The Sunshine Blogger Award


I was very excited to have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award this week by  Ellen & Seth from Gone Flatboat.

Ellen and Seth have some amazing adventures on their boat Celeste, most recently around Alaska and the Arctic, and they have also circumnavigated on their previous boat. If you don’t already follow their blog, then you really should as they have some stunning photographs and stories.

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given from one blogger to others who are “positive, creative and inspiring”. Once you have been nominated you are given a set of questions to answer and then you get to “pass it on” to other bloggers that you admire and find positive, creative and inspiring.

So thanks heaps for the award Ellen and Seth! Here are my answers to your questions.

  1. What is the best part about traveling (and/or hiking and/or sailing – if applicable) for you?

I absolutely love to travel, have adventures, see new places, try new foods, meet people and escape reality. I am very lucky to have a partner, son and friends who love to come along on the various trips I want to do. We have lots of fun.

People often comment that we are ‘always away on holiday’ or ‘how do you find the time to get away so often?’ Well, time is the one thing that everyone has exactly the same amount of. It is how you choose to spend it that makes the difference. (Yes we do still work full time as well!)

Sailing to destinations whenever we can enables us to access places that are off the well beaten tourist trails and experience life closer to nature and away from the crowds. If we aren’t sailing then we are off hiking or skiing in the mountains, or otherwise trying to experience as much of this amazing country and planet that we live in.

Sometimes the best part about sailing is the night watch.


2. What is the most difficult part about traveling (and/or hiking and/or sailing – if applicable) for you?

For us it is the weather. We live in an area affectionately known as “the Roaring Forties”.  At 43ºS in the South Island of New Zealand, we are slap bang in between the high and low pressure systems that race around the lower part of the globe and regularly give us a taste of Mother Nature’s force. We keep a close eye on the forecast regardless of what it is that we are doing, and occasionally we get caught out.


3. What camera do you use (and – if applicable – what photo processing software)?

I love taking photos and have always diligently made photo albums (now printed photo books) for me, and the family every year. I mainly use my iPhone 7 to take my pictures as it is so light and easy to carry and I just always have it with me. The photo below is just from my iPhone with a filter on it in Kyoto a couple of weeks ago.

While I love taking photos, I also like to experience the moment as well. Sometimes the romance of simply sitting and enjoying a beautiful sunset together can be lost by trying to obtain that perfect picture.

Andrew has a brilliant Olympus camera and he takes some great shots on that.


4. What is one off-the-beaten path location you’d recommend that we visit?

Probably one of the most off-the-beaten path places I have been to is Pitt Island. It is also the first place in the world to see the sun every day. It is part of the Chatham Island group – just out to the East of New Zealand, and just a handful of families live there. Chatham Island is also incredible and they get about 3000 tourist visitors a year. So it is almost completely untainted by mass tourism.

They have the most amazing golden sandy beaches, and so much fish!

Chatham Island Adventure

Pitt Island Adventure


Ocean Mail Beach, Chatham Island

5. If you have a book you re-read often, what is it? If not, what’s your favorite book?

I have read the Celestine Prophecy a number of times. I don’t really like the ending, but the rest of it is great. A page turning adventure story, with some great lessons for life. Their description of the ‘power struggle’ in relationships is really interesting.

I mainly read non-fiction books, and a big percentage of them would be sailing or travel related. I also love a good historical fiction – based on a true story type books as well. I keep a list of my favourite books here and having just got a kindle – I have to say I am a huge fan and have downloaded heaps of books. Any great suggestions, please let me know!

6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten or drunk while traveling?

Hmm tricky. I can’t think of anything as good as your one Ellen & Seth! We did have chicken necks on the yakiniku grill in Japan the other day. Who knew chicken necks were so tasty!?


Paua are also an unusual thing that some people have not heard about. It is a black slug like fish in a colourful half shell. Here in New Zealand you can only dive for them without scuba tanks on, you can only catch a limited number per person and they need to be a certain size, they are absolutely delicious finely sliced and fried on the beach in a bit of butter, lemon juice and garlic if you have it.


7. Why did you start blogging?

Initially I started blogging as a place to record all my Ocean Yachtmaster study notes instead of scrappy notebooks. Before I knew it, a few people started following the blog, so I started writing more about some of our adventures as well and future sailing plans. Then I added a Facebook Page, and got more followers. Then someone started saying I should submit some of my posts to magazines – so I did and got published!

I have connected with lots of really interesting people via the blog, it has actually been fantastic and I really hope to be able to meet up with some of our blog followers on our global travels.

Featured Image -- 2567

8. Where would you most like to re-visit and why?

Ohhh that is a tough question, we have been to so many amazing places I would love to go back to… I would definitely love to go back to New Caledonia sailing on our friend’s beautiful yacht Esther Louise. (Jay if you are reading this… nudge nudge wink wink..)

Also Vanuatu. I loved visiting the volcano on Tanna Island even though I was absolutely terrified the entire time we were there…. standing right on the edge of an erupting volcano is not for the faint hearted!


9. How do you approach your travels? 

I use guidebooks, blog posts and do heaps of research on places before I travel. I like to have the main things like flights and accommodation mapped out in advance so my precious traveling time is spent doing exciting things, instead of walking up and down trying to decide on which hotel to go to. For me the planning and research is part of the fun, and I have got a severe case of FOMO – I mean – imagine if I went somewhere and missed the best bit! I love to get away from the crowds, give me a boutique B&B (or a boat) as opposed to a huge resort. I’d rather spend money on experiences (like snowmobiling for example) than flash hotels – they all look the same when your eyes are shut – right…?!


