Hello Stumblers!

Hello stumblers! Welcome to my page, as an addict I welcome you and ask you to "like" the page!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Canadian Road Trip

Many years ago, like way back in 2001, my parents decided to be brave and shove 2 kids, a tent, camping supplies and a lot of in-car games in a van and drive from Northern Ontario to the west-most point in Canada, Tofino B.C.

There wan't really a plan, we had one due date and it was that we needed to be in Calgary on a specific date to meet my uncle during his week off work.

We followed the Trans Canada Highway not knowing where we were going to spend the night and what we were going to see. Through Ontario there wasn't too much to see, since most of the Ontario sights are down in the southern part of the province.

Ontario took us three days to get through, and the only place where we decided to be tourist-y was in Wawa where we saw the Terry Fox memorial and the Giant Goose.

In Manitoba we stopped at the first information station to ask what there is to see on highway 1...

Although Ontario took us three days to get through, we only spent one night in Manitoba, we hit Saskatchewan

I don't quite remember, I remember one of my favorite things was the Al Capone bootlegging tunnels in Moose Jaw, there were two tours and I was happy to do both, the first one was more educational. The first guide took us through the tunnels and talked about the Chinese who were exploited to make the coast to coast railroad. The second one was my favorite which was the Al Capone bootleg part of the tunnels.

When things got too hot in Chicago, Al Capone would come hide out in Moose Jaw, he built the tunnels to be able too move moonshine from place to place without getting caught, the tour was a mini play where we were part of the cast learning how to work as a bootlegger for Al Capone.

From what I remember we actually spent the night in Jasper... or was it in Jasper where we couldn't stay because we were in a tent and there were bear. Either way we visited Jasper National Park, which is quite beautiful.

For those who know Canada we are now hitting Alberta, we visited the huge tipi in Medicine Hat. That is about it until we hit Calgary where we meet up with the rest of the family, we spent a few days there. We visited Callaway Park, an attraction park with rides and what not, we went to the Calgary zoo. We got lucky that we got there during the Calgary Stampede, it was hot as sin but we made it through. Other than the random things around the grounds of the stampede we were able to watch the chuck wagon races.

We had the chance of having a neighbor who's dad owns a farm with cattle out in the outskirts of Calgary, he gave us a tour of his giant farm and we got to play with calves and horses, as well as see the process they go though before they're even thought as for food.

I will continue this family adventure later!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

Sorry for the hiatus but it was exam time and holiday time so I was quite busy with the hubble bubble of that.

I hope everyone had a great time this Holiday season, and I wish you have a happy new year. As my first post of the new year I've decided to share with you three trips that will be happening this year (2 of the 3 for sure).

In March, my sister, my mom, my aunt and I are going down to Toronto to see Lady Gaga in concert. I know it's not an extreme trip but it will still be and adventure. The concert is  March 3rd so we will probably be seeing the sites in Toronto, because you know what they say you know they say about  traveler; you know the least about the country you live in. I lived a big part of my life less than an hour away from Toronto and have never seen the CN tower up close, so we will be doing that, and hopefully some shopping too.

In May and June I will be almost half-way around the world in Nepal. In this completely foreign country where I know no one and only one member of my family has visited. I will be in Nepal for almost 2 months. Most of my time will be spend volunteering as a physiotherapist  for a month and a half and than an extra week or so to travel about in the country and hopefully on of the ones beside it, that aren't India or China because I want more time for those which a week in the areas around Nepal would not quench my travel thirst for those countries.  When I go I have a few goals, that is to ride an elephant and see Everest. I am so exited and scared for this one and it's getting closer and closer every time. I am also exited to celebrate my birthday in another country, mostly that Nepaleese birthday celebrations for adults is unclear, for children they place colourful rice on their forehead for luck... that I am not really looking forward to.

This third trip is not for certain yet but the 3 girls in the family are all for, we just have to get my dad to agree. We are planning to go somewhere hot with great beaches for Christmas this year. My mom and I are leaning towards Aruba, my sister doesn't care.

