My Redbubble Shop is Up and Running!

Advertisements

Happy Tuesday everyone, I hope your week is off to a great start.

This is just a quick little post to let you know that I’ve just added a bunch more items to my new Redbubble store. You’ll find a selection of some photography I’ve taken from my travels, and a seemingly endless number of products to put them on and order!

A screenshot of my redbubble shop

This whole thing started because I wanted to print a photo I took of the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool, England as a keepsake for my time studying abroad at the University of Liverpool. I ordered my photo on the extra small glossy metal print, and hung it up on my wall along with a scarf and my original boarding pass. (A little cheesy, I know.)

I’m incredibly happy with how it turned out:

My order straight out of the box
My order hanging on the wall, paired with a Liverpool F.C. scarf

I’d appreciate you taking the time to stop by and see what there is on offer at my Redbubble store. You’ll find everything from traditional canvas and metal wall art, to stickers, magnets and postcards, and even phone cases, throw pillows, clocks and more! I’ll be continually adding more items to the shop periodically, so if you’re interested keep checking back for a continually growing collection.

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, Redbubble, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Columbia Packable Backpack Review (After 1 Year of Use)

Advertisements

I’ve had the Columbia Lightweight Packable 21 L Backpack for about a year now after purchasing it last January. In case you’re short on time, I highly recommend it.

I was looking for a decently sized, lightweight packable day bag to bring with me to Europe, and something I could pair with my Peak Design Travel Backpack. I was also hoping to use it for university, as I was studying abroad at the University of Liverpool at the time.

Ideally, I was looking for something inexpensive, with a couple of pockets and a laptop sleeve, maybe a spot for my water bottle, comfortable straps, and the ability to shrink it down to a smaller size so I could stuff it in my carry-on bag when it wasn’t being used .

Luckily for me, the Columbia Packable Backpack had almost everything I was looking for. Before I go into detail and give you my thoughts, here’s the specs taken from Columbia’s website:

  • Cost: C$37 (US$28)
  • Capacity: 21 L
  • Weight: 167 g / 5.9 oz
  • Backpack Dimensions:
    • 46 x 32 x 11.9 cm / 18.1″ x 12.6″ x 4.7″

Here are some pictures of the Columbia Packable Backpack, and some items for scale:


A front view of the backpack:

The inside of the backpack:

The inside of the backpack, with a passport holder, a 24 fl oz water bottle, and toiletry bag for scale:

The interior volume of the bag with the same water bottle for scale:

The size of the backpack when folded, with a wallet for scale:

Advertisements

Finally, here’s the Columbia packable backpack fully loaded with 4 days worth of clothes inside a Peak Design bompression bag, the same toiletry kit from the picture above, all of my documentation and chargers, and a water bottle clipped to the side. There’s still some room left over for small souveniers:

The backpack is made of a water resistant Nylon Ripstop material, and has held up very well considering the amount of use I’ve put it through. I took it with me to class everyday for 5 months in all sorts of weather, on a bunch of day trips all across the UK, and it was my personal item on my Ryanair flights to Denmark, Ireland, and Belgium, as well as my day bag while exploring the Isle of Man. There are no signs of wear and tear, no discolouration, and the zippers all still work smoothly.

The laptop sleeve inside the backpack held my 15-inch laptop comfortably, and the inside pocket was a great place to safely store my passport and other important documents while I was travelling. The exterior pocket also has plenty of room to store whatever else you may have on hand. The straps are basic, but I found they applied an equal pressure to my shoulders which meant they were a lot more comfortable than you might expect.

My only complaint about the bag is that it doesn’t have a pocket for a water bottle. I got around this by either clipping one to the top handle, or simply stuffing it down inside the bag.

If you’re looking for a reliable packable backpack for an inexpensive price, in my opinion the Columbia Lightweight Packable 21 L Backpack is definitely worth a buy. It makes for a great day bag, as well as the perfect sized personal item for use on ultra-low cost budget airlines like Ryanair.

If you have any questions about the Columbia packable backpack, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments down below!

Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, Redbubble, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

World Cup ’22: In Honour of Canada vs. Belgium

Advertisements

For the first time in 36 years, Canada will finally play a match at the World Cup when they face off against Belgium today in Qatar.

It’s obviously an exciting moment for me, and many Canadians across the country. My family was able to attend several matches during the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, and the energy surrounding this team is just intoxicating.

Now, although we finished as the top seed in qualifying ahead of the USA and Mexico, I’m not oblivious to the fact that we have a massive challenge ahead of us in Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco in Group F. In all honesty, win or lose, I’m just happy that Canada gets to be apart of it all this time around.

In honour of Canada’s World Cup journey, and specifically their opening match against Belgium, I thought I would share a few photos from my travels to Brussels and Ghent back in April of this year.

Enjoy, and ALLEZ LES ROUGES! 🇨🇦

The Grand Palace, Brussels. One the most impressive squares I’ve ever been to.
Jardin du Mont des Arts, Brussels
Picturesque storefront in Brussels
You can’t go to Belgium and NOT get waffles
Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Brussels
Advertisements
The famous Manneken Pis, Brussels
Halle Gate, reminant of the second city walls of Brussels
Outside the European Parliament, Brussels
European Parliament Hemicycle
Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels
Advertisements
Inside the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History, Brussels
The Atomium, Brussels
Bicycles stacked up outside Ghent Train Station
Scenic view of the river running through the heart of the city of Ghent
Gravensteen Castle, Ghent
Another angle of the river running through Ghent. I must have sat looking at this view for over an hour.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, Redbubble, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

My Honest Ryanair Flight Review (Why it’s My Favourite Airline)

Advertisements

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but hear me out.

Obviously flying a traditionally structured full service airline is a far more enjoyable experience and the preferred choice for the majority of travellers, including myself. Compared to Ryanair, flying economy on any other airline feels like your being wined and dined and treated to such luxuries reserved only for the elite of the world.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to love about Ryanair.

Boarding the front of my Ryanair flight to Brussels

To give you some context, I studied abroad at the University of Liverpool for one semester earlier this year. Being Canadian, I’ve always resented how expensive it is to travel in my home country, and how limited the transportation options are, especially with respect to flying. So, I made it my goal to take advantage of being in Europe for as long as I was, for as often as I could. Ryanair was the obvious choice to allow me to do just this, and I flew exclusively with them during my time abroad.

Before I get into my thoughts on Ryanair though, here are the trips I took outside of the United Kingdom during my time across the pond, and their respective costs.

1. Liverpool, U.K. (LPL) —> Copenhagen, Denmark (CPH)

I booked this RETURN flight for a grand total of £16 (C$30). Flight time each way was about 1 hour 50 minutes, and left from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and landed at Copenhagen’s International Airport. I spent the weekend exploring Denmark’s capital with some friends back in February and absolutely loved it, but that’s a story for another time.

A view of my Ryanair plane headed for Copenhagen
Crossing the North Sea on the way to Copenhagen
Advertisements

2. Liverpool, U.K. (LPL) —> Dublin, Ireland (DUB)

The quick hop across the Irish sea cost a total of £24 return (C$40) and was without a doubt the shortest flight of my life. The entire process from gate to gate took just over 40 minutes and I was in Ireland before I had decided which of my downloaded podcasts to listen to. Aside from the distance, I’ll touch on why this entire process was so seamless later on.

The Liverpool skyline and River Mersey shortly after takeoff
Final approach into Dublin Airport (one of the windiest landings I’ve experienced)

3. Liverpool, U.K. (LPL) —> Brussels, Belgium (CRL)

OK, so if you’re really good at memorizing airport codes, you’ll have noticed that CRL isn’t actually in Brussels. In fact, it’s about an hour’s drive away in the city of Charleroi, and far closer to France than it is to the nation’s capital. If this was any other airline, I’d be less than enthused, but Ryanair sold this return ticket for a mere £16 (C$27).

Thanks to the decline of the British Pound against the Canadian Dollar since my flight to Denmark, this meant Ryanair brought me on a 1 hour and 20 minute flight to Belgium and back for less than what Air Canada charged me to select my seat to London Heathrow back in January. Being dropped off an hour outside Brussels was a little inconvenient, and meant we had to catch a bus. I didn’t really mind this however because the bus was pretty inexpensive, and I got the chance to see some of the Belgian countryside.

Pushback at Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Final approach to Brussels South Charleroi Airport

Totals

  • Fights taken: 6
  • Time in the air: 7 hours 40 minutes
  • Distance travelled: 3,700 km
  • Countries visited: 3
  • Total cost: £56 (C$97.00)
Advertisements

Obviously there are some sacrifices that need to be made when you fly Ryanair, especially at the ultra low prices I did. You don’t get to choose your seat, there’s no meal or drink service onboard, and you’re only allowed to bring a personal item onto the plane. Seeing as all my trips were short haul flights, and a total 3-4 days away maximum, none of this was an issue for me. I was able to stuff plenty enough clothes and toiletries inside my small backpack, and even had enough space to bring back small souveniers. Attach a water bottle to the side of the bag and you even have a container to bring water onto the plane aswell.

Just make sure you remember to empty it before going through security in Dublin or an Irish guard might make you chug the whole bottle in front of the entire terminal in an impromptu drinking competition. (Hilarious, but indeed not my finest moment)

If you can get past all of this, as I mentioned earlier, you’ll find that Ryanair has a lot to love.

