Liebster Award

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What is the Liebster Award?

Firstly, we want to say that we are truly honored to have received the Liebster Award this week.

The Liebster Award is an international award for bloggers by bloggers. “Liebster” is German and means ‘kindest, nicest lovely, dearest’ etc. I was nominated for this award by travel blogger Karin Leijen from Globetrotterpost. Check out her cool blog here. She has an abundance of travel advice mixed with day to day stories from all over the world involving travel tales. The Liebster award is a simple way to connect and reach out to other bloggers.

Here’s how it works

1. Acknowledge and thank the blog/blogger who nominated you.
2. Post the award image on your blog. Google Images: find one that you like.
3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the person/blog who nominated you.
4. Give eleven random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 11 blogs, with less than 200 followers, to receive the award.
6. Let the bloggers know that they’ve been nominated.
7. Give them eleven questions to answer.

Eleven Random Facts About Me

  1. Raised on my family’s Arkansas Rice Farm
  2. I’m an avid duck hunter.
  3. I love to fish. Catch and release.
  4. Worked in the Peace Corps in Africa building Corn Silos
  5. Never had a 9-to-5 job. Always my own boss.
  6. I Did contract work as Hot-Shot Driver handling oil rig equipment in Louisiana.
  7. Died in Montana. Really, I froze to death. The State of Montana did not recognize ‘living wills’.
  8. I was in a coma on life-support for 2 weeks and then just woke up.
  9. Spent 2 months in hospital re-learning how to walk, talk, etc.
  10. Met Laurel through the internet and got married within 2 months. We’re now in our 19th year together.
  11. I have lost over 100 lbs in one year because, in our travels, we walk everywhere.

Here are the answers to the questions Karin gave us.

What is the first country abroad you have visited?
The first country we visited together was a 3 month trip across Europe by train starting in Rome, Italy.

What is the weirdest custom you came across?
Probably the Varanasi, India cremations at the burning ghats.

What is the one thing everybody should have in his/her backpack?
For us French Press Coffee Pot and of course coffee and sweetened condensed milk in a tube.

Have you ever been stuck during your travels (because of the weather or visa rules etc)?
Only once recently, we had a trip that involved changing planes in Beijing and then in Changzhou in China. We were on a trip from Mongolia to Nepal. We were going to use the ’72 hour NO Visa Required layover’ to spend 2 days in Beijing. That way it would not require us to purchase the $150 visa (each).  However! We arrived in Beijing at 6:00 pm on Monday we knew we had until 12:00 Midnight on Wednesday before we would use up the 72 hours of free time and our flight reached Changzhou was at 9:00 pm Wednesday (3 hours to spare).  We went up to the Beijing Visa Counter to pass into China. The official called back to his supervisor and started conversing excitedly in Chinese. Then, in very broken English, we were told we could not come into China. We were told to go sit down and wait where several other travelers were also waiting.  After 6 hours of trying to talk to someone who could tell us what was happening, a new English-speaking supervisor walked up smiled and said it was ok now.  EXPLANATION: Turns out, we had to wait in the airport until after midnight so our entry stamp was a day later. You see our flight would arrive in Changzhou at 9:00 pm Wednesday, but the flight would not depart China until 1:00 am the next morning, making our stay over the 72 hours. That was the most unsettling 6 hours of my life and the Customs Area was not the most comfortable. But those 6 hours did save us $300. and the supervisor was extremely nice in explaining the problem they were trying to resolve.

What do you hate most about flying?
Getting from the front door of the airport to the door of the plane. Initial security checks / extremely long lines / baggage / tickets / customs / cavity searches (just kidding!). I guess there is nothing I hate about flying just getting to the flights. We know that it is all part of safer traveling, but we don’t have to like it.

What do you love most about flying?
I live to fly, Laurel does not get as excited as me but I start counting down days from about 10 out. I live to travel and flying is an exciting part of it.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive in a new place?
Find a local food market. (to get coffee for my French Press)

Do you travel prepared, booking rooms in front, using Lonely planet etc, or do you just see what happens?
Our travels are a combination of pre-booking a few days before arriving, to booking an AirBNB apartment as much as a month in advance. Some of the time we slow travel as we are doing now in Europe. We have spent a month in Avignon, France then Cannes, France and now Turin, Italy. Our next stop is Kiev, Ukraine for a month then when Spring hits we will speed up to 3 to 10 days per city across a number of countries including Moldova, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, and Serbia. Then the big prize in June, July, and August including Tour de France, Running with the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain and the Tomatina Festival in Spain.

What is the strangest food you have ever had?
Airag (Horse Milk Wine) or Arkhi (Yak Milk Vodka) in Mongolia

What would you like to read on a travel blog?
We like to read about the experiences you had with people and or the customs of an area you have just visited. Second would be the food and what you found to be the best dishes.

John & LaurelWe have till the end of the year to pick the blogs we read and like the best. From those blogs, we will consider who we will choose to nominate for the award. We will probably give ourselves a little time, but if you want us to review your blog please contact us with a link to your blog.  Good luck!



  1. first congrats on winning the award!
    I think you win the award for most craziest food ever! Yak Milk Vodka? That is…well, I don’t even know what to say about that and I would try and eat anything but that may be one I watch others gag on and laugh!
    I agree with you about the other blogs, I think I love reading about experiences more now than I do guides, though they help too!

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