Do you remember those, seemingly countless, moments through school where you wondered where you’re ever going to use this information in real life. In ninth grade I remember asking a friend where Japan was, a day before my geography exam, and them not knowing either. I did not see the value of geography and history, and very much thrived and prioritized sciences and math as I could see why those were important. If you know anything about me you know I like to travel and therefore in one sense geography has become my most used knowledge, in which almost all the knowledge was acquired post graduation. Moreover, history is something that I now go out of my way to learn more about and I can now see the significance of knowing as much as possible about it. History of my country, history of other countries and history of the world – what was done right and should continue, as well as what was done wrong and should never repeat itself. Make a mistake once, shame on that, make a mistake twice, shame on you. We must teach our children, and their children, and their children after that the history we have learned, especially the things done wrong. As they never have the chance to fix things if they’re making all the mistakes we’ve already made. The knowledge is there, the real life testing – resulting in the lives of millions is there, and the results are in. We just need to spread it. I have learned an insane amount of information through travel that I truly believe I never would have learned if I didn’t leave Canada. European history surpasses Canadian history by thousands of years, and they’ve had many more actions and reactions that we can learn from. History doesn’t need to repeat itself in order for people to step up.
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils
One of my first realizations that I knew very little about even World War history was on my trip to Budapest. I remember walking down the riverside and seeing a series of little shoes lined up all on the rivers edge. My first thought was on how cute it looked and how there were children’s shoes, and old men’s shoes, as well as dancing shoes and fancy shoes. I then made my way down all the shoes and found a plaque at the end. The shoes are a memorial of the Jews killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II. I was shook as I had no idea that Budapest was involved in the war whatsoever as the Canadian history curriculum was very limited to the Germans, the French, a little bit of Netherlands and of course the Canadian and Americans coming in to help end the war. The reality of the WORLD WAR and how everyone was affected, and how so many countries still are greatly affected is something that should not be forgotten.
My trip to Germany three weeks ago was a huge smack in the face on the repercussions of not being involved in your countries politics, as well as the insane power of manipulation and the things people will do to be on the more powerful team. Hitler was elected in, fair and square, no doubts about it. People were taught to treat other people like animals, and did everything they could to kill them with the least amount of guilt. We visited a concentration camp just north of Berlin, where we saw the grounds where thousands of people, dressed and shaved to take away their humanity and make them less personable, were beaten and killed by people who convinced themselves they were the good guys, getting rid of the bad guys. I walked through a bunker, where my feet were killing me from the dense pavement after walking around for mere hours, and realizing the reality of the lives of those that lived in the bunker for fear of their lives during the war. The bunker went through a museum called Hitler. How did it happen? As we think that with educated people in the world how could such a terrible person get into a spot of that much power. Yet it all made sense, a little charm, a little trickery and next thing you know.
Of course, not all history is as depressing as the World Wars, some are beautiful and leave behind beautiful museums, cathedrals and Castles that remain. Some history follows the fight to Women’s rights and the steps towards the end of racism and homophobia. While I still believe the world has a long way to go to have Peace, we’ve done a lot of things good, and we are learning more with every generation. Through Travel and Education and spreading the beautiful and tragic things we find in the world we can help to create a future of Peace and Sustainability for our children and grandchildren and so forth. I enjoy being a small speck in this beautiful world and I think it’s important to remember that not one of us being perfect can change things, but all of us doing little things to better the world will ultimately lead to a beautiful future!
The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill and the willingness to learn is a choice. Choose wisely my friends!
This is a classic Danish line. Much opposite to the Brits, Danes dislike ever giving the weather bad credit, as it is what it is and you simply need to adjust accordingly. I once spoke to a woman after a terribly rainy weekend and brought up the weather, naturally, as that is the main focus of my small talk. She retaliated with informing me of the importance of fresh air and told me she took her children to the beach. She simply wrapped them up and then they went and threw stones in the ocean. While that sounds lovely in theory, all I could picture was two children wrapped up in marshmallow snowsuits, having to throw the rocks in with straight arms as their arms would not bend with the amount of layers they had on. I will have to remember to take a walk to the beach next rainy day just to see if my predictions are correct, as I am certain she is not the only Danish mother doing this with her children.
