Our Liebster Award nomination
Sometimes the nicest surprises come when they’re needed the most. We’d had a pretty rough week of work and we were starting to get fed up with the rural New South Wales winter… who knew Australia could reach -3!!! Dreaming of our next day off I opened Instagram to find I had a new message waiting…
‘I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award’…
I stared blankly at my phone and handed it to Dec. He read the message out loud and a feeling of pride swept over me. We’ve worked hard to improve Officer Travels over its first year, so having our work recognised by other bloggers means a lot to us. This was just the pick up we needed and we have Sarah from Borders and Bucket lists to thank. Her kind and very unexpected nomination got us through the rest of the working week.
The Liebster Award is similar to The Sunshine Blogger Award; it’s given to bloggers, by bloggers and comes with a set of questions. Its aim is to help spread the word for new writers and help build each other up. They’re a great confidence boost for those just starting out and a fun way for us to support each other, as well as a great way for readers to get to know us a little better!
More about Borders and Bucket lists
Sarah is a waterfall loving, potato hating travel writer from Hawaii. She started Border and Bucket lists in 2016 when she moved to Europe to study and since then, she’s been sharing her adventures along the way.
More about us!
If you don’t know already, we’re Declan and Leah. We’re obsessed with photography and all things nature! We grew up in a small English town which I think is why we love to travel so much. As time went on our annual trips weren’t enough, we craved a life of adventure… So now here we are, one year later on the other side of the world. We live in a campervan, fully emerged in nature stopping wherever our wheels take us.
You can read more of our story on our ‘about us‘ page.
10 Random facts about us
Ok so because there’s two of us, I’ve split it. So here’s 5 from Declan, and 5 from me!
I once gave up chocolate for 3 months which raised over £300 for charity.
Chocolate is my ultimate weakness
I used to think Gamon was fish…
I’m obsessed with Hippos and Komodo Dragons.
I hate mushrooms and can pick them out of any meal, even if they’re chopped small.
I’m scared of sharks, but want to cage dive with them
I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I love Lindt chocolate
My favourite animals are Lions
I believe that there are Aliens and other life forms out there.
The Questions from Sarah
Tell us about how you started travel writing.
It started off as a bit of fun really, documenting our travels a bit like an online journal. Then we started to realise people were actually reading what we put out and that we could inspire people to live their dreams too. Where we come from it’s unheard of for people our age to sell everything and just move to the other side of the world, the way we did. We wanted to help others see that you don’t have to live the ‘9-5’ we’re expected to and that your dreams really are within reach. Some of our earlier posts are a bit cringy when I look back but they’ll I’ll never take them down.
I’m stealing this question from Angie because I loved it so much. Do your travels have a soundtrack? Could you please share a few songs with us and tell us the story connected to them?
We live and travel in our trusty campervan, so we have an epic road trip playlist! It consists of a lot of old classics like ‘Baby ride easy’ by Johnny Cash and ‘life in the fast lane’ by The Eagles, but then the 90’s kid in me also loves a bit of ‘Steps’ and ‘Boyzone’ while on the road too… not sure Dec agrees with me on that one though!
There are a couple of songs that will always remind me just of Australia though. ‘Young Dumb and Broke’ by Khalid was on constantly when we lived in the working hostel for part of our farm work. We made a lot of friends there so it always reminds me of them. ‘
‘Coming home’ by Shepard is probably the most meaningful from our travels. Christmas can be a hard time when you’re travelling, especially if it’s your first away from home. We were still in the hostel when it came around last year, I remember there was maybe 25 of us, from all over the world, but we were all missing home. As Christmas got closer we realised we were all in the same boat, so why not have our own epic family dinner and make the most of it. We did secret Santa so that we’d all have a gift on Christmas day and we all chipped in for food, as well as all helping to prep and cook it, it really did feel like a family Christmas. It turned out to be a great day and honestly, one of the best Christmases. This song was on at some point in the night so now whenever we hear it, it sends us straight back to our big hostel Christmas!
Do you have an adventure that was so wild that you actually avoid telling people about it because you don’t want to worry them? If you’re feeling extra brave today, want to share it?
I love this question! I just wish I had a juicier answer!! It’s not wild, just embarrassing but it’s the first time we’ve told anyone!
On our recent trip back to England, we had to fly from Sydney – Melbourne, then Melbourne to Bali. We fly quite frequently but I still get super stressed by the whole process so we were glad to be in the departure area and able to just relax. We were early so we decided to find a spot close to our gate and order ourselves a meal (because, who know what the plane food’s gonna be like, right?).
Half an hour later our food comes and we decide to check the board… Only to see that our gate all of a sudden said CLOSING… Like HOW did we miss that!!! We then hear our names being called ‘for the final time’ over the tannoy and look over to our gate to see the staff slowly packing everything away. We rushed over to our gates, with our plates of food and explain we’d not heard the opening call for our gate.
Well, it turns out Sydney is a SILENT airport and they don’t actually do calls to announce the opening of a gate anymore!!! We were so close to missing our flight home, I wasn’t even mad that we bearly touched our expensive airport meal. If there’s one thing anyone can learn from this, it’s this; silent airports are a thing now. Who knew?
I hope that’s juicy enough for you! We’ve not even spoken to the family about this because we were too embarrassed haha, so it’s an exclusive story just for you!
Do you think that certain aspects of blogging (examples: social media, photography, blog writing) portray the aspects of travel you are trying to share more effectively than others? Why do you think this is?
