Friday, April 24, 2015

Up-to-date Travel Deals for Spring

Well, now that the peak Spring Break season is behind us, it's time for those of us who couldn't get away (or couldn't afford the steeper Spring Break prices) to take advantage of the upcoming off-season for many places around the world and the lowest prices of the year! Sure, there is always a risk of a bit of rain but who cares if you are getting a good deal and getting away from home. I traveled to the Caribbean and to Central America 3 times during the rainy season and it was sunny 95% of the time on every trip! But dropping prices for beach destinations is not the only good thing about spring; places you would never think of traveling to in the winter are now gearing up for the start of their peak season!
This is what the weather looked like most of the time during my rainy-season trip to Mexico. This was taken at Playa Santa Fe in Tulum.

***Lastminutetravel.com has a promotion on now that allows travelers to join their money-saving club for half the normal price...that's right, join now for 50% off! So far members have saved over $17,000,000 on vacations and members can get up to 55% off!
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Happy Cinco De Mayo! Use promo code 'CINCO35' and get $35 OFF (on $350 or more hotel rooms)

Save up to 70% Off Hotels plus coupon - Use code: 'UNDERCOVER10' - $10 off $200 hotel deals

All Around Ireland Vacation Package from $899 Per Person with Air! Book by 4-30-15 at GreatValueVacations.com

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Is there an event you would like to travel to or attend while on vacation?

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And here is a great deal on some new luggage that will come in handy no matter where your travels take you!

20% off all High Sierra backpacks, luggage and travel gear

Travel Event: Extra 25% off select brands including Victorinox, TravelPro, Skyway and more with code: TRAVEL. Valid 4/27/15 - 5/4/15.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Long Walk, A Deep-Sea Swim and a Journey to one of the Most Remote Islands in the World - These are my Top 3 Bucket List Destinations

Almost everyone has a bucket list- a list of places they want to visit and things they want to experience. While some people only dream of making seeing their list realized, I have been slowly but surely making my way through mine...and it's lengthy. It was hard to narrow that list down to my top three destinations and experiences but I did it, I put it to paper, edited it and posted it for all of you to see. Now I just have to work on making them a reality!

The Camino de Santiago

I've recently taken an interest in the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Traditionally, it was a religious pilgrimage but it seems that, today, thousands of people each year are doing this long trek for various reasons both religious and non-religious. I personally would love to set out on this pilgrimage for a number of reasons.
1) Endurance and accomplishment. I must say, I would be quite proud of myself if I could complete a 791-kilometre trek through all kinds of weather and terrain. Throwing myself into an unfamiliar place and walking into the unknown would be the ultimate mental and physical test.
2) The experience. I'm imagining the interesting places where I would spend the night, the people from all over the world I would meet, the stories I would hear, the things I would see, the languages I would try to converse in, the things I would learn, the new foods I would eat...
3) The memories. Completing such a trek would be something I'd never forget as long as I live and it would provide me with endless things to write about and share with others.
4) The escape. What better way to escape the mundane. I'd be immersing myself into a new adventure that would provide me with a complete change of scenery for an extended period of time and allow me to see life from a new perspective.
5) A way to clear my head and start out fresh. Some people head to their local pub and slam back a few dozen beers, some people change careers and some people do a walkabout in the Australian Outback. One day, I will trek the Camino de Santiago. I've taken in a lot the last few years. I lost my mom, I lost a job I loved, I made a big move to another location away from a place I loved, I had to readjust to a lot of new things and frankly, at times, it was hard. I need to regroup, think long and hard about the next step, rediscover myself and set some new goals...a long walk should do the trick!

Swimming with Whale Sharks

I can't think of a better way to become one with the natural world than to share such a close encounter with one of the largest creatures on the planet. They look so peaceful and graceful despite their size and it would be an honor to share the same space with them for even a short time. I love to swim, I love the ocean, I love animals and I love a good one-of-a-kind adventure. Since whale sharks are not a threat to humans like some of their other more dangerous cousins, I think a trip to the Caribbean Coast of Mexico is in order for the near future!

