Explore Amsterdam

I’m currently sitting on the train heading to Cologne, Germany. It has been quite a stressful morning but I am now sitting comfortably listening to music and reflecting on the past few days. Amsterdam is wild! I absolutely loved it there. Not only is it very different to any city that I’ve visited before (the Red Light District is something else), it is also stunningly beautiful. When most people think of Amsterdam, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the Red Light District and marijuana – but I assure you, there is much more to this city! See for yourself 🙂

  1. Moco MuseumExcellent museum with current exhibitions by street art legend Banksy and pop art master Roy Lichtenstein. It’s in a great location, just in the middle of Museumplein which is right near the famous ‘I amsterdam‘ letters and the Van Gogh Museum

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2. Van Gogh MuseumAs an art lover, I did not hesitate to visit the Van Gogh Museum. It really was incredible. It houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings; including The Potato Eaters (1885) and Almond Blossoms (1890). They are open daily from 9am – 5pm (Fridays until 10pm) and 1 adult ticket costs €17. I suggest purchasing your ticket in advance so you don’t have to wait in line. Click on the link to book your ticket online https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/plan-your-visit/tickets-and-webstore.

3. Day trip to Zaanse SchansConsidered by many to be “one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands” – I would have to agree! There is plenty to do here; marvel at the windmills, check out one of the several museums and shops or rent a bike and tour around at your leisure. Make sure to treat yourself in the Chocolate Factory; you won’t be able to resist once the smell of cacoa hits you! It’s very easy to get to and well worth the trip – the train from Amsterdam Centraal Station only takes 17 minutes.

4. Anne Frank HouseI had so many emotions during my visit to the Anne Frank House, the annex where Anne and 7 others hid during the Second World War. It was hard to imagine 8 people living in such a small environment and in constant fear that they could be discovered at any moment…I’ve read her diary several times; trying to imagine what it would have been like to be in her shoes. Actually being present in that environment was very humbling. Although heartbreaking, it was inspiring to see how such a young girl could be so brave during such a horrible time in history. For anyone visiting Amsterdam, I highly recommend visiting the Anne Frank House (online booking is essential http://www.annefrank.org/en/Museum/Practical-information/Online-ticket-sales/).

“We’re all searching for happiness; we’re all leading lives that are different and yet the same.” – Anne Frank, 6 July 1944

5. MarketsDecember is one of the best times of the year to visit Amsterdam. It can be cold (being Canadian, the cold doesn’t bother me as much) but it’s well worth it. The city is truly magical during winter – the lights, the smells, the atmosphere in general…everyone seems to be in the Christmas spirit. In addition to the Christmas markets, make sure to check out the Albert Cuyp street market and the indoor market De Hallen.

6. Vintage ShoppingI’m not a big shopper but I love a good bargain! Vintage shopping is one of my favourite activities, especially in other countries. I spotted some colourful granny sweaters in the window and I just had to go in. I didn’t end up buying anything because my suitcase is heavy enough but if that wasn’t the case, I would have been in trouble! Kiloshop is located at Waterlooplein 189, 1011 PG Amsterdam.

7. Morning strollsOne of my favourite things to do in a new city is to take a long walk in the early morning. It’s usually quiet and very peaceful; you can get a good sense of the city without a lot of people around. I was heading to the Van Gogh Museum and decided to take the long way, grab a coffee and take in my surroundings. It’s important to take a moment to “stop and smell the roses” now and again.

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8. Delicious foodPancakes! I usually don’t like pancakes (I know, I’m crazy) but these are more like crepes and boy, are they delicious. I had one with nutella (see below) and another one with ham and cheese when I was in Zaanse Schans. They are massive but very thin so you can eat a whole one to yourself. If you want something a little lighter and fluffier, try Poffertjes – they are basically a mini version, usually topped with powdered sugar and butter. If you’re visiting in December like I am, head to one of several Christmas markets – there you will find an array of delicious and inexpensive bites. Also try: stroopwafels (or ‘syrup waffle’) which is a type of cookie, haring (traditional Dutch food) and rookworst (sausage).

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Until next time, Amsterdam!

