10 Questions About My Retirement Travel Adventure for my Liebster Award

Jonathan Look Liebster AwardsI didn’t know what a Liebster Award was when I found that I had been nominated/awarded one by Dennis Kopp of See The World In My Eyes. The Liebster (which means “dearest” in German) is a virtual honorary award passed among, what is supposed to be, up and coming travel bloggers who want to ask questions of bloggers they admire. The origins of the award are a bit sketchy but it appears to have been started by a German travel blogger around 2010 and just kind of caught on. Somehow through the magic of the Internet(s) the logos get updated every year and the nomination criteria seem to evolve. I accepted the award because I thought the questions that Dennis asked were interesting and it would give me a good opportunity to focus on why I do this. It is kind of like developing an “elevator speech” about the theme of my blogging.

To boil it down; there is no real award other than accepting the honor of a peer; there is no rules committee; there are no judges and once you have “won” one you can accept it and pass it along to other bloggers that you see as having potential and ask them some pertinent questions or just ignore it.

Here are the rules as I chose to follow them:

1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
3. Answer the questions the person who nominated you, wrote for you.
4. Nominate 5 bloggers up and coming travel bloggers who you feel deserve this award.
5. Answer the 10 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 10 new questions.
6. Have fun and since there are no rules feel free to alter the ones I followed.

SCUBA Diving Bali IndonesiaQuestions and answers:

How did you start travelling?

I always thought of myself as a traveler, but like so many Americans I was limited in the amount of time I could get off of work, so basically I was a tourist. Rarely could I get more than a week off work at a time. I managed to see a lot of places but was never really able to do much more than sightsee. I was intrigued by the world but I never really got to know it. I know I was luckier than most.

As soon as I was eligible for early retirement, I sold all of my possessions and began the life of a full time traveler.

What kind of traveler are you?

I don’t know what label to put on it, but I like to find an interesting region in the world, base there for around a year or so and explore. One day may find me sleeping in the dust of a small village somewhere; the next I may be luxuriating in a five star hotel. To me it is about getting out of the bubble and experiencing the whole spectrum of experiences that life offers.

Jonathan Look on the Great Wall of ChinaWhat would you like to achieve with your blog?

I would like to demonstrate to people that you don’t have to be a 20 something backpacker to live a life full of adventure. I also, want to show people that if they are unhappy or frustrated that there are ways of taking control of their lives and other options. I want to show people alternate possibilities, even if they choose not to change, from the life they are living or have planned.

Which country draws you in and you keep visiting it?

I find myself thinking about Myanmar (Burma) a lot. In a lot of ways it is open frontier there but it is also a place with wonderful people and a lot of potential. I very rarely leave a place and close the door to returning. I have always found something to love about everywhere I have been; except maybe Monaco. I keep going back to Bali. Bhutan was amazing. I think about going back to Vietnam a lot. I left a lot of friends in Mexico and Cambodia.

Which destination are you dreaming about, but haven’t visited yet?

In no certain order – Nepal, Morocco, Palau, Croatia, Japan, New Zealand, Ecuador, Peru – I want to see it all.

Which was your biggest challenge or culture shock while travelling?

Weirdly, my biggest shock has been how amazingly easy it is to do. You can be almost anywhere, point to point, on the planet in less than 48 hours. Once you get past your initial fears it is easy from there.

Do you feel that travelling has changed you as a person?

Absolutely! I know that I still have blind spots, but I also have learned that arrogance is fatal to people and societies. It is humbling to stand in the ruins of crumbled civilizations and know that their hubris and self-righteousness with regard to their place in the world turned them into mere footnotes in history. You can’t stand among the ruins of Chichen Itza, Bagan, Angkor Wat, or dozens of other great historical places, and not be changed.

Which is your favorite travel related book or movie?

A book that inspired me, many years ago, was James Michener’s “The Drifters”. Also, the books of Ernest Hemingway, with the way he used very few words to paint vivid scenes of life, made me want to get out and meet some of his well-drawn characters.

Jon Recieving Blessing from Num at Angkor Wat-2772What is a great lesson learned from your travels?

What we see as small behaviors on one side of the world can have extreme consequences on the other. Greed and mindless consumption is a disease that is infectious and is destroying the planet.

Which advice can you give to new travelers?

In the end everyone’s destination is the same. We are all dead. No matter how hard you try, ultimately there is no difference between playing it safe and living a life of adventure. Don’t sip life from a straw; gulp it from a fire hose. Push your personal boundaries, ask hard questions of yourself and others, stare “gift horses” in the mouth, get out of your bubble. Your comforts mean little if you use them to hide yourself away from this amazing journey that is life.

My Questions

What makes you smile?
What makes you shake your head in disbelief?
What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place?
Where do you find inspiration?
Other than friends and family, what do you miss most from “home”?
What is your favorite quote?
Could you be happy if you had to stop traveling completely?
What fears did you have that you have now discovered were unfounded?
How has traveling changed you?
What is the difference between being a tourist and a traveler?

My nominees are:

Hamilton from Unexpected Wanderlust
Marie from Budgeting for Travel
Tim from Flat Tires and Slow Boats
Tracie from Tracie Travels and
Maria from Maria Falvey

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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