Easter Island

I once thought this island was just a rock in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of ancient statues on it. It still intrigued me but once I learned more about it, I became more intrigued and now I want to go there more than anything! The remoteness of the island, the isolation of the people and their almost untouched culture and way of life, the history behind the Moai statues...all of it is so intriguing to me. I'm picturing myself venturing out to explore the island and its mysteries. I would hear stories passed down from generation to generation, I would sleep under the stars, I would visit remote and almost untouched beaches, I would sit in silence with my eyes closed in the fresh, clean air and try to picture what it was like hundreds of years ago. To me, traveling to Easter Island would be the trip to end all trips...well not really. I will never stop traveling but it would be hard to top off a trip to one of the world's most remote places and one that has so much culture and history despite the fact that only 5700 people live there.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

GUEST POST - The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo

The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo will be held between 18 November 2015 and 22 November 2015. The Trade Show, Fair and Exhibition venue will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities.

In 2015, Greenbuild will showcase the latest in innovative products and services. Join them in Washington D.C. to learn, network, do business and participate in one of the greenest and most sustainable conferences in the world. USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo is the world’s largest conference and exposition dedicated to green building, and it’s the place where over 23,000 attendees and 800 exhibitors from the green building industry come together to do business. Greenbuild is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. The ideals and passion of the green building community come alive at Greenbuild. The buzz is contagious. Greenbuild brings together industry leaders, experts and frontline professionals dedicated to sustainable building in their everyday work, and a unique energy is sparked. Participants are invigorated. Inspired. They find themselves equipped to return to their jobs with a renewed passion and purpose. Greenbuild features three days of inspiring speakers, invaluable networking opportunities, industry showcases, LEED workshops and tours of the host city's green buildings. Launched in 2002, Greenbuild is a great opportunity to build new relationships and connect with colleagues from throughout the industry and around the world. Join thousands of other people who agree that green building is a good idea and good for business.

Washington DC is a hub for American politics and history. Attracting as many school field trips as it does travelers the district offers a peek into the country’s democratic origin. There are plenty of free museums to take advantage of but the real draw here is the memorials and monuments dedicated to great American leaders. Spend some contemplative time at the Reflecting Pool within the National Mall, among the most patriotic places in the country.


As one of America’s top conference destinations, travel to Washington D.C. can often be expensive, but it doesn’t have to always break the bank. EventBlocks, a hotel comparison site for large events, has a great comparison page for different hotel options near Greenbuild 2015, featuring not only the event’s specially-negotiated group rates, but also a few other hidden gems that can save conference goers a lot of money. Though group rates range from $289 to $219, attendees can also book a room at the nearby Cambria Suites for only $165, which is less than a half mile from the convention center and sports 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor. If you are looking for a more intimate D.C. experience, the Mt. Vernon Square Bed and Breakfast is currently offering rooms starting at $195, a 33% savings over the top group rate!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

GUEST POST - Lazenne – the Leader in Wine Luggage Accessories.


Picture this: you are at a fantastic vineyard, and you are savouring a delicious glass of wine. Wouldn’t you like to take a bottle, or maybe 12, home with you? Now you can, with Lazenne – the leader in wine luggage accessories .
Transporting wine is easier than ever before with Lazenne's collection of Wine Check Luggage. The Wine Check Luggage Collection provides space for up to 15 bottles of wines that also include their Bottle Protectors . Bottles of various sizes can easily fit into the collection and the luggage conveniently comes with straps, rollers and is also environmentally friendly. Your valuable wine purchases are protected against major impacts and is crush resistant. The luggage also keeps steady pressure and temperature levels. With Lazenne Wine Check Luggage, you will be able to check your wine like normal luggage for European and international destinations.



