If you’ve been part of the travel blogging scene for a while you have undoubtedly seen several mentions of the “Liebster Award” and the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers” award. Heck, you might have already been nominated for either or both awards yourself.
For those who haven’t heard of the Liebster and the Sisterhood yet – it’s basically a way to recognize your fellow travel bloggers, and get to know them a bit better by asking them questions that they are expected to answer as they, in turn, write a post about the award.
Technically the Liebster award is supposed to be given to new blogs, with very small following, and I have first received the Liebster nomination from BEATRAVELING way back in October 2014, when I was just a new kid on the block. (You can read about that in “Liebster Awards, or as I’ve been calling it #blogspotlight.“)
The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers on another hand is supposed to showcase female bloggers, because, as Kate of Adventurous Kate pointed out during her keynote at WITS15 (Women in Travel Summit held in 2015), female bloggers deserve more attention than they are given by the media.
(I don’t think there’s a video recording of that speech but you can at least look at the slides of Kate’s presentation “Gender Inequality in the Travel Blogging Industry.”)
This summer I got a nomination for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers from Lauren of Justin + Lauren, who is one of my cohosts for the #WeekendWanderlust blog link ups and the Saturday Twitter chat.
Since Lauren is pretty active in the travel blogging community, you probably have already seen her posts, full of gorgeous, colorful photos. I’ve been reading the stories of her and Justin’s recent trip to Italy with great interest. But what I also like about Lauren is the tireless work behind the scenes that she does every week to build the #WeekendWanderlust community, be it paying attention to every participant in the Twitter chats, commenting on all the blogs that link up, or adding all posts to her #WeekendWanderlust Pinterest board.
I am grateful to Lauren for considering me part of her Sisterhood.
(See Lauren’s post “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”)
I also got another nomination recently from Samiya of the Selim Family Raasta, and decided it’s time to get my act together and pay forward by bringing my readers’ attention to bloggers who, I believe, deserve additional recognition.
If you aren’t already following the Selim Family Raasta blog, you are missing out on fascinating stories of where this family with two kids has been and how much the kids have learned through their travels. If they weren’t the ones giving me the nomination, they would be at the top of my list for nominees.
I am grateful to Samiya as well for including me in her Sisterhood and for the nice comments she wrote on my profile page.
I do hope I’ll get to meet both ladies in person some day!
(See Samiya’s post “Receiving 2 awards in one month – Liebster and Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award!“)
According to Samiya, the rules the nominated blogger are as follows:
- answer 10 questions shared by the blogger (who nominated him/ her (see my answers in the third part of the post)
- link back the blog to theirs (done)
- nominates 10 other bloggers and shares his/ her set of questions for them to take forward.
So now, without further ado, I am presenting to you my list of blogs who, in my opinion, you should be following more closely, if you already aren’t.
My Nominees for the Liebster Award and the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award
My list of nominated bloggers is a mix of very young female bloggers who travel solo (or with another girl), as well as several “moms” and “dads” who travel (or used to travel) with the whole family in tow.
Most of the times people “presenting” the awards merely list their nominations and simply add a link, but I’d like to let you know why I chose these particular bloggers to nominate, and I hope you’ll read my comments below, and, more importantly, start reading these wonderful blogs and will comment on the new posts regularly.
(If you’re curious in my answers to Lauren’s and Samiya’s questions, those are at the very end of the post.)
A Traveling Life
A Traveling Life is run by Brianne, whose parents took her to China when she was 13, and who founded her own communications consulting company a few years ago with the goal of having more flexibility to travel.
Don’t be fooled by just two destinations listed on her blog. This girl has been places! (She regularly contributes photos from all around the world to help me promote #WeekendWanderlust Twitter chats.)
What I also like about Brianne that recently she has been using her blog to showcase not herself and her own travels, but her fellow travel bloggers. She’s got quite an interesting collection of interviews by now. Go check it out!
Deafinitely Wanderlust is written collaboratively by Lilo and Stacey, who describe themselves as “two Deaf backpackers, hoping to inspire both Deaf and Hearing communities.” I’m thinking they are definitely young enough to be my kids, and I follow their travels with great interest.
