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ABCs of Travel

If you wondered if I'd dropped off the face of the earth, yes, I did sort of.  I caught a respiratory flu and that laid me flat.  I was in bed with fever for a week.  I was so sick I didn't even read a book or watch a video the first three days.  For me to lie in bed and never pick up a book is unheard of.  After the fever went it took me another week to regain my strength.  I went to the office a couple of hours the second half of that second week, but I really felt like something the cat had drug in.  Thankfully I'm back in the land of the living and feeling much better.

I thought I'd copy a blog post idea from Suzanne such traveling is such a normal part of my life.  Feel free to copy the idea!

A: Age you went on your first international trip: Well, I was born in Nigeria and my first trip to the United States was when I was maybe 18 months old?  I really don't remember the trip, but I knew we flew in a plane.  That was probably the first time my parents had crossed the Atlantic by plane.  Previous trips had all been on board ship.  So my brother has crossed the Atlantic by ship, but neither my sister nor I ever got to do that.  And it looks like our trip started by leaving Jos on SIMAIR.  Notice that my mom is wearing a corsage and it looks like I am, too!

B: Best foreign beer you’ve had and where:  I don't drink beer and find the smell to be one of the most repulsive I can think of.  But, did you know that Niger manufactures their own brand of beer?  Flag beer.

C: Cuisine [favorite]:  In 2007 we went to Thailand for a conference.  Our hotel had huge buffets every night.  One table was usually western style food and the other table was Thai food.  I chose the Thai food almost every night because:  1.) when in another country you should try the local cuisine and 2.) it looked delicious.  Wow, I was not disappointed, and Thai food is now my favorite. They also had yummy fresh fruit in Thailand.


D: Destinations: Favorite  Hmmm, I don't know.  This is hard to say.  I guess probably England.  There is just so much to see and do there.  I love exploring the history of the country and it's also just a really beautiful place.  Though Switzerland was right up there, too. 


Least Favorite  I can't think of anywhere I've traveled that I really hated.  I guess Quebec was not my favorite just because it was sooooooo cold there.  And I was trying to learn French which wasn't my favorite thing to do.  And we had to use public transportation, which is incredibly difficult for grocery shopping and doing laundry.  But it wasn't a horrible experience, either.  I can't find any pictures of our Quebec days on my computer.  But believe me, there was a LOT of snow.

E: Experience that made you say wow:  I think the first time I saw the Grand Canyon (OK, it's the only time I saw it!), "Wow!" was definitely heard coming from my mouth.  It's the kind of place that you take a bunch of pictures because it's so awe-inspiring, but they're all so pointless because the beauty just can't be replicated by a camera.  

F: Favorite mode of transportation:  I'm torn on this one.  I like flying because it's quick, but I really, really hate being crammed into an airplane with 200 other people.  I think I like car best because it's private and you get to decide where to go and when.   You get to see a lot and really experience what a place looks like when driving.  That is, if you're not sleeping or got your nose stuck in a book, which is usually what I do when I'm not driving. 

G: Greatest Feeling While Traveling:  I think for me it's the sense of excitement that comes from doing something you've never done before and going somewhere you've never been before.  Or maybe you've taken that trip numerous times, but there's excitement about seeing your loved ones or a familiar place again at the end of the trip.

H: Hottest place you’ve ever traveled to:  Ha ha, yeah, I live in it.  Niger.  Hands down.  Nothing else even comes close.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced:  This is hard since I've never had a luxury trip.  Honestly, the most incredible service I've experienced is in the homes of people who support us and who baby us while we're with them.  What an incredible gift people have given us who have put flowers in our bedroom, fixed delicious meals, taken us shopping, or treated us to a special outing.

J: Journey that took the longest:  Traveling from Niger to Thailand was an incredibly long trip.  We flew from Niamey to Morocco; from Morocco to Dubai; and from Dubai to Bangkok.  But the most annoyingly long journey was out of New York heading back to Niger.  To make a VERY LONG story short, we sat IN THE AIRPLANE ON THE RUNWAY for six hours before we ever took off.  Which meant two days in Paris that weren't expected.  So, that was definitely the longest trip.