Are you surprised to know that you can check wine at the airport? It is a common misunderstanding but passengers can check in bottles of wine exactly like they would for a suitcase. The following list makes travelling with Wine Check Luggage much easier:
• Keep wine alcohol content under 24%. If you want a higher alcohol percentage in your liquor, keep it to 5 liters per person. Content over 70% alcohol is not allowed.
• Lazenne Bottle Protectors are perfect for packing your wine safely and securely.
• For international flights, keep the total Wine Check Luggage weight to below 50lbs or 23 kg to avoid overweight charges. Confirm your baggage weight limit policy with your airline.
Make sure you are familiar with the customs regulations of your destination country. Within the European Union, up to 90 litres of alcohol is allowed without additional fees for duties or taxes. The policies for alcohol in excess of duty-free quantities is generous in many countries, make sure you know what the policy is beforehand.
• Check out Lazenne.com for more details, particularly Flying with Wine 101.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dreaming of the Warmer Days Ahead

Wishing I was here right now looking over that spectacular view of the Pacific!  No snow, no wind, no rain, no sub-zero temperatures...just me in this hammock I was relaxing in two years ago on this date just after my arrival at Anamaya Yoga Retreat in Montezuma, Costa Rica.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

So You want to be A Travel Writer? MatadorU Can Help get You Started!

Travel writing sounds like a dream job and in many ways, it is. To many people pursuing an interest or seeking a career in the field, it sounds like it could even be an easy career path to follow. After all, all you have to do is visit some cool places, compile some notes and photos, write some interesting stories and submit to travel publications, right? Wrong. While travel writing can be a fun and adventurous endeavor, it’s a job that require hard work, long hours and lots of dedication and patience and there is more to the business than just writing cool stories if you want to be successful at it at all!

When I first started writing about travel, I thought it would be easy. Reality hit hard and I discovered I didn’t have a clue how to be a real travel writer! I continued to write over the years but my writing was going nowhere. No one was taking an interest in it, no one was offering to publish any of my articles and hardly anyone was even reading, let alone following, this blog. As I was surfing the net one day looking for articles and tutorials on how to be a better travel writer, I came across some information about the. MatadorU Travel Media School

I was intrigued enough to learn more so I kept reading but, like most things I read about on the net that sound to good to be true, I passed it off as some sort of scam or money-grabbing gimmick. It wasn’t until months later when someone recommended the school to me that I started to look into it again but this time with a more open mind.

In the end, I threw caution to the wind, took my friend’s advice and signed up for the travel writing course. It wasn’t a lot of money anyway and what did I have to lose? I started the course immediately and finished it within a couple of months (I was working full-time at that time so it took a little longer than average for me to complete it) and I can 100% honestly say that it is the best thing I’ve done so far to enhance my travel writing.

When I first signed up, I thought the program materials would be riddled with things that I already knew. I was wrong. The course taught me things I had not even thought about. Things that cannot be found simply by doing searches in Google. And I think the reason the course is so effective and full of helpful material is because it is developed by other travel writers and professionals in the industry who have first-hand knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.


Since graduating from the course, I’ve had articles accepted for a number of publications, I improved my blog and gained a large following, I won several travel photography competitions, I’ve secured freelance work with several well-known travel companies and I won two travel blogging competitions…and my writing is much, much better!

So by now, you may be wondering what the course has to offer. Keep reading to learn more!

First of all, each course costs $475.00 (but there are promotions and deals available for students who sign up for more than one course at a time and sometimes there are other promotions throughout the year). With each course, you will receive one-on-one feedback on your work to help you discover what you could be doing better. You will also become part of a large community of other aspiring and professional travel writers, photographers, filmmakers and journalists and faculty consisting of award-winning professionals who have worked with well-known publications including National Geographic. You can complete courses at your own pace. Once you complete a course, you receive a certificate that you can print off along with code you can paste to your own website or blog to let everyone know you are a MatadorU Graduate. And my personal favorite – you will have access to a database filled with up-to-date jobs, contests and press trips that you can apply for. Most importantly, you have lifetime access to all course and website materials which means you can go back again and again.

