Journal, Lifestyle

What? I Won The Liebster Award? (2016 In Review)

Liebster Award, The Full-Time Tourist, 2017. ©

It’s my first post of 2017, and what better way to start off the New Year than with an award! (The Golden Globes are just the beginning of awards season, after all.) Over the past year the Liebster Award floating around the blogging community and am so grateful to have been nominated! Thank you Larisa of Getaway Fever for the nomination!

For those who haven’t heard about it, the Liebster Award is a virtual award in the blogging community. In essence, the award is a perpetual chain of nominations where bloggers encourage and support other bloggers by promoting them on their website and on social media. For readers, it’s a great way to discover other blogs. I also think it’s a great way for you guys to get to know me a bit better. I’ve included one of my craziest travel stories, how I sometimes think in French and where I would move to for good!

So let’s get to it!

The Liebster Award rules:

  • Post the award on your blog so everybody knows how awesome you are.
  • Publicly thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  • Answer their questions about yourself, feel free to add photos!
  • Nominate up to 10 people with less than 2,000 followers, and inform them via social media.
  • Write your own set of questions for your nominees.
  • Feel good about yourself for winning an award and passing it on.

… I would like to add a little milestones section for the bloggers that I’ve nominated. What have you accomplished this year that makes you most happy?

Liebster Award, The Full-Time Tourist, 2017. ©

What made me most happy about my blog in 2016

The Full-Time Tourist had a crazy year. I road tripped across Alberta, visited New York City two times in a month, had adventures in Nova Scotia, explored Toronto more, created my own gluten-free and plant-based recipes, and went skiing in Revelstoke. (Spoilers! That last one is in the works.)

2016 has also been a game changing year blogging-wise. In November, The Full-Time Tourist SEPTUPLED in page views after my Lunenburg post was featured by Nova Scotia Tourism! That was such an amazing experience and I am so thankful that you guys helped me get to this point!


My answers to Getaway Fever’s Questions:

Tell us a story from your travels when something went terribly wrong and seems hilarious now.

My family and I were going on a 3-week trip to the small tropical island of Bonaire, located about 80km off the coast of Venezuela. It was my parents’ 20th anniversary present to themselves. They wanted a nice beach and beautiful water to go windsurfing. The catch was getting there was going to be a long haul. It would take three flights to get there, with a seven-hour layover in Newark (New Jersey, USA). Once we were in Newark, we couldn’t miss the flight to Bonaire; it only flew out once a week.

We arrived at the Edmonton International Airport (Alberta, Canada) airport at 4 a.m., three hours before our flight to Calgary (Alberta). It was quite busy for 4 a.m. I think it was because school had just let out and families were eager to go on holiday. For whatever reason, we couldn’t do online check-in. So my family of four took our seven bags to one of the newly-installed self-serve kiosks to check in.

For whatever reason, our passports weren’t scanning.

This seemed to be a problem for a lot of people, we would soon discover, as we walked the entire length of the airport to stand in line at the Air Canada counter with only 3 staff working. When we finally got up to the counter, we were told that we had missed the check-in time for our flight. We would have to take the next flight to Calgary an hour later.

This meant that instead of having an hour-and-twenty-minute layover in Calgary to go through customs before flying to Newark, we would only have 20 minutes. 

We told the flight attendant on our Calgary flight our dilemma and she kindly asked the other passengers to remain seated until we got off the plane. Once we disembarked it was all a blur. The Calgary airport is quite large and the international terminal was on the opposite end from the gate. We ran through the airport, carry-on in tow, until we found the international carrousel to collect our seven bags on two luggage carts and ran to the customs line-up. Thankfully, there was no line. But it was sectioned off by those elastic ropes on poles. My mom and dad had the luggage carts, and my family ran around and around the maze leading up to the counters. I swear I could hear the Home Alone music as we ran around and around the poles and ropes.

When we got to the customs counter, the border agent says, “So it looks like you folks are in a rush.” We explained what was going on. At this point we had less than 5 minutes to make it to our gate. He was thankfully quick with his questions (it helps that we’re Canadian) and we were able to load our luggage onto the carousel two minutes later. We quickly checked the televisions to find our gate and we were all sprinting. Once we got to the gate, there was no one at the counter.

My mom ran down the hallway, yelling “We’re here! We’re supposed to be on that flight!”

Luckily, the flight attendant let us board the flight and our luggage followed shortly after. To this day, none of us know how we managed to make it through customs in less than 20 minutes and convinced the flight attendant to let us onto the plane as she was closing the door. And to think, none of us had had our coffee yet that morning.

