You may be wondering what this blog post is all about going by the title. The Liebster award? What is all that about? I too was thinking that very same thing when Suzanne from Globalhousesitterx2 left a message on my blog to say she had nominated me for the award. I headed on over to her blog, then, to upskill myself so to speak and find out what it was all about. Ah right, after a bit of reading and digging I got the low down on it. Originating in Germany, it’s basically an internet award where a blogger nominates fellow bloggers whose musings they enjoy reading and asks them to answer some questions in a blog post. Once the nominee has answered the questions and published them on their blog they then nominate blogs that they enjoy reading asking those bloggers to answer the same or different questions. And so it goes on. It’s all about sharing the blog love and it’s aimed at newcomers to the blogosphere. Are you all with me so far? Great.
Suzanne and her husband are New Zealanders living an extraordinary life of world travel combined with house and pet sitting. I enjoy reading all about their globe trotting lifestyle and Suzanne’s musings on life. Thank you Suzanne for nominating my blog. I’ve done my best to answer your questions.
And without further ado here they are:
What country, city or continent would you most like to visit and why
Ooh, that’s a toughy. I couldn’t really pick just one. In truth, I’m not very well travelled in terms of having visited many other countries. Until we started on our trip around Europe I’d only visited a handful of countries as, for eighteen years, we holidayed in the UK due to having our dogs. I don’t have any one specific stand out destination that I would most like to visit. I’m happy doing what we are doing now travelling and discovering new areas and countries in a loose haphazard kind of way. Anywhere new is good enough for me at the moment. Maybe in years to come, after having experienced and visited more countries, I’ll have an idea of somewhere that I think ‘yes, I have to go there’. Having said that, Scotland is somewhere that I have never been to that I would really like to see but we keep putting it off because of the weather!
What was the most inspirational time in your life so far?
I think that has to be the years leading up to us taking this huge long trip around Europe in our van. Up until about five or six years ago I’d been pretty content with my life. My job was a means to an end. It wasn’t something I was passionate about but, you know, I felt I did a good job and I didn’t hate it anything. I didn’t feel like I was in the rat race and life was pretty good. But then a combination of things happened including an enforced job change to another department which left me in a working environment and job that I felt, deep down, was not for me and I started to think ‘gosh, is this as good as it gets….am I going to be able to do this for another ten or fifteen years’. I don’t know why but I started to peruse a few different blogs on people taking time out to travel around Europe in their motorhomes. As this was something that we wanted to do when we reached traditional retirement age I devoured them all. This then morphed into delving into blogs about minimalism, simple living and living intentionally. Blimey, I was on fire! It made me completely change my mind set and perspective on life. When it came down to it, time and experiences were more important to us than stuff. Living with less and wanting less has definitely changed our lives for the better and enabled us to pursue our current life of travel.
What are you passionate about?
I really feel at home around animals and like to be with them. We don’t have any pets at the moment though. We made a conscious decision when our last dog sadly went to the big kennel in the sky, towards the end of 2013, that we would have a break from the responsibility of having a pet to enable is to pursue other things. Some of the volunteering we have done through Helpx in the last eighteen months has been with various different animals including donkeys, dogs and alpacas. If we ever settle back into a normal life or even if we don’t then I’m sure we will have another dog……….or two. I also love travelling in our motorhome, reading, walking and cycling. I quite like birdwatching as well but I’m not serious about it and generally can’t identify what I’m looking at.
What is your favourite book and why?
Reading is one of my most favourite things to do and there are sooo many books I could choose. Instead of choosing one book then I’m going to choose my favourite author. And that would be, hands down, Alexander McCall Smith. I just love his books. He’s a prolific writer and just when I think I’ve read everything by him I’ll be casually flitting about on the Amazon Kindle book pages and see he has published another book. My favourites by him are all of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series and the 44 Scotland Street series. He has a very simple, subtle way of writing with beautiful observations and reflections on life and a whole host of wonderful characters. Overall, his writing just exudes compassion and kindness which is something we should all aspire to. With every book I have read of his I always learn a few new words which I have to look up but I can’t confess to remembering them.
