Travelling is my passion. I have been through over 20 different countries - I lost count after my fourth trip to Europe. As long as the number exceeds my age, I'm satisfied.

I'm an avid backpacker. I don't just want to see the world. I want to experience it.

I travel in a unique way. I have climbed the Great Wall of China in snow, worked on a farm in Normandy, France, and volunteered at an orphanage in Bali, Indonesia.

Backpackers are constantly sharing information, stories, and advice. I'm not doing this because I make money off of it (which I don't) or because I think I know it all (which I definitely don't).

I am simply doing this because it's what I love to do. Enjoy!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

My Top Five Must-See's

People are always asking me what my favourite place I’ve traveled to is.  It’s a difficult question because everywhere is different. 
You won't find these five places in a travel guide or tourist brochure - because they're not tourist destinations. 
They are truly authentic places - they are my top five.

#1. Tasmania, Australia

                Tassie is a small island at the bottom right-corner of Australia.  Often forgotten by tourists and Aussies alike - even left off many souvenir maps - Tasmania offers secluded beaches, forest-canopy hikes, and some of Australia’s coldest temperatures.
The Bay of Fires, Tassie's West Coast

Personal experience:  I traveled Tasmania in a convoy of campervans.  Campervans offer flexibility and accessibility whilst saving money.  We undertook several hikes, cooked dinner on deserted beaches, and wove our way through some of the most beautiful scenery in Australia.  I highly recommend traveling by campervan at some point on your trip through Oz.

#2. Fulpmes, Austria

                Just a ten-minute drive (or hour-long bus ride) outside of Innsbruck, Fulmpes is a tiny town nestled in the Austrian Alps.  With a turreted church and lake for swimming, Fulmpes offers peaceful streets overflowing with natural spring water spouts and wooden Christ statues.  In winter Fulmpes offers some of the most popular skiing in Europe.  In summer travelers can take advantage of the landscape on incredible hikes.  It is possible to paraglide in any season.  Just a few bus stops away is one of the highest bungee jumps in the world at 192 meters!

Personal experience:  I was lucky enough to find the best hostel I’ve ever stayed at in Fulpmes.  Dave’s Mountain Chalet is run by a young Brit named (you guessed it) Dave, who will do everything in his power to make your stay memorable.  The small house-turned-hostel has one beautiful four-bed dorm, a cozy kitchen, a wooden sauna, a backyard barbeque, a pool-table hang-out room, a living room with a giant movie screen, a poker room, a self-serve bar, and an abundance of friends that turn quickly to family.

#3. Singaraja, Bali

                North of the tourist hot-spot Kuta Beach, the district of Singaraja offers you a unique Indonesia experience.  Overflowing with layered rice fields, crumbling stone temples, and winding mountain roads, Singaraja is the real thing.  There are no other white people within a 3-hour radius.  It is raw—the poverty, the people, the impression.  This is an experience you do not want to miss.
Personal experience:  For two weeks I lived and volunteered at an orphanage.  Narayan Seva is the home of over 40 children between the ages of 1 and 18.  I used a bucket shower, washed my clothes on the pavement, and gardened in 45 degree heat without any sort of fan or air conditioning.  Working at the orphanage didn’t just change my perspective—it changed my life.

#4. Beijing, China

                Beijing is not only one of the largest cities I have ever visited—it is also the least multicultural.  As a tall, white, young girl, I stuck out like a sore thumb.  The tourist attractions of Beijing are all interesting enough (ie. Tianaman Square, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace) but for me the real experience came with the culture.  China is still under a communist regime.  I had never before been banned from Facebook, google, and my own blog.

 Personal experience:  My family and I went to China on an educational exchange, granting us access into a high school.  A soothing voice came over the intercom twice a day while the children massaged their temples.  The children were incredibly intelligent.  They studied long and hard.  What really impressed me was their basketball skills--man, those guys could jump!

#5. Miltenburg, Germany

                A small, quiet, cobblestoned-town, Miltenburg houses the oldest hotel in Germany.  Miltenburg is a blast from the past with silent  Sunday streets and friendly townsfolk  I felt as if I was walking through a postcard from the 1950’s, and when I found one to purchase, the shopkeeper gave it to me for free as an early Christmas present.  Such is the attitude of German people—and they are the sole reason why I love their country.

Personal experience:  Although Miltenburg’s Weihnartmakrt was the smallest I experienced, it was also the first, creating a special attachment for me.  Just like any other small town in Germany, it boasts wooden stalls selling small crafts, hot wine, and homemade alcohol.  Walking down the stone streets as snow dusted my footprints was a surreal experience.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Safe Way to Travel Solo

In the shadow of the tragedy that took place in Istanbul last week, there has been a lot of discrepancy and a sudden onset of fear and hesitancy in regards to females traveling alone.

I see the attempted resolve of this issue (ie. saying females should not travel alone) in the same way I see the United States blaming gun control for the Connecticut murders: absurd and inaccurate.

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

Travel doesn't kill women.  People do.

It doesn’t matter where you go—you could wrap yourself in bubble wrap and lock yourself in your bedroom closet—in today’s world, you face risk simply by breathing. What you need to decide is what is worth the risk.

Traveling alone is safe—when you travel smart. Man or woman, young or old, here are three simple rules I have learned to keep myself safe while traveling.
1) Dress for the attention you want.
I have been particularly guilty of this on nights out. In any new city, you are out of your element. Different cultures regard certain styles of dress—even eye contact—as an invitation for unwanted attention. When in doubt, cover up and wear a smile. Looking cool and confident can dissuade potiential danger. Although you may be excited to represent your home country, wearing a large flag across your shoulders can be the same as placing a target on your back in certain situations. Whenever you dress, think.
2) Let someone you trust know where you are and where you’re going.
This may sound juvenile, but it is extremely important. Whenever I plan on staying in a country for longer than a week, I purchase a pay-as-you-go phone. It’s a cheap way to stay in contact when I don’t have access to wifi or find myself in a sketchy situation. If I ever feel uncomfortable, I text my immediate location to a friend or relative.
I also purchased an electronic rape whistle—a small keychain to hang off your purse, you simply pull the dangling end of a pin to commence a ten-minute female scream. You can shut off the piercing scream by replacing the pin. This emergency device is available at most outdoor stores for around CAD$20.
3) Exercise street smarts and common sense.
The more you travel, the better you become at reading people. Whenever you go out, stay in public places.  Personally, I won't go out at night alone.  If you go out and get plastered, you are making yourself more vunerable.  Remeber: You are the only one looking out for yourself. You can't just call your dad to come pick you up when something goes wrong. (I learned this the hard way - I sincerely hope you don't have to.)
If you hear about an offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t simply google the hostels, volunteer opportunities, and workplaces you intend to go to - travel blogging is huge nowadays. Find someone else who has already done what you want to do and read about their experience.


Life is not life without risk. When you travel, you may find yourself in unpleasant and even terrifying situations. But that’s the risk you take traveling alone. All you have to decide is whether or not the consequences are worth the risk.