Here's what's making December a happy month for me.
We are having such a nice December - the weather is absolutely amazing. We have had virtually no snow and warm, warm temperatures. It was the perfect night when we went to Parliament Hill after Travel Massive for the opening night of Lights Across Canada. This is a wonderful light show featuring winter motifs and animals that is projected on the front of the Parliament building and it's the most charming thing in the world.
Here's what's making August a happy month for me.
It's a bee barn!
How cute is this wee wooden barn? Outfitted with drilled wood and bamboo tubes, it's perfect for bees in need of short term accommodations. I absolutely feel in love with it when I saw it!
We found our bee barn at Coyle's Country Store near Tillsonburg, Ontario but crafty readers can likely make their own with scrap wood and bamboo. To give the bees extra encouragement to use it, we placed it low on our fence, at flower level, where the bees are likely to linger. Next up for us: I want to get a Toad Abode, since we had a toad sighting in our garden just last week!
Here's what's making April a happy month for me.
Planning an amazing retreat.
What do you get when combine a conference, a retreat, and a vacation - and a group of bloggers? Why, it's Blogcation Retreat! I'm so excited to be one of the organizers for this amazing event and I can't wait to see everyone who comes out to participate at the end of May (and I hope to see some of you there!)
Cheap and cheesy movies.
Wedding Ringer, you delivered. House Bunny, you never get old. Rainbow Cinemas, bless you and your $2 Tuesdays.
Here's what's making March a happy month for me.
For starters, it's not February
Ottawa had one of it's coldest, snowiest months in recorded history and our famous Rideau Canal (aka the world's longest skating rink) also skated it's way in to the record books -it's been open for more consecutive days than ever before. But I'd be just as happy if didn't excel quite so much at winter - merely being adequate at winter would suit me just fine. We've been put through our paces this season and I think we're all anxious for spring.
Here's what's making February a happy month for me.
Happy, healthy kitty
I'm happy to report that Darwyn's miraculous recovery from being a lick-a-holic fur remover continues. For those not following the story, after 50 weeks of wearing a cone due to her mysterious and insatiable licking, we woke up on New Year's Day to see a house covered in fur tufts (oh, the carnage!) and a cone free cat. Darwyn has stuck to her New Year's resolution (so much better than any of us) and remains utterly reformed. Miracles do happen.
Casteau, Vimy Ridge, and Arras make for an unforgettable roadtrip.
Every good travel experience contains a quest of some kind, a search for something special. When you're in southern Belgium and northern France, there's no end to the opportunities to explore with exceptional sites to discover. We started out on a quest of sorts in Belgium, paying homage to Canadians of the past, and what started out as a simple ride became one of the best roadtrips of our life.
Here's what's making January a happy month for me.
NOT traveling - yep, you read that right!
Sometimes, it's just nice to stay at home and be lazy. Or stay at home and be super productive (hello, organized linen closet!) Or just stay home and just be. That's what January is going to be like for me and that suits me just fine!
I had a great time chatting with the team from CBC Radio's Ontario Today program about the trials and tribulations of holiday travel. My verdict? Just stay home.
My next trip (destination: London ON) is in February and I can't wait to go into it relaxed and refreshed.
Welcome Home! What's the First Thing You Do?
On my last trip to Bulgaria, I awoke at 3:00 AM after a very short, very fitful sleep to meet up with a driver to bring me from Plovdiv to Sofia for an early flight to Paris, where I spent a blissful day walking and eating and walking some more. Scooting back to the airport, I caught my flight to Montreal and from there I just made it onto the train to Ottawa. Pulling into the train station, I dragged my luggage to my parked car to retrieve my parking stub, headed back inside to pay my balance, and drove home. It was SUCH a long, full, incredible, exhausting day. When I arrived home, I was greeted by an equally joyous yet exhausted doggo. Oliver himself had recently been on an adventure -to the doggy hotel as Ryan too was away that week - and a friend had kindly picked up him before closing time and dropped him off at my house so I could reunite with him without delay. With a quick walk (for Oliver) and a bite or two of macaroon (for me!), it was time for bed.
What followed was the BEST SLEEP IN THE WORLD! For both of us, actually, as Oliver was blissfully flaunting all the rules and sleeping in the bed next to me. There are no words to describe that moment before you drift away in what you know will be the perfect, jet lag busting sleep, your final day of busy chaotic travel behind you and your body swathed in soft, fuzzy, sweet scented pajamas. Sure, Bulgaria and Paris were wonderful. But reuniting with my own bed and my beloved fur boy was SUBLIME!
As much as I love to travel, I'm always anxious for the last 24 hours of a trip to pass so I can return home. As luck would have it, some of my most aggravating delays have corresponded with my final flight home, putting my fuzzy pajamas tantalizingly out of reach. Not every travel day goes as smoothly as my return from Bulgaria did. So frustrating! There's nothing so nice as sleeping in your own bed, on your own sheets, wearing your favourite pj's - you know, the impractical fluffy flannel purple polka dot ones that you never take on the road. Throw in a long, hot bath, some homemade food, a cuddly pet or two, and you have a one outstanding homecoming!
I'm not the only one who feels this way. Everyone I know who is passionate about travel is also passionate about returning home, connecting with the people and things they love as they re-calibrate from their latest adventure and adjust to 'normal life'
Find out what other travel bloggers think is the best part of coming home!
Have you ever seen a ghost when you traveled? When you visit Herstmonceux Castle, you might not be alone!
There's nothing like a spine-tingling ghost story! Growing up on Cape Breton Island, dramatic tales, often touching on the spirit world, were an intrinsic part the cultural fabric of the island, which combined rich oral folklore with some of the best music and literature in the world. The swirling Scottish, Acadian, and Mi'kmaq traditions of storytelling complimented each other well and contributed to the island's legendary ceilidhs.
No doubt this cultural background contributed to my love of seeking out ghost stories when I travel. Already a big fan of walking tours of all shapes and sizes, I discovered that ghost tours were my perfect form of evening entertainment. Affordable, convenient, entertaining, and fun, ghost tours combined light exercise and a bit of light history with the chance to meet new friends and discover new parts of town. And if they ended at a pub, so be it! They were a great way to relax and let someone else worry about directions for a change, and as a female solo traveler, I appreciated the chance to part take in a safe evening activity.
So do I actually believe in ghosts? Belief is a bit of a strong word, but I DO stand by my ghostly story - and I'm sure these other bloggers do as well! Here's my story of a visit to Herstmonceux Castle in England when I felt I wasn't entirely alone.
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