This Canadian girl has been blessed with 44 fabulous years so far. My 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 adventury stuff: canoeing, surfing, fishing, camping, hiking, skiing, exploring, and 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 - a sandy wasteland of scrubby cacti that cascade into the deep azul seas - a perfect chill-out place from my crazy-ass job.
But did you know that apparently after a 40th milestone birthday (read: midlife crisis) the desire to visit one really fabulous locale somewhere else in this beautiful world is beyond irresistible? So here I go. Australia was a blast, mate, the Cuban countryside amazing, and the magical lands of Peru...well magical. Just recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime journey across the wintery lands of Russia and Siberia, and camping out in a Mongolian Ger.
Next up, a fantastic adventure volunteering with an NGO, hiking some active volcanos, and learning how to sail on 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
sailing the South Pacific
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
October 13th 2011
From Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, our thirty hour train journey saw us conquer a dry Gobi desert, two highly regimented customs inspections, and an adjustment of wheels. Train travel is surprisingly comfortable, mind you, we’re in second class…I saw what they were up against in steerage. Our male attendants are assholes, having piled themselves into our carriage to chain smoke and gamble their night away. There is one inch of urine on the bathroom floors, and the hot water ran out long ago. Nonetheless, The Australians wake up in the middle of the night like kids on Christmas morn as the train approaches the indoor yards to prepare for the switch up of bogies from Chinese to Mongolian gauge. Who knew train tracks came in different sizes? Our carriage is lifted up carnival-ride high, with all of ... read more
October 7th 2011
I am in Beijing, my first experience with Asia. I have only a couple of days here before I embark on the Trans-Siberian railway. What to do first? I decide to let fate guide me. Incredibly, fate really likes sightseeing, so I saw quite a bit. Pollution hangs over the city like a curtain, leaving a chalky film in your throat. Did a volcano erupt nearby? All the vehicles are covered in a thick layer of soot, and absolutely everyone is a chain smoker. Forget that one-child policy, lung cancer may be the new population control. The forced chaos of Beijing keeps everything orderly, yet oddly uneasy - there are surveillance cameras everywhere, and just as many police. I find myself strangely vigilant, but when I realize how easy it is to navigate this city by ... read more
August 6th 2011
Whenever I don my backpack to venture elsewhere into this world, I always make sure I am an unofficial ambassador for my home. And yes, I have a Canadian flag sown proudly on everything I own. I know...gag. But seriously, British Columbia is really worth the brag. Like a true Canadian, I get teased for my positivity and wonderment, and for my happy-go-lucky way. We are all polite to a default, so I try not to say "sorry" too many times in a row, but let the occasional "Eh?" rip for the amusement of others. At first glance, most believe I'm an American. Americans however, can immediately identify I'm not, and will screech and point like they spotted an alien hiding amongst a crowd of humans...kinda like that horror movie, They Live. That's okay they think ... read more