Liebster Award

liebsterI have been nominated for the Liebster award! It’s always nice to be recognized by my fellow bloggers in the community.

The aim of the Liebster award is to get smaller blogs with less than 200 followers a bit of recognition, share some love and spread the word. There are some rules to follow though. You’ve got to play the game!

• Post the award on your blog

• Thank the blogger presenting you with this award and provide a link back to their blog

• You then need to write 11 random facts about yourself

• One good turn deserves another, meaning, you then need to find 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers who you think are deserving of the award so that you can then nominate them! In other words, keep the love going and help small, new blogs get out there and get noticed!

• Finally, the award presenter will ask 11 questions of you which you need to answer and then you, in turn, ask your nominees 11 questions, and so it goes.

Here we go…

First, I would like to thank willc88 for nominating me for this award. I am always honored when someone takes the time to give my blog a shout-out, it encourages me to keep going. I look forward to reading more of his fascinating posts about life in Mexico City as my visit draws nearer. Please check his blog out here.

My 11 random facts:

1. I’ve visited several countries around the world but in my own country I’ve barely left the East Coast. In fact, the farthest west I’ve ever traveled is Fontana Dam in North Carolina, and since NC is on the East Coast, that’s not very far at all. This is something I’m hoping to remedy in the coming years with a cross-country drive out to Yellowstone.

2. I play the saxophone. Actually, I played until I graduated high school and then never picked it up again until my 40th birthday when I received a new sax as a gift. Playing again was like riding a bike, and I quickly joined a community band for about two years. I’m currently on hiatus from playing, but hoping to pick it up again soon.

3. My first trip to Europe in 2007 at the age of 36 was the first time I had ever left the country (not counting a trip just over the border to Niagara Falls, Canada in 2002). It was also the first time I had flown in 18 years.

4. I celebrated my 36th birthday in Munich, Germany.

5. I still have virtually every poster I’ve had since I was a kid, and most of them are hanging in my office, a room my wife calls Man World. The oldest poster is from the 1976 version of King Kong.

6. I wrote my first story in 2nd grade (I was about six years old), a haunted house collaboration with two classmates.

7. I’ve had the same best friend since I was five years old.

8. I once nearly drowned in a lake when I was very young. I was rescued by a friend’s father.

9. I love to cook. My specialties are Italian and Mexican dishes, as well as Asian stir fry. I also enjoy making creative meals out of whatever happens to be in the kitchen.

10. I play tennis and hockey.

11. I’m a TV and movie junkie. There are four DVRs in my house capable of recording a total of 11 programs at one time that can be watched in any room in the house.

Blogs I would like to nominate…

Alas, most of the blogs I follow either already have over 200 followers or have already won the Liebster award, so this list is going to be quite short. I will try to add more blogs to this list over time (I have a folder full of links to over 200 blogs I’m planning to visit as time permits).

  1. Rosemarie in Europe 2013 – a blog about an epic trip to Europe, including a hiking tour of the Italian Dolomites, with great photos.
  2. Living in the Langhe – This blogger is living the dream: to drop everything, pack up, and buy a house in Italy. I’m living vicariously through his posts. 🙂

And the questions I must answer….

1. If you could live the life of anybody in the world for a day, who would it be any why?

An astronaut, because outer space is the one place I’ll never have a realistic chance of seeing in my life.

2. Coke or Pepsi?

I gave up soda years ago, but I’m pretty much addicted to iced tea.

3. What is the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?

I’m not a very adventurous eater, so I don’t try too many new things. But there was this one dish I ordered when our group stopped at a restaurant in a rest stop in Germany. It was a rice dish but it had tons of mushrooms (which I didn’t realize when I ordered it) and it was awful.

4. If you were to go and live in another country, where would it be?

That’s a tough choice, Italy or Germany would be great, but I think the country I’m most drawn to is Switzerland.

5. If you had to give up one for the rest of your life, would it be beer or meat (pasta if you’re veggie)?

That’s easy: beer. I can’t live without bacon but I could live without beer, especially since I prefer something like prosecco anyway.

6.  What’s your dream job?

To be able to stay home, write, and earn a living off my writing.

7. If you could only ever listen to one album again what would it be?

I was going to cheat and say Pink Floyd’s Discovery box set, but I’ll go with Dark Side of the Moon, though Springsteen’s Born to Run also deserves strong consideration.

8. Why are you a blogger?

I’ve been blogging on and off for years and for many different reasons, but mostly because I just love to write. The primary features of my blog, travel stories and photos, evolved organically with the increased traveling I’ve done in recent years. Ultimately, my hope is to build an audience for my writing as I continue to seek an agent/publisher for my novel. To that end I also feature creative writing samples, but the main focus will still be travel and photography.

9. Would you rather have a girlfriend/boyfriend with the head and body of a person and the bottom of a giant fish, or a girlfriend/boyfriend with the head and body of a giant fish and the bottom of a person?

I think head and body of a person would be much more desirable than a fish head.

10. Do you have a pet hate?

I hate when people don’t take the extra two seconds to park straight and between the lines. I also get annoyed when groups of people don’t go single file when approaching you in a hallway or a sidewalk, forcing you to squeeze by them.

11. What was the last thing to make you laugh?

Last night’s Colbert Report.

And now for my questions:

I really struggled to come up with 11 questions. I tried to stick mostly with a travel theme, but I threw a few others in there as well. The first three questions I stole from the ones I answered above because I thought they were good questions to ask.

1. Why do you blog?
2. What is your dream job?
3. If you could live in one country other than your own, which one would it be?
4. What place is at the top of your bucket list to visit?
5. If you could live for a week in one era of human history, which would it be?
6. What do you like most/least about travel?
7. What is your favorite place you have visited?
8. What is your favorite food?
9. What person from history would you like to meet?
10. Do you have a favorite author?
11. What is your favorite movie?

