This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for months, which is silly considering it’s been 90% complete for, well, months. We just got home yesterday from our trip to Disney World, and the week before that we came back from two months of being away from home. Needless to say, but I’m pooped, and pretty darn excited to settle down and not travel for a little while. Needless to say, but it makes perfect sense to talk about travel today.
Y’all, I’ve been neglecting this blog of mine, so I’m hoping I can get back into the swing of things now that I’m home, and what better way to kick that off than with a fun survey post. Feel free to play along and fill this out yourself!
A) Age you went on your first international trip:
It was between my junior and senior year of high school, so I was 17? My school did a summer, “see 10 countries in Europe in five days” trip (or something like that), and I couldn’t resist. I remember being so scared to ask my dad if I could go, because despite all of our traveling as a family, this would be a pretty big step to go alone. Luckily, he said yes, and it was completely life changing.
B) Best foreign beer wine you’ve had and where:
Um, I’m going to change this from beer to wine, if that’s okay. My favorite wine is from a place called Cantina Casula. We stumbled on it at our base’s bazaar and I had to have more of it, so we tracked down the vineyard. It was on a dirt road about 30 minutes from our house, and the owner barely spoke a lick of English. But through my broken Italian and his little English, we had a very fun conversation over his table while he brought out wine after wine for us to taste. Then he and his wife started bringing out food and produce from their garden for us to take home. It was just an amazing experience. Sorry, I got a little side-tracked since this question is about
beer wine. My favorite wine is called Pinot Nero and it’s a divine red. It’s smooth and so flavorful that when it hits my lips I’m immediately transported back to Italy.
C) Cuisine (favorite):
I’m a little biased since I lived in Italy, but Italian pizza is definitely up there. I could probably eat it every day…or maybe every other day. When you can get pretty much any topping you want on a pie and have it taste absolutely amazing, you do it, corn, and egg, asparagus? Yes, yes, and YES! Then again, my hometown cuisine of New Mexican food is also definitely up there. I’m picking both as my favorite.
D) Destinations–favorite, least favorite, and why?:
Favorite: Alsace, France, was definitely a top favorite for me. It was the first time I spent any time outside of Paris, and it made me fall head over heals in love with France. The food was amazing, the scenery was breathtaking, and all I wanted to do was spend more time in that beautiful region. Least favorite: the outskirts of Croatia. Don’t get me wrong, that country is gorgeous, but some of the bigger towns/cities we drove through left me a little on edge. You could see the ruminants of war around every turn, which left me feeling a little leery.
E) Event you’ve experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
The first thing that comes to mind is Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. There were definite “wow” moments that just left me in awe of God’s beauty. Then again, so many places in Italy gave me that feeling, too, specifically, the Amalfi Coast. Those are two magical places to visit.
F) Favorite mode of transportation:
The car. I’m a big fan of road trips and I love that you can go at your leisure. Sure, cars break down, but there’s an adventure waiting when that happens, too. I also like walking; you can see so much just by using your own two (or four) feet!
G) Greatest feeling while traveling:
Knowing that I’m broadening my horizons. I love having different memories to look back on, and when I experience something new—a new culture, a new food, shoot, even just sleeping in a new hotel—I’m experiencing something different from my ordinary life. It’s exhilarating.
H) Hottest place you’ve ever traveled to:
Savannah, Georgia, over 4th of July weekend. Oh. Em. Gee. That heat was almost unbearable. I hate being hot.
I) Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?:
This is a tough one, because nothing has been “incredible.” I think our Mediterranean cruise would come close, though. Our room was outstanding, and everyone on the ship was extremely helpful. Since we had an upgraded room, it came with the concierge service, and let me tell you—that is one fabulous way to travel!
J) Journey that took the longest:
Getting to Italy felt like it took days to get there (probably because it did). Several delays, broken planes, long bus rides, and an overnight stay in some random down in Germany made it feel like the longest journey ever. We just wanted to get there already!
K) Keepsake from your travels:
We started buying mugs from every place we visited, but not a nice, pretty mug. Nope. We went for the tackiest or most unusual mug we could possibly find. The only place we didn’t get a good one from (which I still regret) was from Paris. That was our first trip and we spent the entire time trying to figure out what keepsake we were going to start collecting. Literally, as we were boarding, we decided on mugs, so while my husband stood in the boarding line, I ran to a souvenir store and bought the first mug I could find. I wish I had more time to pick out a better (i.e. tackier) mug.
