Look, Mom! I’ve been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! 🏆

What an awesome surprise to be nominated for this award, which is given to – and by – female bloggers all over the world. It is a nice way for bloggers to recognize other bloggers and to learn about each other.

It was a day like any other in my blogging life, when… bam! I get a message from Vicky with Buddy the Traveling Monkey telling me she had nominated me for this award. She’s one of my favorite bloggers, so full of energy and a positive attitude. We met randomly on Instagram – and then we had a chance to meet in person in Miami. Neither of us murdered each other (you know… meeting up with a complete stranger you met online…). We hit it off right away and now she’s my buddy and an inspiration.

Then, just a few days later, I got a message that I was again! being nominated for this award. This time, the nomination came from Dorothée at The Touristin. And the funny thing is that when I received my first nomination, I made a rough draft of my post (this one) and a list of other bloggers to nominate in turn. And on my list, I had Dorothée. What do they say? Brilliant minds think alike? Ha! I haven’t met Dorothée in person, but I know one day we’ll have a chance to meet. She is based out of Berlin. She’s curious, world-traveled, and very passionate about learning and sharing what she’s seen around the world with others.

So, thank you so much lovely ladies for the nomination. I’m honored.

Now on to the nitty-gritty. Like the Liebster Award, which I received last year soon after I started my blog – this award carries with it just a few rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 10 questions she has posed for you.
  3. Return the love and nominate 10 other female bloggers
  4. Ask 10 questions of your nominees

Vicky’s Questions & My Answers

What is your dream destination?

Hmmm… We start with a difficult question! Rather than naming a specific place, I’ll say what my dream destination looks like – and that is a place with really good food, beautiful sights (whether city, mountains, or ocean, I don’t care), and a place that offers me the chance to learn about the culture and/or nature.

Do you speak any other languages? If you don’t, which would you like to learn?

I am bilingual – Spanish/English. I can defend myself in French, although I need much practice. After going to Japan this year, I would love to learn Japanese!

What aspect of your blog would you like to improve? (writing, photos, social media, etc.)

Ugh. So much, but primarily I need to learn how to modify/fix issues related to formatting of my website by myself! Oh, and social media. Having just learned how to use Instagram and Twitter this year – I find that letting others know about my blog is a bit tedious and overwhelming at the same time.

Have you tried any dishes that have been out of your comfort zone?

Absolutely. I would have to say cuy – or guinea pig. Even though I’m Peruvian, I had never had cuy until 5 years ago. It was tasty, although there was very little meat on those little bones… I’m glad I tried it, but will never do it again!

Have you ever forgotten something before a trip and it caused some major headaches? How did you deal with it?

I forgot the charger for my Nikon last year, while I was in Peru for almost 3 months. And as it was bound to happen, my camera run out of juice… right before I embarked on an epic trip across the Central Andes aboard the world’s second highest train. My husband had mailed the charger to me via DHL, but it was held up at customs for some strange reason and they wouldn’t release the package. I spent days fighting with the customs people over the phone. Dealing with the bureaucracy there was ridiculous. I went all over Lima looking to buy another charger. Nothing. I left for my trip with just my iPhone… I was so stressed out. Then I told myself to suck it up and deal with it. In the end, the trip was so amazing that I learned I don’t need to photograph everything to have a great experience.

Which country or city has surprised you the most? Good or bad.

Portugal surprised me in a very good way! I was there for about 3 weeks, traveled to Lisbon, and then north and south of the city, from Porto to Sagres. I was stunned by the beauty of the country, the super-friendly people, delicious food and wine, moving music (fado), and how affordable it was compared to the rest of Europe. I didn’t expect to be so pleasantly surprised and I cannot wait to return.

What travel related experience are you most proud of?

I would have to say my last travel adventure, where I went swimming with the whale sharks off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula last week. I was super-proud of myself because frankly, I was terrified. These giant marine creatures are, well, giant. But they’re also docile and pose no danger to humans. Somehow, though, my brain did not want to accept that. The thought of swimming in the open ocean with the whale sharks – the largest sharks and fish in the world – scared the crap out of me. I was also afraid there would be other big fish in the water, like man-eating sharks or huge sting rays or a poisonous man-of-war… You get the picture. Well, not only did I swim with the whale sharks – I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Do you prefer hot or cold climates?

This is not so easy to answer… Like a good attorney, I’ll have to give the stock answer: It depends. I love snow when I’m skiing – the more snow, the better. I also like visiting countries when it’s fall or winter because there are less crowds – and I know how to dress in layers so I find it easy to layer up or down, depending on how cold it is. I don’t like super hot climates. I find being sweaty and sticky very uncomfortable. Nevertheless, when I’m sailing or I’m at a beach or near the water – I welcome the sun and the heat, as I can always cool off by swimming.

If you could say one thing to your readers, what would it be?

Please, please, please – if you find a typo when you’re reading anything I’ve written on my blog… Let me know! I always review & re-read my posts before I publish them, but to my horror I have gone back to read something and I’ve found a word misspelled. Stuff of nightmares for me! 🙂

Did you have a favorite stuffed animal when you were a kid?

