After taking a deep breath, I gave my computer a determined look. That determined look gave way to a much softer look and then…a smile! I knew there was one in there somewhere. What brought it out? Discovering I had been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! And, just like that, my day got much brighter.
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given by bloggers to other bloggers whom they feel display positivity, creativity, and sunshine via their blog. In my opinion, it is a high honor to be recognized by your colleagues, your peers (so for me, other travel bloggers). Not only is it a high honor, but since Trimm Travels just turned two last week, it makes me feel like I’m on the right track!
Sunshine Blogger Award Rules
Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
My nomination came from Erica of Get Up. Get Out. Get Lost. Erica is from the Los Angeles area and currently lives in the Canary Islands. At the age of 18 and having never been on a plane, Erica packed her bags and headed to New Zealand. What followed was life changing for her and she never looked back. Over 10 years and 30 passport stamps later, she has lived and worked in several countries within Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. The past 6 years have found her living and working in Spain, first in Madrid and now on the island of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands.
If you who know me well or are a regular reader of my blog, you might realize that Erica and I have a couple of things in common. I left my heart in Los Angeles after living there a few glorious years and I’m part Spanish and have been going to the Canary Islands every summer for the past 10 years!
Thank you, Erica!
Questions from Get. Up. Get Out. Get Lost. :
1. What is the most meaningful connection that you’ve had with a local during your travels?
I would have to say the friends I have made in all of the years I’ve traveled to Spain. As I mentioned before, Spain is a part of my heritage. I speak Spanish and have a heart for Spanish-speaking countries. I have made some really good friends on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura. Another meaningful connection is getting to watch a lot of the kids on the island grow up as we taught English camps over the past several summers!
2. What is the most meaningful travel photograph that you’ve ever taken?
I’m not sure if I have a most meaningful travel photograph because so many that I’ve taken are quite meaningful to me. But, my mind kept coming back to Switzerland. Switzerland was my first official trip as a travel blogger. My blog launched on Aug 2, 2016, and I left for Switzerland on Aug 5, 2016. This is the trip where something resonated within me, where I connected with travel on a completely different level.
This is one of the last photos I took in Geneva on my two-week trip to Switzerland. It’s called La Jonction where the two rivers, Rhône and Arve come together. Their waters are two different colors and often just run parallel to each other without mixing. Then there are times where the waters do mix.
This is a lot like travel for me. Travel has taught me that sometimes you just have to go with it. It might not be your favorite, you might not be in total agreement with the situation or your mood might be the complete opposite of your current scenario, but you just go with it. And, guess what? Just like these two rivers, you still get to where you were heading to start with.
Then there are other times where I’ve learned it’s okay to mix. It’s okay to learn to let some things go, to not be so rigid, to experience things I might not otherwise try. Being real. Really living. And, it’s okay.
3. Have you ever traveled somewhere that was completely different than you’d expected, for better or for worse?
I think I would have to say China on this one. I expected more of the old, beautiful Chinese architecture and instead found it to be mostly modern. Some of the old architecture does exist, but I just expected a lot of it and that isn’t the case. It’s kind of sad because Chinese architecture is beautiful, but from what I hear from expats the Chinese don’t like it and wanted to be as modern as every other city.
4. Tell me about your favorite travel fling. Don’t be shy
This answer takes me all the way back to those awkward pre-teen years where you meet a boy at camp in another state. Yep, cue all cheesy clichés and stereotypes!
5. Which country do you think you could explore forever and never run out of things to see and do?
I thought for forever on this one but couldn’t break this 3-way tie. An obvious answer for me is the United States, my home country. As of April 2018, I have visited all 50 and still, there is so much I want to see and do.
The second country in the tie is Canada. Canada is huge and so vastly different just like the US. I’ve been to Canada numerous times, visited several provinces and still haven’t even scratched 1/100 of its surface I don’t think!
The third country in the tie might surprise you. It’s Perú. Yep, a much smaller country compared to the US and Canada. But Perú packs a powerful punch in its smaller borders. It has to be one of the most diverse countries in the world for its size as far as terrain and climate. You have beaches, desert, a real oasis in the middle of the desert, the jungle and rainforest of the Amazon, Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, Colca Canyon, and so much more that would take me more time to list than you have to read.
6. What’s the one destination at the top of your list that you’ve somehow yet to visit?
The United Kingdom. I know, I know. If you’ve seen my destination map, how could I have not already visited the UK? I’m waiting on the parentals because they want to go. They are aware that I plan on going in 2019 with or without them, right Mom? 😉
7. Tell me about a time you’ve received help or experienced a stranger’s kindness while on the road.
On my trip to Greece, we had a driver who took us from Athens all the way up to Thessaloniki and Philippi with stops in many other cities along the way. His name is Alex and he was with us for a week. Later in the week, we stopped in Meteora and there was some climbing to do to get to see some of the iconic views. My ankle had been bothering me (I’ve had it reconstructed twice and so this is common) and Alex noticed this and climbed the rocks first (in dress clothes) to give me a hand and pull me up on the larger ones. He went out of his way to be sure our experience was amazing!
