Thursday, January 12, 2012

ABC of travel

Yesterday, the lovely Deidre of Decoybetty tagged me in this. It's totally awesome and allows me wibble on about travel, even though I'm currently freezing to death in Melbourne. (HEY MELBOURNE - IT'S SUMMER, YOU NUMBSKULL!!! TURN UP THE TEMPERATURE!) Ahem.

A: Age you went on your first overseas trip. I'm pretty sure my first overseas trip was when we moved to Canada when I was four. The longest I've gone since then without going overseas was from October 1998 to September 2002.

B: Best (foreign) beer you've had and where. Yeah, I don't like beer. But there was a moment in Guatemala when it was so hot that my brain melted out of my ears and I decided that the only thing that would cool me down was beer. So I'm going to go with Brahva (not to be confused with Brahma) in Rio Dulce, Guatemala.

C: Cuisine (favourite). Mexican. Hands down. Although I'm also partial to Thai food. NOM NOM NOM.

D: Destinations, favourite, least favourite and why. Favourite? Either London or New York. Because history and museums and nerdiness, oh my! Least favourite? It's a toss up between Salem and Philadelphia. I found both of them disappointing. Or Quito, because I was by myself for five days and was too chicken to venture any distance from the hotel for fear of getting lost and then mugged. Yeah...

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say 'wow!'. Flying over the Nazca lines in a teeny tiny plane.

F: Favourite mode of transport. I'm quite partial to trains. But mostly I tend to wander around on foot. Because it's free and I'm a cheapskate.

G: Greatest feeling while travelling. Seeing a new place for the first time.

H: Hottest place you've travelled to. Well, technically as I was living in Canberra at the time, it would be Melbourne on Black Saturday. It was around 47 degrees C in Melbourne that day. That's around 117 degrees F. (If you want to experience it, turn your oven on to the lowest setting, and open the door.) Other than that, it would be Guatemala, where it was a millionty degrees with something like 95% humidity. It was pretty unpleasant. Luckily, the amazingness of Tikal made me (partially) forget that it was hot and damp as a fat old man in a sauna. #gross

I: Incredible service you've experienced and where. The good people at Covermore travel insurance. They were AMAZING when Ness got sick in Peru. I've never been so glad to talk to a bogan with an ocker accent in my entire life.

J: Journey that took the longest. I think technically there was a trip home from Canada for Christmas one year when I was a kid that took around 48 hours door to door. But I don't remember any of it. So I'm going to go with flying from Melbourne to Lima. Or, more accurately, Melbourne to Sydney to Auckland to Santiago to Lima. My flight to Sydney left at around 8am and we arrived in Lima at 11.50pm Peru time. Which means it was about 4pm the following day in Melbourne. Fun times!

K: Keepsake from your travels. I seem to have a habit of not really thinking through what I buy overseas. Which is how I ended up buying a blanket in Peru during the first WEEK of a nine week trip. It's really hard to pack a pack around a BLANKET, as it turns out. Guess how many times I've used said blanket? NADA. Not my best purchase ever. What I *do* buy as keepsakes that are a good idea? Bookmarks. Because then every time you open your book, you go "awwwwww, good memories..."

L: Let down sight, where and why. Anything in Salem, Massachusetts. Epic waste of time.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel. It was either one of the millionty museums I went to as a kid, or watching movies I shouldn't have been allowed to watch because we were on a plane and it was on a giant screen. That's how I saw Pretty Woman when I was four!

N: Nicest hotel you've stayed in. I have no idea what it was called, but when I was a kid, my dad went to a conference in Zurich. And the rest of the family tagged along for the ride. When we got to the hotel, it turned out they'd put us in the penthouse. Which had floor to ceiling glass windows giving us a panoramic view of Zurich. It was pretty awesome.

O: Obsession - what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while travelling? Landscapes. And museum objects. Every time I get home, my mum looks at my pictures and goes "BUT WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE?!?!" Whoops.

