had frozen, deep fried and mushed tofu, I've had fish balls, I've had fish eggs, I've had horse, I've had ox tongue, I've had sushi, I've had rabbit, I've had a whole bunch of strange dishes, and while I didn't always like them all, none of them were too terrible. I'd say my worst food experience was when I was about 13 and I went to Disneyland. We stopped at a diner after our day at the park and the next morning I had severe food poisoning. It wasn't just me, but my sister and aunt as well. I'll save you the graphic details, but it was an experience I would never like to relive.
5. What's number 1 on your bucket list?
I actually did an article all about my bucket list! My number one location would be Chernobyl and Pripyat in Ukraine! I love nuclear stuff, and this city void of human life would be an adventure of a lifetime for me!
6. What's your worst travel experience?
I would say the worst experience I've ever had was when I was in the subway in Paris. I was in no rush to take the subway so I was taking my time using the ticket dispenser. I don't speak or read French, and a homeless man saw me looking at the machine in confusion. He approached me and helped me with the machine. After I got my ticket he asked for my change, but I didn't want his help, and I could have managed without it, so I said no. As I walked away, he began shouting insults at me and called me a "stupid American asshole".
7. Nomadic life? Or travelling whilst having a home base somewhere?
A nomadic lifestyle would be amazing, but I haven't figured out the key to making money on the road yet. For now, I'll probably travel with a home base back here in Regina. It would be cool to have a home base somewhere where there are more countries though, like in Ireland or Ukraine, but for now Canada will do just fine.
8. What’s your number 1 travel tip?
I did an article about this too! My number one travel tip is to always carry the business card of your hotel with you. You might not speak the local language, and if you need to take a taxi and you're lost, you can flash the card to the driver and they will know exactly where to take you. This helped me substantially when I first arrived in Hong Kong, only I didn't have a business card: I had my hotel booking confirmation printed out. Anything with an address will do!
9. Traveling solo or traveling with a partner/friends/family?
It's like you read my blog! I prefer traveling with other people. Solo traveling has its benefits, but it's also dangerous, especially if you're a bit over-trusting like me and you often make basic traveling mistakes. If I had had somebody with me, then maybe they would have reminded me the power outlets in London will explode if I use my hair straightener in them, or not to leave my umbrella in my hotel while in Kyoto when Typhoon Halong was approaching landfall.
Also, most importantly, post-travel depression is a serious problem, and it helps to travel with other people to ease the pain of returning to your everyday life.
10. The most overrated place/country/attraction?
I would say Mt. Rushmore is the more overrated attraction I've ever seen. My parents took me there when I was younger, but I wasn't very impressed. There is a huge walk-way leading up to it, displaying dozens of American flags. The United States are very proud of it, but when you reach the zenith to look at the mountain, it's disappointing. It's impressive knowing it was done by hand, but for a 10-year-old boy, it wasn't that interesting at all. It's also really far away, which I was surprised to see.
11. The most underrated place/country/attraction?
This might be cliche, but the most underrated place in the world is your own backyard. Every city in the world has it's own brilliant history and it's own unique structures. If I've learned anything from my exploration around Regina for my upcoming piece, it's that if you ask, there is always somebody with a story to tell. Simply asking can lead you to extraordinary places, like underground crypts, abandoned jail cells, hidden museums or clock towers. People spent thousands of dollars a year traveling the world, but they seem to forget about the city they live in, and the incredible history that made it what it is today.
My nominated bloggers are as follows (if any of you have already done this, you don't have to do it again.):
1. Where are you from?
2. When and why did you start your blog?
3. If you could start it all over again, what would you have done differently?
4. What is one destination you have always dreamed of going to?
5. If it isn't already, would you blog professionally, given the opportunity?
6. What was the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
7. What piece of advice do you have for other bloggers?
8. What social media platform are you most active on? Why?
9. You leave on a month long trip tomorrow morning. How do you spend your last night at home?
10. If there's a loved one in your life, how do you communicate with them while traveling? Through letters, Skype, or some other way?
11. Some people take their pets traveling with them. Would you ever consider doing that?
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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The following is a guest article by Sally Elbassir, the owner and food taster of Passport and Plates, originally titled "The Tapas, Taverns and History of Madrid: A Food Tour". Be sure to drop by her blog for culinary treats from around the world!
I've always been a foodie. Long before the term "foodie" ever existed, I was that kid who was always eager to try something new.
Things haven't changed much in the last couple of decades. My palate has expanded, and I discovered that my dream job does exist; it just happens to be occupied by Anthony Bourdain. Now I satisfy my foodie obsession by writing on Yelp, and on my blog... there's plenty more where that came from.
As I stood in the courtyard of Fort Henry, I heard screams emanating from within. Fort Henry was constructed to protect the Kingston Royal Dockyard from the invading American forces during the War of 1812. The threat was so real that the capital of Canada – which was then Kingston – was moved to Quebec to protect it. The docks are all that stood between the United States and the St. Lawrence River and both countries were all too familiar with how easily it would turn the tides of battle.
As the screams from inside Fort Henry faded, I turned to the man beside me. He had come with his family. We got talking, trying to calm our nerves as bloodied clowns and undead mimes began wandering out from inside the fort.
If you follow my blog, you know I love history. History is what makes us who we are today. It defines our accomplishments and highlights our failures. Most importantly, it helps us move forward as a society.
A lot of my focus is Saskatchewan's history, but there's plenty of amazing history to be told in our neighbour province of Alberta too. From First Nations culture, through to early pioneers, the oil boom and the legacy the province today, there is always something to learn about when visiting Alberta.