The number one thing that I have come to love about travel blogging over the last six months is the people. The travel blogging community is one of the most kind, thoughtful and supportive groups of people I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of! Just thinking about all of the amazing people I’ve met online (and the ones I’m going to meet in real life, planned yet or not) brings me so much joy! I have this entire online community to turn to with happiness and hardships and I know they’ll have my back and help me through it.
I also love how we seriously celebrate each other. Every little accomplishment gets a chance to shine. My Facebook is overflowing with positivity and gorgeous travel photos, so there’s not much more I could ask for. One of the ways that small bloggers are celebrated is the Liebster Award. I happen to have been nominated by Sam from Sam H Travels, a blogger that I’ve come to know and love reading. I’m so happy to accept this honor, share my answers, and promote some fellow bloggers that I want everyone reading here to love, too.
What is the Liebster Award? It’s a way to recognize other travel bloggers for their efforts and achievements through their blog. In otherwords, it’s sunshine and happiness, rolled into an award.
So who is Sam from Sam H Travels?
“To travel is to live”. It really resonates with you, doesn’t it? I know it did for me.
I came across Sam’s blog because she had done a series of posts on Scotland, like this one about searching for Nessie. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that Scotland will forever and ever hold my heart, so I immediately knew I was going to love Sam’s blog. She has done some extensive travel around the US and UK, which I really resonate with. Plus she’s got some really beautiful photos, which are always wanderlust-inducing in my world.
Head over to Sam’s blog to learn even more about her and read about her travels! Thank you Sam, for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I’m glad to know you enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy yours!
The Official Rules of the Liebster Award 2016
Onto the rules. The Liebster Award was started in 2011 and the rules back then were in a simpler format, with a nominated thanking the nominator and then nominating 5 more. However now in 2016, the award has been enhanced to allow us to learn more about our fellow bloggers.
If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award and you choose to accept it:
- Display the award on your blog and write a post about the award.
- Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog. Tell the reader a little about your nominator.
- Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you.
- Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award.
- Give the nominees 11 questions to answer on their blog.
- List these rules in your post.
- Notify the nominees of the Liebster Award and ask if they would be happy to accept? If so, send them a link to your post.
My Liebster Award questions from Sam:
#1. Where are you from?
This is always an interesting question for me to answer. I consider Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania my home only because it’s where I feel like I grew up the most. I moved away from my teeny-tiny hometown in eastern Pennsylvania right after high school graduation, and I never looked back. Plus it’s where I met Ryan, and it’s where we will be returning to once we are finished with our European travels.
I think that home is where you make it, and for me as long as I have Ryan, I’m home. Too sappy?
#2. What made you start blogging?
I had my very first blog when we left Pittsburgh for Seattle in 2014. It was a way for me to give a glimpse of our life on the west coast. Although it was mainly for my parents, since this was the first time I’d be so far away.
It didn’t last long (RIP) but when we decided it was time to leave Seattle and find a place to “settle down” (CRINGE), we knew we had to have one last, huge adventure. We decided to spend time abroad, and in order to keep in touch with my family I started blogging yet again. It quickly evolved into what it is now, and will be forever evolving as I learn and grow in the blogging world.
#3. How did you choose your blog’s name?
Well, my last name (thanks, Ryan!) starts with the very classic “Mc”. I also love the spirit of the word “vagabond”: someone who wanders from place to place without a home. Thus McVagabonds was born!
#4. Are there any bloggers that inspired your own blog? If so, who?
I find inspiration every day in the blogs that I read (especially those mentioned below). Did I have any specific that really gave me an “AH-HA” moment to start blogging? Not really. I kind of started it as an online extension to my IRL journal, found that I loved it so much, and continued!
#5. Do you have a plan for where you want your blog to be in 3 year’s time?
I’ve actually been writing down my goals for 2017 already, and I’m hoping to get them all organized and break them into actionable steps. As for three years from now, I’d like to still be growing McVagabonds and the community I’ve come to love in travel blogging. I’d like to have been partnering with people and companies I love and believe in. Come back to me after next year and I’m sure I’ll have a better idea of where I want to be in a few years!
#6. What is your favorite post you have written?
Probably this post on travel burnout. It was the most honest piece of writing I’ve ever done so far, and it came out at a time where I was seriously feeling my lowest. The feedback I got on it was so tremendously positive that I’m still feeling energized by it!
#7. When you are travelling, which app can you not live without?
Silly as it sounds, Google Keep. I have lists on lists on lists on this app, of all the things I’ve loved and hated, future bucket list destinations that I need to go to, fashion ideas that I’ve picked up on the road and so on. It’s a little collection of happy moments and memories, which I can turn to when I feel blue or when I need to remember something special. I can’t wait to be sitting at home, and turn to my Keep and have a wee memory session.