Writer, traveler, photographer, hiker, film/TV addict, amateur chef, casual gamer, and occasional tennis & saxophone player . . . in real life I do web design.

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Posted in Awards
2 comments on “Liebster Award
  1. Robin says:

    Great Michael, and good answers…. Congrats!

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Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

Another prairie dog shot, this one in the iconic standing pose. Not as sharp as I would have liked, but not too bad for handheld at a 250 mm focal length.

#animals #devilstower #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica #Photography #prairiedogs #roadtrips #Travel #UnitedStates #wildlife #Wyoming Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

There is a giant field beneath Devils Tower that is entirely covered with prairie dogs. I was so mesmerized by the little critters with their cute screeching noises that I almost forgot I was there to visit the tower.

#animals #devilstower #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica #Photography #prairiedogs #roadtrips #Travel #UnitedStates #wildlife #Wyoming Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

This shot only features the top of Devils Tower, but I liked the variety of colors in the landscape.

#DevilsTower #Wyoming #NationalMonuments #travel #buttes #landscapes #photography #UnitedStates #NorthAmerica #RoadTrips #hiking #colors Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

A closeup shot of climbers scaling Devils Tower.

Pretty soon, climbing will no longer be necessary because, according to a sign I saw at the site, they are apparently installing an elevator to the top. Although it would be neat to see the top of the tower, I think it’s unfortunate that they are going to ruin its appearance with an elevator apparatus. I’m glad that I was able to see Devils Tower in all its natural glory before this happens.

#buttes #devilstower #hiking #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica
#Photography  #roadtrips #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming #climbing Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

A view of Devils Tower from my hike around the base. This is the opposite side of the tower from the shot I posted yesterday. The black dots in the sky are birds.

#DevilsTower #Wyoming #NationalMonuments #travel #buttes #landscapes #photography #UnitedStates #NorthAmerica #RoadTrips #hiking Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

A lifelong dream sparked by 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' was finally realized when I visited Devils Tower last August--40 years (and many plates of sculpted mashed potatoes) after I first saw the tower on film. I had no idea as I hiked around Devils Tower that just two days later there would be a 40th anniversary screening of the film at the tower itself. Just missed it!

#DevilsTower #Wyoming #NationalMonuments #CloseEncounters #travel
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#RoadTrips Deadwood, South Dakota - August, 2017

I chose to stay in Deadwood during my three nights in South Dakota because I was a huge fan of the HBO show and have always been fascinated with the Wild West. I thought it would be cool to walk in the footsteps of Deadwood’s famous residents.

The drive in to town was interesting, as I steadily climbed the Black Hills while passing “Bighorn Sheep Crossing” signs. I only had time to explore the main strip because I spent most of my visit taking day trips out of town, so it’s not really fair to render a judgment without having taken the time to fully check out everything Deadwood had to offer. Still, I found it to be kind of a disappointment, mostly just your average casino town, which isn’t really my cup of tea.

Nevertheless, I saw several points of interest during my walks around town, such as the spots where Wild Bill was shot and where his assassin was caught, the Bullock Hotel that was built by Seth Bullock after the events of the show, and a few establishments named after notable people and places such as Charlie Utter and the Gem Theater. The recreated “gunfights” in the middle of town were also neat.

#deadwood #NorthAmerica #Photography #roadtrips #SouthDakota #Travel #UnitedStates #wildwest #historictowns #blackhills #oldwest Mount Rushmore, South Dakota - September, 2017

This is a zoomed-in view of Mount Rushmore from a lookout point a couple of miles away on Iron Mountain Road, a scenic mountain drive that I highly recommend taking before heading to the monument. If you go south to north, you will drive through a tunnel that perfectly frames Mount Rushmore; makes for a memorable photo. This shot may not look like a panorama due to its more squarish shape, but it was stitched together from two different photos.

#IronMountainRoad #MountRushmore #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica
#panoramas #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #SouthDakota #Travel
#UnitedStates #mountains Portland, Oregon - August, 2017

The view from my apartment during my stay in Portland last summer.

#NorthAmerica #Oregon #panoramas #Photography #Portland #Travel #UnitedStates Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

Yellowstone Lake, the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet in North America.

#yellowstonelake #nationalparks #NorthAmerica #panoramas #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming
#YellowstoneNationalPark #yellowstone #lakes #water Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

The Grand Prismatic Spring, one of Yellowstone's most stunning features, is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world. It's difficult for a ground-level photo to do it justice, but if you climb the hill visible in the background of this shot, you can get a nice bird's-eye view of its beauty.

#GrandPrismaticSpring #nationalparks #NorthAmerica #panoramas #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming
#YellowstoneNationalPark #yellowstone #hotsprings #MidwayGeyserBasin Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

Vertical panorama of the Dragon's Mouth Spring in the Mud Volcano area of Yellowstone. Pictures don't do justice to this remarkable thermal feature, but you can see how it got its name as smoke appears to shoot out of a gaping mouth.

#dragonsmouthspring #nationalparks #NorthAmerica #panoramas
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#YellowstoneNationalPark #yellowstone #hotsprings Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

This is a portion of Hayden Valley featuring rolling hills. Hayden Valley is one of the two prime locations for spotting wildlife in the park (the other being Lamar Valley), and one of the most popular destinations in the entire park.

#nationalparks #NorthAmerica #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming #YellowstoneNationalPark #haydenvalley #panoramas #hills Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

This is Lamar Valley, one of the two prime locations for spotting wildlife in the park. The other is Hayden Valley. I saw wildlife in both locations, though Hayden Valley had much more.

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