My Travels from A to Z

I don’t normally participate in travel blog memes that make their way around the web, but I was tagged by my friends Cam and Nicole from Traveling Canucks, and this one sounded like a lot of fun to me, so I thought I’d give it a go. Who knows … maybe you’ll learn a little something about me or a particular destination that you never knew before.

Enjoy the journey!

My Travels from A to Z

I absolutely adored Jeju Island, South Korea.

A: Age you went on your first trip.

My family traveled to Canada when I was still in elementary school. It was the first and only time I’ve seen the changing of the guards in Ottawa. It was also one of the first long road trips I ever took.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where.

Sorry everyone, but I’m just not a beer drinker. That doesn’t mean I don’t get my hands on some awesome bottles though (see “K” below).

C: Cuisine (favorite).

I love beans and rice that I can buy right off the street. It’s a universal dish, and I’ve enjoyed this cheap, filling meal on just about every continent I’ve visited.

D: Destination (favorite and least favorite).

I absolutely adored everything about the Cook Islands. I also loved Jeju Island in South Korea, which many people never visit because it’s relatively difficult to reach.

There are very few places I dislike, but I really didn’t care for Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

My Travels from A to Z

Getting around Switzerland by train.

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow.”

When I was in the tenth grade, I played in a brass choir in Westminster Abbey in London. The sounds that echoed through the cathedral were absolutely indescribable. Our conductor began to cry. I’ll never forget it.

F: Favorite mode of transportation.

Though I love to explore on foot, I’ll hop on a train at any opportunity.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling.

Sharing an awesome site, moment or experience with another person so that I can relive it over and over once I get home.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to.

The humidity in Vietnam at the end of August was so potent it made my hair curly, which has never, ever happened before.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where.

When I stayed at Six Senses Hideaway on Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam, I had my own butler. I had no idea what to do with such immediate and personal service!

My Travels from A to Z

There’s something hauntingly beautiful about cemeteries.

J: Journey that took the longest.

To get from the Peace Corps training center in Naivasha, Kenya, to our village outside of Taveta, we had to take an overnight train to Mombasa, a five-hour bus ride to Voi, another hour-and-a-half bus ride to Taveta and then bike ten miles along a sandy path.

K: Keepsake from your travels.

There are two things I always try to collect when I travel: Beer bottles (we have hundreds of them decorating our kitchen) and local coffee beans. I also discovered that I tend to buy a lot of pajama-esque pants as well.

L: Letdown site and where.

Despite the hype, Taliesin West in Arizona was a ridiculous waste of time and money.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel.

I would probably have to say the long road trips to my grandparents’ house. I stayed up all night to keep my dad company, and we listened to the oldies station driving across Iowa.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed at.

Though the Six Senses in Vietnam was pretty swanky, I really loved the all-inclusive wellness aspect of Red Mountain Resort in Utah.

O: Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?

Cemeteries. If I see one on the side of the road or they are significant to the local culture, I always want to stop and check them out.

My Travels from A to Z

Zip lining in Costa Rica and loving it!

P: Passport stamps. How many and from where?

In my current passport, I have three stamps from Mexico; two from South Korea; one each from Honduras, Peru, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Switzerland, Curacao, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Vietnam and Canada; a series from the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu; and a souvenir stamp from One Foot Island.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where.

Every time I pass through South Dakota, I stop at Wall Drug for my free ice water.

R: Recommended site, event or experience.

Though it’s definitely not for everyone, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is something I will never, ever forget, and I would highly recommend anyone with physical prowess make the trip.

S: Splurge. Something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling.

I can pass up the local cuisine and sleep in cheap hostels, but I will pay good money for quality experiences. I know a lot of people who won’t visit certain sites or do certain things because it costs money. Not me. If I don’t know when I’ll be back again, I’ll gladly pay for the experiences that put a destination on the map.

My Travels from A to Z

The Grand Canyon covered in snow is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done.

My dad and I went zip lining in Costa Rica and had a blast!

U: Unforgettable travel memory.

There are so many of them that it’s hard to choose just one. I’d probably have to go with white water rafting down the Nile River in Uganda, not necessarily because it was fun but because it was so terrifying.

V: Visa. How many and for where.

A traveler’s visa for Vietnam and a temporary citizen visa for Kenya.

W: Wine. Best glass of wine while traveling and where?

There was a lot of great wine in Switzerland. I don’t think I can pick a particular glass though.

X: eXcellent view and from where.

Christmas morning at the Grand Canyon. Snow plus one of the most magnificent wonders of the world equals a truly stunning sight.

Y: Years spent traveling.

I’ve been an active travel writer for more than two years now, and I’ve done most of my international traveling in that time. But I began traveling with my dad on his business trips when I was young enough to fly free, so I have no memory of not traveling.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where.

I got caught up in the streets after the Vancouver Canucks won game five of the Stanley Cup finals in 2011. In fact, I was staying in a hostel with a window that opened up to the main party street in town, and I moved out in the middle of the night it was so chaotic.

Tag! You’re it!

Carrie from My Several Worlds.
Emily, Alex and Rease from Travelated.
Gray from Solo Friendly.

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My Travels from A to Z
JoAnna is a globe-trotting, idea-inventing, culture-collecting creativity connoisseur with big dreams and a desire to touch all seven continents. You can also find JoAnna at joannahaugen.com and at The 52 Letters Project.

4 Responses

  1. Jill says:

    So fun to read all of this…I’ll bet you had a tough time selecting some of the “winning” items/places/experiences!

  2. Great to see you participated in this! I had a go myself a few weeks back and found it to fun.

    I enjoyed reading your answers and Christmas morning at the Grand Canyon sounds like something I absolutely have to try.

    Thanks!

  3. JoAnna says:

    It was hard ~ there are so many great places and experiences!

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