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My 2017 Travel Goals

I am all about writing lists. I love making lists of things to do, places to go, books to read, blog posts to write. Whether or not I actually accomplish everything on those lists is another matter all together, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? Actually, don’t answer that.

Anyway, last year I wrote a list of my 2016 travel goals. I knew, when writing it, that there was no way I would actually be able to visit every single place on that list, because, as I said then, I’m not a millionaire, and I’m also not a full-time traveller. Although I have spent quite a bit of time on the road, even spending a couple of years travelling continuously, at the moment I am happily based in London and I travel abroad once or twice a month. I did actually accomplish some of the travel goals I had from last year… and so, without further ado, here are my 2017 travel goals.

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Sailing Around the Göcek Islands of Turkey

The cobalt sea stretched out ahead of me. In every direction, islands of the archipelago jutted up from the calm Mediterranean waters, some covered in the pale brown of a rock face, others overflowing with swathes of green forest. The sun shone bright in the blue sky above. Our big white boat carried us across the water with ease, the smooth journey bringing us just the right amount of warm wind, a sweet smell in the air blowing in from the pine-forested island shores. I realised I hadn’t even heard of this place until the day before – blasphemy, it seemed, as I experienced this paradise unfolding before me.

This was the beautiful, the quiet, the utopian region of the Göcek Islands of Turkey.

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How We Can Help (If We’re Not American)

It’s hard for me to put into words how I’ve been feeling since yesterday morning, just as I imagine it is for so many people around the world. I can’t even fathom how it must feel to be an American who did not want this result. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are all filled with sorrow, anger, and fear. There is so much I want to say and yet I, too, am too angry and too sad to articulate it properly. But, I have to admit, I am not completely shocked at what has happened. After watching what the UK decided this summer with Brexit, and after watching the American presidential campaigns unfold over the last year, I have been horrified at the racism, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, and hatred that has emerged. Perhaps it was inevitable that it would come to a boiling point, and it has done so in the worst way possible.

But now, the day after the results of the election, I sit here wondering what I can do. As mentioned, I’m a Canadian living in the UK – a privileged migrant – and some may argue this is not my fight. However, I believe that it is, in fact, our duty to reach out in times of need, no matter where we come from or what our backgrounds may be. I have spent considerable time in America, have many American friends, have lived next to America for the majority of my life, and, most importantly, I do not want to idly stand by when there is so much work to be done. The fight for human rights is on all of our shoulders, no matter our gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, or colour of skin.

So how can those of us who aren’t American help out right now?

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On Being “Busy”

“How are you?”

It’s a seemingly innocent question, and one that, unless you know the person really well, always comes with the same answer.

“I’m good, thanks, how are you?”

Or, perhaps, if you’re having a great week (or you’ve run into an ex), you tweak the answer slightly.

“I’m really good, thanks!” or even “I’m great, thank you.”

Or maybe, if you live in London, or NYC, or Toronto, or just about any other big city in the world, or probably even some smaller cities, too, or perhaps even the countryside, or I guess just everyone I speak to these days, you say this:

“I’m good thanks, super busy,” or “Yeah, good, but really busy,” or “Good, thanks, but so busy I don’t remember the last time I slept for longer than four hours and my back always hurts and sometimes I forget if I’ve eaten lunch so let’s just stand here and laugh for a little while so I can forget about my ever-growing list of things to do and all those unanswered emails.”

OK, so maybe that last one is a slight exaggeration. But over the last few years, I’ve heard myself give some variation of that answer to different people, whether they’re friends, acquaintances, coworkers, or someone in between. I’ve also written about it a lot on this blog. When did I get so obsessed with being so busy?

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The Fire Opal: A Story from Brazil

As we said goodbye, she lifted one hand up in a half-wave, her bracelets glinting in the sun. She had beautiful silver hair that nearly reached her waist, and I remember turning around again and again to wave until I could no longer see the flash of her.

***

My time in South America was nearly over, my bag full of sand and souvenirs, my journal laden with nine months of memories. Like all good things, the trip had gone by too quickly, and I was left with very little time to explore Brazil. I had already spent three months in Central America, bussing from Belize to Panama and then sailing to Colombia, where I started a six month overland journey down to Brazil.

I was on the last leg of my trip when I met her.

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The Ultimate Surprise Holiday with Surprise Trips

I’ve always dreamed of planning a surprise trip for someone. I can’t imagine anything more fun than secretly booking a holiday, planning the flights, hotels, and activities all while the other person has zero clue what’s going on or where we’re going. I’ve always thought that the absolute coolest thing I could do for someone is to say, “I have our weekend planned. Pack a small bag, and bring your passport. Meet me at Heathrow at 5pm this Friday”… all mysterious like I’m James Bond or something (how James Bond always looks so stylish when he travels on a whim, I will never know. Does he take a travel-sized iron with him? Get dry cleaning at the hotel? I’m rambling, I’ll move on).

On the flip side, if someone ever did this for me… oh my. I would take that person straight to the chapel and marry them, because, as mentioned before, it is THE ABSOLUTE COOLEST THING. A spontaneous holiday? Not knowing where you’re going until you get to the airport?! For me, someone who loves spontaneity and adventure, I can’t imagine something more fun.

And then, as if they could read my thoughts, along came Surprise Trips. Because Surprise Trips does exactly that.

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Book Review (and Giveaway!): A Year in the UK and Ireland

I’ve seen Cornwall and the Isle of Skye, the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland and the major cities of Wales. I’ve partied in Leeds, watched football in Brighton, driven around the Lake District, shopped in Newcastle, and eaten delicious food in Manchester. All in all, I’ve loved my time exploring the UK… but none of what I’ve done holds a candle to what Emma Higgins of Gotta Keep Movin’ has done.

Here, then, is my review of her travel journal A Year in the UK and Ireland… with the chance to win a copy of your own!

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What to Wear in Cuba

These “what to wear” posts are some of my favourite to put together – as much as I love fashion in London, there’s something about the clothes I wear when I travel. As mentioned in previous posts, I love to mix my clothes from home with pieces I pick up on the road, whether that’s clothing, jewellery, bags, or shoes. I often form a sentimental attachment to the clothes I wear when I travel; there’s no way I’ll ever get rid of the alpaca jumper I bought in Peru, or the colourful scarves from India, or the wooden beads I bought in Havana.

Here, then, is what to wear in Cuba.

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Where To Find the Sinking House of Paris

Over the past year or so, as I’ve enjoyed Instagram more and more (and simultaneously less and less with the new algorithms, if I’m honest), there have been some photos that have actually inspired me to travel somewhere new, or to explore a different part of a place I’ve already been. I fell in love with Cinque Terre through Instagram, for example, which inspired not one but two trips there this year.

In doing research for my recent trip to Paris, I noticed that a particular photo kept popping up – the “sinking house” or “tilting house”. Although I’d been to the French capital a few times before, this seemed like a fun and unusual spot to visit, and so I decided to try to find out just how exactly to find the sinking house of Paris.

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