I am so excited and honored to be nominated for the 2018 Liebster Award. The Liebster Award is “an award for the bloggers, selected by the bloggers” and was founded by The Global Aussie seven years ago. The Liebster Award’s goal is to create exposure and gain recognition for newer blogs. It encourages bloggers to reach out to one another, show their support and sing their praises; It’s a very collective effort that, ultimately, boosts the blogger community.
I’ve only been a part of this wonderful community for one year – to date – and I’m blown away by the kind and motivational people I’ve connected with along the way. The past year has been an amazing journey of growth and personal discovery within myself. I’ve recaptured my love and passion for writing and uncovered a newfound work ethic that I have never before seen in myself. I have a relentless, burning desire to create and share my travels, adventures and inspiration with you all (and I can’t help but credit a bit of this to the stellar blogging community).
Without further ado, I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to The Longest Weekend for nominating me.
The Longest Weekend
I can absolutely, full-heartedly relate to their goal (Meredith and her husband, Travis) to live life FREELY. This past June (2018), they left their Florida home and paused their careers to travel the world in pursuit of grand adventures, freedom of time and the opportunity to learn and grow while discovering the world together. Meredith even says, “Memories are more valuable than possessions” – a motto I, myself, happen to passionately live by. It’s a breath of fresh air to see this inspiring couple live out their dreams and create everlasting memories. Follow along with them on their whirlwind journeys through Europe, the Middle East and more!
Meredith, from The Longest Weekend, passed along a series of questions to ask me as part of the Liebster Award nomination process. I found her questions to be both thought-provoking and intriguing; I am delighted to answer them.
Q&A with Mindy on the Move:
Where have you visited that surprised you the most and why?
The Floating Islands of Uros (in Peru), hands down, took me by surprise and surpassed my wildest dreams. My entire time spent with the Uros people among their floating homes was profoundly enlightening; An experience which left me a transformed and better human being.
When I originally planned our trip to Peru, I was most excited about seeing Machu Picchu and exploring Sacred Valley (which are so incredible in their own right). However, I never imagined how impactful my time among the Uros people would be – I never realized how this would be the experience I’d walk away from Peru changed by. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Peru, please visit these islands on Lake Titikaka. It’s another life out there; a wonderful, beautiful, simple, joyful, hard-working, loving, colorful life.
They warmly welcomed us into their homes and showed us a piece of their everyday lives, all the while explaining: how they cook, how they build their homes and islands, how they fish, their thoughts and beliefs on love and relationships, their family dynamics, their history and so much more. They even sang us songs and offered us traditional reed boat rides and walking tours of their huts. They showed off their marvelous works of art with great pride. In all they did, the most genuine smile never left their faces. Their souls were as bright as their clothing – I felt uplifted by their presence alone.
I did not want to say good-bye to them and I yearn to return (for a longer stay) in the future. I never want to forget these special people and this special place. I want to keep their endearing, soul-touching image with me through the rest of my life – able to be recalled at any given moment and remembered with fondness and hope. Hope for the world to one day adopt all the love of the Uros people. Hope that if such pure and good people can exist here, that they can also exist elsewhere. Hope that the world can be better. That it IS better than what we perceive.
To read and see more about my time on the Floating Islands of Uros, check out my post: My Visit to the Floating Islands of Uros: A Photo Essay.
When were you tested most while on the road?
My husband and I travel via long road-trips quite often – and we don’t always have the best of luck. The time that greatly tested us was the road-trip leading up to our wedding. Doug and I, along with four of our good friends, piled into a renovated camper-bus for a whirlwind trip throughout the U.S. Southwest – ending in Las Vegas where we’d meet up with family and more friends for our wedding.
On our second day, after our night in Slab City and in the middle of ABSOLUTE NOWHERE along the Mexican border, our camper bus (Gladys) broke down. Stranded in Yuma, our only option was to get her fixed and rent a mini-van in the meantime. Long story short, this trip had deadlines. The next day, our two friends (Joe and Maddie) were to be wed at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico (yeah, it was a weirdly awesome group wedding road-trip thing? hah!). Needless to say, it was imperative we got our butts to White Sands – and we did. The wedding was magical and amid some of the most stunning southwest scenery. However, once the ceremony ended, we had to book it (8 hours) back to Yuma to pick up our good ol’ Gladys – restored and rejuvenated (so we hoped).
