Pass the Baton: Blogger Relay

Ligeia with Eleanor Roosevelt

After being passed the relay baton from travel bloggers Sam & Zab over at Indefinite Adventure, we mulled over their great questions and are ready to pass the torch! First our answers:

1. If you could travel back in time to meet a historical figure, who would it be and why?

We would love to meet Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “You must do what it is that you are afraid to do”. Eleanor, therefore, was a fierce and fearless woman and would be a cool person to hang out with – she flew with Amelia Earhart after all!

Ligeia with Eleanor Roosevelt

Ligeia with Eleanor Roosevelt

2. Are there any social norms or practices you’ve encountered on your travels that you wish were normal in your native culture?

We have found that in many countries around the world that respecting one’s elders is more common than back home, where we find that seniors are too often dismissed.

3. Is there anything you do on your travels or in your every day life to try to minimize your impact on the environment?

We work very hard to minimize our environmental footprint. We ride bicycles for our daily commute, we buy from local produce markets and we’re vegan.

4. Are there any places in the world you wouldn’t visit out of principle, perhaps because the government of a particular country upholds a law that goes against your own beliefs? And do you think such boycotts are effective?

There is no place that we wouldn’t visit. Even locations where homosexuality is illegal or under an oppressive regime make our list. We believe every country has something wonderful to offer and feel it would be a shame to miss those things do to one aspect of a culture or government that we don’t like. We would not, however, visit a current war zone.

5. What is one food you could now never eat in your home country again because you’ve tasted the original version in its country of origin and you’ve been forever spoiled?

Olives!! After having olives in Greece, Turkey and Israel we find ourselves highly disappointed with the ones at home, both in taste and in variety.

Delicious olives in the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv

Olives!

6. If you could build your own home from scratch, what features would you include that are perhaps things you’ve come across in different places around the world on your travels?

This question was easy! Living in Thailand, we have gotten so used to the “bum guns” in the bathrooms. Sorry, we really don’t have any other name for it  😉  Also, we love the heated, tile floors we found in Norway. Those will definitely be appreciated during cold, winter nights!

7. What is one thing that is too large or impractical to travel with that you wish you could bring with you when you travel?

A car. Mindy suffers from terrible motion sickness every time we get in or on a moving vehicle. This dissipates when we drive ourselves.

8. In your opinion, is there any value in making a distinction between tourist and traveller? Do you make this distinction, and if so which do you consider yourself?

Sometimes we are tourists (joining a group or visiting touristy things) and other times we are more like travelers (exploring on our own). We enjoy both types of sight-seeing for different reasons. While getting spoon-fed interesting facts from a tour guide can help us learn a lot about a given location, we also sometimes prefer the adventure of discovering places on our own.

9. For you, what are the most and least livable cities you’ve visited?

We have lived in many locations in the world and have visited even more. Often visiting a city can give a false impression of what it might be like to live there. So far, we have found that Chiang Mai, where we currently live, is a very easy city (sometimes too easy!) for Westerners. Living in Berlin had many advantages, as well as Toronto and Tampa.

The least interesting location we have lived was Hartford, Connecticut, although it was thankfully not far from some beautiful New England locations as well as New York City.

10. Do you have any irrational fears that your travels have helped you overcome? How?

Traveling has helped us overcome the fear of the unknown, the fear of not planning in advance and the fear of starting over. Simply by doing it over and over, unplanned traveling has allowed us to become more comfortable with dropping everything, getting on a plane, arriving to a new country and exploring without worrying about details.

We’re still working on a fear of flying.

11. Tell us one belief that is held up by society as ‘common sense’ but that you think is ridiculous/silly/backward and why.

Don’t go down dark alleys! It is easy to understand why this advice is useful and yet when our curiosity has gotten the better of us, we have often been pleasantly surprised with what we found.  Sometimes the best restaurants can be found in such dark alleys, often run by Mom and Pop who can not afford rent on a major street. These locations are often only used to serving those living in the neighborhood, have no set menu and are surprised to see foreigners. Language barriers make these experiences even more exciting.

Also, one gets a closer look into the “real” city – the stuff that is not put on display for tourists. Watching men gamble on a game you’ve never seen before, hearing locals summon their children for dinner and trying local cuisine at a make-shift restaurant can all be experienced by stepping off the main roads and into the narrowness of dark alleys.

Our Baton Questions to You!

Now it’s your turn! We’ve put together a set of 11 questions that we’re asking the following travel bloggers:

1. What is your strangest coming out story?
2. Where was the coldest/hottest place you’ve traveled?
3. What was the last activity or event you attended for the first time?
4. What was the scariest thing that has ever happened to you while traveling?
5. When traveling, what relationship do fellow travellers/locals assume you have with each other (ie friends, sisters, a couple etc)?
6. Where are the top three most romantic locations you have visited?
7. How do you decide which activities to do when you travel? Do you both always enjoy the same things or does someone always compromise?
8. What five must-see locations are still left on your bucket list?
9. What is the least enjoyable aspect of traveling for you?
10. By traveling abroad what have you learned about your own culture?
11. In your opinion, what are the top three most lesbian-friendly cities in the world?

We’re looking forward to learning your answers!!

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6 thoughts on “Pass the Baton: Blogger Relay

  1. Nicole Rossetti le Strange

    Number five, olives (in Morocco) definitely – and dates too! And fresh figs – after having them in Turkey, they are just not the same in the UK! Oh, and coconuts and curry in India – really, really not the same in the UK!

