One of the many reasons I love travel blogging is the incredible community spirit and friendship that links bloggers around the world. Within only four months of launching the website of Dream, Book, and Travel I have made so many friends, I have learned so much, and I feel so motivated to keep on writing quality content. I know there is always a community behind me to offer support, honest feedback, and constructive suggestions. And sometimes, like on a special Saturday night, while I was cutting deep into my sleeping hours to finish an article, I get gratifying messages full of love from the travel blogging community. In this case, it was from Wander Bird, announcing me I had been nominated for my first ever blogging award – the Liebster award. Thank you, Santwona for the vote of confidence and for the nomination!
Later edit: As the year 2018 approached its end, I was already convinced it had been the best year of my life! So far! And to confirm this further, The Travel Bunny nominated us a second time for the Liebster award. You find therefore below our answers to her questions!
For me, the coolest thing about this award is that it is simply yet another opportunity to share and connect – with my readers and with my fellow bloggers. It challenges me to share 10 things about me that my readers do not know, to answer 10 questions from Wander Bird, and to further nominate other bloggers I appreciate and challenge them with 10 questions. More on the rules you can find here, and here.
So let’s start with 10 things my readers do not know about me. You all know that I share my passion for traveling with my husband Sinan and our daughter Ilinca Yagmur, but the voice you hear in our blog posts is mine. Thus, although this article is very ME focused, it does extend a huge amount of gratitude to my husband for all his support and love of Dream, Book, and Travel.
- I studied Chemistry/Molecular Biology because I wanted to move to Paris and create perfumes.
- I am the most curious person you’ve met – everything interests me from science and literature to history, politics, food, and folk architecture. I don’t care much for sports, beer, and pop culture, though.
- I love to dance and I cannot imagine my life without dance in it.
- I got into travel blogging because I sat down one day and asked: What do you do with your short free time windows (like 5-15 min)? The answer was clearly: I browse through some travel book or website and plan our next itinerary.
- I have always considered myself a writer, thus my biggest dream is to write at least one (travel) book.
- I love learning foreign languages and I do so with ease. I am currently dealing with Turkish and Russian, German is always on the list as that language I will never master. Next in line are Italian, Spanish, and Arabic.
- I own way too many books to ever be able to consider a digital nomad lifestyle.
- I am a pen and paper type of girl and never leave home without a book.
- The biggest regret of my life is to have been a straight A student. I wish I learned earlier to focus on what makes me happy and ignore the rest.
- I still believe in magic (read Santa).
Then let’s continue with 10 questions for me from Wander Bird.
1. What inspired you to decide the name of your blog? Explain the significance of your blog name.
I loooveee this question. There is this series on Netflix called The Good Witch that I love because it always makes a big deal out of autumn and Halloween, my favorite time of the year. The main character has this shop called Bell, Book, and Candle, where people go in not exactly knowing what they are looking for, or sometimes not looking for something at all. And they end up finding exactly the one thing missing from their life. I want our personalized itineraries to offer specifically that – the one secret ingredient you did not know was missing in order to make your holiday perfect. So Dream, Book, and Travel is based on the name of that shop. I told you I believe in magic!
2. When did you start travel blogging? Describe your journey so far.
I wrote two travel blog posts in January 2017 but officially launched Dream, Book, and Travel in September 2017. You can read more about the significance of these dates here. I officially call myself a travel blogger since June 2018 when the website was ready.
3. Which is your most favorite place that you visited so far and why?
Tough one. I am inclined to say Slovenia as this is the last one, but I will go with Istanbul.
It is the only place in the world that you cannot fully grasp even if you devote your whole life to it. Layers over layers of history, civilizations, cultures, destinies, people, and traditions, each has left its mark. So much depth to go into.
4. Which is your most preferred social media platform to engage with fellow bloggers and why?
Instagram. It is very dynamic and visual, and you can engage with people very quickly. It gives an easy overview of where everybody is and what they are up to.