Barcelona, Spain

Lately, I haven’t had much time to sit down and gather my thoughts. I finally have some down time so I thought I’d post about my latest trip before heading off on my last adventure of the year. Tomorrow, I leave for Amsterdam and then I continue on to Germany, Poland and Denmark before heading back to Canada just in time for Christmas. Back in October, I visited Barcelona for some rest and relaxation in the sunshine (I’ve never been so happy to see the sun)! Barcelona is such a great city to explore; there is so much to see and do and it’s easy to get from one attraction to the next either by walking or using the metro. If you’re visiting for a few days, it’s worth purchasing a T10 card that will allow you to take 10 journeys, saving you a few euros. Here are some of my favourite things about Barcelona…

  1. Sagrada FamíliaThis stunning Roman Catholic church was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Work began on the church in 1882 and it continues to this day. It is expected to be completed by 2026.

2. Mercado de la BoqueriaLocated just off La Ramba, this market has every kind of food you can think of…and much more! I visited the Mercado daily; marveling at all the colourful and unique displays (I may have purchased a few items as well – who could resist all those sweet treats?) 🤤

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3. Park GüellThis is a public park designed by none other than Antoni Gaudí. It is located on Carmel Hill and is filled with sculptures, buildings and a museum dedicated to Gaudí himself. I had seen many photos of Gaudí’s work but in person it is another story; I really felt like I was in a Tim Burton movie!

4. Montserrat – One of the most incredible things I’ve ever done. From Barcelona city, you can take the train part of the way and then a train or cable car up to the top part of the mountain. I chose the train because I’m not great with confined spaces. It was a little scary at times as there is no railing separating the train from the cliffs below but don’t worry – it’s perfectly safe! It really was a spectacular ride up – the sun was peaking through the clouds; providing a surreal view of the mountain range in the distance.

Many people make the journey to this mountain top monastery to see the Black Madonna. Religious retreats also take place here, as visitors participate in overnight hikes in order to see the sunrise from atop the mountain. Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey was one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen; the architecture is breathtaking. Currently, there are approximately 70 monks residing at the monastery. I’ve learnt that you do not have to be religious to appreciate the beauty of a place such as this; I will never forget how peaceful it made me feel.

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5. Museu PicassoI am an art lover so to see a collection this extensive of Picasso’s work was really incredible. The museum houses over 4,000 works by Picasso; including The First Communion and Science and Charity.

6. Palau de la Música Catalana This UNESCO World Heritage Site and concert hall was built in the early 1900’s by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The exterior of the building is incredibly beautiful, especially at night. Guided tours of its interior are offered every 30 minutes daily in a variety of languages.

7. Casa Vicens & Casa BatllóCasa Vicens is Gaudí’s first masterpiece. It was his first commissioned work; paving the way for his future architectural success. It is currently a museum and cultural space that allows visitors from far and wide to see just how talented and creative Gaudí was. Casa Batlló was another masterpiece built by Gaudí in 1904. The details of his work are really something to see in person; photos could not possibly do them justice.

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Casa Vicens, Carrer de les Carolines, 20, 08012 Barcelona.

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Casa Batlló, Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona.

8. Tapas!Barcelona has some of the best food (and drinks – mojitos here are to die for) that I’ve ever had. Patatas bravas, tacos, nachos, ceviche, churros…my mouth is watering just thinking about these delicious bites. Food is very cheap and because the portions are smaller, you never feel too full after a meal. Spanish people tend to eat dinner much later than I’m used to so I was often one of few people dining at my usual dinnertime of around 6-7pm. Barcelona is well worth a visit just for the food alone 😉

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Muchas gracias Barcelona ❤

Things to do in Edinburgh

Scotland has been on my bucket list for a very long time. I was there for 4 days but could have stayed much longer. There are so many activities to keep you busy in Edinburgh, rain or shine. Here are my top recommendations for things to do in this magical city 

  1. Explore Edinburgh Castle – Situated on top of Castlehill, it’s hard to miss this historic landmark that dominates Edinburgh’s skyline. Take a tour or simply marvel at the exterior of this impressive 12th century fortress and World Heritage Site. Avoid queues and purchase your ticket online here https://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held here every August and is well worth checking out if you’re thinking of making the trip at this time of the year.
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Edinburgh Castle.