Already days behind our original itinerary, we were forced to make changes. Rather than visiting Tombstone, AZ, Monument Valley and Zion National Park (etc), we opted to visit and spend Thanksgiving at the Grand Canyon; the Grand Canyon being much closer to Yuma AND en route to our end goal: Las Vegas.
The lot of us were completely unprepared for this change in plans. I had a 40 degree sleeping bag to tent out in the 18 degree (Farenheit) cold – those Grand Canyon nights were far from pleasant. It was the WORST camping experience I have had AND, as a result, I was feeling sick mere days before my wedding.
Furthermore, Gladys broke down (AGAIN) upon our arrival in Las Vegas – forcing us to rent yet ANOTHER car to drive back to L.A. after our wedding.
Even though our wedding day was perfection AND we experienced many fun moments + made some downright hilarious memories along this mishap of a trip, it still tested us in many ways. How do we still make it to both weddings? How do we see the silver linings amid all the chaos? How do we all get to do the things we want to do when our time is cut in half? You really get to know people when you’re forced into difficult circumstances in extremely tight quarters – and I wouldn’t exchange those memories for the world (except the night I almost froze to death camping in the Grand Canyon). It further proved to me that I was, indeed, marrying the right man so, once Vegas came, I was more than ready to say “I do”.
To read more about the crazy/bad camping experience AND more about our phenemoneal, Viva Las Vegas Wedding…click on the links below:
What’s the Worst Camping Experience You’ve Ever Had?
My Viva Las Vegas Wedding: What It’s Actually Like to Get Married in Vegas
What’s your best piece of travel advice for traveling with another person?
When traveling with another person, communication is key! You must be able to effectively discuss your goals, hopes and plans for your upcoming trip together. Furthermore, you must be able to compromise. It’s rare that you’ll be able to accomplish EVERYTHING that both (all) of you have set in your minds – thus, make compromises. For instance, each of you gets to choose one restaurant, one adventure, one country (etc) that you MUST experience – then, follow from there. Another biggie, please be sure to kill all your expectations from the get-go. Expectations lead to the demise of what could be joyous explorations. Wipe those clean far before take off. 🙂
What works best for my husband and I when planning a new journey:
-We mutually agree on the locations.
-We each pick activities/sights we want to see and do above all else and are sure to do those things.
-When things go awry, we try to remain calm and talk it out – effectively discussing our next course of action. We create solutions vs. whining and complaining.
-We always look on the bright side and remain thankful for the opportunities to explore and travel.
Where are you most excited to travel to in 2019?
This is a tough question because my husband and I rarely plan our trips ahead of time due to the spontaneous and unpredictable nature of our work in the film industry. Currently, however, we do have one trip planned for January 2019 – we will be traveling to Spain and Rome, Italy for my 30th birthday! I am beyond excited for this trip, as well as all the other possibilities for the new year.
I can’t wait to experience all the Gaudi art and architecture in Barcelona, to dance flamenco and/or paso doble, to eat all the tapas, to journey up the mountains to Montserrat Monastery and walk the narrow ways of the gothic quarter. I’m stoked to witness the Roman Colosseum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain with my own two eyes and walk along the world’s oldest paved road (dating back to 312 BC). There’s so much history and culture begging me to discover and welcoming me into my 30th year.
Furthermore, we’ve already discussed and concluded that we’d love to take a nature-scape road-trip this summer to either the Pacific Northwest up into Alaska OR somewhere in Canada (British Columbia, Alberta or even Newfoundland/Labrador). We shall see where the year takes us! <3
Other than your passport, what’s the one item you never leave home without?
Though I wish my answer was less cliche, I have to be honest… I never leave home without my iPhone. My phone is a huge part of my work in the film industry and my blogger lifestyle. I use my phone to connect with film jobs and to e-mail /communicate with various clients. My phone serves as a handy note-keeper as I jot down all my ideas and thoughts for future blogs. It’s my most accessible (and easy to tote along) camera – I’m always snapping photos of my adventures via my phone. That doesn’t mean I am incapable of being without it – I DO backcountry camp and roam where there is absolutely no service. However, even though I may not be ON my phone 24/7…chances are, I have it with me.
