I walked up to the stage and gracefully accepted the Liebster Award nomination. Taking a little pause, I scanned the audience. The applause simmered down. I walked over to the mic and proceeded to blow everyone’s mind. 

WOW! I don’t know what to say. First, what an honor! Second, there will be an afterparty and it will be epic. I want to thank Rachael from Crumbs on My Map for passing this award onto me. I want to thank my agent Chester who also plays the role of my cat and my traveling partner in crime, Lina Jiang, whom I will be marrying come December this year. I also want to thank the director Steven Hindenburger for his vision, the talented cast, and of course the fans! To all the fans out there, this award is for you as much as it is for me. Let’s make 2016 great! We’re going streaking!

If you didn’t know, the Liebster Award is a blogging passing-of-the-torch between bloggers to recognize excellence, hard work, and dedication to the craft of weaving adventures into stories that astound, amaze and inspire readers near and far. It is also an opportunity to give more exposure to bloggers and connect the blogging community.

 

In accordance with the Liebster Award ordinance 2.4(c) section 5, nominated bloggers must (thanks Rachael, I just took this straight from your post):

  • Acknowledge and thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog
  • Answer the questions they have been asked
  • Choose 11 other bloggers they think deserve the award
  • Think of 11 questions for their nominees
  • Combine all of the above into one blog post

 

Hence, here are my answers to Rachael’s racy (hyperbole much? yes, this is what I do…) questions:

  • Where are you headed next?

Just came back from Maui and learned some incredible stuff from talking with native Hawaiians there. I’ll be sharing those later. But I have nothing planned from March-June (OMG I need to book something). In July I’ll be going to Banff! Epic adventure time to ensue. Then a long stretch of nothingness that needs to be filled until December when I’ll be getting married (I’ll be sharing our destination wedding decision on here as well – just in case you’re wondering if you should do the same). Hoping to do a trip every month like last year but we’ll see how things pan out this year.

  • What was your favorite country you’ve visited?

Can’t put my finger on a single country as each country has its own charm, history, attractions, and people that never cease to amaze me wherever I go. My favorite planet is Earth though – so at least I’ve narrowed it down to that much.

  • What is your favorite article you’ve written?

Good question. I don’t know. I started out with really detailed posts to give readers everything they would ever need to travel in a particular destination that I’ve been in like 33 Cool Tips for First Timers to Iceland. Then I discovered that I really enjoyed talking to other travelers and have been doing interviews all the time. I truly love doing those posts because I learn so much from other travelers. Then recently I’ve been experimenting with writing travel posts as a short story such as Easy hike, amazing rewards – off the beaten path in Vancouver, BC. I like all three styles so I guess I’ll just march forth with all those styles.

  • What is the number one place you’d love to get published?

I’m not too particularly interested in getting published on some well-known platform. I’m more focused on connecting with other travelers and writers. My passion isn’t to be famous. My passion is to build meaningful relationships with people I have a connection with.

  • Are you a full time traveler or do you take short trips?

I am an enginerd by trade. For the last several years, my fiancé and I have been traveling the world together, taking off once a month to some random place. While the thought of leaving everything behind to travel full time is interesting, I don’t know if that’s what I really want to do. I enjoy being home as much as I do on the road as long as there are people I can interact with.

  • When did you start your blog?

Travel blogging has been on my mind for a very long time but I didn’t commit until November of last year (2015) – so here we are.

  • Do you know or are you learning any other languages?

I can speak Vietnamese and un peu Francais and I’ve been meaning to learn Chinese and Japanese but I’ve been too preoccupied with procrastination and laziness. The two latter things are so much easier to do.

  • Do you prefer solo travel or traveling with friends?

I love doing both but when it comes down to traveling in groups, I prefer to keep it small otherwise we’d be stuck in the same conversations and questions everyday: “What do you wanna do?” “No, what do YOU wanna do?” Stalemates like that turn me into a green monster – not the Hulk but maybe a giant beanstalk. Muwahahaha.

  • What’s one tip you would give to someone who wants to start a blog?

What are you insane? Do you know how hard it is to do a blog? Do you understand the effort and dedication that must be placed into such an endeavor – please, you’re going to fail. After reading that, if you say, “I understand and I AM CRAZY, let’s do this!” then you should start a blog. Otherwise, start a business selling t-shirts instead – it’s easier than doing a blog.

  • If you had to pick a place to settle down, where would it be?

I haven’t been to a place that I haven’t thought would be an excellent place to settle down in, except the Los Angeles area – I can’t handle that traffic.

  • What do you have at the top of your bucket list?

Making a bucket list, checking it twice, going to find out who’s naughty who’s nice, Santa Claus is coming… to town.

 

I hope I answered those questions with grace and dignity. And to the spirit of the Liebster Award, I am passing the torch to these excellent blogs (in no particular order):

 

Here are my 11 questions for you (if you’re not already tired of my questions):

  1. Do you have FOMT (Fear of Missing Travel)?
  2. Have a million dollars but you’d have to stay still or you can travel and be broke, which would you choose?
  3. How much of your time is spent looking up travel deals while you should be working (if you have a full time job elsewhere)?
  4. What’s your favorite beach and why?
  5. Travel slow or try to see as many things as humanly possible?
  6. What’s your favorite travel website for deals?
  7. What is your blog about?
  8. Are you open to collaborations?
  9. What’s your number one travel wish this year?
  10. Do you prefer cool or warm weather destinations?
  11. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

 

Travel on my friends!