I admire those two girls tremendously and very much enjoy their honest and humorous tone. Just watch their “Homeless in Hiroshima, Japan” video and you’ll know what I mean.
Dish Our Town
Dish Our Town until recently was a “vacation” travel blog and included posts of trips Brenda and Andrew Tolentino took with their daughter over the last several years. This summer, however, the Tolentinos have embarked an an around-the-world journey, beginning in southeast Asia, and started blogging about that as well. You can follow their whereabouts on Facebook.
What I like about Brenda and Andrew is that their posts are more than just “this is where we went and this is what we saw.” They also make their readers follow the fascinating meandering path of their minds, since they also write about their thoughts and memories that stem from their travels. Andrew, especially, specializes in making very interesting connections between what he sees and what he’s experienced in the past. It’s not your typical travel blogging, and I find it quite fascinating.
I am also excited to see that Brenda and Andrew’s daughter Bailey is starting to write posts as well! Her review of the hotel in Manila was truly fun to read.
Family Travel Times
Family Travel Times is a well established blog created by Sarah and Brian, a London, UK based couple with two kids, who most recently have traveled mostly around the UK but had also been to loads of places all over the world.
I admit that I’m an Anglophile, or more exactly a UK-phile since I’d also love to visit Wales and Scotland, so I’m following Family Travel Times with great interest. But what I also like about this blog is that quite a few posts are written not by the parents, but by the kids – thirteen-year-old Jess and ten-year-old Robert. I don’t know whether their mom helps Jess and Robert with their posts, or if they have her journalistic gene, but I can tell you the posts are quite well written and interesting to read.
Overall, I think it’s a fantastic exercise for kids to write about their travel experiences and consider, as they sightsee, how they would describe a particular place or event. And yes, I do hope my kids will decide to write a few posts as well some time.
Living La Vida Global
I found Living La Vida Global fairly recently, and I think it’s a fairly new blog overall. Managed by Dean and Pauline Williamson from Australia, with most of the posts written by Dean (so far) this blog definitely qualifies for the Liebster Award because it’s just a few months old. By the way, the Williamsons could use a few more likes on Facebook, and followers on Twitter, so give some love to the new “kids” on the block to show them we’re a friendly bunch!
I really enjoyed Dean’s posts about the honeymoon from hell as related 24 years later, and a very heartfelt but also chock full of good advice piece about traveling as a family, looking back at 12 years of traveling with their daughter who’s moving away. (Read “Honeymoon Havoc – 24 years later” and “12 years of family travel… the lessons learned.”
Love Traveling is written by Ibazela (though I don’t think that’s her real name) from Poland who calls herself as a Japanophile. Sure, one of the reasons she’s on the list is because she’s Polish (like I am), and I wanted to include on the list at least one Polish blogger who deserves more attention.
However, another reason I like Ibazela’s posts is because she seems to like folklore and folk museums (also like I do). She has been to an 18th-century village in Estonia,The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, Norway, and wrote a post about Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) Day in Poland. (see “Old Estonia, Folk Estonia,” “Leave your heart in Norsk Folkemuseum” and “Corpus Christi Procession in Lowicz.”) Knowing how hard it is to write in a foreign language if it’s not a language you live in every day, I also appreciate how well written her posts are. Do visit Ibazela’s blog and leave a few comments.
The Cash Odyssey
The Cash Odyssey is a young, but well written blog created by Sarah Cash, whom I met during WITS15. I took an instant liking to her because she looks a lot like one of my nieces. She’s also so young she could easily be my child if I had a kid while in college.
Sarah is currently traveling the world, all on her own, making her way by working on ostrich farms, gathering goat dung, and so on. I’d be worried about her every single day of her trip, if she were my kid, but I also admire very much what she’s doing. Kudos to her parens as well for raising such a curious and smart young lady.
Sarah’s quite active on Facebook, but does not have a whole lot of posts on her blog. Those that are up are well written and funny, so if you have a moment, go check them out and leave a few comments.
The Working Mom’s Travels
The Working Mom’s Travels blog has been around for a while, so technically it does not qualify for the Liebster award. It does, however, qualify for the Sisterhood nomination. The blog is written by Francesca, a Chicago-based mom of two, who has a full time job, yet still manages to travel and blog about it.