Liebster Award, The Full-Time Tourist, 2017. ©

Can you remember a stranger you have met while traveling who inspired you?

I actually have two people that have inspired me while traveling! There is Nancy, the woman I stayed with in Cape Breton at her AirBnB. She was very kind and had so many amazing stories about her life and her kids (who were about my age, if not a bit older). Nancy was part of the reason why I enjoyed Cape Breton as much as I did. She also inspired me to be more relaxed and at peace with myself.

Another individual who inspired me while traveling was a photojournalist named Robert that I met on the Halifax boardwalk. He was taking some time off after coming back from shooting in some war-torn countries. Photographing whales was his therapy. Robert kindly gave me plenty of tips about photographing whales and even pointed out some of the best areas to go out and shoot. He also passed along the name of the company he goes with regularly. He also told me to give his name to the owner to go out off-schedule to see some of the best whale sightings. Our talk on the boardwalk definitely gave me some insight into photography and into the journalism field that I’ll be coming into in a few short months.

Liebster Award, The Full-Time Tourist, 2017. ©

Little things count the most. Can you name an ordinary thing or habit you had while adapting to another culture and now you miss the most?

I’m not too sure I fully understand this question, but I’m going to answer it as how do I adapt an everyday habit to another culture.

This one’s a bit of a strange one, but it’s happened to me more than once when being surrounded by French. I grew up in an English household, but I attended French immersion school from kindergarten to Grade 12, where I was certified bilingual through the DELF exam. I also did my first year of university at the French campus of the University of Alberta, le campus St-Jean. (Ouais, ouais, la fac!) I wouldn’t consider my French “perfect” by any stretch, but if I am in an environment where I am speaking and listening in French for more than a day, my brain starts to think in French.

I don’t really know how that happens and it’s kind of freaky to be in my head when it happens. But it does remind of the days where my French was a bit better than it is now, so I’ve come to appreciate it. It’s just weird going back to the English world when I’m stuck translating words from French to English, as opposed to English to French in my head before saying it.

How many countries have you visited so far and what is your target for the next 5 years? 

I have been to 11 countries so far: Canada, USA, Bonaire, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Czech Republic, Poland and Germany.

I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of any of them (except for maybe Bonaire- it’s a very small island for a 3-week trip), so I would like to go back to all of them in the next 5 years. So far, I don’t really have a goal for how many countries I’d like to visit, but I do have a long list.

Here are some countries I’d like to visit off the top of my head: Croatia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Austria, Scotland, Finland, Russia, Iceland, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Thailand, Bhutan, Seychelles, Maldives, Vietnam, Laos, Taiwan, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Cuba, and more.

Plus I have some friends in the countries I would like to visit, so I’m coming over soon, you guys!

From all the places you’ve been, where would you move for good tomorrow if possible and why?

I would love to move to either New York City or Dublin. I felt very much at home in both cities. Both of them inspired me a lot. In my Grade 12 yearbook, I even went so far as to say that I wanted to open up a cafe in Dublin. Not too sure if that will happen, but I’m still loving the dream cafe I have in my head.

Liebster Award, The Full-Time Tourist, 2017. ©

What have you discovered about your own self while being on the move?

I have a 30-minute window from hungry to hangry. I kind of know about the hangry side of me before I started traveling, but I didn’t realize how quickly that window closes. Unfortunately, my boyfriend also learned about this window during our first trip to New York City. Now, our rule is we always have to bring food with us when we’re out all day in a new city. This is probably for the best, as he’s vegan and I’m a gluten and dairy intolerant vegetarian. Sometimes finding food other than a salad is harder than it seems.

During my trip to Nova Scotia, I also discovered how introverted I am. Normally, when people hear the term “introvert” they think someone incredibly shy. Introvert actually means that you get most of your energy from being alone. I’ve found this to be very true because I absolutely loved my first solo trip and I can’t wait to do it again!

Liebster Award, The Full-Time Tourist, 2017. ©
Build a “Top 5” of places/moments that left you speechless and are the most memorable to you.

Some places that left me absolutely speechless are:

What is the country that inspired you the most? Why?

I’ve spent a lot of time exploring Canada this year, so I would have to say that (despite being Canadian) it has inspired me the most. Canada’s culture and landscapes vary so much from coast to coast that every province is like visiting a new country. I was very inspired after coming back from two weeks on the East Coast, and I can’t wait to discover more of my home country this year.

