8 Duffels & 2 Mutts receives The Versatile Blogger Award

the-versatileTo receive recognition is a form of validation for the perseverance towards my passionate pursuits.

To gain this achievement from my peers is a compliment in its highest form.

I am honored to accept the 2017 Versatile Blogger Award.

The Versatile Blogger Award is granted to bloggers by other bloggers. The purpose is to spotlight excellent writing, creativity, and quality photography.

It is my honor to accept the award from Caroline Brondbo of The Traveling Sloth. Caroline is an English Tutor and student hailing from Norway. She has also lived in Vietnam, Portugal, China, Singapore, and Australia. Raised in an expat family she identifies herself as Singaporean Norwegian raised in Australia. She is a true student or the world, also having travelled to over 20 countries in the past 5 years.

As part of accepting my award, I am asked to reveal 7 things about myself that our readers probably don’t know.

Our Family! Carlos, Stephanie, Peanut, and Monkey
  1. I Became a Blogger By Accident.

Okay, so the further this blog reaches the less it feels like an accident. But, I never intended to become a blogger. I started keeping a journal of our family’s experiences as we sold everything we owned to move abroad to Ecuador. We only had 4 months from the time we bought the tickets until our departure date. The kids were 19 months and  barely 3 years old at the time. I assumed that they would not remember most of the experience. I started writing about it, so I could read it to them when they got older.

  1. I Didn’t Know How to Be A Blogger

Eventually I published what I was writing to a private Facebook page for close friends and family. It turned out that they wanted to read and watch our experiences, as I wrote them. We all started calling it a blog. At that point, I didn’t have a website and I had never read a blog before; that I knew of or on purpose.

  1. Turns Out I was a Solo Traveler, Too

Now I hear the term ‘Solo Traveler’ almost daily. A year ago, I was not familiar with it. A solo traveler is someone who takes off on travel adventures alone, on purpose. I did this quite frequently in my 20’s, and even for nearly a 3 month stretch right before I met my future husband. I thought I was the only insane person who would camp alone or drive half way across the country all by myself. Turns out it’s a big deal in the both the travel and blogging world.

  1. My Husband and I Are Not Conventional

Okay, so this might have been obvious by now. But, as far the blog goes, our readers don’t know the extent of it. Carlos and I met in a grocery in store in California, moved in together a week later, went on a cross country road trip with our dogs a few months later, and then moved 2,000 miles away by the time we reached just 5 months together. Then we decided to open a business. Then buy a house. Then, get pregnant. Then, get married. Everything was all out of order according to society, but it was perfect for us.

  1. Our Kids Travel Dreams

When we recently asked our kids where they would like to go if they could travel anywhere. We got some pretty unconventional answers! Go figure. Our 2 year old son was quick to say: “In a rocket ship to Outer Space!” And our 4 year old daughter: “I think I really need to see Atlantis.” Me: “Oh crap. That plan for our travel itinerary sort of backfired.” Needless to say, this conversation had to circulate for a couple of day before we got any doable answers. This year, our kids would like to see: 1) An active Volcano..but hopefully not with enough running lava to kill us 2)A Waterfall, especially if it is somehow magical or surrounded by fairies..or something like that.

  1. There Used to Be 3 Mutts

Joey and Dante are our 2 Mutts, they have now survived our move abroad for almost a year. The spring before we decided to move abroad, we had 3 dogs. Sage was our oldest pet and the alpha female of our doggy brood. We never got to officially say good bye to her, as she simply walked off into the Iowa countryside one morning and never came back. We, of course, searched high and low for her. We never found her but we rest assured that her old age probably came to a halt while she was out chasing bunnies. As much as we have missed her since, we simply cannot imagine how impossible it would have been the to bring 3 large dogs abroad.

