We’ve Been Double Liebster’d

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Double Hooray! Our friends Bram over at Travel.Experience.Live. and Sonja at The {Happy} Travel Bug both nominated us for a Liebster award, which is like a high five that you pass on to bloggers. Now that we’ve been Liebster’d, it’s our duty to answer 11 questions put forth by our nominators, and since we’ve been double Liebster’s, we’re going to answer double the questions (minus 1, because 1 of them is the same). So the Liebster award is like an interview with a vampire, except it’s an interview with bloggers (some of whom may be vampires). Once all that malarkey is done, we’ll nominate 11 other bloggers to which we’d like to pass on the virtual high five. But before we begin, why don’t you swing by Bram and Sonja‘s Liebster posts…we’ll wait for you. Okay, ready? Without further ado…


What is your all time favorite travel experience?

Katie: I’ve been lucky to have lots of amazing travel experiences, but I’d have to say the one that most sticks in my mind was crossing into Tibet from Golmud, in the Qinghai Province of China. I was there in 2004, before the railway was built. I had more time than money, so I opted to take the 24-hour bus journey to Lhasa rather than fly from Kunming or Chengdu. I spent about a week in Golmud waiting for my permit and buying up old Chinese military clothes to stay warm, and then bought a ticket on a bus with bunk beds instead of seats. The man in the bunk above mine had a glass tea thermos that kept falling down, swinging on it’s tether, and bashing me in the head for the entire trip. As we left Han-dominated China and rose onto the plateau, the air was so thin at points that I couldn’t even sit up in my bunk bed. The blue of the sky was one of the most vibrant colours I’ve seen, and I really had this feeling of being at the top of the world. We drove for hours without seeing anyone or any signs of people — not even a hut — and then all of a sudden we would come across a group of nomadic yak herders or, once, a lone monk traveling across the plateau, prostrating his entire body to the ground with each step he took. To me, traveling is ultimately about freedom; long trips especially are a little act of defiance against that part of myself that spends so much time wondering how I should live my life. Maybe it was the thinness of the air or the intoxicating blue of the sky, but I remember that seeing the nomads — the herders and the monk — made me feel free from that part of myself that worries about the sustainability of my own nomadic nature.

Geoff: Even though I was as sick as a dog (note: you do NOT want to visit a Bolivian hospital), crossing the Bolivian salt flats over three days in the back of a land cruiser was truly an ultimate experience for me, especially given the benefits of hindsight.  The pure white landscapes, the islands of cacti popping up here and there, and sleeping in a hotel made of salt bricks, all the while crossing our fingers that our driver did actually know which way he was going.  The landscape was completely white – no compass, no map, no GPS — and I pictured in my mind a map of the world and where I was at that moment. Even though the altitude had made my illness worse, there was still nowhere else I would have rather been at that time.


Bolivian Salt Flats
This is called “shooting from the hip.” Geoff takes a stroll in Bolivia

Spring, summer, fall or winter?

Katie: Summer all the way.

Geoff: Summer, gotta be summer.  Every season has its own beauty and I can see why people love each season, but for me there is nothing like summer.

Name the stupidest thing you have ever done.

Katie: I’ll never tell…unless you get me drunk, in which case I’ll probably tell.

Geoff: Ha ha – NO!

If you could choose one place to spend the rest of your life, where would that be?

Katie: This is the hardest question. Ever. I’m a bit of mind changer, myself. So I could probably tell you, but I would likely change my mind tomorrow. Is this for living? We can still travel, right? Or do we have to stay there forever and ever? My first reaction is Argentina – Buenos Aires is amazing, and I could eat Argentinean media lunas and steak until the end of time, or at least until heart disease and diabetes got me, whichever came first. But then there’s also Asia…I loooooooove Asia. So I think it would have to be somewhere in Asia. But I haven’t been to Africa, so I can’t rule it out. I don’t know; I don’t think I can answer this question. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to answer this question.

Geoff: I couldn’t.  At the moment I’d rather spend my life moving, seeing, and doing.  If I had a gun to my head it would be somewhere tropical, but not an island: Thailand, maybe, or Vietnam.


