Monthly Archives: October 2008

And the winner is:

CUBA.

Here I come…

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Travel Along the Way’s current top 10 playlist +2

Hi everybody! I’ve said many times before that I love music almost as much as I love traveling. I spend my down times listening to music while traveling. Currently on my high rotation on my IPOD Nano are:

  1.  Tokio Hotel – A young German band that released an English record back in March (?) here in Canada and is taking the world by storm. I’ve been hearing alot about them and decide to pick up their record. I am so glad I did.
  2. Automatic Love letters – Great voice on this girl. A little emo rock sound. Hush is by far my favorite song of theirs.
  3. The Arkells – I was given this digital sample card from a friend of mine.  I have been listening to that song no stop. Their album drops soon.
  4. Beyonce – While not a huge fan of her type of music I am really liking Single Ladies and If I was boy.
  5. Jason Mraz – another recommendation from a friend.
  6. Lady Gaga – what can I say the songs are catchy.
  7. Gavin Degraw – Always liked him.
  8. Neyo – A very talented man. I was a little too excited when I found out he worked with my childhood favorite band.
  9. Buckcherry- Crazy bitch is one of my pump up songs. Always gets me excited.
  10. Billy Talent – Good home grown band.
  11. All time Low- Another catchy “emo”/punk/rock call it what you want band. Remembering Sunday features Juliette Sims from Automatic LoveLetters.
  12. Weezer – I was just informed these guys did not break up/got back together recently much to my ears enjoyment.

Always up for playlist suggestions. What’s yours?

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Top 10 Travel tips of the Week: Week 6

I hope that all my fellow Canadian’s had a good Turkey day last week, and to my American friends yours’ will be soon. I’ll be honest I haven’t given this weeks tips much thought other then my first tip. So it’s a bit by the seat of my pants today.

 

  1. Don’t wear belts, metal studded jewelry/clothing on the plane. You’ll have to take them off during security check. In the long run it’s just easier to not wear them.
  2. Some airports like LHR and London Gatwick still makes you take off your shoes for screening. Wearing easy to slip on and off shoes cuts down on time spent at security.
  3. Toiletries are screen separately from your carry on bag at  some airports (once again the London airports) make sure your clear plastic bag that follow current airline rules in pack on top or in an outside pocket so it can be taken out quickly. Don’t forget to pick it up with the rest of your stuff after the screening.
  4. If you’re traveling alone and want to meet people try staying in a hostel and booking a dorm room. You’ll meet plenty of like minded people.
  5. Write your postcards and letters on your first night that way there is a better chance they’ll beat you home.
  6. Keep a journal/scrapbook to write down the little minute details that make a trip but you might not remember a few years down.
  7. Bring a keychain flash light. Comes in handy a lot.
  8. Chances are you’ll get plenty of male attention while traveling no matter where you go. Ignore the cat calls and move on. If you feel like you are being followed by someone walk into a shop or restaurant until they leave.
  9. Ask someone under the age of 25 for directions if you are in a country whose native language is not English. There is a good chance they study it in school and will be able to help you a little.
  10. When in Rome do as the Romans do.
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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Be safe!

 

What are you thankful for this year?

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Travel Tips of the Week: Week 5

Hi Everyone! Travel tips are a little early this week as tomorrow is the Canadian Thanksgiving.  This year will be a quite dinner with the immediate family. Normally Thanksgiving dinner involves at least my parents, my brother, and two of my aunt and uncle and two of my 20 cousins. Last years thanksgiving there was twelve people for dinner. I often joke my family is like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, but just Irish, bigger and louder. However this year they’re all going home to Montreal and no one is coming up from Montreal. It will be interesting to see what a small family dinner will be like.

 

  1. When doing a multi country/culture tour start off in the country closest to your own the move through them so you end in the country or culture most different from your own. This lessens culture shock as you slowly adjust to different countries and cultures.
  2. Download/Photocopy/cutout only the important useful part of the guide book instead dragging the entire book with you.
  3. Outside of Amsterdam, travel and drugs don’t mix. In some countries it can lead to death.
  4. Search the internet everyday for bargain airfare. Be prepared to book on the stop (after reading the fine print first, and if the price is still good after you factor taxes and other fees) as the fare much not be available tomorrow or even two hours from now.
  5. Avoid traveling on major travel days i.e. the day before and after any major holiday
  6. I don’t often travel with someone as I like to go where ever the wind takes me when ever it takes me which is difficult when you have someone tagging along with you. However just because you are traveling with someone doesn’t mean you have to spent 24/7 with them. Go off on your own for a bit, go see the things you want to see the meet up later for joint-sightseeing or dinner.
  7. If you want things to be like it is at home then stay home.
  8. When looking for deals on airfare looks at alternative airports near your destinations and departure area.
  9. Pack your bags before the last minute panics set in so you are not to forget. Double check before you leave you have everything especially the important things – passport, tickets, money etc.
  10. Get your passport even if you’re not planning to take a trip anytime soon. You never know when a great opportunity pops up or you have to travel.

