This past week, my first one on break from my teaching job, has been full of mindless errands, house cleaning, and Christmas and upcoming trip preparations, but today I got the very exciting news that I have been nominated for a blogging honor – the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. I know many of you more established bloggers find such things passé, but I’m pretty thrilled about the recognition, especially because my nominator, Estelea, is a new online friend who is a great kindred spirit. She reminds me of myself a decade or two ago, wanting to keep up her travel lifestyle with young kids. I’ve already dragged (and am still dragging, albeit more willingly, and one at a time) my kids around the planet, and I know there’s no better bond between parents and children.


The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award requires that you:

  1. Provide the link to the person who nominated you: With great pleasure, I provide this link to Estelea’s Blog!
  2. Add the award logo
  3. Answer the questions your nominator has asked
  4. Nominate 5 other bloggers
  5. Ask your nominees 5 questions

So first, my answers to Estelea’s questions:

Tea or Coffee?

How sad is it that I can’t even give a simple answer to the first question?! To start my day, coffee is an absolute must. Two to four cups, and no decaf for me, ever. I so look forward to my coffee that sometimes I go to bed thinking about drinking it the next morning! But by late afternoon or evening, I turn into a tea person, specifically a mug or two of chai (no milk, please, just a straight cup of spicy black tea). I settle in with my laptop and I am a very happy girl.

Your highlight of this year

I’m going to pretend you wrote highlights because, once again, I cannot be satisfied with only one choice. I got to take two amazing hikes this past year. One was the complete “O” circuit of the Paine massif in Chilean Patagonia and the other was a one-day, truly unbelievable trek in Iceland. Both were visually stunning and satisfyingly strenuous. Anytime I am out in nature is a highlight for me, and I am lucky to have been able to take both of these trips in 2014.

What can I wish you for the new year?

Happiness and health will do just fine for me, but can you throw in some world peace while you’re granting wishes?! I am fortunate to be very healthy and able to do the kinds of active things I enjoy, and I tend to be a happy, optimistic sort. I’d love for those two things to continue in the new year, but I also know the state of the world I love so much seems to be deteriorating more than usual lately, and it makes me sad. I’d like to think that people like us who see the good and the value in our differences all over the world will prevail someday, and that religious and political strife will one day fade away.

What makes you smile?

In keeping with my travel obsession, I will admit that what makes me smile is a very mundane part of a trip overseas. That is, I board a plane like a kid walking into a candy store. The thought of snuggling into my window seat for 8 to 13 hours of uninterrupted reading and writing time is blissful to me. I take crossword puzzles, books, the burgeoning stack of New Yorker magazines I can’t keep up with, my laptop, snacks, my iPod … I’m getting excited just typing all these fun things I have to look forward to on my long flight to Russia in two weeks!

Your favorite quote, or book

The quote is easy; it’s been my favorite since I was a teenager: “In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer” (Albert Camus). That quotation speaks to both my innate sense of optimism and the fact that the only way I survive winter, which I truly despise, is by keeping the idea of summer alive inside me.

There are wayyy too many books to list, but a few off the top of my head are (in no particular order): The Good Earth, Lost Horizon, Up a Road Slowly, The Snow Leopard, State of Wonder, Crime and Punishment, The Magic Mountain, and A Fine Balance.

And the Nominees are …

I am pleased to nominate five women and their blogs, but let me say first of all that one of my new favorite blogs is not written by a “sister” and its author is probably way too serious (and busy with his book) to participate in something like this, but I am going to introduce you to this incredible blog here anyway. It’s called Feral Words, and the posts are more than long-form; they are practically book chapters in themselves, and the writing is sublime. They take some serious work to read, but they are inspiring to me.

After that lengthy non-nomination, I will proceed to my task:

Perelincolors: To paraphrase their own introduction: They are not very athletic or very wise. They do not speak all the languages of the world. They are not the most courageous and are scared of heights and spiders. They have serious jobs and yet they travel. They’d love to inspire you – for your next travel adventure or for your next daydream – and they will! Check them out!

Thirdeyemom: I love this blog that combines travel with social good advocacy. Thirdeyemom shares a surprising number of trekking destinations with me, and she also tries to work a bit of social awareness into many of her trips, a point that resonates with me because of my own work over the years with a microfinance organization and with other service-based travel. Readers will love her travel stories as well as the serious posts she writes on such things as child prostitution or newborn health in Ethiopia, among many other topics.

On the Luce: Now this is a serious travel blog! Lucy is light years ahead of me on making her blog really work for her! She’s doing the same juggling act I’ve been doing – trying to bring together a business, house, family and friends, … “mixing travel and everyday life – taking trips as and when I can, from weekends around the UK and Europe to more far-flung exotic trips” – but somehow she does it a lot more professionally than I do!

Where’s my Backpack?: In this blog, Ailsa is “romancing the planet” and notes that “anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.” I also love that many of her adventures take place in the U.S., an incredibly diverse land to roam and one that too often takes a backseat in my own far-flung adventures.

Adventures in Wonderland: I nominate this blog with some hesitation because it has probably already received scads of such awards, and I know it is followed raptly by many, many readers. Nevertheless, I must mention it here because Alison and Don are my future selves, just as Estelea is my past self. These two sold off their possessions in 2011 and have been wandering the globe ever since; it is not only their travel adventures that I love reading about, but also the inner journey they are taking. I aspire to their life and all I have to do is convince my husband that this can be our future, too!

And finally, the 5 questions I would like to ask my nominees:

  1. Is the glass half full or half empty?
  2. What is the next place on your travel wish list?
  3. What scares you?
  4. Fiction or non-fiction?
  5. You can only eat three things for the rest of your life; what do you choose?

Thanks again to Estelea for the opportunity to avoid exercising, house cleaning and present wrapping this morning! It’s been fun to really think about all the blogs that inspire me, and I’m grateful that mine has made an impression on someone as well.