Blue Sky Tag Challenge – Getting to Know the People Behind the Blog!

In Blog by Erin Hardie3 Comments

If you’re wondering what the Blue Sky Tag Challenge is, you’re not alone. I’d never heard of it either until I was nominated this week by a fellow travel blogger.

The rules are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and tag their blog
  • Answer 11 questions
  • Ask 11 questions
  • Tag 11 other bloggers

It’s not just a fun challenge, but it’s also a nice way for our readership and each other to find out more about the people “behind the curtain” so to speak.

A huge thank you to Following the Rivera for nominating me for my first Blue Sky Tag Challenge!

11 Questions for nominated bloggers
1. What’s your earliest (happiest) childhood memory?

I have very vague recollections from age three of feeding my jam and toast to my stuffed cat toy and chasing our two real cats around and pulling their tails. Apparently the two real cats were very patient with me and never swiped me for haranguing them. To this day I still chase after cats everywhere I go, in every city of every country, and can thankfully say I still haven’t been swiped! (So there people (like Ryan!) who think cats are evil!)

This cat in Hersonissos, Crete, was kind enough to pose for a photo!

2. Where’s the first place you traveled to? Name 1 memorable thing about this place.

I was lucky to do quite a bit of travel as a child with my family including a Disneyland trip and visiting Thailand a number of times. As a grown-up the first place I traveled to sans family, was Thailand. It was very interesting to see Thailand from a more budget perspective as compared to the relative ease with which we traveled it when I was a child. What really stuck in my mind from this trip was catching the overnight train from Bangkok to Chang-Mai. It was the cheapest option and I had no expectations of what train travel would be like as this was my first long haul train journey. I was gobsmacked when the hard plastic seats were able to be transformed into a pair of bunk-beds on each side of the carriage with little curtains to do a poor job of keeping out the harsh fluorescent lights that stayed on all night. Despite the lights and the very short length of these bunks I actually had one of the best sleeps of my life lulled by the constant rhythm of the train on its tracks.

I took Ryan to Thailand in 2016 to see what I thought was so special – here is a longboat near Tonsai beach on the Ao Nang Peninsula

3. When was the last time you cried?

I can’t pinpoint this exactly as we all have ups and downs, and mine seem to be almost routinely monthly!? Strange that… however it still sticks in my mind that when I visited India in 2011 I cried every day of the three week trip. India is the first place in the world where I have felt truly helpless and overwhelmed by so much sadness and hopelessness in so many people’s lives and futures. It is a very challenging place to visit for this reason but very worth it. Varanasi was my favourite place, a holy city of four religions coexisting peacefully with one another, it somewhat restored my faith in  mankind after the sadness of the earlier part of that trip.

The sinking ghats along the Ganges river are a part of what makes Varanasi so special!

4. If you had to give a TED Talk, what would you speak about?

It would be prudent to speak about what I know so I would have to speak on either travel or writing… Or weird how those two topics could be mashed together to make “travel-writing”!? At this stage I have only been blogging/travel-writing for three months so my TED Talk would centre on the experiences and errors of one new to the field. I would also share my biggest regret that I did not start travel-writing earlier due to fear. Fear that it would not be well-received, that it would be a pointless exercise to contribute to an already saturated field etc. If you enjoy something and it doesn’t hurt anyone else or your own situation then it is never pointless or a waste to invest your time in it!

5. Name one thing you’d like to achieve before you die.

Visit every continent! It’s a bit of a lazy goal as we are not far off achieving it! For hubby there’s only Antarctica left to do! For myself I still have South America as well as Antarctica left to get to as I haven’t been any lower than Central America. Lucky then that one of the best ways to visit Antarctica is from the very southern tip of South America! I wonder if we can get an ice cold Guinness in Antarctica!?

We try to find a Guinness everywhere we go, it’s kind of our thing! These Guinnesses were found wandering the streets of Amsterdam, and as per usual they didn’t last long!

6. If you could choose anyone, who would be your mentor in life?

I think 10 other bloggers were nominated to answer these same questions as me, I wonder how many of them would share my answer to this question being: David Attenborough! Not only has he lived an incredible life, seen some Earth’s most incredible living creatures up close and shot incredible documentaries, but also I would just love to pick his brain about the Earth’s future with regard to sustainability. If you haven’t seen it do watch his documentary “How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth” – it covers some fantastic material on the impact our daily choices can make on the environment such as just how much water goes into the manufacturing of a single t-shirt and how many fast fashion items then end up in landfill annually!