That's it for my trips of 2011, well the planned ones. As for the rest of my family they are also a bunch of travelers, my sister is going to spend a month with Hero Holidays in the Dominican Republic to build houses and make the lives of the residents easier. My parents are planing to take their new trailer to the Maritimes for a few weeks and my grandparents are going on a 30 day cruise to the Hawaii and Fiji areas.

I hope your 2011 is full of adventures and love.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Backpacking Backpack

With more trips in the way I have decided to leave my suitcase behind and start looking for good backpack for backpacking. With the information I've gathered I'm now going to share these tips with you. Mostly now that I've learned that a simple school bag won't do. Like 3 countries in 6 days across Europe, just saying not the most enjoyable.

From what I knew from my education, I am kinesiology major, which means that i know a lot about the human body and ergonomics. I can alway tell you to reduce the weight from your shoulders with straps at the waist and the bust, if there are some with the lumbar bump it's even better this will help distribute the weight and will make it less painful. Remember that any time you increase the weight of the pack over 30% of your body weight it changes your walk which really isn't good for you. From what I know this is what I found:

As I have said you want to make sure the weight is distributed all over, and it's better on the hips.

Make sure everything is adjustable, from the  shoulder, bust and hip straps to the backpack's pouches itself.

Don't be cheap, look for good seaming, strong fabrics, well made zipper etc. Because if you go cheap, your backpack will break and you will have to spend more money one a new one instead of just getting a good one.

Try it on at the store to make sure it fits, if the shop assistants are nice you could probably ask if you can stuff the pack with stuff to see how it fells stuffed.

You don't need a huge backpack, you should be okay with a maximum of 6000 cubic inches of space.

Make sure you get a backpack for the type of backpacking you're doing, if you plan on camping on your travels you can get the ones with the loops at the bottom for a mattress but if you don't plan to use it to go camping you don't need these.

Don't go for a fully loaded model, the extra pockets, straps, zippers, elastics or whatever it may be just adds weight and gives you more places to misplace your stuff, you don't know how many times this has happened to me. Plus chances of these extras breaking are just so much greater and may cheat you of space in your pack.

Make sure it's waterproof or has a bag to put on the top of it because no one wants their stuff to get wet when they're trekking.

These are just guidelines but I hope they help. Now to face the world and find the pack to do it. Good luck to you on your adventures and until I share my next adventure.

It's Christmas morning and I got my back pack (yay!) I followed all the steps, I'm making sure i can fit everything I might need in it and I adjusted all the straps accordingly (FYI it's a 50L ASOLO, all it needs is a few Canadian flags and i'm good to go)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Road Tip Tips

With the upcoming holiday season I know many people will be traveling somewhere out of town some further than others so i thought I would post some travel tips for those of you planing a road trip.

1. Get the oil changed and your fluids checked before you leave.
2. Go with someone you love. Or like. A lot. (mostly if you are going for a long one)
3. Take turns driving
4. Bring your own music (and a variety because you may have different tastes in music)
5. Bring sunglasses and sunscreen (you do not want that embarrassing diver's tan where just one arm is burn)
6. Avoid stupid traffic tickets (know the driving laws of the places you're visiting before going)
7. Bring your own food and drinks (you never know how far it is between the next rest stop and it can get expensive and unhealthy)
8. Bring garbage bags (if not the car get out of control and into a pig sty)
9. Get gas before you're empty (again you never know how close or far the next station is going to be, or if it's in the middle of no where it's going to cost an arm and a leg)
10. Use the bathroom every time you stop (pretty obvious)
11. MEN let the woman pee!!
12. Plan time for unexpected stop (mostly when you see something cool on the side of the road, or the time it takes to find a place to sleep)
13. Sleep (for your sake and all the drivers on the road please sleep, it's safer that way)
14. Avoid rush hour traffic (it's a waste of time and will only piss you off)
15. Bring a map (not a just a GPS because chances are it might be wrong or the batteries might die)
16. If you travel with kids bring them something to do (there is nothing worse in a car than bored kids)
17. Wear slip-on shoes (if anyone spends time in a car, unless they're driving and than you have to put them back on every time you stop and that's just a pain)
18. Have Fun

Road trips are supposed to rule and be full of memories that are unexpected you can plan your route but not your activities, those are the ones you will remember. On our next adventure I will be telling you about my family's road trip to the furthest point west in Canada, a 28 day camping road trip so stay tuned for that adventure.