For starters, they generally fly at off-peak times, meaning that the airports are quieter, security is smoother, and taxiing is far faster. With no large luggage, you don’t have to scramble to get to the airport early to check your bags, or wait for them at the carousel at your destination. Getting onto your flight is far less painless and very quick aswell because Ryanair does dual boarding, meaning everyone enters the plane from both the front and rear doorsat the same time, depending on where your seat is located within the aircraft.

Every airline should do this!

My alloted personal item

All of this combined means that not a single one of my flights with Ryanair was delayed or late. Always on time, and even sometimes early. Remember, for a fraction of the cost of a traditional airline. They even play a cool jingle on the plane to announce the accomplishment!

If you’re worried about getting stuck in a randomly allocated middle seat, well yeah, that’s going to happen. I mean you paid $15 for the ticket, what did you expect? In all seriousness, I only had to sit in the middle seat twice. Your odds are pretty good at getting either a window or an aisle seat, and there are usually enough open spots you can move around to find something you like anyways. You likely won’t be able to sit next to your friends or family, but I found this was a really unique opportunity to chat with all sorts of new people from around the world.

The Leg room is adequate (I’m 6 ft tall) and the seat width isn’t that bad either. Again, you paid 3 rocks and a flake of dust to be taken across the continent, how much complaining can you really do? You might even get lucky like I was and end up being moved to an emergency row to enjoy the extra leg room, or be asked to move to the first row of the plane for balacing reasons. There’s no inflight entertainment, which is to be expected, and an issue that is easily solved by downloading movies, music and TV shows onto your phone.

In the middle seat Flying to Denmark
Advertisements
Waiting to board my flight back to Liverpool at Dublin Airport.

I’m back in Canada now, and I legitimately miss Ryanair. It’s not one giant nightmare like the internet and other travellers might have you believe. There’s a good chance you might be pleasently suprised. Sure there are compromises, but Ryanair is a what you see is what you get kind of airline that allowed me the freedom to explore more of Europe at an incredibly low price. It gave me the ability to use more of my money to enjoy the actual destination rather than burning it all just to get there. When it comes down to it, as an exchange student trying to maximize my budget, Ryanair gave me everything I asked for and more, and that’s not something you can say about every airline.

For this reason, and many more, Ryanair has become one of my favourite, if not my favourite airlines.


Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, Redbubble, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

The Cathedrals of Liverpool (Roman Catholic vs. Anglican)

Advertisements

1. Liverpool Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral

Quick Facts:

  • Height: 84.86 m (278.41 feet); Diameter: 59.43 m (195.98 feet)
  • Construction began in 1962 and was completed in 1967
  • The cathedral is made of conrete and features an aluminum covered roof
The Steps leading to the main entrance of the Metropolitan Cathedral
The view from the top of the steps (Hey, I can see my residence from here!)

The Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic church in Liverpool. It’s located in the Knowledge Quater of the city, about a 10 minute walk from Liverpool Central Station. I got to know this cathedral very well as it was directly across the street from my student residence at the University of Liverpool while I was on my international study exchange.

I only ever went inside once, hense the rather limited pictures below, but it served as a beacon to lead me home anywhere I was in the city. Although exactly what you would expect of architecture from the 1960s, the exterior of the building is rather unique for a religous construction of this size, at least in my experience.

The interior of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is a massive circle. Your immediate attention is pulled to the height of the ceiling, and the stained glass windows high above your head. There are 13 chapels lining the circumfrence of the main room, and an endless sea of pews leading to the alter at the front.

Inside of the Cathedral
Stained glass windows in the roof of the cathedral

The most memorable part of the cathedral for me were the bells and their ability to disturb my sleep on many mornings over the course of 5 months living across the street from them. While they sounded great, the bells had a tendency to go on for a very long time, and at very inconvenient times in the morning.

Entrance is free, although donations are encouraged. If you’re visiting Liverpool and happen to be in the area, definitely take the time to visit the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Otherwise, in my opinion and as you’ll see below, the Liverpool Cathredral is worth more of a visit and your time.

Advertisements

2. Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Quick Facts:

  • Construction began in 1904 and didn’t finish until 1978
  • Height: 100.8 m (331 ft); Length: 188.67 m (619 ft)
  • Among a number of records, it is the longest cathedral in the world, and the largest Anglican cathedral in the world. It is also the fifth largest by volume in the world.
Liverpool Catheral as seen from the parking lot

I visited the Liverpool Cathedral 3 times during my time living and study at the University of Liverpool. Once by myself and another 2 times with visiting family and friends. Built in the gothic revival style of architecture, I think it’s fair to say the Liverpool Cathedral is a much more impressive structure than its Roman Catholic counterpart. The sheer scale of the building dominates the surrounding skyline, and the interior of the building is just as grand.

There’s lots to explore inside, including your typical religious artifacts, tombs, ornate stained glass windows and a grand altar. Tucked away within the back corner of the main cathedral is The Lady Chapel, the first part of the structure to be completed. There’s also a cafe with plenty of seating available in the centre of the building, and a small gift shop as well.

The exterior’s impressive gothic arches
The interior of the cathedral. The cafe can be seen in the left of the picture
Looking down the centre of the cathedral towards the altar
The Cathedral features towering stained glass windows
A close up view of the altar
The Lady Chapel, the oldest part of the Cathedral

Outside Liverpool Cathedral you’ll find St. James’ Gardens. Originally used as a cemetary with more than 57,000 burials, it was closed in 1936 when the land was deemed full. It was then converted into a public garden and greenspace in 1972, meaning all the gravestones had to be relocated. Many of these gravestones now line the exterior perimeter of the park and date back to the early 19th century. I found it really interesting reading the inscriptions, the names of the deceased, and when they lived and died. With the backdrop of the massive cathedral looming overhead, it really is a unique place to visit and go for a walk.

Entrance to the Liverpool Cathedral and St. James’ Gardens are free, although donations are encouraged. It is located in the Georgian Quater of the city, and while it is a 17 minute walk from Liverpool Central Station, (a little futher away from the city centre than the Roman Catholic Cathedral) it is most definitely worth the walk to come and see.

A view of St. James’ Gardens with Liverpool Cathedral in the background
Gravestones line the entire exterior boundary of St. James’ Gardens
There is a looped walking path that winds its way around the gardens
Advertisements

3. Honourable Mentions

No cathedral tour of Liverpool is complete without at least mentioning the hallowed grounds that each of the city’s beloved football teams play in and call home. I’m of course talking about Anfield and Goodison Park, the respective stadium’s of Liverpool F.C. and Everton F.C.

Anfield Stadium, Home of Liverpool F.C.
Goodison Park, Home of Everton F.C.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, Redbubble, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Peck Lake Trail Review – Algonquin Provincial Park

Advertisements

According to AllTrails, Peck Lake Trail is an easy 1.8 km, 30 minute loop that navigates the perimeter of Peck Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. When I hiked Peck Lake Trail back in June of 2021, I was able to complete the trail in just over 35 minutes with a distance covered of 2.05 km. My fitness tracker noted a total ascent of 0.26 km and a total descent of 0.31 km.

While there are certainly more adventurous hikes to be found in Algonquin, Peck Lake Trail was a nice change of pace, similar in feel to the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail. Because of this, I was able to fit in 2 more hikes on this day. First completing the Hardwood Lookout Trail, and then it’s neighbour the Red Spruce Side Trail.

As you’ll see in the pictures below, Peck Lake Trail offered plenty of scenery to look at including forested sections, boardwalks, lakeside paths, boggy areas, and rock outcrops. The trail was easy to follow and well maintained, with plenty of places to stop and take pictures and take in the beauty of the nature. All in all, it was a very enjoyable hike.

The entrance to Peck Lake Trail as seen through my bug stained windshield
Peck Lake Trail parking lot
Peck Lake trailhead
Closeup of the trailhead signpost
The meeting point of the loop, the trail starts right, going counter-clockwise around the lake
Advertisements

Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, Redbubble, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Is Isle of Man Worth Visiting? | Travel Highlights and Itinerary

Advertisements

The Isle of Man is a British Crown Dependency located in the middle of the Irish Sea between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. At 572 km², and a population of 85,000 people, there’s more to discover than you might think. Historic railways, stunning architecture, rolling countryside, scenic hikes, imposing castles and charming seaside towns are just the beginning of what this island has to offer. This video, filmed during my travels in May of 2022 outlines an example itinerary for a 4 day trip to the Isle of Man, and showcases many of its highlights.

For more travel videos, be sure to visit my Youtube channel by clicking here.

Enjoy!


ISLE OF MAN Travel Highlights | Itinerary and Travel Guide

Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest, as well as my store on Redbubble for wall art, custom phone cases, stickers and more!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


[NEW VIDEO] Lakeside at Lake Louise, Banff National Park

Advertisements

A short clip from my visit to one of the most photographed place in all of Canada: Lake Louise, Banff National Park. Video taken in September 2021.


Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest, as well as my store on Redbubble for wall art, custom phone cases, stickers and more!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Liverpool F.C. Supporters Sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at Anfield

Advertisements

It’s been a whirlwind 6 weeks living in the United Kindom.

To quickly summarize, I’ve toured London, Edinburgh, Dundee, Liverpool, Manchester, and will be sitting on a train to Chester for a day trip as this post is being published. I’ve also been on a quick weekend trip to Copenhagen, Demark (Thank you Ryanair) and have plans to fly over to Dublin, Ireland in the near future, as well as tavel through mainland Europe towards the end of May.

Of course, my primary purpose for being in the U.K. is for university, meaning that writing posts on here falls to the back burner. I’ve been compiling some of my trips into writing, but in the meantime I wanted to share a quick video of one of the highlights of my time here thus far.

On February 10th, I was lucky enough to grab a ticket to the Liverpool F.C. vs. Leicester City match at Anfield. It’s been a huge bucket-list item of mine to watch a match at Anfield, for reasons on and off the pitch. Liverpool won the match 2-0, but the most memorable moment of the night was when the stadium erupted into life prior to kickoff to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

I’ve included the video I took below. It was such an incredible atmosphere, and I can’t wait to experience it again. Until then, keep checking back here for more posts coming in the near future.


Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


27-Hour Travel Day (Arriving in the United Kingdom)

Advertisements

Travel days tend to turn into one giant blur, filled with excitment, confusion, and exhaustion; my journey from Toronto to London was no exception.

It all started with a 10:30 a.m. wake up call to do the last of the laundry and packing, as well as to get all of the necessary documents and affairs in order needed when leaving for a 5-month trip abroad. A ride to the airport, a starbucks coffee, and a few emotional goodbyes later and I found myself sitting in front of gate E70 at Pearson International Airport waiting to board my Air Canada Boeing 787-9 to London Heathrow at 8:30 p.m. Of course, the one time I decided to be a responsible adult and not buy overpriced snacks for the plane, there was a problem with the aircraft’s auxillary power unit meaning the pilots were unable to get the engines started. As a result of this misfortune, I sat in snackless agony for almost 2 hours while mechanics assessed the situation and fixed the problem.

Air Canada Boeing 787-9
Sitting at the gate, Pearson International Airport
Sunsrise over the Atlantic Ocean

Fortunately, I had an entire row to myself which allowed me to sprall out and get comfy. While I never managed to get some sleep, this was the first time I’d been able to lie flat on an airplane, and lord was it glorious. After just over 6 hours in the air, the flight touched down in England at 10 a.m. local time. While the delay was a tad frustrating, in the end it worked out for the better as we arrived inbetween peak arrival times, meaning customs and immigration took a mere 10 minutes from deplaning to luggage collection.

Advertisements

This meant plenty of time to activate my sim card, buy train tickets into the city centre, and even get a Covid test at the airport. (I tested negative) The downside? I wasn’t due to check into my Airbnb until 2 p.m. so I had a lot of time to kill. I decided to take the short walk from London Paddington Station to Hyde Park, and spent the late morning and early afternoon people watching and hanging out in nature.

London Paddington Station
London Paddington Station
Streets of London
Hyde Park
Hyde Park

Hours later, after checking in and taking a much needed hot shower and a quick rest I made the 45 minute walk to Buckingham Palace. I’ve been twice before, and both times were in peak season with large crowds of people so it was an interesting contrast seeing this major tourist destination relatively free of crowds.

Aside from a quick stop for groceries and dinner, the trek back consisted of my body screaming in full revolt after just over 21 km of walking on little to no sleep in the past 27 hours. I’m looking forward to getting some rest, but excited for the next few days spent in London before journeying elsewhere in the week before I begin my studies in Liverpool later this month.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Advertisements
Queen Victoria Memorial
Queen Victoria Memorial
Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens
Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch

Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


What to Expect in 2022 (University Exchange Update)

Advertisements

Last year, I announced that I was going on a student exchange to Melbourne, Australia for the 2022 winter term. Unfortunately, this is no longer happening. Local travel restrictions, varying vaccination rollouts, and most importantly the increasing case counts due to the rise of the Omicron variant have squashed any hopes of studying in Australia.

While I’m disappointed, it’s not all bad news because a shift in travel plans and applications means that at the end of January, I will instead be moving to the United Kingdom to study at the University of Liverpool for 5 months! While the plans are concrete now, this wasn’t always a guarrantee. After I was informed that my university was cancelling my exchange to Australia, I was offered to apply to a new host school. After some deliberation, I decided that my best chance to study abroad would be in the U.K. Of course, this was before the Omicron variant was discovered which threw everything into jeopardy.

Gatwick International Airport (ca. 2019)

In part due to my own university’s pandemic policy and the Government of Canada’s official travel reccomendations, my exchange with the University of Liverpool has been cancelled and reinstated almost 3 times. Thankfully, after some deliberation I was given the opportunity to continue with my semester abroad as long as I gave the powers at be my informed consent and proved that my health insurance would cover any possible complications due to Covid-19.

And so, after a couple months of planning I’ve found myself in the final few weeks before setting off for England. Flights are booked, accomodation is lined up, courses are chosen, and new travel accessories have been purchased. (Several of which I will be making a review of)

While the main focus of this adventure will be on completing courses required to obtain my degree, I’m obviously going to be doing as much travelling and cultural immersion as possible. As the pandemic still leaves a cloud of uncertainty, the amount I will be able to do remains to be seen but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to make the most of this experience. (and write about it!) If you have any reccomendation for things to do, or places to see in the U.K. or the rest of Europe for that matter, please leave a comment below and let me know!

Durham, England (ca. 2019)
Advertisements

Now, I realize that many people who have had the chance to study abroad tend to pick non-english speaking countries or distant exotic locations. I considered this, but chose England for a few reasons. First, the United Kingdom is one of my favourite countries. I’ve been twice before: once in 2006, which to be fair I don’t remember too well, and then again in 2019 when my family did a whirlwind tour of the country from the northern tip of England diagonally across the midlands before finishing in London. The pubs, the architecture, the football, and more all strike a chord with me.

Secondly, in order to obtain my university degree my program presents the opportunity to partake in a 8-month work term in a developing nation as part of my final year. This means I’ll have the opportunity to immerse myself in a more foreign culutre and lanuage down the road. Studying in England allows me to live abroad and experience a different country, but in a more or less familiar setting to Canada. This exchange semsester will serve as a way to ease into life away from home in preparation for what’s to come.

Finally, I chose the United Kingdom because of the uncertainty of the pandemic. Aside from being somewhere that’s still accepting foreign students, the U.K. has a strong healthcare system, speaks the same language, and the British and Canadian governments have a close relationship. All of this is in place in the event that I get sick. (Fun fact, it’s written in every Canadian passport to visit a British embassy/consulate in the event you need help somewhere a Canadian embassy isn’t available) While health considerations aren’t the driving reason for studying in England, it’s nice to have that peace of mind.

Alnwick Castle, England (ca. 2019)

I’m both incredibly excited and very anxious to get started, and happy that after all the uncertainty my exchange term is actually happening. I’ll be writing about my time in the Liverpool as regularly as I can so keep checking in to follow along.

In terms of the second half of 2022, my plans remain wide open. I’d like to return to work in Algonquin Park for the third straight year, and I’ve started to throw around the idea of working in western Canada this summer, but some things need to fall in place before either of those happen. Regardless, I’m excited to get back out there and continue exploring the wilderness, go camping and do lots more hiking. My goals for Seeking Saudades include posting here at least once a week and creating new content for my YouTube channel. I’m excited for 2022 and I hope you’ll follow along with me!


Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


2021: Year In Review

Advertisements

Despite constantly evolving regional and international pandemic restrictions, 2021 was a satisfying year for both my travels and for Seeking Saudades. To mark the start of a new year, I put together a brief overview of 2021: what I did, where I went, my top posts, and the overall statistics of the website and blog. You’ll also find a list of my favourite YouTube channels and creators of the year, and links to their respective pages. As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by.


| Travel Recap

2021 was marked by driving, and a lot of it. I worked in Algonquin Provincial Park again this summer, and spent a large amount of time commuting back and forth, as well as doing a little exploring on the side. I also went on a western Canadian road-trip which involved an incredible amount of time and distance behind the wheel. Here’s to more flying, and less driving in 2022!

1. Western Canada Road-Trip

In Septemeber, my friend Sam and I went on a 9-day road trip through 5 provinces to western Canada. There’s a lot to unpack on this journey, and as such I’ve procrastinated actually writing about it. However to summarize, it was a long, yet rewarding journey full of stunning landscapes, good company, and expensive auto-repair bills. Stay tuned for a full write-up in the future, but for now here’s some highlights of the journey:

Hwy 17, Lake Superior, ON
Kakabeka Falls, ON
Manitoba Welcome Sign
The Badlands, Alberta
Banff National Park
Lake Louise, Banff National Park
Advertisements
2. Algonquin Provincial Park

2021 was my second year working in Algonquin park which meant plenty of time for hiking, camping, seeing wildlife, and photography. I managed to walk every trail in the park except 1 this summer, which means lots of trail guides incoming. Algonquin Park has become a special place to me, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to explore so much of it again this year, and yet I’ve only scratched the surface. Among the many highlights were the 52 moose I encountered. Further into this post you’ll find a YouTube video of one of these encounters.

