It’s Wednesday again, and as it’s the middle of the week, so, I have decided to break the week up with a lovely travel tag that I found on Nikki’s blog @ Travelling With Nikki: A Blog of my travels around the world. I don’t know who the original poster is, so if you do please comment below so I can recognise them and their awesome questions!
I love answering travel tags, because they really make me think about the places I’ve been and the way I look at travel and travelling. I don’t think about many of these things unless I am about to go on a trip, or someone asks the questions, so it’s nice to put your thoughts down on paper!
Let’s get on with the show:
What is your most treasured passport stamp?
I absolutely love all of the passport stamps in my passport, and love the assortment of stamps that I have. There is a really delightful and eclectic mix of things. I really love my Zambian and Zimbabwean stamps for the simple fact that these are two that I really thought I would never get, but loved them.
But far and away my most treasured, and hard earned stamp, is my non-immigrant B visa stamp for Thailand allowing me to officially teach English there. I worked and worked, applied and interviewed for that visa, and when it was finally put in my passport there was a huge sigh of relief and feeling of achievement!
Can you recite your passport number from memory if asked?
Absolutely, of course! And not only can I recite the passport number, I can do the start and expiry dates too. When you’ve travelled for a year and had to fill in customs form after immigration clearance, flight details after visa applications, the details just stick firm and sure in your brain. It’s also useful in the sad and unlikely event that I lost my passport or got into some difficulty abroad.
I can also recite the details on my driving license. This is really a pointless skill, but I can still do it.
What is your preferred method or travel: planes, trains or automobiles?
I think all have their merits. The faff and joy that comes with flying usually signifies the start of your holiday, and for someone who really likes planes there is a magic in that.
Trains allow you to see the countryside/cityscapes you’re travelling through, and in some instances are cheap ways to hop across a country (maybe even seeing places you didn’t know existed.)
For me though there is a wonderful enjoyment that comes from driving. To start with, I like driving, so that hugely helps. I actually enjoy being behind the wheel with open road in front of me. I like cars too. I like being able to get out a map and deciding where you fancy next, changing course as it suits you, and just generally moving around with a freedom that can only be granted by something that you control.
What are your top 3 travel items?
I presume here that we are discounting passports etc, right?
- Sunscreen/lotion: I have red hair and pale skin. I could probably burn in the shade, or through clothes. Sun protection for me is high on the list. OK, so in the long run I don’t want to get any illnesses resulting from sun exposure, but I also don’t want to have any portion of a well earned holiday waster through sunburn and blisters and being uncomfortable.
- Comfy shoes: Walking a big city, or a theme park, or a hike, requires good shoes. Blisters are a bitch and will ruin your plans. Sore feet are a bitch and will ruin your plans. I never want to go somewhere and think ‘I could have gone there or done that if I’d just brought practical shoes’.
- Camera (now my phone camera): A good camera catches more than just pictures, colours, and landmarks, it catches and stores memories and emotions, so taking a camera everywhere I go to snap away is so important! I love going back over photos of where I have travelled. If nothing else it’s something to look back on when you’re older and think ‘Oh yeah…’ or ‘Oh I remember that day…’
Hostel or hotel?
I don’t mind a hostel, and have stayed in a few over the years, but I would always choose a hotel if I could. I like to have my own room that is being shared with no-one other than my travel companion (maximum). I like having my own toilet, and shower, and being able to get up, move around, and get in at whatever time I want without worrying about the other people in the room. Hotels feel cleaner and safer on the whole and will always be my first choice if they’re available.
Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?
I do both is the easy and honest answer. I like to visit new places, experience new cultures and meet new people. I like to make new memories in places I have never been and share stories about it when I get home. If I like a place, however, I do like to go back and see it. There is a great joy at going back somewhere when you’re older, to see how the place has evolved and take identical pictures at the same place that you did last time round. BOTH!
Do you read up on your destination (culture, history, safety) or do you wing it?
As soon as I plan a trip, I start looking at things to do. I look at good places to eat and drink, the best places to visit, the hidden gems, and the tips and hints for staying safe. I plan and strategise and make sure I know the place well enough and have everything in place. I often wing it once I am there, as I like to try and look like a local rather than a tourist. I think planning is the only way to try and find out about what you actually want to see and do, and to make sure you don’t miss anything out.
What is your favourite travel website?
I don’t have one. I use lots of different things depending on where I am going. I often start with Wiki Travel and Trip Advisor to see the best places to visit, stay, and eat. I then start looking at blogs, and save money websites, and looking at customs and cultures. Then, I find the local transport websites and find the tips and tricks for getting around.
Where would you recommend for a friend to visit? Name a city and why
This really completely depends on what friend I am recommending to, but for my friend and housemate Emma, it would be a choice of two cities: Florence, Italy, and Paris, France.
Florence: The food in Italy is without a shadow of a doubt some of the best food in the world. They nail every meal and have mastered the coffee game too. Florence has history, art, culture, castles, and is so picturesque. I think she’d really love it.
Paris: I don’t actually love Paris that much, but I know that Emma would love having a croissant and coffee in a little café, would love visiting the museums and the galleries and the libraries, and would like to spend a few days wandering around the parks and through the streets.
I don’t think I can narrow it down and actually choose just one though, so I’ll just have to recommend two.
You’re leaving tomorrow, and money is no object, where would you go?
Erm…there’s a few that I’d have to really separate and look at. I’d love to go back to New Zealand. It’s so far away and so expensive that it would be near the top of a ‘money is no object’ trip. I’d really like to go round India properly and see all sites and experience all the different cities and places. I think, despite these awesome places, I’d go to South America. I’d visit Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru. I’ve wanted to visit South America and Peru is pretty much at the top of my bucket list, so I would take straight off for South America and do it properly.
If you’d like to give this tag a go, please feel free and consider yourself tagged. I’d love to hear your answers too!