P: Passport stamps - how many and from where? In my current passport? 17. From the UK, the US, Peru, Machu Picchu, Ecuador, the Galapagos, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Thailand. If you add in two of my three old passports (I couldn't find my very first passport. SAD FACE.), there's a total of 41 stamps, representing 16 different places.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you've visited and where: The big anything. Australia is littered with giant fibreglass crap. Here, for instance, is the big Ned Kelly in Glenrowan.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: A Broadway show in New York. It's totally worth every penny.

S: Splurge - something you have no problem forking over money for while travelling. Once in a lifetime activities. Whether it's taking a helicopter to the Grand Canyon, flying over the Nazca Lines, riding an elephant, or going to the 20SB Summit to meet up with a bunch of random internet strangers!

T: Touristy thing you've done. Stood with one foot on each side of the equator.

U: Unforgettable travel memory. The Inca Trail. It may nearly have killed me, I may have cried like a little bitch until Ness yelled at me to stop because I was going to make her cry too, and it may have resulted in me almost getting stuck using a squat toilet when my quads cramped up. But it was totally worth it.

V: Visas - how many and for where? Surprisingly few, actually. A student visa for the UK, a residential visa for the UK from when I lived there as a kid, and a visa for France from back when Australia was cranky at France over nuclear testing in the Pacific, and so they made Australians jump through a million hoops to get into France. If I could find my very first passport, there'd probably be a residential visa for Canada in there too.

W: Wine - best glass of wine you've had while travelling and where. Much like beer, I don't drink wine. But I did have some pretty spectacular cocktails at La Boca del Lobo in Quito, Ecuador! (And if you're ever in Quito, you should check it out. It's a seriously awesome restaurant!)

X: eXcellent view and from where. Okay, first of all? Writing 'excellent' like that made me cringey. Secondly, here's a Peruvian volcano, complete with a vicuña in the foreground.

Y: Years spent travelling. 28, more or less. Sure, it may not all have been internationally, and it wasn't CONSTANT travel. But I don't think there's a single year in my life when I haven't boarded a plane/gotten in a car to somewhere or other!

Z: Zealous sports fans and where. We're pretty sports mad in Melbourne. I mean, we have a public holiday for a horse race, for crying out loud! But I'm pretty sure that no one in Melbourne has ever had to barricade themselves into their house in case the soccer hooligans get out of control as a friend had to do when she lived down the road from the stadium. So I'm giving the prize to Leicester, where I did my study abroad.

Tag, you're it! I'm going to tag some of my wonderful bloggy friends because they always seem to have awesome travel stories!
Jorah Day from Terminally Beautiful
Sweeney from Sweeney Says
Vanisha from Vanisha's Life in Australia
Kat from On Oxford Time
Lauren from The Blog You're About to Read

K xx


  1. Oh how I wish I had your travel history! I'm such a n00b when it comes to travel. Have been confined to NZ almost exclusively but it's okay because I have a well travelled hubby :P

    Also, Mexican food. We are in agreement one hundred percent. I cook Mexican food all the time. And no, people from the US, I don't mean tex mex. From scratch.

  2. Bookmarks! I am the worst about buying useless travel keepsakes that I have to haul around with me for the rest of my trip. I never really thought about bookmarks, but that's really smart.

    I'm a fan of Big Ned Kelly; some day I will go to Australia and you can take me on a tour of Australia's big anythings.

  3. Ahhh, Australia's big things. Awesome. Although I seem to only go to the ones that are closed. which is just sad.

  4. @Kim - You can add to your list by coming to Melbourne *hint hint*!! And cosign on the Tex Mex is not Mexican food thing.
    @Sweeney - I'm pretty sure only buying bookmarks as travel souvenirs is my most genius idea of ever. And here's a list of the fibreglass crap that is scattered around Australia:
    @Deidre - This would make me sad, but they're usually so incredibly lame that you're really not missing much!! Perhaps we should take a little trip to Phillip Island. There seems to be a LOT of big things there (see above link)

  5. I haven't travelled anywhere near as much as I'd like to, you made me very jealous.

    Bookmarks are a good idea, in my European travels I collected pins. Not something I had every collected before, but they look great all grouped together :-)

  6. What a cool idea. I may steal this anyway :)


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