10. Where are you from, and what is the most common stereotype or misconception about your home town/state/country? 

I am originally from the UK, and Andrew is from Australia, but we both consider ourselves Kiwi’s (New Zealander’s). Many people think that New Zealand is part of Australia and say that ‘we all sound the same’, but saying that is quite offensive unless you actually are Australian – like Andrew (a bit like Canadians and American’s I guess?)

Many people think that New Zealand is all like scenes from the Lord of The Rings – and yes that is true, we have some amazing scenery, but we are also very chic with the best coffee, wine and sophisticated restaurants you can find anywhere in the world. It is a fantastic country to live in.


11. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your travels?

“Go with the flow”

Some things are completely out of your control. Flights can be cancelled, connections missed, bags lost, weather issues, earthquakes etc. You can choose to either lose the plot and perhaps shout at the poor person at the airline desk who has absolutely no way of changing the situation. Or you can take a deep breath and get on with your trip and simply treat the disruption as part of the adventure.


So there you have it! Thanks Ellen & Seth that was heaps of fun! Now I get to nominate some of my favorite blogs for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I follow lots of blogs, so it is hard to narrow it down to just the top 11, I could go on for ages… anyway here are just 11 of my top picks:

(PS If I have missed your blog off my list and you would love to do the challenge too then please let me know! I’d be more than happy to add you on! Also if my nominees aren’t keen to do it, then I won’t be upset, just let me know)

Noel & Jackies Journeys – Jackie has been so encouraging of my blogging, she is also a fantastic writer and has written a number of books about her incredible adventures.

Sailing Mareda – Maria and Patrick sail their lovely yacht in Europe, and we hope to follow in their footsteps in a few years time.

Active Outside – Hubert is a keen sailor from Germany, and is planning on walking 1000 miles this year.

SV Violet Hour – currently posting some great tips in regards to re-rigging their boat, I really enjoyed following their adventures sailing around the beautiful coastline from Seattle.

SV Fluenta – Max, Liz and their three kids are currently exploring the Pacific Islands. I met them earlier last year when they were traveling around New Zealand.

Andy’s World Journeys – Andy has had some amazing adventures around the globe visiting over 69 countries so far!

Sailing Britican – Kim has got some great advice on her blog about all aspects of life on board. Great videos as well. Currently in the Caribbean and they started in the Mediterranean.

Take it Easy – Ellen & Seth already nominated Chris & Wade, but I can’t resist nominating them as well. (Don’t feel like you have to answer both sets of questions though!) They are currently cruising around Bass Strait/Tasmania. I love following their adventures and seeing their stunning photographs.

Denali Rose – I can’t wait to go sailing in Alaska like these guys do. Such a spectacular part of the world.

Galley Wench Tales – Dana is a great writer and I loved following their adventures in the Pacific. They are now in Australia.

The Cynical Sailor and His Salty Sidekick – I love Ellen’s writing, I think we have a similar sense of humour. Currently in a marina in Florida building the sailing kitty.

So to all my nominee’s here are the “rules” of the Sunshine Blogger Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
  • Answer the eleven questions set by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate eleven other blogs and give them eleven questions to answer. (You can use mine or change them to suit)
  • Notify your nominees
  • List the “rules” and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post

And here are my questions for you:

  1. What do you enjoy most about traveling and or sailing?
  2. What are the most challenging aspects of your adventurous lifestyle?
  3. How do you fund your sailing and travels, and what advice can you give to others wanting to do the same?
  4. What is one off-the-beaten path location you’d recommend that we visit?
  5. If you have a book you re-read often, what is it? If not, what’s your favorite book?
  6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten or drunk while traveling?
  7. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  8. When did your passion for sailing/traveling start and how did you make your dream a reality?
  9. What is one item you can’t live without when you are sailing/traveling.
  10. Where are you from, and what are some fantastic things to see in that part of the world?
  11. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your travels?

11 thoughts on “The Sunshine Blogger Award

  1. Thanks for the shout-out! I love historical fiction, (based on true events) too, and autobiographies. I have been a constant client at the local library while we are in town. I just read ” Alaska Bound ” by Tammie Jones, you might enjoy it. The Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow, are mostly fiction, but a good Alaskan “who dunnit”. Velma Wallis, is an Athabascan Indian from the village of Fort Yukon, she wrote several books of their handed-down stories, and one autobiography. I enjoy getting book recommendations from others, and I see several on your list that I need to check out.


  2. Pingback: Astrolabe Sailing Re-Blog | Live Free 2 Sail Fast

  3. Hiya Viki
    Well deserved, your getting the Sunshine Blogger award! Just wanted to let you know I’ll play too though will try not to tag the same folks as with the Liebster award ( Will be a little bit as we’re scrambling to make the transition from our little sailboat, now officially up for sale to our next nomadic home (….

    As well, will be fun checking out the other 11 blogger’s blogs you picked and your reading list (to take notes and make a few suggestions as I too am a historical fiction fan and appreciate well-done non-fiction, too).

    As always, thanks for giving us all so much pleasure and great info with all you do!


  4. Loved reading your responses! So much fun! And now more to add to the reading list and places-to-go lists! We too had difficulty choosing between all the awesome blogs out there – fun to see you passed it on to some that we were thinking of as well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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