Tag Archives: Canadian Travel Blog

What to do in: ROME

22 Aug

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!

Advertisements

Hilarious Travel Planning Memories with a side of Budget Travel Tips

13 Aug

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

Montreal Weekend Mini-Guide and Osheaga 2012 Wrap-Up

8 Aug

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 Music Festival

Osheaga Arts and Music Festival 2012

Osheaga Music Festival

hillside at Osheaga

The Festival
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

Adventure starts near home

30 Jul

I escaped the skyscrapers and traffic for something a little different this past weekend – a 2-night trip to the lake. Just a short 2.5 hours drive from the bustling cosmopolitan city of Toronto lies Corunna, a tiny town near Sarnia, Ontario. I stayed with family in a beautiful house with backyard river access to Lake St. Clair and it was easy to forget that only a few short kilometres away lies Chemical Valley. You can’t help but notice the interesting juxtaposition.

Lake St. Clair, Ontario Canada

The view from the house – Lake St. Clair

Continue reading

Image

RTW: Step Four!

17 Jul
Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne

Hello Melbourne!

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.Map of Australia with States

More good news on its way! Stay tuned.

RTW: Step Two!

11 Jul

San Francisco to Singapore

Life is good.

RTW: Step One!

7 Jul

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today

9 Jun

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

29 May

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

Exciting Writing News

25 May
South Beach Florida

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?

South Beach, Miami (Encore!)

19 Apr

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.

Welcome to the new site!

16 Feb

As some of you know, I moved my blog from blogspot to wordpress. The move wasn’t easy and I am still working on formatting all my previous posts to reflect the new site. Unfortunately, all the comments from the Blogspot site are not visible, so feel free to comment the heck out of this blog again! I really enjoy interacting with all of you.

I’m adding a lot more photos and content to keep things interesting. Please bear with me throughout this exciting transition. There’s going to be a slew of new posts soon. Let me know what you think of the new site. Suggestions welcome!

2012 is shaping up to be a fine year in travel! Stay tuned!

Temples and Tuk Tuks

27 Jan
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The 14 hour bus journey to Bangkok wasn’t that bad, so Stefanie and I decided to head straight to Siem Reap, Cambodia – another 7 hour journey. We’re crazy right?! I was really nervous about the border crossing. I heard that there would be a million scams (including money exchange and visa scams) and it would be quite a hassle – but having travel experience eased the process. We arrived at the border prepared and made it all the way to Siem Reap unscaved.

Our tuk tuk driver brought us to a cheap guesthouse for about $4 each a night. So cheap! Actually, Cambodia is a dirt cheap, but significantly poorer than Thailand. You can tell just from the taxi ride into the city. There are a lot more beggers, including children and there are a lot of landmine victims as well. Cambodia is the world’s most heavily mined country. It’s really sad to see a barefoot child searching the garbage bins for recyclables next to an expensive hotel. Stefanie and I were sitting at a street stall and this boy comes up to us asking for money. I didn’t want my food anymore, so I offered it the boy. I barely touched it, but he didn’t want it. He asked for money. And then earlier, this little boy dragged stefanie into a store and asked her to buy him milk for the baby. She was considering it before these two girls came up to me and told me that it’s a known thing around here that the boy will return the milk for money later on. It just shows how desperate the children and families are for what little money they can get. Even though it is a scam, you can’t help feeling guilty and want to help, but it just perpetuates. Continue reading

beach bumming and border crossings

26 Jan

Rai Leh Beach, or Railay if you're cool, Thailand

After the official Full Moon Party, which by the way wasn’t as fun as the nights leading up to it (ie. too many people, no room to dance, etc.), Selina, Annalina, Stef and I made our way further down south to Krabi, Thailand. Krabi is a great base to explore all of the beautiful west coast islands and beaches. We decided to sleep in Krabi and make day trips out to more beautiful waters – it’s the cheapest option! Continue reading

Into the Deep: Scuba Diving in Thailand

19 Jan
Big Blue Dive Resort in Thailand

Big Blue Dive Resort was amazing.

Stefanie and I are officially SSI Adventurer Divers thanks to Big Blue Diving Resort! We ended up staying in Koh Tao for two extra days and completed the next level up from Open Water – now, we can dive anywhere in the world down to 30 metres. For the open water course, you complete 4 dives up to 18 metres. For adventurer, you need 5 dives: one buoyancy dive, where you practice going through hoops and doing headstands and hovers in the water – one deep dive, where you go down to 30 metres – one night dive, where you go diving in the pitch black sea with only a torch – one navigation dive, where you use your compass and learn your way around dive sites – and one other dive of your choice. I picked FISH ID or naturalist, where I went down with slides of fish and coral and had to record everything I saw. Stef chose a computer dive, where she learned to use the computer to track and plan her dive underwater. We are so nerdy.

Out of all the dives, I really enjoyed the night dive. It was such a surreal experience, especially when you begin your descent and it’s pure blackness all around you, then you start to see shapes of the rock and coral. We each had torches, which was pretty cool because you focus on only one spot. At night, the barracuda are hunting and you can help them catch fish by flashing your light on targets. It was exhilarating. We also saw sting rays and eels in action.

Big Blue Dive Resort in Thailand

our dive group from Big Blue Dive Resort

Our dive group was awesome. There was Stefanie and I and three Germans: Simon, Selena and Annalina. We got along so well and now, we are hanging out in Koh Phangan. We also teamed up with three other people from another dive group: a danish girl and two aussie boys. We reserved bungalows next to each other and have been partying together for the last 2 nights in honour of the Full Moon Party. The aussie boys left today and tomorrow the danish girl and Simon are leaving for Bangkok, while Stef, Selena, Annalina and I are traveling to Koh Phi Phi on the West coast for much needed beach bumming and relaxation. It’s so sad to say goodbye to your travel buddies. You start to feel like a little family.

Tonight is the official Full Moon Party, but the few nights leading up to the full moon are just as crazy. The party is along the Haad Rin beach and there are tons of Thais selling drinks called ‘buckets’ from their stands. A bucket is a dangerous thing. It’s literally a small bucket, with 200mls of alcohol and mixers, like red bull, juice or pop. One bucket and you have a pretty good buzz, two buckets and you are GONE. They are so cheap too – less than $3. There are also bars along the beach and people dancing on tables and on the sand. The last two nights, there was a foam party, a giant skipping rope on fire, rings of fires, fire limbo – pretty much tons of fire! All the drunkards think they are invincible and end up getting burned half the time. I avoided all fire activity – don’t worry! I did however, participate in the foam madness. I’ve never felt so sandy. The entire party was madness.

Full Moon Party, Thailand

pre-full moon party group shot

I forgot to mention that everyone paints themselves for the party with florescent colours. So last night, we got all dolled up in neon pink, orange, green and blue. We’re having round 3 tonight, but I am thoroughly exhausted plus we have to wake up early and take a 3 hour puke-worthy ferry ride to the mainland. We shall see. The trick is no buckets – but will I have enough strength to resist?

Full Moon Party, Thailand

Full Moon Party, Thailand

%d bloggers like this: