Category Archives: Travel

How do you cure the travelling blues?

It’s a warm rainy winter day here in Canada – yes you are reading that right!!  Today hit a record temperature of 17 degrees Celsius!!  Rained all day – but it felt good to not have to wear a heavy coat today!  It was a blue feeling day though – I am missing Prague a lot lately.  The beautiful sites, my friends, walking through the gorgeous scenery.

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I know the feeling will pass, as will as my missing of China.  Yes, I miss China (I NEVER thought I’d say that!).  The quirkiness of the city I lived in with all its crazy signs, the food (okay – this is really what I miss the MOST about China!  Why can’t I find a noodle place here???).  It was quite pretty in the area that I lived too – and I miss the sparsely decorated apartment I lived in.  The solitude.  I like my alone time very much.

 

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So how do I cure the travelling blues?   I scope out hotel websites, Wikipedia for different countries to travel to and read about, look up flight information for the best deals – does it help?  A bit – at least for a while.  If the sun would shine a bit more when I was off work, I would be less melancholy – I would be able to get outside and walk.  Take pictures of new areas.

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Life in Canada is good – I am happy to be back.  But I will continue to have the travelling blues until May when I will head to Ottawa for a few days!  In the meantime – I will dream of the beaches of Chile, the beauty of Prague and the food of China!!

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The Perfect Picnic

It’s cold and wintery out – so what better time to think about your perfect picnic!!

My perfect picnic would be:

The sun is bright and the sky is blue.  There is a slight breeze and it is not too hot out.  It is mid-August.  The bees are buzzing and the birds are singing.  There is a feeling of Autumn just around the corner.

 

I head to a lovely green hill, with trees softly blowing in the wind around me.  I have a lovely view of the town from the hill.  I spread my blanket out on the grass and sit down to take in the view and peacefulness.

 

As I reach for my basket, I gently wave away a bee flying by.  From in my picnic basket, I pull out a fresh baguette, purchased from the local bakery.  Then comes some delicious aromatic cheeses from the deli.  Juicy red and green grapes accompany the cheese and bread.  To wash this all down is a bottle of the best sparkling water, with a twist of lemon added to it.  As I slowly eat my feast before me, I relish in the quietness of the day and the warmth of the sun.

 

After I have nourished myself, I bring out the book I have brought, lay down and read for a while.  Perhaps I will have a journal with me so I can write my thoughts of the beautiful day I am enjoying.  Or perhaps I will just lay down on my back, watching the clouds float by, trying to see what the clouds are showing me.  Are they shaped like an animal?  Perhaps a balloon?  Only my imagination will know!

 

As an extra treat, I have brought with me some decadent dark chocolate to enjoy as I hear the children in the town playing at the local swimming pool and at the park.

 

This is the perfect picnic for me.

 

So what is your perfect picnic?  What will you bring with you?  Are you by yourself or with someone?

 

Travel Talk seminar

Do you have a bucket list?  Do you update it on a monthly/annual basis?

 

I updated my bucket list at the beginning of this year – I update it every six months or so, as my list changes and other things come to light that I want to accomplish.  One thing that has constantly been on my bucket list is to do some public speaking, to get more comfortable speaking in front of people and become more self-confident.  Well, this bucket list item is coming off my list now!!

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In April, I will be doing a Travel Talk at our public library here in my hometown, all about my travels and how to travel the world on a budget and credit free.  I am excited to be doing this, and at the same time a trifle nervous about it.  I know I can do it, or else I would not have suggested it to the library in the first place.  I have already started my planning for the talk and getting pictures to show to all that attend.  I hope I can encourage others to get out and see the world!!  And this may sound like I am bragging – but I am very proud of myself to have put myself out there and suggested this!  It is such a huge accomplishment for me – I was a very shy child and this is leaps and bounds from what I ever imagined myself doing as an adult.

 

I am also taking another thing off my bucket list in May – I will be going to the capital of Canada for a 4 day adventure.  Ottawa has been booked – a bed and breakfast await me, and I am looking forward to making my time there an adventure!

 

That’s two things off my list in the first six months of this year !!  I hope to have at least one more thing off of my bucket list by the end of 2018 – it’s definitely an attainable goal.  I just need to set my mind to it and get it done!!

 

How often do you update your bucket list?  Have you taken anything off of your bucket list this year?  Is your bucket list full of travel or are there other things you want to accomplish?

 

Traveller or Tourist – which are you?

I have recently finished the book Vagabonding (excellent read – I recommend it to everyone!), and one of the chapters talked about classifying yourself as a traveller or a tourist.  It definitely got me thinking which one I am.