montenegro-7

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We drove through the quiet neighborhoods, perplexed and anxious. Were we on the right track? Perhaps the vaunted google maps is failing us now, taking us to some private parts of North Vancouver where we shouldn’t be. Or perhaps this was a good sign that our next destination, Lighthouse Park, was a hidden gem. We pushed on. And boy were we glad we did.
Love is in the Air! Take a Romantic Getaway with Expedia and Save! – Expires 2/14/2016

We arrived at the near empty parking lot. Well, to say it was a parking lot assumes that there were actual paved parking spaces. There weren’t any, but that wasn’t going to stop us now. The light tapping of the famed Pacific Northwest rain gave us vigor as we began our short hike to the lighthouse. We were alone. The dark forest wasn’t as frightening as the silence that pervaded this lush green walk, but the paths were well maintained. It didn’t take long before we arrived at an open gate and a brightly lit house – the park ranger’s house. “You may enter up to the lighthouse when this gate is open,” the sign on the railings told us.

lighthouse before the sunset

lighthouse before the sunset

So we wandered through and at the end of the path stood a beacon of light, literally. The dark sky had cleared up somewhat and we could see Downtown Vancouver in the distance. I took a couple photos then backtracked to the trail. What a wonderful view and honor to be the keeper of this lighthouse, I wondered. Perhaps I could apply to be a park ranger here. It couldn’t be that hard to be a park ranger here, eh?

cargo ship

cargo ship

Back on the trail, we veered off the path and made our way to a rocky adventure. The rain made the rocks slick but they weren’t that big a deal. I felt like we were adventuring hobbits going on a quest. Down the rocky sides we went, paying close attention to the ground before us lest we wanted to tumble. I’m not sure how long it took, but at some point the brushes gave way to a clearing. We looked up and before us were wonders to be held. A little rocky beach was visible down further the trail. A couple, blankets spreading on the rocks, was enjoying the views. The singing of the birds signaled to us that the rain has passed.

downtown Vancouver in the distance

downtown Vancouver in the distance

We wanted to join them but didn’t want to disturb their peace so we made our way to an adjacent rock, jutting out on the sea. And there we stood for hours, gazing across the bay at little buildings, bridges, and cargo ships far in the distance. I’ve been to Vancouver dozens of times and have gone to Stanley Park just as many. I was used to the view from that side, but this was the first time I saw Stanley Park from far yonder. It was magnificent.

the lighthouse lit up by the sunset

the lighthouse lit up by the sunset

Dark clouds that had previously invaded the sky now gave way to blue skies here and there. A baby seal surfaced but for a second and disappeared. We stared into the water for half an hour trying to find where it might have gone but failed to find it again.

beautiful sunset at Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver

beautiful sunset at Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver

Out there on that rock, we waited for the sunset. The chill of the air rejuvenated our bodies. Slowly but surely, the sky opened up. And for the time we were there, nothing was really on my mind. I was at peace. Finally, dark orange hues took over the sky. The lighthouse with the sun-setting backdrop glowed. I took way too many shots of the idyllic scenery. I wanted to stay and linger, but at last, we must leave this wonderful place and speed towards traffic waiting for us on the other side. On the way out, we saw that another couple had nested on the side of the rock where we were, looking into the far reaches of the horizon, holding each other in that cold Pacific Northwest winter air.

a couple enjoying the beautiful sunset

a couple enjoying the beautiful sunset

If you’re coming to Vancouver, escape the hectic city and go North to find peace – like this Lighthouse Park. Travel on my friends.

couple enjoying the views

couple enjoying the views

the grounds around the park ranger's house

the grounds around the park ranger’s house

the trail down to the water

the trail down to the water

Want more adventures? Read Adventuring with 3 days in Iceland.

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The featured image is courtesy of Reed George.

The whining of hot breeze and the neighing of horses greets you as you go down town south of Virginia. Virginia comprises of many small towns including Manassas. Known for having a strong historic civil war experience, Manassas is at the meeting point of two railroads that links up northern Virginia, Washington DC and Richmond.

train arriving just on time - by John Mueller

train arriving just on time – by John Mueller

You really can go to almost anywhere around the states from Manassas. Travellers coming down to Manassas should expect an enjoyable train ride. The hot breeze bursting in through the windows would give you delight whilst you look onto dusty roads afar. A woman tourist I once sat beside on a train ride to Richmond told me she enjoyed the hot air and explained how she enjoyed watching the train speed past the dust. As an ex-war zone, Manassas is the stronghold for museum attraction as it is richly endowed with war equipments and fascinating socio cultural equipments and artefacts. The museum is a must visit for any tourist in this part of the states. Manassas features a wonderful museum system and a couple of household shops and restaurants.

battlefield re-enactment - by Reed George

battlefield re-enactment – by Reed George

A lunch at Okra’s Louisiana Bistro for Creole and Cajun with patio setting would leave a lasting taste of want down your throat. You really won’t regret spending a few $$ on this spot as this spicy delicacy seems to be specially made for your hungry belly. An all year planting season encourages food production in Manassas. Hence you always find your potato crisps and fries available at almost any food source. A foot walk to Opera House Gourmet for a bottle of wine would be awesome for travellers needing a taste of local brew. I rarely miss this on weekends.

parade - by Carl Dunn

parade – by Carl Dunn

The town is a beehive for artists as the ancient city has a kind of inspiration it exerts on artists. A few steps on the tarmac would lead you to creative brush studios where you would get an instant painting right from the artist. It is the reason an art gallery can be found around the corner. Art collectors are frequent tourists in Manassas.

snowy field - by Heather

snowy field – by Heather

Manassas is a place for someone with an urge for a feel of an ancient town with modern facilities and a touch of art. For more great local trips, read 12 reasons why you need to visit Coronado, the Crown City, in 2016.

Travel on my friends.


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