Last Updated on April 22, 2020 by Maggie McKneely

sunshine blogger award

When I first started this blog 6ish months ago, I really had no idea what I was doing. My immediate goals were: figure out how to build a website, write some stuff, put said written stuff onto said website, and hope someone somewhere would read some of it. Since then, my goals haven’t changed. I still write what I want in my limited free time, and if some kind soul on the internet stumbles upon the site and enjoys it, praise Jesus! So when I received a message recently that said I had been nominated for a blogging award, I was shocked.

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given out by travel bloggers to other travel bloggers who they believe exude positivity, creativity, and sunshine via their blog. One of my favorite things about this hobby is the amazing community of bloggers willing to help each other out, whether through website troubles, travel tips, or increasing blog traffic. So I consider it a very high honor for my baby blog to be recognized by my peers. The blogging world is huge, so this nomination brightened up my day!

Sunshine Blogger Rules

sunshine blogger award

Thank the blogger who nominated you

I’ve actually been nominated a few times now, just never gotten my response post finished! My first nomination came from Lauren at Ridgeline Report! I love Lauren’s blog because she’s a fellow outdoorsy traveler – she’s always writing about awesome hiking and biking adventures that’s done! But she paints on the side, which is pretty awesome.

Another nomination came from Heather over at Trimm Travels. Heather calls herself a “hybrid,” a born and bred Southern girl who lived in California for several years after she got married. She’s an RN by trade and worked as a traveling RN for years. She got to see a lot of the world that way! And she’s not stopping anytime soon. She’s determined to see as much of God’s creation as she can before she leaves it (something I totally relate to!) In 2015, she started her blog as a way to share her experiences with other people, and in 2016 she left her RN job and became a full-time travel/food/photography blogger. She hasn’t looked back since!

The third nomination came from Kelly at Poky Little Wanderer. She, like me, just blogs on the side and travels when she can! This Buffalo native has a full-time job, a husband, and a dog who misses them when they travel!

Questions from Trimm Travels

1. What was your first passport stamp and what is your favorite passport stamp and why?

My first stamp was from Germany. I was headed to Rome with my parents and a group from college and we had a layover in Frankfurt. I was disappointed to learn that I didn’t get to have a stamp from Italy too on that trip!

I’ve only been to a handful of countries, so I don’t really have a favorite. But, I eventually get my Italy stamp when my mom and I did our road trip through Tuscany!

2. Where was the most luxurious place you ever stayed or ate at?

Through my mom’s job as a Mary Kay Sales Director, we’ve gotten to stay at a few pretty cool places. One of those was the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. I was really little, so I was basically impressed by everything. But, it is a 5-star resort, so it’s pretty impressive to anyone, not just little kids! It was the first time I’ve been to a restaurant where they bring little bowls of water to dip your fingers in to cleanse them after the meal!

We also got to stay at the famous Waldorf-Astoria in NYC when it was still there. Fancy, fancy! But oh so lovely!

3. I’m sure you get asked all the time what your favorite destination is, but which destination left a true imprint on your heart and why?

Ever since I was little, I’ve had a fascination with all things Wild West. I wanted to be a cowgirl when I grew up, I even had a leather cowgirl costume that I would run around the house in. I played with horses instead of dolls, was interested in Native American history, and always dreamed of getting to see the Rockies.

To me, Montana is the embodiment of everything I expected the West to be as a little girl. Epic mountains, true wilderness areas, real cowboys, all sorts of wildlife. When I got the chance to go there as part of a missions trip, I jumped on it. It was love as soon as I stepped off the plane.

I spent a month working with the Blackfeet Nation, getting to know them and their culture, and developed a deep appreciation for them and a fascination with their history and the modern day problems that plague them. And I was utterly awestruck by the beauty of Glacier National Park, which is right next door to the Blackfeet Reservation.

I got to take my parents there three years later and show them why I’m so obsessed with Montana. But I know that that won’t be the last time I go out there. A part of my soul has never been the same since I first went there.

4. What is your craziest, jaw-dropping travel story?

The first time I went to Montana, I was chased by a moose. No joke.

A group of us were hiking to this place called Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park. About halfway there, we went around a bend and saw an older couple running towards us, yelling “there’s a moose! There’s a MOOSE!!”

Not being from Montana, or anywhere where moose live, we all wanted to see said moose and were hoping that the frantic, elderly couple would point out where it was. But they didn’t – they just kept running past us. That should have been a clue to us, but instead, we just kept going on our merry way.