What’s your cure for homesickness while traveling?
I’ve thought long and hard on how to answer this question because, quite frankly, I’ve never experienced homesickness. Granted, the longest I’ve been away on a trip (at a time) is a month or so and, throughout those weeks, I never missed home to the point of homesickness. I’m the type of person who thrives off of endless changes and continual newness. Is there such a thing as nomad-sickness? Because when I am home, I’m aching for far off lands. I suffer from actual post-trip depression and long to be on the move again the second I return home. Thank goodness blogging helps quench my insatiable desire to ceaselessly roam (at least momentarily, until the next adventure arises).
If you could live anywhere in the world other than where you live now, where would it be and why?
Phew! This is a heavy question. One that I am certain I’ll change my mind on within days. But, given I must answer today – I am going to say: Iceland. Why Iceland, you ask? For a bevy of reasons! First and foremost, Iceland is SO clean – the cleanest country. It’s landscape is also wildly stunning and widely varying; mountains, ocean, midnight sun, northern lights, geysers and hot springs, volcanoes, ice caves, immense glaciers, glacial lagoons, volcanic rock, basalt columns, brilliant fjords, endless waterfalls – I mean, it’s no wonder this land is dubbed “Land of Fire and Ice” and “Land of the gods”. Even more, Iceland offers many quaint + charming fishing villages and a progressive city full of progressive people (with ideals similar to my own). I believe I could spend a few years roaming the island and discovering all the magic it has to offer – after all, I can tell you that the 10 days I did spend there weren’t nearly enough! In order to maintain my happiness, I need a place with a lively, fun and forward-thinking city but also…a place with remote beauty to bask in. I need a place I feel safe, yet wild. As much as I love danger, I can’t LIVE in a place of danger – danger is a risk I take away from my home. A place I escape to. I fully believe Iceland would be a joyous home for myself – for a portion of time at least.
You’re shipwrecked on a deserted island…What’s the one tool you would want for survival?
I’m always thinking of answers to such questions as I’m a total survival/wilderness nerd. Think: I’m always watching “Naked and Afraid” and “Alone” etc. I’m always camping and brushing up on my wilderness skills – constantly looking to learn and grow them. Therefore, I’m going to have to go with: a sharp and reliable, Machete.
I’d choose a machete because it would aid me in so many crucial needs; I could cut down trees and brush to build a shelter, I could hunt and cook wild boar and critters, I could chop down coconuts and gather various fruits, I could build an escape raft (or at least a fishing raft), I could PROTECT myself against predators…the options are plentiful. Not to mention, I can already build a fire AND I’m pretty confident I could create a bowl for boiling water. So, with water and fire already in tow, providing food, shelter and protection are next in line in for survival …which equals: A Machete.
What are your top 3 bucket list destinations at the moment?
AH! I have SO many! But the three that keep calling to me, loud and clear, are…
- South Africa
- The Balkans: Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania + Romania etc.
Antarctica because that land is the epitome of wild and remote – its extreme nature challenges me and beckons me at the same time. South Africa because, well, WILDLIFE. I want to see her beautiful landscapes full of African creatures – go on a safari and encounter the Big 5. Lastly, the Balkans because I’m utterly fascinated with their history and lore (think, Bran Castle in Transylvania anyone?). Plus, the intriguing culture and incredible nature (Lake Bled, Plitvice Lakes..the list goes on and on).
Describe the best and worst meals you’ve had while traveling?
The worst is easy: raw alpaca in Peru. Given I barely ate it (because I was not about to risk food borne illnesses), the texture and smell was vile enough to repulse me. Other people at our table loved it – so, to each their own. However, I’m not a fan of even medium-rare steaks..let alone RAW mammals. Also, I had walked the street markets in Cusco and saw, firsthand, the flies swarming on the aging, raw meats sweating in the hot sun as they hung for customers and cooks to purchase. What if…this raw alpaca meat came from a similar market? Chances were too good.
