Big news in the blogosphere.
Yours truly is launching her very own self-hosted website! I’m just putting the final touches on it now, but it will be launched in early September.
Right now, it’s just an “under construction” page, but keep checking the site!
If you are interested in writing a guest blog post on the new site, please contact me and share your story idea.
We’re so excited!
Every traveller in Rome should throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain. Folklore says those who do will return to this beautiful Italian city. Of course, I probably should have read more into it because I had no idea which shoulder to toss my coin over. I hope I did it right!
Don’t forget to subscribe!
A lot of people ask me how I afford such a pricey (MYTH!) travel endeavor. Listen folks, travel isn’t that expensive. Trust me! In fact, I definitely spend more money living in Canada for three months than traveling for the same amount of time in a faraway destination. You do need money upfront, which involves some saving, but it doesn’t have to stop you from doing fun things with friends or forcing you to live in a cardboard box. Long term travel is quite affordable. You just need to reflect on a few unnecessary items and lifestyle choices. For example, I decided to sell my car to fund my South East Asia trip. It might sound a little ridiculous to some people, but I was moving to the big city after traveling and I didn’t need a car anymore. Cars are luxury money holes. Reflecting on how to fund travel helps put life into perspective and your priorities in check.
Long term travel is a bit different. It requires you to cut a few strings. One way I can afford going on a 6 month adventure is by giving up my lovely studio apartment in Toronto. I’m moving out of my humble abode and moving back in with my family (cringe…..). But hey, every budget traveller needs to make sacrifices, even if they are a tad embarrassing. I could have found a subletter, but I wanted to be free from the shackles of my modern, cosmopolitan life. Sounds a little dramatic, eh? I simply didn’t want to worry about an apartment back home and a stranger doing unmentionable activities on my bed. You get the drift.
There’s a point to this little story….
While rummaging through my book shelf, I found an old notebook my travel partner/best friend and I used to jot down travel ideas and inspirations. Between the pages, I stumbled upon a hilarious doodle from over two years ago. Check it out! Continue reading
My Osheaga 2012 experience in beautiful Montreal, Quebec was a musical, foodie and party success and thanks to the amazing festival schedule, I was able to skip out in the mornings and after the last set to explore some of Montreal’s best hotspots. With so many world-renowned and much loved festivals hosted in Montreal (Just For Laughs, International Jazz Festival, Pop Montreal, etc.), it’s easy for festival-goers to forget that there’s a slew of hidden gems beyond festival gates worthy of exploration. Here is the Osheaga 2012 wrap-up complete with a weekend guide to make the most of your next Montreal getaway… on a budget of course!
Osheaga Arts and Music Festival 2012
hillside at Osheaga
I spent all three days at Parc Jean-Drapeau meandering my way through the crowds to catch my favourite bands. I twisted and shouted to an envy-inducing roster, including FUN., Of Monsters and Men, Franz Ferdinand, Florence + the Machine, Justice, Young the Giant, Brand New, Little Dragon, Adventure Club, Passion Pit, Santigold, Bloc Party, M83 and Keys n Krates. I also caught the tail end of few others including the Shins, The Weeknd, Sigur Ros and Knife Party. Phew, that was a long list! While most people are talking about the headliners, I actually enjoyed the smaller sets the best and I was pleasantly surprised by a few of my high school day favourites. Oh, nostalgia! Continue reading
Over 90 talented bands and musicians from around the globe are convening in Canada’s cultural mecca – Montreal, Quebec – for the 3 day Osheaga Music and Arts festival from August 3-5th, 2012. It’s Canada’s best music festival and this year, I’m lucky enough to go! Yours truly will be boarding a bus from downtown Toronto and enduring the 6 hour journey to one of our nation’s most beautiful and unique cities. Click HERE for the complete line-up.
Like any trip you take, every festival goer needs to come prepared with a few essentials. I’ve compiled the ultimate 2012 Osheaga Survival Kit to ensure you have the most memorable, safe and entertaining weekend. Continue reading
Exciting, social media news! I recently launched the Melissa To and Fro Facebook page. It’s just another way to connect with all of YOU – my wonderful, travel-bug bitten readers. Please take a moment to LIKE my new page by either following the link in this post or simply checking out the new widget located on the blog’s sidebar.
In recent travel to-do list news, I finally received my new passport. It’s time to beat my record of 37 stamps/visas! Check out one of my favourite stamps below. It’s backwards, but can you make out the destination?
Hint: somewhere in South America!
BOOKED BOOKED BOOKED! I’ll be arriving in Australia November 30th, 2012! Exciting stuff.
