The Véloroute des Bleuets is my favourite of all cycling Quebec adventures - even in the off season!
With sunny blue skies and a bracing wind, I bravely mounted my bike to go searching for blueberries in the Quebec countryside. But if you're looking at my jacket and scarf in the photo above and thinking it looks far too cold for blueberry season, you'd be partially right. You see, I wasn't in search of blueberries to eat! I was searching for Quebec's famous blueberry bike route, known as the "véloroute des bleuets".
Made up of over 20 different short to medium length rides through the blueberry-producing countryside, the véloroute des bleuets circles around Lac St Jean, not far from the northern Quebec city of Saguenay. The route includes towns such as Alma (my personal favourite), Saint-Felicien, Roberval, and Sainte-Monique, as well as Pointe-Taillon National Park, and includes terrain suitable for all riders.
We're retracing some of our favourite travel memories along Oahu's North Shore.
The North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii's most populated island, is one of the world's most famous surfing spots. But I am one of the world's most famous wimps - how is it possible that I fell head over heels in love with such a daredevil destination?
Sometimes opposites really DO attract. I've been telling people by word of mouth just how much I love the North Shore for years now. It was one of the very first trips Ryan and I ever made together and we often get asked for recommendations. How can it be that we've never written it all down? So here it is - a story of love at first sight, sandy feet, gourmet treats, and a little bit of everything for everyone.
All roads really DO lead to - and from- Rome.
Julius Ceasar, Saint Peter, Spartacus, and now the team from Turnipseed Travel.... there's been more than a few legends who've walked, rode, and peddled their way down the Appian Way. This ancient highway, nearly 400 miles of engineering marvel, connected Rome with southern Italy and the sea, forming a critical trade and communications link with Greece and Egypt.
Considered the world's first super highway, everyone who was anyone traveled along the Appian Way, along with over two thousand years of worth of anonymous citizens too. We were happy to start our first day in Rome by following in their footsteps!
Shakespeare once wrote "Boldness be my friend!" That's great advice for exploring Prague!
Cozy bookstores never fail to tug at my heart. I absolutely love discovering these charming, locally owned literary nests all around the world and I know you do too. I'm always happy to wander around no matter what style or language of book is offered, but I'm especially excited when I discover an English bookstore when I'm in another country. I usually can't resist picking up a new novel for the road and I enjoy bumping into other expats and hearing about upcoming events (and occasionally crashing them, especially when there's free wine involved!)
I heard about Prague's Shakespeare and Sons bookstore long before my visit. It's arguably the city's most famous bookstore and it comes highly recommended by all guidebooks. Still, my heart skipped a few beats when I saw it for the first time as I explored the cobblestone streets at dusk. Here it was!
In Malawi I had my first battle with travel burnout. It wouldn't be my last.
Lying under a bed net in Malawi's sweltering heat with a cold, wet towel on my bare stomach, my face was a mess of tears. The silent air conditioner served only ornamental purposes. In the darkness its knobs became eyes, watching my every move, my futile efforts to cool down, taking pleasure as I winced whenever one of the tiny, pink, pus filled blisters that covered my body - compliments of a whopping case of prickly heat - spontaneously burst.
It was over 10 years ago, but I'll never forget my worst day of travel burnout - a horrible combination of homesickness, culture shock, and sheer exhaustion. And pus. Lots of pus.
People often sneer when they hear the words 'travel burnout' and offer disparaging comments such as "Must be soooooo hard to be traveling all the time" or "Poor you, with your first world problems". But the truth is that anyone can experience burnout from any activity or circumstance.
No person is fully immune from feeling lonely, overwhelmed, frustrated, or isolated. And unlike burnout from work, family stress, or a stalled creative project, travel burnout comes with geographic, cultural, and linguistic isolation which even the most optimistic traveler would find difficult to cope with. You are separated from your support system, you lack control over your environment, and you may even face a serious conflict in your values and ethics.
I suspect that fast paced trips are even more susceptible to burnout than a slower style of travel. City hopping can be exhilarating but also overwhelming. The excitement of a new hotel each night doesn't always mask the loss of community; the sense of place that comes when you stay in the same neighbourhood for a few days. With more extremely fast paced travel planed, I'm trying to learn from the past and prepare for a balanced, healthy, happy trip. Here's are my top three tips for keeping sane on the road.
Every trip is unique but this one is truly like nothing else we've ever done.
If you've been following along on our social media channels, you'll know we have been stirring the travel pot and have a big trip to Europe in the works. And I mean BIG! This is officially the longest amount of time that we've been on the road together. Five weeks is nothing to sneeze at!
Long time readers might remember that we talked about doing this trip back in the fall of 2015 but for a number of reasons we just had to postpone things. They might also remember that the letter "S" figures prominently - Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland! We swear, this is just a coincidence (...... or is it......?)
As we make our way through an alphabet's worth of countries, we can't wait to have you all along for the ride. Here are five neat things you need to know about our five week trip.
I swear, I haven't been hiding! Just busy! Here's what's making November a happy month for me.
I swear, I haven't been living under a rock somewhere! Life has just been busy, but in a really good way. Here's what I've been up to since mid-October.
Traveling to Pembroke.
Have you ever heard of Pembroke, Ontario? It's a beautiful town just a few hours outside of Ottawa and I was so lucky to travel there in late October, just as the autumn colors were starting to fade, to take part in the Ontario Highlands Tourism Summit.
The Ontario Highlands holds a very special place in my heart, as it was the destination for one of my favourite girls' trips (snowshoeing! dog sledding! art! food!). I loved meeting so many inspiring small businesses in the travel/tourism sector and presenting to many of them on using Instagram.
Here's how I'm making memories in October.
Making my travel memories last a lifetime.
Books and stationary have been the loves of my life even longer than travel has. I love to read, I love to write, and I love to share my adventures - which is why you're all here! But while my blog readers - that's you! - feel like extended family for me, I also have 'real life' friends and family who aren't big online readers. In fact, some don't use the internet at all! I needed a better way to share my trip photos and stories, one that didn't involve an endlessly boring slideshow. What better way than to bring in my book love!?!
There's sand, surf, and sun in beautifully unexpected places...
Europe is the art and history center of the world and you can probably add food, wine, architecture, and fashion to that list. But Europe is a fantastic destination for beach lovers as well. There's thousands of miles of coastline, from gentle sand beaches to rugged rocky coasts. And you don't have to have a yacht or celebrity friends or a film debuting at Cannes in order to enjoy them to the fullest! Here are 5 of my favourite (and more affordable) beach destinations in Europe.
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