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The Best and Worst of Going Through Immigration (Part One)

I’ve been through a lot of customs and immigration experiences. For the past year and a half living in London, for example, I go through customs and immigration about two or three times a month, depending on where I travel. As I travel on a Canadian passport, every single country – including my own – checks my passport and usually asks me a few questions (as opposed to anyone with an EU or UK passport, for example).

I’ve written about how to cope with customs and immigration before; I wrote that article a few weeks before I returned to Canada from nine months in Central and South America, and I was worried what kind of questions they’d ask. I always remember my dad telling my sister not to let Colombian officials stamp her passport… uh, it doesn’t work like that, dad. Anyway, in all the travelling I’ve done, and I’m sure, that you’ve done, there have been some harrowing, stressful, hilarious, and just downright weird experiences when crossing borders. Here are just a few I’ve had.

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Where To Travel in 2015

The past few years I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some really cool, exciting, and challenging places. I occasionally get emails asking for recommendations on where to go for holidays, usually from first-time solo travellers. To be honest, there are very few places I’ve been that I don’t recommend; I think that nearly any place can be someone’s dream destination. We each have different travel tastes, which is what makes the world so interesting. Here then, are my top choices for trips in 2015; they’re not necessarily my favourite countries (that’s a different list), but they’re where I recommend travelling in the next year.

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On Being Happy With Being Content

I have had many, many moments of extreme happiness in my life, and I am grateful for them all: scuba diving with great beasts in the Galapagos, riding on the back of a motorbike with Cambodia’s pink skies as my backdrop, hearing the calls to prayer for the first time while sitting on a rooftop in Istanbul, dancing like crazy on a Colombian dance floor, all those family dinners, those moments of personal achievement in school and work that have peppered my life. They are the highest highs I can think of. So many of my happiest moments have happened on the road, or with my family. But now I live in London, a stable, settled life. I am thousands of kilometres from those I love most. Although my career and my passion allows me to travel frequently, they are short holidays. And so, sitting in my flat in London, I found myself missing the high.

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Another Reason to Visit Nicosia: The Zampelas Art Museum

The modern art museum in Nicosia – the Loukia and Michael Zampelas Art Museum – is by far one of the coolest I’ve been to. I’m a bit biased, of course; much like my feeling toward castles, while I appreciate the history behind a lot of art, I don’t get that excited about anything that dates before the mid-19th century. I love modern art. My favourite artist is Matisse, followed by Degas, Cézanne, Modigliani, Khalo, Basquiat, and a whole lot of other artists you can see in most modern museums. I collect art when I travel and I always gravitate toward big, bright colours, and big, bold shapes. It was no wonder, then, that I loved the Zampelas Art Museum.

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2014: A Year in Review

This time last year, I could have never predicted where I’d be at this exact moment: sitting on the patio of my family’s rented casa in Nicaragua, a spiced rum and coke beside me, the sun dipping low in the sky before it sinks past the ocean’s horizon and out of sight. I thought that 2013 wasn’t a very big year for me, but it was; it was one of transition, of finally moving to London. 2014 started off slow, with almost no plans – soon it grew into a year of travel, a year of accomplishments, and a year of maturing (both in numbers and in mindset). Here’s a little review of the past year.

Be warned: there are lots of photos!

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Around the World: Christmas

For this instalment of Around the World, it only made sense – Christmas! While perhaps not everyone reading this celebrates Christmas, and even my celebration of it is more about spending time with loved ones and eating a lot of chocolate than anything else, I love seeing how different cultures celebrate around the world. I usually spend Christmas in Canada, but this year I’m in Nicaragua, surrounded by palm trees instead of pine, by blue ocean instead of white snow. Before I left London, I spent quite a few nights wandering around the city, taking in all of the colourful lights and Christmas spirit. Here are a few other Christmases I’ve spent in other countries.

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What to Wear in India

Of the countries I’ve been to, I loved my Indian wardrobe the best. My biggest piece of advice, no matter where you go, is to shop locally. My dream is to one day arrive in a place like Thailand or India with a completely empty backpack and purchase all of my clothing there; not only is it usually much cheaper than clothes in Canada or the UK, but you’ll have a lot more fun with your fashion. Here are a few of the things I wore while in India.

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Why I Love Limerick (and Why You Should, Too)

I didn’t know much about Limerick; I knew about the famous five-line poems and Angela’s Ashes, but that was about it. I had actually seen the outskirts of Limerick years ago as a teenager, when I cycled through a few Irish counties on a family holiday. I also knew, vaguely, that Limerick had a bit of reputation in Ireland and elsewhere. Because of it, I think that some people choose Dublin or Galway or Cork as a holiday destination instead.

So, mind open and camera ready, I was eager to see Limerick for myself. I made sure to go there with a blank slate, to let the city write its own narrative for me. And, in only a few short days, I found a whole lot to love about Limerick. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider going there yourself.

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The Perfect Gifts for a Traveller

Since leaving my hometown, I have had some odd Christmases. There was the hungover McDonald’s meal last year with my sister; a day on the beach in Borneo springs to mind, too, as does a barbecue on a warm Christmas in New Zealand. This year, I’ll be spending the holidays in Nicaragua with my family. It’s the first time my sister, brother, and mum have been together for a Christmas day in seven years, and I can’t wait.

The trip is obviously the most amazing gift I could ever ask for. But, if I was going to be completely greedy, here are a few things I would put on a Christmas list. Some of them I already am lucky enough to have, and so would love to give a friend or family member, but these are the things I think make perfect gifts for travellers.

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