Adventure and Travel

BE A LOCAL EVERYWHERE

I recently spent two weeks house-sitting in New York City. Before I left, I gave myself an admittedly ambitious challenge: live, to the best of my ability, as though I were a local. I had been told that New Yorkers distrusted tourists, and I can’t exactly blame them. Hailing from the Niagara region of southern Ontario, I understand the frustration of your home being swarmed with tourists delighting in their oblivion and anonymity the minute the weather reaches an acceptable temperature. But we are all tourists outside of our homelands, and I was a tourist for those 14 days. I can’t deny that amidst the brownstones, ivy, thrift stores and leafy residential parks, most of the time I felt awed, inspired and, occasionally, even a little intimidated. In a massive cultural hub that has inspired ...

TRAVEL FAR ENOUGH, YOU MEET YOURSELF – THE IDENTITY JOURNALS

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey   There were so many things I loved about my trip to Peru and to South America in general. But I think what really stuck was the energy – a visible sense of collective pride and confidence in the people about who they are, as a group and as individuals. There is richness in their celebrations, and belief and intent in their storytelling. And if you took the time to stand still and observe, you felt community. I don’t identify as Peruvian or from any country in South America, but there was something about this sense of community that made me feel at home. More than I ever felt in Australia – the place I do call home. More than I felt in Asia – where...

NO MONEY TO TRAVEL? YOUR SUMMER CAN STILL BE AMAZING

  Sitting in the midst of my concrete oasis that is not even close to being Instagram-worthy, I scroll through the photographs of friends and family seeing the world. Pictures of crystal waters, tropical plants, crazy moments, and drool-inducing drinks make me sigh. If only I could plop my lounge chair in the white sands of a beach instead of on our falling-apart deck, the ambiance of neighbor children screaming and honking horns not quite the island sounds I hoped to hear. Instead of cool water excursions or neat sea creatures, I’m photographing my Starbucks cup, hoping for some pity likes and reassurance that summer is what you make it. The Unwanted Staycation This summer is the first summer in a while we’re not going on vacation. There will be no sand between my toes or morning sea...

THOUGHTFULLY ALONE

Spring semester, junior year; last spring, I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain for the entire semester. Toward the end I was ready to go home. Ready to stop living out of a suitcase, or a backpack. Ready to have the same ground under my feet for a while. Being in a country where you can’t fully express your emotions and feelings becomes exhausting. You constantly feel a cultural discomfort. Never sure, never secure, never feeling right. Never feeling known, acknowledged, part of the community. Not knowing where you are. No relatives, no connections, no co-worker down the street. No memories attached to the streets, to the paths you take. To the way to the río. To restaurants, to parks, to curbs and crosswalks. No sense of belonging. No sense of permanent existence.  Not being able to ...

9 TRAVEL STORIES TO REMIND YOU OF THE GOOD IN THE WORLD

Is it just me or does it seem like every time you open social media lately you get hit by a wave of negative, scary news stories? Bombings, mass shooting, political unrest, kidnappings – there’s certainly a lot to be fearful of. I can understand when people don’t want to travel because it’s just plain scary when that’s the only kind of story you get. Today I want to flip the switch a little because if you stay fearful and don’t travel then you can miss out on meeting a lot of wonderful people. I have so many good stories that I actually had to cut a lot of them because the post was getting too long, but here are some of my favorites to remind you of the good in the world. The ladies who let me sleep in the nail salon in Dubai When I recently traveled to ...

PRONE TO ENGINE FAILURE

Hayley’s invitation arrived in the form of a Facebook message on a Monday afternoon. “Are you sure you don’t want to go to Nashville on Wednesday?” Hayley and Sammy, two of my closest friends, had been planning this road trip to see our friends studying in Nashville for nearly two months. I’d received these invitations weekly, but hadn’t taken them seriously. Of course I wanted to go, but carving out a week of time in the middle of the semester seemed impossible. But this time—the last time she’d be asking—I was feeling impulsive. Five hours after receiving her message, I was googling the weather in Nashville, mentally preparing what to pack. I’d said “f*ck it,” pushing aside my responsibilities; the mental reprieve was a bigger payoff than an A in the class I’d be blowing off. Hayle...

