The other day I got a lovely surprise when she nominated my blog for a Liebster Award - which means that she gets to ask me 10 questions which I answer on my blog, and then nominate other bloggers with a set of questions myself. It's essentially a blogging form of a chain letter, but I'm going to take it. So, here are Rebekah's questions for me:
Sydney, through a confluence of expensive property, high cost of living and poor internet speed, is absolutely terrible for freelance work - most cafes (if they have Wi-Fi at all) discourage you from plonking down with your laptop and a coffee for 5 hours; it's expensive to get around and to rent/own property, so home offices are out of the question at my stage, .
Living away from home means that I have the opportunity to start out as a freelancer and have the time to build businesses, blogs and other projects that don't necessarily make money yet. Geographical arbitrage for the win!
2. You’re given a large chunk of money from a mysterious donor. You’re told that the amount is somewhere between $25,000 and $1 million. The amount you’re to receive won’t be revealed until you specify your dream destination, where you’ll have to spend the next 3 years of your life. You will not be allowed to work or make any money during this period of time. Where do you go?
What a question!!! A very tough call. I would love to live in New York, but if I only got the $25,000 it wouldn't get me very far. I'd have to say New York and just trust my donor wasn't a dick who was going to force me to live in poverty in the city of my dreams for three years.
3. Do you consider yourself a backpacker, flashpacker, midrange or luxe traveler? Is it by choice or circumstance? Would you “change teams” if you could? Why?
I guess I'd have to call myself midrange, although that sounds much more financially secure that we actually are! I travel with my boyfriend, and after share-housing in London, then staying at my mum's place for 3 months in Sydney and subletting a room in a house in Chiang Mai, we've decided to only go for places we can live in with just the two of us.
Since we're planning to be digital nomads for a long time to come, we're not thinking in terms of having a finite amount of cash that will fund us longer if we travel more frugally. We're more interested in having a certain level of comfort and privacy because that's how we live, potentially forever, so I guess it's kind of by choice and circumstance.
We'd love to one day have so much money that we could rent luxury Airbnb apartments (this one is on our bucket list - one day we're going to catch the Eurostar from Paris to London, roll off the train and catch the lift up to this beautiful apartment in St Pancras clocktower, and prepare for the family/friends onslaught that going back London inevitably means). We'd like to be able to stay in a fancy resort every once in a while, so I guess luxe travel is on the agenda (some day).
4. Do you prefer to travel solo, travel with a partner or travel in a group? Why?
I'm very grateful that my partner is as into travel as me, but even before we started travelling together I'd usually travel with a good friend. I have a slight aversion to what I call the 'hostel conversation', which tends to be pretty cookie-cutter. I guess I'm a bit of a snob, too: people I've met in hostels have rarely been the kind of people I'd hang out with ordinarily (I'm not that interested in partying, drinking and that kind of thing).
Travelling in a group is also fun because you can mix it up - as long as everyone's relaxed about doing their own thing if they want and not forcing everyone to participate in everything. I'd say it's my second choice to travelling with a buddy. I've actually done extremely little travel by myself, and though I've enjoyed it, I prefer to have a pre-tested friend to share it with.
5. Which 3 places you’ve visited so far have felt the most like home?
I'm originally from Sydney, Australia. I guess my travel journey started when I got a youth visa to live in the UK for two years. I moved to Brighton, on the south coast of England for that whole time, and I loved it and still miss it. People who knew me from home who visited me in Brighton would say things like "you seem so at home here", and even my mum has agreed that, if I were to settle down, Brighton should be number 1 on my list (and it is).
Another place I feel very at home in is Edinburgh. I've spent a lot of time there during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, had grand romances there, been swept up in the stunning beauty of it, had amazing highs and crushing lows. I've been there four times over the last four years or so; each subsequent visit has inspired a feeling of delight, comfort and ease.
The only other place I've been which I feel at home in - not necessarily like home, but certainly a home, is here in Chiang Mai. I've been here for nearly 2 months and I'm super comfortable here. Much of it is still pretty inscrutable to me (I have got the absolutely bare minimum requirement of Thai, for instance), but I'm pretty happy here.
6. A proclamation is handed down from the Universe that states you may no longer travel, and you may no longer write about traveling (or anything related to travel). Where do you settle and what do you do with your life?
Ah, well, I think I still freelance or work for my own business, wherever I live, because I'm absolutely terrible at working in offices, keeping to anyone else's schedule or finding the motivation to work as an employee. I'd imagine I pitch my tent in Brighton, set up as an arts manager/marketing consultant/producer and pop out a few babies, whom I'd raise as liberal feminist arts lovers and entrepreneurs.
7. What is a single, unifying factor that you’ve observed in every single country you’ve visited?
That weather, no matter how much we understand scientifically, is still so remarkable and awe-inspiring - even when it's fairly mundane. It's very human.
8. Can cross-cultural romances ever work?
My boyfriend is English, so I hope so. I did have to ask him early on to stop make stereotypical Australian jokes, though. I've been thinking about cross-cultural romance recently because in Thailand I've observed a lot of of creepy old white sexpats with much younger Thai women, which I think can only, deep down, be a bit miserable.
I think where there's a significant language barrier that it must be really hard. I'm a words person so I couldn't imagine not being able to communicate the complexity of my thoughts, emotions and reactions to my partner. It would be hard to explain the nuance of why something upset you, or why you thought that movie was crap, your dreams, or why you thought something was funny.
9. Name 3 things you do NOT miss about living in your home country (or staying in your home country 24/7/365)
- The current state of Australian politics (which I still get pretty het up about)
- The prices!
- The veeeery small fishbowl that is Sydney, if you've lived there all your life
10. 2014 will be a total bust for you unless you _________________.
Manage to set up at least one passive income stream. All I want is for residual income to roll into my account on a regular basis, IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?!?!?
Disclaimer - I'm not just being stingy with my nominations, I just don't know that many travel bloggers!
Christina Gmyr of Fleeting Life - I met Christina at a blogging conference in Dublin last year and we really clicked. Her blog and the story behind it are beautiful and inspiring; she's full of fun and determined to live richly. She's worked really hard at building an awesome and jealousy-inducing blog, so check it out.
1. When did you start blogging, any why?
2. Is there anyone who shouldn't travel?
3. What do you say to people who ask you when you're coming back from your 'holiday', or 'when you're settling down'?
4. What's one luxury in your bag that you shouldn't really need but somehow find room for?
5. Describe the most frustrating experience you've ever had on the road.
6. What's the one thing you wish you'd been told before you started blogging?
7. How do you choose your next destination?
8. Describe your ideal day on the road.
9. How do you stay in touch with family and friends at home? Do you miss your buddies?
10. If you were made president of the world, what changes would you make and why?