5. Which is the most vivid memory of all your journeys so far?
Tough to decide. My first time in Paris. I was 18, on a bus tour through Europe. We arrived late one evening and I only had until morning to explore. I walked the streets without a map, I had read so much about Paris that I virtually knew it by heart. I saw all main attractions from Tour Eiffel to Notre Dame on foot. Then I walked back to Tour Eiffel where the meeting point was in the morning, and I crashed on a bench in the park that was gallantly given over by a homeless guy who decided to share the bench with his neighbor.
6. What would you categorize yourself as – travel writer, blogger or influencer?
Travel writer, definitely. I considered myself a writer since I was 12, I wrote poetry, prose, newspaper articles, and finally travel blogs.
7. Describe your ideal outfit for a road trip. What would you prefer the most and why?
I love road trips. They are my favorite type of trips. Jeans, hiking boots, and layers. A T-shirt, a shirt, a pullover, a jacket – never leave home without a scarf. I am always cold, you see and we invariably end up driving up some mountain during our road trips.
8. What are the top 5 travel destinations on your bucket list and why?
Spain because it was the trip we planned and canceled after we found out I was pregnant (actually it was a road trip, see here).
Portugal because Night Train to Lisbon was the book I took with me to the hospital when I gave birth to Ilinca.
Morocco and Andalusia (does this count as two?) – because I am literally obsessed with the Moorish culture.
New York because it is supposed to be romantic and I always wondered why.
Russia because I am learning the language as well.
9. What would you prefer best – reading books or watching movies? Write about your favorite book/movie and mention why it’s your favorite.
Both, to be fair, although I am a bookworm. So I’ll tell you about my favorite book that has been made into a movie. It is called “Toate Panzele Sus” (all Sails Up) and I cannot wait to read/watch it with my daughter. Unfortunately, they are both in Romanian and I only hope translations/subtitles are becoming available. They describe the adventures of two friends who dream to sail through Magellan’s Strait and explore the then unknown lands of Tierra del Fuego. A lot of the action happens in the Mediterranean, which is my favorite sea, but eventually, the two get separated only to meet again at the destination.
10. What is your long-term goal for your blog?
I don’t have one yet. I only know that it has become a part of our family, of who we are, and of what defines us. So I will just let it grow with us and see where we all end up.
Later edit: let’s continue with 10 questions for me from The Travel Bunny
1. What was the first trip that turned traveling into a passion for you?
I guess it was a trip I took to Amsterdam with my mother and a friend, which I had planned thoroughly. It was not as much the first trip, but the one I invested time in beforehand to read books to get in the atmosphere, book activities, make up an itinerary. The fact that I did not do it for myself alone increased the responsibility so to say, thus I was really exhilarated when everything went according to plan and everybody enjoyed themselves. It got me thinking that I could do that on a regular basis.
2. What are the usual steps you take when planning a trip?
I have explained our process in detail here. Basically, we never visit a destination before having informed ourselves thoroughly on the history, politics, culture, culinary traditions, and must-see sights. I read books about that destination/novels set there/local authors, and make a list of things we want to see/do. We set up a tentative itinerary and book solidly ahead, such that when we are actually there we can go through our lists and decide what we are in the mood for, spontaneously.
3. What is the one thing you never leave home without?
4. How would you communicate with locals in a place they don’t speak any of the languages you know?
Great question! I would think food is a universal language, so I’d definitely share a meal with them or lead the sign conversation in that direction.
Of course, this is assuming that Google Translate is not universally available.
5. What is the funniest memory you have from your travels?
Entering Aspendos illegally after closing times, climbing on the wall from the aqueduct while wearing sandals. More about that memorable trip you can read here, but do not ask me details about Aspendos 🙂
6. if you could change anything from your past travels for the better, what would it be?
Nothing, I am a firm believer in living in the moment and I hold dear the thought that things happen when they are supposed to happen, and in the way we needed them to happen at that point. Even if we do not realize it immediately.