K: Keepsake from your travels:  I'm not much of a collector of souvenirs.  But I do have an elephant collection, so I try to get an elephant wherever I go.  I have a Delft elephant from Holland and some special wood elephants from Thailand and Kenya.

L: Let-down sight, where & why:  John and I went to the Louvre in Paris.  It's a pretty cool museum, but when we got to the Mona Lisa I just couldn't help thinking, "Why?  What's the hype?"  Traveling with this little guy (who is no longer little!), was pretty fun, though.  Although traveling through France and Switzerland with a toddler was a challenge as most restaurants don't have high chairs, hotels don't have cribs, etc.  And we didn't own a stroller.  So it was interesting.

M: Moment when you fell in love with travel:  I dunno.  When you've been traveling since you were less than two years old, who can name a time of falling in love with travel?  I do know I loved taking road trips during school holidays to visit cousins.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed at:  When traveling from Kano, Nigeria to NY on KLM, we used to get a free overnight in Amsterdam at the airline's expense.  I stayed in a really nice hotel there ... no idea what it was called, though!  The hotel grounds in Thailand where we stayed were really nice.  The hotel itself was pretty nice, but all of the swimming pools and being on the beach was what made it nice, not the rooms themselves.  Looking out our window, you can see three pools and the beach.

O: Obsession- what do you take photos of while traveling:  I try to take pictures of where we stay, what we did, scenes along the way.  I almost never take pictures of the food we eat no matter how amazing it was.

P: Passport stamps- how many & from where:  Really?  I have no idea.  I've filled up so many passports.  My current passport is new and only has a few stamps in it, though!

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:  I'm coming up with nothing.  There's this restaurant in Denver called Casa Bonita.  It's a fun place to eat, but I think it could also definitely classify as quirky.  

R: Really frightening- a place where you felt unsafe or uneasy:  John and I once took a wrong turn on the outskirts of Chicago.  We got our out-of-state licensed car and ourselves out of there as fast as we could.

S: Splurge- something you have no problem spending on while traveling:  Well, we're usually on a pretty tight budget, so splurge isn't a word we use much!  But I'd say shelling out the fee to visit a sight we really want to see.  If we both agree that it's worth it, we'll pay that fee.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done:  We rode the double decker tour bus around Oxford and acted like tourists. Now John just blends in there and knows the city like a native.


U: Unforgettable Travel Memory:  Maybe that time I took a taxi to a hotel with a man I'd never met.  I know, I know .... how stupid was that.  Girls, traveling alone .... never, ever get in a taxi with a man you don't know!!!!  Thankfully it turned out well and as we planned and agreed on, we just shared the price of the taxi from the airport to the hotel.

V: Visas- how many and for where:  Kind of like stamps in my passport... I don't know, but over the years too many to count.  The most important visa is my permanent visa, or resident's permit, to live in Niger.  That's a separate book and is not in my passport.

W: Wine- Best taste of wine while traveling and where?  John and I are pretty much tea-totallers.  Our hosts in Oxford have a glass of wine every Saturday night, but we ended up not being there on a Saturday night when I was visiting.  So, nope, don't have anything for this one.

X: eXcellent view:  It's really hard to beat Colorado for an excellent view! My niece was staying with some people in Colorado and my parents, my sister, and I got to stop and spend the night with her.  We got up early to see the sunrise on the Sangro Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountains.  They turn red as the sun comes up.  I'd love to have this view out my window!


Y: Years Spent Traveling:  Like I said before, my first trip was before I was two.  I'm not telling you how old I am now, but it's been a lot of years and a lot of trips.  Countries I've traveled to include:

Burkina Faso
The Gambia
and with airport layovers in

and with airport layovers in


United States (almost all 48 continental states)

Z: Zealous sports fans and where:
I might travel to Cleveland to watch my nephew, Seth DeValve, play a Browns game.  But honestly, other than that, I'd never plan a trip around sports.  But Daniel and Kelly took us to a Nationals baseball game that was a lot of fun.

Now it's your turn.  Tell us about some of your travels!