My First Liebster Award

A big thank you to Charm the Explorer for nominating me for a Liebster Award. I am thrilled to be nominated, especially by someone who is physically so far away from me. Charm’s home is in the Philippines.

Charm blogs about traveling on a budget. Since she lives in the Philippines, many of her trips are to places in Asia I would love to see. Two places I’ve already been–Tokyo and Seoul. One place I would love to see to contrast it with my great-uncle’s description from the 1930s–Macau.

The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers. This is a way to recognize great fellow bloggers for their work and to promote their blogs and our blogs as well.


These are the guidelines to keep this award going when you decide to accept the award.liebster-award

  1. Display an image of the award and write about your nomination.
  2. Thank and link the person who nominated you for this award.
  3. Answer the 11 questions prepared for you by the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Nominate 5-11 awesome bloggers who you think  deserve this award, and create 11 questions of your own for your nominees to answer.
  5. List these guidelines in your blog post.


1. Your dream destination and why do you want to go there?

Bali, Indonesia, is my dream destination. I’ve been there once, and I’ve always wanted to go back. I was blessed on that first trip to have a friend in Bali who was studying Balinese music, especially the gamelan. He was able to take a few days off to guide me around the island on the back of his motorcycle so that I saw more than just the beaches and the tourists who filled them.

Paradise for me is a small cottage with windows that open to a view of the ocean and a palm tree providing shade just outside that window. Whenever I conjure up that image, I am back in Bali again.

2. When was your first ever trip that you rode an airplane? Any unforgettable experiences?

My first airplane trip was from Fargo, North Dakota, to Newark, New Jersey. I was picked up by a pastor from a Lutheran Church in Weehawken, New Jersey, where I was looking forward to volunteering in an arts, crafts, and recreational program for elementary school-aged children that summer. The plane ride itself was exciting, but it didn’t surpass the rest of the experience.

That was the summer that changed my life. I always wanted to travel and live in foreign countries so I had been studying foreign languages to make those dreams possible. But in New Jersey I discovered I already knew a foreign language–English, my native language. When I returned to my home in Minnesota, I changed my major from German to English and then set out to learn how to teach English as a second or foreign language.

3. Do you make an itinerary for your trips or you just surprise yourself?

My answer to this question has changed over time. When I first traveled, I picked out a destination but I didn’t want to plan anything beyond the flight and my first night’s hotel room. I wanted to discover what was there by serendipity.

As I have aged, I see more value in planning. But I take a middle road–some planning, but not too much. For example, I enjoy staying at all inclusive resorts where it is still possible to leave blocks of time open for discovery. I also enjoyed the one cruise my husband and I took–there was something to do at every minute of the day or night, or I could just sit down in a lounge or around the pool with a book.

4. Among all your trips, what is your most favorite food that you’ve tried?

I have trouble naming my favorite anything–music, movie, or food. But I can narrow my options down by selecting a type of food and that would be Thai.

I love the sweetness of the coconut milk in Thai dishes. I love the heat of garlic and peppers in Thai dishes. And I love rice–ever since I lived in Iran where one cup of uncooked rice per person was the usual recipe guideline.

The first time I had an Iranian meal placed in front of me, I thought it was to be shared with the three others at the table. And then I saw three more plates the same size being placed in front of the others.

5. Food that you think you would never ever dare to taste?

Monkey brains. Can’t imagine eating that no matter how it is prepared.

6. One item that you always bring in a trip that always end up not using.

That extra pair of shoes. It seems like a good idea to have an extra pair, but somehow I always end up with a pair that doesn’t really go with anything else. So they stay tucked into the bottom of my suitcase.

7. When traveling, do you make it a point to make new friends?

I’m not sure I can claim that I make friends while traveling, but I do enjoy meeting people. On one of my first international trips, from Greece to Tehran, I sat next to two Belgian brothers who were traveling to Iran for business. Since I had been living in Iran, they were eager to ask me questions, though I believe they thought they had done enough research already. To test this theory, I asked if they knew what year it was in Iran. (It was 1976 in the Western world.) They told me they knew Iran followed another calendar and that the new year was in March (we were traveling in April), so they concluded it was now 1355 in Iran. A month earlier, they would have been correct. But two weeks before the new year, the Iranian parliament changed the calendar from the Muslim solar calendar (the rest of the Muslim world follows a lunar calendar) to the Imperial calendar which considered year 1 to be the beginning of the Persian empire. So Iran leaped from 1354 to 2535 that year. I was glad to have something to add to their preparation.

8. Have you ever slept in an airport? If yes, any tips? If no, would you dare?

I have never slept in an airport, although I have many times wanted to nap while I waited between flights. Much of my traveling has been done as part of my work, so I’ve been fortunate enough to have overnight accommodation as part of the package paid for by my employer.

