"Empower Yourself. Empower Others."

The Liebster Award

Liebster Award Nomination | Krys Kolumbus Travel Blog

Recently, I was nominated for the Liebster Award from fellow Equestrian Adventuress, Janine Whyte from the Indiananeeners Globe Trotting Cowgirl. I first started my blog back in 2017 with not much knowledge or information about blogging. In fact, I had been avoiding blogging and starting a website for years. Sure, I was traveling since 2010 and all my friends would mention the idea to me, but for some reason I was always put off by the idea of blogging. I thought it was too personal and I didn’t really want to put my travels in public light just then. Instead I turned my writing talents towards writing for magazines around the world and various media outlets. I’ve always loved writing but didn’t know where to start to make an actual career out of it. I was also completely busy with my work with horses. Anyone that’s worked in the equestrian industry knows that it eats up 6 days a week of your life from sunrise to sunset (on good days) and I simply didn’t have the time or energy to focus on making a blog.

Show jumping FEI in Romania for team USA | Krys Kolumbus Travel | Krystal Kelly

But two years ago I hit a pivotal moment in my life. I was tired of killing my body and myself working in the equestrian field for others. I didn’t want to work a job ever again. If I was going to build any one’s reputation, it would be my own and if I was going to earn any one money, it would be me. So I took matters into my own hands and scooted off to Bali to rethink my life. In that time I came up with the idea and tools for how to set up my very own online business and website and put it on the burners, waiting for the opportunity to make it happen.

It wasn’t until late last year around November 2017 that I finally took action and made it happen. Now I offer online courses, I have blogs sharing some of my highs and lows of travels and I have made a lot more contacts and connections online because of my website. It is slowly but surely gaining more and more success and I am glad I took the chance to start this new adventure! I look forward to continuing to see where this newfound journey takes me and I thank everyone who has supported me and followed along on my travels and reached out to me.


So, here are the questions for the Liebster Award, asked to me from the Globe Trotting Cowgirl:

Riding Camels in Egypt | Krys Kolumbus Travel Blog
Ten Random Facts about Me:

  1. I am not a foodie. At all.
  2. I can speak Egyptian Arabic, some Romanian and I used to be pretty good at Hindi (though it’s nearly gone by now!)
  3. I prefer driving a Manual car than an automatic. Either side of the road / car is fine by me.
  4. I don’t like rules. I feel most at home in countries where I can make my own rules.
  5. I’ve travelled to the same countries at least twice, often times multiple times. I love to visit and revisit the same places because it feels like visiting “home” in a way since its so familiar to me.
  6. I hate guns.
  7. I’ve been blacklisted from a country before.
  8. Although I’m married for a year now, I still travel solo.
  9. One of my pet peeves is when someone makes excuses for why they can’t do something. If I want something to happen in my life, I can see no reason for that thing to not happen and so I just let it happen or I make it happen.
  10. My favorite color is pink but only for the past couple of years. I used to be a big tomboy and rejected the color pink because I thought it made me appear too feminine and girly. After working and living in male dominated for countries for so long I realized that being feminine and girly (while still a bad ass) is actually a GOOD THING! I now want EVERYTHING in PINK. Which is probably why my husband and I have two pink cars. (Poor guy.)
Pink Mini | Krys Kolumbus Travel Blog

Janine’s Questions for me…

  1. As accomplished dream achievers now, what advice would you give to your younger self embarking on your first great adventure?
Men are going to constantly try to stop you from achieving your dreams. Don’t let them, not even for a minute, believe your not worthy of achieving your dreams. One day, not to far from now, you’ll find someone who supports you in the way you actually deserve. So don’t stress! Keep your head up high and never let anyone undermine your goals.
The Pink Yak Mongol Rally Woman Team | Krys Kolumbus Travel
  1. If Hollywood came knocking and decided to make a movie about your life, who would play you and why?
I would like to think Jennifer Aniston just because I love her so much but realistically I’d say I don’t really know enough about celebrities to chose which one of them is similar to myself. Maybe Amanda Bynes for her roles as a comedian as I often see the funnier side of things. Also, perhaps a female version of Indiana Jones would be good, but I don’t know who that would be.
  1. What’s the most bizarre and strange situation you’ve ever found yourself in?
This is a tough question because I have had plenty of these. I think I’ve had at least one in every country I’ve visited. I will say I recently traveled to a country in secret (I can’t reveal it just yet) which is facing a lot of war and destruction at the moment. There’s a lot of bad media out there and the entire time all I could think was, “what the hell am I doing here, Krystal?” But it was so strange and bizarre that I was actually laughing and glad that I was there experiencing it. I even laughed when the guy with the big machine gun turret in the back of his pickup cut off our driver so our driver beeped at him! You don’t see that very often in the West.

Cambodia Siem Reap Ankor Wat Temple | Krys Kolulmbus Travel
  1. What do you think is the hardest thing about travelling?
In the beginning it was finances. I simply couldn’t afford to go back and forth on expensive flights to and from the United States. Because of this I often took jobs that allowed me longer stays in the countries I wanted to see. I also didn’t make any money the first several years of my travels abroad. Once I became more and more confident in my skills, money started coming to me and somehow all of my flights were mostly covered some way or another by the various jobs I took.

Loneliness can be another tricky thing to cope with, since I was traveling solo. The few times I tried to date never seemed to work because I was always on the move and long distance relationships never worked for me. I became very comfortable being with myself and actually, moments before meeting my future husband, I was pretty convinced I was going to spend my life solo for the rest of my days.
Bhutan Horse Riding | Krys Kolumbus Travel
  1. What is your greatest fear?
Heights and water. Especially the ocean. I can’t swim very well and almost drowned when I was 5 years old in the ocean because I got sucked into the tide. Maybe it’s also because I grew up in California but sharks scare me and I’m constantly paranoid that there could be a shark in the water! I am a land lover and although I love to sit beside the beach and look at the crystal blue waters I don’t really ever feel the need to go in. And if anyone ever sees my head underwater… please rescue me!
Door to Hell Turkmenistan | Krys Kolumbus Travel Mongol Rally ​​​​​​​
  1. How greatly do reviews of places such as hotels, restaurants, national parks etc. influence your decision to visit?
I personally don’t plan much before going. I prefer to wing it. I would say I’m more intrigued by the places that don’t exist on the internet, don’t have any reviews or ratings and are less traveled (and far more special!) than what I can find online.
​​​​​​​ Burqa in Egypt | Krys Kolumbus Travel ​​​​​​​
  1. List your top three most magical traveling or life experiences.
Working in Egypt for two years, learning to speak Arabic, fasting for Ramadan, viewing the pyramids of Giza on my daily drive to and from work, witnessing the Revolution and riding show jumping and polo ponies was pretty incredible.

Getting invited to Bhutan to live and work there for a month in order to help develop the first and only riding program in the entire country was awesome. It was even more awesome returning five years later with my husband and a group I had organized to show this special country to on horseback!
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Driving a shitty car from England to Mongolia was pretty Epic. Not to mention its sort of how I met my husband! Plus, any excuse to go to Mongolia is a pretty good excuse.
Scooty bike in Laos | Krys Kolumbus Travel ​​​​​​​
  1. Which do you prefer, sunrise or sunset?
Sunset, but I will say there’s no greater feeling on Earth than riding a fresh horse early morning! Utter stillness and peace seems to spread for as far as the eye can see.
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  1. What is your motto for life?
It’s the same motto I put on my website! “Empower yourself. Empower others.” I used to think that it was selfish to try to go after my own desires and passions in life without helping others and I realized that by constantly trying to help others I wasn’t in a position to help myself much less others as much as I would have liked. Only when I started to focus on myself a bit more and step back and find myself was I then able to really master the art of passing on my wisdom and knowledge to others!
Germany | Krys Kolumbus Travel
  1. What’s your top five tips for saving money to follow your dreams?
I think people spend money on things they think they need, when actually they don’t. Get rid of that expensive cell phone and cell phone plan. Stop eating and drinking out every other day, get rid of the tv and don’t feel pressured to buying a house or make payments on a car you can’t afford to buy. I think less is more. Focus on what truly matters to you and what you NEED and what you DON’T NEED. GET rid of what you don’t need and save, save, save! But also don’t feel like you can’t take risks! Book the flight ticket when you see it for the cheap and worry about how you will pay for the hotels later. Working abroad is also an option that I’ve used time and time again! It’s great because it combines my need to move and travel with my love of horses in countries and places I never would have dreamed of affording otherwise.
​​​​​​​ Komodo Dragons Indonesia | Krys Kolumbus Travel
  1. If you could be born into a different country and culture than your own, what would it be and why?
Although I don’t intend to ever move back to the United States again, I do really appreciate having been raised as an American. If I was to choose a different culture to be born it I would probably hope to be raised someplace where I could have a better education available to me as a child and somewhere I could have been taught to speak 4 languages growing up! Probably Europe simply because there’s so many different languages and cultures within such a short span of terrain!
Taiwan Travel | Krys Kolumbus Travel ​​​​​​​

Here are my nominations for the Liebster Award:

  1. Isabel Wolf-Gillespie from Riding for Horses . She is a fellow Equestrian Adventuress who has crossed South Africa on horseback with her husband! I also admire her work trying to raise awareness for animal welfare.
  2. Ella Rak from Cowgirl In Cameroon . She is an American cowgirl working in the Peace Corps in Cameroon! I appreciate any woman stepping out trying to make a difference in the world!
  3. Karletta Marie from Daily Inspired Life . She is an amazing woman trying to help inspire others to travel by sharing inspirational travel stories from women around the world!

My Questions for my Nominees:

  1. What was one pivotal moment in your life that made you take action to pursue your dreams?
  2. If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
  3. What is one special travel experience you shared with a total stranger?
  4. Name three hardships you had to overcome to make your dreams happen.
  5. Name one time you felt like giving up, but didn’t.
  6. What is your favorite travel experience and why?
  7. Who inspires you?
  8. Would your travel experiences have been different if you were a man instead of a woman? How so?
  9. What’s one kind thing a total stranger has done for you and how has it changed you?
  10. Share a memorable solo travel experience, would you recommend it to others?
  11. If you could change just one thing in this world, what would it be and why?


Good luck and spread the blogging love!

Liebster Award Nomination | Krys Kolumbus Travel Blog

The Liebster Award Official Rules

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