As a new blogger in a vast industry of food, travel, fashion, and lifestyle blogs, it’s always great to receive any sort of recognition. I’m proud to announce that Little Blue Earth has been nominated for the Liebster Award!
Thank you so much to New Routes for the incredible nomination! The travel tips you’ve provided on your travel blog, especially on the Stuff We Love pages, are super helpful. I’ll be sure to use them when planning future trips to some of the places you’ve visited, especially Asia and Africa.
What is the Liebster Award?
The Liebster Award is an online award given to bloggers by other bloggers looking to recognize the efforts and content of those new to the industry. The first award goes back to 2011, so the word is spreading! It’s a great way to spread the love and valiantly cheer each other on as we all work to deliver creative information to the world. The word liebster is a German word that means “sweetest, kindest, beloved, dearest, pleasant, cute, endearing, affectionate.”
Who Is Little Blue Earth? My Answers to New Routes Questions
- Why did you decide to start your blog?
I caught the travel bug after I visited Israel in 2005, and it only grew during my travels through Europe in 2007. However, it wasn’t until I was a year into graduate school that I even knew about travel blogging. After hours of studying for tests and labs, I would unwind with some of my favorite travel blogs, dreaming of the places I planned to visit one day. Family travel, solo female travel, adventure travel, weekend travel…the list goes on and on! Where did I fit into the travel universe?
After struggling through the long work weeks, I realized that I needed a creative outlet. I didn’t want to write travel guides (there were plenty of great ones out there), and I didn’t have the ability to travel long-term (though I hope to do this one day). All I wanted to do was share my stories, past and present, as well as my photos. After months of deliberating, I shirked off my feelings of doubt and signed up for a hosting site. Little Blue Earth was born. Where will it go? Only time will tell.
2) What is the craziest thing you have ever eaten abroad?
I’ve eaten so many different kinds of food, from alligator in the Everglades to snails in Montreal to crickets at my local farmer’s market. Food is an experience in itself while traveling. However, the craziest thing I’ve eaten isn’t really “crazy” under normal circumstances. Mr. Little Blue Earth and I traveled to Australia in the summer of 2016. Our AirBnB host recommended that we head over to the Sydney Fish Market early in the morning…and eat sushi for breakfast. Weird? Yes. Worth it? COMPLETELY!
Another Aussie snack we tried was Vegemite. It wasn’t for us.
3) Tell us about a destination that you think is underrated and why people should go there.
Five years ago, I booked a flight to Ecuador with my cousin and friend during my first winter break of graduate school. Initially, we had planned on staying 2 weeks in a treehouse in Tena, a small village centered in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Two days before I left to meet my travel companions (they spent an extra week abroad since I was stuck taking finals), I got a call from my cousin saying that they were leaving Tena and heading to Baños. I flew to Ecuador without having researched anything. This destination was completely foreign to me, and I would be traveling for two days by myself. I was terrified.
Ecuador ended up being the most thrilling and memorable country I’ve ever traveled through. Many people visit Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Brazil when they travel through South America. I’ve only been to South America once, and I’m dying to visit those places myself. However, Ecuador grabbed my soul and ran away with it. I have never experienced anything like it again. From the kindness of strangers to the whiplash I sustained from climate changes (I went from the temperate climate of Baños to the beaches of Montañita to the snowy volcanoes of Cotopaxi), I experienced every kind of adventure the country had to offer.
FYI: If you’re on a budget, you’ll do just fine in Ecuador: I was able to travel throughout the country as a graduate student, and it didn’t break the bank for me.
4) How many hours a week do you spend working on your blog?
Honestly, it depends on the week. This past January was especially productive for me, as I published 8 blog posts and increased my follower count. Ironically, January was also packed with work at the hospital (working 8-9 days in a row twice during the month), as well as a weekend trip to Iowa. However, every week is different. Some weeks I can spend 20+ hours on this blog. Others, I spend about 10 hours. I’m still figuring out the direction of Little Blue Earth, so taking a step back gives my brain a chance to reset and think objectively about what I want to get out of it. For now, I’m just enjoying the ride.
5) What are useful tools you use to grow your blog? Advice welcome.
Honestly, I’m probably not the best person to speak about this because my blog is still itty bitty. Since I released it at the end of last year, it’s been growing slowly through word of mouth. I haven’t paid for any advertisements through social media or other outlets.
One thing that’s been a game changer for me was finding other Facebook groups that encourage bloggers to post their links. I joined two: Blogging Anarchy and Blog Share Learn. They’re private groups that you have to be approved to join.
Before I started Little Blue Earth, I signed up for Travel Blog Success which helps budding bloggers achieve professional success through their various courses and expert guidance. One of the best perks they offer is access to their private Facebook group, which has been super helpful since I get to read advice from other bloggers in the field. The group’s administrators are very fair when it comes to promoting your own material and will have occasional threads for projects and accomplishments.
