Sometimes blogging can be an incredibly lonely venture. I often wonder if anyone is reading, if anyone cares, and other nonsensical writer thoughts. So it helps when, out of the blue, a reader (hi mom, love you!) contacts me or leaves a comment sharing that something I’ve said resonated with him or her, or when a fellow blogger reaches out to me with a nod of encouragement. The latter is exactly what happened recently when Cebi Baker contacted me to let me know she’d like to nominate me for the Liebster Award.
What I know about the Liebster Award (besides the fact that my computer keeps auto-correcting it to the Lobster Award) is that it’s an award presented from blogger to blogger. It exists to recognize the efforts of bloggers with fewer than 1,000 followers. It’s a form of connection and promotion that feels authentic and supportive rather than forced, and I can totally get behind that. Thank you, Cebi, for nominating me! (You can check out her blog here.)
Liebster Award Rules:
• Post the award on your blog so everybody knows how awesome you are.
• Publicly thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
• Answer their questions about yourself, feel free to add photos!
• Nominate up to 10 people with less than 1,000 followers, and inform them via social media.
• Write your own set of questions for your nominees.
• Feel good about yourself for winning an award and passing it on.
My answers to Cebi’s questions:
1. What inspires you to travel?
I’m not sure it is a what so much as it is a who. I’m continuously inspired by solo female travelers (my sister, and fellow writers like Lily Girma and Brenna Holeman) for one. I also get inspiration from books and movies like Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre de Roche, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (movie too!), and the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. I love hearing other’s stories and discoveries while traveling. My own experiences while traveling inspire me as well.
2. What is your favourite travel destination of all time?
Belize. I felt a connection to the country before I even visited, and made so many memories with people I love on both of my visits there. I also made new friendships with local people, expanded my comfort zone, and ate some really amazing food. It’s a place I feel a pull towards and likely always will. I’m ready to plan my next trip!
3. What are your must-pack travel items?
I can’t go anywhere without my camera. It’s my favorite way to capture memories while traveling and definitely the most important thing in my suitcase (next to underwear, toothpaste, and deodorant).
4. The best travel advice you ever received was …?
To stay curious. If you can maintain a sense of openness and curiosity throughout your life and travels, it’s amazing what your life can become.
5. What is the best food that you’ve had while travelling and what destination was it in?
It’s a toss up between the chocolate and peanut butter gelato at Tutti Frutti in Placencia, Belize, and anything Claudia cooks at Vanilla Hills Lodge in San Ignacio, Belize. Although locally, I look forward to my annual celebration meal at Kres Chophouse in downtown Orlando with John. And the warm lobster roll I ate in Miami at Izzy’s Fish and Oyster was also life-changing.
6. What are your top three tips for solo travel?
I’m new to the solo travel game and really only have a weekend trip to Miami under my belt, but I will say this: don’t be afraid. If you want to go somewhere but nobody will go with you, don’t be afraid to go by yourself. Don’t be afraid of what could happen or what you read on the internet. Don’t be afraid of the unknown, the uncertain, everything that could go wrong. Traveling by yourself will, in a subtle way, remind you how strong and capable you are on your own two feet. And that’s a powerful reminder.
7. What travel destination surprised you the most (in terms of what you thought it would be like vs. what it really was like)?
I definitely have a bad habit of romanticizing and forming expectations about a place before I’ve gone there, and I’m trying to get better at that. So I guess you could say everywhere I travel tends to surprise me – all the research in the world can’t fully prepare you for how you, individually, will interact with a new place.
8. When packing outfits for your travels, do you pack to look good or to be comfy? And why?
Both! My wardrobe is a work in progress but over the past few years I’ve narrowed it down to a small amount of clothing that’s comfortable, fits, makes me feel good, and has lots of mix and match potential. I think way more about versatility, comfort, fit, and longevity now when contemplating buying something new.
9. Your dream travel destination is … ?
10. What or who inspired you to start blogging?
Fashion blogs, actually! When I first started blogging I wrote about my transition into adulthood as a twenty-something, but this year I was ready for something new.
My nominees are…
Do Orlando Local – Arlene writes about the local Orlando scene with an original voice and well-researched articles. I was immediately drawn in when I stumbled across her blog on instagram and she’s since become a local blogging buddy! I’m just waiting for her blog to explode in popularity as I know it’s only a matter of time. She writes awesome neighborhood guides and is really passionate about putting the spotlight on all of the awesome local business owners here in Orlando.
Orlandough – Liz’s instagram account is mouth-watering, and her blog equally so. She writes exclusively about doughnuts (best niche ever) and when she isn’t visiting a new doughnut shop or on a “doughcation” for her blog, she’s posting photos of doughnuts she’s made herself. Her blog inspires me to keep things original and stick to what I love. Definitely check out her blog ASAP but don’t blame me when you need to run to the nearest doughnut shop.
Questions for my nominees
1. If you could only dine at one local Orlando restaurant for the next year, which would you choose?
2. Money is no object and you’re free to travel anywhere in the world. Where would you go?
3. What is the most memorable place you’ve ever visited, and why?
4. Name 3 things you’d like to accomplish in the next year, personally and/or professionally.
5. What do you love most about living in your city? The least?
6. What are some common troubles or fears you experience as a blogger, and how do you overcome them?
7. What prompted you to start blogging, and what inspires you to continue?
8. If you had to choose only one social media platform to use, which would it be?