This Canadian girl's passion for travel comes from two very adventurous parents...my brother and I spent most of our youth traveling all over North America in the family campervan, airplane & boat - going as far north as Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Sea...and as far south as Mexico and beyond - doing lots of adventurey stuff...canoeing, surfing, fishing, camping, hiking, skiing, exploring, jellyfish poking...it was the best childhood ever!
Nowadays, most of my vacay-time is spent in and around "Los Cabos" on the tip of beautiful Baja California Sur, Mexico. A sandy wasteland of scrubby cacti that cascades into the deep azul seas. A perfect chill-out locale from my crazy-ass job.
But did you know, that after a milestone birthday, the desire to visit one really fabulous locale somewhere else in this beautiful world is beyond irresistible? So off I went. Australia was a blast, mate, the Cuban countryside amazing, and the magical lands of Peru...well magical. My last trip was a once-in-a-lifetime journey across the wintery lands of Russia and Siberia, and camping out in a Mongolian Ger. Next up, a stopover in Africa before I embark on a series of fantastic volunteering gigs, hiking some active volcanos, and learning to sail the south seas.
...oh, and there is no way I can keep it all to myself anymore...I must blog!
I never wanted to travel, and now I’ve been all over the shop, I don’t know if it’s changed me that much, really. I mean when I go home I still like a biscuit and a cup o tea. I’m well happy. Cause, you can be into travelling but the world’s only so big, innit. So, eventually you’re going to run out of places to visit. Where as biscuits, there's loads of them – Karl Pilkington - An Idiot Abroad
November 1st 2013
To a mere bystander, Day of the Dead sounds rather ominous. But here in Mexico, this particular day is a celebration of life, through death. As the entire region prepares for Días de Los Muertos, streets and homes are spruced up, markets bustle with activity, the stalls are decorated with colourful symbolisms of death, everything from those beautiful Juan Torres sculptures, to marzipan bones, to little skulls made of sugar. Flower stands overflow with cempasúchsil, the orange marigold with a scent and colour so intense, the Aztecs used it because they believed it would guide their beloved ones back to their homes and alters. Up the bump street, my nose catches another drifting scent, the intoxication of freshly baked bread fills the air. On offer at the local Panaderia, the delicious Pan de Muerto, a heavy ... read more
October 10th 2013
Autumn is by far my favourite time of year in British Columbia, especially in the Spallumcheen, a township that teeters precariously on the most Northerly point of the sunny Okanagan. My family's vineyard is located in this wine growing region, and come late September, a certain crispness lingers in the air. While trees throw out handfuls of painted leaves to be twirled by the afternoon gusts, the urgency of our impending harvest is signified by the cast of longer sun shadows. One of the hardest things is the wait, the wait for optimum ripeness. We eagerly check our Brix level while we do battle with a multitude of critters…all whom want to eat said grapes. Hitchcock-like flocks of birds swoop in, while swarms of drunken wasps buzz haphazardly around your person. Black bears sashay by as ... read more
May 20th 2013
That particular William S. Burroughs quote sticks into me like a thorn. I'm at a crossroads in my life, and I don't know what to do. Weird dreams plague me as of late, vivid I picture a withered man sitting alone in the shadows of a Tangiers cafe in the sweltering stink of the midday. His playful old eyes gleam as I approach. For some reason, he's privy to my destiny. This causes me strong intrigue, so I ask if I can join him and we spend the afternoon chatting about this and that, mesmerized am I by the swirl of his brilliance as it pours from the top of his head like smoke off a corncob pipe. I sip burnt espresso from my minuscule cup with pleasure. Behind him, veiled women drift down the cool ... read more
September 23rd 2012
I'll be honest with you I don't make a very good crisis volunteer. When disaster strikes, I get this overpowering urge to morf into Shaggy and exclaim dramatically, “Like, let’s get outta here Scoob!!” But I don't. I stick around. I see awful things. I help. It's just who I am. I suspect I'm not the only person that winces at the slightest sight of suffering humanity. Rather than get your hands dirty, it is easier to throw some money at it, or avoid those unpleasant situations altogether. As usual I was minding my own business in Los Cabos when something cataclysmic happened...it rained. And not that run-of-the-mill hurricane rain either. No, this was biblical. Where the hell did I park the Arc? Just as a beautiful lotus flower prepares for spectacular bloom, the Baja deserts ... read more
