Source: Sunny Days with Juliette

Months ago, Juliette from Sunny Days with Juliette nominated me for “The Outstanding Blogger Award, which I graciously accept. And holy moly…this is the FOURTH nomination I’ve gotten for this particular award from fellow travel bloggers in the community, which blows my mind. I can’t keep up, and I’m incredibly flattered that you would consider me for the nomination. Thanks to Juliette for this one this time around!

The rules:

  1. Provide a link to the creator’s original award post.
  2. Answer the questions provided.
  3. Create 7 unique questions.
  4. Nominate other bloggers. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination. Neither the award’s creator nor the blogger that nominated you can be nominated.

The questions:

1. What is one thing you would like to see/visit/do at least once in your life?

Too many to list: visit Antarctica, see the Northern Lights, check out each of the Seven Wonders of the World…the list goes on and on!

2. When traveling, what was your biggest cultural shock or “oh wow – this culture is so different from mine” moment?

I’ve had several instances of cultural shock, but one that stood out to me was just how late meals/events started in Spain– SO late! I’m accustom to my “American” time of eating dinners at, say, 18h00, whereas dinners in Spain don’t start until 21h00– at the earliest. By then, I’m starving! Likewise for parties and other nightlife: it boggled my mind that showing up to a bar/club at 23h00 was too early, and that the real action didn’t happen until at least 2h00, which at that point, I’m ready to sleep!

3. Is there something that you saw in another country that you wish could be in yours (it can be anything: objects, food, nature, etc.)?

It’s not something tangible, per say, but a cultural aspect: I really did enjoy the very-lax work and life balance that France had, with the 35-hour work week and ample paid vacation days that puts much of the jobs in the US to shame. I’m fortunate that I’m working in a sector which has a fairly-solid work and life balance and paid time off, but the whole American culture– in its entirety– could definitely be restructured to care less about being rich and just enjoy life as a whole.

4. How do you plan your holidays – if you plan them at all?

I definitely plan several months in advance, first with looking over accommodation and flight/transportation costs before making reservations, then planning my day-by-day itinerary based on the number of nights I have in the destination(s). I also come up with back-up plans in case a train were to get delayed, a hotel reservation were to get canceled, a site-of-interest is closed…I’m very meticulous when it comes to travel, as I’d like to maximize the time I spent in a place, as I know I might not return for a long time!

5. When the pandemic is over, you are granted a whole month off from work/studying. What would you do?

Travel! That’s the obvious answer. Ideally, I’d divide the month into two major international trips– South America and Southeast Asia– but I know that two weeks for each won’t do justice to how much there is the see in both places. But if I can, that’s what I will do!

6. Tell us about one interesting person you met when traveling, even if you only met them very briefly.

I’ve met quite the amount of characters on my travels, but I will go ahead and mention R, a French man whom I met in Warsaw in 2017. We stayed at the same hostel in the same dorm room, and he was quite the energetic, carpe diem kind of person who drank too many Red Bulls and challenged the fellow Dutch hostel-goer to a pushup battle. He didn’t speak much English then, but he would go wandering on his own at night to any of the “hoppin'” clubs in town and wouldn’t return until sunrise. We still remain friends on Facebook to this day, and he’s since continued traveling to far-off places and even getting a gig chauffeuring in Corsica. If I ever meet up with him someday, we’ll definitely need to catch up on our adventures!

7. A high school student from your town wants to take a gap year to travel before starting university. Where would you tell them to go? Why?

It’s really difficult to say, because it’ll depend on the student’s interest: which countries are they interested in? Which language/culture are they studying? If anything, I’d recommend a gap year in Europe, because I’m the most-familiar with it having lived there and I’ve found it’s the easiest to navigate, especially if coming from a Western country like the US. I would suggest basing themselves in one of the smaller cities of whichever country they choose to live in (e.g. Lyon in France, Torino in Italy, Sevilla in Spain…), to spend a couple of months taking in their respective host country and then traveling the heck out of Europe as much as they can. Must-sees are the Central European countries like the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, as well as the Balkans (Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro…).

