Liebster Award

A lovely fellow traveler and blogger, who I met on the bus from Toronto to Detroit, has nominated me for the Liebster Award. Per her post, “The Liebster Award is awarded to newbie bloggers with under 500 followers by other bloggers to welcome them to the blogosphere and to congratulate them/highlight their blog. It is a great way to discover new blogs and to help drive traffic to each other’s sites.”

Katie is a Kiwi writing about travel, hiking, and food over at The World on My Necklace (love that name). Check out her musings from the other side of the world!

I don’t generally perpetuate chains, so I won’t do the second part of the thing, which is to pose new questions to everyone you nominate. But I do think it’s good to spread the word on other blogs you enjoy, so here are a few travel blogs that deserve a larger audience than what they have:

Who Is Spiro?
Jenna’s Travel Blog
It’s Time for Me to Fly

Here are the questions Katie posed. Thanks, Katie; this was fun!

1) What is your favourite travel movie?
I love a good road trip movie, even the darker ones like Thelma and LouisePriscilla, Queen of the Desert is also a winner, as is The Motorcycle Diaries.

2) What are your three favourite cities and Why?
Chicago was my home for five happy years, and although I have no immediate plans to move back, I have a strong loyalty to the city of neighborhoods, the lake, the architecture, the food and beer scene.

Melbourne’s mix of laid-back Australian charm, edgy art, hipster activism, and familiarly temperamental weather appealed to me, as did its proximity to the Great Ocean Road and the fact that wild penguins live within city limits.

I really enjoyed Buenos Aires. The mix of neoclassical and art nouveau architecture, the hundreds of cafes, the green spaces and grand places, the tango hideouts, the nightlife–I liked it all.

3) What has been your most memorable hotel/hostel stay?
That’s a tie between the two weeks I spent on a beach in Ecuador and the three weeks I spent partying and cultural appreciating in Cusco. I made good friends in both places, which is always the key to a good stay. (The only memorable-in-a-bad-way I can think of are the bedbugs hostel in Krakow and the roommates-having-sex hostel in Australia.)

4) Have you ever been robbed while travelling?
Sure have!

5) What is your best wildlife experience?
I loved working with elephants in Thailand, but for pure joy, it has to be swimming with dolphins in New Zealand.

6) How do you save money for travel?
I’m not great at budgeting (either at home or abroad), so I didn’t cut back on my lifestyle too much in Chicago. But for the last year before I left, I did set aside a third of every paycheck, which really saved it up fast.

7) Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Um… doing something fulfilling somewhere I enjoy? That is as specific as I can get right now!

8) What is your biggest travel fail?
I felt a right idiot getting robbed, and also pretty stupid when I didn’t notice the exchange office had given me Czech money instead of Croatian. But the one I’m most annoyed about is missing the big Easter parade in Cusco by less than 24 hours–bad planning!

9) What is the best hike you have done?
Hiking around Uluru in Australia. Stunning!

10) What destination will you keep going back to?
I like this question, although I’m having a hard time deciding. I still feel like there’s so very much I haven’t seen, so I’m focusing on that. But I will always return to my family and the countryside in England, and I’d like to see much more of Japan than I got a chance to.

11) When did you first fall in love with travel?
From infancy! My parents took me to England when I was a baby, and I swear I liked travel from that moment on. I’ve liked solo travel ever since I first tried it, when I was 18 and going around Western Europe for a few weeks on my own.

If there are other great travel blogs you’re a fan of, please put them in the comments. I’m always looking for new people to read.

Celebrating 500 Posts on Stowaway!

Welcome to the 500th post on Stowaway! I’ve been writing this blog for 3.5 years, and in that time it’s gone through one name change, 1508 comments, and, almost unbelievably, 500 posts.

catlins waterfall supremely happyI started Stowaway as a way to get back into writing, which is something I’d enjoyed doing in college but neglected in the years since. I also wanted to record my plans for this big RTW trip, partly as a way to encourage myself to actually go on the trip. I wanted to try my hand at travel writing, but not limit myself to that. Five hundred posts later, I’m writing on an almost daily basis, and I’m on my RTW trip, so I’d say I’m doing well on those fronts.

me and Sydney Opera HouseI’d enjoy writing Stowaway even if I were the only one reading it, but it’s even more fun knowing that other people like reading it too. I like the challenge of making my travel updates entertaining and the photos nice to look at. I have a small audience made up mostly of people I know personally, and in some ways that makes it easier to write, to guess who might like what joke or who might appreciate which detail.

Joy on Fox Glacier, New ZealandBut I’m still refining my style; as every writer has ever said, I want to write the kind of thing I like to read. For travel writing, I like a chatty but not chummy tone, thoughtful reflections on the implications of why and how we travel, and a few wry asides. I don’t know that I’ve ever spelled it out before, but there it is: that’s what I’m going for with Stowaway, but whatever actually turns up on the blog every Monday through Friday, I hope it resonates with you.


I don’t know what Stowaway will become once I return to the States. I might try harder to write pieces that can be published on other sites. I might put the blog to the side for awhile and focus on getting a job. I might take another year just to get the posts caught up to where I am in real time (yeesh).

bankok wat phoStowaway has already changed somewhat since I started it, as recurring features came and went, and I made the inevitable switch from planning the trip to doing it. It will naturally change again, and even after 3.5 years and 500 posts, I’m still excited to see how it does. I hope you’ll stay with me as I continue to explore the world with my faithful travel companion–Stowaway.


Where to next?