My ABCs of Travel

IMG_7882

The best part of blogging is meeting and getting to hear from all of you.  I always have my ear to the tracks for suggestions about the best of what’s out there and I want to hear your stories.

You may have noticed a new page at the top entitled ABCs of Travel.  I’m looking to hear about your best and worst travel destinations and experiences.  I thought I’d get the ball rolling by answering the questions myself.

A.  Age you went on your first memorable trip

Age 10 or so when our family drove to Washington D.C.  I vaguely remember the presidential monuments and particularly recall how cool the National Air & Space  Museum was.

B.  Best beer you’ve had and where

Heinekens and Amstels in Greece (and I don’t really care for Heineken) but they seemed to taste fine along with the sunset views of the Santorini caldera.

Evening beers in Santorini GreeceSunset of Santorini Caldera

C.  Cuisine (favorite)

Asian, especially Thai noodles in thick gravies.

D.  Destinations.  Favorite?  Least favorite?  And why?

Favorite:  Spain is the highest on my destination list for its perfect balance of people, sights, cuisine, climate, culture, and history.  Where else did you expect me to say?

Least Favorite:  Brussels.  I’ve been to Belgium on three different occasions and it has rained every. single. time.  Couple that with bad traffic and getting very lost, I have not had any very good experiences in this town due to mostly circumstantial stuff.

E.  Event you experienced while traveling that made you say “wow”

Seeing Milford Sound, one of the rainiest places on the planet, on a cloudless day.

Mitre Peak - Milford Sound, NZ

F.  Favorite mode of transportation

Tuk-tuk obviously!

Tuk Tuk in Bangkok, Thailand

G.  Greatest feeling while traveling

The best part of traveling for me is that feeling of being out of my element and comfort zone.  Reminds me that I’m alive.  Even the most mundane tasks can be an adventure.

H.  Hottest place you’ve traveled to

Jodhpur, India

I.  Incredible service you’ve experienced and where

Charlie Trotter’s self-named restaurant in Chicago.  I’m pretty sure each table had a dedicated troupe of servers.

J.  Journey that took the longest

Driving a straight shot from the eastern side of Lake Huron near Sudbury, Ontario to our home in Madison, Wisconsin.

K.  Keepsake from your travels

Handmade silk rugs from India – so soft and dense at 1200 knots per square inch.

Handmade silk rugs - India

L.  Let-down sight, why and where

Tie between the Coliseum in Rome and Mona Lisa in the Louvre.  Mainly because it looks the same as seen in photos except with hordes of people impeding your way of really getting close to it.

M.  Moment where you fell in love with travel

Traveling by train with my college buddies through western Europe for the first time.

N.  Nicest lodging you’ve stayed in

After staying in a series of hostels, my wife and I cashed in some hotel points and stayed at the InterContinental at the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome.

O.  Obsession – what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?

Panoramic views that never turn out very good with my poor camera and even poorer photography skills.

P.  Passport stamps, how many and from where?

I’m on my second adult passport and have visited around 26 countries.

Q.  Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where

Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.

R.  Recommended sight, event, and/or experience

Sight – Sistine Chapel

Event – Valencia, Spain’s Fallas celebration (photo at top)

Experience – Kawarau Bungee Jump (the original)

Kawarau Bridge Bungy

S.  Splurge – something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling

A nice meal every once in a while, especially after a long day of sight-seeing when I’ve been on my feet all day.  With a mid-day ice cream snack a close second.

T.  Touristy thing you’ve done

Syndey Harbour BridgeClimb and it was awesome.

Syndey Harbour BridgeClimb

U.  Unforgettable travel memory

After getting seasick in Cairns, Australia while checking out the Great Barrier Reef, we decided to head inland for a change of pace.  Our plans brought us to the small town of Yungaburra for “platypus spotting”.  This consisted of a walk to a tiny marshy pond where about 15 of us were told to sit in complete silence to catch a glimpse of this elusive animal.

We sat there for what felt like an hour with nothing to show but maybe the croak of a toad.  All was not lost, however, as we retreated to the lodge for a buffet BBQ and to watch the much-hyped Rugby match between host Australia (the Wallabies) and prime rival New Zealand (the All Blacks) for the 2003 semi-finals of the World Cup.

V.  Visas, how many and for where?

1 student visa for Spain

1 travel visa for India

W.  Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?

As an unsophisticated college junior, my buddy’s dad had a business contact in Florence, Italy who set us up with some pretty local girls that offered (or more likely, were forced) to show us around town.  We ended the day at a fancy restaurant.

We gorged ourselves on unidentified shellfish, testicles, and innards that were absolutely delicious and of course paired with all kinds of different wines that we over indulged on.

X.  eXcellent view and from where?

Pretty much anywhere on the South Island of New Zealand.

Y.  Years (or longest duration) spent traveling?

100 days – hope to break this record in 2014.

Z.  (Most) Zealous sports fans and where?

Polish soccer fans cheering their team on against the U.S. national team in Soldier Field, Chicago (the second largest Polish city outside of Warsaw).

“Polska!  (clap, clap, clap)  Polska! (clap, clap, clap)”  I can still hear it ringing in my ears…

15 thoughts on “My ABCs of Travel”

  1. Nice! We just had the carnival parade here too this past weekend! I think it’s cool to incorporate life and travel on the blog. Man does not live by FI information alone. Is that you in Sydney???

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Addison. We swung by Nashville in early January on our drive back north from FL and enjoyed walking Broadway and ultimately had a messy lunch at Jack’s BBQ. Cool town that I’d like to revisit again in non-winter time.

  2. It’s nice you have been to the Corn Palace in SD. Not much around there, but it’s a stop and RR break. I prefer to spend my money right here in the USA, but I have traveled most of the states.

    1. You are right. The location of the Corn Palace is the perfect stopping point for a break in the middle of SD (for those heading west to Badlands/Black Hills area). I actually thought the inside part where the auditorium was more interesting than the outside facade.

  3. Brilliant list!
    I’m massively passionate about travelling and it tends to hold me back from growing my wealth, but I guess you still need to live the life you want to lead.
    Great to see Australia pop up on your list a couple of times!!

    1. Thanks. I realize this may not sound like a compliment to an Australian like yourself, but I really enjoyed our time in both Oz and New Zealand. I noticed some differences, but overall both places featured great sights and awesome, really down-to-earth people. I wouldn’t hesitate to make a return trip and hope we can get back in due time – next time with our boys.

      If you’ve done a bit of traveling and would have a bit of fun talking about your favorites, I’d love to hear your ABCs of Travel if you’d be up for it!

      1. Don’t worry about offending me, all Aussies know that New Zealand is simply another state that fell off our country. That’s why so many Kiwis want to live here!

        Give me a couple of days and I’ll post up my ABCs. Will be pretty different from your’s that’s for sure.

    1. Hi Chatru. Good to hear you’ve made your list. Is there a place where we can see your answers? If you don’t want to make it public, I would understand. If you want to make it public and need a place to do so, feel free to follow up with me and I can post it on this site. Just follow the instructions as laid out here. I’m always interested in hearing about other people’s travels and I know you live somewhere I’ve never been so I bet you have some good stories.

Your Thoughts?