With the last days of 2016 steadily ticking by it’s time to stop and reflect on the year that has been.  The ups, the downs, the places and the faces; the things that made us laugh or cry and all the things that inspired that deep set wanderlust for travel.

2016 has all been about ‘home’ for me.  It’s been time to go back to the basics, shed materialistic things and experience life living out of a suitcase (ok, ok, two suitcases.  And a carry on, but who’s counting?).  I’ve had a lot of personal landmark moments over these last twelve months; I’ve lived in three different states, paid off credit card debt and then impulse booked a one way international flight for next year.

I also started this blog.

So what exactly is The Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge?

Where is your favourite place to travel?  If you could fly anywhere right now, where would it be?  What’s better; Europe or Asia?  Why did you spend so much time in that city?

These are questions that get thrown around rather willy-nilly when it comes to travel blogging.  But how can a traveller narrow down one exact moment to talk about?

Well, the wonderful Stephanie put together this ten question blogging challenge to get us all thinking outside of the box.  The goal was to try and offer some answers and tips that might just be a little different while still proving inspirational.

Each Travel Whispers blog post can be found by clicking the link through to the next blogger.  With an incredible network of travellers and writers on board, hopefully you’ll find some new bloggers to follow and some great travel ideas for the future!  You can also find all the posts them across Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #TravelWhispers.

Anyway, enough about the concept; let’s move onto my answers.


#1 If you had to move to a country that you’ve NEVER been to, and live there for ten years, where would you go?

While my first home away from home will forever be Japan, I’ve always wanted to travel through Sweden.  Given the relative stability of the country and their openness to immigrants mixed with the picturesque scenery and fairy-tale towns, I think it would be somewhere that I could easily and happily live.

I’m also excellent at building IKEA furniture, so I figure that counts for something, right?

Stockholm, Sweden by Mariamichelle.

#2 If you had to live in a hotel for the rest of your life, which hotel would you choose and why?

Image by Mantra

I actually live in a hotel.  Or at least, I live where I work, which happens to be a 4 star hotel in remote Queensland, so this question is a little strange for me.

Working on the idea of hotels I have stayed in, The Frasier Suits in Perth is definitely a strong contender.  It’s Australian luxury at its finest, with ample space and a wine list to die for.

Having said that, I think I would have to say Mantra Frangipani in Broome.  While not offering over the top luxury or claiming to be overly fancy, it was spacious and more than comfortable with its king bed, chase lounge, dining area and full kitchen.  It also had a personal outdoor BBQ and sitting area with an outdoor day bed for all those who like to lounge in the sun and read.  But the best thing about it?  The private, outdoor, open to the weather, stars and moon, shower.

That was the reason I booked the hotel in the first place, and let me tell you that you’d be hard pressed to find something more relaxing and good for the soul than showering under a Broome full moon with a glass of wine and the roar of the ocean echoing through the trees.


#3 If you could only eat the cuisine of one nationality forever more, which would you choose?

Delicious hot ramen

Everyone loves a good Schnitzel, but when I was travelling through Austria, Germany and Switzerland, it got to the point where I couldn’t stomach the idea of even looking at another well flattened, crumbed piece of meat.

But Japanese food?  I never get tired of that!  From a traditional curry, to mouth-watering okonomiyaki, giant bowls of ramen (best consumed with beer) to sukiyaki and Shabu-shabu; the choices are endless.  And don’t even get me started on the cute breads, decadent crepes and the ever amazing Momiji manju.

Living on Japanese food is one of my ultimate life goals.


#4 Who has given you ‘holiday envy’ this year, and how?

Honestly, everyone.

It’s quite silly given that I travel to work and, this year alone, have lived in three separate places around Australia, but as soon as I see images of faraway places, winding city streets and the glow of distant lights, I get instant envy.

Blogger wise, Adventurous Kate is always worthy of loving envy (and has inspired a lot of my own travels) and when it comes to picture perfection on Instagram, I’ve been heavily stalking Aladiia’s feed for dreamy, moody photography, filled with atmospheric contrast and heavy mist.


#5 If you had to look at the same sunrise or the same sunset every day, where in the world would you never get bored of seeing it?

The sun setting over Lake Komaterpillar, WA

Born and bred on the East Coast of Australia, I’ve been lucky enough to see some rather nice sunsets over city skylines, and our sunrises are utterly superb.

Still, it wasn’t until I moved to Western Australia that I saw the sun set over the ocean.  The view from the gardens in Darwin was amazing; Broome was stunning and full of reds and oranges reflected in the water and the mudflaps.

And yet if I could see just one sunset forever more, it would be from the banks of Lake Komaterpillar in the heart of the Western Australian desert.  The idea of a crystal blue lake in a desert is strange enough, let alone one that lets you watch the sky go from azure blue to purple, to pink and then have it burst alight with orange and yellow flame as the sun dips out of view.