Now, more to the point of this post – PACKING. The struggle to pack can sometimes have people leaving it to the very last minute then stressing as they throw insane amounts of clothes they will not wear in a bag that’s much too big for the amount of time they are spending away from home.
I have a
permanent packing list on my phone, and most of my toiletries bags are simply
travel bags ready to go – whose surprised? I find the list to be quite
universal however, with only small changes needed each time, and I’ve sent the
list to others to help them back as it covers the essentials that should not be
forgotten. Depending on the occasion and the destination some items will have
to be altered, but this should help start you out!
baggage allowance prior to packing
over 100ml in your carry on – and have all liquids in a transparent baggy
No sharps or
firearms (come on guys)
(Don’t joke around at the airport about
weather before you go and pack accordingly, winter gear will take up much more
space in your bag but remember you can wear a good amount of it on the plane to
save space in your luggage – big things being winter coat and boots.
going somewhere hot then a light sweater and one pair of averagely warm pants
should all you have for warm stuff – don’t waste your space.
going for more than a week, only pack for a week, if you’re going for more than
a month, pack for two weeks. Any amount under a week you can pack for every day
but only have one outfit per day – simply bring extra underwear and socks
under a week = pack one outfit per day only
1 week – 3 weeks = only pack a week worth of clothing
Traveling for 4 weeks + = only pack for two weeks’ worth of clothing
Passport (and Copy of Passport/drivers license)
Paperwork – visa – vaccination form (have everything printed – sorry trees, but phones die and get lost)
Phone chargers/cords (Don’t bring broken cords, buy a new one if needed)
Back up battery pack (and the charger associated with them)
Socks / underwear (don’t want to forget these – EXTRA socks if you’re hiking or if it’s cold)
Jewelry & Make Up (don’t bring anything you’re not willing to lose, and only the bare minimum)
Bathing suit (depends where you’re going but seems to be high on the forgot list for people)
Pillow (optional- If you want a plane pillow, buy before the airport)
Plane snacks (All airlines allow you to bring food and snacks on the plane – WAY CHEAPER)
Mouthwash (depending where you’re going there is not always safe water)
Hand sanitizer & baby wipes (essential – everything is dirty)
Razor (depending how long you’re going for – disposable razors are allowed in your carry on)
Hair brush and ties, oil & dry shampoo (bring what you would use on a daily basis at home)
Shampoo/conditioner (little – remember nothing over 100ml in your carry-on)
Cream (Hand, face cream, after sun cream – in different climates you may find your skin is dry)
Small first aid kit (band aids, medical cream, after bite, ibuprofen, Imodium)
Pills (vitamins, prescriptions etc. don’t forget puffers or any medication you could need)
Shoes (remember these take up tons of space – other than flip flops, so choose wisely)
Rain jacket (I have this amazing one that rolls up into nothing – couldn’t recommend it enough)
Water bottle (Fill once you’re PAST security)
Headphones (for the plane and general life)
Purse (handbag or small backpack for everyday use)
Laptop/case/cord (If needed, have it accessible as you’ll need to take it out at security)
Adapters (Know which adapters are needed for the country you’re travelling to – essential to have at least one prior to arriving, universal ones are great)
Start packing about a week before you go to give yourself time to remember things and to see what you use on a daily basis and what you don’t. Check the weather but use the wise words of the Danes and don’t get bummed out if the weather isn’t calling for all sunshine, just wear the right clothing and take whatever comes your way.
While I know most of the Danes speak of this quote quite literally I like
the think it also has a beautiful metaphorical sense that is worth remembering
for those stressful days of travelling – or simply life!
It’s not bad weather you’re just wearing the wrong clothing
Remember my beautiful friends, you must find peace with what’s happening
around you and adjust. For the things we cannot change – death or new life,
rain or snow, natural disasters or financial downfalls – sometimes in life we
have to recognize that we can change ourselves – our current form or clothing,
in order to adjust to what’s around us and make peace with it. We must
prioritize our mental health but recognize things will happen beyond our
control and once they have happened, sometimes there is nothing, but ourselves
and our clothing that we can change. Sometimes life will hit us with a hail
storm when we’re only 5 minutes into a 30 minute bike to work, but giving up
and sitting on the street will only leave us more wet.
