Category Archives: adventures

These boots…

These boots were bought in China. I had trouble finding anything my size there because Chinese women apparently don’t have size 10 feet! I was laughed at when I started looking for shoes asking for my size. I broke down and bought a pair of men’s boots for the winter. I must say – these boots are the best boots!!

These boots have seen many places. They were with me while I travelled around China – to Harbin and the Ice Festival, to Shenyang, to Jilin – all trips made in the winter. These boots kept me warm for the cold Northeastern China winters!

These boots came with me to Chile. I walked many many miles in them, wandering through the streets of Santiago, up the coast of Chile, into the desert of the Atacama, and then on my way home to Canada. (Note: it is much easier to wear heavy footwear than to pack them and pay the extra charge for baggage!)

These boots have now weathered through 3 Canadian winters. They are starting to wear out but I have no desire to replace them. They are part of my travels and they will continue to be part of my travels so long as they last. These boots, like my passport, are calling out to me to start exploring again. I can hear them both, and I am answering those calls!

These boots…. are part of me.

So long 2019 – on to a better 2020!

2019 started off as a pretty great year – I jetted off to Spain, Morocco and Portugal. I had such a fantastic time and met so many amazing people – I was really looking forward to the whole year being as great as the start of the year of 2019.

Well, it has turned into a very trying year in many ways. My own personal being was okay, but it was a stressful and trying year. I am happy to say that, as the end of the year arrives, it appears to be turning around. 2020 looks like it’s going to be a much better year.

There are so many things to look forward to in my life in the upcoming year and, as I have learned this year, I will take one day at a time and look forward to what each day will bring. I am planning on a prolonged visit to SE Asia – Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand are on the list this coming year. I hope I can make it work out and I am going to try my hardest to make this happen.

I have learned to be even more patient this year, and once again I have discovered just how strong I am, and learning new things about me and my tolerance level.

I did manage to squeeze in a quick trip to Ottawa, a city in Canada that I had never seen before, and I was mesmerized by the beauty of our capital city. I hope to see more of Ottawa one day, and more of this beautiful country I live in. PEI, Northwest Territories, and even Nunavut is appealing to me. It’s on the longer bucket list of mine.

So while the year comes to an end, I look back and think of all the positive things that have happened, and reflect on the trying times, and know that I have become a stronger person because of them.

Time to let 2019 go, and head on to 2020 with my eyes wide open, my head on straight, and my dreams even bigger.

Adventures and long drives!

Today was a good day that started with breakfast with a good friend, and some shopping with her.  It was a lovely way to start the day.

I arrived home to have my parents ask me if I wanted to go to Fort Erie this afternoon for some more shopping and an early dinner. They suggested one of my favourite restaurants to go to, so I said SURE! 

As is usual these days, I got behind the wheel.  My parents got themselves situated and off we went. As we were driving, some regular chatter went on about what we were driving by, I had some back seat driving directed at me (which I politely ignored), and overall a nice drive to the stores we were heading to. 

My mum and I went into the store while my dad stayed in the car.  We went to a few stores, purchased some things (clothing and baking stuff were on my agenda today), and came back to the car.  We got in, headed to the restaurant and enjoyed a lovely dinner of fish and chips.  So far so good!  As I was getting my dad’s walker in the car, I had an inspiration to take them for a drive by the old campground that we camped at for many years.  After a quick discussion, it was decided that yes we would do that.

After about 20 minutes, we came to the road where the campground was. I was immediately asked where I was going. I replied, again politely, that this was the road we camped on.  We drove past it, to see that it was not the same as when we camped.  In fact, it does not resemble the campground at all. Rather disappointing but we had many fond memories there and we regaled them.

I decided I would continue on with the drive – I love driving so any excuse to drive is a good one for me!  We drove along the lake, they told me stories of different places we were passing, and as the time was passing, I realized I had travelled much further than I had planned, and in an area I really wasn’t familiar with.  So my thought was to start heading back towards our town, without really saying anything about not knowing where I was.  But – a ha!! – my father caught on and asked me if I knew where I was.  Good heartedly, I laughed and said of course!

He did not fall for it, and I could see him looking out the window being a bit confused.  He commented that he had no idea where we were and if I knew where I was going. My mother caught my look, and started laughing – with me? At me?  I like to think she was laughing with me – again good heartedly I said sure I do. I am not driving into the lake so I know I’m going in the right direction!   Laughter filled the car.