…thanks for reading! I won’t nominate anyone in particular, but you are all free to answer the questions I pose below:

Questions for you:

1. Once the pandemic is over, what is first country you plan to travel to and why?

2. Do you prefer to travel solo or with friends/family?

3. What is one song that gets you in the travel spirit?

4. Name one site in your hometown that is a must-see for tourists.

5. What is the most-memorable dish you’ve had on your travels?

6. Are you a beach or city break kind of person, and why?

7. Your favorite cuisine and specialty dish from that cuisine?

Thanks for reading, folks!

— Rebecca

31 thoughts on “The Outstanding Blogger Award 4

  1. Congratulations Rebecca! Your line about enjoying life a whole more resonates so much with me right now after spending so much time in lockdown just working. One site I’d recommend for Sydney is Opera Bar. It’s situated just off the Opera House and is harbour side with Sydney Harbour Bridge in the other direction. Perfect location for a drink or meal and has great ambience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a work-life balance is very important to quality of life: what’s the point of making money if you can’t spend some of it on pleasure? The Opera Bar sounds lovely; if I ever make it to Sydney, I’ll check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations, Rebecca! Love your answers to the questions, especially the story about your friend, R! To answer your question #1: I’d love to visit Canada again and explore Toronto and Québec City.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, R is a real character: very animated and lives in the present. Like you, I’m eager to return to Canada, as it’s been almost 15 years. Given the current affairs, there’s a better chance of heading back sooner than later!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulation on your award, Rebecca, I am absolutely delighted for you. I couldn’t agree more with you about how late the Spanish people go out for a meal – I am always surprised to see that restaurants are bustling at an hour when, in most other countries, chefs would be hanging up their aprons for the night. Valters best friend lives in Madrid, and whenever we visit, we try to persuade them to have a meal at a ‘decent time’, but we always fail! Apparently, Spain’s late mealtimes have nothing to do with the country’s laidback Mediterranean attitude, it is due to Spaniards living in the wrong time zone 🙂 Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I heard about Spain not being in the “correct” time zone (as its latitude is closer to the UK’s than the rest of continental Europe). I try to adapt whenever I visit the country, but it’s still hard!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats, Rebecca! I bet the Northern Lights would be amazing to see in person. I had a similar experience in Spain and had a hard time adjusting to the eating schedule. I’m happy your job has a decent work-life balance! If I move back to the US, I think I’d have a hard time adjusting to that way of life again. I’ll answer number #4: I’d recommend people to visit First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. VB is known for its oceanfront and boardwalk, so the state park offers a more “off the beaten” path way to enjoy the beach because it’s more preserved and has some lovely trails.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Camden! I hope to see the Northern Lights someday, hopefully within the next couple of years…it took time to adjust back to the US, but I will say that my sector of work is decent with the work-life balance (although I aim for a four-day work week someday, as my job does offer that!). I haven’t seen as much of the East Coast as I would’ve liked, so a trip to Virginia Beach sounds enticing. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing answers, Rebecca! I love reading your thoughts on all this! I am always a bit shocked when I hear about the “working conditions” in the US – I thought paid leave was just a normal thing to have!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. US work culture isn’t as intense as other countries like Japan or South Korea, but it isn’t as lax as what I’ve seen in France or Spain. Apparently, we’re also one of very-few countries that don’t offer paid maternity leave, which boggles my mind. We definitely have a “work hard, play hard” kind of culture that’s centered on financial success, which I don’t really agree with, but I can see why some people appeal to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations, Rebecca (once again)! Good recommendations for exploring Europe. I’d always like to have more time to see other than the main cities. The timing in Spain is challenging – you can understand why they need a siesta in the afternoon!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats, Rebecca! I enjoyed reading through your answers. To answer your question on the first country I’d fly to for a holiday, that will be France. My first couple of visits to Paris and Strasbourg were whirlwind trips, I would love to spend a longer time next time.

    Liked by 1 person

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