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2. Check out the world’s largest monument dedicated to a writer (Scott Monument) – This Victorian Gothic monument is dedicated to Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott. You can climb the 287 steps to the top for a spectacular view of the city or simply take it all in from below. It’s located on Princes Street, right in the heart of all the action. 

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The Scott Monument, East Princes Street Gardens.

3. Climb to the top of Calton Hill – This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the location of several historic monuments such as the National Monument of Scotland, the Dugald Stewart Monument (dedicated to the Scottish philosopher) as well as the Nelson Monument. This a perfect place to get away from the city and marvel at the spectacular panoramic views of Edinburgh. 

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4. Learn something new at Surgeons’ Hall Museum – By far the best museum I’ve ever been to. If you’re even slightly interested in anatomy and the history of medicine, this museum is a must see. They have everything from real skulls and skeletons to wet specimens of various organs, all beautifully displayed inside the Royal College of Surgeons (founded in 1505). Photography NOT permitted inside as the museum contains human remains – not for the faint of heart!

5. Get spooked on a Ghost Tour – There are a few tours to choose from – I did the City of the Dead ‘Underground City tour.’ We were taken into the South Bridge Vaults where a population once lived in less than ideal conditions. If you’re interested in learning about the darker side of Edinburgh’s fascinating history – this is the perfect tour for you. Very spooky & well done (that’s saying a lot because I don’t scare easily!) Book online here: https://www.cityofthedeadtours.com/.

6. Illuminate your mind at Camera Obscura  – Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a fun and interactive attraction for the entire family. Located in Old Town, Camera Obscura has a variety of hands-on optical illusions and a rooftop terrace with 360 degree panoramic views of the city. Unique way to spend a couple of hours (especially if it’s raining!)

7. Get in on a secret at Dunbar’s Close Garden (aka secret garden) – Escape the city in this peaceful hidden gem just moments from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile. Had I not done some research before my trip, I would have missed it. Grab a coffee or a bite to eat and have a little down time in this tranquil oasis.

8. Have a drink at one of Edinburgh’s many haunted pubs – Edinburgh is believed to be one of the most haunted cities in the world. There are a number of landmarks with reports of paranormal activity – pubs are no exception. While you’re out exploring, why not stop in for a drink at the Banshee Labyrinth (claimed to be Edinburgh’s most haunted pub), the Last Drop Tavern or the White Hart Inn and see for yourself?

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The Banshee Labyrinth,  29-35 Niddry Street.

9. Marvel at the architecture of St. Giles’ Cathedral – Founded in 1124, St. Giles’ Cathedral is located just off the historic Royal Mile. The architecture is incredible, as are its ornate monuments and colourful stained glass. Make sure to take a look inside; the interior is breathtaking.

10. Expand your mind at the National Museum of Scotland – Fascinating museum! Do not miss the miniature coffins found at Arthur’s Seat in 1836. They are believed to be linked to the Burke & Hare “Anatomy Murders” that took place between 1827 & 1828 where the pair murdered their lodgers in order to sell the bodies for profit. There are several stories about these creepy dolls (from toys to witchcraft) but the most common belief is that they were used as a mock burial for the 17 murder victims (only 8 have survived from the 17 found at the site). Top tip: head up to the terrace for a rooftop view of the city.

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11. Take a stroll down the Royal Mile – There is so much to see and do along this historic street in the heart of Edinburgh. Pop into this traditional Scottish market and check out the unique items on display from a variety of independent sellers. The Royal Mile Market is located at 175 The Royal Mile and is open everyday from 10am-6pm.

Gladstone’s Land, located at 477B Lawnmarket is one of Edinburgh’s oldest buildings on the Royal Mile. It is a surviving high-tenement house, acquired and restored by the National Trust for Scotland, saving it from demolition. It is now a popular tourist attraction, providing visitors with a glimpse into life in the 17 century. Tours can be booked online here https://www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Gladstones-Land/.

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Gladstone’s Land, Old Town.