 7. Learning Spanish Has Sort of Been a Failure

For some reason, I had this notion that I was a language genius. I had no reason for this idea, as I don’t remember a single word of the German I learned in high school. Yet, I had convinced myself that I would arrive in Ecuador, immerse in the culture, and become fluent in 3 months. And then I would teach our kids, and they would be fluent within a year. Well, that hasn´t happened. I can speak a little, and understand a little more. But, I can’t get beyond the banter of greetings and simple expressions of what I need or want. As for the kids, they only know a few words and sentences as far as we know. Still hoping they might surprise us one day.


In final, part of the award is to pay it forward. To nominate 15 other quality blogs that I enjoy and follow. These are my picks:

#1. Coddiwomple Michelle Mundy is the writer for this new family travel blog that tells the story of a family on a journey to regain a purposeful life. The family of five (with 3 school age boys) have resided in Mexico and USA, and are currently wandering about South America with no set plan or destination. We were lucky enough to meet this family as they passed through our village a few months back. They were among the first nomadic unschooling families that we had had the pleasure to meet!

#2. Feathery Travels Katie Featherstone is the passionate blogger at this budget minded travel blog. She and her travel partner, Dan live in a camper van name Burt. They have camped, hitch hiked and immersed themselves in cultures all over the world including Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas. Katie enjoys embellishing her readers with insights to meaningful travels and immersive experiences in music and art of the world.

#3.Pages of My Passport Elisabeth Bunch is a solo traveler with a unique perspective. A devout Christian and proud of it, her inspiring travel blog is sprinkled with biblical references. She says she got her calling to travel from the Lord while living and working at an orphanage in Honduras. Her journey began several years ago and she now extensively traveled through 4 continents and 18 countries and has learned to speak 4 languages!

#4.World is A Book Mary Penafiel Solio is the writer behind this incredible blog about family travel. They are inspirational in the ways that they manage to find time to explore the world extensively while juggling a full time life. They have a special love for traveling by cruise ship, but have also ventured out in many other ways, too. The blog is full of tips and advice for traveling with babies, toddlers, and young children.

#5. Travel To Blank Jazmin and Stephen are a young traveling couple, who met in college at the University of Colorado Boulder. After they graduated, they quit their jobs and spent two months exploring all over the US. They ended the trip by getting married! After that, they spend one year living abroad right here in Ecuador! Then moved to Spain to extend their schooling and having been traveling from that location extensively to 16 countries. The blog is full of breathtaking photographs and endless tips on how to talk walking tours of the world!

#6. Long Haul Trekkers This blog by Jen and Dave and their dog, Sora is by far one of my favorites to read. In 2015, the couple set off to tour the world by bicycle. Yes, I said BICYCLE…and they took their rescue dog with them for the journey. Obviously the blog is full of tips for the like, road biking and travel with dogs. And if that weren’t enough, there is an entire section dedicated to Vegan campsite recipes! Amazing! Right this minute, they are busy biking their way through some highway here in Ecuador! They say Ecuador has the best biking path in all of South America.

#8. Patty on the Road I discovered Patty Esquivel a few months back on Instagram! I love her photos of Ecuador and other places in the world. Her blog is in Spanish, but if you have Google Chrome it easily translated to English as well.  Patty is a native of Peru and passionate about learning the cultural dances of her heritage. She enjoys hiking and blogging about travel, and helping others to plan their trips, too.

#9. Hidden Gems the Blog Cristina is the writer for this innovative blog about off the beaten track travel…and fashion. If those two topics sounds like they don’t go together, guess again! She is passionate about highlighting traditional, ethically made clothing from around the world. The photos are breathtaking. Some of her most recent fashion and travel pieces are based in Ecuador.

#10. How To Eat in Peru/ Project Dinner Party

So we haven’t even been to Peru yet, but according to this blog, we are going to be at great risk for getting fat when we do! This blog really caught my eye based on web design and youtube videos alone. The super high quality content is all about beautiful food, and the writing is stuffed full of cultural and historical background related to what they eat during their travels. I’ve never followed a blog like it, and I’m hooked!

#11  Doodle Me Travel

Those of you who know me well, know that I love all things art, and this blog is no exception. The allure for me is that while I delve into this quirky little blog, I also get to enjoy her cartoonish drawings rather than photographs. This fresh out of college blogger touches on some great subjects about travel, culture, society, and social justice. Sometimes I’m enlightened, sometimes I’m laughing. The blog is a true breath of fresh air.