I take comfort in knowing that if I absolutely positively had to sleep in an airport, I’d have little trouble doing so. I can fall asleep standing up, if necessary. Just ask my husband.

9. Will you still travel in your senior years?

I’m already in my senior years, and I’m not done traveling yet. Admittedly, most of my travels these days are between where I live and where the rest of my family lives, although my husband and I take advantage of other places along the way.

10. What made you decide to start a blog?

This is my third blog. I started my first blog, Better Than The Alternative, in 2010 order to learn just what is involved. The office I worked in at the time provided self-hosted WordPress sites to other offices as part of a collaborative workspace effort designed to break down the silos that separated staff from other departments. I needed to know what WordPress was in order to support my internal customers. I rarely post anything to this blog.

My second blog, Sandra Yeaman’s 365 Project, is on I created that blog in 2013 in order to challenge myself to write at least 500 words per day for 365 days. My goal was to get into the habit of writing. Many of the pieces I wrote then are now in revised form in my draft memoir, the working title of which is Stuck in Stage Two: A Memoir of Cross-Cultural Confrontations and Miscommunication. I no longer add anything to this blog, but occasionally I go back to look at what I wrote.

I created my current blog, Sandra Yeaman: From Adventure to Mission, to build my platform to market my memoir once I complete it. Until I get closer to finishing it, I use this blog to review books and take part in blogging challenges, such as the April a-to-z-challenge, in order to reach out to the blogging community to find like-minded souls.

11.If it is the end of the world, which country do you want to see for the first and last time?

There are two countries in the world that I have always wanted to see but haven’t: Bulgaria and Burma. I’d pick one of those if I could only travel to one more place before the end of the world.


Since my current blog is an effort to build a platform from which to market my memoir, I spend a lot of time reading other blogs about writing and by authors. I have learned much from those bloggers and wish to nominate the following in recognition:

  1. Ryan Lanz of A Writer’s Path because he provides such wonderful tips to aspiring writers.
  2. Laura Roberts of Button Tapper Press because she told me about the a-to-z challenge and she amazes me with the breadth of her writing activities.
  3. Rhondi Peacock of Ya Gotta Laugh About It because I love both the name of her blog and her real name.
  4. Ankita Shukla of No Agenda In Life because everyone should learn a bit of foreign languages and she introduces readers to French, one bite at a time.
  5. Ginni of GinniBites because I am always amazed by poets. She’s already received a Real Neat Blogger award, but deserves another.
  6. Sarah of The Critiquing Chemist because I love to discover how someone in a different field reacts to what I love–books.
  7. Sarah of The Sarah Doughty because as I said, I am always amazed by poets.
  8. Lori of As the Fates Would Have It and Promptly Written and A Whispered Wind because I am blown away by her productivity and creativity. She has already received a One Lovely Blog Award, but she deserves another. Or more likely at least two more for her three blogs.
  9. Jordan of Literary Fuzz because he writes 50-word stories.
  10. Kadri of Books First since it has been awhile since she was last nominated for a Liebster Award.
  11. Yinglan of yzhengblog because she is so creative and productive and I can’t tell if she has ever received a Liebster Award before.


  1. What book(s) are you reading now?
  2. Who else do you think would enjoy reading it? Why?
  3. Which author would you like to write your life story? Why?
  4. Name three authors you would like to invite to dinner. Why?
  5. Summarize your life in three sentences.
  6. What was the last book you read that kept you up late into the night to finish?
  7. Have you read a book recently you decided was a waste of time? If so, what is it? Who might like it?
  8. What’s your favorite genre? Why?
  9. What genre haven’t you read much of yet?
  10. What would be a good title for your autobiography?
  11. What’s the title of the next book you plan to begin reading?



Categories: BloggingTags: ,


  1. Hey Sandra, thank you for the kind words and nomination… I’m currently trying to play catch up after the busy April month but I look forward to being able to settle down at the weekend with your questions in mind 🙂

  2. Thank you for nominating me for this award, Sandra. I’m happy to learn more about you, through the questions you answered, too… and the bits about Iran have me very intrigued about this memoir! How long did you live in Iran, and what originally prompted you to live there?

    • Hi, Laura. I lived in Iran just over two years. Initially I just wanted to get experience living and working in a foreign country, to gain the experience of what it is like to be a foreigner, in order to teach English as a Second Language back in San Francisco. Instead, I fell in love with the challenge of living in different countries. After Iran I lived a year in Romania. Eventually I succeeded in joining the US Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer which led to the opportunities to live and work in the other 9 countries. Now it’s time to write about them.

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