The Liebster Award!

Niche Travel Design has been nominated for The Liebster Award!

I was nominated by A World in Reach for this peer award. For a somewhat new blogger like me, this is a special treat.  It’s always a great feeling to be recognized by your peers. Thank you, Sydney and A World in Reach.

What is the Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award is a peer to peer award, given to bloggers, by bloggers as a way to foster collaboration and support. What a nice idea.

I noticed a message board in my German friend’s house that said “liebe und respekt.”  I asked what liebe or liebster meant.  She told me it means dearest or kindest. Thus, bloggers being dear and kind to one another. This is an award I can get behind. I am always seeking advice from others and I am happy to promote the idea of collaboration. I strongly believe in the theory that what you give comes back to you.  

The Rules of Engagement

Once you’re nominated with the Liebster Award, you have to follow a few rules to celebrate your win and spread the award throughout the blogging community.

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog.

2. Display the award on your blog.

3. Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blog posting.

4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself.

5. Answer the questions from your nominator and provide a fresh set of questions for those you nominate.

6. Nominate 5 – 10 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award.

7. List these rules in your post.

How I Began My Blogging Journey

I began blogging when I first moved from California to Parma, Italy in 2011.

When my daughter was a toddler she frequently made up words that sounded similar to the adult versions. She would say strawbellies instead of strawberries; froggy instead of foggy. One of the words she transposed was Parmesan. In her toddler mind, Parmesan cheese was Purple John cheese. For years our family asked each other to pass the Purple John cheese at the dinner table.

Imagine our surprise when we realized that we were moving to Parma, Italy – the birthplace of Purple John cheese.  Apparently, the universe has a sense of humor. It seemed like serendipity. What we did not know is that an international move is difficult. Life in another country is difficult. It is not all adventure.  I had 2 very sad children who did not want to move and leave the comfort of their home.

All that being said, life in Italy was often quite funny because things were soooo different than what we were used to. Thus, my original blog, Purple John, began by me just telling friends about the difficulties and the funny stories that we encountered along the way.

And of course, just when we were settled into life in Italy, the universe struck again and we had a second move to Malmö, Sweden. Once we moved and settled into Malmö, I toyed with the idea of reworking my past experience as a travel consultant and incorporating the blog as part of the business. The kids were older and they did not need me as much as they did in Italy. This last year I began my existing blog Niche Travel Design using my name and domain name from the travel business that I ran in the USA. So now my travel business has a blog attached to it.

My blog still occasionally includes funny ex-pat tales of excitement and woe, but now I am more focused on the business of travel. The funny thing, though . . . that little toddler that inspired my first blog name, she now works with me on the business.

At Niche Travel Design, our philosophy is that designing the perfect vacation is as much an art form as designing a home’s interior or a garden’s landscape. We curate a unique experience for each of our clients. 

We are experts in finding the best cup of coffee, the most interesting art gallery, the best place to sip Prosecco while watching the sunset, and the best accessories to make your adventure more comfortable.

Niche Travel Design is more than a travel blog. We are a community featuring stories of life abroad, cultural experiences, recipes, ideas, and tips for creating unique memories to last a lifetime. We also recommend products and services.

10 Random Things About Me

  1. I once sort of crashed a funeral. My friend was supposed to go and I was staying with her so I went too because it was celebrity filled. In the end, I felt like a heel and a looky-loo. People (even celebrities) were grieving. I don’t recommend it. Not my best moment.
  2. I always top off my gasoline, despite the warnings.
  3. I love Gene Kelly movies and I got to meet him once and had a conversation with him about his more obscure movies. It was amazing and he was so kind.
  4. I am secretly a Carpenters fan. I guess it is not a secret anymore. 
  5. I sing all the time in public even though I really shouldn’t.
  6. I once got into a car accident on the way home from a car accident and neither one was my fault. I know you don’t believe me, but it is true.
  7. Apparently, according to my family, I say Google incorrectly? Who knew?
  8. I hate, I mean really hate, The Pillsbury Doughboy. His voice makes my skin crawl.
  9. I once stayed at a “pensione” in Barcelona that was actually the host’s children’s room. He was clearing toys out of their bedroom. It was weird, but it was late and there was a train strike so I paid to sleep in a stranger’s kid’s bed.
  10. I generally don’t like chick flicks despite being a chick. I seem to be missing a gene or something.

A World In Reach’s Questions For Me

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned during your travels? That once one strips away all the cultural differences, we are all the same. We all just want safety, family, friends, love, and respect in our lives.

What’s your favorite part of traveling? Exploring and learning about a place. Finding off the beaten path things to do. I am a researcher and enjoy the discovery of new things to do, a great local restaurant, a specialty shop, an unusual experience in a typical tourist spot. Least favorite? The getting there bit. The airports, etc.  Ugh.

Do you collect any souvenirs from your travels? I used to collect art from each place but now I have too much. I had to stop. No more room to hang anything. We have also always collected ornaments for our Christmas tree. It is nice to remember our trips as we put up each ornament every year. Now I collect photographs and memories.

What is the most unique experience you’ve had with a local while traveling? Swimming with horses in Croatia. Just incredible.

If you could travel with one person you’ve never traveled with before, who would it be? Barack Obama. He is intelligent, funny, has done some cool stuff and met a bunch of interesting people. I’ll bet he has good stories. Plus, he gets V.I.P. treatment and if we were traveling together I’d get V.I.P. treatment too.  

How did you come up with your blog name? It was the name of my travel business in the USA. I focus on niche, unique, unusual travel experiences. I curate and design your trip for you.

What tip would you give to a new blogger? Learn all the technical stuff before you begin.

Is there a book or a movie that has inspired your wanderlust?  No. My wanderlust was developed as a child. Actually, I feel like it has always been there. 

What are the top 3 things on your bucket list? Africa – all of it!  Australia/New Zealand and Asia.

What is your biggest travel regret? I had a chance to go to Africa for a summer. I didn’t go because it wasn’t practical. I should have gone.

My Nominations for The Liebster Award

I have really enjoyed the Liebster Award process. I also enjoyed reading about each of these bloggers that I am nominating. I hope that you each take the time to read up on what they have to offer.

1. Divine Kabwe at 

2. Diana Danciu at

3. Jenny Toney Bhatia of

4. Temeka Flack Green of

5. Heather Eyre of

6. Jamie Joseph of

7. Samantha Norman of

8. Louise Emerson of

9. Mallory Herrera of

10. Megan Henderson of

Questions For My Nominees

Since I have a travel blog, my questions are all about travel.

  1. Where would you go if money and time were not issues?
  2. What is the best advice you would give to new travelers?
  3. What is the one accessory that you cannot travel without – your phone and/or computer don’t count?
  4. Where is one place you would return over and over again? And why?
  5. Where is one place you’ve been but never want to return to? And why?
  6. What is the funniest travel mishap you’ve had?
  7. What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
  8. What is your favorite travel souvenir?
  9. What is your favorite local cuisine?
  10. What is your next destination?

Looking forward to reading my nominees’ answers and getting to know them better.

And once again, a BIG THANK YOU to A World In Reach for my nomination!

Everyone, please be sure to check out Sydney’s blog for ideas on budget travel. A World In Reach can provide you with all sorts of ideas on traveling on a budget.


  • Reply Jamie Joseph January 1, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Congratulations and thank you! I love all the interesting tidbits you shared here! I am truly grateful and honored for the nomination!

    • Reply Niche Travel Design January 1, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you! for participating. Hope you have fun with it.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.