In Calgary, Alberta, a unique city tour combines iconic motorcycles and jaunty sidecars to help visitors see the city in an entirely new way.
If there's one activity I long thought I'd never experience thanks to my deep-seated anti-adventurist tendencies, it's a motorcycle tour. However, when I embarked on a tour with Calgary’s Rocky Mountain Sidecar Adventures, I learned that the experience is about much more than the bike. It's a time-traveling adventure that immerses you in the charm of vintage Ural motorcycles.
Rocky Mountain Sidecar Adventures is a family owned and operated business that offers seasonal motorcycle sidecar tours between May and October. The company uses Urals almost exclusively, though there is one Triumph in the fleet. Ural, which was founded in Russia in 1941, originally built sidecar motorcycles to help the military in World War II but they also thrived in the post-war era, as people fell in love with how practical they were.
During my tour, I saw for myself just how practical (and fun!) these vehicles really are. Here’s what I loved about them.
The Cup and Saucer Trail on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, is a beloved spot for adventure. But how would an anti-adventurist like me fair on this hiking route?
I have a rule when it comes to hiking. I have to be able to complete the route while holding a travel mug, full of a delicious latte. If you're going to trudge through the forest, you might as well do with a tasty hot beverage in hand, right? And having a hot drink to balance means you're avoiding anything too arduous. However, while on a press trip to Manitoulin Island, located just outside Sudbury in northern Ontario, I broke that rule all in the name of, well... I'm not sure exactly. Adventure? That doesn't sound like me. Being a bold, brave travel writer? Welllll.......
Like many anti-adventurist excursions, I had several moments of doubt along the way, but I'm ultimately happy that I did it. Here's what it was like to hike the Cup and Saucer Trail - in the rain!
Axe throwing in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, is easy for everyone.... except maybe not for anti-adventurists like me. This is what happened when I stepped on the axe throwing platform at the Boxing Rock Brewing Company.
Have you ever signed up for an activity you're a little unsure about it and the organizer tells you not to worry, that they've never lost someone/ had someone capsize/ had someone utterly fail? It's a heartening speech designed to bolster low confidence and soothe the very nerves that lead to shaky performance. And thus far, it's proven true for me.
Until now, folks. Until now.
This is what happened when a confirmed anti-adventurist (that's me) took on one heck of a crazy challenge (that's axe throwing in Shelburne, Nova Scotia) and utterly failed.
Rogers Interzip zip line connects Ontario and Quebec and offers unparalleled views of downtown Ottawa and plenty of thrills. But would this anti-adventurist be able to take the ultimate leap of faith?
There are many reasons a person might decide to step outside of their comfort zone. Perhaps they want to test their limits, experience life to the fullest, or make an incredible travel memory. Or maybe, just maybe, they want to show their husband that they don't know you as well as they think they do.
The latter was me. In an effort to make Ryan think "Hmmmm.... Maybe I don't know Vanessa all that well. She is far more enigmatic than I gave her credit for" I found myself on what is billed as the world's first interprovincial zip line.
Yes, fellow anti-adventurists. I went zip lining. On my wedding anniversary. All so I'd appear just a smidgen more inscrutable than normal to a spouse who knows me very, very well.
I thought I was ready to fly with Santa Claus - but was I? The plane was small - and the naughty list loomed large!
Every writer dreams of an exclusive celebrity scoop and I got one to top them all: Santa Claus! Not only did the head elf himself give me the inside scoop on what he loves about Ottawa but I also got to spend some time with him in his very own plane. That's right - Santa doesn't just fly a sleigh but he also offers 15 minute aerial tours of downtown Ottawa in a vintage Cessna 172 in conjunction with Ottawa Aviation Adventures as part of a program in support of the Ottawa Food Bank.
There was just one tiny complication. The plane is tiny. Santa is all-knowing. And I'm a big ol' scarde-y cat. An Anti-Adventurist, if you will. Would my notorious stomach hold up in a vintage aircraft? Would my nerve hold up if Santa started grilling me about whether I was naughty or nice?
If you want to try llama trekking, Montana is the place to do it!
