Liebster Award: Getting to know The Smart Way Round

This year is already shaping up as a big year for us and to round out the first four months of the year we have just been nominated for the Liebster Blogging Award

The Liebster Award is awarded to bloggers by other bloggers. It is a little like an old-fashioned chain letter but helps the blogging community to connect and help expose blogs to new audiences. Basically you are asked a set of questions which you answer and then you nominate other blogs to follow suit. We can thank Heidi from Hobo In High Heels for the nomination. If you get the chance check out her blog there is some really cool stuff there, so thanks Heidi for the nomination.

So here we go, 11 questions to get the insider knowledge on what makes the Smart Way Round tick!

1.What does a normal day in your life look like?

Dean: What is normal? A normal ‘work’ day for me involves taking anywhere up to 48 people on a coach holiday around the stunning cities of Central Europe. No day is ever the same as you meet and interact with people from all around the world, share travel stories with them and get to show them sites they have always dreamed of seeing. For a travel lover and blogger it is the perfect job, but definitely not ‘normal’.

2 What is your coolest travel story?

We have both been lucky to do some pretty amazing things around the world, but the reason we got into blogging was for our overland adventure from London to Melbourne. To travel 20,000 km across over a third of the world without having to board a plane is probably our coolest travel story. For a lot of people we speak to it is hard to fathom just how far we travelled and it is definitely something we look back on with a great sense of pride and achievement. (You can check out our earliest posts for more on that adventure).

3. What are three things on your bucket list?

Dean: The top three countries on my travel bucket list are Greenland, Bhutan and Tanzania. Three extremely different countries but all three have an immense appeal to me.

4. What is your least favourite travel destination?

We don’t really have a least favourite destination, it sounds a little clichéd but everywhere is cool for different reasons. That being said Dean spends a lot of time working in Central Europe so it is probably not his first choice of travel destination for a holiday.

5. What place have you always dreamed of visiting?

Dean: Ever since I started travelling I have wanted to Husky Sled in Greenland during winter to see the Northern Lights, one day maybe! Last year we saw so many places I had always dreamed of seeing, the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors and the Taj Mahal. The best thing about seeing them though was I could start dreaming about new places to visit.

Best thing about seeing bucket list sites is writing a new bucket list!

Best thing about seeing bucket list sites is writing a new bucket list!

6. What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?

Dean: My guilty pleasure when we travel is my GoPro camera. I love that thing, and love playing around with it. If you ask Natalie, she will tell you i love it more than her (I would like to clarify however that is not true).

7. What is one of your most embarrassing moments?

Dean: I once turned up at the airport to fly back to London from Australia a day before my flight was actually scheduled to depart. My folks had dropped me to the airport, drove off, and I was back on their doorstep half an hour after they returned home!

8. What is your favourite thing about traveling?

We love discovering new places and experiencing new cultures. The sense of adventure and the feeling of freedom and not having to worry about ‘normal life’ stresses.

9. What is the best thing anyone has said about your blog?

Everyone has been so supportive of our blog. So really all the comments we have received we have loved. We suppose anytime someone has found our hints and tips helpful and thanked us for sharing is the best thing. The most amazing thing is how many people we have never met read and follow it. In fact the majority of our friends don’t actually read it. That is probably because they get sick of hearing all our stories in the flesh.

10. Tell me about one of the best meals you’ve ever had!

Dean: One of the most memorable meals we have had travelling was when we caught up with one of Natalie’s work contacts, Tan Jun, in Chengdu. We went out for traditional Sichuan Hot Pot and had an amazing night. I will try just about anything, but Natalie is by her own admission a little particular when it comes to meat. Well that night I watched her eat things I would never have dreamed of including stomach and intestines. The food was incredible but the evening was made by Tan Jun and his wife Wendy. (You can read more about the experience by clicking here)

Sichuan Hot Pot, so good!

Sichuan Hot Pot, so good!

11. What makes you happy?

Nothing makes us more happy than throwing our backpacks on and heading off to some far-flung land that we have not explored yet. It is how we met and how The Smart Way Round was formed and is something we hope we will continue to do.

Backpacks = Happiness

Backpacks = Happiness

Ok so now it is time to share the love. Our nominees in no particular order are:

Matt & Alana from Great Big Globe

Our good friend Wayne from Wayne Central

Rusty form Roadtrip Rusty

The team at Teabags and Toilet Rolls

Ana Karina at Wanderfinds

Brianna at Casual Travelist

Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to answer the following 11 questions:

1. What three things can you not go travelling without?

2. If you could only visit one more place in the world where would that be?

3. What is the most unusual food you have tried on your travels?

4. Are you a luxury traveller or more of an adventure traveller?

5. Who inspired you to travel?

6. What is your biggest travel regret?

7. What is the coolest thing to see in your hometown?

8. Share your favourite travel photo and why is it your favourite?

9. What is the worst souvenir you have ever bought?

10. If you could live in any country which country would that be?

11. What do you most enjoy about travelling?

Good luck, this message will self destruct in five seconds…. (well not really but it would be cool if it did)

Thank you for your support

After the most amazing time in Mongolia (more about that in the blog to follow) we are really sad to leave this special place, but are looking forward to boarding our train to Beijing in the morning.  Internet access is likely to be a bit more ‘few and far’ between, and social media quite restricted, so we wanted to take this opportunity to say a big thank you!

Sending stories back about our trip has been different for us this time round.  In the past we have sent big round-robin emails, but this time we thought we would blog and see how that went.

I have heard numerous comments from people in the past (not always positive!) about people always putting things on Facebook and Twitter about their travels, so we thought the best thing to do would be to start up ‘The Smart Way Round’ Facebook page.  We invited all of our friends to ‘like’ the page, that way people could either opt in or out of our travel updates.  At the time it all felt rather self-indulgent and like we were promoting ourselves which was not the way it was intended at all!  In short, we were blown away with the response we got so maybe more people are interested in our travels than we first believed!

So above all this is just a big THANK YOU for your support both before and during our journey.  We will continue to post blogs were we can, although it may not be possible to post these on Facebook.  You can always sign up for email updates via ‘The Smart Way Round’ blog page, or alternatively we will be back on Social Media as soon as possible (Dean can’t be parted with Twitter for too long)!

For now, thank you and see you in China (you better pinch me as it doesn’t seem possible)!

– Natalie