I think our photos have more of an impact out of all of the blogging aspects. I like to think we show the ‘authentic’ side of travel with our photos, as well as the glamourised ones. Especially on our Instagram stories. People are drawn to pictures more than they are words, plus we’re really passionate about photography. We’re working on incorporating our photos a bit more but since we lost them all when our hard drive got ‘lost’ recently, we’re having to start from scratch with a lot of things. That’s why you’ll find my most recent posts are either lacking in photos or include other peoples Instagram posts.
What destination do you find yourself recommending to people over and over again?
The Nusa Islands in Indonesia, without a doubt. They were our favourite part of our recent Bali trip but we would recommend going around May; that’s when rainy season has ended but the tourist season hasn’t quite picked up yet. When we were there, we practically had them to ourselves. The locals there are so friendly too!
Our main Australia recommendation is anywhere rural. We don’t mean an hour outside the city rural either, more like 6, 7, 8 hours from the city. A lot of people dread doing their farm work if they’re here on a working holiday visa but for us, it’s been one of the highlights. We’ve seen pink lakes, beautiful sunsets and so much wildlife up close that we perhaps wouldn’t have seen if we’d stuck to the coast. The rural towns are completely different too, they have a unique charm that we haven’t seen in any city suburbs.
Write the food you are craving right now. Don’t think about it. Just write whatever popped into your head first.
Chocolate… it’s always chocolate. Especially when I know there’s Tim-Tams in the cupboard. If you’ve not tried Tim-Tams, they’re an absolute must when you’re in Australia. I think you can get them in Canada and America too but I hear they’re not the same.
Dec say’s Mexican. Which doesn’t surprise me, we love burritos. If anyone has any suggestions for Mexican places along the east coast; let us know! Haha
What aspect of foreign cultures do you find yourself most drawn to? Why do you think that is?
The first thing we check out when we reach a new place is their local markets. I love seeing what food and raw ingredients the locals are buying, I never realised you could get purple cauliflower or rainbow carrots until I saw them on an Australian farmers market! I’ve always been a bit of a fussy eater but Dec pushes me to try new things so I think that’s why we’re so drawn to new foods. He’s not afraid to try anything, even pigs eyeballs or insects… I’m not quite there yet.
If you were to describe yourself as a souvenir, what would you be and why?
I love this question!!
I think we’d be a fridge magnet! You can find some pretty crazy ones these days which I think would match our personalities, they’re a souvenir that everyone loves, even if they don’t have a metal fridge… and they’re useful for holding things… we’re good at listening/holding our friend’s secrets if and when we’re needed. Ok, that was a stretch but who doesn’t love a good magnet right!!
Is there any item that you only purchase at home? In other words, is there an item that has no other replacement anywhere in the world?
I’ve actually really struggled to find leggings and jeans that fit me here! I’m quite small in height but have, to quote what loving friends and family have said, ‘a fat ass’… so finding ones that fit me like they do back home has actually been a struggle. I ended up buying bulk when we went home last time just to make sure I had some for winter here.
You are on a dream around-the-world trip. You have a quick layover in Hawaii – one that is only long enough for you to do a single thing. What would you do with your time in Hawaii and why?
Meet you for coffee and a mini food tour!! Like I said, we love trying new food in places, so if we only had time for one thing, it would be the local cuisine!
What goal do you hope to achieve by travel writing? Is there something that you hope will happen due to your influence?
If just one reader decided to chase their dreams after reading our blog, I could die happy. Life is too short to watch our dreams fade into nothing, even if it scares you, do it. Travelling has really opened my eyes and I want others to experience that change too. A year ago I was scared of so much but I didn’t let it hold me down. We’re not saying everyone should quit their jobs and travel full time, as we know this life isn’t for everyone. What we want is for people to realise what it is they want in life and chase it with all their heart until they’re living those dreams.
My first nominee is Joe and Taylor from Roam the Horizon. I love their outlook on life and their blog is really inspiring plus, I’m a sucker for great photos!
Anna and Alex from My Travel Scrapbook are our second nomination. I’ve only recently discovered their blog but I’m already obsessed. They pride themselves on discovering the quirky side to a destination so their blogs are definitely different!
Third, we’d like to nominate the single dad nomad and his daughter Auburn. If you’re looking for an inspirational story to brighten your day; this is it. At just 4 years old Auburn has got friends all over the world, can speak 2 languages and has the most down to earth father. I really love following their adventures and it’s great to see that children don’t have to be the end to your travels.
Fellow campers Karen and Myles from Motoroaming are travelling Europe in style with their motorhome ‘Scoobie’! With their awesome travel videos and seriously entertaining blogs they definitely deserve a nomination!
Our final nomination is Alyse, the Invisible Tourist. Alyse wants to help you enjoy a destination without sticking out in a crowd as a typical tourist with her series ‘how to NOT look like a tourist in…’. Her posts are fun and light-hearted but also act as really useful guides.
My Questions for you!
Who would your ideal celebrity road trip partner be and why?
You’re stranded on a deserted Island, you can magic up just one item that isn’t electrical to help you, what would it be? Why?
What made you start your travel blog?
Have you ever been disappointed by any of the places you’ve visited, why?
So you’re going on a road trip, you can take either Joey or Monica ‘from friends’ with you… who would you choose and why?
I’m stealing this one from Sarah, I hope your answers are better than mine haha; What kind of souvenir would you describe yourself as and why?
If you could bring back any animal from extinction, which would it be?
What’s your all-time favourite movie? why?
If you could travel to one mythical/fictional place where would you go?
What are your goals for your blog over the next year?
You can find the rules and find out more about the Liebster Award here.