Have your own great adventure this holiday!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Packing... packing... packing

One thing I have learned from my travels is how to pack, what to pack and what I don't need to pack, today I share my wisdom with you.  I would hope I know how to pack since I packed for a 6 day, 3 country tour in a school bag and didn't find myself in need of anything.

The generic stuff you need to pack is:
- Shirts (I go for 3/4 of the length of my trip, shirts can be easily washed in a sink and re-worn)
- Pants (1/2 of the length of the trip so 3 pairs for a 6 day trip)
- underwear (if you get them quick dry and easily compressible you can bring less)
- swimsuit (can also be used as an extra pair of undies)
- a dressy outfit (for girls a skirt or dress and for boys nice pants and either a dress shirt and polo)
- small but warm sweater
- a scarf of some kind (multi-use, blanket, scarf, head wrap, towel)

if you're staying in one hotel or a bus I suggest your bring a small backpack to use as a day pack... you can also use it as a carry-on bag

More random stuff that's often forgotten but almost always useful:
- Flashlight
- sewing kit
- Plastic baggies
- elastics/rubber bands
- baby wipes (for those times on a night train or plane where you need to feel clean, or a hotel that doesn't offer towels)
- tape of any kind
- flash drive
- gum (except in Singapore)
- door stop
- instant stain remover

for bathroom essentials:
- toothbrush and paste
- shaving stuff
- hair brush
- shampoo/conditioner (if you get 2 in one it's a space saver)
- soap
- condoms
- sunscreen

other things you may want to consider depending on the places you are going:
- detergent
- rope
- menstrual products (mostly if you are going off the beaten path)
- ear plugs and eye mask

I always bring my travel journal with all my information, allergies, blood type, address emergency contacts, schedule, and to write the details of my tips.

Paper work wise:
- passport
- visa
- money
- driver's licence
- health card
all of these with copies with me and at home

If you are brining electronics you have to remember all the accessories
- memory card
- chargers
- download cable
- adapters

I hope this made your life a bit easier. I found this list on the internet and it really helps.
Also for the fun test your traveler IQ on this link.

Until the next adventure!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Australia 2005 part 3

On the third par of the journey we took a flight to Port Douglas where we rented an apartment for a week, just a two minute walk from the beach. The funny thing to us was that the complex was called "Nimrod" apartments which our Aussie family didn't find as funny, but I guess that's the way it is.

We got to visit the gorgeous beaches of north-eastern Australia. Going one way we didn't know why this perfect little path wasn't very traveled, but we used it anyways, on the way back on the path we used to go one way there was a "beware of salt water crocodiles" sign... needless to say we used another path because salt water crocodiles are some of the most dangerous animals on earth, the are also very persistent. While on the beach we got to go swimming in the ocean and we checked out some guys learning to kite surf, which is incredible to watch and made me want to learn one day.

The next day we ordered a seafood plater before heading off on our snorkeling ride. The platter included crab, lobster, oysters, clams, and some kind of raw fish. We joined the quick silver catamaran to go out to the great barrier reef to snorkel. It was such a great feeling, the fish we say the coral, the beauty of everything, it was mesmerizing. It literally felt like the colours were fake they were so bright and gorgeous. Of course being in Australia where anything can kill you we had to watch out for jellies but no one had problems with this. We got back to shore go in the car we rented, which was entertaining because they drive on the right and nearly every time my dad when to put his turning signal on he would put the windshield whippers on instead. Either way, we pick up the tray and brought it back to our apartment, we were so hungry and it looked so delicious we ended up eating standing around the corner until there were only the pickled oysters left (yuck).