Here are the courses that are available and a rundown of what they offer:

MatadorU Travel Photography Program

Course outline:
Advanced Travel Photography

Learning the different functions of your camera
Understanding exposure: Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO
Composition
How to optimize lighting for your photography
Editing
Building a portfolio and publishing it online

Advanced Travel Photography
Creating photo essays that tell a story
Preparing to work in the field
Advanced techniques in post-processing
Developing your brand and marketing it
Pitching to editors and getting published

MatadorU Travel Writing Program

Fundamentals of Travel Writing
Crafting a travel story
Learning different forms of travel writing such as social commentary, narrative and personal essay
Researching, interviewing, quoting and citing
Developing your personal brand and gaining a following
Pitching editors

Advanced Travel Writing
Tips on writing about controversial topics
Best practices while on assignment
Pacing, structure, and transitions feature stories

MatadorU Travel Filmmaking Program

Learning about the gear of a travel filmmaker - cameras, lenses, filters, gear, accessories, and software
Composition and getting good exposure
Capturing high-quality audio
Learning about the different styles of travel films
Post-processing procedures such as importing, organizing footage; trimming and cutting; editing sound/music; transitions, effects and titles
Conducting field work
Building your online brand and getting hired

Start your journey into the world of travel journalism here

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lucky Breaks: Win a trip for two to Florence worth $8,000


HERE'S WHAT YOU COULD WIN: A Trip for two to Florence - Includes roundtrip airfare, $3,000+ in shopping sprees, and more!
HERE'S HOW YOU GIVE BACK: For every 1,000 people that sign up within 24 hours, donations will be made to Good Shepard Women's Shelters*.
You and a lucky friend will get a three-night retreat at the gloriously historical Il Salviatino Hotel. Spectacular views of Florence surround the 15th-century restored villa, where you'll enjoy dinner for two alfresco and luxury spa treatments in the Tuscan gardens.
We're making this dream vacation extra memorable with:
  • $2,000 shopping spree at Luisa Via Roma. Based in Florence, the high-fashion haven offers collections from Kenzo, ChloĆ©, Givenchy and more.
  • $1,000 shopping spree at travel bag line Floto. The collection features leather duffels, messengers and wallets—all crafted by Italian artisans—that only get better with time.
  • An HP Stream 8 Tablet worth $179: Sleek and lightweight enough to take with you everywhere; just try to resist checking your e-mail every hour.
  • Round-trip airfare for two, courtesy of RetailMeNot.
No purchase necessary.
See the official rules and enter the contest at http://bit.ly/18MNHzr

*The Cause: Good Shepherd is a worldwide women's shelter that takes a holistic approach to ending violence against women. Good Shepherd is a 501c(3) operating across the US and abroad.
Their mission: Ending Violence - Reclaiming Lives.
Their Story: Good Shepherd is dedicated to offering the best approach to ENDING the GENERATIONAL cycle of violence. It is unique in that it is the only shelter with separate family apartment units, full schooling for the children, an Adult Learning Center, therapeutic services and legal advocacy— all on site.
The Give: The women at Good Shepherd need everything from legal counsel, to new clothes, to care for their children and so much more. Klickly will make a donation of $500 for every 1000 people that sign up within 24 hours!
See the official rules and enter the contest at http://bit.ly/18MNHzr


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Inspiring Graffiti

A couple of years ago while making my way around the Cabot Trail, I noticed that someone (or perhaps a number of people) penned the words "Happy Trails" in various places.  I spotted these same words on a hand dryer in a washroom at the Englishtown Ferry, on a picnic table on top of Cape Smokey Mountain and in this location on a handrail leading to the bottom of Maryanne Falls in Ingonish.  From that day onward, I always made a point to stop at these places to glance at those words.  The person who wrote them probably thought nothing of it but to me, this is probably some of the most inspiring graffiti I've ever come across :)  Who knows, maybe the person who wrote them will see this and the mystery will be solved once and for all!  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Long, Deserted Highway through the Mojave Desert

I spent three days driving aimlessly around parts of the Mojave Desert in Nevada and loved every second I spent on that lonely, open road! 

A Great Way to Advertise your Freelance work and Make some Extra Cash on the Side

Fiverr
I recently came across a great way to show off some of my writing skills and make some money at the same time. That website, Fiverr.com, has so far, generated almost $200.00 for me and I made some new contacts in the business, some who have become repeat customers.

