Last week, we were nominated for the Liebster Award. What is a Liebster Award? I’m so glad you asked. It’s an award given to blogs (usually relatively new ones) by other bloggers as a way to show love for new bloggers and share other awesome blogs.
Thank you Briana and Kyle of Married with Maps for this nomination! We dove into your blog and are loving your monthly round-up series – for our readers who follow our Nomad Income Statements, this series is similar and includes some hilarious, sometimes scary, take-aways from their journey.
The great thing about this award is that by writing this post, we’ve accepted the Liebster Award and get to nominate other bloggers. No awkward acceptance speech necessary. We simply respond to Briana and Kyle’s 11 questions, provide a few fun facts about us, and nominate 5-11 other blogs for a Liebster Award as well.
So, let’s get started…
Briana and Kyle’s 11 questions for us were:
1. How did you decide on the name of your blog?
We started our blog in a Seattle efficiency apartment that resembled a pool table–same size, but harder beds. We’d ended the lease on our apartment in anticipation of final transfer orders to the Luxembourg office of Amazon.com, where we both worked. Along with our two livid cats, we listened to the buzz of a tattoo artist’s gun in the room above us, and politely declined our neighbor’s offer to show us his Harley Davidson memorabilia collection. We knew that our family and friends would have a lot of questions about our life in a new country, and it felt like a good time to start a blog. Our blog name is an amalgamation of Luxembourg Expats. Now that we’re living nomadically, this sometimes causes confusion when people assume we’re “The Luxury Expats,” which is sooo far from reality.
2. What is the best food item / dish you have tried, and where was it?
David – It depends on the mood and season, but the dish I probably crave most often is Katima’s aromatic crispy duck. This Asian fusion restaurant in Hout Bay, South Africa has a creative take on this traditional dish. They serve the crispy duck sliced along with super thin rice pancakes, carrots, radish, celery and a semi-sweet duck sauce. Now I’m hungry.
Sarah – It’s hard to top the Kobe steaks we had in Japan at a schmancy steakhouse, courtesy of our sister-in-law Haruka’s wonderful family. Whoever came up with the slogan “melt in your mouth” was obviously foodgasming over a mouthful of Kobe steak at the time. I really shouldn’t use a word as mundane as “steak” to describe it. Picture yourself meeting Buddha on the dazzling carpet of stars where all planes of existence converge. He invites you to take a bite of the star carpet–it smells like Ryan Gosling, has the mouthfeel of a pink sunset cloud puree, and tastes like…uh oh, my brain is hemorrhaging. You’ll just have to try it.
3. What was your first foreign (or domestic if you haven’t been foreign) travel experience?
David – My first foreign travel experience in 2001 for my high school foreign exchange program. I stayed with a family in Böblingen, Germany for three weeks, then toured the black forest, Ulm, Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle. This trip was the primer to my life of travel. It scared the shit out of me to be honest – not knowing German as well as I should have after three years of study, realizing the edge of America is not the edge of life as a 16 year old knows it, seeing another culture take so much pride in their own country, having to speak to America’s corrupt election process. This eye-opening experience made me crave travel as it produces true knowledge in my opinion.
Sarah – I’m not going to count Canada, because I was six at the time and all I knew about Canada was that they were awesome for naming their money after the Looney Tunes. So probably Paris with my brother and uncle, at the tender age of 18. I’m racking my brain for epiphanies, but it was the opposite–visiting Europe was a deep breath of calming air. Finally, I’m out here in the world. Exploring Paris, a city about which I’d read so much as a Hemingway fan, and whose language I’d studied in high school, was a the completion of a vision I’d only glimpsed behind the veils of literature and film. Those mediums can’t give you the experience of how Paris smells, what it feels like to break a perfect baguette in your hands. What’s it like for a loved one to show you his strange and wonderful home on the other side of the ocean.
4. What do you do/how do you earn money?
Like many nomads, we have a few irons in the fire. Our main source of income has been from trading. David has been trading stocks since high school and has produced enough to support our travels so far. We launched our passion project, Nomadica, in May of this year. Nomadica is the world’s first travel ecostore, featuring sustainable and ethically sourced apparel for digital nomads and nomadic families. Sarah is a writer and once in a great while (Sarah’s words) brings home the bacon, sometimes the whole pig, with her powerful stories.
5. If you could do anything (for living/working), what would you do?
David – I would do what I’m doing now. Trading and growing our business while on the road is both challenging and extremely rewarding. If I had to do something else, I’d probably look to mentor young entrepreneurs or figure out a way to help children of the Syrian crisis.
Sarah – Same. Living my career dream is the only reason to live this lifestyle, for me. The occasional inconvenience, unpredictability, stress, and distance from my family is what I exchange for the opportunity be a real “writer.” We couldn’t live on such a meagre budget if we were paying for rent, insurance, daycare, and the trappings of a “normal” life back in the states, so I wouldn’t be writing if we weren’t budget traveling. I love travel, but constant travel been a sacrifice in some ways. This is the only way David and I can both live our dreams, and it’s so worth it.