Yes, I realize I skipped a step. Step three is booking return flights to Bali, Indonesia from either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. I’m still trying to figure that one out, so I moved on to STEP FOUR! Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne is an important flight, which I can’t leave last minute. It can also be a really expensive one, so when I saw a great promo price, I excitedly got out my credit card and started to input away. Eight tries later, my booking finally went through! It was a bit of a hassle, but the rate was worth it.
Oy vey. My credit card bill is going to be outrageous this month…
Flying into Melbourne is a bit of a surprise. Stefanie and I were originally thinking we’d fly into Cairns and then work our way down the East Coast to Melbourne with a pit stop in Ayers Rock. The whole Ayers Rock expedition throws the whole route off, as you can see in the map below. Flights were also much more affordable to Melbourne than Cairns, despite the longer distance. So, I thought… why not just do a loop? I am no stranger to the travel loop! In fact, I’ve done loops for all of my travels. This is mostly because I book round trip in and out of the same airport. The Aussie loop will allow us to travel through South Australia as well. In total, I’ll be exploring 4 out of 6 Australian states and both territories. I’m not going to Western Australia, despite hearing how absolutely beautiful it is. Oops! I just don’t have the time, nor funds! Tear.
More good news on its way! Stay tuned.
Wow. I am terrible at keeping up with weekly photo challenges. I suppose I just got caught up in the excitement of travel planning. Last week, I managed to take some time off and visit my family and friends in my hometown. It wasn’t all about catching up though. Stefanie and I had some major travel plans to discuss. In fact, I was hoping to book my flight while I was down there. Flight where? I guess I should start from the beginning…
Seeing as this will probably be the last opportunity for me to travel with very little strings attached, I’ve decided to pack up my things, leave the dog with a friend and jet off to some faraway destinations for a while. How long? Well, here’s the kicker…. 6 months! Yikes, even typing it is exhilarating yet terrifying. This adventure will be my longest one yet. Some people won’t understand it, but I’m confident in my choice. And as the wise man Drake once said… YOLO (you only live once). I feel ridiculous writing that.
So, WHERE AM I GOING? Continue reading
This week’s photo challenge is called TODAY. Now, the only rule about this week’s photo is that it had to be taken and published that same day. I’m a bit of a cheater, but all in due cause. I had an extremely late night dancing to old hip hop and r&b with some fabulous people at Levack Block, a Toronto bar located at Queen St. & Ossington Ave.
But all’s well, that ends well and here is my photo for this week’s TODAY theme… Continue reading
Well, well, well.
I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately, mostly about where I am in life, where I was a year ago and where I’m heading now. This inevitably led me to share some thoughts about how I came up with the name of my blog. It’s a simple story really.
I’ve decided to participate in the wordpress weekly photo challenge *crowd cheers!
Here’s how it works…
Each week, wordpress provides a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.
The intent is to take a new photograph, but I’m going to do things a little differently and instead post old photos from my travels (Canada and international) as well. This summer is lacking in travel trips because of a future jaunt in the fall. More on that to come, but it rhymes with ‘regalia’. ha! This means, however, that I have some space to fill in my travel blog and reliving some of my favourite travel memories sounds like the perfect thing to do!
So here it is …. SUMMER Continue reading
Miami Beach, Florida
I’ve been a bit quiet because I was waiting to share some fun travel writing news. I recently wrote a guest blog post about South Beach, Miami nightlife for Hostelbookers, an online travel agency and community based in the UK. I’ve been using Hostelbookers to book hostels and read reviews since I started backpacking in 2009, so I’m really excited about the opportunity to write for them.
Click HERE to read the post.
It would be super, duper wonderful if you could comment and share it!
Do you have any extra tips on how to party in the city where the heat is on, without breaking the bank?
So, I’m officially finished my grad school courses for the Master of Professional Communication program at Ryerson University! Phew. To celebrate this fine moment and before I start writing my thesis (my prime summer activity), I’ll be heading to Miami, Florida with two lovely ladies.
And, lucky for me, I’ll be in sun-kissed SoBe for my 24th birthday! Last June, my friend and I took a road trip all the way from Toronto to Miami for two weeks in the sunshine state. We couchsurfed along the way, picked up a Dutch backpacker and partied in Miami until the break of dawn, or until a cockroach ran over my friend’s foot.
Funny enough, I thought I would hate Miami, but it surprised me. I love the Latin flavour and easy lifestyle. Miami natives have good beats, a great beach and wild friends. I really enjoyed hearing Spanish again and trying to figure out what everyone was talking about! I’m so rusty, it made me realize that I need to start practicing again.
I’ll be writing a few posts when I return about the nightlife, the eats, the sand, the scuba and the boys (ha!). Happy reading.