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5 Toilet Tips Article by: Gizelle Lau, TripAtlas.com

I read this article called 5 Toilet Tips written by Gizelle Lau on Yahoo today. I thought it had some great suggestions and reccomends a new travel website that I had yet to hear of called TripAtlas.com I look forward to giving it a lookys.

Here is the link to the article http://ca.travel.yahoo.com/guides/Other/469/5-toilet-tipshow-to-pee-all-over-the-world

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Travel Gear I want to try: Travel Planner by Ryland, Peters and Small

Travel Planner by Ryland, Peters and Small ISBN 1-84597-193-0 bought at Halmark but can be found on http://www.amazon.com US $ 19.95 CAN $29.95

Before I started doing any major travel I always went into the local Halmark store and looked at journals. I always came across this tabbed sectioned, cloth binding with elastic closure band and handy pockets travel journal. I never bought it before because  I would always justify not buying it because I never know when I would get to travel. But not that I travel and travel a lot buying this is a little symbolic.

It is split into  four sections: Planning, Trip Records, Scrapbook, and Photo Album. It more of an interactive journal then a travel planner. Even though it has plenty of pages it more design to be used for a single trip and judging by the personal information page it’s has couples in mind.

When traveling I normally use a lined journal and put all my planning information, journal, scrapbook ect there (will have my own travel planner on line soon to for you to download), but I look forward to giving this a try. It seems durable and a good memento to be kept for years to come.

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No closer to a decision

It’s my brother’s 31st birthday today. I am sitting here before having to leave for work. I am still no closer to deciding where I want to go during my extra vacation time. I am really in loved with the idea to go back to Venice, maybe visit Verona and Pisa while I am there. Two places I want to visit but yet to have gotten a chance to in my other two trips to Italy. However at the same time  I had this extra time where I could be using the tick another Continent of my list.

 

 

Hum what to do to do what to do…..

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Autobiography of a once nervous traveler. Part I

My father was an airplane mechanic for Air Canada. My mother was a stay at home mom until I was five, when she went back to work. I was born and lived in Montreal until I was seven years old. My father was injured and then later developed a disease of the spine and was no longer able to work. My mother who although was a high school graduate spoke no French and was unable to get a decent paying job aside from a fast food restaurant. A decision was made, and my parents, my brother seven years my senior and I moved to Ontario.

 

          While my father worked for Air Canada, he would often travel for his job. One note able occasion was when he was working on a new aircraft that was being launched and had to live and work in Vancouver for a while, while my mother, brother and I stayed behind in Montreal when I was three. We came to visit. A benefit for working for Air Canada was that your family had free travel – but on stand by.

 

          After 3 missed flights we finally were able to board a plane. At the time, I was supposedly potty trained so my mom never thought to put a diaper on me. Well as the story goes – a story told many times, especially when I bring a new boyfriend home – I peed on the seat to my mother embarrassment. After landing and refueling in Vancouver the plane would become an international flight. I want to say, if you were on an international flight leaving from Vancouver in the winter of 1987 and the seat felt damp; I’m sorry. Mom insisted aside from the peeing instantiate my brother and I were good flyers. She was also quick to add that she had “drugged” us both with Gravol.  

 

          From then on, when the family budget allowed we traveled as family on short vacations. Usually to visit relatives in other cities or the occasional trip back home to Montreal.  Since Mom was the sole provider of the family, money was always tight. Although I’ll admit for a kid who came from a low income family I was pretty spoiled and my parents made sure we never knew how tight money was around the house.

 

          We lived in the newer “rich” end of the town and growing up and making friends there wasn’t easy. I was a shy, imaginative, and a weird kid who lived in her own head who spent her time dreaming of far away lands. I was also poorer then most of the other students, when I first moved I had a Quebecois accent and most importantly I had a stuttered. A real bad one. It was fair to say I was an easy target and was bullied tremendously at every chance.

 

          Being bullied growing up really effected me. It took an already timid child and turns her into an even more timid child scared to do anything to risk being made fun of even more. After years of speech therapy my stuttered was now triggered when I was nervous or tired.  I was nervous and tired all the time. In later years of elementary school the bulling died down to only occasional jokes at my expense and I started to make new friends.

 

          As a group of friends we were really dependant on each other. We never did anything on our own. We swore up and down never to part. High school came, and so did new friends. As teenagers you’re friends are your life and you are unable to see past anything beyond your little group. It’s amazing how dependant on other people you are when you are a teen.

 

          My first trip without any parents (if you don’t include chaperones) came as a graduation trip with my grade 8 class to Ottawa. I knew right then I wanted to spend the rest of my life traveling! It was three days spent being escorted to and from Ottawa’s many sights and museums. Constance and I wanted to be the first people signed up for the trip. The night before we needed to be at school to for six am to sign up we slept over at her house. She lived the closes to our school. At four-thirty AM the next morning she woke me up, flinging the lights on and would have dressed me herself if I didn’t start getting ready. By five Am we were standing at the doors, freezing waiting until the teachers open the door and let us sign up for the trip.

 

            In Grade 9, my parents sent me to Calgary by myself in between Christmas and New Years to visit my Uncle and Aunt and my cousins. My father took me to the airport with Airlink. My father doubted my navigational abilities and knew better that I would be too scared to navigate Lester B. Persons Airport terminals on my own and had arrange for a Canada 3000 (folded after the September 11th terrorist attacks) employee to escort me to my flight. 

 

          By grade 11, I hadn’t gotten a chance to travel much or at all since getting home from Calgary and spending that New Years in Niagara Falls. My shyness and nervousness had gotten worst over the years even though I was no longer bullied; I had plenty of friends and developed some self confidence. I had started getting panic attacks. My first one was when I needed to deliver a speech on Domestic Violence in Peer Leadership class.

 

          At the end of the semester I decided I needed a change. At the time I didn’t know what I was having had a name or that it was a real thing not something in my head. I transferred schools. For the first time since I was stopped bullied and made friends I was on my own. I knew no one there. I sat in the back of the class, I talked to no one and no one talked to me. I was lonely and depression had set in. My panic attacks were getting worst but only any time I took a bus. The sight of a bus my heart started pounding, I couldn’t breathe, tears started to flow inconsolably. As it got worst I stopped taking the bus. Since my new school was a twenty-minute drive and no one to drive me I stopped going to school. By April I begged my parents to let me go back to my old school the same way I begged them to let me go to the knew school.

 

          When I started school again the next September, my depression and panic attacks were still running ramped. I spent countless hours in my room dreaming of far away places I rather be then here. When I was 18, I sought out a doctor. Not for depressions or panic attacks (I thought I was going crazy no having a medical problem) but for another problem that was causing my discomfort.  In that check up the doctor found abnormal cells and needed to send a biopsy to check to see if they were cancerous. A few weeks later I called the doctor and was relived that it was NOT CANCER!

 

          The cancer scared made me realize something. Life has the possibility to be short and you need to live it while you still can. I decided I was going to get over what ever was going on with me and I was going to do all the things I said I was going to do. Travel being the first thing on the list, and finishing school.

 

          I didn’t think of any of the logistics when planning this trip. I had been trying to save up money to travel but without much success other then a two province tour following my favorite band – The music around.  I was working at a call center that employs most of the cities residents at some point in time. Amanda, one of my old school friends that I had lost contact with over the years had started working there and she had shown me a brochure for Contiki and what we thought were amazing prices for a European tour.  I went home that night and put the deposit down.

 

          The only money I had saved was just enough to cover the deposit. Without thinking out how much it was going to cost, I went for it. I had only 6 months to save enough money for a nine day tour, plus airfare, plus passport, airport transportation, extra hotel money, and spending money, while still paying my bills and buying new clothes.

 

          When it came down to the day to go I had skimped and saved every penny I could. I put my airfare on my newly increased credit card 29 days before I was to go. I sat alone at my gate waiting for my flight; it only occurred to me a little that what I was doing might be crazy. I quickly shook the thought off.

 

          When I landed at London Gatwick Airport and took the Victoria express train did it really sink in that this trip could either be a good thing or bust. I had panic attacks at the sight of busses let alone being on the bus. Here I am thousand of miles away from home for the first time 100% alone about to take a bus tour of Europe. What was I thinking? “This was a bad idea” I told my hotel roommate Leslie.

 

          It’s funny thought. Because it wasn’t a bad idea. It was exactly what I needed. Solo travel although I took a baby step by going on a bus tour myself, is what I needed to get over my shyness, my nervousness, developed my self confidence. On the entire trip I had one small panic attack that didn’t last very long staying in a ex-prison now hotel with bars on the inside of the windows and 3 inch thick doors with number pad for a lock.

 

          The skills I learned while traveling I brought back in to my life back home.

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