Centennial Ridges Trail
Lake of Two Rivers
Booth’s Rock Trail
Track and Tower Trail
3. Niagara Falls

I listed Niagara Falls as one of my must see travel destinations in 2021 and I stayed true to my own advise, visiting twice over the course of the year. One of the highlights this time around was the Journey Behind the Falls experience, where I was able to walk the tunnels behind the Canadian Horseshoe falls, and stand within a stones throw of the water crashing down below. I’ve still yet to explore the American side of Niagara Falls, so maybe next year I’ll change things up a little and finally cross over.

Canadian Horsehoe Falls
The Niagara River
Journey Behind the Falls Tour
Below Niagara Falls
Advertisements
4. BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario
Outside BMO Field

Home of Major League Soccer’s Toronto F.C. and the unofficial national stadium for Canada’s men’s national soccer team, BMO Field was the lifegiving force for me this year. Pandemic restrictions in Ontario were finally eased in July, meaning for the first time in almost 2 years we were all able to gather to watch live sports again. The first Toronto F.C. game back was special and although the team was absolutely awful this year I was happy to have the chance to finally voice my displeasure in person again.

Canada’s national soccer team was also in the midst of attempting to qualify for our first World Cup since 1986, and I was lucky enough to attend their qualifying match against Panama. Behind a near-capacity crowd, Canada rallied to a 4-1 win, strengthing our chance at finally making back to a World Cup. The highlight of the night was an Alphonso Davies wondergoal, which I’ve included a clip of below. The roar of the crowd and the energy that night was extremely theraputic and a semblance of normalcy finally begining to return.

Canadian Supporters
Toronto FC Pregame
Advertisements

| Overall Website Statistics

As I will dicuss later, search engine optimization was definitely my friend this year. A large percentage of the views came from just a select few posts and contributed to a more than tripling of total views, almost 5x the unique visitors and a doubling of followers as compared to 2020. While I’m very grateful and happy for these numbers, I know that with more commitment to creating content and regular posting, 2022 can be even more successful.


Where You’re Reading:

In 2021, Seeking Saudades was viewed in 76 countries and territories from around the world. This just blows my mind, and it’s amazing to see the kind of reach the content on here has had over the last year. Here is a map and list of where you’re all from, and a breakdown of each location’s total views.

1. Breakdown by Map
Shaded countries represent where Seeking Saudades was viewed
2. Breakdown by List
Advertisements
Most Viewed Post:
The Kayak’s Maiden Voyage (Evoke Algonquin Kayak Review)

This post was by far the most viewed of the year, gaining a lot of attention from being highly ranked in Google search results. It’s a concise kayak review, but it also includes some pictures from a short paddle around the lake on a spring day.

Most Liked Post:
What’s the Luckiest You’ve Ever Been While Travelling?

In this post I recall the incredibly lucky fortune my brother and I had on a trip to Japan in September of 2019 which involved narrowly missing an earthquake, and dodging 2 typhoons.

Personal Favourite Post:
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower – Kitchener, Ontario

This post was one of the first of 2021, and took the most amount of time and effort to write. In it, I explore the Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower in Kitchener, Ontario and discuss the landmark’s significance and history. This article is a good example of the type of writing I’d like to do more of on this blog, so check it out and let me know what you think!


Advertisements

| YouTube Statistics

I only posted 3 videos to YouTube this year, and while they’re obviously not going to be up for any Streamy Awards, I was happy to get the ball rolling on setting things up. Video creation is definitely an avenue I’d like to pursue so I have big hopes for my YouTube channel in the future. Here’s 2 of the videos I posted this year:

Stunning Views from Moraine Lake, Banff National Park
Algonquin Park Moose Encounter
Advertisements

| Favourite Travel Channels

1. Kara and Nate

Kara and Nate are from Tennessee, USA, but have spent very little time in their home state over the course of the last 6 years as they’ve been travelling almost non-stop to 100 countries around the world. What started off as a 1 year break from regular life, quickly turned into one of the most successful travel channels on YouTube. I basically spent the last year binge-watching over 4 years of their travel videos and highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t already. Here’s their 100th country documentary which outlines all of their travels to 100 countries from 2016-2020:

2. Gabriel Traveler

I’ve been watching Gabriel’s videos for a while now, and for good reason: his videos are authentic, raw and generally show the sides of travel that other, more highly-produced YouTubers like to gloss over. Gabriel has been travelling the world since the 90s but has been vlogging his experiences since 2009. As mentioned, his videos aren’t very flashy; it’s just a man and his action-camera. However, I feel that this makes his content very relateable and gives you the feeling of being on the journey with him, rather than watching a highlight reel of someone’s vacation. I especially enjoy his Himalayan trekking videos:

3. Eamon and Bec

While Eamon and Bec are generally known as vanlife YouTubers, I discovered their channel through their Canadian cabin renovation series which they began during the height of the pandemic. Eamon and Bec are incredibly down to earth and positive people, and in my opinion that directly translates to what makes their content so enjoyable. Recently, they’ve gotten back into international travel and have been touring around Morroco in a converted sprinter van. Here’s their final cabin renovation tour:

Advertisements

| Looking to 2022

While there was growth, I fell short of my own goals and expectations in 2021. This year, I am recommiting and as such there are big plans in place that I intend to capitalize on. Stay tuned for next week’s post which will outline my travel plans, overall goals for Seeking Saudades and what you can expect to see from me in 2022.

I appreciate all those who have taken the time to read and watch, and thank all of you for the support in 2021. Happy new year, and cheers to a successful, happy, and healthy 2022!


Thank you for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to subscribe and stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements

[Video] Stunning Views from Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

Advertisements
Advertisements

Happy Wednesday!

I’m just checking in to inform you that I’ve published a new video on my YouTube channel, and if you read my last Photo Friday, you’ll find that this clip is essentially the video version of the picture I showcased in that post.

I just felt I had to share some more of those stunning views from Moraine Lake in beautiful Banff National Park.

Check it out below and enjoy!


Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park – Photo Friday #17

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

Earlier this month, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting one of the most beautiful places in the world: Moraine Lake, located in stunning Banff National Park, Alberta.

This visit was part of a cross-Canada road trip that spanned 9-days, 5 provinces, 7100 kilometres, and 75 hours worth of driving from my home province of Ontario to British Columbia. Looking back on this photo, and others from my time in the country’s oldest national Park, it’s still hard to believe that this was a real place.

The mountains seemed like they were CGI’d into the background, the water looked as though it was scooped up and delivered straight from the Bahamas, and the trees seemed to go on for eternity. I was only able to spend 24-hours in Banff before having to turn around and begin the long drive home, but it was worth every single second and penny that it took to get there…

…including the $1,300 emergency brake job I had to get in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, but that’s a story for another time.

See you next week!

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada (ca. Sept. 2021)

Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Algonquin Park Moose Encounter – Photo Friday #16

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week, I’m sharing a video I took of one of the many (46 thus far!) moose encounters I’ve had in Algonquin Provincial Park this summer.

Taken in June 2021, I was lucky enough to have spotted a cow and her calf munching on some leaves for a midday snack. From where I was standing, the moose couldn’t have been more than 25 feet away, one of the closest encounters I’ve had to date.

Of course, moose can be extremely dangerous, especially if they feel threatened or are protecting their young. However, I was calmed by knowing that this particular mother had been raising her calves in the busy campgrounds of Algonquin Park for years, and had become relatively unbothered by humans in her presence.

While they may seen like elusive animals, spotting a moose in Algonquin Park is far easier than it may seem. I’ve encountered upwards of 70 in the past 2 summers! If you’re looking to see some moose of your own, be sure to keep an eye out for my Algonquin Park moose spotting guide here in the near future!


Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Track and Tower Trail, Algonquin Park – Photo Friday #15

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week’s picture was taken at the lookout on the Track and Tower Trail, located in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada last month in June 2021.

The longest hike I’ve done this year, and certainly the most interesting, the Track and Tower Trail had a wide variety of historical stops, wooded paths, river crossings, and scenic lookouts. Keep an eye out for a full trail report here on seekingsaudades.com in the coming future.

In un-related news, I’ve finally received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which means I’m fully vaccinated, Canada is closer to completely reopening, and international travel isn’t too far away either.

Exciting times ahead!

Track and Tower Trail, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada
Track and Tower Trail, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada (ca. June 2021)

Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

The Kayak’s Maiden Voyage (Evoke Algonquin Kayak Review)

Advertisements

Earlier this year, my parents and I split the cost of a new kayak, something we’ve been thinking of purchasing for a few years now. We bought it from our local Canadian Tire for around CAD $999. After accessorizing paddles, roof mounts, and other various items the final total was bumped up towards CAD $1200. We decided on the Evoke Algonquin 12-ft. *Edit: Be sure to read to the end for a 6-month update*

We’ve had a canoe up at the lake for years, but it’s extremely heavy, hard to maneuver, and a pain to take out for longer trips. After spending a significant amount of time in Algonquin Provincial Park last year, I aspired to find more time to spend outdoors, and so I felt it was finally time to bite the bullet and look for a boat that could both be used at the cottage for a good workout, and something that could potentially be taken out into the backcountry on weekend portage camping trips. Seeing as most new lightweight canoes will set you back upwards of CAD $5000, the next best option for us was to look for a kayak which could check off the same wish list as a canoe, but at a more reasonable price, resulting in the purchase of the Evoke Algonquin 12-ft.