I had “known” Francesca online ever since I started participating in #JAChat (city travel & culture) Twitter chats created by Pola from Jetting Around, but which Francesca cohosts. I was really happy to see her sitting alone at a table the morning of the first day of WITS15! Naturally, I sat next to her, introduced myself, and we started chatting.
One of the reasons I like about Francesca is the fact that she travels with her daughter far and wide to find Lincoln-related sites, since her daughter really likes Abraham Lincoln. She also helped her daughter create her own blog (at the young age of six ) titled Bonjour, amigo!
The World is a Book
The World is a Book is another blog that, like The Working Mom’s Travels has been around for a while, and has good following, but it does qualify for the Sisterhood nomination.
The creator and writer of The World is a Book is Mary, a mom of two, who has taken her family all over the world! (Just look at the list of countries under her “Exploring” section!) Whether she’s ziplining in British Columbia, visiting the cliff dwellings of the Anasazi, or catching lobsters in Maine, her posts are very interesting and educational. (Read her posts “Winter Ziplining in Whistler with Ziptrek Ecotours,” “Exploring the Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park,” and “Lobster Fishing Adventures in Maine.”)
Victoria from Weekend Celebrations is another great blogger I got to meet at the WITS15 last March. We happened to chat during a short walk to a post-conference dinner (where I also met Sarah Cash), and we quickly found out we have quite a few things in common: we both have a teen son and a younger daughter, we’re both from East Europe living in Massachusetts, and we both like to take our family all over the place, not just to amusement parks and resorts.
I really enjoyed Weekend Celebrations post about the birthday celebration trip to the Berkshires Victoria organized for her mom and 30 guests (“A Day with the Arts in the Berkshires. Birthday Trip for 30 Friends and Family“) , or the list of places her family visited in San Francisco (“Our Family’s Top Scoring San Francisco Moments“). What I also like about her blog is that it’s becoming a family affair – her son has written several posts about his trips (“American Teen’s Guide to Paris“) and recently her mom has contributed as well (“My Visit to Odaiba House in Tokyo“).
Questions for My Nominees:
Now, here are the questions I’d love my nominees listed above to answer in their post about the Liebster or the Sisterhood of Travel Bloggers award. I do hope they will agree to participate in this exercise, and won’t take as long in replying as I did.
- What made you start your travel blog and how old is it?
2. Of all the places that you’ve seen which place have you found so amazing you think everyone should see it at least once in their lifetime? (You can name more than one if you wish.)
3. How can you possibly afford all that traveling? Are you really rich or have a trust fund? 😉 (Seriously, what’s your advice for affording travel.)
4. What places are on your “to see” list and why? (Name one to three places on your “bucket list.”)
5. Which online travel blogging communities do you like the most and why? (You can name more than one, if you wish.)
6. One last question for the “moms” and “dads” – what advice do you have to young, childless travelers who are afraid that once they start a family and settle down, it will mean the end of traveling forever?
My answers to Lauren’s questions:
1. Why did you start writing your travel blog?
Creating a blog was one of the requirement for the “Social Media and Analytics” class I took at the Harvard Extension School in the fall of 2014, so in a way I was required to start a blog, on any topic of my choosing, and produce content every week. However, my husband bought the domain casualtraveler.com quite a while ago, with the idea that at some point we would start a travel blog, since we do like traveling so much. The class was just the prod I needed to get it going.
2. What is the inspiration behind your blog’s name?
The domain name was available, so we bought it. 🙂 Seriously, though, I think the name fits us. The definition of “casual” is “not regular or permanent” and “relaxed and unconcerned.” We’re not hard core full time travelers, striving to see all the countries, all UNESCO sites, and all that. We prefer a more relaxed way to sightsee. Some days we spend the whole day at a museum, but some days we just find the nearest playground or spend the day on the beach.
3. What has been your favorite destination so far?
It’s so hard to choose favorites, because I loved so many places we’ve been to. I will say, however, that I do want to visit London, UK and the Alhambra, in Granada, Spain some time again.