The sign up process is quick and easy and the concept is simple; create a gig, advertise said gig and wait for customers to buy the gig. A gig is exactly what it sounds like. For example, if you are a photographer, you may create a gig that offers a service related to photography such as taking pictures of animals. You create this gig offering this service to others on the site who may be interested in buying this service. When a buyer is interested in your gig, he or she will send you a message asking for more details or they may buy the gig right away. You will have a certain amount of time (the time limit is set by you in your gig) to complete the gig and deliver it to the customer.

Visit Fiverr Home Page


Examples of gigs include:

Guest posting on blogs

Photo editing

Copywriting

Create video ads

Proofreading

....and pretty much anything under the sun!

I personally have a gig on Fiverr offering to post guest posts written by other writers on my blog. They get exposure, I get paid so everyone wins!

If you you would like to make a little bit of easy cash on the side of your other freelance ventures, I recommend you check out this site and see for yourself what it is all about and what it can do for you.
Visit Fiverr Home Page

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Travel a Waste of Time? Here are some of the Things Travel has done for me

When it comes to travel, there are two types of people: those who like to travel and those who don’t. I am a traveler. I love to travel. I believe that travel is something that everyone should indulge in at least every once and a while. I don’t understand people who have no desire to travel. I can understand people who can’t travel or, more accurately think they can’t travel. It is my belief that everyone can travel to some extent. If money is an issue, cut down on things that you don’t need. Start making coffee at home instead of buying it at a coffee shop everyday or cancel your cable services and enjoy an active life of travel rather than one spent lying on the couch watching other people doing interesting things or just simply stop buying useless material things.

Lack of time is another story. I know many people have family obligations or perhaps can’t get any time off work but that is still no excuse to get out and do some traveling on the weekends with the family. When I talk about traveling, I’m not just talking about going abroad or to another country. You can travel around your own province or state too! And traveling makes for great experiences for children. But there are many people out there who genuinely have no desire to do any traveling. They have the money, they have the time, they are able bodied and capable of traveling but chose not to. They have no interest in leaving the comforts of their living rooms or they simply think that travel is too dangerous. And I think that is kind of sad. I think if these people just gave travel a chance and experienced the many benefits that come with traveling, they would see just how life-enhancing it really is.

I developed a love of travel at a young age. Family vacations around The Maritime provinces of Canada and to the United States turned me into an adventurous kid who grew up to be an even more adventurous adult. Now my travels bring me to places outside of my country. Sometimes I wander into places I shouldn’t but my curiosity always gets the better of me and I always have to see what’s around the next turn or beyond the next hill and I can honestly say that travel has definitely made me a better person in so many ways and here are some of those ways:

Travel made me realize that the world is not as scary as CNN makes it out to be. Yes there are wars going on. Yes there is crime. Yes there are tourists being kidnapped. Yes, I realize that I may even be a victim of crime at some point while traveling. But, I also know there is more good going on in the world than bad. No one would watch the news if it covered all the good things happening. War and crime get ratings. I’ve traveled to many places as a female, solo traveler and have never come across anything remotely dangerous or life-threatening yet…unless you consider ziplining, surfing, jumping over waterfalls and trekking in the jungle dangerous. In other words, the only dangers I’ve faced were the ones that I willingly participated in.
All ready to try out ziplining for the first time in Costa Rica
Travel made me realize how vastly different people are from one culture to the next…and how strikingly similar we all are despite language and cultural differences. Before I started traveling, for some reason, I thought people in other countries and cultures were like another species of humans who were completely different from me. Sure, this is true in some ways. For example, in many of the countries I have traveled, people still mostly communicate in person instead of texting or emailing and family is number one priority. Many of the world’s cultures still remain very close to their traditional values and ways of life and their roots are still very much intact. But when it comes to human emotions, wants, needs and hopes for the future, we are all pretty much the same. Like the old saying goes “we all smile in the same language”.