12. Get creative at the Fringe Festival – It was a coincidence that I was there during the Fringe Festival but I’m so glad that I was! Loads of performers lined the streets (some really talented ones) and although I’m not one for big crowds, the energy was so great that I didn’t mind it one bit. I even took in 4 shows – the best was called “Father of Lies” which was a theatre performance based on a true story that was a combination of Rosemary’s Baby & Making a Murderer – well done guys!

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13. Eat and drink like a local – Make sure to stop at the Whiski Rooms (located at 4-7 North Bank Street) and try Scotland’s national dish – haggis (if you’re not familiar with what haggis is made out of, please don’t google it…try it first – trust me on this). I decided to try the haggis spring rolls (just in case I wasn’t a fan) and I quite enjoyed them. Also, if you’re a whisky drinker like myself, Scotland is the place for you! They have a variety of whiskies to choose from – ask your server for their recommendation. Don’t forget about the Scottish meat pies – they are everywhere and for a reason, they’re delicious.

14. Get shopping, vintage style – There are plenty of unique shops in Edinburgh; one of my favourites is Godiva Boutique (located at 9 West Port) just before you get to Grassmarket (bustling area with a variety of bars and restaurants – well worth checking out, especially on Saturdays when the market is on). Shop for one of a kind, made-to-measure clothing in this reasonably priced boutique and then grab a well deserved pint at the Last Drop Tavern (one of Edinburgh’s many haunted pubs).

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This city is incredible, I’m so grateful that I was able to spend some time here. Goodbye for now, Edinburgh ☔

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One of my favourite quotes: “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

Portsmouth; The Island City

Portsmouth is another place that I probably wouldn’t have thought to visit but I’m so glad that I did. My brother lived there for 2 years when he was doing his Masters at the University of Portsmouth. I was living in Australia at the time and was unable to visit, so it was great to finally see where he lived, worked and went to school.

Portsmouth is a port city in Hampshire, located on the South coast of England. It has the world’s oldest dry dock and is home to several famous ships, including the Mary Rose and the HMS Victory. Not only is Portsmouth known for its rich naval history, it is also the birthplace of several literary legends like Charles Dickens and H. G. Wells.

Here are my top recommendations for what to see and do when visiting the U.K.’s only island city.

  1. Head down to the Gunwharf Quays – Take a stroll along the boardwalk and marvel at the beautiful ships in the harbour. Make sure to take the boat tour around the harbour and Naval Dockyard to learn more about the ships and surrounding sights. Board at the Quays and get off at the Historic Dockyard for your chance to see these famous ships up close. The tour is a little under an hour and costs £8 for one adult ticket. While you’re there, stop and admire Spinnaker Tower; one of the tallest structures in the UK, outside of London.

2. Visit the Historic Dockyard – Step onboard one of Portsmouth’s famous ships or immerse yourself in the history of the Navy by visiting the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Tickets can be purchased individually or for all attractions including the National Museum, Submarine Museum and entry onto the HMS Warrior. Book your tickets here: http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/.

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HMS Victory.

3. Take an early morning stroll along the Pier – My dad and I walked along the pier each morning at sunrise. What a great way to start off the day! I highly recommend grabbing a coffee at one of the local cafes and checking out all of the quirky and eclectic buildings and restaurants along the waterfront.

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4. Admire the unique street art – Beautiful, creative and colourful pieces can be found all over the city. I am amazed by how talented these artists are – make sure to stop and admire their hard work.

5. Indulge at Little Johnny Russell’s – Little Johnny Russell’s has one of the best burgers I’ve had in ages. It came with a coleslaw that was to die for and delicious chips. The drinks are reasonably priced and they have a variety of DJ’s most nights that play everything from reggae to jazz. See what’s on here: http://www.littlejohnnyrussells.com/whats-on/.

8. Get lost amongst the colourful buildings – Colourful buildings give any city character, especially when that city is located in a country that gets a lot of rain. It’s impossible to be grumpy when you’re surrounded by all those vibrant colours 🙂

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Best coffee: Southsea Coffee (independent, coffee, tea, cakes, breakfast, sandwiches, friendly staff, cold beverages)

Best restaurant: Spice Merchant (Indian, curry, modern, vegetarian, friendly staff)

Best shopping: Albert Road (funky shops, vintage, antique, bohemian, trendy)

Best pies: Pie & Vinyl (vinyl, pies, sides, cordials, bric-a-brac)

Brighton: a hidden gem

Brighton is the kind of place where you can be yourself – whoever that is. I fell in love with this seaside town as soon as I arrived. Vintage shopping, unique street art, friendly people & the beach – what’s not to love? Brighton’s visitor website https://www.visitbrighton.com/ describes it as “vibrant, colourful and creative” and I couldn’t agree more! 

I had a friend visiting me in Dublin for a couple of weeks from Australia before setting off to meet my family in the UK. I was pretty tired after all of the exploring we did around Ireland so I was happy to have a relaxing week in England with everyone. We met in London and headed straight to Portsmouth to see where my brother went to school, meet his friends and explore the city. We spent a few days there and then we headed off to Brighton. I had never really thought to visit Brighton but my family had been a couple of years ago and told me how much I’d like it and of course, they were right.

If you haven’t ever thought to visit Brighton, like myself, let this list of my favourite things entice you 🙂

  1. The Royal Pavilion Grounds & Brighton Dome – Dating back over 200 years, the Royal Pavilion is a stunning building with a colourful past. It was initially built as a palace for King George IV and was subsequently used as a civic building and a hospital during World War I. You can pay to visit the inside of the Pavilion or enjoy a leisurely walk around the grounds, as I did. The garden is well maintained and has a variety of colourful flowers on display. It’s a great place to get away from the crowds and relax after a long day of exploring. You can also take in a show at the Dome. See what’s on here https://brightondome.org/whats_on/.

2. The street art – Not only is Brighton quirky, colourful and eclectic – it’s also very creative. It seemed that I was stopping every few minutes to take a look at another amazing piece of street art. The best place for street art is in and around the Lanes which is Brighton’s famous shopping district.

3. The Lanes – I’m not a big shopper by any means, especially since I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the better part of the last six years. This means that I can only buy what I really need or can’t live without. It also means that I’m usually on a budget. This is, by far, the best shopping district I’ve ever been to. The Lanes has everything – funky shops with antiques and vintage clothing, great cafes and restaurants. If you’re into antique shopping like myself, Snooper’s Paradise is the place for you! Located in the North Laine, Snoopers Paradise features a variety of unique and affordable stalls that are independently owned. You can spend hours going up and down each aisle, searching for your perfect treasure. 

4. The Pier – The Brighton Palace Pier has a nostalgic feel, taking you back in time to when fairgrounds were commonplace. There are rides, arcades and different food stalls with candy floss, crepes, hot dogs and other carnival treats. This wouldn’t usually be something that I’d enjoy but it was really fun to walk amongst all of the activity and take in the scenic views overlooking the English Channel. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve compiled a list of questions that I’m often asked about traveling. Answering them has been great for me because it’s given me a lot of time to reflect and think about why I do what I do. If you’re considering picking up and heading off on an adventure but are unsure where to start, you might want to give this a read. Happy travels!