4. Where was the first place you remember traveling to?
I don’t know if I remember the first place, but I do remember our family’s annual summer trips to the Baltic Sea, the tall pine trees and the dunes along the way to the beach, and the hot sand burning the soles of my feet.
5. Where are you visiting next?
Not sure yet. We’d like to go somewhere for the winter break, but since I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to take any time off, it’s hard to plan. How much time off you have makes a big difference when it comes to choosing the location.
6. What destination is at the top of your bucket list?
My husband would love to go to Hawai’i. I’m thinking of Italy, Greece, Australia, and New Zealand.
7. What place would you enjoy returning to again and again?
See question 3. 🙂 But seriously, I think even if I went to London every single year, there still would be plenty to see after several years. Washington, DC also has quite a lot to offer.
8. Where was your least favorite place to visit and why?
There’s a certain amusement park in Pennsylvania which I will not name that was a complete waste of money.
9. Who is your favorite travel blogger?
There are so many wonderful bloggers out there I simply can’t choose one single favorite. I would strongly recommend following the ones mentioned in this post, though.
10. How many languages do you know, and have you tried to learn another language before?
Polish is my native language, I lived in English for over twenty years now. I can get by with my basic Russian and German, though my knowledge of those languages used to be better long time ago. So yes, I have tried to learn another language before 🙂
My answers to Samiya’s questions:
1. What’s the most off the beaten path destination you have travelled to?
I haven’t gone “off the beaten path” anywhere in a while, but when I was in my late teens I went hiking in some pretty remote and secluded places in Slovakia. Beautiful mountains!
2. Has travels changed your perspective in any way?
I always find it fascinating to see how people live in different places. Even in the same country, areas in and near the cities are different than the countryside. Traveling helps me appreciate how beautiful the world is, how diverse, and at the same time, how similar.
3. Do you think as travel bloggers, we should be raising awareness in ethical travel?
Certainly, though it depends what you mean by “ethical.” Ecological issues differ from labor issues. If I want to see my family I have to fly, there’s no other way to get to Europe, for instance.
4. What are the top 3 on your travel bucketlist?
Italy, Greece, Australia, and New Zealand. (Sorry, my list has top four, and I’m not deleting any of them.)
5. What are you most passionate about (besides travelling!)
I like art and literature (reading and writing). I like going to museums and see beautiful paintings. I also like reading good books, and hope to carve out some time to finish some short stories I started a while ago, before I began blogging.
6. What new language would you learn if you had the opportunity (and time) to do so?
I think I really should try to learn Spanish some time. I’m sure it will come in handy.
7. Do you find the travel bloggers community welcoming?
Yes, the communities that I’m part of are very friendly and supportive of one another. I’ve heard of snotty bloggers, but I guess we travel in different circles.
8. What recommendations do you have for new bloggers?
Don’t let it become a chore. If you’re not having fun blogging about your trips, then you’re doing it wrong. Step back, re-examine your priorities, and figure out how you can do things differently.
9. Name one of the craziest adventure or experience you had during travels.
Hitchhiking with my friend around Europe in late 1980s with very little money in our pockets was quite unforgettable. We depended on the kindness of strangers a lot!
10. Favourite cuisine/culture/country!
Poland, of course! Duh! 😉 Everyone should visit Poland at least once.
Invitation to the #WeekendWanderlust Link Up
#WeekendWanderlust, hosted by Chris & Heather from A Brit and a Southerner, Jessi & Tara from Outbound Adventurer, Ashley from A Southern Gypsy, Justin and Lauren from Justin Plus Lauren, and yours truly, is a collaborative effort to share travel blog posts, and to discuss all travel-related things.
The hosts organize each week a link up through which travel bloggers from around the world can promote their posts, in exchange for a promise to give some attention to other travel bloggers. (One of the rules for linking up is to comment on three linked up posts.)
If the link up is still open, feel free to add a link to one of your posts below, then comment on at least three other linked up posts.
If you leave a comment on this post, I will reciprocate with a comment as soon as I can!
Also, don’t forget to join the #WeekendWanderlust chat on Twitter, every Saturday, at 11am EST, 3pm GMT, 11 pm SGT. See the list of upcoming topics on Travelogx.