Fast forward to this past weekend, and the water was finally warm enough (46 ℉) to feel confident that I could attempt to take it out for a spin without risking death if I fell overboard. I had been in a kayak once before at my buddy Alex’s cottage, and I came pretty close to going for an unwanted swim several times, so I was skeptical about my chances of staying dry this time around.

evoke 12 ft kayak

In the end, the new kayak proved to be extremely roomy, stable, and tracked in the water like a dream. It took some thinking, but I was also able to get in and out of the kayak pretty easy. It’s still a bit of a heavier boat at 56 pounds, but I didn’t really feel it during the paddle, and it was easy enough to carry. Some of the features include an adjustable seat and foot rests, 2 storage compartments, 2 rod holders, and a removable front dash. I’m yet to try and stash any overnight gear in it yet, but it looks like there’s plenty of room for some potential camping trips later this summer. (Update: it was a little tight and took some thinking, but I was able to fit several days worth of gear into the boat with limited effect on comfort and manuverability)

evoke 12 ft kayak

The total length of the maiden voyage ended up being around 4 km, and took about an hour, the most of which was used up getting a feel for paddling, fiddling with things, and stopping to take some pictures. After about a week straight of rain, it turned out to be a calm, warm, and overall really nice day for a trip out on to the lake.

evoke 12 ft kayak
evoke 12 ft kayak
evoke 12 ft kayak

Despite being 10 days into May, the tree’s have yet to show their leaves. I didn’t take a picture of it, but there was actually a large pile of snow and ice still holding on for dear life a little ways back into the forest. I figure there’s still another week or so until the leaves start to appear, and while it looks dreary at the moment, it means that the blackflies and mosquitos are still yet to arrive, so it’s not all bad.

evoke 12 ft kayak

Overall, the kayak’s maiden voyage turned out to be a great success, and I’ve got big plans for it in the coming months, most of which involve Algonquin Park in some respect. However, before I do that I figure the kayak should have a name, because you know, all proper boats do.

So if you’ve got a suggestion for a name, or have any questions about the kayak itself, let me know in the comments below!


*6 Month Update*:

In my opinions, the Algonquin Evoke 12-ft kayak has turned out to be a very good purchase, and I recommend it if your in the market for a kayak. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! Here’s a quick summary of the boat’s pros and cons thus far:

Pros:

  • I still find it easy to carry and transport
  • It withstood an entire summer of admittedly pretty rough use with only a few scratches
  • The color held up flawlessly despite being in the sun 24/7
  • It tracks very well in the water and feels incredibly stable, even under light chop
  • Enough storage for overnight camping trips
  • The centre-console is fantastic
  • The hull rarely warped, but quickly bounced back when it did
  • The seat is fairly comfortable and never became an issue while paddling

Cons:

  • The adhesive/glue on the knee padding started to peel on very hot days, but I was able to get it to restick
  • The seat-back adjustment is very weak and will fold under pressure if fully extended. You’re best to either keep it at the lowest position or brace it with something to remedy this.

Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand – Photo Friday #14

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

One of the most memorable places I’ve been throughout my travels is Phang Nga Bay, Thailand. I visited here in February 2020 as part of a boat tour operated by a company called John Gray’s Sea Canoe, more specifically their Hong By Starlight experience. I’m definitely going to dedicate an entire post to this boat tour, because it’s one of those trips that sticks with you forever, but all you need to know for now was that it was absolutely incredible, and a must-do for anyone visiting Phuket.

For those unfamiliar with Phang Nga Bay, I like to think of it as Thailand’s version of the world famous Ha Long Bay, found in Vietnam. Stunning rock islands, sweeping ocean views, and amazing sunsets are all on the features list. It’s a magical place, and the scenery there is about as far away from what I’m used to seeing here in Canada, in the best way possible.

I can’t wait to go back someday.

See you next week!

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand (ca. February 2020)

Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Newcastle, England – Photo Friday #13

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week’s image was taken in the city of Newcastle, England, during my travels there in 2019.

It’s hard to wrap my head around just how in the world this bridge was allowed to be built so close to these buildings. I imagine this project must have faced huge backlash when it was in it’s early stages, especially from those living directly in its path. I mean, I guess it’s better than demolishing the entire neighbourhood just to put a bridge in. Don’t get me wrong, the bridge makes for an interesting sight, and definitely adds to the charm of one of my favourite cities in England, but I can’t help but think there had to have been a better option.

See you next week!

Newcastle, England. Tyne Bridge.
Newcastle, England (ca. May 2019)

Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Canadian Sunset Timelapse – Photo Friday #12

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Video Friday!

I was finally able to make it out to the lake last weekend, thanks to the ice going out earlier than expected. This means a whole bunch of good things, most notable of which is the ability to sit on the dock with a piping hot coffee to watch the sun as it sets below the horizon.

Long before I started this blog, or even made seekingsaudades.com, I created a YouTube channel with the intent of one day posting travel videos. Until now, I’ve never uploaded anything, instead choosing to focus on creating content here. I figured I needed to get the YouTube train rolling at some point, and so today I decided to do just that.

Luckily, time-lapses are technically photos, so I can shamelessly promote my YouTube channel here and still have it loosely connect to the blog. This particular time-lapse was taken on April 17, 2020 in Algonquin Highlands, Ontario.

I would greatly appreciate it if you considered subscribing to my YouTube channel once you’re finished watching the video. While I don’t have any immediate plans to post a bunch of content, I will be making an effort this summer to try and put together some videos of whatever travels I end up doing.

Thanks for all of your support, and see you next week!


Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Tokyo Subway Map – Photo Friday #11

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week’s terrible quality iPhone picture comes from the Tokyo metro system from my trip to Japan in February 2020.

One of the biggest learning curves travellers face when coming to Tokyo for the first time is figuring out how to navigate the massive subway system. There is a seemingly endless amount of rail lines, owned and operated by a number of different train companies, and there are countless stations to choose from. It’s a lot to take in, and can definitely be overwhelming to try and figure it out if you’re arriving fresh from the airport, especially if you’re only running on a few hours sleep.

However, once you do figure it out, the Tokyo Subway system reveals itself to be one of the most efficient, effective, and intuitive examples of public transportation infrastructure in the entire world. Seeing as I try to keep these Photo Friday posts short, I’ll refrain from going into the reasons why, but feel free to let me know in the comments below if you want me to write a separate article outlining some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned through good old fashioned trial and error.

If you’re ever in Tokyo, and you find yourself starring blankly at the massive subway map on the wall, DON’T PANIC. It might take a few rides and screw-ups, but you’ll figure it out eventually, and once you do you’ll wish every metro system in the world was just like it.

See you next week!

Tokyo Subway Map, Tokyo Metro Map
Tokyo Subway Map, Tokyo, Japan (ca. February 2020)

Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

The Top 5 Ontario Travel Destinations in 2021

Advertisements
Advertisements

For most, 2021 is shaping up to be a really great year to explore what’s in your own backyard. The Province of Ontario has so much to offer, which makes it hard to narrow down the list of things to see and do, and so to help, I put together a shortlist of my top 5 Ontario travel destinations to consider in 2021.

Tl;dr: Manitoulin Island, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Pickle Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park, Niagara Falls.


1. Manitoulin Island

In my opinion, Manitoulin Island is one of the most underrated destinations in all of Ontario. I visited Manitoulin Island last year and fell in love with the place almost instantly. Surrounded by Lake Huron, dotted with a number of lakes, and covered by dense forests, the natural beauty of this place is just stunning. I recommend taking the time to hike the Cup & Saucer Trail, which offers a number of lookouts over the island, and navigates a northern section of the Niagara Escarpment.

Aside from the natural beauty, Manitoulin Island is home to around 14,000 people, a good portion of whom belong to the many thriving Indigenous communities on the island. This means if you’re looking to learn more about Indigenous history and culture, Manitoulin Island is the place to be.

To get here, you can take the ferry across from Tobermory, or drive along the north shore of Georgian Bay, west of Sudbury. If you’re doing the latter, I recommend staying at Chutes Provincial Park to break up the trip.

Cup and Saucer Trail, Manitoulin Island. The Top 5 Ontario Travel Destinations in 2021.
Cup & Saucer Trail, Manitoulin Island
2. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park offers some of the most iconic views in the entire province. Located an hour outside Thunder Bay, along the north shore of Lake Superior, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is one of those destinations I think the majority of Ontarians never get around to seeing, mainly due to its sheer distance from the southern portion of the province.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park offers over 100 kilometres of hiking trails, car-camping, excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, and of course a number of stunning lookouts and views you just can’t find anywhere else. If you’re willing to make the almost 15-hour drive from Toronto, you won’t be disappointed with what you find here.

Sleeping Giant//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

(Photo Source: Ontario Parks on Flickr)

Advertisements
Advertisements
3. Pickle Lake

Pickle Lake is my one obligatory oddball destination on this list, and somewhere most people probably haven’t heard of. It’s also one of those places that’s more about the journey to get there, than the destination itself.

See, Pickle Lake is… kind of in the middle of nowhere. It has a population of less than 400 people, and is a staggering 22-hour drive, and 2,000 kilometres away from Toronto. So why would I include this as one of the top 5 destinations in 2021? Well as it turns out, Pickle Lake lies at the end of the northernmost point of the Ontario provincial highway system.

I might be alone on this one, but I just can’t help but think how cool it would be to say that you’ve driven to the most northern drivable point in Ontario. You might want to think about bringing an extra jerry can though.

4. Algonquin Provincial Park

Alright, back to reality with this one.

Algonquin Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in Canada, and one of the largest in the province as well, covering a staggering 7,600 squared kilometres. The best part? It’s only a 3-hour drive from Toronto; great for those looking to escape for the day or weekend.

Algonquin Park offers activities for everyone, and for all ages. Car camping, backcountry camping, hiking, fishing, guided tours, historical sites, and more. If you’re looking for it, chances are Algonquin Park offers it, which no doubt contributes to it being one of the most visited and popular provincial parks in Ontario, year after year.

If you’re interested in learning more about what Algonquin Park has to offer, make sure to check out some of my Algonquin guides here.

Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park. The Top 5 Ontario Travel Destinations in 2021.
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
Advertisements
Advertisements
5. Niagara Falls

Now, I know what you’re thinking with this one: “Niagara Falls? Wow, how original…”

But hear me out, when’s the last time you actually went to Niagara Falls? Those of us who are within driving distance of Niagara Falls tend to take for granted just how lucky we are to live so close to one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world, something people travel from all over the world to come see. Most of the people I’ve met in my life have been to Niagara Falls at least once, but can’t remember when they went, or who they went with last. Just because you’ve been there before, doesn’t mean it’s not worth going again, especially when it comes to Niagara Falls. It could even make for a good Tim’s Run destination!

I mean, it sure beats sitting on the couch, right?

The Top 5 Ontario Travel Destinations in 2021.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Advertisements
Advertisements

What locations would you add to this list? Where are you looking forward to visiting the most this year? Let me know in the comments below!


Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

What’s the Luckiest You’ve Ever Been While Travelling?

Advertisements
Advertisements

What is the luckiest you’ve ever been while travelling? I’ll start.

I narrowly missed two typhoons, and dodged an earthquake.

Let me explain:

The year was 2018, and the destination Japan. My brother and I had booked a 2-week long trip which would take us through such cities as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima in what would be our first time to Asia. In the weeks leading up to our departure, my Mom began to worry about our safety, as mothers do. In preparation for sending us off on our first international adventure without her, she began watching as much documentaries and travel videos on Japan as possible. The only problem? Those videos generally showcased many of the abundant natural disasters the country is known for.

Tsunamis, earthquakes, typhoons, volcanoes; if there was even the slightest chance of it happening, my Mom made sure we knew about it. I would like to say that her worrying was all for nothing, but in the end it turned out that dealing with these things almost became a reality.

The week before our departure, Japan was hit by Typhoon Jebi, in what would end up being the costliest Typhoon in Japan’s history in terms of insured losses, and the strongest to make landfall since 1993.

Advertisements
Advertisements

We were extremely lucky that our trip hadn’t started yet. We had picked completely arbitrary dates and it just so happened that we lucked our way into missing a Typhoon. Obviously, this near miss didn’t do any good in reducing my Mom’s anxiety, but that’s not where our dumb luck ends.

We spent 5 days in Tokyo, and much of it was centred around avoiding the residual rain from the Typhoon. During our stay, we gained the habit of coming back to our hotel room around dinner time to feast on FamilyMart fried chicken and watch the Japanese Grand Sumo tournament on TV, which was taking place just across the river from our hotel. In-between matches, there would be the occasional news update, which would often inform us of an earthquake that had happened somewhere else in the country. My brother and I joked that we would be lucky to get out of Japan without experiencing one, not actually thinking we would. As it turned out, we cut it pretty close.

On the sixth day of our trip, we took the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) to Kyoto. After arriving, we found the nearest convenience store, stocked up on food, and settled into our new hotel room to watch the night’s sumo matches. It wasn’t long into the broadcast before the television cameras started to violently jolt, and the commentator announced that an earthquake was underway in Tokyo. At the time, it was pretty shocking for us. We were in Tokyo just a few hours prior, and had narrowly missed being in an earthquake. Even though there was no danger, we decided it was best not to tell Mom until after we got home.

Looking back at it now, it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal if we had been in Tokyo anyways. By Japanese standards, this quake was a mere inconvenience and I can’t find a single mention of it anywhere online today, evidence of its insignificance. If I remember correctly, at the time the quake was measured to be somewhere around the magnitude 3.0 – 4.5 range on the Richter scale.

Again, not that impressive in hindsight, but you have to understand that growing up in Southern Ontario, Canada, earthquakes were almost never heard of. I can only remember experiencing one in my life, about 10 years back, and it was so weak that nobody realized that it had happened until we heard about it on the 6 o’clock news later that night. So to have missed an earthquake by a few hours, was a big deal at the time. Looking back at it now, I kind of wish we had been in Tokyo to experience it. Just enough to get a little taste without tempting fate too much.

Advertisements
Advertisements

After dodging the earthquake, the rest of the trip went by relatively smooth.

We managed to visit Mt. Fuji 5th Station as part of a day tour, (and the volcano didn’t erupt, so that’s good) and eventually made our way to Hiroshima before returning back to Tokyo to catch a flight home. It was during our return to Tokyo that we saw on the news that yet another Typhoon was headed towards Japan. Less than a week after arriving back in Canada, Typhoon Trami hit Japan, and although most of the damage was centred around the island of Okinawa, the storm caused hundreds of train, plane and other public infrastructure delays and cancellations across the country. Not really something you want to deal with on a 2-week holiday.

So, what’s the luckiest you’ve ever been while travelling? I think narrowly missing two typhoons, and dodging an earthquake is definitely top of the list for me. (Although travelling to Thailand in February of 2020 and somehow not getting COVID-19 is up there too)

If our itinerary had been just a few days shifted on either end of the trip, or had we spent a couple of more hours in Tokyo, my time in Japan could have been a much different experience, and one for the worst. I’m definitely glad everything worked out though, because Japan has become one of my favourite countries to travel to.

Even with all those pesky natural disasters.

What’s your luckiest travel story? Let me know in the comments below!


Thank you for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

The First Signs of Spring – Photo Friday #10

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

It’s finally April, and the first signs of spring are starting to appear in Central Ontario. This image, taken in the Algonquin Highlands, Canada on April 2, 2021 shows that the temperature is rising, the snows are melting, and the lakes are finally thawing. Although it will more than likely be a few weeks until the lakes are fully open, its nice to see the water appearing along the shoreline and the ice retreating.

I’m definitely looking forward to getting back out here once university is all wrapped up for the term, and to do more exploring this summer. Warmer, sunnier days are just around the corner, and more posts documenting them will be sure to follow.

See you next week!

Algonquin Highlands, Ontario, Canada (ca. April 2021)

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Toronto Raptors NBA Championship Parade – Photo Friday #9

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week’s photo was taken in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada during the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA Championship Parade.

There’s a lot I can say about this day: the sheer number of people, the complete disorganization, the 5-hour time delay, the heatwave. In a city that had been so starved for a winning team in one of North America’s “big four” leagues (NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB), we sure did go all in for the celebration. Some estimates have some 1.5 million plus people taking part in at least some of the festivities that day, and in a city that only has a population of around 3 million.

I have a ton of pictures and stories I can show and tell from my experience at the Raptors’ Championship Parade, so I’ll write a separate post that goes into further detail sometime in the near future. For now, here’s a little sneak peek.

See you next week!

Toronto Raptors Championship Parade, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Toronto Raptors Championship Parade, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (ca. June 2019)

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Where Have I Travelled?

Advertisements
Advertisements

If you’ve done some exploring around seekingsaudades.com, then you’ll know I have an entire page dedicated to where I’ve travelled in my life. However, seeing as many of my followers receive my content directly from the built in reader on wordpress.com, I realize that many of you may not have ever seen exactly where I’ve been, and when I’ve been there. So, I decided to convert that page into a stand alone article, which you are reading now.

Below you’ll find a shaded map which outlines all of the places I’ve travelled, as of February 2021. I’ve also included a more detailed list of the specific destinations I’ve visited in each individual country further down. (If I’ve written an article in one of these destinations, I’ll link it below as well)

Obviously, I hope to extend this list to as many places as life will take me. (I’m looking at you, Australia) But for now, I’m just glad to have received the opportunities to have been where I’ve been, and to have seen all the wonderful things they have to offer.

How many of these countries have you been to? Do you want to hear stories from any of these particular destinations? Where do you recommend I go next? Let me know in the comments below!


WHERE HAVE I TRAVELLED?

