I had some great news from The Globetrotter Guru when she contacted me to inform me that I was one of her nominees for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.
What’s the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and how does it work?
As far as I can tell it is another great way to allow female bloggers to connect, to share a little more about themselves and to reach out and get to know others.
It works by starting with a thank you to the blogger who nominated you. So firstly I would just like to say a huge thank you to Amy over at The Globetrotter Guru for connecting with me in such a positive and complimentary way.
The next step is for me to answer the questions posed before then coming up with my own 10 questions and choosing up to 10 bloggers to nominate myself. So here are the answers:
1. What do you love most about Travel Blogging?
The actual travelling. It might seem like an obvious answer but it’s one of the few areas of blogging that you can’t do by just staying in one place. You have to get out there, to explore and to learn. The more I travel, the more I learn and then the more I can share with others to educate them, to support them but most importantly to inspire them!
2. What drawbacks are there to Travel Blogging that many people don’t realise?
It’s not as simple as just going on holiday, taking a few photos and writing about what a lovely time you’ve had. Sure you can just do this and it still counts as travel blogging but I think most bloggers respect those who are travellers not tourists; who really think about the photos they are taking; and take the time to learn the facts to share with others. Trying to be a genuine traveller who really wants to immerse themselves in the cultures they visit can be a challenge and requires hard work and the right attitude. The drawback therefore is sometimes you have to stay up late writing, sorting through photos and editing videos whilst dealing with awful network connections when you’d rather just be curled up with a good book.
3. Tell me about a place you have visited with the most diverse wildlife.
Borneo. I went to Sarawak (which is part of the Malaysian section of Borneo) in April 2014 with friends (one who was living and working in mainland Malaysia at the time). Our first stop was Miri from which we managed to sort out a rickety bus ride on what we later termed a “free massage road” to the Niah caves National Park. It was here we not only encountered diverse wildlife including insects, bats, monkeys and more but we also saw the earliest recorded remains of human existence. From here we spent five days in Gunung Mulu National Park which contained more wildlife than I have ever seen in one place ever before. It is a rainforest though so that says it all. The variety of insects were so colourful (& possibly poisonous) and added to the deafening sound of the rainforest day and night. We were also fortunate to watch the bat exodus which sees two to three million bats leave Deer Cave all at once to hunt for insects and feed for the night. It doesn’t happen every night and we only had one shot at seeing it so we were super lucky. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to head over to Kuching to see the Orangutans but my friend was able to do this on a different trip. If you’re interested in rainforest-based wildlife then Borneo is definitely a must visit destination.
4. What was the most amazing Religious Site that you have ever visited?
Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. On a trip to South East Asia in 2014 we first visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand which contained a replica of Angkor Wat. It was here that I first found out about Angkor Wat – the largest religious monument in the world. It was a long wait of three weeks until I was due to be in Siem Reap and would be able to see the real thing but it was definitely worth the wait. The scale was immense, the design exquisite and the chance to see a sunrise there was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I would recommend to others to add to their bucket list. Although Angkor Wat is the star attraction the whole site spans 400 square kilometres and contains a collection of impressive temples including Angkor Thom the Bayon and Banteay Srei.
5. What is the best local drink you have ever had and where?
I’m pretty boring when it comes to drinks – I’m one of those rare people who really does like water. Plus I believe in the importance of staying hydrated and healthy. That said, I am partial to a fruit mocktail on the beach or by the pool and I’m happy to try any blend of local fruits. The best of these was on Gili Air in Indonesia – they had access to all kinds of fruit and knew exactly which combinations would quench your thirst after a full-on afternoon of snorkelling.
6. What was the most amazing train journey you have ever been on and why?
I’d love to say it was the Trans-Siberian or that I made my way through Europe or crossed Canada by train. However, sadly all these train journeys are still on my bucket list. Therefore the most amazing train journey will have to be the first one I ever took outside of the UK. It was an overnight train from Beijing to Xian and was the first time I had ever been on a sleeper train. I did not know what to expect and even though it was a bit of a shock, it was equally such an amazing experience to be travelling at speed through rural China and to fall asleep to the gentle rocking of the train waking up in a new destination.