With soulful, chocolate brown eyes, silky soft hair, and a passion for food, nature, and daydreaming, Raffi sounds like the perfect man. And I can certainly attest to the fact that he is! Furthermore, legends about handsome, strong, capable Montana ranch men are indeed true... provided that you don't need all said men to actually be human. Raffi, after all, is a llama. Yes, you read that correctly. A llama! And a devilishly handsome one at that. We spent one blissful day together, sharing our hopes and dreams as we hiked up the side of a mountain. But I know that it's only a matter of time before another girl catches his eye. After all, if you're into llama trekking, Montana is the best place to be! Find out why this is one of the most memorable micro-adventures I've undertaken.
Looking for some unique Ottawa getaways? We have 23 suggestions for Ottawa travellers to discover the city's cozy side, one microadventure at a time.
I am not adventurous. Nope, not one bit. Sure, I talk a good game and occasionally do things which other people might consider a bit daunting, like walking across Victoria Falls Bridge or kayaking in the Saguenay Fjord, but I think we all know the truth. Deep down, I'll always be the girl who caused a commotion in the Athens Meat Market and braced for an attack from non-existent wild pigs in Hawaii. I'm scared of adventure and (...I like to think...) adventure is a bit scared of me. However, a conversation with a friend has completely re-framed things for me. I've been introduced to the world of microadventures! And I think it's the perfect thing for Ottawa getaways.
The phrase microadventure has been popularized by Alastair Humphreys in his book Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes. The book describes a microadventure as something "close to home, cheap, simple, short and 100% guaranteed to refresh your life. A microadventure takes the spirit of a big adventure and squeezes it into a day or even a few hours." That's perfect for a city like Ottawa and, come to think of it, it's a bit of a familiar concept.
Hang on a second. That sounds like what I do. That sounds like what I do ALL. THE. TIME. I like things that are cheap, simple, short, and refreshing (aka COZY things!). Could it be that I've been an adventurer - and a trendy adventurer at that! - all along? Since the spirit of Humphrey's microadventures focus on this close to home, here are my favourite microadventures for those seeking Ottawa getaways.
While in Botswana, safari camping was at the top of our travel list. But it wasn't without challenges, like how to stay clean.
This picture of me, taken after one day of Botswana safari camping, says it all. I'm wide-eyed and smiling but you can see the worry in my eyes. You can also see plenty of sweaty hair and a cooling, wet handkerchief draped around my neck. And that was my northern Botswana and Chobe safari experience in a nutshell: awe-inspiring, monumental, a bit overwhelming, and really, REALLY sweaty.
In so many ways, I was ill-prepared for the rigors of Botswana wilderness safaris. I had done exhaustive research. I had been camping dozens of times. Heck, I had even lived in southeast Africa before. But the heat, sand, dirt, and sweat hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn't that I was unhygienic, per se. I was just out of my element in so many ways and feeling cruddy sure didn't help.
Ryan, I suspect, was absolutely in his element. But I was at the outer limits of my comfort zone. And, trust me, life does NOT begin there, no matter what the philosophers say! This is the blog post about keeping clean on camping safaris I wish I could have read before my trip.
In Ellicottville, New York, one of the most popular ski destinations in the United States, I faced my own mountain challenge.
Participation in the press trip that brought me to Ellicottville was part of the Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) conference. This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through said link, we'll be paid a small commission and we thank you for your support.
If you love watching CSI marathons as much as I do, you'll no doubt have picked up on a particular habit of shift supervisor Gil Grissom. When the introverted, cerebral, bookish Grissom needs to unwind, he heads to one of Las Vegas' spectacular roller coasters and lets the breakneck speeds and thrilling loops clear his head.
Like Grissom, I too love bees and books (dead bodies, not so much...) Could I possibly love roller coasters as well?
The answer is a resounding NO! If you follow my Facebook page, you'll know that roller coasters are one of the many "nope" activities for me. Bungee jumping, hang gliding, mountain climbing, roller coasters - they're all "nopes". They terrify me!
But what about a mountain coaster?
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