My father showed me this song and I remember having it on my Ipod when I was 12 but writing this post made me think of it, and hearing the song again I feel like there is lots of advice in it that perhaps helped to make me who I am, and still helps me to become a better person today. I am great full for things like this that he left for me to think of all the life lessons he had for me and happy I can share it with any of you reading this.
For all you wonderful people that are following along you may have noticed I’ve
been a little missing in action the past two weeks. Don’t you worry though; it
was all research for you guys! How am I supposed to tell you about every place
in the world to travel, if I haven’t ticked them all off myself?!
Since my last post I have had the most amazing time having my friend Kelsey visit Copenhagen, then visiting Manchester where she is now living and working! We had the most amazing weather and got to explore the beauty of Manchester’s mash up of old and new architecture, and experience another one of the world’s finest accents – next to Danish of course.
THEN, two days upon my return my wonderful friend Madison made her arrival from Canada for her tourist days in Copenhagen. We then flew out to Faroe Islands, to visit the islands that have more sheep than people and not a single tree! Don’t let that paint a bad picture though because it is one of the most incredible places I have been to. Faroe Islands have the untouched feeling where people have not overtaken and the beauty of nature and its forces prevails. Made up of 18 islands, either connected by subsea roads or only accessible by boat or helicopter, makes this place appeal to nature lovers alike. A perfect blend of mountains and ocean make up these islands and they will make you never want to leave.
NOW, while I’m happy taking up anyone’s request to join them on a getaway, for lots of you out there, there’s a little more to it. Here’s my breakdown on PLANNING YOUR NEXT TRIP. These are the first steps to take to making your photo album more interesting than your Pinterest!
HOW TO START PLANNING
YOUR NEXT TRIP
Let’s start with the
BASICS! When, Where, Who, What, WHY?
If you never take the time, you’ll never go anywhere. Now it seems unless you’re a nurse then large weeks of open holidays won’t fall into your lap so if you are a full time worker WHEN is your first question and the first thing you need to address to get your next trip into planning. OPEN YOUR CALENDAR, do it now. Seriously. Do you have holidays booked and are just dreaming of the next adventure? Is there a slow period at work where it will be easier to take more time off? Do you have hundreds of hours of vacation pay but just feel like you just can’t leave the team? USE THEM. PLEASE. I have recently talked to a bunch of people that have insane amounts of vacation days available to them that they are simply not using or getting bought out for. TAKE YOUR VACATION DAYS; they’re there to keep you sane. You need to take a break, your mental health will thank you. Your work is literally funding your vacation. Use them.
you’ve found a timeline for yourself, send in the vacation request and label in
your phone VACATION, so you don’t make doctors appointments or routine things
that will stop you from going away. Figuring out when is important as well to
know HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU HAVE and WHAT TIME OF THE YEAR IS IT. If you only
have 5 days off, you’re not taking a 24 hour flight each way and wasting your
time on flights when there are vacation destinations much closer, and if its
middle of January I don’t advise going somewhere where the weather isn’t what
you want and the sightseeing spots are closed.
PULL OUT THE BUCKET LIST. Now if you’re anything like me the bucket list is every growing and I’ll take just about any excuse to add something new. FIRST you need to decide – do you want hot or cold? Are you running away from the winter blues, or are you dying to see the northern lights which are easiest to see in the winter months? If you plan to do a lot of hiking you may not want the hottest days of the year, meanwhile if you’re scuba diving you may want that water as warm as it can possibly be. NOW, sometimes I think we live in this fantasy world where we think only our country has seasons and that no matter what Florida will always be beach weather and Banff will always have unreal skiing. Unfortunately, other than the countries on the equator and the poles, most countries still have varying seasons. My current experience being in Copenhagen I have found that January is certainly not the best time to visit here. Being such an outdoorsy country the lack of flourishing plant life and the constant struggle between rain and snow doesn’t make for a magical holiday. SO CHECK THE WEATHER. Another thing to look into is festivals around the world during your holiday period that could be unreal to visit, or things that will not be available much longer. One of my last trips was planned almost entirely due to the fact that 2018 was the last year you could go inside the Taj Mahal. While India was always on my bucket list, upon learning the time sensitive matter it flew up to the top and we made it October 2018 within the final months of it being open.