7. Tell me about the worst ‘travel scam’ or situation while travelling that you have experienced.
I’ve actually been really lucky that most of the travel scams I have encountered have been minor and easy to spot. Some of them have even been quite light-hearted such as the taxi driver who relentlessly hassled me and tried to convince me that the friend who was due to meet me at the airport was no longer coming. Even when she did arrive and I triumphantly presented her to him with a “See, I told you I had a friend and she was coming,” he proceeded to tell us that there were no buses on the island of Lombok so his taxi was the only way to get around. I often try to stick to what I have researched, trust my gut instinct and if it sounds too good to be true then assume that it probably is. So far this approach has served me well.
8. What is your motivation behind your travel blog?
I found that life can get so awfully complicated if you let it and realised that it needn’t be this way. Everyone was hectically working towards a goal (e.g. work promotion, getting married, buying a house, having kids and so on) but no one could explain why they were so desperate to get there other than a shrug of the shoulders and a “that’s what you’re supposed to do next” type response. I began to think about what it was I wanted and realised it was the complete opposite of everyone else: I wanted to quit my job, sell my flat and spend my money not on weddings and children but on travel and educating myself about the world I live in. What mattered to me was loving Anthony and living my life. Hence ToLoveToLive was created and we quit our jobs to follow our dreams – no regrets!
9. Where is the next place that you will visit and why?
I’m currently finishing up on my TEFL China Internship with i-to-i and will be making the most of my last two weeks by exploring some of the neighbouring areas of mainland China: Taipei, Macau and Hong Kong before heading home for a month break to see family and friends. I chose China for my internship because I wanted to fully explore and immerse myself in the culture, the history and the people. Part of this culture and history extends and includes these neighbouring SARs (Macau & Hong Kong) as well as the country of Taiwan. The second reason for going to these destinations is that even though I am on an internship and don’t get paid a salary whilst here, the standard of living is much cheaper than back in the UK and I have been able to save a substantial part of my living allowance (without having to live poorly). What better way to spend money I never knew I would have than on more travel?
10. How can travel bloggers earn money on the road to sustain their nomadic lifestyle?
I personally believe there are lots of ways to earn money on the road so there is no need to stop traveling if you don’t want to. The best place to start is with what you know, where you have existing skills, qualifications or knowledge. As a UK-trained teacher the obvious step for me was to get TEFL trained so I chose the i-to-i Professional TEFL Certificate (140 Hours) with i-to-i. This led onto the China Internship giving me everything I need to work in almost every country in the world. I would definitely recommend getting trained up on such a course as you can then engage in slow travel whilst you complete a semester or more and really immerse yourself in a different culture from your own. If this doesn’t suit then there are plenty of other options. We’ve secured some blogging work which although isn’t paying us, will provide free accommodation and food as well as other perks which we would otherwise have needed to pay for. Essentially it’s the same to us as being paid. We also hope to get some work via Helpx later on in our year away as once again we won’t be paid but we will get free accommodation. I’ve heard of others earning money from everything from yoga teaching to massage, working as a dive instructor to working on a private yacht. There really is something to suit everyone!
And the new nominees are…
- Jemma from My TEFL Adventures
- Jazzy from Road Affair
- Savannah from Sihpromatum
- Erin from Never Ending Voyage
- Jessica from She Dreams of Travel
- Katie from Love Tripping
- Liz from Peanuts or Pretzels
- Dannielle from While I’m Young & Skinny
- Dariece from Goats on the Road
- Hannah from Getting Stamped
Your questions (should you choose to answer them) are:
- Why do you travel? What is it that inspires you to keep going?
- Recall a travel quote that really clicks with you.
- Recommend a film, book or both that has inspired the traveller in you.
- What is the most unusual transport method you’ve used to travel?
- If you could re-create any of the great pioneering adventures, which one would it be and why?
- Thinking back to your schooling, which subject best prepared you for travel and how?
- What have you learnt most about yourself since you’ve been travelling?
- What has been your most memorable animal encounter so far?
- Which travel destination best reflects your outlook as a traveller?
- If someone wanted to make the transition from being a tourist to being a traveller, what piece of advice would you give them?