The blogosphere is a tight-knit community; this much I have learnt over the past few months. There is something warm and fuzzy about being appreciated and remembered, especially from friends afar whom I have never met. So, it shall be my absolute pleasure and great honour to accept my first awards, and I do wish to take some time to thank my fellow bloggers. (True to my “Queen of Efficiency” namesake which I am known for in real life, I have decided to consolidate the awards into one post, so please bear with me if the mash-up becomes no more than garbled thoughts.)
This nomination came from Len Kagami and his talented Master. Journeys of Len is a seamless collaboration between the two of them, as they seek to conquer much of Europe (and eventually rest of the world) with jaw-dropping imagery and insightful prose. Good old Len is also one inquisitive blogger, as he has put to his nominees eleven (!) questions which I will now dutifully answer.
1. What inspired you to start blogging?
I might have to refer you to one my earlier posts – A Place to Call (Second) Home – for an expose on the birth and rebirth of SoMuchToTellYou. If you then ask why I continued blogging, would it be too flippant of me to say “boredom”?
2. Did you have any difficulty at the beginning?
Of course! Which is why I pressed my first post in March 2014 (setting: Private) and only switched to the Public setting in August 2016. Overcoming shyness must be one of the single biggest achievements of my life as a blogger.
3. How do you find blogging so far?
Intellectually satisfying and rewarding; being able to engage and interact with like-minded bloggers is also an added bonus.
4. What advice can you give to a new blogger?
(Staring contest with a blank screen… Five minutes later…)
1) Passion; 2) Perseverance and 3) Purpose. If ever in doubt, work on finessing 3), and hopefully the rest will fall into place.
5. Name five destinations on your bucket list?
Gosh, can’t I name 50?? Well, if I have to content myself with a measly five, they will have to be… 1) hiking in Patagonia; 2) chasing waterfalls in Iceland; 3) chasing Northern Lights in Lapland, Finland; 4) train ride through the Rockies; and 5) hiking to Everest Base Camp. You’ll note that these are my longer term bucket lists, as I’m hoping to tick off a few in 2017, including: 1) people watching in Tokyo; 2) canal ride in Amsterdam; 3) hiking in Cinque Terre; 4) touring Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany’s Bavaria; 5) soaking up history in Budapest; and 6) demolishing Danish pastries in Copenhagen, etc.
6. Name three must-have items while travelling?
1) Eye for appreciation; 2) adventurous spirit and 3) a little common sense won’t go astray.
7. Do you prefer local specialties or something you are familiar with?
I can be a complete chicken when it comes to food in a foreign place. Whilst that sounds rather hypocritical given I just listed an adventurous spirit as a must-have when travelling, I blame it on a weak stomach… Please excuse me as I scavenge for a (chicken) burger and chips joint while you dig into the French escargot, or Norwegian whale meat, or Chinese crickets that caught your fancy.
8. If you have tried some specialties, which dish left a strong impression on you?
I had the best Swedish meatballs at Prinsen, an upmarket restaurant in central Stockholm. It’s their house specialty and a must-try when in town. I died and my taste buds went to heaven.
9. Who is the most interesting person you have ever met on your journey?
Just my luck, I have never met anyone even remotely famous… So, would travel guides (as a collective) count?
10. Assuming you are a solo traveler, are you afraid to ask strangers for help, or maybe just take a picture for you?
No assumption required here. I am a solo traveller and asking for help is how I get by!
11. Have you ever gotten into trouble or any dangerous situation while traveling? How did you handle the situation?
Someone I know was once mugged at knifepoint in Caracas. There’s only one way to rationally handle such a situation, by disembowelling yourself of all your cash and valuables.
Blogger Recognition Award
A huge Thank You to Ida Auclond for the nomination. Putting it succinctly, Ida lives to write and writes to live. You are welcome to stalk her inspirational stories, book reviews and musings on life.
There is significant overlap in the blogging rules, as the Blogger Recognition Award also asks us to give a brief history of our blog and two pieces of advice to new bloggers. As such, please refer to my responses in 1) and 4) of the Liebster Award above.
The Blog(ger)s I Follow
For the remainder of this (already lengthy) post, I wish to devote to the bloggers I follow, sometimes religiously, sometimes intermittently, but always with a wonder in my eye and a desire to get to know them better.
Before I launch into my recommendations / nominations, please note that SoMuchToTellYou is an Eclectic blog (a word that I infinitely adore, particularly over its poorer cousins Random, Confused, or Soulless). I appreciate dedicated, niche blogs, as well as personal lifestyle blogs. I believe that a blog is the blogger personified, and hence the following interpretations of their blogging persona are mine alone (apologies in advance if they are somewhat distorted).
Sunday – Luckily Lenny – From the desert paradise of Qatar, Lenny is a thoughtful expressionist whose writing is a balsam for the heart. Lazy Sundays are perfect for visiting Lenny’s, with a steaming mug of coffee and the soothing melodies of Nora Jones in the background.
Saturday – weird weekends – In between his jet-setting job in IT and precious downtime, Mr Weird Weekends has a penchant for…well…extremely weird weekends. With deadpan hilarity and an unrivalled eye for weirdness, be prepared to buckle down for an unconventional Saturday as he takes us through his travels and (quirky / cool) pastimes.
Friday – Illuminated Literation – One of the first blogs I followed, YA writer and day dreamer Rachel McKee is the mastermind behind her thought-provoking site for “writers, readers, and passionate people”. Her husband Miles also makes a cameo appearance on Fridays with illuminating photography of their American dream.
Thursday – Idle Muser – Young and aspirational, Aditi attacks topical issues of the day with journalistic flair and poignancy. Her “open diary” is representative of the musings of today’s youths, always relevant, relatable and painstakingly on point.
Wednesday – A Hearty Nomad – The perennial week day hump day is made bearable by A Hearty Nomad. They recharge me with a good dose of humour and makes me dream of a nomadic life of my own. (I am yet to figure out their gender; I have a gnawing feeling that this might be the work of a talented duo…)
Tuesday – In a Lonely Place – Even before I knew blogging, I knew In a Lonely Place. Encyclopaedic in her knowledge of film and incisive in her critiques, Tuesday movie nights are forever transformed by a blog that redefines cinematic encounters in the dark.
Monday – A Midlife Chrysalis – If Wednesdays are hump days, Mondays are a killer, which was why I looked forward to the spellbinding tales of a fellow Australian, as he pondered the meaning of life in the rice paddies of Vietnam, historic battlefields of Laos and the jungles of Borneo (just to name a few). It also helps that the guy can write.
If you have made it this far, you ought to be congratulated! If you are inclined to undergo some interrogation on my part, I have only three questions for my nominees:
1. What is the most memorable / meaningful / touching compliment / critique / comment you have received in the blogosphere?
2. If you can live in a place far away from home, where would it be, and why?
3. Which character in film or literature best captures the essence of who you are, and why?
Thank you, and happy blogging folks!