Travel TopOfBlogs Past and future wanderings of a travel bug . . .: 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Time to Honour and Remember all Veterans and Those Who Still Serve

Remembrance Day is important to me.  I'm not a religious person so today trumps even Christmas.  As a Canadian I am free to travel with little restriction to many places in the world.  For this I am ever thankful.  I've had the opportunity to travel to many places significant in past conflicts and the older I get the more important I find this day.

This year I attended services in my home town with a close friend and colleague along with some friends of hers  one of which is a British military veteran.  This year being the first year in 10 where Canadian troops have not been on the front lines was particularly memorable.  I found myself moved to tears several times during the service knowing that the freedoms I enjoy everyday are the direct result  of the efforts of many of those in attendance along with those who have given their lives and the men and women who are currently deployed in places such as Afghanistan.

Our local service was followed by a shorter version at 11 o'clock at the local cenotaph where we heard The Last Post again and another 2 minute silence was observed.  To conclude the service one of our veterans read this article which I must confess I did not wholly agree with.   It's entitled "The country the world forgot - again".  Now I understand us Canadians despite being proud aren't always concerned with taking credit even if it's due.  I also understand that our military and peacekeeping contributions in many conflicts have been sizable as well and that is not always recognized.  Add to that the issue of our national identity being lumped in with that of our neighbors to the south and it might be true that we as Canadians are often forgotten.  My issue with this article however being read at Remembrance Day services had to do with a couple of comments within the article that to me seemed to take shots at the British and the Americans.  Today is not the day to disparage our allies of all people.  They too have given and continue to sacrifice lives to gain and protect the freedoms that  we hold dear.  As I stood along side my friend and her friend in his British military uniform I cringed as I listened to one of our Canadian vets read this passage including these criticisms.  I found that I felt quite offended.  I'm sure no offence was intended, and certain parts of the article were apt but in its entirety it felt inappropriate.  The service concluded on this note and on the walk home I felt compelled to seek out this article and read it for myself.  I was somewhat surprised to find that it had been written by someone in England in 2002 in response to Canada's involvement in Afghanistan.

In truth my experience today reinforced that today is not only a day to recognize my own country's contributions to conflict past and present but also to honour all men and women around the world who pay the price for freedom with their blood, sweat and tears.  All those around the world who fight in the name of the freedoms we take for granted deserve our gratitude today and everyday.

Lest we forget.

Last year I wrote about some of the sites I visited in Europe that were touched by war.  Read my blog post from last November 11 here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

P is for Procrastination

Are you a procrastinator?  I am.  I admit it.  It's awful.  A couple of months ago I started thinking about making my summer vacation plans.  I researched a couple of small tour operators, I looked into flights and buses and trains.  And I booked nothing.  Partly because I was waiting for the next seat sale.  It came and went.  And so did another one.  And still I couldn't commit.  Am I afraid of commitment?  Well, yes and no.

I've been working a lot lately.  And I have had my eyes on the prize--that being exploring a part of the country I haven't yet been.  Sigh.  If everything worked out I was going to check out Moose Travel Network (East) and Salty Bear Adventure Travel--both look like they would be a blast.  And now Air Canada may be about to strike.  I've spent some time on a picket line myself so I am not enamored with the idea of crossing one.  I'll fly Air Canada again once things are resolved.  In the meantime I am sort of glad I'm a procrastinator.  Usually it seems to work in my favor.  Maybe I'll find a fantastic last minute getaway instead.

For now my summer getaway is back at square one...oh well.  Guess I should start thinking about booking the time off....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gearing Up for a Great Canadian Summer!

For the better part of the year my country is cold.  I mean really cold.  I moaned about it last winter and come next winter I am sure I will again.  I love my country---but I hate it's winter weather.  So for Canadians the warm kiss of the breeze on a summers day is precious.  It's why when it's 15 C in early spring (and a week ago it was -15 C) you will see people roaming around in shorts and a T-shirt.  And sandals.  Mind you I'm not one of those people.  I run cold and if I'm in shorts the weather is definitely warm.

A summer day in Canada?  It could be but no this is Scotland!
It is only recently that spring has come and I am already working on summer plans.  And this summer I have decided that its all about Canada.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  Canada is a HUGE country.  I've been fortunate to have traveled throughout quite a bit of it but there are provinces I still haven't visited. I also am not in a position to be able to take too much time off at once and for some of the places I also want to go I just can't justify the airfare if I'm going to whip through in a week or two.  So what a perfect reason to explore a little more of the place I call home.  My plans aren't yet written in stone yet but the name of the game is go somewhere new.  

I've traveled both solo and in groups before and I certainly like the group dynamic, especially when I am not going to be in one place very long so I have decided to look into a couple of small Canadian tour companies operating in Eastern Canada.  The master plan if it works out is to join a group with one or both companies and blog about my experiences on the road.  In the coming days I am hoping to see what I can arrange.  

In the meantime I am also looking forward to exploring a little more of my own backyard as a long lost friend returns to visit.  My friend Y was an exchange student at my high school when I was in grade 11. We lost touch when she returned home but I thought of her often.  Then a few months ago she found me on Facebook.  I was so excited to hear from her.  She is coming back to visit for a few weeks this summer and I am super excited to take the opportunity to visit a few of the local attractions as we have this chance to take a walk down memory lane.

So it's shaping up to be a great Canadian summer.  Looking forward to sharing more!  Have you got some suggestions of where I should go in eastern Canada?  Leave me your comments!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

T is for Travel Blogger?

So I've been absent for a while.  I'm sorry.  I really am.  Real life has been my focus lately but I have still got my eyes on the prize.  The prize being the next trip.

I've been working on improving my health and fitness level--which needs to happen if I am to tackle a couple of trips on my bucket list down the road--the Inca Trail and Kilimanjaro.  I'm working hard at my job and working a extra hours both because I want to see the business I work for succeed and the few extra dollars can be added to my travel fund.  I'm continuing to live with less and save more instead.

Several of the places I've been or have been hoping to visit have been hit with disaster or unrest in the last few months.  I can only hope that things will improve and the people of all of these places will recover and prosper.  And that I will get the opportunity to visit someday.

I've been questioning whether I can call myself a "travel blogger" lately.  I've barely been blogging let alone traveling.  I want to be doing of these things but there are only so many hours in a day.  And dollars in my bank account.  I'm on a bit of a break from traveling but there are still many stories to tell from my previous adventures and hopefully many more adventures yet to come.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wandering into 2011

I have to admit that 2011 has gotten off to a bit of a slow start.  My internet presence has been negligible and real life has taken over.  Since December my focus has been the holidays, family, friends and work.  I had hoped for a winter getaway but instead stayed home and shoveled snow.  A lot of snow--I haven't seen a winter like this since I was small.

2011 so far has also brought a couple of firsts for me as a blogger too.  I wrote my first ever guest post.  To read my post, Living with Less:  What Travel Has Taught Me About Money & Material Things, head over to Spunkygirl Monologues.  Pam, both a fellow traveler and fellow Albertan, runs the site and this month is hosting posts from other spunky girls every day.  I am very glad to be included among them. 

I was also excited to hear my site has won its first ever award.  E College went looking for sites promoting study and work abroad opportunities and experiences.  And they found me.  Wow.  Consequently I've been recognized as one of their Top 75 Study Abroad Ambassadors!  I'm in good company too, among some of the sites I enjoy myself such as Do It While You're Young, Two Backpackers and Traveling Canucks.  There are many other great sites as well!  There is a whole list of links to check out and if you are looking for study/work abroad info you should take a wander over there.

The new year is still pretty bright and shiny as far as I am concerned and there is still much to come.  As always I am looking forward to sharing my wanderings both past and future with you and I hope that 2011 has started off with a bang for you!

Living with Less: What Travel Has Taught Me About Money & Material Things

A funny thing happened to me as I attempted to do some Boxing Week shopping at the end of 2010.  I made my way through several stores, amongst the throngs of bargain hunters, looking for a bargain myself.  I had decided that if I didn't go on a trip over the break I would treat myself to a new (and bigger) TV.  But even though I found many a tempting deal I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't part with my hard earned cash for something as frivolous as a new TV when I had visions of beaches and ruins and fabulous foreign food dancing in my head--you see, travel has simply made me change the way I think about money and "stuff".

Before I traveled I had spent most of my life attached to stuff.  Books, magazines, old clothes, gifts I received way back when I was a teenager (which is a half a lifetime ago now), and even some of my old school assignments that I was particularly proud of…I had kept them all.  When I packed everything up to pursue a chance to live overseas there were an awful lot of boxes that I packed up and stored for my eventual return...  

To read the rest of my very first guest post please head on over to Spunkygirl Monolgues. While you are there check out some of fellow Albertan Pam's posts about her adventures in Asia last year. 
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