  1. Q: How do you afford to travel as much as you do? A: This is a common one that my fellow adventurers and I are often asked. I’ve heard, “wow you always seem to be traveling somewhere, I wish I could afford to do that!” so many times that I’ve lost count. The reality is – anyone can do it, it just depends on how badly you want to. Everyone has different priorities and lifestyles and I understand that mine may not appeal to everyone. I’m single at the moment with no children and I don’t have a mortgage, car or many material possessions. I don’t spend money on visiting a hairdresser like most people do on a monthly basis; instead I visit a barber which is significantly cheaper. I rarely purchase makeup, accessories, shoes or clothes (when I do purchase clothes, they’re usually from a thrift store or Forever 21 – or Forever 30 at this point but hey, if I can still fit into the clothing I’m doing ok!) and I don’t remember the last time I had my nails done, got a facial or had other spa treatments. That doesn’t mean I don’t treat myself, I just usually do it in the comfort of my own home. My phone is ‘pay as you go’ and I use public transportation to get around. Every year on my birthday and at Christmas, I ask for money instead of gifts and when I’m traveling, I stay in hostels or cheap hotels depending on the country. I also don’t shop when I’m traveling; I only really purchase souvenirs authentic to that country. The bulk of my money is spent on food because I really enjoy trying different cuisines. There are always cheap flights if you look early enough and you can get alerts sent to your email for select destinations. There is always a way to travel on a budget. There are many reasons for not traveling (kids, mortgages, illness, etc.) but if it’s something you crave, you can and will find a way to make it happen.
  2. Q: Where do you stay when you’re visiting other countries? A: I usually stay in hostels (I get a private room which is still less expensive than a hotel), Airbnb’s or with a friend if I’m lucky enough. I’m rarely in my room so it’s really just a place to crash for the night. On a recent trip to Prague, I stayed outside the city centre in a cute little B&B. I booked this trip last minute so there weren’t a lot of options in the city. I opted to stay out in a more rural part of Prague which was lovely. I had to take public transport into the city each day which I didn’t mind one bit as it was easy and affordable. Where you stay just depends on your comfort level and what you’re willing to spend. I don’t have the need to stay in 5 star hotels but I also don’t enjoy getting 2 hours of sleep because the 7 other people in my dorm are snoring and/or partying all night. You need to be comfortable and get a good nights sleep, especially if you’re doing a full day of exploring.
  3. Q: How do you get around in the city that you’re visiting? A: The first thing I do when I arrive in a new city is grab a map to familiarize myself with my surroundings. Your hotel will almost always have one or you can stop into a tourist office and pick one up there. I always ask a local what the easiest way to get from point A to B is if I’m stuck and Google Maps always comes in handy. In some countries, it’s incredibly cheap to get a taxi so that’s always an option that can save you time and effort. I always do a bit of research beforehand. You don’t have to plan everything down to the minute but it’s nice to know where certain attractions are in relation to one another.
  4. Q: What if no one speaks your language? A: You can always find someone willing to help, even if they don’t speak your language. In Japan, I had a hard time finding English speakers but people were always willing to lend a hand by pointing me in the right direction or leading me to someone that could help. Train stations, hotels and tourists offices are also great places to visit if you’re stuck, as they usually have staff members that can speak a variety of languages.
  5. Q: Are you ever afraid when traveling on your own? A: Nope. I actually love it because I can do what I want, when I want. If I want to walk around for 6 hours non-stop or just relax on the beach for a day, I can. That’s not saying I don’t love traveling with a companion, I’m just very selective about who I choose to travel with. It really takes a strong friendship/relationship to be able to travel together and not strangle each other by the end of it. I’ve been very lucky with travel partners in the past but I’ve heard stories of even the strongest relationships crumbling when things don’t go according to plan. And it’s inevitable that things won’t always go according to plan. You have to be able to look at the bigger picture, keep a clear mind and adapt to the situation. As long as no one is in physical danger, things will work out just fine. Sometimes, they even end up better than you had initially expected 🙂 Now, when you are on your own, you have to use common sense and keep your wits about you. You should do this regardless but you should maintain a heightened sense of your surroundings at all times when traveling solo. Most importantly, do a little research on the country you’re visiting. In some countries for example, wearing a certain style of dress can be offensive, especially when visiting temples and shrines and you will be required to cover yourself before entering. Always be smart, use common sense and trust your gut!
