My travel blog buddy, Debbie, at European Travelista, invited me to participate in The ABCs of Travel – an A to Z travel survey. It’s a fun look back at the memories I’ve created, the things I’ve done and the people I’ve met during my travels. Hope you enjoy reading about My Travel ABCs.
Thanks, Debbie, for including me in the survey.
A: Age you went on your first international trip: I was 18 or 19 when I took my first international trip to Merida in Yucatan. It sparked my interest in historic sites and shaped future trips. That was a big travel year for me as I also visited Canada for the first time.
B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: I’m not big on beer, unfortunately, so I have no opinion on what’s good.
C: Cuisine (favorite): Oooh, this is hard because I love food and will eat just about any kind of food. I love Spanish (I even considered living in Spain because of the food), Mexican, Brazilian, Thai, Indonesian, Indian as well as foods from some African countries, and of course, Jamaican/Caribbean. NYC, with its large and diverse ethnic communities, provides my food fix when I’m not traveling.
D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:I’ve loved every place I’ve visited so far. I’ve yet to have a least favorite destination. I’d definitely return to Havana. There’s something about Cuba in general that just seeps into your soul, it’s unforgettable. As I said earlier, I wanted to live in Spain because of the food. Three months there and I didn’t scratch the surface – I’d return to explore it. I hope to return to Paris in two years or so and just soak up its ambience. I’d go back to South Africa in a heartbeat but I’d go directly to Durban, rent a car and just drive up to the mountains. The other reason I’d love to return to SA is to take the Rovos Rail to see more of the country and get a glimpse of what train travel must have been like back then.
E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: Hands down, that would have to be game watching in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.
F: Favorite mode of transportation: Though I love flying, train is by far my most favorite mode of transportation. It’s the best way to see the countryside.
G: Greatest feeling while traveling: I’d have to say it’s a feeling of excitement, like what will I discover today or what experience will I have, awe. Many times, I’m humbled by my experiences.
H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: I really don’t have to travel too far to experience the hottest place I’ve been. Jamaica gets quite hot from May through August. It gets so hot you begin sweating as soon as I get out of the shower.
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: Sometimes people go out of their way to make you feel welcome. I went to an Italian restaurant in Paris with a Canadian woman I’d met. Our waiter was very gregarious and engaged us in conversation. When he asked, I told him where we were staying. Without a word to me, he called over one of the waitresses. Turns out, she was also going to the same stop on the metro. Although she wasn’t ready to leave by the time we had finished dinner, the owner told her she could go so that we could be on the same train together.
J: Journey that took the longest: That would have to be the 17 hours by plane from Johannesburg to New York City.
K: Keepsake from your travels: I save tickets stubs from museums, theaters, programs, shells, stones, leaves, anything that’ll remind me of my trip.
L: Let-down sight, why and where: I’d seen so many documentaries and photos of Stonehenge and had wanted to see it for so many years that when I did finally, it felt small and anti-climactic. The stones at first didn’t look as large as I anticipated them to be but when I look back at photos I took, especially one that I had taken of me standing next to a stone, I realize how large they truly are. I looked like a gnat next to it!
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: I fell in love with travel through reading. I was an avid Nancy Drew fan and as I read about her adventures, I wanted to travel and have similar experiences. I’m not interested in solving mysteries though!
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: I’ve stayed in quite a few nice hotels but the one that impressed me the most was a little hotel outside Durban. The bed was so plush and comfortable, I wanted to take the mattress home with me.
O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: I’m obsessed with churches. I also take signs, quirky or weird ones, street signs, anything that stands out or will bring back a smile or memories of my travels. My latest obsession is flowering plants.
P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? My current passport has stamps from Cuba, France, Jamaica, Lesotho, South Africa, the UK and Zimbabwe
Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: Unfortunately, I can’t think of any. Sorry!
R: Recommended sight, event or experience: Watching the sun set. I’d also recommend game watching (highly) even if you don’t consider yourself an animal lover.
S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Leather, artwork, one-of-a-kind, heirloom or handmade jewelry or clothes.
T: Touristy thing you’ve done: I hate long lines but I joined one and rode the London Eye. In Paris, I joined an even longer one to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
U: Unforgettable travel memory: Missing our flight from Merida and having to spend another night.
V: Visas, how many and for where? I can only think of two – France and the UK.
W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? The best glass of wine I’ve had, a pommard, was in New York City. I fell in love.
X: eXcellent view and from where?: My idea of an excellent view has changed. I still love views from very high up, like the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State but I now have a new appreciation of views from the edge of the land and looking at the curvature, the places where it drops off and the ocean begins.
Y: Years spent traveling?: I’ve been traveling on and off since my late teens. I doubt that a year has passed since then that I haven’t visited a new place, even if it’s just down the road.
Z: Zealous sports fans and where?: Not sure. I think most countries have their share of zealous sports fans.
Now that I’ve shared My Travel ABCs, I’d love to read what these five bloggers have to say: