What’s to come…

A year ago today, I was on the brink of something extremely significant and a bit mind-blowing. It would be the final full day and night that I would spend in Toronto, Canada – in my home before embarking on 7+ months of travel to 3 different continents. Prior to this, I had never in my  life traveled for more than 2 months, continuously – alone or accompanied. Also, I had never traveled with such a blank slate of an ‘itinerary’ before. See this post, for a short explanation of that blank itinerary.
A photo says a 1000 words??

A photo says a 1000 words??

People who knows me know and still don’t understand how I do not bounce off the walls with excitement over such events. They also do not understand that I do not realize it’s a ‘scary’ thing to go on trips by myself. To the same degree, I do not understand why people think I am courageous or brave for thinking, let alone traveling anywhere on my own. It almost seems like I get the idea in my head and figure out how to accomplish it on the fly.
For me, travel is not for escapism. Even on a day-to-day basis, I do not go about my day with headphones on, music to block out city noise or mobile phone in-hand 24/7. I do not read books on buses or subways – I tend to get some type of motion sickness. But there’s the odd day that I’ll skim over the daily paper on a long subway ride. I enjoy absorbing the sounds of my surrounding. I enjoy overhearing random conversations. However, I still get spooked by unexpected pedestrians or cyclists or dogs who zooms past me when I zone out.
I prefer to be present in my daily life and not have it breeze by. I still do not have the memory capacity to remember everything that occurred but I try to enjoy the full experience while it’s happening.
What unfolded in my 2013 Epic Journey would change me and help me grow to the extent that I still do not fully understand or comprehend today. With a pair of judgmental eyes, a few words comes to mind: crazy, dumb, idiotic, insane, brilliant, amazing, unfathomable, relaxing, spiritual, nurturing, adventurous, mind-blowing, memorable!
In the evening of December 23, 2012 all I could do was look at my infamous “To Do List” and hope I’ve dealt with the most important items…
Rent out my home for 6 months – to help pay for the journey
Pack up and store all my personal belongings after much purging
Fit all that I can into 1 medium sized suitcase and my 35L daypack (with camera, phone & laptop in tow)
Make sure my bills and mail are in order
Share a few more laughs with my dear friends – in person
Attempt to research the countries I intend to visit (the Lonely Planet book became dead weights in my bags!!)
Hope my broken Spanish would miraculously make a comeback as soon as I step foot onto Latin American soil
… the list actually gets more and more detailed and specific but I don’t want to bore you with logistics
What resulted amplifies my desire to motivate more people to start traveling if they have not already. Just think… Christmas Day in Buenos Aires, NYE on a ship heading towards Antarctica, birthday celebration in Buenos Aires with my tour guide / friend from a trip I took back in 2007,…
Do not wait for life to come knocking on your door.
Open the door and invite life into you – explore and have fun!

My Travel Style… Varies!

To each their Own” is a favourite saying of mine.

Some days I enjoy researching the destination. Some days I enjoy planning and booking the logistics. Other days I don’t want to do anything and just sign up with a low hassle tour group with an itinerary I love. Many other days, I wander the streets of a new place without a map, blend in with the locals even when I don’t speak their language – it’s easy, just smile and nod (the address of my local home in their language in my pocket!).

For me, Home is where the heart is.
Home is where I am that day; physically, mentally, emotionally. Continue reading

My Bucket List

This is a work in progress…

(Click on the crossed off items for the story behind the experience of a lifetime!)

  1. Just Be in the Tivoli Gardens in Denmark
  2. Scuba dive at Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  3. Go to Carnival at Rio de Janeiro
  4. Be lost in the Potola Palace, Tibet
  5. See the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
  6. Speak the truth, from the bottom of my heart – every day
  7. Hike up a volcano in South America (Ecuador, Chile)
  8. Collect some beads at Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  9. Ride the Trans-Siberian express to St. Petersburg from China
  10. Paraglide in Pokara, Nepal
  11. Parasailing in Phuket, Thailand
  12. Full moon party in Koh Phangan, Thailand
  13. Swim with penguins at Galapagos Islands
  14. See Madonna in Concert
  15. Stare at the Muchas stainglass window in the St. Vitus Cathedral of Prague
  16. Snorkel in the Red Sea
  17. Climb the Eiffel Tower
  18. Take a ride in a gondola in Venice
  19. Shop the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
  20. Hike on the Inka Trails to Machu Picchu, Peru
  21. Find balance in my life – work in progress
  22. Spot a condor in flight in Patagonia
  23. Learn to ballroom dance
  24. Attend a concert at Wembley Stadium
  25. Find a wild Blue poppy in Bhutan
  26. Listen to Tibetan monks chant in Jokhang Temple, Lhasa
  27. Witness turtle hatch at Mon Repos Turtle Rookery, Australia
  28. Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
  29. Watch NYE fireworks in Sydney Harbour
  30. Cross the Antarctic Circle
  31. See the Aurora Australis in Antarctica
  32. Spot a whale at Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
  33. See the Aurora Borealis in Norway
  34. Stay in Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany
  35. Visit the Base Camp at Mount Everest
  36. Swim in the Mediterranean
  37. Skydive
  38. Watch the sunset at Pamukkale, Turkey
  39. Learn to cook every dish I love to eat – work in progress
  40. Eat dinner at a Michelin 3 star restaurant
  41. Sponsor an under privileged child
  42. White water rafting in Australia
  43. Visit all 7 continents
  44. Join the Travelers’ Century Club
  45. People watch on Ipanema beach, Brazil
  46. Drink a pint at Oktoberfest in Munich
  47. Watch sunrise at Mount Sinai, Egypt
  48. Watch sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  49. Stand still in the Red Square of Moscow
  50. Honeymoon in the Maldives
  51. Sleep in a Mongolian ger
  52. Sleep in a Salt hotel in Bolivia
  53. Ride a train from Halifax to Vancouver, Canada
  54. Go to Disney World
  55. Catch a squid in the Hong Kong Harbour
  56. Launch a Sky lantern in Pingxi, Taiwan
  57. Design and sell floral arrangements
  58. Enjoy the Daiichi Onsen in Hokkaido, Japan
  59. Drink sake while enjoying the Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita
  60. Learn to tread water
  61. Do nothing on the beaches of Boracay Island, Philippines
  62. Black water rafting in New Zealand
  63. Be mystified at Ephesus, Turkey
  64. Explore the Great Pyramids of Egypt
  65. Witness Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
  66. Check the acoustics in the Coliseum
  67. Discover the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, Egypt
  68. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  69. Find artifacts belonging to the old Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
  70. Sit in silence in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
  71. Try to straighten the Leaning Tower of Pisa
  72. Be a hopeless romantic at the Taj Mahal
  73. Imagine war at the Cairo Citadel
  74. Listen to the choir at Ely Cathedral
  75. Visit the Cluny Abbey in France
  76. Make sure the Transformers didn’t destroy Petra
  77. Talk to Extra-terrestrial life forms from the Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico
  78. Share a life time of laughter and memories with my amazing friends & family
  79. Admire the original Starry Night by Van Gogh
  80. Rave in Ibiza
  81. Visit the Temple of 10000 Buddhas in Hong Kong
  82. Experience life in the Amazon
  83. Visit all my main projects after construction; (Atlantis DubaiCanary Wharf, Mazagan, Rodney bay)
  84. Be soaked by the mists at Victoria Falls
  85. Be an extra on a movie set or a tv set
  86. Go from Surya namaska – Sun salutation to a hand stand to a full wheel
  87. Find stillness through meditation – every day
  88. Smell exotic, rare orchids in Costa Rica
  89. Learn to speak another language fluently. (Spanish / French / Mandarin)
  90. Dream a dream in Garden of Ninfa, Italy
  91. Smell the Wisteria flowers at Villa Cimbrone, Amalfi Coast