Please adhere to the following instructions, in the order they are presented to you.
1. Put an adequately full kettle on to boil
2. Clear the next 10-15 minutes of your schedule.
3. Pour boiled water into a mug containing teabag of choice and diffuse. Add milk to taste. Don't leave teabag on the kitchen as it will stain.
4. Sit in front of laptop/computer or balance phone in a comfortable position.
5. Read this, "My Travel ABCs".
Firstly quick thanks to Monica from The Travel Hack, who tagged me in her Travel ABCs meaning I "have" to answer the same 26 questions related to travel. Though we've only been blog and Twitter buddies for a short while, Monica has been very supportive and encouraging of this blog and I am very grateful .
Here we go...
A: Age you went on your first international trip? I was less than a year old. This photo shows me and my now good friend and former flatmate Mo on a beach mat during my first summer in the south of France in Bordeaux. (I'm the one with the skirt around my ears.)
B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where? I think all foreign beer has the ability to taste astonishingly good under the right conditions or more precisely following a particularly good or bad day/journey/experience. Personal foreign favourites include Estrella, Singha and Erdinge.
C: Cuisine (favorite)? Pizza. Preferably from Naples or New York. I also have a soft spot for cheesecake, sushi, Austrian knuddelsuppe and gelato. Not necessarily at the same time, though I wouldn't say no.
D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why? This is of course a completely unreasonable question and so I will avoid it by listing some of my favourite places in the world, in no particular order: Montpellier, London , Lake Garda, Novigrad (Croatia), Koh Lanta , San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Prague, Sydney . I am sure there are more... The list of my least favourite places is a much shorter list, thank goodness. Railay Beach (though stunning scenery), Jakarta (though fascinating history and we met many friendly people) and Nice in south of France have all disappointed one way or another.
E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”? Snorkelling on Koh Racha. It was arguably better than some of the open water dives we have done.
F: Favorite mode of transportation? If it wasn't so damaging to the environment I would say driving as with the right soundtrack and pack of snacks I could drive for hours and indeed have done in UK, Australia and USA. I love road trips . However, I am trying to be a better citizen of the world so I will say walking. I love the freedom my own two feet give me.
G: Greatest feeling while travelling? Though I have tried and loved both wakeboarding and diving on this current trip, nothing beats the high I get from snowboarding and I am grateful for every year that I can head off in search of snow with my snowboard Violet. H: Hottest place you’ve travelled to? Rome during the 2002 heat wave. People were sadly dying back home in the UK from the heat and there I was in Rome in temperatures hitting the 40s and a stifling humidity clouded the city. I survived a whole three weeks of it as I completed an Italian language course. I am a self-confessed heat junkie yet this is the only time I haven't been able to sleep from heat and found myself going a little bit potty.
I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where? We've been very lucky on our current trip that we've only experienced bad service a handful of times. Thailand has been extremely kind to us with very generous, hard-working people going the extra mile for us. This fella was long-tail boat taxi driver who I asked to take me to Koh Phi Phi Leh and back to Phi Phi Don, a journey that should have taken just over an hour with a stop but he turned tour guide and spent 4 hours showing me lots of different things on both islands. A true gentleman. J: Journey that took the longest? Taking the Greyhound from Washington D.C. to deepest darkest South Carolina to visit a good friend of mine. It was the longest and arguable dodgiest journey I've made with interesting characters hiding out in every Bus Station and on every coach. It was over 10 years ago and every one of these characters who heard my British accent called me "Spice Girl". One even asked me to sing for him. I didn't.
K: Keepsake from your travels? NewMan, my boyfriend. We met on the top of a mountain snowboarding in Austria.
L: Let-down sight, why and where? As referred to before and on this blog Railay Beach was a big disappointment . Though beautiful, it was over-priced, over-populated and over-run with travellers, holiday-makers and staff that we couldn't relate to.
M: Moment where you fell in love with travel? I don't think I've ever not been in love with travel and I must say he's been a wonderfully giving lover.
N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in? Hotel 41 in London as a birthday treat last year was pretty special as it's often voted the best hotel in London and was a total surprise (thank you NewMan). There's something especially fun about staying in a hotel in your home city. Other amazing hotels I've stayed in include Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and The Racha on Koh Racha .
O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while travelling? Food, flowers, frogs. You name it I will photograph it as I'm a beginner photographer eager to learn and shoot more . I'd love to get better at snapping people too but am still a bit shy and awkward about asking strangers. P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? Current count is 16 (for Australia, Croatia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia - some a number of times) and I've only had this passport for less than six months. My old passport was impressively full too, even though most of the travel I've done has been in EU countries.
Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where? It isn't supposed to be an attraction but recently NewMan, his brother and I had far too much fun investigating some painted concrete blocks at the end of a sea break in Coffs Harbour . Is that quirky enough for you? R: Recommended sight, event or experience? Kayaking; what better way to explore a new beach or that deserted island off the coast? Kayaking will guarantee you good views, good exercise and good arguments. Nothing has made NewMan and I argue more than kayaking. Still the views are worth it. You can read my kayaking photo story here . S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while travelling? Accommodation. Maybe it's my age (though I can't really remember ever enjoying slumming it) but I don't mind spending a decent amount of money to get a decent night's sleep.
T: Touristy thing you’ve done? The duck tour in Seattle . It was brilliant and hilarious. I now secretly crave doing a duck tour everywhere else I go.
U: Unforgettable travel memory? Seeing dolphins not once but twice in less than a month. The first time was when I was on a long tail boat near Koh Phi Phi in Thailand and I took this over exposed photograph. I don't know why but I still quite like it. The second time was from the coast at Byron Bay and I didn't bother reaching for my camera, I just watched in awe as they bobbed up and down.
V: Visas, how many and for where? None. Nobody wants me.
W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? One of my best friends works in wine in Languedoc Roussillon so staying with him always results in amazing wine and so I can honestly answer this question with any and every glass of wine that I have enjoyed with him.
X: eXcellent view and from where? There are too many to mention; the Grand Canyon, the Singapore skyline from Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the sun setting from Cafe del Mar in Ibiza, at the tops of numerous mountains on my snowboard. However, some of the best views I've enjoyed have been those I've spent some quality time with like the view out to the west of London from the flat I lived in in Shepherd's Bush. I loved balancing on my small balcony with a glass of wine and watching the sun go down on my favourite city in the world. More recently I loved our views from a villa we rented on Koh Lanta. Y: Years spent traveling? Sadly none on a continuous trip, yet. We are currently 3 months in to a RTW and we plan on keeping going for the foreseeable future even when we head closer to home. Z: Zealous sports fans and where? I am a sports fan but I wouldn't classify any enthusiasm I have for sports as zealous. However, I am a keen snowboarder and have snowboarded all over the Austrian, Italian and French alps. As a spectator sporting highlights have included watching the Mariners play the Red Sox in Seattle and being one of only a handful of women in a packed Stadio San Paolo watching SSC Napoli v. Atalanta in Naples.
Frances M. Thompson
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