7. List 3 places on the top of your travel bucket list

Firstly the Bahamas to swim with the pigs, friends of mine went recently and their photos are incredible and their stories somewhat harrowing – (these are actual wild pigs!). Secondly returning to Iceland to see it in summer rather than winter as I am dying to experience the “midnight sun” phenomena where the sun sets for barely three hours between midnight and 3am on the summer solstice. At a close third then would be the Maldives as these are sinking, which is a terrible shame, so I would like to have the opportunity to see them before they are potentially gone forever!

You could easily mistake this photo of the streets of Reykjavik (Iceland’s capital) for being taken at dusk, it wasn’t, it was dawn at 9am in the wintertime!

8. Who’s your favourite traveling companion and why?

Luckily I’m not lying when I say it’s my husband Ryan the other half of downbubbletravels! Sure on longer trips we have our moments and arguments and it can really start to feel like you’re living on top of each other (and that can also literally happen when booking budget houseboat accommodation in Amsterdam for example!). But he really is my best friend and it’s so wonderful to make shared memories together discovering new and exciting places!

Literally on top of each other in Amsterdam on a very small houseboat – don’t make our mistake! Read our Amsterdam post for better accommodation options!

9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

As a pair of teachers, living anywhere in the world is not an impossible dream for us. Usually when we are visiting a new destination we always discuss the merits of the place with regard to whether we may want to live there someday. Tenerife in the Canary Islands surprised us both for reaching the top of both of our lists as a place to live someday. We both want to spend some time living in a Spanish speaking country, and I still dream about the papas arrugadas in Tenerife!

Once you start on a bowl of Canarian potatoes, papas arrugadas – meaning crumpled potatoes, you’ll quickly find you have none left!

10. What’s the number one piece of travel advice you’d give to school children?

Keep an open mind! I was lucky to do a lot of traveling when I was school age with my family and was able to quickly realise that comparing your culture with another favorably or unfavorably can lessen the joy that can be had in simply experiencing the other culture without judgement. Some foods, for example, may seem totally gross on a first try but we all know some foods can be an acquired taste, that once acquired we can never have imagined living without out – miso soup is mine!

Ok I’ll admit it, I didn’t have the guts to try these caracoles (snails) in Seville, Spain, I left that to Ryan…

11. Name 2 things about your hometown that others may not know.

My hometown is Perth, Western Australia. We get a lot of interstate tourism as well as international tourism from New Zealand and neighboring Asian countries. Some backpackers from Europe and the United States make it here too, but not as many as to the East coast of Australia, and little wonder why as many news-sources list Perth as the world’s most isolated capital city! However despite being the possibly most isolated capital city we also can boast being the capital that enjoys the most sunshine year round with an average of eight hours of sunshine daily. So anytime is a good time to visit and there is plenty to see too, so if Australia is on your hit-list try to make it over to Perth! My top tip for Perth would include getting photos of kangaroos with the city skyline in the background on Heirisson Island! This is a fairly well kept Perth-secret spot that most people only know for the occasional summer music festivals that take place on the non-kangaroo side of the island! (Bonus!) If you really want to see Australian flora and fauna why not head out to York? Its only 1.5 hours drive from Perth to get to real bushland and see a charming historic Australian country and farming town!)

Would you like a kangaroo with that? Head to Heirisson Island for a truly iconic shot!

11 Bloggers We Are Nominating!
  1. The Lone Traveller
  2. OIKG
  3. Passport and Plates
  4. Road Affair
  5. Sandals N Socks
  6. Two Tall Travellers
  7. Luxury Backpacking
  8. The Invisible Tourist
  9. Stylish Traveler
  10. Piccolo Explorer – Family Travel Blog
  11. Travelbreak
To Answer These 11 Questions:
  1. What is your favourite place you have traveled to so far and why?
  2. How long have you been blogging and what got you into it?
  3. What is your favourite cuisine from around the globe?
  4. What is one piece of advice you would give to yourself from ten years ago?
  5. What would your dream home look like?
  6. You win the lottery. What do you next!?
  7. Where is the most unique place you have traveled to?
  8. Have you ever traveled somewhere you really wouldn’t want to go back to?
  9. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
  10. Desert island scenario: what three things do you bring if there is already ample food, water and shelter?
  11. Tell us one best kept secret about your hometown?

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