Adventure and Travel

LOSE YOURSELF TO FIND YOURSELF AGAIN

A walking holiday is an incredible experience for pretty much everyone. The chance to explore the great outdoors, venture off the beaten path and spend some quality time alone with your thoughts can be so therapeutic and relaxing. I often find it quite hard to switch off from my daily routines and lifestyle, so a walking holiday along the Camino Portuguese was the perfect opportunity for me to recuperate and compose myself for another busy year of hard work. I learned a number of things on my recent walking holiday on the Camino Portuguese and there were so many things that I benefitted from by embarking on the journey. Here’s what I learned on my journey. I Had Time to Breathe One of the best things about journeying along the Camino Portuguese was the chance to become at one with nature. ...

IT TOOK CHANGING CONTINENTS TO CHANGE MYSELF

I spent this summer doing nothing. Really, I want you to understand, nothing. After quitting my job in June (to the chagrin of many people in my life who viewed it as throwing away a potential career), I would sit on the couch for hours on end, feeling unable to leave the house, communicate with friends and family or interact with any humans except my boyfriend. It was a victory if I managed to drag myself to a coffee shop (usually around 3 p.m., after hours of buildup), and that was usually the extent of my excursions. I watched as bright sunny days rolled by into hot sleepless nights, marking the passage of time by which entire TV series I’d binged that week, doing absolutely nothing to prepare myself for what was to come in mid-September. I asked myself: is this the behavior of someone ...

WHY WE TRAVEL

A couple of months ago, we were having a chat with one of our CouchSurfing hosts in Turin about our world tour. When I mentioned we’d only been on the road for two months, he laughed and said, “Wow, only two months? But that’s a lot already!” That’s when it hit me. For most of us occidental folks, we’ve never been on the road that long because, well, we’re way too comfy on our sofas scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, envious of those who are doing something meaningful with their lives. Let me tell you this: as much as traveling the world looks good on social media, it isn’t all that glamorous for the rest of us, aka not-rich young people. There’s a lot to learn—be it about yourself, others, how to receive and how to give… So, why do we trave...

FINDING YOUR GOD

She stared at him from across the booth. His hair was in his eyes, making it that much harder to read him. Would this be worth her time? “So what do you think God is like?” she asked, a total shot in the dark, hoping to gain some sort of grasp as to who this stranger was. “What do you mean? Like do I think he’s some old guy in the clouds with a long ass beard?” he returned with a straight face. “Yeah. I mean, if that’s what you really think of him, sure. I guess,” she laughed. “No. I don’t think he’s like that. I think he’s more of a mystery than that. I think he likes to keep us guessing, you know? I think he’s a little bit of everything, so that we never get the chance to figure him out. I’m sure he cares about us because he took the time to create us and everything, but I think we’re al...

THE MOST POWERFUL FEELING

I love the feeling of going somewhere new for the first time. It’s a special kind of exhilaration, a sense of being alive and experiencing the world.   I’m always anxious and scared as I prepare for a new journey. The comfort zone feels so…comfortable. It’s so safe and so easy to stay there; sometimes I wonder why I would ever leave.   But then I force myself to take the leap. Suddenly, I’m on a plane and a new place is coming into focus below me. My eyes are glued to the window, my heart quickens, and I am so in awe of this world. So big, so beautiful and so different, yet similar everywhere. It’s a powerful feeling to know you can show up in a new city, country, wherever and be able to figure it out. It’s not always graceful or glamorous (in fact, in my experience, the first few days in ...

RILEY-J’S

I went out to meet up with my cousin and her husband at the local watering hole downtown. I had just put in a double in exchange for the next day off, which meant I would finally have time to go out, and I snag those chances whenever I get them with the amount of time I work, plus school full-time.  It was a great night. I count my drinks, and I was trying to obtain number three at this point.  I had left my cousin and her family to hang out with my boyfriend, so we hit up a different bar around the corner.   This bar is a great bar—my parents know the owner and bartenders. It’s got that dim, dungeon feel where you could successfully hide your side-bitch in a corner and never get caught.   I have three one dollar bills left because, when left to my own devices, I’ll have zero in my bank ac...

A LITTLE GHOST STORY FOR MODERN TIMES

Over the summer, I ventured to Canada for the first time. Two friends and I decided to explore Montreal and Quebec City, hoping for slightly cooler weather, French-style pastries, and Canada Day celebrations. We succeeded in two of the three experiences (we happened to visit during a record-breaking heat that sapped our energy and resulted in the over-consumption of gelato and iced coffee—not necessarily a horrible way to cool down).  Once we arrived, we had intended to stay in a quaint little hostel in the middle of Vieux-Montréal. After checking in and lugging our bags up multiple flights of tiny, winding stairs, we arrived in a small room on a top floor with an adorable view of the city and no air conditioning. The air sat still in the room and the three of us toppled onto the bed, our ...

HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A DISABILITY

Traveling with a disability caused by chronic illness can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. In my experience of traveling with Muscular Dystrophy (MD), doing the right type of research and proactive planning in advance can help create a comfortable, enjoyable and memorable trip. Some of the simplest outings–a date, night on the town or happy hour–can pose major problems when it comes to moving about freely with a disability. I’ve had too many experiences to not learn how to make sure the venue and overall trip will be as comfortable as possible. There are a few suggestions I want to share with those who may be unsure of how to prepare for going out for a night or overnight while living with a disability of any type or cause. Here’s my best advice: Do your research! The f...

AREN’T YOU AFRAID TO TRAVEL ALONE?

“How does your husband feel about you traveling alone?” “Why doesn’t he go with you?” “Why don’t you bring a friend?” “Aren’t you scared?” “Don’t you get lonely?” “Do you watch the news?” “But… you’re a woman. Isn’t that dangerous?” I am a wanderer. To me this means that my brain craves more than the small space I occupy can provide for me. I am not fearless, nor am I stupid. To tell you the truth, the idea of being able to stand on a glacier, see a camel in it’s natural habitat and walk through the lands of ancient history is one of the very few things that keeps me alive. To answer some of the questions that I usually like to roll my eyes at, of course my friends and family don’t love the idea of me trotting the globe solo; however, if I waited around to find someone else who shared the ...

GETTING TO CUBA

My obsession with getting to Cuba starts with my Aunt Suzanne, who unexpectedly died in the summer of 2015, which was very hard for everyone in the family. But of course, it was the hardest for her husband, Mike; they had been married for 40 plus years. We all saw how a part of him died the day Suzanne died. After Suzanne passed, Mike became more obsessed with traveling. I think the depression of losing his one true love drove him to want to do some very ambitious travel. He wasn’t well – he was sick for well over a decade, a heart transplant led to lung cancer for the 63-year-old nonsmoker. He probably should not have traveled internationally at all, so it took us all for a surprise when he told everyone we would be doing a family trip to Cuba the Christmas after Suzanne died. He wa...

THE OLIVE TREE WITHIN

With 12 weeks of vacation time to use and a bargain rental on a Spanish villa, I dug out my passport from my catch-all drawer filled with safety pins, pens and old makeup, and I dusted off the Nars Perfect Peach blush. Both of my parents had died when I was very young. My grandmother raised me, and she passed away a year ago, which left me feeling homeless.  I was an adult now at the ripe age of 32. I had a nice apartment in Tampa, Florida and a good paying job. I didn’t have a spouse or family of my own, so holidays felt particularly lonely as my family consisted of a black mini schnauzer and the occasional stray cat that I took in because we seemed to be kindred spirits. I had the vacation time saved up and it seemed to be a great time to take that European vacation that I had always dre...

SOLO TRAVEL SOUTH KOREA LIKE A PRO

You’ve dance the Gangnam Style, you’ve watched the food docos and now you are itching to visit Seoul to experience Korean culture. You want the unedited, raw octopus galore kind of holiday where you can chat to the locals and after, dazzle your friends with your stories! I’m sharing my experiences from my solo travel in the hope that it pushes your comfort boundaries a little so you can declare that you went on a genuine escapade. After all, we only live once. Memorise 1330 Before we rush off, this is something you must know. 1330 is your lifeline to everything a traveler needs during their stay in South Korea. The Korean government acknowledges the importance of their tourism industry therefore is prepared to help visitors extensively. When you are on the ground, nothing beats having a nu...

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