Category Archives: Blog Posts

My Redbubble Shop is Up and Running!

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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!


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Columbia Packable Backpack Review (After 1 Year of Use)

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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:

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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!

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

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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
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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
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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.

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

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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
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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)
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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
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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!

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The Cathedrals of Liverpool (Roman Catholic vs. Anglican)

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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.

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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
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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.

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Peck Lake Trail Review – Algonquin Provincial Park

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

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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*

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

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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*

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

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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*

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