First of all, we would like to thank Roy (aka The Riding Dutchman) for inviting us to to our ABC’s of Travel. Ever since we first heard about them, we’ve been wanting to do them. So thanks again Roy :) The ABC’s of travel is a chain letter event that has been going on for quite some time in the travel bloggers world. Each travel blogger completes the ABC list and invites 3 other travel bloggers to also do an ABC! So here you have our ABC’s of Travel:
A – Age you went on your first international trip
Nisa: I’ve been on the road pretty much straight out of the maternity ward. My parents took me on an adventure trip through Africa before I was even a year old.
Ulli: My travelling started with reading the books that I got for my birthday, Christmas or any other important reason. For example Hans Hass and his stories, Herbert Tichy and his journeys to Tibet, Nepal and Himalayas, the conquering of the Himalaya by Sir Edmund Hillary. All this formed a vague desire of far away countries at a very early age. Far away in those days meant (for my parents at least) Italy or Greece. My first hitch-hike trip to Italy with was at the age of 16. It was a big thing for me because my parents thought that I was going to a friend in the Austrian Alps. There was no mobile phone and no connections for 4 weeks so it was easy to lie. I came back in one piece and after telling them about all my experiences … well, jaws dropped but they were proud as well. So that was just the beginning of a travel-love affair which lasted until today.
B – Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where
Neither of us drinks beer. What’s all the fuss about it anyway?
C – Cuisine (favorite)
Nisa: I LOVE food (healthy food of course – hate junk). Couldn’t say what food I like best but the Thai cuisine is pretty darn good.
Ulli: The Malaysian dish Laksa.
D – Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why
Nisa: Oh my, that’s a real tough one … but ok, I’ll try to narrow them down. Favorite: Indonesia – I call Indonesia my second home because I’ve been there so often. The people are super friendly, the landscape is stunning, the food is absolutely delicious, scuba diving is breathtaking, surfing amazing and you won’t find more beautiful beaches anywhere in the world! After Indonesia, I’d also have to say Austria – it’s my home country … and there’s no place like home :) Least favorite: Can’t say because I think there’s something exciting to explore in every country… but there are places that are not so high on my „to-visit“ list and these include: South America (except Argentina, Chile & Peru).
Ulli: Favorite is everywhere where it’s warm or hot. Least favorite I would say is Northern Siberia & Antarctica since I hate the cold.
E – Event you experienced abroad and made you say “wow”
Nisa: Can’t think of an event but there are two experiences which really made me say “wow”: 1. Watching surfers ride the waves at Teahupoo in Tahiti (holy f**king shit!). 2. Scuba diving in Raja Ampat, West Papua.
Ulli: Dancing of Sudanese tribes in the middle of nowhere for a good harvest season.
F – Favorite mode of transportation
Nisa: I’d have to say trains, even though flying is much faster, I’m a big wuss when it comes to planes. What I like about trains is that you can save money when it comes to accommodation when travelling at night ;)
Ulli: Private car (though sometimes too expensive). After that, I’d also have to say the train.
G – Greatest feeling while traveling
Nisa: Being on the road. Exploring new places. Meeting new people. Having time. Doing what you love. And of course being your own boss.
Ulli: Coming to a village that is rarely visited by foreigners.
H – Hottest place you’ve traveled to
Nisa: India in the summer. After that trip, I knew what „hot“ really meant.
Ulli: The Sahara desert in summer. We travelled from Tunis to Lome in Togo with 58 °Celsius – you needed a towel to touch the steering wheel or the camera and had to wrap yourself in wet towels at night (but it was still darn hot).
I – Incredible service you experienced and where
Nisa: Hmmm … I couldn’t really tell. I mean, I’ve had a lot of incredible services but I can’t think of one that would stand out. What I do know is that service is always good if you have the cash. Think of this: You arrive in front of the latest club in town, driving the newest Porsche. The bouncer would never ask you if you’re on the guest list because you must either be a.) rich, b.) very important or c.) both. Do the same without a Porsche, be a ‘normal’ person, don’t brag with material stuff and you can be sure not to get in. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is pretty shitty but very often it’s reality … I think that it always depends on how you act and behave. If you’re nice & friendly, you’ll (mostly) be rewarded with the same.
Ulli: On the way to the Gibbon Tree House in the jungle of Laos. Due to heavy rain, the Land Rover couldn’t pick us up and we had to walk through the jungle for 7 hours … Nisa just shouldered my backpack on top of hers and carried it all along the way without any complains … I was stunned and that was definitely a great service!
J – Journey that took the longest
Nisa: 6 months of travelling through Indonesia with my mum when I was 9 years old.
Ulli: Travelling through Africa with our own 4×4 truck for 12 months, just after finishing high school when I was only 19 years old.
K – Keepsake from your travels
Nisa: I try to bring something home from every country that I visit. One thing that’s still on my mind was a bicycle my mum bought me while travelling through Malaysia. I was only 5 years old and not ready to walk such long distances, so I got this cute little red bike. Ulli always told me to wait for her at every street crossing, and so I did. That bike was the most important gadget for me (and my mum) when travelling.
Ulli: Memories, memories and memories. Plus every time loads of whatever – I really don’t want to count all the overweight costs or parcel shipping; every single piece in our house tells a story…
L – Let-down sight and where
Nisa: I don’t get what all the fuss is about the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Or the Empire State Building in New York … oh no wait, now I’ve got it! The most let-down sight was the Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum – it’s tiny!
