The sisterhood of the travelling…bloggers

“Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award recognizes the unique voices of women bloggers around the world.”

The sisterhood of the world bloggers award: www.feetonforeignlands.comWho’s read the book (or watched the movie) of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants? It’s a gorgeous coming-of-age story about four best girlfriends who hatch a plan to stay connected with one another as their lives start off in different directions. As can only happen in fiction or the movies, they pass around a pair of secondhand jeans that miraculously fits each of them perfectly and those jeans are the link that keeps them all together.

When I first heard about the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award”, I was struck by the thought that the stories travel bloggers share are the ‘travelling pants’ of our particular sisterhood. The mileage for each of us varies dramatically – some travel with small children, many are empty-nesters, some are backpackers, others like the luxury end of the market, some are outdoorsy, most love food… But what we offer each other are unique stories written from personal experience, and both shared and received in a spirit of awe and wonder about the world around us.

There is a camaraderie to blogging that is hard to explain to non-bloggers. We learn from each other, we support each other, and those who have been in the game longer than others are unfailing in their encouragement of newcomers.

“Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award recognizes the unique voices of women bloggers around the world.”

I was thrilled to have the Award passed on by Lyn from A Hole in My Shoe.  Lyn is one of a great group of travel bloggers who write, comment on, like and share posts, passing around the ‘travelling pants’ of our collective travel experiences. And recently, she has been a fabulous host and promoter of #TheWeeklyPostcard travel linkup. This is where we all share our stories and experiences of all things travel each Friday. Thank you Lyn!

Like most awards there’s a few rules that go along with it. I must acknowledge the blogger that nominated me (done!), answer her 10 questions, nominate 10 worthy bloggers and ask them 10 questions. So read on!

Lyn’s questions to me:

What is the most memorable food you’ve had while travelling?

Oh my. So many choices. Do you want to hear good-memorable or bad-memorable? For bad memorable, the honour definitely goes to a bowl of fruit rojak in Penang, Malaysia. I’ve declared that dish a crime against humanity. As far as good-memorable goes, a meal we had at Morimoto in New York City ranks right up there as one of our best. I’m a pretty adventurous eater, so I’ll try most things once. Recently, in Japan I ate a few foods that were very memorable – horse meat tartare, tofu icecream, and sea urchin sushi, to name just a few.

If for some reason you couldn’t return home and could no longer travel, where would you settle?

Okay, so we can’t return home? That makes it tricky. Because, if I could never travel again I’d be happy with our hometown of Melbourne. It really is a fabulous place to live. But…if Melbourne’s ruled out? I guess it would have to be somewhere that is warm for at least part of the year. I’m really not a cold weather person, and I often say my ideal climate is 35 degrees and humid. Oh! I know! New York City. Warm for part of the year, and just jam-packed with everything for everyone. I really love big cities. I’d want to be wealthy in this hypothetical scenario though…I’d imagine that NYC is much easier to live in with a lot of money than a little.

Where is the one place on your bucket list that everyone asks why you want to go there?

It is not so much a place on my bucket list, but an experience. I’d really like to do a cruise.  I’ve never done any cruising, and I’m intrigued by the idea of them. I’d want one where I can watch the dancing shows in the evening, play deck quoits during the day, relax by the pool drinking cocktails with fancy straws, and eat at a different restaurant each night. Given I also have a tendency to sea-sickness and an aversion to organised-tour type travel…this desire to cruise does see many people saying, “Why on earth would you want to do that?”

Have you met anyone famous while travelling?

When Queenie was a baby, we went to Club Med at Lindeman Island (now closed). As is the way at many Club Meds, seating for meals was at communal tables and we were often seated with a couple about our age. Over a few meals we chatted to them about the activities we were doing around the resort. The Poolboy suggested to the husband that he should try the trapeze as it was so much fun. “Oh no,” said his wife. “He has a shoulder injury and can’t do that.” Then later, I discussed the Club Med baby club with the wife, who was shortly expecting her first baby. “You could come back as soon as the bub is one”, I said, “as the baby club starts at 12 months.” “No that wouldn’t work,” she said, “We can only take holidays in October.” Fair enough, I thought. They must be farmers or something. It was only towards the end of our stay that the penny dropped. He was the current captain of one of the Melbourne AFL football teams. A star player, ranking up there as a footy god. The Poolboy and I were oblivious. We have only the barest of football knowledge, despite living in a city where AFL footy is religion.

A very similar scenario happened at a resort in Langkawi with a former NSW rugby league star who was by then playing rugby union in Japan. Again, we were chatting away to him and his girlfriend, totally clueless until other guests started asking to have their photos taken with him.

The privacy of the world’s sporting stars is safe with us.

What is the most risky thing you have done while travelling?

We didn’t think it was going to be risky when we booked it…but our experience of taking the Reunification Express train from Hue to Danang in Vietnam ranks right up there as one of the scariest things we have done.

The train pulled into Hue  station. Those people getting off in Hue disembarked (with their luggage) via the huge drop from the train to the platform.  And with a sense of great urgency, those getting on surged forward and clambered up to the doors, dragging their bags behind them. A local young woman who had befriended us on the platform translated the announcement that there was just five minutes for this entire process to be done. In total.