Total Countries Visited: 12

Blue areas represent places I’ve been.
Advertisements
Advertisements

NORTH AMERICA

Advertisements
Advertisements

EUROPE

  • ENGLAND
    • London (2006, 2019)
    • Newcastle-upon-Tyne (2019)
    • Durham (2019)
    • York (2019)
    • Alnwick (2019)
    • Bamburgh (2019)
    • Warwick (2019)
    • Windsor (2019)
    • Bath (2019)
    • Stratford-upon-Avon (2019)
  • FRANCE
    • Paris (2006)
    • Versailles (2006)
  • ITALY
    • Rome (2010)
    • Florence (2010)
    • Venice (2010)
  • PORTUGAL
    • Azores
      • Sao Miguel (2017)
    • Lisbon (2017)
    • Sintra (2017)
    • Albufeira (2017)
    • Sagres (2017)
  • SCOTLAND
  • SPAIN
  • VATICAN CITY (2010)

ASIA

  • JAPAN
    • Tokyo (2018, 2020)
    • Mt. Fuji (2018)
    • Osaka (2018)
    • Kyoto (2018)
    • Hiroshima (2018)
    • Miyajima (2018)
  • THAILAND
Advertisements
Advertisements

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Bangkok’s Golden Buddhas (Wat Pho Temple) – Photo Friday #8

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

Today’s travel photo comes from Wat Pho Temple in amazing Bangkok, Thailand.

This week marked the 1 year anniversary of my trip to Thailand in February of 2020. It seems hard to believe it’s been this long, and yet felt so short since my first time visiting Southeast Asia. If you read my post from a couple months ago, Thailand Travel Diary – Day 1: In Transit, you will recall that I was only able to spend one full day in the magical city of Bangkok before jetting off to the beaches of Phuket.

But you better believe that one full day was a full day well spent.

One of the destinations on the whirlwind city tour was Wat Pho Temple, better known as the home of the Reclining Buddha, where I caught a picture of a series of golden Buddhas sitting in a row. Just one amazing example of what Bangkok and Thailand has to offer!

See you next week!

Golden Buddhas, Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok, Thailand (ca. February 2020)

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

A Detour to the Scottish Border

Advertisements
Advertisements

Scotland-England Border
The view across the A1 towards the Scottish border marker

In May of 2019, I was in the middle of a whirlwind week-long tour of England, crammed in the back of a light blue Hyundai hatchback with my family. We had just picked up our car rental in the town of Durham, England, before beginning the journey north. Along the way, we would stop in Newcastle to watch a Liverpool F.C. vs. Newcastle United F.C. football match at a local pub, and then in Alnwick to rest for the night and to visit the spectacular Alnwick Castle.

Newcastle United, St. James' Park
St. James’ Park, home of Newcastle United F.C.
Alnwick Castle, England
Alnwick Castle, England

Our final destination on the journey north was to be Bamburgh Castle; one that was entirely inspired by our time watching the BBC/Netflix show, The Last Kingdom. Bamburgh Castle is spectacular, and was well worth the visit. After spending a few hours exploring, it was time to get back on the road.

While this should have been the time to turn around and begin driving south to the city of York, I had a different itinerary in mind, one that I had been pushing for from the moment we booked our flights: Scotland.

Bamburgh Castle, England
Bamburgh Castle, England
Advertisements
Advertisements

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that once I get my mind set on something, I’m hard pressed to let it go. And so when I saw that the Scottish-English border was a mere 37 kilometres (23 mi) away from Bamburgh Castle, I just had to try and and get there. When would I ever be back to this part of England? Would we ever get the chance to drive across the Scottish border again? I think some things should never be left to chance.

It took some convincing, but eventually my family agreed to take the 1-hour detour towards Scotland. I’m glad we did too, because the drive along the North Sea coastline made for some stunning views.

Scotland-England Border
The North Sea
Scotland-England Border
Farmland straddling the border

On arrival at the border, there was a short spillway off of the highway, and some limited parking available. We got out, and headed towards the stone marker and flag which denoted the exact boundary line between the two countries. Of course, we had to take pictures to prove our Scottish adventure.

Scotland-England Border
The spillway leading to the border
Scotland-England Border
The “Welcome to Scotland” sign
Scotland-England Border
Scottish stone border marker and flag posts
Scotland-England Border
One last look before turning around to head back to England

While we were only there for a grand total of 5 minutes, I’m glad we took the time to make this stop. I knew that if we hadn’t made this trip, I would have regretted it. I mean, technically it’s one more country to add to the list.

When we had seen everything that was to be seen, we got back on to the highway, and after a quick stop on the English side of the border, we headed back down the A1 towards the medieval city of York, where we would be staying for the next 3 days.


Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Thank You For 1000+ Unique Visitors!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I thought I would break the usual schedule for today to take the opportunity to thank the 1000+ unique visitors who have taken the time out of their day to visit seekingsaudades.com in countries all over the world! As always, I am incredibly grateful for your support. I really enjoy creating content for the blog and website, and for all of you.

In the internet (and COVID-19) age, I think it’s difficult to appreciate just how many people 1000 visitors actually is. I do know I definitely wouldn’t want to give a speech in front of a room full of them! Luckily, the internet is good for finding the answers to pointless questions, and so to illustrate what 1000 people in one place looks like, we turn to one of my favourite YouTube videos below in which 1000 musicians play the Foo Fighters’ song Learn to Fly.

Once again, thank you for visiting, and be sure to stay tuned for an all new travel article coming this Wednesday morning! Enjoy.


Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Student Exchange in Melbourne, Australia

Advertisements
Advertisements

Finally, some actual travel plans!

I am incredibly excited to say that I am in the middle of applying for an international student exchange in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia for the winter semester starting next year in February of 2022.

Now I know what you’re thinking: what about the pandemic?

You’re right. This whole thing is reliant on both Canada and Australia having low COVID-19 case numbers, vaccinating their respective citizens, and opening up the borders for international travellers. If I were try and do this today, I would be very much out of luck.

So I’m placing a bet that by this time next year the pandemic will be behind us, and the world will be on the path back to some sense of normalcy. If I’m wrong, well then at least I had something travel related to look forward to for a short while!

So far, I’ve been matched with a host institution, and that’s about as far as progress will go as of right now. In the coming months, I’ll have to confirm my spot, apply for a student visa, sort out accommodations, book flights, and most importantly do a whole heck of a lot of research on Melbourne and Australia themselves. (If you have some tips, leave me a comment below!) What I can say right now is that I’m already looking forward to leaving the frigid Canadian winter behind to go bask in the Southern Hemisphere’s warm summer sun!

Hopefully when all is said and done, I’ll be in the land down under in 2022. Until then, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.


Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Warwick Castle, England – Photo Friday #7

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week takes us to Warwick Castle, England during my visit in May of 2019.

While my family was researching whether or not this destination was worth the visit on our road trip across England, a lot of the online reviewers cautioned Warwick Castle as “the Disneyland of English Castles”. While I can certainly see why some people would think this, it’s not as bad as it sounds. In fact, I think that’s what makes it such a worthwhile place to visit!

Warwick Castle has the typical historical elements and museum pieces, things you’d expect, but it also has a series of well-done attractions. When I was there in May of 2019, these included a haunted tour, a birds of prey show, a trebuchet demonstration, and more. To a history buff, I can see why this might seem tacky and misplaced, but personally I thought it was a great way to mesh the old with the new, and in an engaging, exciting, and refreshing way; one that people of all ages can enjoy.

I highly recommend adding this to your list of must-see English destinations, and if you’re interested in learning more about what Warwick Castle has to offer, visit warwick-castle.com.

See you next week!

Warwick Castle, England
Warwick Castle, England (ca. May 2019)

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

An Impulse Road Trip to the Province of Québec (Isle-aux-Allumettes)

Advertisements
Advertisements

Back in August of 2020, I woke up one morning and decided I was up for an adventure.

I had just spent the night in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park, where I had been working for the past couple months for a summer job. My shift on this particular day started at 1:15 p.m., so I had some time to kill on my hands. I thought about hiking one of the park’s many hiking trails, but the trails I still had left to do were either too short, or too long. Seeing as I didn’t really feel like waiting around for half a day before work, or showing up hours late, I decided to steer my gaze elsewhere.

See, except for Whitney, Ontario, which lies just outside Algonquin’s borders, I had never really ventured past the Park’s East Gate. And so, I set my initial sights on Barry’s Bay, and hit the road just after 7:30 a.m. When I got there, I filled up on gas, and grabbed a coffee. With still so much time left before work, I checked Google Maps to see where else I could go.

This is when I noticed my relative proximity to the Province of Québec. From Barry’s Bay, it was only a 1-hour, 93 km drive. I checked the clock and calculated that I would have just enough time to get there, turn around, make the 2-hour return drive, and get back to Algonquin just before work started. I only had a small window of time to get moving, and so without hesitating, I got in my car and headed towards the border.

Now, if you’ve ever been to this portion of Ontario, you’ll know the struggle that is the radio. My only two choices were CBC talk radio, or the local country station. I chose the country station as the lesser of two evils. I could have listened to my own playlists, but I was in one of those weird phases where you skip every song that comes on.

Thankfully, the radio wasn’t that important as the scenery was just absolutely stunning. The topography ranged from lakes, rocks, and forests, to large rolling hills, to open fields of farmland, and then back to forests again. The best way to describe it would be if the length of southern Ontario from Windsor to Sudbury was compressed into a 1-hour drive.

