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Versatile Blogger Award | Camping in Bulgaria | Long Haul Trekkers

The Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award | Camping in Bulgaria | Long Haul Trekkers

Dave and I have been putting a lot of work into our blog lately. We updated it a few weeks ago (whaddya think??), got a new logo from our friend and wonderful co-cat-parent, Nick, and have been narrowing down our niche in order to produce more regular content about one specific content, namely: Adventure Travel with a Dog.

In the midst of marathon evenings planning the layout and brainstorming content ideas, we humbled to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by two bloggers we met on various travel blogger Facebook groups: Jim and Rhonda Delameter of The Next Big Adventure and Stephanie Frias of 8 Duffles 2 Mutts.

Jim and Rhonda found us (I believe!) in the Animal Traveler Facebook group (a fantastic group if you travel with your pet internationally!). Their dog Aspen has a blog called the Black Dog Chronicles where she shares the stories of other traveling dogs, and Sora had the pleasure of interviewing for a feature. Jim, Rhonda, and Aspen and been traveling very slowly around Mexico and Guatemala in their truck.

I met Stephanie recently in one of my many travel blogger Facebook groups. We connected over the fact that we were both in Ecuador at the time with our dogs! Stephanie, her husband, two toddlers, and two dogs sold everything other than what fits into their eight duffel bags and moved from their home in Iowa to Ecuador.

The purpose of the Versatile Blogger Award is to spotlight excellent writing, creativity, and quality photography. It is an award is by bloggers for bloggers and seeks to acknowledge those out there living the good life while searching for more than just what society deems the norm.

Accepting the award requires a few rules:

  • If nominated, write and publish a post on your blog thanking and linking back to your nominator.
  • Sharing seven random facts about ourselves
  • Nominating seven other bloggers we feel are deserving of the award.

A Few Random Facts about the Long Haul Trekkers!

Random Fact #1 We became vegan during our journey after cycle touring with our vegan friends, Traipsing About, for three weeks in Croatia. Before leaving, we had been eating mostly vegan (everything I cooked at home was vegan) and vegetarian when we would eat out or visit friends. Turns out that vegan eating on the road is pretty easy!

Learn more about our vegan journey on the road in Unapologetically Vegan.

Best Vegan Calzone in South America | Tandana, Quito, Ecuador | Long Haul Trekkers

Random Fact #2 Prior to departing on this journey, Sora was not too keen on meeting strangers and would often pick fights with other dogs. We never took her to the dog park and acted super cautious with new people. Since traveling, she meets so many new people and dogs every day, that she now wags her tail when we meet a new friend and wants to play with most of the dogs she meets.

Read our post about How to Introduce your Nervous Dog to New People and Other Dogs

Versatile Blogger Award | Introducing your Nervous Dog to New People and Dogs | Long Haul Trekkers

Random Fact #3 If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll know that I am not really a cyclist, I’m a runner. Sure, I love my bike as a mode of transportation around town and I enjoy the occasional long Sunday ride, but I’ve been a runner for 18 years. I’ve run two marathons, one ultra (50k), and heaps of half marathons. When Dave and I started dating, I brought Sora along with me days later on an 11-mile run and she’s been my running buddy ever since. I’ve even turned Dave into a runner, and we all ran (including Sora!) a 20-mile race near Sisters, Oregon.

 Random Fact #4 When Dave and I met, he had two dogs and I had two cats, needless to say, when we moved in together, we had quite the zoo! Since four animals weren’t enough, we decided to add a few chickens to the mix. Sadly, our dog Maxwell died a couple weeks before we left on our trip, our cat Nima died last June from bone cancer, and the chickens, well, they became dinner for another creature. Ollie Cat is happy in a dog-free home with our co-cat-parent Nick and we get to pet sit for him when we return to the US in April.

Read about Maxwell and Nima here.

Random Fact #5 Dave loves his hippie music, especially Phish. He’s been to countless shows and loves trying to explain to me why the latest podcast of Endless Boundaries had “siiiicccccck jams,” despite me rolling my eyes. You have no idea how many hours of jamband music I’ve listened to since 2013 (when we first started dating).

Random Fact #6 My parents were born in Cuba and moved to the US when they were young, when Castro took over. My brother and I are really the only true gringos of the family, having grown up near Seattle, WA. The rest of my family lives in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Spain (I do have a cousin who grew up in Miami, so I give him half-gringo status because he still grew up tri-lingual and was born in France J).

Random Fact #7 When Sora was adjusting to life with Dave, she had a host of issues (submissive peeing, separation anxiety, afraid of stairs, etc.). Dave decided she needed a job, but not just any job, doing what she’s bred to do, working with sheep. She spent a couple years working on the weekends at a local farm, eventually becoming an “advanced” level herder.