You want us to pick just one?
Let me get this stratight…you want us to pick just one?


If you like beer, what is your favorite kind? If not, what’s your favorite beverage?

Katie: I do like beer, but I don’t have a favorite: I’ll pretty much drink anything. I once twice drank my own pee, which is to say I’m not really discriminating in the beverage department. I love discovering both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks foreign countries have to offer, and I find tropical places often come up with some pretty brilliant non-alcoholic drinks. I love Taiwanese bubble tea — half sweet grapefuit green tea was my drink of choice when we lived there — and I will forever have a special place in my heart for mango smoothies in Thailand, submarinos in Argentina, and Vietnamese coffee.


Inca Cola in Peru
I also like the idea of Inca Kola, although found it to be lacking in its execution


Geoff: I absolutely love trying the beer in each country, but its usually the big name mass produced beer.  I am a light lager fan, and when home in Canada it is all about Alexander Keith’s.

Geoff + Lager = Love
Geoff + Lager = Love

Name one country you will never ever visit. Why not?

Katie: Um…nowhere? Never say never. Right now you probably won’t find me booking a one way ticket to Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya, but that doesn’t mean I never want to go should the safety situation (hopefully) improve one day. Forty years ago, you wouldn’t have found any tourists in Vietnam, but a lot can happen in that time, and I plan to still be traveling in 2053.

Geoff: Wow – not easy.  None really.  While there are many countries I would not visit now, like Iraq or Afghanistan or South Sudan for obvious reasons, I remain hopeful they will be peaceful (and travel-able) one day.

Geoff at the sand dunes in Mui Ne, Vietnam, 30 years after the fall of Saigon


Which language(s) would you like to learn?

Katie: I speak bits and pieces of a few languages — French, German, Danish, and Chinese (Mandarin) — but have never achieved fluency. When I lived in Denmark and Taiwan, I experienced Danish and Chinese dreams, which was awesome, but then I lost that level of ability once I left. I’d love to get French, German, and Chinese up to a near-fluent level one day. I’d also like to tackle Spanish and Arabic.

Geoff: French.  Being Canadian I feel I should be able to speak French.  One of the things I like best about Canada is the identity of having two national languages. For kids, being bilingual at a young age is so beneficial, but the province in which I grew up didn’t mandate it, and so I never learned French in school. I wish Canada would standardize French across the country; it would open a lot of doors for people if they graduated from high school being able to converse in two languages.

Besides blogging or traveling, what do you love to do most?

Katie: Hanging out with feline Grandma, being near the ocean, finding a drive-through parking space.

Geoff: Hockey, time with friends, and a good steak. The great thing is all of these things can be combined into one glorious evening.  Curiously though, you can’t do them all in the summer, which definitely contradicts my answer for number 2 (note from Katie: number 2…ha!).

Choose one: bone-chilling temperature or scorching heat.

Katie: Scorching heat all the way. We both love the heat and hate being cold.

Geoff: Heat baby!

What is the last thing you did for the first time?

Katie: A few weeks ago, I went to my very first travel industry event, and met Twitter friends like Traveling Canucks, The Travelling Mom, Trip Styler, and the Imperfect Traveller for the first time…so that was two new things at once, and it was awesome to meet so many people who love travel as much as we do and have managed to make it work for them within a variety of different lifestyles. I left feeling pretty inspired, and more excited than ever for TBEX in Toronto this June. I also tried mushroom tea last night (no, not those kind of mushrooms), which sounds disgusting but is actually pretty good, so there’s that. I also recently popped my macaron cherry, which was pretty exciting.

Geoff: I recently posted our first video to YouTube – I know it’s boring, but really that’s it.

If you could travel any where in the world and money was no object, where would you go and why?

Katie:I’d go everywhere, except for those places where our lives would be in peril. Here’s just a little taste of the trips I have planned: Transiberian railway from Vladivostok to London, taking the longest train journey in the world from Lisbon to Saigon, the Mongol Rally, the Rickshaw Run, Burma, Greenland, Iceland, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan, the ‘Stans, and pretty much any trip Paul Theroux has ever done, like a train ride from the US down as far south in South America as you can get, or kayaking through the South Pacific islands.