August 23rd 2012
My father has been a nomad for as long as I can remember...only to be domesticated somewhat by my mother when my brother and I arrived back in the late sixties. Once you meet him it doesn't take a genius to figure out that he needs to be in forward motion at all times. My mum, the clever girl she is, bought him a ride-on lawnmower....and that seemed to keep him in check. Dad, aka "the Bud" has lived the equivalent of 16 lives...and has no intention of letting old age get him. After a lifetime of flying all sorts of planes & jumping from them, racing anything with wheels, ice road trucking the Arctic, outfitting horses through the deep B.C. mountains, surfing the big waves in Oahu, chasing fish the entire coastal Pacific, terrorizing the ... read more
February 11th 2012
Unfortunately, a severe lack of vitamin D does strange things to your sensibilities. Why else would I leave the safety of my beloved homeland twice a year to voluntarily fly into a country plagued with corruption and horrific violence...all in the name of getting some sunshine? Hello, my name is Andrea and I am a climate refugee. Climate refugee: one who has been forced to leave his/her native place due to climate change, a phenomenon known as forced migration... Well okay, I'm not exactly forced....but I am also not alone. In 2011, 600,000+ Canadians just like me flocked to Mexico to get relief from our ridiculous winter weather. I guess the risk of being randomly assassinated at the local frutas y venturas is minuscule compared to the perils of going absolutely bonkers from lack of sunlight. ... read more
January 29th 2012
Happy 145th Birthday Canada! The mountains of British Columbia got a bumper crop of snow this year. Global warming? Well perhaps, the Old Timers chime it's the most they've ever seen, ever. Um, hello...Ice Age? Anyways, it got me thinking about my own love/hate relationship with snow. Some may not be aware, but one of the pre-requisites for being a Canadian is we must mandatorily embrace snow. All my life, I've done my best to meet this requirement - I'm a pretty good skier, I like flavoured snow cones, I can skate circles on a frozen pond, inner tube a hill like it's nobody's business, and I can snowshoe. But somehow as you get older, snow becomes a liability. Canadians my age tackle winter with an impetulant seriosity. A necessary evil. No way around it, no ... read more
November 13th 2011
This is going to be my most serious of blogs. Well, not really. But after three weeks in Russia, I feel the need to be overly stern and abrupt with people. Mother Russia may have inadvertently produced several generations of reproachable Bolsheviks. Not that that is a bad thing. As it turns out, there is something really liberating about being miserable. I just assumed their general bad attitude came from being forced to use that grey sandpaper they call toilet tissue. But as explained, Russians simply wear their genuine emotions on their sleeves. It's refreshingly honest. Why would you smile if you are forced to slog through muddy streets or snow drifts at minus 30. And why not yell at a customer if you've been on your feet for 16 hours. Still, it's a complete shock ... read more
October 28th 2011
What the hell time is it anyways. See, the Trans Siberian Railway runs on Moscow time but depending where you are on the route, it can be Moscow time plus (up to) another seven hours. Confusing? Damn right. As you cross multi-time zones heading east or west, it doesn’t matter how vigilant you are, you lose track of time. The Australians all erupt into a lively debate of what time it is, really. To add to the confusion, all the stations along the system have their clocks set to Moscow time, so local time is allusive. We spend an extraordinary time guessing and consulting the train schedule. We are wrong constantly. The clock at the Irkutsk station says noon, but it is pitch dark out, so it can't be noon. If it is 7 hours ahead ... read more
October 20th 2011
Siberia. It’s one of those places that wakes up long before the sun has broken the horizon. The hazard of dwelling at a parallel this far north, is how drastic the length of day shortens as winter encroaches. I’m used to it, but the Australians argue amongst themselves over what time of day it is. It is almost half eight, but still pitch dark. They grumble. Then without warning someone switches on the sun, and the day officially starts. Our tour leader is a woman from Israel who doesn't speak Russian or Mongolian, or Australian for that matter. She is strict and abrupt and highly offended by us most of the time. When excessively questioned by The Australians about her past, she progressively gets more evasive. I've determined she must be a secret agent hiding out ... read more