When we turned the next bend, there he was, all 600+ pounds of moosy glory, maybe 10 feet away, galloping along the path directly towards us. We threw ourselves off the path and up the rock wall next to it to get out of his way.

The saddest part was that he was long gone before anyone could even get a picture! We finally saw our moose and have nothing to show for it, except for a few new gray hairs from the mini heart attack all of us experienced.

5. Do you collect anything when you travel and if so, what and why?

Recently, my family has started this postcard collection thing. I saw a video on facebook and thought it was really cool! You buy a postcard in every place you visit, write your favorite memory or what you did there, etc., and then mail it from that place, so it has a postmark from that location. And then you build a little book with postcards from all around the world!
I also really like collecting artwork. I’m picky though – I’ll only buy it if I get to meet the actual artist, or if I have some kind of connection to the piece. My very first painting was actually given to me by one the Natives on the Blackfeet reservation, as a goodbye gift before going back home after my missions trip was over!

6. How did your blog get its name and why did you start it?

Oh gosh, I actually have a whole post about this (here, if you’re interested!) The short version is, my mom has been a director with Mary Kay Cosmetics for years, and for a long time she had a pink Cadillac! Crazy things are always happening to us wherever we go, and I’ve always said that if I ever wrote them all down in a book, it’d be called Diaries of a Pink Cadillac. This isn’t a book, but a lot of my blog posts do feature some of those crazy stories. So hence, “Pink Caddy Travelogue.”

7. What is your best travel advice or travel tip?

Not to copy Nike, but just do it!! I hear people say all the time “oh, I want to go there someday!” Or “I want to travel, I just don’t have money, time, etc.” If you really want to travel, you’ll make it happen! Save your pennies, your vacation days, do whatever you need to do and just go. You can’t ever redo a day, so don’t spend your life wishing you could spend your time differently.

8. What is the biggest thing you want people to know about travel blogging? You know, that one thing you want to set the record straight on!

Travel blogging is hard work. Like, crazy hard work. The public only ever sees the pretty Instagram posts or finished blog posts or fully edited youtube videos. They don’t see the work that goes into each of those things. I try to get a new post up each week, but it doesn’t always happen because I a) have a real job and b) have a life. My blog is not my career. Each post takes hours of work to put together, and a lot of that work has nothing to do with actually writing the blog itself. I always thought bloggers were just lazy people who didn’t want a real job. But I’ve since learned that people who do this full-time work insanely hard at it, and have to have a wide range of skills to be successful!

9. What is the biggest travel bucket list item you’ve crossed off your list?

For 17 years, I wanted to go to Colorado. My parents went there just before I was born and I had grown up seeing all of these amazing pictures from their trip out there. Then finally, in high school, we took a cross-country road trip and drove through Colorado. That was my first big trip, and a huge milestone to cross off a place I had wanted to go for so long.

10. Do you speak any other languages?

Ha. Well, I took 3 years of French in high school and 4 semesters of Spanish in college, and about all I can show for it is “Bonjour! Quesadilla?”

11. What advice would you give someone wanting to start a travel blog today?

Know why you’re doing it. Is it just a fun side thing for you? Do you want to make money and have a large following? Because your goals are going to determine your strategy, and it’ll make your life much easier if you know what you want going into it.

My Nominees

Sarah at Obligatory Traveler

Kemi at Musings and Adventures

Sarah at Borders and Bucket Lists

Amy at Oceans to Alpines

Kay at Jetfarer

Ani and Sam at Map Scratchers

Jen at Three Kids and a Car

Alex at Backpacking Brunette

Shweeta at Zest in a Tote

Lance and Amy at Family Well Traveled 

Kirstin and Andrew at Tinberry Travels

My Questions

1. Why did you start a travel blog?

2. How do you balance blogging with your main job or other day-to-day responsibilities?

3. What is your favorite destination that you’ve been to?

4. What is something you never travel without?

5. Do you have any travel horror stories? (Terrible accommodations, problems with a flight, etc.)

6. Do you have a favorite blog/blogger? Who is that and why are they your favorite?

7. What are some tips for those just starting a blog?

8. When you’re not traveling, what do you enjoy doing?

9. What is the funniest thing that’s happened to you while traveling?

10. Do you have a favorite travel-related book?

11. What is your favorite part about traveling? (Just ONE thing!!)





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