6) What is the most difficult thing about blogging?
My day job as a physical therapist, spending time with family, working out, and getting my normal life in order take up every hour of the day. Rather than focusing on long-term goals, I set a few goals every week for me to accomplish. I keep a messy pile of papers and planners next to my computer which drives my husband crazy since he’s a bit of a neat freak.
Honestly, this is something I haven’t put much effort into. At this point, blogging is still a learning process for me. When I started, I knew it wouldn’t be something that would happen overnight. The internet is big and it’s very hard to make your voice heard. At this point, I’m quietly listening to what other bloggers have to say and applying the advice that I think is most beneficial to Little Blue Earth.
7) Mountains or Ocean?
Mountains all the way. It helps to have the ocean nearby, which is why California is one of my favorite destinations. But I love the mountain air, the hiking trails, and the feeling of being on top of the world. Since I live by the ocean in South Florida, standing on top of a mountain makes me feel like I’ve visited another world.
8) What is your least favorite part about traveling?
Delays and cancellations. It really sucks. I don’t have an endless amount of time to travel, so this really stresses me out. Read about my flight cancellation in Europe back in 2010.
9) What is your favorite travel book/film?
That’s like asking me about my favorite destination. It’s so hard to answer! I’m currently working on a travel resources page that seems to keep growing by the minute. For now, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite books and films:
Let me preface this by saying that I define travel films a little differently than most people. To me, travel films are those that give each destination a personality through the use of brilliant storytelling and cinematography. The films I’ve included are ones that fill me with desire to visit each place based on how the characters interact with their surroundings.
Similar to how I define travel films, the travel books that really stick with me are the ones detailing interactions between character and destination. However, I’d like to highlight books that have left me feeling inspired by the main characters’ audacity and bravery. Books that showcase people who go out into the world and face it in spite of their fears and lack of experience are the ones that really stick with me. Some are true travel memoirs, others are about people overcoming obstacles in the world.
10) What is your favorite post that you’ve written?
Can I choose more than one? Haha…no really?
I’ve written a few posts that I’m proud of, but my favorite post is one that is close to my heart. After experiencing a very stressful month of November, my website crashed and all of my work seemed to be for naught. My back went out from the stress and I couldn’t work for two days. My friend told me to “chill out” (in more blunt terms) and ordered me to take a week off. I spent a weekend in New Orleans and it was the best tonic for me.
While I was there, I realized that I was being silly about breaking into the “blogging biz” and I wasn’t ready to tackle it. New Orleans reminded me of the value of creation and how much fun it can be to make something for yourself.
Read about it here → Sassy New Orleans: Creation Found in Beignets, Jazz, and Poetry
11) Would you rather hit five different cities in ten days or hang out in one?
I’d rather hang out in one city for 10 days, with a couple of day trips added in for good measure.
I’ve done the whole fast travel thing, backpacking my way through seven countries in three weeks while I was studying abroad. It’s a lot of fun when you’re young and have the energy to cram everything into a short period of time. Now that I’m a bit more “seasoned” (Ha! Never thought I’d say that, but I can now that I’m 30), I really enjoy spending an extended period of time in each city. I enjoy having a smattering of days spent as a tourist, and others spent lounging and enjoying the local scene.
That being said, I don’t think I would stay ten days in one city. I think I would spend a maximum of five days in one city before moving onto a second city.
Official Rules for Liebster Award Nominees
If you have been nominated for the Liebster Award and you choose to accept it, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
- Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
- Create a post on your blog, displaying the Liebster Award logo.
- Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 3000 followers.
- Come up with 10-11 questions for your nominees.
- List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.)
- Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.
My Nominations for the Liebster Award
As a newbie blogger, I understand how much effort goes into creating a blog amidst millions of others. That being said, here are my nominations for bloggers who have created great content for the travel blogging industry.
Questions for my Nominees
- What inspired you to start your travel blog?
- What is your favorite mode of transportation? Planes, trains, or automobiles?
- Do you prefer photography or videography to document your travels?
- Cities vs Nature?
- What was the biggest obstacle you faced when starting your travel blog?
- Tourism is changing world-wide, having an impact on our environment and economy. How are/will you contribute to ethical and sustainable tourism?
- Do you prefer to travel solo, with a close friend, or in a group?
- What is your favorite continent or travel region?
- What is the craziest experience you’ve ever had abroad?
- If you had to do any of these experiences, which would you choose: skydiving, bungy-jumping, cage-diving with great white sharks, or swimming with whale sharks?
Thank you again to New Routes for the Liebster Award nomination! Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links. If you buy a product through my blog, I receive a small commission at no cost to you, which helps to support this blog. Anything recommended is tried and tested by yours truly, and includes products/services that I truly enjoy. Thanks for everyone’s support for Little Blue Earth!