With whistles blasting, indicating that there was just seconds to go, we were horrified to realise that we were still on the platform…but The Impossible Princess and Queenie were well inside the carriage. With a super-human effort we threw ourselves and suitcases on board, and the carriage door was literally slammed on The Poolboy’s heel.  It took us all about an hour for our heartbeats to slow down and for us to recover from the experience.  The idea of our girls being separated from us, and left to ride the railways of Vietnam parent-less was a terrifying thought.

(I’ve often wondered since: would they have held the train to allow us get on if we hadn’t pushed forward at warp speed, or would they have just let it go without us?)

Where do you want to travel to the most?

Ah, the infamous ‘list’. One of the biggest challenges of being a travel blogger is staying on top of all the new additions to ‘my list’. I read about yet another incredible place, and think, Ooh, yes…I’d like to go there too! So many places.

As a result my bucket list (if you can call it that) is a fairly fluid concept. However, there are a few constants which sit at the top of the pile:

I don’t have near-future plans for any of these, so I suspect they’ll stay at the top of the list for a while.

What is the best advice you can give a new blogger?

Despite blogging at various websites for close to nine years now, I still think of myself as a ‘new blogger’. This particular blog, Feet on Foreign Lands, is only about 18 months old.  So I’m not really a go-to for new bloggers just yet! But if I was asked for advice from someone just starting out, I’d say to find your own voice and know what it is you want to say and why; to not worry about what other bloggers are doing – comparison is the thief of joy; but on the flipside of that, to find a tribe that you can learn from and (in time) contribute back to yourself.

What is your most-read blog post?

Planning a first-time trip to Japan is currently my most-read post – but followed closely behind by Unique Ho Chi Minh Restaurants. Both of them are useful for people planning trips to either place, and most of the traffic for those posts comes via search engines. I know that I often draw on other bloggers’ experiences when planning itineraries, so it’s great that people are finding and using these two posts of mine. I hope all readers are finding helpful advice and/or tips in them.

When you are not travelling and blogging you are… ?

What? There’s something else in life beside travelling and then writing about it? 🙂

I often describe my life as being a portfolio of activities:  travelling, blogging, family, part-time work, friends, bookclub, dance classes (tap and jazz), community involvement, yoga, taxi service for kids, supervision of L Plate driving hours, reading, art appreciation, movies and television, research, general administration of life… There’s never enough hours in a week for everything I try to do, so as a consequence lots of stuff slips through the cracks.

Is there anything you collect from your travels?

We like to bring home useful souvenirs from our travels – a glass light fitting from Murano Italy; Turkish carpets from Istanbul; ceramic coffee cups from Japan; bone salad servers from Vietnam. That way, as we use each item we are instantly reminded of that place and time.

Personally, I also like to buy a piece of jewellery everywhere I travel. Nothing too extravagant, just a piece that I can wear day to day. One of my favourites is a Murano glass ball suspended inside a silver circle, and hung from a black rubber tube necklace. It cost next to nothing, and I wear it often. Every time I do, I think about Venice and the glass factories on Murano.

My nominations

I know I’m supposed to nominate ten women who inspire and support me…but one thing you need to know about me –  I hardly ever stick to rules when it comes to numbers. So, I’ve gone with eleven. It’s really hard to single out specific bloggers when I value and respect so many. So whether you are on my list or not, know that every one of my sisterhood is appreciated.

Ladies, every one of you offers your own unique voice, stories and interpretation of the world around you. Reading your blog posts, and/or engaging with you in various social media channels adds such a rich texture to my life.

I know award posts are not for everyone at all times (heck, I’ve failed to pass on a couple in the past myself), and that is totally fine. If it’s not for you at this point in time, just accept my recognition of your place in my sisterhood! Thank you for each of your comments, likes, retweets, shares, for hosting linkups, for your fabulous Instagram photos, or for the part you play in Facebook groups. Your engagement is much appreciated.

Go! Check all these great folks out…there’s so many wonderful stories to be shared.

My questions for these eleven women:

  1. What was the first blog post you wrote?
  2. Have you ever had a brag-worthy upgrade travel experience?
  3. Is there anywhere you would never, ever, in a million years return to?
  4. What’s the top three destinations or experiences on ‘your list’?
  5. What do you enjoy most in other people’s blogs or social media feeds?
  6. What type of carry-on luggage do you have and what’s in it?
  7. What’s the first thing you do when you get to a new destination?
  8. If you could pick anyone (dead or alive, and other than your usual travel companions) to sit next to on a long-haul flight, who would it be?
  9. What is your most popular blog post?
  10. What makes a memorable moment for you?

 

Finally, please go check out and follow Lyn from A Hole in My Shoe and show her a bit of sisterhood love too!

The sisterhood of the world bloggers award: www.feetonforeignlands.com

Who are the bloggers in your sisterhood? The ones whose stories inspire you, and whose encouragement and engagement supports you? (and let’s be inclusive…the ‘sisters’ could well be brothers!)

 

This post is linked to:
With Some Grace

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