7. What does a day from your dream vacation look like and where in the world would it all take place?
I don’t believe in dream vacations. We look at every single day of our life as a #dailydreamtravel (feel free to use the hashtag in Instagram), which basically means we travel somewhere every day, be it by reading a book, cherishing a memory, discovering our neighborhood, having new adventures, or planning the next ones. I have written about this here.
8. What keeps you motivated as a travel blogger?
The fantastic community spirit and friendship that links bloggers worldwide. I never feel alone. And writing. Whenever I feel demotivated I sit down and write something. That gets me going. It always has.
9. What does the place you’re usually blogging from look like?
Usually, I blog at night when the whole house is asleep, so I do it in the kitchen as to not wake anybody up. Imagine the kitchen of a family with a toddler. Try to fit a computer in! That’s it!
10. Is there anything in the world that would make you give up traveling?
As I said before, we integrate traveling in our day by day routine. Thus, I will always travel somewhere. Even if it means walking to the grocer’s and discovering the neighborhood on the particular day. Giving up traveling would mean giving up living. So NO.
So this was a lot of fun! Thank you again! I am looking forward to reading the answers to the following questions from my nominees.
My questions for my nominees:
- Describe your blog by assigning a color to it. Explain your choice
- Describe your blog by assigning a sound/piece of music to it. Explain your choice.
- Describe your blog by assigning a smell to it. Explain your choice.
- Describe your blog by assigning a taste to it. Explain your choice.
- Describe your blog by assigning a texture to it. Explain your choice.
- Describe your blog by assigning a feeling to it. Explain your choice.
- Describe your blog by assigning a season/month of the year/time of day to it. Explain your choice.
- Describe your blog by assigning a plant/flower/tree/animal to it. Explain your choice.
- Will you ever retire from traveling? How do you see yourself in your old age?
- If the internet did not exist/imagine living 100 years ago – what would you be doing?
And finally, here are My Nominees for the Liebster Award 2018.
Avec un Oeuf – Chelsea and Jesse share with us two travel obsessions – France and customized, personalized itineraries. They are experts in everything French and love to share their knowledge.
bye:myself– we love Renata’s accounts of Northern Germany destinations, as this happens to be a region I still call home. Follow her for 24 hours city guides, which are very well researched.
Couple Travel Tales – Achu and Unni are, like us, culture addicts who travel for adventure and fun! We highly recommend their interview series with fellow travel bloggers, yet another example of the close-knight community we are privileged to be a part of.
Gypsy With a Day Job – is one of the most inspiring websites I ever came across. Real adventures for real people is their motto, as Roxanna and Keyauni go about exploring the world, running their daily businesses (they both have high responsibility jobs other than blogging), and generally leading a fabulous life with crazy long hours.
MC Adventure Blog – Chris and Monique do a fantastic job writing about green, sustainable travel, as well as raising awareness on mental health issues for travelers. One of my go-to websites for inspiration!
These Foreign Roads– Kylee and Mark are already old friends of ours, whom we will hopefully also meet in person soon. They are former chefs who travel the world full time and write about their travels and the foods they encounter. We fully subscribe to their belief that food is a universal language, and love their statement that: “The truth of reality doesn’t come with an age limit.”
The Wandering Foxy – writes about everything that makes her tick – books, trips, quotes, recipes. A great insight into the world of a unique spirit!
Vienna Unwrapped – Barbara’s in-depth knowledge and love for Austria’s capital has been our inspiration on everything Vienna since we started offering personalized itineraries in the city.
Yung’s World Tour – Guta took her daughter on a world tour and decided to document it all on a bilingual blog! What can be more inspiring than that?
It has been an honor and a privilege to be nominated for this award on the one hand, but also to have the opportunity to write about so many great blogs which I love, on the other hand! I am looking forward to reading your answers to the questions! Keep up the great job!