This is a post idea that I saw on someone else’s blog. I thought it could partly atone for not having done my ABC award properly (thanks again Susan)! Read on and see that I have been to other places besides Iceland!
A: Age you went on your first international trip: 16 and then not again until I was 20. That would be ancient by today’s standards.
B. Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: None – I hate beer.
C: Cuisine (favorite): When travelling, I think the easiest places for me to eat have been China and India, as I am quite happy to exist on only Chinese or Indian food. Most places I have been have pretty generic western food available or cook their own cuisines for foreign palettes, sad but true that a lot of people aren’t very adventurous eaters.
D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why: My two favourite places to visit have been Iceland and India, and strangely enough it’s for opposite reasons. With Iceland I love the emptiness and the culture – everything is so civilised, I say this all the time but it’s true. With India I loved the chaos, crowds and busy life everywhere you look. For someone who loves planning like I do, a trip to India is very good for getting you out of your comfort zone.
Least favourite: I’ve never been anywhere and thought it was just terrible as I find all the little details of a new place interesting. There are some European countries that I have been to that I wouldn’t be particularly interested in going to again as there was nothing that particularly “clicked” with me.
E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: The Holi festival in India. Adults in India never lose their sense of fun and thought nothing of acting like children and making a mess of themselves. Westerners are always so worried about looking silly.
F: Favorite mode of transportation: Going on Singapore Airlines A-380 in business class was luxurious and lots of fun for 13 hours (thank you, former job). But as I can get motion sickness on just about any form of transport, I would say walking is my favourite, unfortunately it doesn’t get you very far but it does get you to places you would never see otherwise.
Most memorable transportation generally was China. I saw some really horrific accidents there. AND our bus driver left us just around a blind corner once when we broke down and had we traffic barrelling up behind us for an hour while he tried to fix the bus. Also, the myth that smoking at a petrol station is dangerous was proven unfounded as we also sat at numerous petrol stations while the drivers smoked by the pumps while talking on their phones. I’m getting white hairs just thinking about this now. Moving on.
G: Greatest feeling while traveling: Arriving somewhere, particularly for the first time. Everything just looks so different and interesting.
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: Singapore Airlines business class (thank you again former job). Also any hotel in Singapore. Asia is so far ahead of the rest of the world in customer service, it made me feel ashamed!
J: Journey that took the longest: Flying to Australia. Yawn. Luckily, Singapore airport is a wonderful place to stop over with foot massages, nice food, a cinema, the ability to go OUTSIDE, really a nice place to hang around if you have to.
K: Keepsake from your travels: I do have a lot. You feel like if you buy things from somewhere you are taking some of the fun back home with you but it’s never the same. Something I am using a lot right now is Istex wool blankets from Iceland.
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: Oh, where do I start?? Just about anywhere outside my small town seemed horribly exotic and exciting to me growing up. I really loved “Social Studies” when I was in school and was sure I would spend my life living with exotic tribes. I still find studying people interesting and I’m sure that is partly why I like travelling.
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: I’ve been lucky enough to stay in beautiful hotels that I could ever afford for work. The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai has so much history and is truly grand. Unfortunately, this is the place that suffered the most in the 2008 bombings and I’m not sure if it would be the same now.
O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: Animals! How many foreign zoos have I been to??
P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? Unfortunately, with an EU passport, not as many as I should have as we don’t get them for other EU countries.
Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: Possibly the showcaves in Wales that had a “dinosaur park.” I’m sure little boys would find it more fun.
Now that I’m thinking about it, something that probably wouldn’t appeal to most people and could be described as “quirky” was the Body Worlds exhibition featuring displays of human corpses. I won’t put any pictures up in case you are as squeamish as I am (I did feel quite queasy at various parts of the exhibtion) but you can look at the website if you are interested. (oh, and if you like squeamish things you might also like the Catacombs in Paris)
R: Recommended sight, event or experience: Lots of these. I would say my biggest recommendation is that if there is somewhere you want to go and you don’t know anyone else who wants to go there, either go on your own or join a group holiday. You won’t regret it. I know people who make the mistake of only going on holiday where their partner or friends will also go and they end up missing out on some great experiences. Travelling alone is wonderful, and on a group trip there will always be at least one other like-minded person.
S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Food that I want to eat!
T: Touristy thing you’ve done: This could be just about anything you do on holiday but I would consider attractions like Pompeii, the Eiffel Tower and the London Eye to be pretty touristy.
U: Unforgettable travel memory: Lots, just wish I had better pictures from some of the older trips.
V: Visas, how many and for where? : Luckily, I haven’t had to get many of these. For me this kind of bureaucracy takes the fun out of travelling. I only have these for India and China.
W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?: I’m boring – not a big wine drinker either.
X: eXcellent view and from where?: Anything in Iceland obviously. I’ve also done some great walking in Tuscany and Bulgaria and see the real countryside there.
Y: Years spent traveling?: This question makes no sense, but technically I’ll say 16 years as that’s how long I’ve lived as an expat.
Z: Zealous sports fans and where? Spanish or Italian football fans! It’s all very good natured though (I think).
I know some of you are keen travellers and I’d love to hear your answers to these questions!