 

When I first moved to Europe, I was a tourist.  At least for the first six months.  I wanted to see all the popular tourist sites in Prague, I wanted to see Old Town Square, and the Castle, Charles Bridge and New Town.  I did the tourist thing.  I immersed myself in with the crowds, went to the Christmas markets, and wandered through the streets with all the tourists, eating sausage and drinking hot wine.  I loved it!  But I was definitely a “tourist”.

 

Since that time, I have become more of a traveller and not a tourist.  I have yet to become a vagabond (but it definitely sounds like something I want to be!).  I have enjoyed going to places that are not on the tourist scene – for example, when I went to Shenyang in China – it was my favourite city to see when I was in China, but definitely not at the top of the tourist scene for China.  It was a fascinating city with a lot of history, I got lost wandering through the streets, found a great little restaurant selling some of the best authentic Chinese food I had.  To me, that is being a traveller.  Finding places that are ventured to by the locals.  It was awesome.

 

Fast forward to Chile – yes I did some tourist stuff (Santiago – Cerro San Cristobal is the most famous place to see there) but I really made myself go to places that the locals went to.  That includes all the cities and towns I visited, save for San Pedro de Atacama and Vina del Mar.

 

I definitely see myself as a traveller and not a tourist.  I will be travelling to my country’s capital in May, and of course I will be seeing all the major sites in Ottawa, but I am ready to find some obscure places, some out-of-the-way places, and discover exciting things in Canada!

 

So what are you – a traveller or a tourist?

A new year for goal setting

2018 is here, and I enjoyed it by napping, waking up to see the ball drop in Times Square, and then headed to bed right away!  I am not much of a party person so it was okay to have a quiet New Year’s Eve.  I enjoyed it with my family, something I haven’t done in a long time.

 

But now 2018 is here.  I had such an eventful 2017 that I am not really sure how I will top it, but I will most definitely be having an amazing year.  My positive attitude will keep flowing right through this new year and will make this an amazing year.

 

I was lucky enough to see China, Chile and then back to Canada last year, and I have every intention to travel somewhere this year for a holiday – Canada will be my home base now for a few years but that doesn’t mean I will just be staying here and working.  I am ready to explore a new country even if it is just for a week or two.  Perhaps I will even pick a country that doesn’t start with “C”!

 

One of my goals (NOT resolutions – a goal is much more attainable I believe) is to get an article or two published, while continuing to work on my book.  My goal is to improve my writing.  I have other goals too, but this is my big one for the year.  I know I can do it – I just need to make the time to write more.

 

What goals have you made?  Or do you make resolutions?  Do you make the same one every year?  And do you keep it?

 

A new year, a new start – there is no time like the present to get to it!!

 

For now though,  I am reminiscing about 2017 – here are a few of my favourite moments from this past year.

 

 

A little girl with a doll made me cry…

This past Christmas day, I did something I have never done before – I volunteered at my church to serve Christmas dinner to the less fortunate in my hometown.  It was definitely the most heartwarming day I have had in a very long time.

 

I signed up to volunteer over a month before Christmas, and I had thought I would be helping with serving the dinner.  Instead, when the orientation came up for it, I was assigned the gift table with another woman.  I really wasn’t sure what was expected of me but I was excited to volunteer and be part of my community on Christmas Day.

 

I arrived to the church with seeing a big line up of people waiting to come in and be served Christmas dinner.  I arrived at the gift table and the other lady and I started organizing the gifts into women’s, men’s and children.  I had my dinner there and then we proceeded to hand out the gifts.

 

Everyone was very appreciative of the gifts we gave – some were hygiene items with something extra in them, the kids received toys, there were scarves and various items.  Well, this one little girl was there with her mother, and she was very quietly playing with her doll she brought.  I was talking to everyone to make sure they were enjoying their meal and day, so I went over and had a chat with this little girl and her mom.  She very excitedly told me her name and her doll’s name.  She was very sweet and her mother looked so happy that I had taken the time to come and say hello.

 

Well, the gift she received was another doll from the church donations, and her mom had received a lovely gift of bath oils and lotions.  They were very happy and made sure to stop me to thank me numerous times.  We had excess gifts (due to the very generous nature of companies here), so we were handing out extra gifts.  I saw two matching scarves so I took them over to the mom and daughter.  The little girl’s eyes lit up and put it around her neck right away.  She hugged her mom and said that we have matching scarves now!  She then looked at me and said thank you – this is the best Christmas ever!  Her mom looked at me with tears in her eyes and said thank you so much – and we will definitely be back next year.  You made my daughter’s day with so much attention and the generosity of everyone.

 

I turned away and tears ran down my face, and my heart grew.   It was the most rewarding Christmas day ever for me, to be able to make one little girl so happy with such a simple thing as a scarf and a doll.  This is what Christmas is about – having the ability to make a little girl happy with a doll and a scarf.

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day !!