When most of the travel is restricted and in general not very healthy, what is for a traveler to do but reminisce and plan ahead. A great idea from fellow travelers to start an ultimate travel tag challenge. This is a long one, so buckle up or get off the train when you’re bored.
1. How many countries have you visited
As of June of 2020 – 47 countries. This is not counting my two home countries; one where I was born (Lithuania) and another one where I’ve lived for the past 20 years (USA). I’m also including various Caribbean islands as “countries” which might not be correct. I’m not really sure what the actual definition of them is?
2. Which destination is number one on your bucket list?
It has always been Bali, but since that got crossed off the list and Tahiti is coming up, it’s hard to prescribe No. 1 spot. I have always wanted to go to Machu Picchu, so we’ll go with that.
3. Three other places at the top of your bucket list?
- Sri Lanka
4. What does the ideal holiday look like for you?
Sightseeing some UNESCO Heritage sites in the morning and afternoons at the beach.
5. Favourite picture you’ve taken during a trip?
Lavender fields in the south of France. We were driving around for half a day looking for them. We finally gave up and moved on to our next destination, and suddenly miles of lavender fields opened up before us. It was magical. I wanted to melt into that view.
6. Have you had to travel for work? If so, where?
Not to any fun destinations..
7. With whom would you like to go on holiday sometime?
The usual suspects – hubby, friends.
8. Who or what would you take with you to an uninhabited island?
This is not a very clear question – how many of everything am I allowed?
Will someone provide me with food at least weekly or am I hunting for it? If I’m hunting for it, I’m bringing my hubby and a fishing rod and a net. If food will be provided I’m bringing my dog.
A small house. Which I don’t have in real life but it would be great for an uninhabited island.
Does this island have wi-fi? If not – books, really thick ones.
9. Would you rather go to a theme park or a zoo?
None of these things are ever on my travel itinerary.
10. Mountains or sea?
Mountains are majestic, but my heart lies with the sea.
11. Which countries will you visit this year?
Since COVID-19 pretty much paralized travel this year, we’ll venture out slowly to the close-by Carribean islands – St. Croix, Barbados, Dominican Republic, and my “second home” – Mexico. And if we get lucky and the world doesn’t shut down again by the end of the year – Mauritius.
12. Where would you never visit?
As they say “never say never.” Given the current climate Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq are out of the question. It’s too sad as they were beautiful, culture rich countries with wonderful people and food.
13. Which place did you think was so special that you wanted to return immediately after leaving, and still want to revisit now?
Bali. Such a magical place.
14. A place you’ve been to that you would not go back to, and why?
Unpopular opinion – Monaco has nothing interesting to offer.
15. Which was the last country you visited?
16. What is your favourite place that you have been to?
Sounds like the same question as No. 13.
17. Favourite place in your home country?
By grandparents backyard in Lithuania. If we’re talking about a tourist-visitable place – Freedom Avenue in Kaunas, Lithuania. It’s the most unique walking avenue in the middle of the city dotted by outdoor cafes and shops. You never hear about it and don’t see any pics, but it’s awesome.
18. You’re in an airport and you can board a plane to any destination. Which part of the world would you choose?
South East Asia 100% of the time.
19. What’s your cup of tea: tropical island getaway, snowy ski break or city break?
20. What are your top three hand-luggage must-haves?
A book and headphones. I’m not counting two things that are always there – a wallet and a passport.
21. Which three things would you take on holiday if you could?
Not a thing, but I would love to take my dog with me.
22. Any travel tips to share?
Read travel blogs about the destination you’re going to. I find it that it always provides a comprehensive review of the destination itself, things to do, places to stay at and eat. I always get ideas on what to add to my itinerary based on blog reviews of places.
23. What is your most pleasant trip memory?
Too many to highlight one. Any day, sitting on the beach at the sunset is a pleasant memory. But if I had to pick one
24. What is your most unpleasant trip memory?
Getting a mix up with HomeAway (now VRBO) and getting the wrong house for a group of friends who came to celebrate my birthday in Mexico. All is good that ends well, but not a fan of that company anymore.