#6 If you were taking a ‘staycation’ in your home town, where would it be and what would you recommend others to do?

Mount Tamborine surrounds

Brisbane City itself is quite charming in a ‘small town turned into a metropolis’ sort of way, but jump in the car and go for a drive.  Head south, towards the infamous Gold Coast, but instead of going to the ocean, head inland.

The Gold Coast Hinterlands is an amazing area of sunny pastures, vineyards and patches of tropical rainforest.  Spend a night or two up on Mount Tamborine to best enjoy the wine, the view and local arts and crafts.  Catching a horse and cart ride up the main shopping strip will take you past chocolateries, clock houses and German eateries, giving you the illusion of a Bavarian escape, while the pub scene and cellar doors scream typical Aussie.

It is honestly a must do for anyone living or travelling along the east coast.


#7 Describe your perfect travel day of the year?

Amazing AirBnB property in Pemberton

My perfect day for the year is pretty uneventful, to be honest.  It involved checking out of a luxury hotel in Perth and catching a coach bus further south for a few hours.  There’s a town in Western Australia called Busselton (famous for its long jetty) but stepping off that bus had very little to do with what the town offered.  Because leaning on a hire car with sunnies on and a cup of coffee in her hand was my best friend, all the way from Brisbane, and it was the first time we were seeing each other in over eight months.

An afternoon of driving down tree lined highways, blasting music and laughing, all came to a head when we arrived in Pemberton and started looking for our AirBnB accommodation.  Should have been easy, right?  Ha.  We were in the middle of nowhere at night, with no phone reception and no street lights and we had to drive 5km down a dirt and gravel road that wound its way through a dense forest.

The lead up felt like a horror movie with a theme song to match and when we finally reached the Cabin in the Woods, walking inside was simply asking for us to be murdered.

Obviously we didn’t die.  Our hosts were amazing, the place was quirky and fun, and a few glasses of local wine calmed our nerves quite nicely.  And with views like the above, there was a lot more to fall in love with than to fear.


#8 What have you ticked off your bucket list in 2016?

Wolfe Creek Crater

I’ve seen a lot more of my own country this year.  I can tick off Darwin and Perth, I’ve been to Broome and tasted amazing wine in Margaret River and Pemberton.  I’ve nursed coffee in roadside truck stops all through Western Australia and then walked on the beach of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.  I not only ‘survived’ Wolfe Creek, but climbed down into the crater with fellow nomads and bloggers, Lisanne and Jeffrey from Chaptertravel.  I’ve been lucky enough to go back home to Brisbane for the first time in almost two years and then following that, I’ve sat in trees surrounded by rolling green hills, talked to bonafide cowboys and stockmen and chased crystal blue skies through one of Australia’s farming capitals.

While it may not be eating Gelato in Italy or sipping wine in France, it’s been a pretty amazing year.


#9 What is top of your travel bucket list for 2017?

Bram Castle, Romania by Sbringser

2017 is already shaping up to be a super exciting, crazy year of travel.  With flights already booked and planning (slowly) under way, I’m looking forward to watching the sun set in Santorini, chasing vampires through Transylvania, sipping vodka in Russia and completely losing myself in Mongolia.

I’ve never been happier to celebrate the passing of one year and the coming of the next!


#10 Share your favourite Instagram photo of 2016?

This is what happens when a day of shopping turns into coffee in the park which, subsequently, turned into an adventure to find out what was on the other side of the river. With a car running on empty, inappropriate shoes and skirts and a great sense of wanderlust, we climbed fences, walked roads and avoided white vans with blackened windows. The end result of a hidden creek was totally worth it. Check out my blog www.inspiredwanderess.com . . . . . . #inspiredwanderess #wanderlust #travelphotography #travelwriter #travel #passportready #packyourbags #passionpassport #instagood #instago #instapassport #mytravelgram #photooftheday #beautifulplaces #worldplaces #worldcaptures #travelawesome #nomad #nomadlife #brisbane #queensland #australia #domestictourism #countrygirl #countrylife #summer #nature #naturephotography #explorerchick

A post shared by Alison Sault (@inspiredwanderess) on


Navigating The Travel Whispers Network!

Press Rewind to find…

Katie over @  Creative Travel Guide loves Vegas and enjoys Mexican food, and let me tell you, her favourite Instagram image is both unique and just a little shocking.   Find out more about her travels here.

Fellow Australian Peter over @ A Thousand Flights has taken a cleverly unique approach to the Challenge, opting to answer in a number of snapshotted ‘postcards’.  Read them under the Travel Whispers Tag.

Or fast forward

Amy over at Four Cats Plus Us has some truly inspiring answers, and her ‘staycation’ idea has had me drooling over the idea of visiting Wales all over again.  Check out her amazing answers here.

Want to start from the beginning?  Go to where it all began and check out Stephanie Fox’s post that started it all.  It can be seen here.


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