  6. Q: What made you pick up and move to Australia and now Ireland? A: When I moved to Melbourne, Australia in 2011, I had just graduated from University. I was working a job that I wasn’t really enjoying and was growing bored of the same old routine in Toronto. I had also been suffering from a lot of panic attacks at the time and felt really anxious about what the future held. An Australian friend and I decided to head to Coachella Music Festival that April and we met up with 3 of his friends visiting from Melbourne. We had the greatest time together and I remember one of them asking me why I don’t get a Working Holiday Visa for Australia. I thought to myself, why don’t I? What’s stopping me? I went back to Canada, applied for a visa, packed my bags and a month later was on my way to Melbourne. It was the single greatest decision I’ve ever made. The lessons that I learned were invaluable and I developed a really strong sense of self. My anxiety subsided and my confidence grew; I felt that if I could move across the world, get a job and an apartment by myself, I really could do anything. I ended up staying for nearly 4 years. During this time, I did lots of traveling, I fell in love and got married (although it didn’t work out in the end, I have no regrets; he’s a wonderful person that I remain friends with to this day), I volunteered in Tasmania, worked a variety of jobs and met many people; some of whom are now lifelong friends. After returning to Canada for a couple of years, I was ready for another adventure. I decided to move to Ireland in January of this year. I had never been but I’ve always had a special connection to it (you’d never know but my maternal grandfather’s family is from Belfast) and I have always wanted to see the lush landscapes I’ve only witnessed in movies (PS I love you, anyone?). I’ve been living in Dublin for nearly 5 months now. I’ve already visited quite a bit of this beautiful island and I’ve seen some amazing things so far. I’ve had some ups and downs which comes with the territory; you go through a range of emotions when you move abroad but in the end, it’s always worth it. You will never look back and regret experiencing another culture, regardless if you choose to stay or head elsewhere. I’m thrilled that I get to spend time in such a beautiful place and I’m looking forward to visiting other parts of the country and Europe in the near future.
  7. Q: Do you ever think you’ll settle down in one place? A: I really have no idea. So far, I can’t say that I’ve found somewhere that I think I can settle down in ‘forever.’ The concept of forever doesn’t really apply to me because I know how quickly things can change so I tend to just go with the flow and see how I feel as time goes on. I, of course, love Canada and if I ever went back I would definitely settle down in the West Coast somewhere. I love the mountains and the lifestyle there so I think it’s somewhere I’d fit in quite well. For now, I’m just trying to live in the moment (at times this is easier said than done; my mind is one that doesn’t ever seem to shut off) and enjoy every minute that I have here – the good, the not so good and everything in between.
  8. Q: Do you ever get homesick? A: I miss my family and close friends all the time but I never really get homesick for a place. I am very proud to be Canadian and will always have a strong bond to my country but I don’t necessarily know if I will settle down there. I also have a strong tie to Australia, having spent so much time there and making a life there that it will always be special to me. I read something one day about a man who said that he didn’t really get homesick because he sort of felt like he was a ‘citizen of the world.’ I completely understood where he was coming from because I, too, feel that I could be happy and make a life in many different places.
  9. Q: Are you afraid of living in/traveling around Europe with everything that’s going on at the moment? (This is a question, I’ve been asked more and more lately) A: No and here’s why…things can happen anywhere. If you constantly worry about the worst case scenario, you will never leave your house. There are crazy, unstable people in every corner of the globe. Things can happen anywhere; in every country, big city or small town. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be careful and aware of your surroundings but you can’t stop living your life out of fear. Get out there and enjoy every moment of this crazy, beautiful life while you can!
  10. Q: What advice can you give someone who wants to travel but might be afraid to leave their comfort zone? A: Just go. You will never regret the decision to travel and experience another culture. I’m not saying you have to pick up and move across the world but you can start off small. Travel around your home country first and then expand from there. If the bug is really in you, you will make it happen and push through your fears. I think that the only way to get over our fears is to really put ourselves out there because it allows us to realize that nothing is ever as bad as we think it is. I’ve read articles about the greatest regrets from those at the end of their lives and the most common always seems to be that they regret not living in the moment and doing more of what made them happy. Don’t be someone with regrets. Whatever your passion is (even if you have no desire to travel, there must be something that inspires you) – get out there and give it a try. Do the things that scare you and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. It’s your one and only precious life – make it one to remember.

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“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”-Anonymous

elephant journal: Eight Lessons Learned from a Life of Travel.

I’m often told how lucky I am that I’m able to travel as much as I do.

The truth is that it’s not luck, but it’s my desire to see the world that is so strong. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

For a few years now, I have made it my mission to visit as many places as I can, as often as I’m able to. I’ve learned some invaluable lessons along the way.

Cotton candy sunsets, white sandy beaches, and intricate architecture dating back thousands of years are just some of the many picturesque images we’re inundated with on social media. What’s seldom shown or talked about are the cancelled flights, missed buses and trains, arguments with travel partners, or the illnesses that confine us to our hotels for days.

My favourite quote by the wonderful Anthony Bourdain sums up the beauty and the madness that is travel:

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” 

Check out the rest of my article on elephant journal: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/05/eight-lessons-learned-from-a-life-of-travel/