I got a bit concerned as I continued on, as I honestly had no idea where I was. Not a clue.  There was a sign at one corner and I didn’t recognize the name at all. Except that I had managed to drive into another county – which was not close to home.  So, in my mind, I told myself  – self, turn right at the next big road and hope for the best. So I did.  Another comment was made, asking me what the name of the road was that we were on, I waited for a highway sign, and said the highway number.  Well, Dad wanted to know more about the road, and I said I don’t know but I am pretty sure I’m going in the right direction. My mum looked over and smirked – I swear she was laughing with me but I was beginning to think she was laughing at me.  Ah well, it was okay. I continued driving for what seemed a longer time than it took to get to where we we had been – and then I saw it. A corner I recognized!  I triumphantly said see I knew where I was going all the time!  But they were on to my game – and both laughed.  And I knew then that they were both laughing at me. 

Sometimes you just need to take a guess, pick a road and GO!  You never know where it will take you. Sometimes it will take you exactly where you want to be!

Age is just a number

Today I went to a birthday party for an old neighbour – she turns 90 years old in a few days and her kids and grandchildren had a surprise party for her. It was a very lovely afternoon and I saw such a lovely combination of people there to celebrate this lovely lady’s big milestone of turning 90 years old.

It seems like such a big number – 90 years old. But when I saw this lady walking in, using a walker and then abandoning it to use her cane to go and visit her friends who had come to celebrate, I was amazed at how much vim and vigor she had in her steps and seemed excited to see all her friends and family come to share this special time.

In the back of my mind, I kept picturing myself at her age. Will I have that same lively step? Will I have that many friends to come out and celebrate with me? Will I even make it to 90? And yes, of course, that is a real possibility and I am aware of that. And that’s okay.

I will be turning 55 in 2020. I never think about my age, but as I approach the “senior” ages – which includes the bonus of senior discounts! – I am becoming more aware of my age. I have decided that there is so much to do still in my life that I am going to ignore the numbers, make sure I’m in good shape and make the most out of this life. And I have every intention of being somewhere exciting for my 55th!

Age really is just a number, and if you don’t dwell on it too much, you can do anything you want no matter your age. Traveling and working while I travel is on my mind. Sitting on a beach somewhere warm in the winter months, with a laptop with me, is definitely on my mind. I can work and travel. Lots of people do that and I am ready to do this!

Does age bother you? Or is it just a number? Have you accomplished what you wanted to for the age you are at?

Sunsets

I love travelling, and wherever I am, I always try to get at least one picture of the sunset. This is my favourite time of the day – and there is nothing more beautiful to me than a spectacular sunset that takes my breath away. Enjoy!

La Serena, Chile
Prague
Welland Ontario Canada
Lake District, Italy
Vienna, Austria
Atacama Desert, Chile
Changchun, China
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Arica, Chile
Seville, Spain

Travel memories

Back in January, I went on a holiday with Trafalgar Tours to Spain, Morocco and Portugal. I was looking at my pictures I took the other day and realized I had never blogged about my trip!

Madrid airport

My trip began in Madrid. What a beautiful city! I was told that Spain in January can be cool and rainy – well I lucked out. All but one day was sunny and beautiful! Madrid is a city full of history and amazing architecture. And the food! It was all so delicious – and I even tried olives and liked some!

Beautiful morning in Madrid

Segovia was one of the stops on the tour. Absolutely stunning. The scenery took my breath away.

The aqueducts of Segovia

We headed south towards the Mediterranean and ended in Costa del Sol – Torremolinos. The sea, the beaches – this was paradise. If only we could have stayed another night.

This view

From Costa del Sol, we got on to the ferry and headed into Morocco. Morocco touched an array of senses – the smells, the noisiness of the medinas, the sights to see. It was something special to see!

The Medina

Morocco was amazing to see, but I was missing Spain and was excited to be heading back, on to Seville. The flamenco dancers! The food! The wine! I loved Seville – of all the places we visited, Seville was my favourite. It reminded me, in ways, of Prague. I would love to go back to Seville!

From Seville, we headed to Lisbon. Portugal is another beautiful country – I have yet to see a country in Europe that is NOT beautiful!

Our trip ended up back in Madrid. I saw so many things, and tried many new foods, and met some amazing people. It was definitely a trip I will remember forever. Trafalgar Tours once again did a stupendous job. I cannot recommend this company enough.

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?