6. What is your favorite travel experience so far?
David – When we first arrived in Koh Phangan, Thailand we committed to a 3 month stay at a house with three cats. The heat and humidity was unbearable and all three of us were a buffet for mosquitos. We absolutely hated it, even wrote a break-up story about it. But over the course of our stay we slowly adapted and ended up falling in love with the place. This slow transformation of ourselves and the island is what makes travel so magical.
Sarah – Osaka/Nara, Japan. I was enchanted by the combination of efficiency, decorum, style, and amazing food. We were there in the winter, and it was ethereal to walk among the liminal deer in Nara, smelling temple smoke and roasted sweet potatoes from the vendors. Really, it’s also my favorite because my parents, brother and sister-in-law were with me too. Otherwise, Cape Town hands down has the most to offer in terms of experiences, beauty, and incredibly illuminating, layered, challenging interactions with the people who call it home.
7. What is your least favorite place you have been/visited/lived?
David – Tokyo, though that’s probably not fair since it was primarily the heat and lack of planning that made it such a horrible trip. We arrived in August for a business trip and just meandered in the heat for the three days we set aside for touring. I still have a few good memories though, and want to have another go at it.
Sarah – I’m cringing, but I have to say it: Hyderabad, India. The situation is everything: I was alone on a business trip, and extremely lonely. Goes to show that you can love or hate anywhere depending on the mindset you’re in when you go. I regret that I didn’t make more of my time there, because I’ve always loved Indian authors like Rushdie, Desai, and Roy for the rich, brassy pictures they paint of India.
8. What is your ideal setting?
David – High Contrast! Whether it be flat plains and towering mountains or calm waters and peppered islands, I love locations that smack you in the face with nature. Cape Town, South Africa is my favorite city in the world because it has a vibrant city surrounded by mountains, beaches and even it’s own floristic region (one of six in the world!).
Sarah – I can savor the beauty of any landscape as long as we have a settled home life (good work/life balance). I tend to agree with David that it’s pretty special when you can be near the mountains and the ocean at the same time. Cape Town and Vancouver are two cities that come to mind.
9. What do you hope to accomplish within the next 1-5 years?
David – Establish 3 home bases that we rotate through in-between new countries, have another child, turn Nomadica into a profitable venture, launch a charitable program in partnership with Nomadica.
Sarah – What David said, plus, publish a book, plus, make a viable living from writing.
10. What is your favorite flower?
David – I love plumeria trees, as it’s usually a sign that we’re in a peaceful place.
Sarah – While I, on the other hand, prefer frangipani. 🙂 Its petals are creamy and thick, it smells heavenly. I also love hydrangea for its mottled pastel hues, and lilacs. My hometown is the Lilac City. For two weeks in spring, the bushes bloom everywhere, and the breeze is delicious. We have a Lilac Parade, and a Lilac Princess, and a special part of Manito park with hundreds of purple, white, and pink lilac bushes. Crap, one more, k? Marigolds because of that raucous orange color, the color the monks wear, and one more, petunias, because they come in every color and are really hard to kill.
11. What is the best advice you’ve received?
David – At the very start of my professional career I received the same advice from my uncle as my sales manager, which was “Fake it till you make it”. I’ll admit, that sounds cheesy as hell, but a lot of advice today has short-term utility. It helps you get over a challenge, solve a problem, etc. but this piece of advice was helped me set and achieve high goals throughout my career. The idea behind “fake it till you make it” is more about resilience and believing in yourself than it is about being ingenuous or fake. It’s a nudge for you to try something new, knowing that if you persist you’ll be just fine.
Sarah – That’s a hard one. So much good advice. There are so many beautifully written, poignant, wise pieces of advice out there, from writers and philosophers I admire. I like what Albert Camus has to say about hope in the face of evil. When it comes down to it, the best advice, advice that helps me every day, has come from several people in my life at times I dearly needed to hear it: “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”
Our Nominees for the Liebster Award:
Liebster Award Winner #1: Miles From Brooklyn
Liebster Award Winner #2: Jen’s Pen Den
Liebster Award Winner #3: The Expat Yogi
Liebster Award Winner #4: The Minimalist Mom
Liebster Award Winner #5: Raising Havik
Liebster Award Winner #6: Menina Mundo (Portuguese)
Liebster Award Winner #7: Nesting Nomads (German)
Liebster Award Winner #8: One Intrepid Life
Liebster Award Winner #9: Nomad Yoga Family
Liebster Award Winner #10: The World And
Liebster Award Winner #11: No Man Before
Our Questions for the Nominees:
1. What was your first travel experience and what did you take away from it?
2. What is the best food item / dish you have tried, and where was it?
3. What is the best advice you’ve received?
4. What is your ideal setting for travel/vacationing and for work?
5. What is your least favorite place you have been/visited/lived?
6. What is the weirdest job you’ve ever taken on?
7. What made you want to start a blog?
8. Name a book that changed the way you see the world.
9. What has been the biggest professional challenge and how did you overcome it?
10. What mark do you hope to leave on the world?
11. Do you have any funny/awkward cultural faux pas to share?