Travel taught me how to be less materialistic. Seeing how little many people have and seeing how happy they are despite of this has made me realize that material items most definitely do not bring happiness. In fact, I’ve learned that having less equals happiness. After I did a major downsize of my belongings, I noticed some huge differences. I now spend less time sorting through and looking for things, I have less things to clean and less things to pack when moving and I have more room to move around. Discovering what I can live without turned to be a great lesson. I learned that before I downsized, I had way too many material items that were not serving much purpose in my life. I also learned to be less materialistic from living out of my suitcase. When I first started traveling, I was an over-packer – I mean everything but the kitchen sink was stuffed into several suitcases – but now, the most I travel with is a backpack and a small carry-on. I learned which items are necessary and which ones I can leave home and traveling is so much easier and enjoyable now that I don’t have to lug all that unnecessary stuff around and there’s less time spent unpacking, repacking and sorting through items at my destination and that means I have more time to enjoy myself.

Travel has made me smarter. While studying hard, doing well in school and acquiring a university degree are all things that can help make a person smarter, I am a firm believer that degrees and diplomas are nothing without life experience. Book smarts are great if you only want to be smart in your chosen field but “street” smarts are what make you smart in all aspects of life and travel is, in my opinion, the number one way to gain some of the best experiences of your life. The things I’ve learned from traveling cannot be taught. Every aspect of travel teaches something useful. Packing taught me about what is important in life and how to survive with very little and without the comforts of home. Air travel taught me patience. Navigating airport security taught me discipline (one has to comply with those many laws and regulations). Flying itself taught me to put my fears aside because who isn’t scared the first time they board a plane and realize that they will be suspended in mid-air, thousands of feet in the sky in a giant metal object going thousands of miles per hour with nothing holding it up? Travel taught me how to get out of my comfort zone because not all places have the luxuries I am used to at home. Travel taught me to be more social because, lets face it, my survival depends on the kindness of strangers at times while traveling and being able to approach new people is a skill I use in all aspects of my life. If you are shy before you start traveling, you won’t be for long! Travel taught me different ways of communicating. You will pick up on new languages and new ways of non-verbal communication in order to get your point across to someone who can’t speak the same language as you.

Travel has taught me how to be a better storyteller. New sites, new sounds, new smells, new people, new experiences = new stories. The littlest things have made for the most interesting and, often times, funny stories. Miscommunication between languages, missing important cultural cues, getting hopelessly lost, chance meetings, trying new and strange foods and realizing my I am just not meant to ingest certain things…these are just some of the things that have made for good stories. Some things were not so pleasant when they happened, but later, I was able to laugh at my misfortunes and other people did too and they were also inspired by my adventurous spirit and willingness to throw myself into these new situations in my quest to learn as much as I can about the world and its people.

Travel has made my life more interesting. I live in a modern society that says I have to work my butt off long hours every day in order to buy necessities like food and shelter while leaving me with virtually no time to enjoy life. A typical day involves waking up, eating, going to work, coming home, eating, tending to household chores, sleeping and repeating it all again the next day. Boring! I know I will only live once so why shouldn’t I reward myself with something I enjoy once and a while. Some people go to a movie on the weekends, others hang out in coffee shops, and others simply like to spend any free time they have watching television. Me? I work my butt off to save up to go on a trip at least once a year somewhere I’ve never been. This yearly pilgrimage provides me with something to look forward to, gets me away from the mundane and allows me to indulge in something I love doing. After a trip, I feel more productive and ready to get back to the daily grind and I don’t have to feel guilty for not living my life to the fullest!

Travel broadened my horizons and changed the way I think. I thought I knew a lot about the world and its various cultures. After I started traveling, I realized I didn’t know much at all. Watching documentaries and reading books about other countries and cultures certainly makes one more knowledgeable but nothing compares to the out-there-in-the-field education you get when you physically indulge yourself into another place. Many employers have spoken out about this type of “education” and research has stated over and over again that a large percentage of employers who see travel on a resume will take that into consideration when hiring an employee. Why? Because travel enables one to build on all of the main skills employers are looking for. Risk-taking, patience, willingness to learn new things, effectively dealing with stress, independence, problem-solving and working well with different types of people. I now longer worry about gaps in my employment history because I am confident that I can fill those gaps with meaningful things such as world travel. Most employers will see that travel experience as time well-spent.

Travel has made me a more curious person. Since I caught the travel bug, I have a constant longing to learn more about everywhere, everything and everyone! I always need to know what is around the next corner or over the next hill. I have a longing to learn about as many things as possible, to see as much as possible and to meet as many people as possible. A life spent on the couch watching television just doesn’t cut it for me…I have to be out there and I can never be missing anything!

