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abc’s of travel.

January 13, 2012
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One of my blog friends, Emily of Relishments, had this great post yesterday (stop by her blog and say hello!). I enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d steal it and feature it on here, with my own answers. Enjoy and happy Friday!

PS – most of my travel pictures were taken with a film camera, before I ever owned a digital one, so I don’t have many pictures to post. I’ll have to scan them in so you can see them at a later post!

A: Age you went on your first international trip: if my memory serves me well (preggo brain here, apologies in advance), I believe I first ventured outside of the U.S. and headed over the Texas border to Piedras Negras, Mexico. I was fifteen years old and part of a very large youth group that served for a week at an orphanage as our mission trip. It was not a luxurious trip at all (but mission trips are not intended to be that way) – we camped out in tents and sleeping bags on the grounds of the orphanage. I didn’t know anyone but a small handful of people but I still had a blast serving the children there. Side note: I have been outside of the U.S. before – I was born in the Philippines and then moved to Texas at age 8 but I count my trip to Piedras Negras as my first venture outside of the country.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: Sad to say that I have never drank beer  each time I’ve been abroad. But my favorite foreign beer is anything Belgian. A lambec, to be exact. Best stuff ever, just too darn expensive.

C: Cuisine (favorite): this is tricky because I love food and so many different kinds of cuisine. I have to be loyal to my home country (Philippines) and my parents’ cooking – Filipino food is just fantastic. Next up? Middle Eastern and Italian food (though I’ve not been to these places). Finally, Chinese food – which I’ve tasted when I spent two weeks in south China about 9 years ago. And then again, Indian food is amazing, too.

in Mumbai, with some dear people

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why: my favorite place in the world is Ireland. I’ve gotten to go to this beautiful country three times, living there for 5 weeks on my last trip in 2002 (with a group called Wonder Voyage – check them out!). The Lord did some amazing things in my life and I got to experience some fantastic adventures, like served the local church in Athenry, made wonderful friends, drank tea with lovely Irish folk who invited me into their home, hiking up the Slieve League, took a dip in the icy pool of Mahon Falls, walked a trail by the Cliffs of Moher, slept in a youth hostel in Inis Oírr (one of the Aran Islands), ate the best smoked fish chowder of my life and attended the 25th annual Galway Arts Festival, among other things. I left a part of my heart in Ireland and one day, I will be back! Least favorite? I’m not a hot weather beach person. It’s no fun for me to sit under the blazing sun, or to walk on hot sand, or to swim in the ocean. No thank you.

E: Event you experienced that made you say “wow”: when I went to China, I was part of a missions group. In my particular group, there were four of us girls with our two team leaders. Us foreigners were invited to sing at this people group festival. I remember being in front of thousands of people in this “small” town, singing a capella, freezing our buns off and having the time of our lives. At that same festival, we danced and mingled with different people. A Chinese girl, about ten years old or so, took a fascination to my fleece Old Navy light blue scarf. Without speaking each other’s language, we exchanged scarves. Today, I still have her hand-knight brown and white scarf and she has mine.

F: Favorite mode of transportation: the train! Last time my husband and I took a trip to Seattle was December 2010, to visit some of his family for ten days. Since our family there lives within walking distance to downtown, we just hopped on the train from the airport into the city, met our family at the train station under Nordstrom’s and we all walked to their place. Taking the train allowed me to see the neighboring towns and glimpses of beautiful scenery that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: definitely seeing God’s creation – the different cultures I’ve experienced, the people I’ve met, the beautiful natural sites I’ve seen. To be in awe of what he created. I’ve gotten to stand near the edge of the Cliffs of Moher and on top of a small mountain in the Bale Mountain National Park in Ethiopa. I’ve gotten to ride a train in Mumbai, India and be in the throng of hundreds of women on their way to work or their homes. I’ve gotten to eat authentic cuisine, lovingly made by our hosts. I’ve hiked up trails in Canada. It can’t get much better than that.

Emerald Lake Lodge, not too far from Banff, where we spent our honeymoon in 2006

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: Texas. In July. Boo.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: eating brunch at the beautiful JW Marriott in Mumbai. Best. Buffet. Brunch. Ever. (And I’ve been to a lot of buffets, if you know me well.) Food was amazing and the service matched it.