And now, we would like to nominate the following, amazing people for the Versatile Blogger Award

One of my favorite parts of being a blogger and traveler are the people I meet. Though I know most only virtually, so many have become lovely friends and even mentors. While there are plenty of bloggers out there deserving of recognition, the following seven have been particularly impactful in our lives in some way.

Wear, Wag, Repeat

I met Tori through Instagram last year. Along with several other amazing dog moms, we are members of a pod called Dogs with Attitude. Tori has a super fun blog with stylish DIY projects for a dog-friendly home. Her Chocolate Lab, Lucy acts taste tester extraordinaire and gets to benefit from Tori’s creativity. From hand-stamped dog tags, homemade pet treats, and dog bowls, Lucy attests that her mom’s projects would make any pup happy.

You Did What with Your Wiener

Jessica is a fellow outdoor adventure dog blogger. She, along with her two Daschunds, Gretel and Chester, prove that small dogs can indeed conquer mountains. Not only does Jessica have the best blog name on the Interwebs, she packs it full of great information for getting outdoors with your pups, no matter their size. She is based in Seattle, so I’ve already made sure to let her know that I would like her to take us on a few of her favorite hikes in Washington when we are there this summer!

Goodie Goodie Gumpdrop/World Towning

Jessica found me last year and featured me on her Inside a Traveler’s Walls blog series. For the past several years, she, her husband, Will and their two kids, Avalon and Largo have spent one year living in places like Costa Rica, Ecuador, and now France. Sometimes they homeschool their kids, while other times, they attend the local schools. I find their family adventure so inspiring, and not just for those with kids. She and Will demonstrate that you don’t have to raise your family in any particular way and that showing them the world will be better than any education they will ever receive in a traditional school. They’re about to launch a new venture called World Towning. It’s still a mystery currently, but I’m excited to see what they’ve come up with!

My Adventures Across the World

I’m fairly certain that Claudia loves Sora more than she does me, but who wouldn’t? Claudia found us on Instagram and Sora can’t wait for the day she gets to smother her in kisses in real life. Based out of Sardinia, Claudia used to be an academic and human rights lawyer, but one day decided she wanted to pursue a live of travel and packed her bags to set off for Cuba in 2013. She has been incredibly helpful to me in educating me about how to do this whole blogging thing and I’m so grateful that we connected. I keep trying to convince her to come find us in South America, but we may just have to find one another on a different adventure!

Mostly Amelie

I don’t remember how I first discovered Amélie, but she is one of two on this list whom I have met in real life! We learned that we were both traveling in Istanbul at the same time and arranged a dinner date. Amélie is a solo vegan traveler who spent 2 years living in Thailand and currently resides in Berlin. She caught the travel bug after a trip to Cuba with her family and has figured out a way to incorporate travel into her regular life. When we met her in Istanbul in 2015, she was about to head off on a bicycle tour of the Balkans in the middle of winter (hats off to her!). Her blog is funny, honest, and full of great tips for the travel blogger.

World Biking

Amaya and her partner, Eric are on a quest to be the first coupe to cycle through every country on the planet. They began cycling in June 2006 and have currently cycled more than 180,000 through 102 countries on all six permanently inhabited continents. Amaya is all over the cycle touring community with her beautiful photos, detailed blog posts filled with cycle touring tips, and her most recent project, Women Cycle the World, a collection of blogs and resources showcasing women who ride bikes in the remotest corners of the planet. We hope to one day run into Amaya and Eric on the road!

Musings from the Saddle

We met Jesse in a teeny tiny town in Peru. Our friend Flavia met him and another cyclist, Renzo, from Uruguay, and organized a bike ride to the base of Rainbow Mountain with a mission of adopting a dog with whom she had fallen madly in love. Jesse is from Sydney, Australia and set off on his own cycle touring adventure in October 2015. Like us, he began in Patagonia and is headed north, toward Canada where he recently scored a visa. We spent several weeks with Jesse while traveling to Cusco together and during our stay in the Sacred Valley and have met up again here and there along our respective journeys. It’s pretty incredible how quickly cycle tourists bond with one another on the road. As with many, we clicked well with Jesse from the onset and are so grateful for the moments we’ve shared together.

Versatile Blogger Award | Bike 'n Hike: Rainbow Mountain with Jesse from Musings from the Saddle | Long Haul Trekkers

Jen Sotolongo

Hello! I'm Jen. I'm a writer, photographer, dog mom, and outdoor enthusiast. When I'm not writing about awesome ways to get outside with your dog, I'm probably out for a long trail run. I also fancy myself a pretty decent vegan cook, and am always happy to whip up a batch of cookies for friends. I am based in the Pacific Northwest and I never leave home without my dogs.

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