Next we visited the Australian bird sanctuary, they had bird from every corner of Australia. We got to learn about the Cassuary a bird that's comparable in size and shape to the emu but with a giant claw on the middle toe which they use as a weapon and have killed humans before. A funny story that keeps getting shared withing the family about the sanctuary is that when we went out into the emu habitat, one charged at us and stopped at out toes to get some of the bird food we had, it was really scary because those are huge birds with sharp beaks and they run flipping fast!

We next joined a tour groups which lead us all over the corner of the land down under. The guide took us to see the rain forest where he scared the bejesus out of us by showing us all the dangerous things in the jungle, and thrust me there are A LOT, "this leaf can kill you... that butterfly can kill you... shh, I hear a cassuary... it can kill you... this is a good place to swim because we can see the bottom and further down... there are crocodiles they can kill you..."  I think you get the picture. The swimming was really wonderful because there were tea leaf trees lining the creek, which was clear as glass, and it made your skin super soft.

with out guide we went on a river boat cruise to see crocodiles and got some information about those creatures as well as good laughs because of the captain who would like to point out the buddy system, "If we sink, take a buddy and shove him towards the crocodile than swim really really fast... Parents, please do the same with your children"

We finished that day at a beach with our tour guide who freak out when he saw what one of the kids who was with us picked up, thankfully it was empty but apparently this shell that was no longer than 10cm would contain a little crab, who's method of defense was to sting the predator, the predator would than be instantaneously be paralyzed and the only way to keep them alive until the ambulance came would be to do CPR, same with box jelly fish.

We then flew back to Sydney to spend a bit more time with the family before we came back to Canada because we wouldn't see them for another 5 years.

Until the next adventure!

1- our rented car in font of "Nimrod apartments" because I can't make this stuff up. 2- my sister and I at the beach with a wind surfer in the background 3- a cassuary 4- the emu that attacked us.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Australia 2005 part 2

On the second leg of our journey we embarked on a bus tour of the red center starting in Alice Springs. How the tour worked is we stayed at a hotel for a night and the mini-bus would come to pick us up in the morning. Well we stayed at a backpacker's "resort". Resort was a stretch because it was disgusting. The beds were so gross we slept on top of the covers with our pants tucked into our socks, there was a 2 inch crack under the door the window wouldn't shut, the shower leaked... at least there was pressure. The barbecue was delicious but we had to clean the dishes and the uncleaned dishes would just get scrapped clean by the gunky hands of a biker guy.

We were happy to get on the bus in the morning. The plan was to visit the whole center followed by our awesome guide... I think his name is Mike. Either way we visited all the great sites there are to see in this province. We visited the Olgas the rock formation across for the famous Ayer rock, also known as Uluru. We got to see the sunset on the mountain, which is unbelievable. If you turn around and turn back every few minutes you get to see a magnificent change of colour on the originally orange rock. During the sunset we got to see it go from deep red to a dark purple and everything in between it was glorious. The following day we climbed Ayers rock. Many people in the group didn't because of religious reasons on the side of the aboriginals who find the rock sacred. The climb took us less time than the climb down because of the incline of the hill we had to be very careful because the only "safely measure" is this knee high chain. It was an accomplishment to get to the top and we were so proud.

The tour was one where we slept in pre-made tents, we also had to help with supper and clean up but it worked out great because we got to talk to the people in the group who were from all around the world. There were americans, germans, aussies, and kiwis.

We visited this gorgeous oasis called the garden of Eden, which was hidden within this canyon. I can't remember exactly where we went but we did a lot of hiking and we were very lucky that we went on this adventure in the aussie winter because it was perfect weather for hiking. Their summer would have reached 40degres which would have been way too hot for a good time of climbing.

While in the center we got to visit an aboriginal village and got to learn about their culture as well as their crafts.

I recommend to anyone who is planning to visit Australia at anytime to take one of these tours, you can do one like we did where you're on a mini-bus or you can be on a big greyhound/coach style bus while staying in lush hotels the whole way.

Until the last leg and until the next adventure!

The picture I posted: 1. my sister and I in front of Uluru, 2. climbing down Uluru, 3. our mini-bus. 4. do you see the crocodile? one of the rock formations we saw while on our hikes, 4. the changes of colour of Uluru it gets even darker but I can only fit 4 pictures here