25. Most surreal travel moment?
Encountering wild life all around you in Maldives was surreal. We snorkeled with nurse sharks, swam along a whale shark and hung out with all kinds of fish whenever we were in the water, which was most of the time.
26. Most embarrassing moment?
I’d love to have a good story here, but nothing comes to mind.
27. Biggest disappointment?
“Biggest disappointment” sounds very harsh when you understand how lucky one is to be able to travel to all these amazing places.
Maybe being grounded in the Philippines? There is usually not much to do on one island. The fun is getting on the boat and exploring all the islands around. However, Phillipino coast guard grounds boats if there is even a whiff of bad weather. We spent too much time grounded on the island and not being able to go see others. And when grounding is lifted off, a ton of boats
28. Nicest surprise?
Montenegro – totally underrated and super awesome country next to Croatia. I haven’t heard of it much until I got there via a small cruise around the Adriatic sea. Once I saw it, I was in love and came back twice to explore it. Kotor bay is the place to stay at, and Budva is a quintessential, old Europian beach town that combines my favorite things to do on vacation – old castles and crystal clear beaches.
29. Favourite food discovery during a trip?
Morning glory – green-been type of vegetable in Vietnam.
30. Why do you travel?
It makes me happy to discover new places, learn and understand cultures, taste new foods, understand how other people live.
31. Have you picked up any phrases from travelling?
Pura vida from Costa Rica, which means “simple life.” It’s such a nice saying used often and with multiple meanings which are all positive:
- Everything’s great
- Everything’s cool
32. Your dream travel companion?
By laws and regulations of a happy relationship I’m required to say that it’s my hubby, but… if we’re talking about dreaming – Anthony Bourdain. We would go to the off the beaten path countries and eat all the weird and amazing local food while talking to the hosts about their culture, politics, and obviously, food.
33. Favourite city or country?
City: Cartagena, Colombia
34. Best item purchased abroad?
Art from Bali.
35. Advice for those who want to travel but think they can’t?
I’ll borrow Eleanor Roosvelt’s words: “ If you think you can’t, you can’t. If you think you can, you can.”
36. Travel accessory you always pack?
37. Your most treasured passport stamp?
Stamps are for everyone, but what I treasure most are actual old-fashioned visas glued into your passport. The most treasured one and one of the recent ones is from Cambodia. It looks royal and majestic just like the beloved Angkor Wat.
38. Can you recite your passport number from memory?
Unfortunately, no. But I really should.
39. Preferred mode of travel: planes, trains or cars?
Frankly, telepathy is my preferred method, but until that’s possible, depends on the situation, finances, accessibility, etc.
For those of us flying economy class, air travel is already as uncomfortable as prostate exam on a hammock, but I bet it will get even more uncomfortable post-COVID.
40. Hostel, hotel or Airbnb?
I don’t do hostels. It’s a split between Airbnb and hotels. Airbnb provides for that homey, local feeling, and hotels – luxury and pampering.
41. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?
I try to see new places, but when I need to get away to a warm weather quickly, I’m a repeat visitor to Mexico and Carribean islands.
42. Do you read up on your destination (culture, history, safety) or wing it?
Try to read up as much as I can. Often while on the plane to the said destination.
43. Favourite travel website?
Don’t really have a favorite one, but I like to explore various travel blogs. Are there any good travel sites?
44. Where would you recommend a friend visit?
South of France is a nice place for a friend visit.
45. To which destination did you first take a plane?
I believe it was Sochi, Russia when I was seven. As an adult, the first flight was to the United States. Basically, go big or go home. I did both, since the US has become my home since then.
46. Suitcase or rucksack (backpack)?
A carry-on suitcase.
47. Is there something you do on every trip?
Walk and explore my surroundings. As much as possible. I don’t like to sit in a hotel or a resort.
48. When travelling do you talk to locals easily?
Depends on the locals. Do I know the local language? Do they speak English?
49. Do you feel like you’re different when travelling?
50. What is the greatest travel dream you would like to accomplish before hitting your next big life milestone?
For a beach bum like me, Maldives has been the biggest travel dream that I didn’t even dream about. Since that has been accomplished and I’m planning a