What is your favourite time of year?
I love all the seasons, well not so much winter, but if I had to pick one time of year I would say it would have to be Spring. The days start to get longer, migrating birds return, new shoots appear and you have that feeling of the whole summer stretching ahead of you.
What other interests do you have besides blogging?
This varies year to year as I am a fickle soul and don’t seem to be able to stick at anything for very long. Currently I enjoy spending time trying to improve my French. It’s a lofty goal of mine to become fluent in at least one other language and be able to get by in another two. The other two would be German and Spanish. But I’d also like to learn Portuguese too. And maybe Italian. Did I mention I was fickle? I’m so envious of polyglots who speak several languages effortlessly and I’m a late starter to this so we’ll see. Time will tell. Maybe by telling it to the world here I’ll make myself more accountable. Peut-etre.
Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?
Now, I think the answer to that question for me would be ‘it depends on the weather’. If it’s dry and bright then I would choose the mountains over the beach any day of the week. As walking is one of my passions then I need to be able to get out and about amongst those peaks. If the cloud is low or it’s raining and I can’t see them then I can find them a bit oppressive. You see, I’m a fair weather mountain person. In contrast, I love beaches in any weather and at any time of the year.
Where did you go for your most memorable holiday?
One holiday that stands out was a trip to the Isles of Scilly back in 2009. We had our lovely dog Lulu then. We travelled with just our backpacks and little tent on the train from our home in Wiltshire to Penzance and took the ferry to St Mary’s island. We stayed on St Agnes, which has no cars, spending a wonderful week exploring the islands, visiting the pubs and generally enjoying a slower pace of life. The weather was amazing which was just as well as our little tent was a bit cramped with the two of us and Lulu. We took the least amount of stuff we felt we could get away with but bought two cheap camping chairs in Penzance. I can’t do without a chair. If I go camping I want a chair. If I sit on the beach I want to be in a chair. If I go on a picnic I want to be in a chair. No romantic picnic rug for me. I want a chair. That’s all I want. A chair! Anyway, when our week’s holiday was over we gave the two chairs to a couple of backpackers who were just arriving on the campsite.
Do you prefer a sunny or a rainy day?
Oh, sunny. Sunny. Yes, definitely sunny. I’m no sun worshipper though. Lying on a beach slathered in chip fat slowly cooking is just not for me. My idea of sunbathing is sitting in my shorts and T-shirt under the shade of a tree reading a book. I love sunny days because they make me feel happy and energized. Everything just looks better on a sunny day. Sunny days allow me to do the things I love like walking and cycling. That said, if I’m tired after a busy few days I’m more than happy to sit watching the rain roll down the windows whilst supping a cup of tea.
If you had a day all to yourself how would you spend it?
Ok, I’d start with a cup of tea in bed whilst reading a book, a blog or something educational followed by a swim, ideally on a sunny day in a nice fifty metre outdoor pool. After breakfast a long walk in beautiful countryside preferably one where I would come across a field of donkeys to pat. A cheese and pickle sandwich for lunch followed by an afternoon kip. I’d listen to a few language podcasts, read some more and finish up my day with a homemade chilli. Rock and Roll I am not!
So there we have it. And now it’s my turn to nominate some of the blogs I enjoy reading. I’ll leave the questions as the same or if you want to mix it and match it with some others I’ve listed below, or answer some but not others, do what you like really……..or not. It’s up to you 🙂
What books have you been inspired by and why?
What would you say has been the biggest challenge of your current lifestyle?
What has been the biggest benefit of your chosen lifestyle?
I would like to nominate:
Phew, that was, I think, my longest blog post yet. If you’ve got to the end then thanks for reading. I’m off for a lie down!