Best meal: Does a dessert waffle count? Because I had the MOST delicious Belgian waffle in Brugge, Belgium this past October – I still can’t get its deliciousness out of my mind (I’m currently salivating while typing this).
My 2018 Liebster Award nominees are …
The Turquoise Traveler
This amazing girl quit her medical career to follow her own path – to follow her true dreams! That takes unimaginable strength and bravery. I’m so honored to know her. The Turquoise Traveler inspires me, among many others, to reach out and make the necessary changes to course-correct; life is far too short to live any other way. She is a prime example of listening to your heart and following your soul’s purpose. Her blog is full of solo adventures, stunning landscapes, adventurous tales of hiking and camping journeys along with a myriad of inspiration and heart-felt honesty. Her genuine spirit flows effortlessly throughout her writings. Furthermore, her future holds countless new adventures as she moves across the globe to teach English in South Korea. Follow along on her journeys.
Bohemian Soul Travel
Bohemian Soul Travel has quickly become a dear, online friend of mine – I’m convinced we’re kindred spirits. Her big heart and kind soul exudes from every word she types. She doesn’t merely travel to say “I’ve been there” or “I’ve done that”. She travels with purpose and intent to better herself and better the world we live in. She seeks to inspire others to reach for betterment with such posts as: Let’s Talk About Self Care, The Best Way to Help Save Elephants in Thailand, and How Travel Cured My Depression (plus many more). Her blog includes everything from travel guides to travel inspiration, from self care to positive lifestyle, from how to make a difference to responsible tourism. She has SO MANY valuable posts you MUST check out. It’s divinely refreshing to follow along on someone’s journey who cares so deeply about connecting and helping others. A true, genuine heart like hers is a rare find.
What Do You Sea
I’ve just recently crossed online paths with What Do You Sea blogger and photographer and I immediately meshed with her vibes. This water-loving, vegan mermaid is multi-talented. Not only are her writings top-notch, but her photography is stunning (check out her instagram!) and meaningful. She brilliantly captures portraits of the local people and lives among the countries she visits. She takes the time to get to know the people and soul of every place – never taking a moment for granted. It’s evident she was born to do this…as she says:
“The concept of living a life of capturing the globe, eating new cuisines, and engaging with new people was planted in my soul at a young age. I would look forward to the Zoobook commercials on TV and I was always going on the National Geographic website to print out coloring pages from all over the world. Most importantly, I knew that this community of travelers, bloggers, and photographers alike was where I belonged.” – What Do You Sea
My questions for my nominees:
- What is one uncomfortable experience you’ve had while traveling and how did you grow from the experience? (Think: something that forced you out of your comfort zone and, as a result, what did it force you to learn?)
- Have you ever had a supernatural experience throughout your adventures? Explain. (i.e. ghostly encounters, alien sightings, spotted elves in Iceland etc)
- What natural landscape has impacted your soul above all others – where have you felt most connected to your natural surroundings?
- Do you prefer luxury travel such as glamorous, 5-star hotels OR “roughing-it” in nature such as camping or sleeping in RVs and such?
- Throughout your international travels, what quality (way of life, ideals etc) from what culture would you like to carry over to your own country?
- If you had to choose an adventure movie to live in real life, what would it be and why?
- Who is your explorative hero and why do you aspire to travel like he/she? (I.e. Steve/Bindi Irwin, Indiana Jones, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Cheryl Strayed, Kristin Newman, Percy Fawcett – the list is endless, chose ANYONE who you admire most and why you desire to travel similarly).
- How do you feel your astrological sun sign (sign you were born under) influences your travels? (if you don’t fully believe in astrology, you can still answer for fun – just google your sign, etc. However, you do not have to answer at all, if you do not wish).
- How have you helped to spread kindness to strangers in foreign lands while you’ve traveled?
- What is an act of kindness you’ve experienced throughout your travels that greatly impacted your life/ lifted your spirits/brightened your world/renewed your faith in humanity?
Click below for the official rules:
The Official Rules of the Liebster Award 2018
I’m very grateful for the nomination and I look froward to reading the answers of my nominees – what a great award and experience this has all been thus far!
Thank you all for reading and happy travels,