IT’S JUST A DREAM

On days like today I feel as if my feet are stuck in the mud and I can’t move. I have accomplished so much in the past few years with battling my depression and anxiety. I found a job that I like, a man that I love and in general, I’m feeling good. But I can’t move… Even though I love my job, I come to work every day, sit down at the same desk and stare at the same computer screen. I like knowing what to expect, but, on the other hand, I am bored out of my mind doing the same thing over and over again, every day. It’s a good job, great benefits and decent salary, but there is no surprise. This is my first real job outside of college, and I am so thankful it is with a great local company, but I’m not happy, even though I like what I’m doing. Make sense? Right now, I’m a corporate travel age...

CALIFORNIA WON’T BURN THE ATLANTIC OUT OF YOU

Everything was falling apart but I didn’t care because the flowers were beautiful. I’d never been to California. The sun was giving my upper-east-coast alabaster skin a heat rash. I was covered in these raised, red splotches, but then, the sparkles on the surface of the ocean seemed infinitely more important. Why here? Why a desolate stretch of sidewalk in southern California? I knew the answer when I left home, but the texture of life changed from one coast to the other. Now, I just want to chat with the friendly faces in line at a Malibu Starbucks, watch the alleyway photoshoots and flirt with cute Mexican boys on the bus. But this wasn’t supposed to be a vacation. It’s fun to jump into a life that’s not yours and look around. Sticking the landing has always been my problem. It’s the sum...

I’M AFRAID, TOO

  I don’t think I’m a brave person. I’m anxious, I over-analyze and spontaneity is usually reserved for late night Waffle House runs. I constantly kick myself for living my life in fear. My boyfriend and I were recently talking about how we feel were not “that outdoorsy” or “that adventurous” compared to some of the crazies we see on Instagram.  But when I really started to think about it, we are pretty outdoorsy and adventurous compared to a lot of people. I’m shocked when I run into somebody who’s lived in Colorado for a couple years and has never made it up to the mountains. I can’t believe it when someone says they’ve never camped or been to the top of a 14er, snowshoed or skied. But then, I have to back myself up. Fear is nothing to be ashamed of. Doing something new is freakin’ ...

PERFORMANCE OF A LIFETIME

As a lifelong writer and performer, I have never experienced such a powerful moment on stage or on the page as I did recently. I’d love to tell you about it – and the room where it happened. The Morris-Jumel Mansion, built in 1765, is one of those irreplaceable New York treasures that I hope everyone has heard of. New York City’s oldest house has the kind of history one might expect: an important Revolutionary War site that, through history, housed famous (and infamous) founding fathers and dignitaries, as well as being a focal point of numerous hauntings. Lin-Manuel Miranda helped put the mansion into the spotlight recently, having written a significant portion of the Broadway sensation Hamilton under its eaves, in Aaron Burr’s old bedroom. The recent PBS Hamilton documentary featured the...

LAS FALLAS FESTIVAL – AN EPIC SPANISH PYRO EXPERIENCE

  A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of going to Valencia, Spain in search of sun and looking for a quick respite from London’s cold weather. Although we were on the brink of spring, Valencia is only a 2 hour flight from London, and was only £50 round trip! So my husband and I headed for a weekend getaway looking for some much needed relaxation and delectable food. Eating is our favourite part of any holiday, so first thing Friday we headed over to the Mercado Central in search of some delicious tapas, Jamón ibérico, paella and, most importantly, cañas of beer! After a few cañas, fresh oysters, and many tapas later the chaotic market had a sudden mass exodus around 1:30pm. We had no idea what was going on, and decided to follow the crowd anyway. Unexpectedly my parents’ voice...

BE ENCOURAGED

Writing has been a struggle for me this past week, but I find it funny how the words you need find their way to you. On March 28th it’ll be 365 days since I packed my Florida apartment and hopped on a plane to New York City. I felt so intentional about my reasons for moving, but no amount of good intention can hold things together that just aren’t meant to be. Sometimes we see it as misfortune, but usually it’s our saving grace. Intentionality is great, but why not put it towards what sets our soul on fire? Probably the hardest lesson that I still struggle with. New York City shook my world. The hustle is infectious and overwhelming, but it shows you that it’s okay to jump into your life with both feet. There’s nothing to be scared of. Being here is what finally pushed me to follow my inne...

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