I have a confession to make. I love filling out surveys, and I love taking part in memes. I’ve wanted to get in on this travel ABC thing for a while now but I kept thinking I couldn’t because I wasn’t ‘tagged.’ But that’s silly. Plus Candice of Candice Does the World tagged anybody and everybody. So here goes.
A: Age in which you first internationally travelled.
I was 14 when I took my first trip abroad (and my first flight) to Paris and London with my grandparents and my cousin.
B: Best (foreign) beer and where.
My favorite beer so far, anywhere, has been Monteith’s Radler which I tried on a tour of the Monteith Brewery in Greymouth, New Zealand. I’m not a huge beer fan to be honest but I am slowly growing to like it since I keep trying new ones.
C: Cuisine (favorite)
Indian, followed closely by Mexican. I need to make it India and Mexico, seriously. I’ll try (basically) anything and I love street food.
D: Destinations (favorite) and why? Least favorite and why?
Favorite: New Zealand. It’s just so incredibly beautiful and varied – something for everyone!
Least favorite: I’m not a big fan of Los Angeles or Atlanta, though I enjoyed my trips there. I also don’t currently have a great opinion of Paris, though I want to give it another chance. I think it’s mostly related to seeing some protesters light themselves on fire which was a little traumatizing.
E: Event you experienced that made you say “wow”
There are a lot that could fit this, for different reasons. The Colbert/Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, DC (WOW, that’s a lot of people having a fun silly time). A reception at the US Ambassador to France’s residence in Paris (WOW, those are expensive hors d’ouevres). The Seoul Lantern Festival (WOW, this is beautiful and kind of magical). Among others.
F: Favorite mode of transport
The best way to see beautiful landscapes, in my opinion, is on a horse.
G: Greatest feeling while travelling?
I love the feeling of being overwhelmed with a brand new place. Also, the feeling that comes with seeing incredible natural beauty.
H: Hottest place you’ve ever travelled to?
This was home at the time but the hottest place I’ve been was actually Washington, DC, last summer. There was a day when I had to walk from Dupont Circle Station to the South Korean embassy when, with the heat index and everything, it felt like 120 degrees Fahrenheit (about 48 Celsius). I felt like I was dying.
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?
The best service I can think of was at Dogwood Restaurant in Atlanta (sadly now closed).
J: Journey that took you the longest?
Flying to New Zealand for my semester abroad – a 4 hour car ride to Washington, DC, followed by a 5.5 hour flight to LAX, an 8 hour layover, then a 13 hour flight to Auckland. Total travel time: 30.5 hours. But it was worth it!
K: Keepsake from your travels?
Once upon a time I collected keychains, but now just photos. I’ve bought flags from every place abroad I’ve lived for a significant time, and have considered getting tiny ones for the places I visit.
L: Let down sight? Where and why?
Seokguram Grotto near Gyeongju, South Korea is not worth your time. Unless of course you enjoy standing in a long line to see something that you get rushed along from and can’t even take pictures. Also, the Mona Lisa – it’s small, hard to see, and ridiculously crowded. The Louvre is of course worth many hours of your time, but don’t get your hopes up for its most famous occupant.
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel?
I suspect it was when I was in Paris, possibly during the hours my cousin and I spent just sticking our heads out the window of our hotel room and people watching (also we were incredibly amused with the way people parked their cars). It was then I became fascinated with learning how other people live and think.
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in?
Probably the Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge, London. At least that was the fanciest. I really liked the Courtyard Marriott in Fredericksburg, Virginia – it’s right in the middle of the historic part and really nice. In Singapore in February I’ll be staying at the Conrad Centennial in Marina Bay thanks to my boyfriend’s Hilton Honors points and I expect that to be rather nice as well.
O: Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of?
Food. Funny signs. I used to take a lot of pictures of benches, but not so much anymore.
P: Passport stamps. How many and from where?
My current passport only has 3 stamps – New Zealand, Costa Rica, South Korea. Canada doesn’t give you a stamp if you come in by car, it seems. My passport before that only had a few as well. I’ve been to 9 countries plus the US, and through the airports of 2 others.
Q: Quirkiest Attraction you’ve visited?
I really enjoy quirky attractions. Highlights include the town of Bulls, New Zealand, for its pun-laden signs, the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, and the 826 chain of stores (I’ve been to the ones in San Francisco, Seattle, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, and DC). Whenever I’m going somewhere I check Atlas Obscura first to see what quirky things I can find.
R: Recommended Sight, Event or Experience?
Eat local food. Meet locals through sites like Couchsurfing (you don’t have to stay over to do this – you can just take part in meetups). Go bungee jumping. Visit New Zealand.
S: Splurge! Something you don’t mind forking over for while travelling?
Good food and adventure experiences.
T: Touristy thing you’ve done
There’s nothing wrong with being touristy sometimes, and I definitely have been. I’ve gone up the Eiffel Tower, posed with the Leaning Tower of Pisa (and then climbed up it which is not as common), and many other touristy things.
U: Unforgettable travel Memory.
Making bread in a tiny Costa Rican village while watching some kids mess with a parrot. A wonderful, very local experience that I keep thinking about.
V: Visas. How many of them and for where?
I’ve got 2: a student visa for New Zealand and an E2 (work) visa for South Korea.
W: Wine. Best glass of wine had while travelling and where?
I like wine but I don’t like to spend money on alcohol while travelling. However during my trip to Italy (at age 15) I had at least one glass of nice Chianti which I didn’t fully appreciate at the time, sadly.
X: eXcellent views and from where?
I’ve seen some good ones, but the view from Nugget Point in the Catlins, New Zealand, really took my breath away.
Y: Years spent travelling?
After going to Paris in 2002 I also went to Italy the following year and Costa Rica the one after that. I thought I had sated my wanderlust after Costa Rica, but it was reignited in college and I studied abroad in New Zealand, and have traveled when possible ever since. So about 4 years now. I’ve been abroad at the moment for 5 months.
Z: Zealous sports fan and where?
Kiwis are really into their rugby, and watching an All Blacks match at a uni-student-filled bar was really entertaining.
Now I’m supposed to tag some other bloggers. I want to tag you. Yes, you. Don’t have a blog? You can play in the comments!