What is your ideal or favourite type of traveling? What is the main purpose of your travels? (i.e. adventure, extreme sports, culture, living locally, photography…)

As much as I love to see all the hotspots while traveling, I like to make little daily adventures while traveling. So instead of making a plan to see all the touristy spots in a city or country, I’ll make plans to see one or two of those per day, and plan to explore the area that the hotspot is in.

For example, in New York City last year, I wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. Instead of taking the Staten Island ferry, my boyfriend and I hopped the early Gov Island ferry. We could still see the Statue of Liberty up close, and because we were there in between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., we could rent bikes on the island for free. We spent the morning biking around and had a picnic in graffiti park. Then, we took the ferry over to Brooklyn. We spent the day in Bushwick before walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. The two touristy things I wanted to do- Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge- were definitely highlights of the day, but it was so nice to goof around on Gov Island too. That day is one of my favourite days in NYC.

I would like to nominate…

Gloria Atanmo of The Blog Abroad for her hilarious Snapchat and Facebook posts and her insanely witty blog. I absolutely howled while reading her post about countries with the hottest men and learned a lot from her post about the downside of traveling solo as a black woman. Her blog never fails to inspire, entertain, enlighten and inform me, and I hope to work with her one day! I’m also very excited for her updated book to come out soon!

A photo posted by Meg Cale (@megcale) on

Meg Cale of Dopes on the Road for not only helping a fellow blogger out when I was hacked, but for her broadway ticket hacks and travel insights. Meg is not afraid to bring politics into travel, with insightful pieces on incoming President Donald Trump and responsible animal tourism. Most of all, she is also a strong voice for LGBT rights and LGBT travel (including lesbian guides to destinations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia). Like Gloria, I’d also love to work with her someday.

A photo posted by Kendra Mase (@kendramase) on

Kendra Mase of Kendra Mase for her support and friendship! Kendra and I started talking on Twitter and Instagram about our love of books and writing. Her blog talks about her adventures at her Pennsylvania college, books and the struggles of being a writer. I was very fortunate to read her manuscript over the winter break and I cannot wait for her to finish it!

Lauren Marinigh of Twirl The Globe for being an awesome human (and friend), her tips on balancing a career and travel, and her amazing budget breakdowns. Lauren just came back from an almost month-long trip to the Philippines and I have been absolutely devouring those posts! P.S. Can we please do a trip or a collaboration together this year?

Angelique of C’est Angelique for her great day trip guides to some of Europe’s most beautiful destinations and her fun photos! Even though Angelique has already been nominated for a Liebster Award, I didn’t think my list would be complete without her on it. I can’t wait to read all about her European escapades in 2017!

Liz Stephenson of The Tongue in Chic for her ability to round up all my emotions in a single photo and the amount of sass she serves in every blog post. Liz is also an Edmonton, Alberta girl like me and has recently returned from living in Colombia for the past month or so. I never leave her site uninspired, so put her on your “must read” blog list for 2017!

A photo posted by Sophee Smiles (@sopheesmiles) on

Sophee Southall of Sophee Smiles for her beautiful intertwining of introspective personal experience and practical information. Sophee is one of the travel bloggers who inspired me to start travel blogging myself. Her stories of traveling through some of South East Asia’s “dangerous” countries have challenged me to be fearless in my exploring and to challenge the stereotypes we associate with these countries. Some of my personal favourite stories are her adventures in Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan. I would highly recommend reading her blog on Sunday mornings with a cup of tea.

My questions to them:

  1. Where is one place in the world that you’ve always dreamed of going, but haven’t gone yet?
  2. Are there any countries that you would never visit? Why?
  3. What are the top 10 destinations you’d like to visit next?
  4. What kind of traveler are you? Has it changed over the years?
  5. You’re traveling for a month. Luggage or carry-on?
  6. What keeps you motivated to blog?
  7. What’s the most difficult part about traveling? Why?
  8. Do you ever want to visit a particular destination with a particular individual? (i.e. I would like to do the Pacific Coast Trail with one of my good friends because xyz.)
  9. What have you learned about yourself from traveling?
  10. Who are your top three favourite bloggers? What makes them your faves?

Liebster Award, The Full-Time Tourist, 2017. ©

What are your answers to the above questions?

Whether you do or don’t have a blog, I’m sure you have some great travel stories and insights! Share them with me in the comments below and let me know if you like these get-to-know-you posts! For more photos and stories from The Full-Time Tourist, please follow all my travel adventures and recipes on social media- Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

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