Naturally, due to the time crunch, I didn’t stop to take many pictures on the way there. It was only when I got to the Ontario-Québec border that I decided I should make an attempt to document the trip, and that is where the following photo’s pick up.

Crossing the bridge from Pembroke, Ontario to L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, Québec.
Bienvenue au Québec! Entering Canada’s French Speaking Province.
Advertisements
Advertisements

When I got across the bridge, and onto the Isle-aux-Allumettes, my only real plan was to find somewhere to pull off the road and see the Ottawa River. I ended up turning down a series of random roads that I figured led towards the water. After about 10 minutes of searching, I found a boat launch, parked my car, and got out to take a look.

I took a bunch of pictures, and sent them to my family group chat and a few friends with the message: “Bienvenue au Québec”. I kept waiting for them to be surprised that I had somehow magically appeared in another province on the same day that I was supposed to be working, but those messages never came. When I asked about why nobody responded to me a few days later, I was told that nobody actually clued in to the fact that I was actually in Québec. They figured that I had just sent them some random pictures from the internet, or that I was just trying practice my French. I had to show them my phone’s camera roll before anyone finally believed me!

L'Isle-aux-Allumettes, Quebec, Canada
My first impression of the Ottawa River was it’s sheer size. It felt more like a lake than a river!
L'Isle-aux-Allumettes, Quebec, Canada
There was a long pier that jetted out into the middle of the river, as well as a small lighthouse close to the water.
L'Isle-aux-Allumettes, Quebec, Canada
Turning to look back towards the shore, there was a small barn, and some riverfront homes peering out from the trees.
Advertisements
Advertisements
L'Isle-aux-Allumettes, Quebec, Canada
Looking across the river, you could see the skyline of Pembroke, Ontario.
L'Isle-aux-Allumettes, Quebec, Canada
Along with the lighthouse, there was a boat launch at the end of the pier.
L'Isle-aux-Allumettes, Quebec, Canada
(You might have seen this picture on Photo Friday)

By the time I got to the end of the Pier, it was time to turn around and head back to Algonquin Provincial Park for work. I drove 2 and a half hours straight back, bobbing my head along to the sounds of my new found forced-love of country music. It was close, but I managed to arrive about 10 minutes before the start of my shift.

In hindsight, this impulse trip was quite possibly the dumbest thing I could have chosen to do that day. I could have easily been late for work, and my legs were absolutely dead from all the driving; not exactly helpful when you’re job requires you to be on your feet for 8-hours straight.

However, at the same time it was the best thing I could have done because when I think back to 2020, this trip to Québec was one of the more memorable parts of the summer. In a year when there wasn’t much travelling going on, this was a welcomed change of pace and a brief return to some sense of normalcy.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to subscribe and stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

The Ottawa River – Photo Friday #6

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week’s photo was taken on the Québec side of the Ottawa River, just across from Pembroke, Ontario, Canada in August 2020.

This picture was the result of a spur of the moment 4-hour road-trip I decided to take one early morning before work. (A story for another time) I’ve always known that the Ottawa River was wide, but when I arrived I was still surprised to find out just how big it actually was; it felt more like I was on the edge of a lake than on the banks of a river! While I only stayed for a few minutes before turning around to head back, it made for a nice day trip, and a good distraction from work for the time being.

See you next week!

Ottawa River, Quebec, Canada
The Ottawa River, Québec, Canada (ca. August 2020)

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to subscribe and stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Beaver Pond Trail Guide – Algonquin Provincial Park

Advertisements
Advertisements

Quick Look:

Name: Beaver Pond Trail

Location: Km marker 45.2, Highway 60, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Length: 2.0 km (1.2 mi)

Difficulty: Moderate

Features & Points of Interest: Beaver ponds, lodges & dams; scenic lookout.

Beaver Pond Trail Map, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Beaver Pond Trail Map – Algonquin Provincial Park (Source: alltrails.com)

Overview:

The Beaver Pond Trail is a 2.0 km (1.2 mi) hiking loop located in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. The moderate-difficulty route features an array of beaver activity such as ponds, dams, and lodges, and navigates through several terrains including a bog, a forest, and a scenic rocky lookout. The Beaver Pond Trail is perfect for those looking to explore multiple ecosystems within a relatively short distance, and learn about the impact beavers have on this stunning environment; all while still working up a good sweat.

Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
The Beaver Pond Trail begins with a walk across a bog on a well-maintained boardwalk.
Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
The contrasting wetland and forest environments are showcased throughout the hike.
Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
There is a helpful guidebook at the trailhead which explains how the beavers work to shape their surroundings.
Advertisements
Advertisements

What do you need to know?:

I highly recommend picking up a Beaver Pond Trail guidebook when you arrive at the trailhead. You can purchase one by leaving the correct change in the honour box below the trail map sign, or you can simply borrow it for free by returning it at the end of your hike. This guidebook provides insight into the dual history this area, and the beavers who live in it, and discusses the processes by which they have created and molded this environment to suit their survival needs. Just be on the lookout for the corresponding numbered fenceposts along the path, and refer to guidebook as you go.

On arrival, there is a sizeable parking lot available just off of highway 60. While crowds on this trail are generally less in number compared to other hikes such as The Lookout Trail, it is always worth keeping in mind the time of year you’re visiting (fall colours season will be busy) in order to enjoy the best experience. If you’re looking for another activity to pair with this hike, the Beaver Pond Trail is only 2 km (1.2 mi) away from the Algonquin Park Visitors Centre.

If you’re thinking of hiking the Beaver Pond Trail, be sure to check the weather forecast in advance as the path is known to become a slush of mud after a good rainfall. If you find that the trail is in an unusable condition when you arrive, consider hiking the nearby Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail to stay out of the muck and to keep your socks dry.

Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
This beaver dam is an impressive example of the influence the beavers have.
Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
There are lots of opportunities to stop, take photos, and admire nature.
Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
The pinnacle of this hike is the scenic rock outcrop which overlooks one of the two beaver ponds.
Advertisements
Advertisements

How to get here:

  • From Toronto:
    • Hwy 400 –> Hwy 11 –> Hwy 60 –> Algonquin Park West Gate –> Km marker 45.2

*Be sure to stop in at the West Gate first to pick up your day pass*


Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to subscribe and stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Canadian Sunrise – Photo Friday #5

Advertisements
Advertisements

Welcome back to Photo Friday!

Today’s photo was taken back in September of 2020 in the Algonquin Highlands, located in Ontario, Canada.

I’m not really a morning person, but this past summer I found myself needing to wake up early for work and thankfully for my troubles, almost every day I was rewarded with an absolutely stunning sunrise. The lake, the big skies, the rolling forested hills, and of course the vibrant colours brought by the rising sun made this the perfect setting to start my day.

I miss these early mornings, and I can’t wait until winter finally releases its grip on the north, and I get to be here again. This picture below was la crème de la crème of all the sunrises I witnessed, and I’m sure you’ll see why.

See you next week!


Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 218 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


Advertisements
Advertisements

Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail Guide – Algonquin Provincial Park

Advertisements
Advertisements

Quick Look:

Name: Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail

Location: Km marker 42.5, Highway 60, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Length: 1.4 km (0.87 mi)

Difficulty: Easy

Features & Points of Interest: Well maintained boardwalk, bird-watching, northern spruce bog, forested path, wheelchair accessible & kid friendly.

Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail Map – Algonquin Park (Source: alltrails.com)

Overview

The Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, located in Algonquin Provincial Park, is an easy, wheelchair accessible 1.4 km (0.87 mi) loop that follows a well maintained wooden boardwalk through a northern spruce bog and wooded area. This trail provides excellent opportunities for bird-watching and photography, and is the perfect place to enjoy a slow paced nature walk with younger children and seniors.

Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
The beginning of the trail hovers above the bog
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
A small stream runs through the heart of the bog
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
About halfway through the trail, the boardwalk gives way to a forested path
Advertisements
Advertisements

What do you need to know?

The Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail is one of the most accessible in all of Algonquin Park. While adventure seekers might prefer hiking somewhere else, this trail is a perfect place to go for a slow paced nature walk, take some photos, and enjoy the scenery with friends and family. The mostly flat grade, and relatively short length makes this a great choice for beginners, seniors, or those with younger children.

While the trail’s location is fairly far along the Highway 60 corridor, and a little ways away from the west entrance of Algonquin Park, the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail is well worth the trip, especially as a companion activity to the Visitors Centre, located half a kilometre away at km 43.

In my opinion, this trail is best enjoyed if used from late June until late October to avoid the swarms of bugs you’ll encounter during blackfly season earlier in the spring. However, as this is the perfect spawning ground for mosquitos, you might want to choose a warm, sunny day to hike this trail in order to avoid getting bitten throughout the rest of the summer months!

Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
Birds, turtles, beavers, and more can be found on this trail!
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
This section of the trail, which snakes through a grouping of spruce trees, is perhaps the most photogenic
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
While it’s scenic, beware, this is the perfect spawning ground for Mosquitos!
Advertisements
Advertisements

How to get here:

  • From Toronto:
    • Hwy 400 –> Hwy 11 –> Hwy 60 –> Algonquin Park West Gate –> Km marker 42.5

*Be sure to stop in at the West Gate first to pick up your day pass*


Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!