Tag Archives: planning

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.

Settled in the homeland – for now!

3 Dec

I thought I would write a little something after settling into my temporary home here in Toronto. It’s weird to think I’ve already been in Canada for  3 weeks now. Time flies… When I look back, I can’t even believe I was in South America. It feels like a strange dream – as if it never even happened and I’m transplanted back to my regular life. Funny how that works.

The last few weeks, I have been living at Kyle’s apartment in Toronto, working at Gap (barf!) and applying for graduate school. Throw in a bunch of doggie walks, coffee dates and family visits and I’ve been one busy gal. Continue reading

Back in my hometown

30 Aug

As I predicted, leaving Toronto was awful. It could have been much worse, if Sarah and Todd hadn’t offered to give me a ride back to Windsor. Our chit chat helped take my mind of the cutest pup and man I left behind.

I still cried, of course – but it was different. When I left for Europe, I think I cried more because of Oli. I was nervous he would not remember me or maybe resent me for leaving. I couldn’t explain to him that I would be back soon and not to worry. This time, I cried because it would be the longest Kyle and I have ever been apart – but I also teared up for Oli during his final tummy scratch. I’m a sucker for good-byes.

Now, I’m in Windsor and I’m trying to gather my things, do laundry, pack and spend time with friends and family – I also watched the Emmys (did anyone else think Dexter should have won?).

Our flight takes off Wednesday morning at 10:30am, which is actually pretty convenient considering I’m used to those dreadful 6:00 am departures. We’re flying Spirit. I know, I know – you are probably thinking, WHY!? But, we didn’t feel like paying an extra $100 for a flight with food. Screw it, we’ll bring our own snacks.

Tomorrow, I’ll pack and go out for dinner with the girls. I have been splurging a bit on food/drinks that I love because I know I won’t be indulging in them for some time. Double tall lattes and green tea frapps from Starbucks AND ribs and med bread from Moxie’s tomorrow. Yes, I already know what I’m ordering! I’m weird like that.

The next post will be from Lima, Peru! Farewell friends.

The Countdown Begins

5 Aug

I’ve let this blog sit for a while now, but it’s time to rev her back up again. In just 3 1/2 weeks, Stefanie and I are jet setting (once again!) to a faraway destination. As you may have read from my previous blogs, we will be taking 20 hour bus rides, spying on alpacas, canoeing the Amazon River, sipping wine in Chile, eating steaks in Argentina and hiking pristine landscapes in South America all in 10 1/2 weeks. At least, that’s the plan and there is definitely more to it than that – which is the very challenge I’m dealing with as of late.

You think after a few gos, one would coast through planning their next backpacking trip. Well, not for me. I find it so much more difficult! Maybe it’s the type of trip I’m dealing with or maybe it’s the length of time I have – either way, planning my South America adventure has been more stressful than fun. The continent is massive. Look on a map. Now, take the distance from Windsor to Toronto (3 1/2 hours?) and compare that very distance between two cities in Peru. The only difference is that in Peru, it will take you 3X as long to drive. The roads are awful and there are lakes, mountains, desert and everything in between. The distances are so vast. From what I have figured out so far, I’ll be taking a few flights. I don’t know how many 23hr bus rides I can handle, especially if they are anything like the ones in Costa Rica!

When planning, I like to hash out ideas with people – get a second opinion, you know? With Stefanie on a road trip to the east coast of Canada, it’s hard to ask for her input. Thankfully, Stefanie is visiting Toronto for a week after her road trip. I hope we can get some things organized – at least a general route and a rough itinerary. The rest I can figure out on the road/in the plane.

I’ll update on how the planning goes. This week, my main concern is paying our volunteering fees (room and board, administration, etc.). I’ve decided to stay with a family one week and the volunteer house another. I’m super excited to try this out, but insanely nervous. I have ZERO experience teaching English, unless you count helping my little brother read. I need to think of some fun activities. Stefanie and I both agreed that we want to teach little kids! Mostly because we feel they won’t judge us. HA! Any suggestions of fun children’s games will be much appreciated!

The South American countdown begins folks. 27 days!!!

No more procrastinating!

2 May

Gah! I need to pack. Seriously.

There is still so much to do before I leave for Europe and I’m running out of time. Even though my flight leaves Wednesday night, I’m going up to my aunt’s near Maple, Ontario the night before so I can do my laundry and organize my backpack. Equal weight distribution is key!

This means I only have two nights with my beloved pooch and Kyle. It feels strange. I just want to cuddle them both all day and night! I know it will be really hard on the heart, but this is only 6 weeks! Can you imagine how it will be when I’m gone for 3 months? Yikes! Still, it’s better to spend 3 months missing the people (&dog!) you love than regretting you never went to begin with. This is my mantra and I will stick by it no matter how difficult it is.

I am lucky to have been given this opportunity. There are so many factors that had to fall into place. Money, a companion(s), safety, health, time, attitude, etc. I just hope it all goes somewhat smoothly!

Couchsurfing 101

11 Apr

I thought this would be a good time to write about a little thing called couchsurfing. After talking with so many people about this big eurotrip, I’ve realized that most people don’t understand it, think it’s crazy or both! Rather than having more people freak out when I tell them that three girls are going to be sleeping in a stranger’s home, I thought I would just write a blog about it and let them figure it out.

To make our eurotrip more budget-friendly and exciting, we decided to spend most nights couchsurfing. The website sums it up nicely: “CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world.” Basically, we log onto this community website and search for people to stay with in various cities across the world. Each traveler and host must create a profile with information about their interests, occupation, age, location, bio, ‘couch’ information, photos, etc. There is a reference and verification system, ensuring that people are who they say  and that you have the best CS experience possible. Continue reading

On a roll…

22 Mar

Wow. Life has been extremely busy for yours truly, but there is light at the end of the tunnel…

Despite my jam-packed schedule, I’ve managed to draw up a pretty decent itinerary. There’s a few kinks of course, but Stefanie, Jessie and I are getting together  this Thursday to get down to business. Our planning fiestas haven’t been so successful. We end up watching silly Youtube videos and making nachos. Last week, we managed to book two nights in Amsterdam. The fact that we’re staying in the marijuana capital of the world during the weekend forced us to book early. It was just the push we needed!

I’m ordering my Eurail train pass soon and fine tuning the itinerary some more. As of right now, I’m visiting Frankfurt – Amsterdam – Paris – Barcelona – South of FranceCinque Terre (Italy) – Florence – Rome – Venice ?????? That’s all I know until Jessie picks her number one destination. Will it be Switzerland? More Germany, France or Spain? Who knows, but I’m eager to find out. Traveling in a group of three and seeing everything on your personal list is hard. So, we agreed to start by each person choosing their number one destination and then go down the list from there. Mine was the South of France. I’ll admit, Stef and I did try to casually persuade Jessie into some places. We’ll see if it worked!

6 weeks to go!! I can’t wait!

Flights and Films

17 Jan

Next time you want to visit Sea World/Marine World/a dolphin’s hell, you may want to consider watching the documentary ‘The Cove‘ beforehand. It’s a fascinating film and is available to watch online for free. Do it (and cry like I did).

Aside from that, flights to Europe and South America are fluctuating – which I consider a good sign. They were basically at a standstill for a month. Fluctuation (in travel terms) is good for comparison. It was dreadful logging on everyday (and night) only to see the same flight at the same cost for so long. I’m hoping to score a great deal soon. Sure, you may be thinking it’s too early to book flights, but Stef and I need to book South America before we leave for Europe in May. We don’t want too many costs at one given time. Oh, the horror…

Also, Jessie showed off her new backpack to me today. It’s decent, but mine is better AND I WILL NOT TRADE! Once – in a rainstorm no less! – I traded shoes with Jessie because her heels hurt too much and then she complained that my flats made her feet wet. This was after she complained she wasn’t drunk enough and that we didn’t dance enough. She may be a bit of a complainer, but there’s no one like Jessie and that’s why I can’t wait to spend 6 weeks in Europe together!

Planning the Incredible

14 Dec

2010-2011 marks my gap year. Hmm… what will I do? sleep on the couch? watch lots of movies? learn ballroom dance? NO!!! I’m going to travel the world.

I guess this all came into realization last summer after I came home from Costa Rica, but hardly. Looking back, I feel like the idea came out of thin air and just fell into my lap, so I ran with it and started planning a year of travels throughout the world.

Right now, I have very little planned – just a mere list of places I want to explore and an even measlier schedule. Europe. South America. South East Asia including India and Nepal. Africa. Australia/New Zealand. The list is lofty. Continue reading

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