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Announcing Where I've Been's $500 Mobile Giveaway Winner!

A few weeks ago we called for entrants to our inaugural Mobile Giveaway, a contest that yielded its victor a cool $500 in American Express Travelers' Cheques to be used for any impending travel expenses. We weren't just whistlin' Dixie: We're happy to present the $500 fat ones to entrant Michael Phillips. Cheers, Michael! Stay tuned in the coming weeks to the Where I've Been site and this very blog for similar giveaways.

Michael just so happens to be a sort of travel maniac, as evidenced by he and his wife's recent return from a 13-month honeymoon that took them around the world, from places like California to Austria to Ghana to Laos. You can read all about their exploits on their fascinating blog. We caught up with Michael in the heat of his excitement to find out how it feels on top of the world and to find out where his wanderlust--and $500--might take him next.

1. So you've won $500 in Travelers' Cheques. How does it feel? Who do you have to thank for your epic success?
It feels great! The years of grueling training, hard work and sacrifice have finally paid off. My biggest thanks obviously go to the "Where I've Been" team for being so cool as to offer the sweepstakes and prize.

2. You've mentioned to us that you have upcoming travel plans that you hope to use the $500 for. Can you hash out your itinerary and what that $500 might go to?Well, my wife and two year old daughter just left for a month to visit family in Austria so I have some time on my hands. I think I'll use the $500 to go somewhere down the coast south of San Francisco. There's a place around Half Moon Bay I've heard about that has ocean-view campgrounds and yurts. That sounds like a pretty good combination to me. My goal is to stretch the $500 as far as I can and see how many different travel-related things I can do. I'll send you a full report when I get back!

3. You're no stranger to traveling -- you and your wife have kept a travel blog with archives that go back to 2004. What's been your most memorable travel experience and why?Between my wife and me we've been lucky enough to be able to travel to over 30 different countries and each one has had something wonderful and remarkable to offer. If I had to choose one travel experience, I'd have to say that the 13 month around-the-world trip we went on for our honeymoon is by far the most memorable.

We did everything from organic farming in Normandy and Greece to volunteering in a refugee camp in Ghana to teaching English in China. I even had the chance to do an 8 day, 600-mile solo bike ride from Bangkok to Chiang Rai in the north while my wife taught English in a remote Thai village school.

Even though it's been 4 years since we've returned from the trip we still talk almost daily about all the beautiful places we went, the cool things we got to do, and the wonderful people we met. It was was a great way to start off our new life together.

4. Up till this exciting point, what's the most you've won in a contest or giveaway before?I haven't actually entered that many sweepstakes or contests but I think the last thing I won was two extra vacation days at my company's holiday party last year. Guess I can combine them with the $500 travelers checks and make a long weekend of it!

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Announcing Where I've Been's $500 Mobile Giveaway Winner! + trip