My A to Z of Travel.

I found this nice travel questionnaire on a blog I just discovered (who found it here: A new life wandering by Mani).  Please feel free to share!  It’s a nice way to share travel stories.
So here’s my A to Z of travel:
A) Age you went on your first international trip
19.  United Kingdom.
B) Best foreign beer you’ve had and where:
Kriek.  A Belgian beer I found while living in the United Arab Emirates.  As I’m not much of a beer drinker, well, this is a tasty one!
C) Cuisine (favorite):
Asian. Specifically, sushi.

D) Destinations–favorite, least favorite, and why?

My favorite place is one I haven’t been to before!  But if I must answer, I would say South Africa.  I would use about any excuse to go back.

4759836583_e4e550fb3a_zMy least favorite…  Hmm, I haven’t had a ‘bad’ trip recently, but the chaos of India is probably something I’d would avoid in the future.

E) Event you’ve experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:

My first safari.  I don’t think I had any idea how close we would get to the wildlife.  To be that close, in the middle of the bush with animals in their natural environment was an incredible experience.  My hope would be that everyone would have the chance to go on safari.

F) Favorite mode of transportation:

Trains!  I used to work on one.  There is something super relaxing about traveling the rails.

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From one of my favorite nights in AZ.
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This is actually a totally illegal move – never put your head outside of the vestibule.

1910104_11411750626_4041_nG) Greatest feeling while traveling:

Not being at work…  Honestly, there’s something about discovering a new place and experiencing that with loved ones.  Yes, I can have an adventure all alone, but I love turning to Hubs and being with him.

H) Hottest place you’ve ever traveled to:

I live in the United Arab Emirates, which routinely is in the running for the hottest place on earth.  To put it simply, we don’t have heaters in our buildings!

I) Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?

The Oberoi in Agra.  Thus far, they’ve been the property to beat.

J) Journey that took the longest:

Getting to my parent’s house is usually around 20 hours all in.  However, flying on the second longest flight in the world (AUH to LAX) this year was plenty enough for me (and not anything I want to repeat again soon – even in business class!).

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Living it up, DINK style.

K) Keepsake from your travels:

The Best Friends Gang.  Hubs and I have a collection of tchotchke’s from around the world.  Below is an example from a few years ago.  Searching for the new ‘friends’ is always a fun part of the trip.1914412_158598884352_1748851_nL) Let-down sight, where and why?

I’m still not down with London.  I don’t know why.  For the one good trip I had there, I’ve had 3 mediocre ones.  Go figure.

M) Moment where you fell in love with traveling:

I think I’ve always liked it (thank you Mom and Dad for getting us out there early), but getting to a place in my life where I can choose where I want to go and stay had been liberating.  To be fortunate to not have to consider if we’ll have to budget for a trip and just plan our next adventure is something I’ll never take for granted.

N) Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:

Oooh!  Good question.  I’ve been fortunate to stay in a lot of nice hotels, but the one at the top is the Shangri-La Boracay.10630569_10152465619989353_666552025451714138_oO) Obsession–what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?

Jumping.  If you know me personally, you know this is my thing.  I jump everywhere.

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Byblos!

P) Passport stamps-how many and from where?

Oh…  At last count, I think I was at 30+.  This year I was able to add Iceland, Romania and Seychelles.  Hubs and I tend to average about 5-6 countries a year.  We were debating a new country for Christmas, but I think we’re going to save some money and stay at home.

Q) Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where?The Kattenkabinet Museum in Amsterdam, a museum dedicated to cats in art.

R) Really Frightening: where’s one place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy?

We pretty much walked through an accidental almost riot when visiting Istanbul in 2013.  Seeing police in riot gear and having a group chanting in a language you don’t speak about an issue you know nothing about is a bit disconcerting.  On this same trip we also saw someone walking around with a horrible eye injury.Also, in 2001 when visiting Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve, I remember walking what felt through a lot of chaos (magnums of Heineken and fireworks going off everywhere).

S) Splurge-something you have no problem spending money on while traveling:

Nice meals.  Hey – if you read this blog, you know the deal!

T) Touristy thing you’ve done:

I think it’s great to visit museums and other well known sites when visiting cities, however, if you do enough research, there will always be a creative or private way to experience these places.

U) Unforgettable travel memory:

I still put going on safari on the list.  In the span of three days, we were charged by an elephant, tracked three lionesses on the hunt and watched an entire herd of elephants come for a drink of water in the evening.  I think it’s the simple things – watching nature, the sunset or a beautiful landscape with friends and family that make for the most lasting memories.

V) Visas-how many and for where?

India and Russia.  Given my blue passport, I am incredibly fortunate to get a visa on arrival in nearly every country I visit.  Having friends from different countries I realize this is a major privilege and not something I take for granted.

W) Wine–best glass while traveling:

Franschhoek, Bread and Wine.  Hubs and I stopped for a tasting, then a delicious lunch as we split a bottle of the local prossecco. Unfortunately, as we were living in Qatar at the time, we couldn’t bring a bottle back with us.  Maybe that’s what made the experience special.

X) Excellent view and from where?

Floating above the desert in Dubai in a hot air balloon.18357_433189620626_728588_nY) Years spent traveling:

Although I traveled a bit in college, I’d list 2005 as the year where travel kicked off and 2007 forward when things really picked up.  I only hope to continue exploring the world!

Z) Zealous sports fans and where?Let’s just end on the last question and call it a day.

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Author. Expat. Saberer of champagne. You might also know me as Courtney Brandt.

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