J: Journey that took the longest: not sure. I bet my longest journey was when my family and I moved from the Philippines to Texas. I remember flying from Manila to Narita, Japan to Detroit, Michigan to DFW, Texas. But then again, my trip to Ethiopia consisted of flying from DFW to Chicago, Chicago to Egypt, Egypt to Addis Ababa.

K: Keepsake from your travels: pencils (from places I’ve been to and places my friends have been to; I’ve got maybe 200 or so?) and coins. Now, my husband and I collect coffee mugs from places we visit.

L: Let-down sight, why and where: actually, I don’t remember visiting a bad place.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: during my second trip to Ireland, in 2001. I hated to leave the country. I actually cried on the plane, before it took off to go to the U.S.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: it’s a toss-up between Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, British Columbia (for our honeymoon) and the Hilton in downtown Fort Worth, where we stayed overnight for our 2nd year anniversary.

O: Obsession–what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: Graffiti and street art/decor. This obsession just started several years ago.

New York City, 2007

Seattle, 2008

Chinatown, San Francisco, 2011

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? I am not sure but I’ve been to Canada (once), India (2x), Ireland (3x), Ethiopia (once) and China (once).

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: bad memory here, sorry. I’ve seen quite a few quirky things in Seattle and San Francisco.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: west Ireland, particularly Galway and the surrounding towns; British Columbia, Canada; the Pacific Northwest.

image credit here

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: food!

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: I have a love/hate relationship with touristy things. On one hand, it’s good because you get to see famous landmarks, etc. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem as authentic. Like, the first time I went to Seattle with my husband to visit family, we did the obligatory trip to the Public Market. But then on other trips there, my sister-in-law just pointed us to one direction and off we went to explore the Capitol Hill streets and surrounding neighborhoods. We really enjoy just walking off the beaten path, because we’ve found a lot of neat stores (like cool thrift shops), restaurants and sites that way. Plus each time we’ve been to Seattle, we go to places our family goes to, so it’s authentic. The grocery stores they shop at, the restaurants they eat at, the parks they play at, that kind of thing. Plus we get to avoid the tourist (i.e. numerous) crowds.

U: Unforgettable travel memory: sitting in a pub in Inis Oírr, listening to master musicians play Celtic music. Oh! And dancing like a fool – some of my friends and I volunteered to be taught Irish dancing at this hotel in Galway. We happily obliged, laughed hysterically, learned some dance steps and sweated buckets. And I can’t forget this – sharing a $24 crab at a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf with my husband, as part of our 5-year wedding anniversary.

V: Visas, how many and for where?  Four, if I remember correctly – for India, China, Ethiopia and Ireland.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? Not too big of a wine person but I remember drinking an amazing Belgian beer several years ago while in Seattle. It was so good! Must get a bottle of this . . . for AFTER the baby is born!

image credit here

X: eXcellent view and from where?: the Slieve League, Carrick, Ireland.

image credit here

image credit here

Y: Years spent traveling?: since 1997, I think. So that will be fourteen years? I hate math.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?: Texas. Football. Enough said.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2012 4:22 pm

    Nice photos and memories…we need more mountains in Texas.

  2. January 14, 2012 8:12 am

    Nice post, Michelle. I didn’t know that you are a big fan of Belgian beer. Come and visit Holland and make a trip to Belgium too. I’m no beer fan but the hubby is. He used to work and live in Belgium and was into collecting beer bottles (empty after he drank all of them) but I threw those bottles away because they were just gathering dust. Belgium has hundreds and hundreds of beer types, some of them have secret recipes that date back to the Middle Ages. The country is beer paradise.

  3. January 14, 2012 1:22 pm

    Aw, I’m so glad you did it! And I totally had the same issue with some of my photos being either on film or stored on my parents’ computer in Maine. Thank goodness for photos on Facebook that I could steal!

  4. January 23, 2012 5:17 pm

    I love to travel too but I haven’t traveled as much as you. I love reading this post and I love to read other’s travel adventures. It inspires me to travel more and makes me realize that there is a whole lot of the world I haven’t seen.

    I like this idea of ABCs. I’m going to copy you and also post the same of my blog. Thanks

    • January 23, 2012 5:21 pm

      i love that you’ve gotten to go to the philippines! i was born there but haven’t been back 😦 one day i hope to visit and bring my husband with me, so he can meet my extended family (dad’s side) there.

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