I did… Well, it wasn’t mine, it was my mom’s. It was a beautiful brown dog, with super soft hair and floppy ears. You couldn’t see his eyes, they were covered by soft brown curls. I’d forgotten why my mom had a stuffed animal… But I just talked to her and she said my dad gave it to her when they were dating. And that I washed the darn dog with shampoo when I was 6 or 7. And what would you know? It’s still around! (I will steal it from her one day… )

Answers to Dorothée’s Questions

What is your favourite vegetarian dish

I’ve learned to love vegetarian dishes – my daughter is a vegetarian and has taught me that non-meat (or dairy) dishes can be delicious. I’d have to say that I’m crazy about salads. I know, you may think boring, but no. I have fun adding whatever vegetables I have in my fridge, plus herbs and seeds like sesame, pumpkin and sunflower, which I always have on hand. And the best part – my home-made dressing – cucumbers, mint, avocado, lime juice, and hemp seeds.

What type of museum do you like to visit

I prefer small museums, particularly those which are housed inside a special building, like a colonial mansion or a visually-striking structure which becomes part of the museum itself. I also like “living” museums. I  have a favorite one in Colorado – it’s a 19th century mining town, which has been recreated using original buildings from all over the state. You can walk in to each place, like the courthouse, a miner’s house, the doctor’s office, the general store, etc. – and they’re all filled with actual artifacts and furniture from the period. It’s amazing, you feel like you’ve gone back in time.

We hear all the time that we have to live our dreams. Are you doing it

Absolutely. From accomplishing my dream of becoming an attorney to exploring the world and trying new foods, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures – to learning how to do challenging things – like becoming a Peruvian chef or learning how to sail. I feel fortunate and thankful that I’m living my dreams.

What is the funniest thing you ever experienced

The funniest, but very uncool thing that happened to me one time… I was in a very trendy bar downtown Miami, where all the walls were glass. The bartender handed me my gin & tonic, and I thought I’d sit outside, in the patio, under one of the cute umbrellas. I guess I can’t walk through glass… It wasn’t pretty, but I did manage to grab everyone’s attention!

What is your most treasured travel souvenir

My favorite things to buy are items made by locals. I’d have to say one thing I treasure is a Peruvian lamb’s wool blanket made by a woman in the High Andes. I was at a local market right outside of Cusco called Pisac, where locals sell souvenirs. Unlike everyone else who had a proper stall displaying their goods, this woman in the photo had her things on the floor (this is because she couldn’t afford to pay the fees charged of licensed vendors). She had such a great smile and her work was unlike any other I had seen at the market. She spoke very little Spanish (her language is Quechua, the language of the Incas); but she told me that it had taken her over a month to make the blanket – and she’d walked for over 3 days in the mountains to get to this marketplace. I love this blanket ❤️

Mountains or ocean

Both! I live in the mountains and my hubby and I have a sailboat on the water, so I get to spend time in both.

Who should play you in the film of your life

This is a fun question. I think Marissa Tomei would pull it off. She’s played characters that are spontaneous & goofy which remind me of myself.

If your life were a book, what would the title be

You’re forcing me to use the creative side of my brain! Ha, ha. It would have to be “I Did it My Way.”

Did you ever dance under a starry night sky

I have… while on our sailboat 🙂

Your perfect vacation involves …

Good food, good wine, time for reading in a relaxing spot with an inspiring view, and a chance to learn something new.

And… roll drum, please… My nominations are as follows:

Jana from Good Life Explorers

Kavitha from Red Bohemia

Dede from My Life of Wanders

Dorothée from The Touristin Hi. I recently saw that you’ve been nominated a couple more times… Congrats! Since I initially chose you after my first nomination, I wanted to stick with that. No pressure 😉

Sonya from Facades and Nuances

Noemi from Pinay Flying High

Allane from Packing My Suitcase

Ting from My Travel Monkey

Lori from TravlinMad

Paloma from Anxious Traveler

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My questions to the Nominees:

1. Your first trip away from home was… where?

2. All my nominees are travelers… So I know you must have experienced down time – that is, dead time waiting for the next plane/bus/train/ferry/donkey? How do you entertain yourself while waiting to get to your next destination? (Other than sleeping)

3. Do you take spontaneous trips or are you more of a planner?

4. Have you ever met someone while traveling with whom you still keep in touch with today?

5. Do you have a packing routine? What are some of the things you must have while traveling away from home?

6. Have you ever gone to a place that was “highly recommended” and you thought, “Why am I  even here?” ~ Where was this? Why did you not like it?

7. We all know that traveling can take  you out of your comfort zone. Can you tell us about an experience where you overcame a fear/anxiety/discomfort?

8. Are there any books – even movies – that have influenced you to travel to a specific place?

9. Do you prefer to travel solo or with someone else?

10.  Right now – what are your 5 top places (or experiences) you want to see/do?

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Thank you for reading; hope you found it entertaining. Can’t wait to read everyone’s answers!