  2. Nicole Rossetti le Strange

    And…

    1. What is your strangest coming out story?
    N/A… although Kevin had absolutely no problem when I told him I like girls as well as boys, so as a story, that’s a bit dull really!

    2. Where was the coldest/hottest place you’ve traveled?
    Coldest – Scotland. Hottest – Laos. I haven’t actually been to many cold places!

    3. What was the last activity or event you attended for the first time?
    Yi Peng… with you two! And it was awesome in every sense of the word – thank you!

    4. What was the scariest thing that has ever happened to you while traveling?
    When I was 17, being punched and having my rucksack snatched as the train pulled into the station. Out of instinct, I chased the thief along the platform, and he was briefly caught by one of the guards, so I got my stuff back, but he managed to escape, and scarpered. At the time, I wasn’t scared but afterward, once the adrenalin had subsided, I was all shaky and more than a little upset. It was years before I felt comfortable travelling on trains by myself again, and in fact, it was only about five years ago, that I could truly say I was over it. The worst of it was that it happened in the UK, when I was on my way to have a well-deserved long weekend in Norfolk… you’d think that in the UK, you’d be pretty safe, eh?!

    5. When traveling, what relationship do fellow travellers/locals assume you have with each other (ie friends, sisters, a couple etc)?
    Another N/A… I don’t think anyone would mistake Kevin for my sister!

    6. Where are the top three most romantic locations you have visited?
    Obviously my hometown of Venexia! We rented a lovely, cosy little cottage in Suffolk (UK) once, which used to be part of a dairy farm. The weather was raging outside but we were all warm and snuggly indoors. It was lovely! Also, Essouira in Morocco is a great place for romantic strolls along the beach in the evening, watching the sun go down. Oh, and if I can have another, renting a houseboat on the Kerala backwaters for a couple of days. Absolutely wonderful to sit on the front of the boat, watching the kites hunting in the evening, and then the lights from the villages at night, and hearing all the wildlife too. Bliss!

    7. How do you decide which activities to do when you travel? Do you both always enjoy the same things or does someone always compromise?
    Generally we both like to do the same things. I can’t think of anything we’ve had to compromise on – we both have incredibly similar tastes!

    8. What five must-see locations are still left on your bucket list?
    Hmmmm…. speaking purely for me; Petra – I’d love to see it in the flesh, so to speak. The Northern Lights is an absolute must too – probably in Norway, then I could visit a couple of Norwegian friends as well! Monteriggioni and San Gimignano (both in Toscana) are high on my to-visit list. Also, Zion Valley in the US – I would dearly love to go there, and do some hiking/exploring there. And Bulgaria, particularly Stara Planina, which is considered to be one of the most pure and ecologically sound regions in Europe. Plus, it’s absolutely beautiful!

    9. What is the least enjoyable aspect of traveling for you?
    The actual travelling part! In an ideal world, I’d have a matter transporter (like in Star Trek), so I could just be wherever I wanted to be in a jiffy – none of this queuing up at passport control, hanging around airports for hours on end, etc. Plus, when I was really tired, I could just be transported out of my clothes and into bed. How cool would that be?!

    10. By traveling abroad what have you learned about your own culture?
    I am a mixture of Italian and British culture, although I’ve always felt that the larger part is the Italian side. However, I’m going to go with the British part because this is where I see the biggest differences: in Britain, there’s not the respect for elders (as you pointed out), nor the love of food (nor mealtimes being an occasion). Apart from the religious aspect (Britain is far more secular than most places I’ve travelled to), two things that really stand out are that the average British person seems to have a massive sense of entitlement, rather than a sense of earning something, and being grateful for it), and the other is the attitude toward alcohol. Although not quite up there with some Eastern European countries, the UK, in general, nevertheless has a pretty bad attitude toward booze and getting drunk. OTOH, in the main, the UK is a lot more easy-going than some countries I’ve been to, and I don’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing or inadvertently offending someone because I don’t understand the culture!

    11. In your opinion, what are the top three most lesbian-friendly cities in the world?
    I really wouldn’t know, not being a lesbian myself, it’s not something I’m on the lookout for but I do know that London is very open to people of all persuasions, be it colour, creed, sexuality etc. London is a great city (yes, even taking into account my previous answer!), and I love how people can be who/what they are there, and not feel they have to conform to someone else’s idea of who/what they should be. Brighton is pretty good in this respect too.

    Chiang Mai seems to be very gay-friendly as well; certainly, I have more than my fair share of friends and acquaintances who are gay (male and female), trans, whatever, and they seem to be accepted without question here in CM.

    I really couldn’t say about anywhere else, because it’s just not something which crosses my radar (or even my gaydar!) but I suspect that your other readers will have plenty to say on the subject!

    Great questions – you should have more posts like this!

    1. Mindy & Ligeia

      Wow Nicole, you’ve written a blog post! 🙂 It was very interesting to read your answers, especially where Great Britain is concerned. We are very much looking forward to going there. We also hope you get to Zion soon as well. VERY beautiful part of the world indeed! 🙂

  3. Sam

    Lovely! I was surprised by some of these answers, but always pleasantly! Thanks for indulging me, answering my questions and taking part. Looking forward to reading some of the answers your questions get.

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