Ulli: The worst for me is animal cruelty (even if it’s only fish). Where I have seen this? Unfortunately in too many countries …
M – Moment where you fell in love with traveling
Nisa: The moment I feel in love with travelling is when my mum and I travelled through Indonesia for 6 months in 1995. Back then, I knew that travelling was going to be the greatest passion I would ever have.
Ulli: At the age of 16 when a friend and I stood on at the outskirts of Vienna, trying to hitch a ride to Greece, It took us 4 days but we got there at last. Our parents thought we were visiting a friend in Lower Austria.
N – Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in
Nisa: I’m not a fan of big chains (I like to call them „sharks“). I actually hate big hotel chains! I prefer little guest houses, or boutique hotels. You’re much closer to the people, it’s so much more cozy and personal. I had a wonderful stay at „The Times Hotel“ in Amsterdam and also „Hotel Josef“ in Prague; beautiful rooms, wonderful service and the perfect location.
Ulli: I’ve been to many nice hotels, but a few stood out. Alka Hotel in Varanasi for the amazing view over the river Ganges and Allipore guest house in Kolkata, which is a small local place but with an overwhelming warm hospitality.
O – Obsession – what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling
Nisa: Markets from around the world.
Ulli: Odds bits and pieces … the daily life in the streets, food vendors, craftspeople, hairdressers, rubbish bins, workers, transport – whatever I zoom in is pictured forever.
P – Passport stamps, how many and from where
Nisa: Seriously? Far too many to count. I have to get a new passport every couple of years.
Ulli: My passports are always full long before the expiry date, so I’m sorry but I couldn’t tell you how many stamps I’ve collected during my many years of travelling.
Q – Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where
Nisa: Angkor Forest Lodge in Sen Monorom, Cambodia. It’s like a little Cambodian Disneyland.
Ulli: Nothing really quirky comes to my mind at the moment but the Chuchi Tunnels outside of Ho Chi Minh City was a strange experience; imagining all these people living underground during the Vietnam War with only a few tiny exits so they wouldn’t be seen (where a middle fat Westerner would have no chance on fitting in).
R – Recommended sight, event or experience
Nisa: Seeing the Komodo Dragons (back in 1998) left quite an impression on me and I’d love to travel there again.
Ulli: Hmmm … the world is so beautiful and exciting, so this is really not that easy. Sleeping under the stars in the middle of the Sahara desert, knowing the next village is hundred miles away, is something that will stick in your mind for a lifetime.
S – Splurge; something you have no problem forking for over money while traveling
Nisa: Massages and hair appointments. If possible, I do one of these every day when on the road.
Ulli: After long and exhausting trip (the of local style), upgrading to a business seat on the flight home is the best.
T – Touristy thing you’ve done
Nisa: A pre-booked tour to Halong Bay in Vietnam. Not a fan of booked tours!
Ulli: A booked tour from Beijing to the Great Wall of China with my sister. A real horror trip! We were dragged into a jade selling factory, to a Chinese medicine facility/clinic, where the doctor was more than upset when I told him that I had no back pain, no aching muscles and no stomach problem … therefore I didn’t need any of his remedies at all. The Great wall itself was fabulous and good fun though. But never ever again would I do anything like that!
U – Unforgettable travel memory
Nisa: Not too long ago I wrote an article about my most memorable travel experience, which took place back in 1996 while travelling through Indonesia for six months.
Ulli: Unforgotten is every single trip but the most exciting and exotic adventure was the trip from Lisala to Kisangani on a Congo river ferry. The ferry transformed into a floating city while travelling: 2.000 people on barges tied together and we where “stuck” on there with friends and our two trucks for 6 days. We saw people giving birth, dying or slaughtering animals. Infections & drownings where the order of the day. This trip was truly one of a kind and I’d love to do it all again one day.
V – Visas, how many and for where
Nisa: Again, too many to count…sorry :S
Ulli: As an Austrian you need a lot of Visas and since I travel often, I need a new passport pretty much every year or so…
W – Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where
Nisa: I’m not that big of a drinker. And I usually don’t drink wine when travelling (mostly because there is none at the places I travel to). So sorry, no answer for this question …
Ulli: Wine can be tricky to get sometimes so I rather buy a bottle of Whisky in the duty free. Mix it with some limes and you have good compromise for a nice sunset on a remote beach.
X – eXcellent view and from where
Nisa: The Peak in Hong Kong. One hell of a view of one of the most thrilling cities in the world.
Ulli: Adams Peak in Sri Lanka, with hundreds of worshipers around you. And the view out of the Alka Hotel in Varanasi – if you’re patient, the occasional body will float by …
Y – Years spent traveling
Nisa: I’m 26, so … 25 1/2.
Ulli: In my mind I’ve been travelling all my life. For real since I was 14 years old. And no, I’m not gonna tell how many years that is :)
Z – Zealous sports fans and where
Nisa: I’m a huge sport junkie. I’m a huge fan of skiing (of course) & snowboarding in winter. In summer I prefer my racing bike, running shoes and surfboard.
Ulli: I like trekking, horse riding and rafting. Sports without too much technical equipment is ok for me.
After this, I want to hear the full ABC’s of the following wonderful travel bloggers, who have always inspired me!