A wonderful blog by a fellow momma who may be more obsessed with travel than me had these fabulous travel ABCs up.  Check out Mama’s Got Wanderlust.  I couldn’t help but give a try at a few of my own!  There is nothing better than reminiscing about travel memories…good and bad.

A: Age you went on your first international trip: My parents  “won” a day cruise from Fort Lauderdale Florida and a three night stay in the Bahamas…it was really a gimmick for a timeshare, but we took advantage of it.  The cruise ship left on Christmas day, and the stabilizers on the boat were busted.  Almost everyone on board were horribly seasick except my dad and my brother who ran around capturing everything on their enormous video camera. I think I was about 8. I think I’ve been terrified of ever

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: hmmm…I’m not usually a big beer drinker…Rob is yelling Guinness! Guinness! Since we’ve never actually been to Ireland though, I don’t think this should count.  Hmmm…Tusker in Kenya perhaps.

C: Cuisine (favorite): Mexican!  I could eat guacamole, chips and pico de gallo all day every day! I’ve also been spoiled with tremendous freshly caught Tuna cooked by my husband on the Baja peninsula! Yum!

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:  Although its not really the time to be writing this, Syria is one of my most favourite places.  The food was incredible and cheap and  the people so amazingly kind. Damascus was like going back in time and completely magical.  Here is a link to a blog post about this love affair:  Syria – A Letter Home.  I also adore anywhere in the Himalayas. They are so magical and breathtaking. I can’t wait to bring Rob and Max to this magical part of the world!   I think my least favourite place was Egypt, and specifically the pyramids. I was alone, and got harassed and lied to so much that I couldn’t make it back to my hotel quick enough. It was really disappointing considering how stunning the pyramids could have been! I’m also terrified of mobs of tour groups wearing matching t-shirts.

Palmyra – One of many amazing sites in Syria

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:  I had the opportunity to teach hockey in Ladakh at about 5000 m, in the Himalayas. It was completely surreal being in the mountains surrounded with kids wearing hockey skates.

F: Favorite mode of transportation:  While I love hiking and walking, there is nothing I LOVE more than riding on top of a bus or a truck and hanging on for dear life!

G: Greatest feeling while traveling:  I remember riding on the top of a bus in Nepal thinking I felt so alive and so free. It was magical. I remember riding on the top of a truck wedged in between two plastic jugs in northern Kenya thinking I was going to roll off and be eaten by lions….

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: Khartoum, Sudan. It was so hot I really could do nothing more in the afternoon than lie in my tent, which was likely doubling as a sauna. The picture below is from some amazing pyramids north of Khartoum,

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: I had great service in Delhi, even at small, cheap budget hotels! Coming from Mongolia where I hadn’t had fresh fruit and vegetables for months, I was in heaven when the hotel staff brought me an enormous bowl of fruit salad!

J: Journey that took the longest: Hmmm this is a toss up….a truck ride through northern Kenya….or being stuck on a boat that couldn’t come ashore in Turkmenistan…..I had run out of food, and the creepy captain kept inviting me to come to his cabin.

K: Keepsake from your travels: I have photos, and I try to pick up some art pieces when I can.  I have a Silk Road style painting from Uzbekistan that I love, and a Mandala from Nepal which is also a favourite.

L: Let-down sight, why and where: Topkapi Palace, Istanbul.  The fees are a little steep, and although the architecture is pretty neat, most of the buildings are completely empty and void of explanations. There are also insane line-ups for the “must sees”.
Very cool...but very touristy! And pricey!

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:  For some reason, I think my love affair was there even before I started.  I remember flying to England for my uncle’s wedding when I was about 10. I didn’t sleep the whole flight, I was so excited.  I spent the whole time staring out the window trying to see something.  The real adventures started in 2001 though, when on a trip gone wrong in Panama…me and 4 military college boys trying to cross the Darien Gap….the plan didn’t work, and they decided to head to an island to chill. I struck out on my own and hiked in Northern Panama, then went to Costa Rica for a few days. I was terrified making the decision to go off on my own, but once I made it I never looked back!

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: The first few nights of our honeymoon we stayed on Lago Atitlan in Guatemala at the Casa Palopo. It was amazing!  We had a gorgeous room over looking the lake, and would have breakfast and dinner on a lovely terrace watching lightening in the distance at nights and hummingbirds buzzing by day.

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: Kids!  I love love love cute kid pictures. Here is a link to some of the favs that I’ve taken:  A World of  Smiles 

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? In my current passport I have Hong Kong, Mongolia, China, Mexico, Amsterdam,  Belize, Guatemala, India, Turkey.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: Ashgabat Turkmenistan! The entire city is insane! Its completely built up from the desert, and filled with fountains and marble.  Think Vegas meets crazy dictators. There is gold and marble and fountains and monuments to the former leader Turkmenbashi as far as the eye can see.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: Get off the beaten track, and just soak in the country and the people.  Turn away from the main street and the tourist sites.  Take a local bus and have a conversation with the person sitting next to you.  I’ve been so fortunate to meet amazing people, and, have been invited home for amazing dinners and to meet families.  Be open and trusting, but don’t be stupid!

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Once in a life-time opportunities. If you are never going to be back somewhere, and something is a bit out of your budget go for it! If your really strapped for cash skip going to the movies, or eating out when you go back home, but not when you’re on vacation! (Unless of course its a tourist trap rip off!).

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: Does it count if you didn’t do it! Sadly, Lake Louise on the August long weekend. There were so many people looking for parking, fights were breaking out.  We drove around in circles and gave up.

U: Unforgettable travel memory: Oh there are so many….waking up in a ger on the Mongolia steppes with this beautiful red cheeked little girl who refused to brush her hair chasing after her cat…being invited to spend a night up at Ama Dablam Base Camp….random (funny memory) meeting Ewan McGregor on the Sudanese/Ethiopia border. Some of the great friends I’ve met along the way and with whom I’m still in touch.

V: Visas, how many and for where? I always wanted to completely fill a passport before it was expired, and I did this in 2007. Right now though, my passport has Mongolia, India and Turkey.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?  I stayed with a French journalist covering Georgia in Tbilisi and we hit up the market for local wine.  We brought our own big plastic four leader jug, and filled it up.  I could drink Georgian wine, and eat Georgina bread and cheese for the rest of my life and be perfectly content.

X: eXcellent view and from where?: I had been obsessed with Nepal since I was about 8.  Unfortunately, I ended up making some school commitments during my trip and I didn’t have enough time to do the whole Everest Base Camp Trek.   I met a random Canadian who was on an expedition to Ama Dablam.  He invited me to join the team for the night.  We arrived in a snow storm and I couldn’t see a thing.  After a night of Yak Stew, we woke up the next morning to a gorgeous view of Ama Dabla (I can’t find my Nepal pictures right now, and I’m heartbroken!).

Y: Years spent traveling?: In 2007 I did an overland trip alone from Uganda to Mongolia. It was the most incredible experience and I am so glad I took some time between jobs while at school to do this.  I’d say though, that I’ve been travel obsessed since a trip to Panama gone wrong in 2001. Has it only been just over 10 years?

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?: Christmas day Cock-Fight in Panama way back in 2001….very eye opening!