#12. Wyatt Marktravs Adventures

Wyatt Marktrav is not a blogger. He is a kid. Just a couple of months older than our daughter. He might only be 4, but he is an avid hiker, blessed with the genes of his mountain climbing parents. By the sound of it, he is a bit of a local Filipino celebrity. He has climbed more than 30 mountains to date, some of them being multi-day treks. Of course, he doesn’t write the blog…yet. His mother does! The content is fascinating and inspirational to say the least.

#13. Pet Travel Tales  Alina and Ares, human and pet. Dog to be exact, and a big one too; a white swiss shepard. The two travel together, most of the time. This super helpful blog talks about all things pet travel related, including the struggle and frustrations that can accompany it. She also talks about great pet resources for when you don’t want your dog to tag along. It also a great place to discover the other travel blogs that she frequently features.

#14. Kids and Compass This travel family is one of the first that I came across in my quest to find other people like us. The crazy ones, that choose international travel with two toddlers! I have been stunned by the feats they have achieved, the places they have gone. Destinations that everyone would say babies and toddlers can’t go to. I’ve also laughed and cringed right along with them when they candidly divulge the days when everything went wrong. It is real, it is charming, and the family is truly inspirational!

#15. The Educational Tourist I was recently thrilled to come across this blog, all about tips and travel guides with kids. The kids in this travel family are 9 and 11, offspring to a Teacher and a Geologist! Mom writes the blog, in an all-encouraging supportive tone of someone who has been there and done that. My favorite section of the blog is “Make Travel Educational”. It is full of resources and tips on how to get your kids to gain the most from travel experiences..

Ecuador Expat Blogger Award
Please save to Pinterest!

33 Replies to “8 Duffels & 2 Mutts receives The Versatile Blogger Award”

  1. Thank you so much for the nomination ! This kind of news makes me feel so happy and I really would continue improving with my blog.
    Today with this post I discovered more references from bloggers with different styles for my next trips .
    I love your post about Ecuador on IG and I start following you here , keep up with the great work and Congrats for “Versatile Blogger Award”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re Welcome, Patty and Thank You as well! It is so much fun to pass the award on to someone who appreciate it so much. The best part for me, has been to highlight blogs like yours, and to share them other people! Looking forward to all of your future work!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Many congratulations to you for winning the Award. It was interesting to read the personal tidbits about you. I think your journey as a blogger would have been so much better because you started off by accident…you would have been able to retain spontaneity and fearlessness, right from the start.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely post and so glad I got to know you and your family a little better. I love Ecuador and think it’s so cool that you guys all moved there. I also love that you accidently became a blogger. Life happens and we end up in places we never thought we would be . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and I am happy to hear that you appreciate this beautiful country,too! We have learned so much from this experience, and a big has been to just let go and let life take you by the hand. Sometimes what is unexpected creates the most beautiful turn of events!


    1. Yes, it is, Thank You! We didn’t exactly meet on the road, we were both living in California the time. But, we were both ready to move one. It was a beautiful encounter that was obviously meant to be 🙂


  4. Congrats to the nomination, Stephanie!
    It is fun to read some personal things as part of this nomination and I really like that you travel with the whole family incl. the two kids. Great to see also your unconventional way, I like that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Stephanie, congratulations on the award! You deserve it; your blog is so inspiring and a great advert for getting out of your comfort zone. Keep up the awesome work.
    Thank you for the nomination – it’s much appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on your nominations. I loved reading all about you guys! I’m already a fan of some of your nominees, but I enjoyed being introduced to more great travel blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations! I love your story about yourself, your family and travel blogging. Your son’s answer about his traveling destination is the best: “In a rocket ship to Outer Space!”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve always wondered about the meaning behind your blog name – sorry to hear about Sage but I guess the up side is that living abroad is a little easier with 2 dogs, though that would be 2 dogs too many for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: