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A New Adventure: I’m Writing a Book (& a giveaway)

There’s really no beating around the bush here, as the title gives it all away. I’ve alluded to this in the past and openly talk about it with friends and family, but I rarely mention it on this blog or any of my social media. I’m not quite sure why, but I thought it was high time to do it, purely to put it out there. Once it’s out there, I can’t take it away. I’m writing a book.

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How Do You Choose? Relationships vs. Travelling

When I received an email from a reader last week with the title “How did you choose?”, I knew instantly it was going to be about choosing travelling over a) a “steady” career b) an education or, most likely, c) a relationship. In it, this reader – let’s call her Rebecca – spelled out her situation. Originally from New Zealand but living in Europe with her boyfriend, she feels she has a few options in front of her: move home with him to be with their family and friends, move to a new city in New Zealand with him and create a life there, stay in Europe on a work visa, or teach English in Asia. In her words:

“I have thought about the pros and cons for all of these. The main thing on my mind is, with the last two options, I would most likely become single. I would hate to not be able to travel just because my boyfriend wants to settle down, but I also worry about never finding someone if I keep moving around.” Turning 26 soon, Rebecca told me that many of her friends are in serious relationships or engaged/married. At the end of the email, she wrote, “And so, after all that, my question to you is… how has your choice to keep travelling affected the boyfriend/marriage path of life?”

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Why I Love Basilicata

I am starting a new series on the blog, which, if you haven’t already figured out, is called “Why I Love ______”. And today, because it’s cold in London and I’m craving pasta (both of those things can be said for nearly every day of the year, to be fair), I’m writing about Basilicata.

I had never heard of Basilicata before I was invited by their tourism board to visit. Not many others I’ve talked to have heard of it, either. But from the moment I arrived in Bari (which is in southern Italy, and only a short and cheap flight away from London) and then drove an hour to Matera, I knew I was going to like it.

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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, C├ęzanne, 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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