Travel has taught me to be more adventurous with my food. Some people still consider me a picky eater. I am, after all, a vegetarian and have a strong dislike for anything that comes from the sea. That being said, since I’ve started traveling outside my home country, I’ve learned to be more adventurous and have tried many unique dishes and foods that I normally wouldn’t eat at home. I no longer turn my nose up something because I’ve never heard of it or it looks unappetizing; I just dive in and, more times than not, it turns out to be delicious!

Travel has opened my eyes to things I once thought impossible or beyond my abilities and reach. I was once afraid to travel alone. Now, I can hop on a plane and go anywhere by myself without any issues. During my travels I’ve experienced things I never thought I would get a chance to do. I’ve climbed mountains (relatively small ones but still mountains nonetheless!), I’ve traveled to the bottom of the sea in a submarine, I’ve ziplined through the jungle, I’ve learned to surf and overcome my fear of large waves and sharks, I’ve boarded some very small boats (some of which were not very seaworthy) and crossed rough bodies of water to reach almost deserted islands. Nowadays, there is virtually nothing I won’t try at least once. Travel has taught to overcome my fears and made me realize that once I get over that first hurdle, it’s easy to do it again and again and I learn that my fear was mostly unfounded!
I recommend that everyone try surfing at least once in their lifetime!
Travel has taught me that the world is much smaller than I once thought. One doesn’t really know how small the world is until they hop on a plane and reach a far flung destination within the same day, sometimes in only a matter of hours. Before I traveled, I thought of these far-flung places as other worlds far, far away and much different from my world. But once I started traveling to these far-flung places, I realized that they are quite of this same world I’ve always known. We all have families, homes and towns or villages to return to, families who love us, hobbies that engage us and dreams we want to see to reality.

Travel has taught me to appreciate the things I have at home….and long for some of the things I only have on the road. One thing that some people struggle with when traveling to other countries is the lack of familiar items they are used to having at home. You will miss toilet paper in Cuba (and lots of other little luxuries), you will miss your favorite coffee shop or hang-out place, you will miss your favorite fast food restaurants and comfort foods in many places in the world, you will miss your comfortable bed and cozy living room and you will miss being able to log onto the internet anywhere, at any time. You will pretty much miss anything that you are used to accessing easily on a daily basis but you get over it because those things are quickly replaced with new favorite foods, new experiences, new friends and new hang-outs that you will miss once you return home. For example, I miss the delicious food I ate for two weeks in Costa Rica, I miss the spectacular sunsets of the Caribbean, I miss the sound of people speaking Spanish (I think Spanish is a beautiful-sounding language), I miss walking down that wood road at dusk in the rainforest near my retreat in Montezuma and, most of all, I miss the freedom that comes with traveling.
The freedom of the open road...and not many roads are as liberating as this straight stretch through a section of the Mojave Desert in Nevada
And last but not least, travel has taught me that I cannot ever stop traveling. I caught the bug and it has a hold of me and I cannot imagine succumbing to a boring ol’ life in front of a television. The Canadian government recently decided to give Canadians a choice in how long they want their passport to be valid for. Before, passports expired automatically after five years, but now we have the option to have our passports valid for ten years (for a small extra fee, of course) so without a second thought, I ticked off the ten-year option. I plan to keep traveling and exploring this earth until I can no longer physically do so!

Ready to embark on your own adventure. Perhaps you are trying to decide where to go on your next yearly vacation or maybe you are thinking about embarking on your first adventure away from home. Whatever the case may be, you can find some ideas on destinations and some deals that can get you there cheaper here



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Do you know what you are doing for Spring Break?

That's right, it's that time of year again....SPRING BREAK!!! Well not quite yet but it's just around the corner and now is the time to start hunting for that perfect trip and the perfect deal to go along with it. There are plenty of specials already happening and many more to come in the next few weeks. So get ready to toss those books aside or take a break from your cubicle to enjoy a week in the sun, a city break or a flight home to see the folks.

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