I love being a part of “Sisterhoods.” There are women in my family I think of as sisters, and I often think of my own sister, Diane, who died in October 2014. I’ve developed a sisterhood with some of the women I’ve met through the 55 Plus Activity Centre, where I lead some classes, and I have “sisters” in the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC). I’m especially grateful to one of my PWAC “sisters”, Doreen Pengracs, for nominating me to join the “Sisterhood of the World” bloggers. Doreen was nominated for this group by her friend and colleague, Donna Janke of Destinations, Detours, and Dreams.
Accepting the nomination includes answering some questions about blogging and traveling. You can check out Doreen’s answers on this blog post on her new website, “Chocolatour” and see who else has been nominated. You can also follow the links Doreen has provided to those other blogs. Here are my answers to the questions Doreen asked her nominees.
Is there a single moment in your travels that you feel has been your most transformative for you?
I was sitting alone in the Montreal airport around midnight in May 1972. For this naive 20-year old, It was only the second time on planes or in airport lounges, and I had to wait to see if I could get home. I was on a “Student Stand-by” ticket from Moncton to Toronto so my seat was not guaranteed and I’d been asked to get off when the plane stopped in Montreal to change crews and pick up more passengers. What would I do if I couldn’t continue this trip until the next day, which was a distinct possibility? I had to devise a plan B, which I did, but didn’t need to implement, as a seat was found and I was soon on my way home. I haven’t traveled alone often, which is nice, but I learned in that moment that regardless of where I was traveling, whether I was alone or not, I’d be okay, and I have been.
What is your primary travel goal for the next year?
My goal is to not “backtrack.” Even if I’m in a place I’ve been before, I want to experience it in a new way–do new things; see new places; meet new people. Keep moving forward.
Do you have a favourite place that you just can’t seem to get enough of?
New York City. We first went there in 1974 and for many reasons didn’t get back until January 2011. The city had changed so much, and was so much nicer and safer for tourists since that first trip. I fell in love with NYC all over again. We went back in August 2012, and now I want to see “The Big Apple” in the spring and fall.
What is your favourite thing to do when you visit a new place?
Walk and/or take public transit. I love to explore the local neighbourhoods, and attractions close to where I’m staying. It’s the best way to really get to know a place. It’s lovely when you can do it with someone who lives there, or is familiar with places to see and things to do.
Do you have a favourite travel blog?
That’s too hard to answer. I follow several travel blogs. I love reading about the travel adventures of others; to feel that I’ve been on the journey with them, and to learn about new places. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get to go to those places and will have their insights to guide me. Of course Chocolatour would have to rank as one of my favourites.
If you could go absolutely anywhere in the world in the next 6 months, where would it be?
Since we’re traveling to South Korea and Australia this month, I think future travels will be very close to home. If unlimited funds and time were to become available, I’d like to go to Canada’s Arctic as it’s the only part of Canada I haven’t seen.
Who is the most memorable person you have encountered in your travels?
It was a woman in Seoul who got off the subway with us and took us to a place to buy some ginseng rather than just direct us to the market. My only regret is that we didn’t get her name or photograph. Her going out of her way to help us has stayed with me more than the place we went to shop, and has inspired me to try and be more like her when asked for help from a stranger.
What is one place you wish you’d never have gone, and why?
While there may be some places I wouldn’t want to revisit, I don’t regret any traveling I’ve done, or places I’ve seen. They’ve all been learning experiences, and there was something good that came from each visit, even if it wasn’t immediately memorable.
Has there been a singular action that you have taken that has taken your blog to the next level?
Adding more photographs. I don’t really have any photos that would go with this post, but adding photos to my blog posts has really helped me tell better stories.
I think it’s also brought in more readers, and some have commented on the new addition of more photos.
What has been the most effective tool that you have used to grow the readership of your blog?
I think that would be Facebook, because I have a lot of Facebook friends, family and colleagues who “like” and “share” the posts, but with each blog post I seem to pick up more readers and followers, and yet all of these people aren’t with me on Facebook. I guess it’s a combination of promoting the blog myself through social media and WordPress doing its promotion as well.
Thanks to Doreen for those questions. Now it’s my turn. Here are my nominees to join this group, and my questions for them. Some of these women are travel bloggers; others don’t. All are an important part of a “sisterhood” of bloggers to me, which is why I chose them.
Marie-Eve Vallieres: To Europe & Beyond Marie lives in Montreal, but says she’s “a traveler at heart who can’t decide where to go next.” She’s not quite satisfied her wanderlust and invites you to tag along on her adventures.
Judy Lawless: Mind Traveler: Taking Off and Sounding Off Judy writes about her travels in Canada and the US with her partner Jim Victor. Some of these are by motorcycle; others in their motor home.
Veronica Leonard: https://thewinetourist.wordpress.com/ Veronica is passionate about wine touring and says she is not a connoisseur or critic, just a tourist who loves learning about wineries and vintners, and of course tasting the wines. Go touring with her.
Catherine Sweeney: Traveling with Sweeney Catherine focuses on culture, food, the arts, the lifestyles, and “under-the-radar” attractions in Canada, the US, Europe, and wherever else her wandering heart takes her.
Mariellen Ward: Breathedreamgo.com Mariellen shares her experiences in and about India and how travel to that country transformed her life.
Lillie Normile: Life in the Rearview Mirror Lillie shares her experiences since retiring a few years ago. Her posts include family life, travel, and whatever is on her mind at the time.
Andy Alexander: South America Living South America is a place that at the same time intrigues and scares me. I’ve read lots of adventure stories from different writers and enjoy reading Andy’s posts.
Krystyna Lagowski: Drive Like a Girl Krystyna’s opinions and reviews of some of the coolest cars on the road—a usual—and sometimes unusual—way of traveling.
Grace Vanderzande: Buttons Thoughts Grace writes about her love of farming, and occasionally, about her travels off the farm.
Why and when did you start blogging?
What have you learned about yourself since you started your blog?
How do you think your blog helps others?
Who has been most influential in your blogging?
What has been the biggest boost to your blog?
When you travel, what influences you in terms of future blog posts?
Are you trying to give advice in your blog posts, just share your experiences, or a bit of both?
What advice do you have for other bloggers about getting started? What advice do you have for those who want to write more about travel?
I look forward to answers from my nominees as they are bloggers I admire, and I’m curious about their travels, their writing, and their lives.
It may be a while before I am able to blog about my own travels, but I look forward to sharing stories from our son Jeremy’s wedding in Incheon, South Korea and our travels there, and more stories from Australia. So, stay tuned!