Liebster Award

liebsterYesterday, Maria and I were nominated for the Liebster Award by fellow blogger Stephanie Brown of To Stand Alone.  The award is a way to honor and promote new up and coming bloggers.  From what I know about Stephanie, a self-described “adventurer, builder, creator and perpetual student” as well as being a huge lover of Psychology, she seems to be very similar to Maria.  I would definitely suggest taking a look at some of her blogs.

So, the way the Liebster award works is for me to answer a series of questions posed by the person who nominated us for the award and to then nominate some of our favorite, lesser-known blogs as well and give them a series of questions to ask.

These were the questions posed to us from Stephanie:

1) What is one charity you donate to, and why do you give them your money (or time)?

To me one of the most important things in the world is education.  It is the best way to be able to accomplish your goals in life and the best way to invest in the future.  As I mentioned in the 10 Reasons I’m Hiking the Appalachian Trail blog, Maria and I are setting up a fundraiser for the Every Child Is Our Child organization.  The Every Child is Our Child (ECOC) program provides school supplies and healthcare cards to children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDs in Ghana.  Maria worked with this organization while doing her graduate degree and still consults with them today.

2) What is your favorite outdoor location?

Unfortunately, the location isn’t very local but, I think I can speak for both Maria and I when I say it’s Semuc Champey in Guatemala.  This place was so incredibly beautiful, I could not think of a better place to propose to her.

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3) It’s time to wind down in the evening – what is your relaxing song of choice?

So many wonderful choices but, right now one of my favorite artists (also pretty lesser known) is a woman by the name of Anomie Belle.  A number of great options by her alone but, I would have to say it’s probably her song On TV.  It’s such a laid back song but the lyrics are a powerful indictment about our own materialistic obsessions.  Absolutely beautiful.

4) What is one way in which you try to protect or preserve the environment for future generations?

When we bought our house one of the first things we did was to replace all the old light bulbs with new LED ones.  Such a little thing yet the amount of energy saved is incredible.  (LED’s use 1/2 the energy of CFL’s and 1/10 that of the old Incandescents as well as last much longer and contain no mercury, unlike CFL’s)

5) What is the most bizarre food you’ve ever tried? Did you end up liking it?

I guess it would be the Greater Cane Rat.  It’s native to Sub-Saharan Africa.  I tried it while I was in Ghana.  It’s hard to say what it really tasted like since it was served in a soup but the meal on a whole was pretty good.  The texture of the meat was pretty tender and not as stringy as chicken.

6) If someone asks you for a reading recommendation, what is the one book you say almost every time?

Again, so many amazing choices to choose from but, for me I guess I would have to say Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho.  It is an incredible book about seeing the magic in everyday life.

7) What is something new you’ve learned in the past month?

How many people are not only going to miss me but, also how many people are willing to help me get all the way up to Mt. Katahdin, whether that is by joining me for certain points, or being willing to send me supplies along the way.  It really means a great deal to me to know that I have such great people in my life, along with the incredible kindness of strangers as well.  I will definitely have to make sure to become a future trail angel for the future Thru-Hikers.

8) How much sleep do you need to function properly?

I can get away with 2-3 hours if it’s only for a couple of days but, 5-6 hours for anything longer than that otherwise I will turn into some sort of zombie-like creature, except too tired to actually chase people around for brains.

9) When was the last time you pushed yourself to do something difficult?

I’m going to take that as difficult physically and I will say this past September.  I did a Spartan Obstacle course called the beast in which I basically had to run a half marathon, but while climbing Killington Mountain (in Vermont USA) 5 times and carrying heavy stuff (60lb sandbag, bucket filled with 80lbs of gravel etc.) and occasionally having to crawl through mud under barbed wire and swim in freezing water among other crazy obstacles.  It was total insanity (but I’m the type of crazy person who thought it was extraordinarily fun as well.)

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Before. Thinking, “I got this.”
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After. Thinking, “Why did I do this!?”

10) What is your favorite post on your blog? (and provide a link!)

I’m going to have to say my post about the Camino De Santiago.  This walk across Spain is very special to me since my time out there helped me to deal with a number of personal issues and the fact that my completing of it helped me win the heart of an incredible woman named Maria.  Last year Maria also hiked the Camino as well as another close friend of mine.

The 0.0kM marker at the "End of the World"
The 0.0kM marker at the “End of the World”

11) And finally, why did you start your blog?

We decided to start this blog to chronicle our trip down the Pan American Highway.  It’s a great way to keep friends and family updated on all we are doing as well as meet people doing similar things to get advice and maybe even meet up with them.

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