Geoff: Money being no object, I think I’d like to explore Scandinavia in depth.  Being expensive countries they have been unfriendly to the budget to do any extensive exploring.  The northern lights, the northern highway in Norway, the fjords, Lapland – winter/summer it all looks so tempting.

Best meal you’ve ever had?

Katie: Well…that poop shaped ice cream I ate was pretty good, but I can’t say that was number one (HAAAAAA!).

And just like that, another humiliatingly unflattering photo of me ends up on the Internet. And yes, that is a mini squatter pot that I’m eating out of


Geoff: The best meal I ever had was not about the food.  I did try some things that I didn’t like and wouldn’t eat again, but it was the experience of meeting an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long time in Tokyo and spending the entire evening sipping expensive champagne and eating Fois Gras and sushi; it was a great memory that just happened to center around a meal.

What’s your favorite post on your blog? Link it

Katie: I think I’m going to have to go with that one when we finally put those Germans in their place (just joking Germany, I love you!), and got to the real heart of who invented the Christmas tree. Mostly because I got to make jokes about the word “erect,” and because the story involves drunkenness and setting things on fire, which is awesome.

Geoff: I like out last post the best, about the Italian Cafe.

Favorite cruise line?

Katie: I have no idea! I’ve never been on a cruise, unless you count our trip through the Galapagos, or riding the Mekong from Ho Chi Minh City up to Phnom Penh.

Geoff: I have never been on a cruise but I would like to do a river cruise through the Rhine.


Favorite candy?

Katie: I’m not really a candy eater…I’m more of a chocolate and pastry person.

Geoff: Chocolate almonds

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

Katie: I’m going to have to go with Ginnifer Goodwin, mostly because she was in front of me in line at Whole Foods yesterday, and she is pretty darn cute, and was sporting a CAPE! A Cape! AND gold shoes. Anyone who can sport a cape and gold shoes on a weekend afternoon at the grocery store, while buying toilet paper, is cool with me.

Geoff: Christian Bale…he’s dreamy.

Favorite quote or saying?

Katie: All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost. Cliche, but I think its pretty applicable…the second part at least.

Geoff: There’s only one way to find out – do it.

What would your super power be?

Katie: Teleporting. It would make traveling so much easier.

Geoff: Invisibility.  Oh, the things I could get away with!

Favorite smell?

Katie: It’s a tie between durian and stinky tofu, because both seem equally repugnant to my Canadian nostrils, but also delightfully foreign. Who doesn’t like a nice big whiff of durian?

Geoff: A bakery early in the morning.


No Durian Allowed Sign in Malaysia
For some reason, this establishment thought it appropriate to ban durian.

If you had to live in a decade other than this one, which one would you choose?

Katie: The 1920s. Hello flapper dresses?

Geoff: The 1970s: the music, the cars, the innocence, and the changing times. You know, all that stuff…

How old would you be in you didn’t know how old you are?

Katie: Um…whaaaaa? I’m going to go out on a limb here and wonder aloud whether someone was drinking a little when they made these questions….Is this some sort of riddle? Should I be looking for a disappearing cat or something?

Geoff: 27.  If I am guessing correctly that you’re asking how old I feel, it’s 27.  Extra special that it was the year everything came together for me. 27.


That’a all for today, kids! Check back on Wednesday for our nominations for the Liebster, and a list of 11 questions for the next bloggers to answer.




8 thoughts on “We’ve Been Double Liebster’d”

  1. Sonja @ The {Happy} Travel Bug

    So glad I nominated you guys. You are hilarious! Was smiling through most of this post and even laughed so hard at the poop ice cream that my son came to see what I was doing.

    1. Awwww! Thanks, Sonja! We’re so glad you nominated us too, and are looking forward to getting to know you and your blog! Thanks again, and glad to hear I was able to add a laugh to your day!

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