Who do you want to travel with? Girl’s trip? Relationship tester? Family get away? Who is important in your life and shares the same desire to get away – and can get the same vacation days as you. Find people that want to get the same out of the trip as you. Is this a destress holiday in a sunny paradise, or a hike across North America? Don’t drag a boyfriend that doesn’t want to be in the sun when you have a best friend that’s dying to get away for a beach vacation. Travel with people that will love the trip as much as you do and let it be there choice to come. NOW, if no one can come with you, consider going alone. While this may not seem like your style, I have outgoing wonderful friends that chose to travel alone and have met so many new friends along the way. When you are the only brain in the planning you get the chance to everything you want to do and don’t have to worry about people with different desires or budgets.
What are you going to do? Is this the trip to finally cross swimming with sharks off the bucket list? Do you want to hike, bike, swim, ski or sleep? Do you want to learn how to slow down and embrace meditation and the beautiful Hindu culture of India, or are you dying to catch the perfect wave in Australia? Fast paced, slow paced, expensive or cheap, figure out what the big thing you want to do on the trip is. We travel for ourselves, but isn’t it great coming back with some wicked stories? What will yours be?
Why have you read all the way down to here? You must be considering travelling so ask yourself why. You can also ask yourself WHY NOT. What is stopping you from travelling, while we can all say our bank accounts, I don’t buy that those people only have money that’s stopping them – because money can be made and saved and you don’t need as much as you think you do to travel. If you’re making excuses to yourself or others, look deep and see if they’re all that’s stopping you. For every minute you’re not booking, the flights are going up, so stop contemplating. If you know this is something you need and want, then book now and never look back!
Advice given to me while standing on a ledge much to high to be jumping off of, tied up like a tether ball to a structure I now relied my life on. In Cains, Australia I experienced my first bungee jump and I don’t have a single regret !
I recall that day for its excitement and adrenaline but when I think hard about it I questioned my decision to do it and there was definitely a level of fear leading up to and certainly the seconds before the jump. Following your passion and your heart can feel a lot like jumping off that tower. Leading up to it people will be excited for you, but there’s always those few thoughts of your and others that will throw doubt and fear into you. There are risks with what you’re doing, there are risks with leaving your house every day. You know that. To wake up and take the risk of getting hurt in a car crash on your way to a job you’ve never liked and never will like seems like a much more pointless risk than taking the risks for a chance to find yourself, find love of the world or it’s people and find your happiness. If you’re not going to get anything out of the risk, don’t take it. If it’s the only way you’re going to fulfill your dreams, then better get your ass on that ledge.
Now do note that this advice is certainly for once you’ve thought about it hard and decided for yourself that this is something you want to do for you. Taking the jump is all you have to do to make the dream a reality – book the flight, leave the shitty job, apply for the dream job, message that girl, or jump off that ledge! Don’t think, you’ve already done that – the jump is what you want so it’s what you need. Your happiness is your priority.
Jump friends, you’ve got beautiful wings just waiting to be discovered!
Small scale or big scale this is something we encounter all the time and we need to work together to help each other find our happiness and stop doubting each other. Travelling, and adventuring may have clear jumps that are required, both figuratively and literally but some jumps are less obvious, but still need to be made! For all my blogger friends out there, I can guarantee you had some negative feedback when you threw the idea out of starting your blog. If you were like me you hesitated to even bring it up, because I knew.. to some it will just be another white girl travel blog. Once I put it out there though I was happy to find some of my friends were definitely on board with what I wanted to do. I was also then confident and sure of myself so thought nothing when some of the others were not so supportive. I had decided ages ago that this was what I really wanted and succeed or fail I was going for it. The jump for me was simply punching in those credit card details and committing officially to it. Don’t put off purchases though, if you know you’re going to get it whether it’s this week or need, just do it! Prices seem to only go up, especially with flights and hotels.
MONEY: If money is a concern for booking your next trip, use this link to save $45 CAD off your trip of $95 CAD or more! Almost half price my friends 😀 only valid if you don’t already have an airbnb account though! Sign up with another email to relish in the money ! https://www.airbnb.ca/c/emilyr11882?currency=CAD
What we are is only a lead of faith from what we want to be.
This is a list of how to be a smart traveler; not be naive or make stupid mistakes when travelling. This is not directed specifically at white females but more at the mistakes we make that are associated with the stereotype of our messed up society that white girls are ‘unintelligent.’ In saying that some of my bravest and most confident travelling friends are female solo travelers, so this is for EVERYONE, and it is to HELP, not to insult. If you’re travelling anywhere these are worth the read!
1. Don’t Shout Tourist – literally or figuratively
Growing up I was always told that as a Canadian, my country is so loved that scattering Canadian signs and symbols across my luggage and body would only make people treat me better when travelling, but that is not always the case. If you are simply travelling to explore the country and adventure in a new place my best advice is to blend. The more attention you bring to yourself the more people are attracted to you, and being a tourist they will assume you have money, and that it is on your person. Not only for safety though, if you dress to your own culture it may be very disrespectful in theirs and you will not be treated as well.
2. Research the area you are Travelling to
To some it may come to a surprise that laws and way of life can be insanely different from country to country. Before travelling you need to do some research. Start with the little things like which wall plugs they use so you can buy the appropriate adapters and checking the weather for the specific season you’re going so you can pack appropriately. If you’re going to be driving make sure to look up road rules and road signs and their meanings. Also take a bit to look up laws you should know, some countries may take J-walking a lot more seriously or little things that your country doesn’t seem to mind. Australia, for example, has HUGE fines for speeding and speed cameras all over. Wish I knew that earlier.
3. Check on your Health
Nobody wants a medical emergency while travelling. Medical insurance is a nightmare to deal with and often you are paying everything up front just to hope that you get some of it back later. Moreover, many countries have bacteria and virus’ that other countries may not have therefore visitors may need vaccinations to protect themselves from such. Hepatitis A is a big one for travelling Canadians, however it is good to note once you have it, you’re good for most other travels to less developed countries. If you’re going to India, Africa, South America etc you will have many more and be sure to give yourself a good amount of time as some need booster shots in upcoming weeks before you go.
4. Research Currency and Prices
Almost every country has a different currency and will NOT accept your home country cash. Look into the currency of the country you’re travelling to and look up the best way to get cash in that currency. Currency exchanges in your current country will carry most currencies but may need to order it in so make sure to check on this. Compare fees from the bank and currency exchange or look if its better to get in when you arrive in the country as the airport will always have a currency exchange. Once you get your cash, differentiate the coins and bills as this can be important to make sure you’re getting the correct change when paying for things. Know the exchange rate. As you walk around you will start to get an idea on how much things cost in the country you are travelling in however you should know what that is in your own currency as well. If there is a standard fee on fruit or bread you may simply assume its reasonable however that is not always the case. When traveling to Czech Republic we found that most of the fruit and vegetables were outrageously priced, however we could have a steak dinner for cheap. We could then eat accordingly to our budget. Looking up the average prices of meals, activities, transport etc this will help you to plan your budget and not get ripped off.
5. Connect with other Travelers
If you are staying in hostels then this will be very easy as expats both run and stay there and will be filled with information, and generally pretty happy to share where they’ve been. Someone with experience in the area as a traveler will know the exact ways people have tried, or succeeded to scam them, and how you can avoid it. They will also have visited some of the tourist destinations and hopefully will have input on the ones worth checking out or perhaps suggest one’s you have not thought of yet. For people not staying in hostels, you can try to connect with people by simply listening for your language. If you’re in a country that does not primarily speak English, generally when you hear English you can assume they are a traveler – even if they’re not they are someone you can speak with to get tips or help.
6. Know where you are
While this may seem like a given, it is easy to get lost in a place you’re unfamiliar with and lacks English. This expands to when you go on tours or excursions, ensuring you know whether you’ve gone north or south, how far out of the city you’ve gone and which direction you take to get back. Buying a paper map is a good idea, and there is a phenomenal app called maps.me where you can download a country/area and it will guide you with it even when you don’t have service or internet. Phones die though, so paper map on top of that is your safest way. Most phones do have a built in map and if you put in your desired location and click GO while in wifi the little man (‘your location’ dot) will follow you and guide you to your destination. Do note this isn’t the most reliable thing as the lag between where you are and where you were can sometimes have you walking in circles – as I’ve learned the hard way. Take turns being the navigator so the pressure isn’t always on one person, and laugh about missed turns, don’t make it more stressful for your group.
7. Haggle – Try not to overpay
Most tourist areas will raise their prices to get the most from you. Try to stick to buying things from stores that have posted prices on things as you know you’re not being overcharged in them. In saying that sometimes the best stuff, for the cheapest prices are in the street shops and markets and don’t be afraid to check them out as lots of things are hand crafted and absolutely beautiful. You can be pretty sure, however, that these are the people that will attempt to overcharge you, but being quite desperate for your business they will almost always lower the price. Try to have a reasonable price in your head on what you want to pay for what and try to get it as close to that as you can. Be confident in what you want and what you’re willing to pay for it. If its the first price they throw at you and you’re happy with it then take it, other times you may have to walk away to get the best price. Even then some entrepreneurs know their product is worth more and therefore there has been many times that I’ve walked away, realized that was the lowest they would go, then returned because I really wanted the item – no harm in that either.
8. Be SMART with your money
Don’t keep all your cash in one giant wad that you flaunt every time you go to pay for something. Separate your cash into two or three piles, and keep them in safe places. When going out try to have one spot that you keep your “spend today” money and that is all that anyone else should see. I wear a money belt when travelling but that is not what I’ll take my daily money out of. Bringing a purse is perfectly fine, it looks more normal to carry one anyways, but watch for pickpockets in crowded tourist areas. Purses can be cut right off you without you noticing a thing. I am happy to say with all my travelling I have never had anything of value stolen or been put in any scary situation where someone is trying to take my money. I like to think that I’ve been more than just lucky and that due to my style of travelling I have not made myself an easy target.
9. Don’t Trust ANYONE
It’s not personal, it’s business. Often times when people scam you or steal from you they aren’t meaning to put you out but rather they believe they need it more than you. We’ve probably all been there. Whether it’s stealing change from your parents dresser or a pencil from a friend because you forgot yours, you don’t want to put them out you simply want to have it for your own advantage. Don’t make yourself an easy target. Hostels specifically can feel so friendly and welcoming that you may feel as though you don’t need to lock up your bags or your things but this is not the case. Travelers are sometimes the most desperate of all people and if you leave things lying around that they need, even the kindest of people will take advantage of the opportunity to help themselves. Help each other out and adventure far and wide, but don’t leave money lying around, don’t leave bags or purses unattended and don’t trust people to pay you back later or return things you lend them when travelling. You don’t know these people, you don’t know where they live or how to follow up if they don’t return. People do things when travelling that they would never have the guts to do at home. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas that people are consistently changing around to suit their current trip. While this has many – not so appealing – implications, people aren’t necessarily the same people when they’re travelling, and desperate people especially will think of themselves before you, can you really blame them?
10. Know what you want from the Trip
Travel with purpose. You are doing it, whether you’ve examined it or not, no one books a trip for no reason, throws money to the world for the fun of it. Take a look at why you’ve made your decision to travel to this specific place. For many it is simply to relieve their stress – get away from the 9-5 lifestyle for a minute. Others are on a self journey to find themselves, or forget someone else. Maybe you simply thrive from the adrenaline and excitement of seeing things that others haven’t. Take a minute to know why you’re travelling and keep that with you during the trip so that you achieve it! Things will go wrong in trips, no trip goes exactly as planned – but if you’ve achieved your goal of the trip, then you’ll forget everything that went wrong and it will be worth every penny you spent.
Why do you Travel?
Share with me the reasons you want to travel, and/or where you want to go! I would love to hear from you all!