L) Let-down sight, where and why?:
Olympia, Greece. It was the last stop on our cruise (shoot, I never finished writing about it, did I?), and we had already seen so many ruins over the past week. This was the most disappointing, because there really wasn’t that much to see. It was awesome to be there, because it was the site of the first Olympics, but other than that? Just a lot of dirt. Oh, and it was SO hot, and I was pregnant, and totally done with walking.
M) Moment where you fell in love with traveling:
It was during that very first trip to Europe, and I actually distinctly remember the moment. I was in Florence, Italy, and we were lucky enough to be at Piazzale Michelangelo right at sunset. The sight literally took my breath away; it was just so beautiful and I couldn’t believe I was actually there. A second moment happened shortly after that when I was in Paris, France, standing in the Renaissance wing at the Louvre. I cried standing there in the midst of such historical and amazing work. I remember thinking that I would be back some day…little did I know that a decade later I’d actually live in that beautiful country.
N) Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
My cousin used to work in Las Vegas, Nevada, and one time my girl cousins and I stayed in a suite at the Paris Hotel for a bachelorette weekend. It was huge and awesome, and we totally felt like rock stars staying there!
O) Obsession—What are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
Oh interesting question! I know that I’m not obsessed with taking pictures of my husband, or myself and I wish I was. We don’t have many photos of us in the actual places we visited. I don’t know why, but I always forget until we leave. The picture(s) below is from our very first time in Orlando (2006), the time we went before moving to Italy (2011) and our most recent trip (2015). Oh, how times change!
P) Passport stamps-how many and from where?:
I don’t even know how to answer this one. I’ve had three passports in my life: the first one had dozens of stamps (actually, around 20 or so if I’m counting correctly); the second one was a government one I needed to have since we were living in Europe on the military’s time (I think I have a few in that one, though), and the last one was my second passport that I got after the first expired. Sadly, it doesn’t have as many, because when you travel within the EU, they don’t stamp your passport. Every time I crossed a border I hoped they’d stamp it, but they never did. We even tried to get Julia’s passport stamped (she went through six countries as a baby), but they never did. I went as far as stopping at a French and Switzerland police station to see if they would. No dice.
Q) Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where?:
Camel Rock in New Mexico. Yup, there’s an actual rock that’s shaped like a camel, pretty quirky, right?!
R) Really Frightening: where’s one place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy?
Driving through the back roads of Croatia was interesting. We were in our car and my husband was with me, so I felt safe, but I definitely had an uneasy feeling the whole time. The culture was definitely different, and it took me out of my comfort zone.
S) Splurge-something you have no problem spending money on while traveling:
We’re pretty big foodies and if we’re some place new we like to dine on that areas cuisine. Sure, cheap food-truck food can be amazing, too, but as far as splurges go, we’ll spend some decent bucks for tasty grub.
T) Touristy thing you’ve done:
So many things! It’s fun to be a tourist. The one that comes to mind is going on the big double-decker, hop-on-hop-off, see-the-city busses. They’re great ways to see the city, especially if you don’t have a car, and they usually give you some pretty great information about what the different sites are.
U) Unforgettable travel memory:
The first thing that comes to mind is when our car broke down on our way to Florence. We spent an entire day in a town we’d never heard of, with zero money, and with only our two feet to get around.
V) Visas-how many and for where?:
A student visa from when I studied abroad in England, and then another visa for when I lived in Italy.
W) Wine–best glass while traveling:
Aw, shoot. I already answered this one! That’s what I get for changing the question.
X) eXcellent view and from where?:
Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, New Mexico. You take a tram up the mountain (or you can climb it if you’re adventurous), and before you know it, you’re almost a mile up from where you started. Go at sunset, and you’re in for a treat, because the sky lights up with cotton candy colored skies, and a clear view of the entire city.
Y) Years spent traveling:
My first trip was to Louisiana for the 1984 World’s Fair, and I was six months old. So, I’ve been traveling for 31.5 years!
Z) Zealous sports fans and where?:
Italy, but only because they were pretty darn enthusiastic when we were there during the Olympics.
Woohoo! Now that was fun! Okay, your turn! If you fill this out, let me know, and if we have something in common, tell me about it!