8. What makes you miss home while you’re exploring foreign lands?
As odd and funny as it sounds, air conditioning. It is something I think we (myself included) take for granted here in the US and to add to that, we keep our house cooler than the average American. So when I travel, sleeping well can sometimes be a bit difficult for me.
9. What advice would you give to someone about to embark on their first ever solo journey?
Just do it. Your first solo trip doesn’t have to be to some far away, intimidating destination. If I remember correctly, my first overseas flight alone was to Beijing, China; however, I met my friend who lived in China at the time in the airport so that doesn’t count. I spent 36 hours alone in Barcelona last summer and loved every minute of it.
But, my first real, completely solo trip was just 6 months ago to New York City. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot about myself on that trip. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on myself which is something I rarely get to do because of the “busy” of every-day life. Although it wasn’t by far my first trip to NYC, it was my first solo trip and it truly spoke to me. I’m hooked. Just do it.
10. What do your family or loved ones think about you gallivanting around the globe?
My family is very supportive. I come from a travel-oriented family. My sister and I grew up traveling and my parents still love to travel now. The travel along WITH the blog was an adjustment for everyone as it is a whole different beast when it comes to the subject of time (or lack thereof), but they are very supportive. I ❤️ my family and I’m 🙏🏼 for them!
11. Why do you travel?
For me, I’m not sure there’s just one answer and if there is then I would have to say because “it’s in me”. There’s a true, deep-down passion for travel that I connect with in ways I can’t describe and sometimes can’t even comprehend myself.
1. Cindy from Travel Bliss Now is on a “get happy” search for blissful travel experiences. She’s a talented writer and photographer and her stories truly come alive off the page. Join this Canada native on her journey. She promises there will be chocolate!
2. Candy and Crystal of The Travel Pockets are half-Japanese, half-American sisters who travel the world in style. They love discovering adventures all over the world but have a particular interest in finding the best things to do in Japan. Candy and Crystal have an upbeat, positive outlook with an eye for fashion that’s perfect for travel!
3. Jasmine of My Suitcase Journeys says she’s just an ordinary girl trying to see the world without quitting her day job. In 2014, Jasmine studied abroad in France and kept a blog throughout her course. After the course was over, she continued blogging and she would love for you to join her on her journeys!
4. Jenni and Mark from Just Chasing Rabbits are a married couple from Mississippi who travels every chance they get. Forever young, they travel with a sense of curiosity and always find the hidden gems among the iconic landmarks!
5. Maggie of Pink Caddy Travelogue is from the DC area and describes herself as “always having one foot off the ground, looking for adventure.” She loves being a virtual tour guide and sharing the great tips she’s learned on her travels.
6. Michelle from The Wandering Queen was born in Panama but moved with her family to the US when she was a year old. She currently lives in Dallas, Texas, where she works full-time as an electrical engineer. She also describes herself as a full-time wanderer and her true passion is the outdoors, photography, travel, and simply…adventure!
7. Jamie from The Daily Adventures of Me stays busy as she’s a dentist and mom of three boys. However, she always finds time for the adventure in travel and just in her daily life. Despite her busy schedule, she travels regularly and hopes to inspire you to get out there and find your best adventure yet!
8. Kreete from Adventurous Trails is a native of Estonia (a beautiful country-I’ve been!) and believes life shouldn’t be lived in just one place so she considers the world her home! She has lived in Greece, Spain, and London and currently calls Australia “home”. She enjoys hiking, camping, and the outdoors. Follow her impressive bucket list goal of the Seven Summits!
9. A Canadian with a passion for travel and photography, Brittany of Big Time Travels shares equal parts love and fear in her travels in her Chicken Soup moments. A self-described scaredy-cat (and she’s okay with that!), she hopes to inspire you to join in on her journey or get out there and create your own!
10. Melody and Taylor of Wherever I May Roam are a mother/daughter duo who write about luxury travel, culture, and food with a “side of smart”. Melody lives in Florida part-time and Panama part-time (the country, not the city in Florida!) and Taylor lives in Mississippi but they travel together often and team up to bring you their go-to resource travel blog!
11. Lauren of Lauren’s Travel Diary is a freelance travel writer and content marketer from London. She loves Southeast Asia and getting off the beaten path. After a 2-week volunteer trip to China in 2014 working with pandas, she was smitten with travel and it changed everything. Her travels since have included a return to China and even a visit to North Korea!
1. What was your first passport stamp and what is your favorite passport stamp and why?
2. What is something you’ve learned about yourself in your travels that you don’t think you would’ve learned otherwise?
3. I’m sure you get asked all the time what your favorite destination is, but which destination left a true imprint on your heart and why?
4. What is your craziest, jaw-dropping travel story?
5. Do you collect anything when you travel and if so, what and why?
6. How did your blog get its name and why did you start it?
7. What is your best travel advice or travel tip?
8. What is the biggest thing you want people to know about travel blogging? You know, that one thing you want to set the record straight on!
9. What is the biggest travel bucket list item you’ve crossed off your list?
10. Do you speak any other languages?
11. What advice would you give someone wanting to start a travel blog today?
‘Til next time Sunshine…