But I also rely heavily on messaging apps like Telegram and Whatsapp to communicate with family back home and new friends we’ve met while travelling. Google maps has also saved my life numerous times.
#8. What is top of your travel bucket list?
Can I say everywhere?
I think as of right now my top
five six destinations include (in no particular order):
- Sri Lanka – I feel like lately I’ve only been reading amazing things about Sri Lanka, and it’s really, really, REALLY piqued my curiosity!
- Cuba – Ever since relations have been kinder with the States, I’ve dreamt of finally getting here. And it’s not only because of Dirty Dancing, Havana Nights (Diego Luna, heyooo).
- Chile – When we thought we would be travelling for an entire year, Chile was going to be one of our destinations. But we changed our plans, and unfortunately South America was cut completely. I would love to explore Chile, Santiago looks amazing.
- Mexico – I’m hoping to get there in 2017, since we’ll officially be back in the US after January. If I can find the right deals at the right time!
- El Salvador – We have a friend who lives here, and it would be cool to visit. All of his pictures of the country are just so gorgeous!
- Iceland – I read somewhere that this coming year is the best time to view the northern lights. With flights from Pittsburgh directly to Iceland starting in 2017, this is definitely happening for the McVagabonds next year and I’m PUMPED.
#9. Where would you like to live and why?
I really grew to love living by the coast while we were in Seattle. Staying in Edinburgh for three months only solidified that. I wish Pittsburgh were on the coast, but there are mountains and a New Jersey in my way. If I could live anywhere, it would definitely be by the coast. Or Edinburgh, Scotland. I will forever return to Scotland.
#10. What is the most unusual food you have eaten on your travels?
To be honest we haven’t really travelled anywhere that has crazy different food from what we get in the USA. At least not yet!
The most fun thing I’ve been eating is my own personal challenge to eat at least one pastry (without sharing) in every city we’ve gone to in Europe. It’s been a lot of fun picking out new pastries and then refusing to share with Ryan. A good friend back home gave me this challenge, and I am happy to say it’s been both easy and incredibly delicious!
#11. If a traveller is visiting your hometown, what would you recommend them to see or do?
Since I’ve officially named Pittsburgh as my hometown (sorry Mom and Dad), I’d say you absolutely have to do a few very Pittsburgh things. Go to the top of Mt. Washington for views of the prettiest city ever. Head to the Strip District and eat your way through the neighborhood. Catch a ball game on the North Shore: baseball or football. Take a walk through one of the many city parks, my favorite is Schenley. And most importantly, head to my alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, and check out the Cathedral of Learning and pretend you’re at Hogwarts. I did it all four years I had classes in the building!
My Liebster Award nominations go to:
*Since it is the end of the year, I totally understand if my nominees don’t have the time to accept this award. Hopefully they will, but I know how busy this time of year is!!*
- Shelly from The Goal List – Shelly has a lot of travel related items on her bucket list, plus she’s just an amazing person. She is a blogger from Seattle who has a lot of great adventure posts!
- Christina from birdwinks. Have you ever met someone (virtually, AND in real life!) that you just instantly connected with? That’s what happened when I met Christina! A blogger from Germany, she’s both an amazing person and writer. Although she’s been nominated before, I think she deserves it again and again. Check out her blog ASAP!
- Aisha from Island Girl In-Transit. Aisha is a fabulous blogger that I have grown to love reading over the last few months. She has taken me on explorations all over the Caribbean, which hopefully one day I can recreate in real life! *Aisha has already been nominated and accepted the Liebster, but I LOVE her blog so much I wanted to include her on my list. Check our her blog for yourself, you’ll be addicted, too!*
- Zee from ZeeGoes. I love reading all about Zee’s explorations around Africa. It’s a dream destination of mine that I’m hoping to reach sometime soon, but until then I can live vicariously through her!
- Anna Serchand. Anna is a solo traveller who has been to 5 continents so far! While I travel with Ryan, I look to Anna’s blog for inspiration to someday take my first trip by myself.
My 11 questions for my Liebster Award nominees:
- If you could give 2016 a one-word description, what would it be?
- Name your blogging goals for 2017?
- In terms of your blog, what are you most proud of from 2016 (a specific post? hitting a goal?)
- Where and when was your most memorable trip?
- What are your travel plans looking like so far in 2017
- Where do you go for travel inspiration?
- What is one travel planning tool you can’t live without?
- Look through your camera, what’s the last picture you took?
- Who do you love to travel with the most?
- Do you have a dream destination?
- What was one place you went to that you actually didn’t care for?
Whew! We did it!
I’m so proud to be a Liebster Award nominee, and I’m so glad to have participated! Thanks for reading through this entry, and I look forward to seeing you next week for the last post of 2016: my ABC’s of 2016 travel!