Tag Archives: Adventure

Music for a World Traveller – Sounds Like Van Spirit

Advertisements
Advertisements

Earlier this year I discovered the #vanlife craze, and with it some exceptional world music. Let me explain:

I first stumbled onto the lifestyle while coming across a YouTube channel called Kombi Life. What started as a vague interest in the idea of someone buying an old Volkswagen bus and driving it along the length of the Pan-American highway, turned into an all out binge fest of anything related to living in a van and travelling wherever the roads could take you.

For weeks I obsessed over it. I spent hours clicking every recommended video I saw in my feed until I fell deep into the YouTube rabbit hole. You know what I’m talking about? It’s that place you can only get to when you aren’t trying to get there, much like the world of Narnia. A place of either horrors or wonderful surprises. Well this time I ended up in the proverbial magical wardrobe that took me not to a world of lions and witches, but to a world of new and exciting music.

It was well past midnight, and far beyond the point of no return, when I clicked on this recommended video:

Advertisements
Advertisements

What I discovered was the story of a German audio engineer named Marten Berger who bought an old ice cream truck, turned it into a music studio on wheels, and drove it the length of Europe for 2 years searching for the continent’s most talented street musicians.

The culmination of his travels and work was a unique and diverse album entitled: “Sounds Like Van Spirit – A Collection of Europe’s Pavement Melodies“. 31 musicians from 25 countries totaling 34 songs makes for an incredible array of sounds from numerous genres originating all across Europe. Listening to this work of art instantly takes you on a journey through the power of music. It’s like travelling without ever having to walk out the front door. It’s raw, its real, and most importantly it sounds great.

Here’s a sampling:

Advertisements
Advertisements

Half of the album’s profit is donated to charity, and if you’re an old soul like me you’ll be happy to know it comes pressed on vinyl as well. I implore you to let the music and the story behind it do the talking instead of just taking my word for it. I want to make it clear that this is NOT sponsored; I’m just an incredibly satisfied customer who wants everyone to share in the joy of this album that I do.

To learn more, or to purchase the album for yourself visit: https://soundslikevanspirit.eu/


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 Road Trip: A Snapchat Story

Advertisements
Advertisements

In May of 2018, I was invited on a 17-hour, 1500 km road trip from southern Ontario to Beresford, New Brunswick with my friend Sam and his family. In order to help pass the time, and in an effort to remember the experience I posted a story on my snapchat account every hour of the car ride, plus a little extra. What follows are the pictures documenting the journey:

We had to leave bright and early in the morning in order to make it in time for dinner later that day. The 3:30 a.m. wake up call also insured we would be driving through the dense forests of New Brunswick in the day-light. Crucial in avoiding a deadly collision with a Moose.

If you’ve ever driven through Toronto, you would understand the extra benefit of driving through the city in the middle of the night. Highway 401, which runs right through the heart of the city is the busiest highway in all of North America, carrying upwards of half a million people per day. No traffic meant we saved upwards of an hour and a half on our trip.

At this point we had been driving for quite a while, and seeing as none of us had eaten yet, Tim Horton’s was always going to be our first stop. Double Doubles, Timbits, and some bacon breakfast sandwiches were just what we needed.

Advertisements
Advertisements

After picking up refreshments, we got back on the road. Now, if you’re not from Canada then it’s important to know that we tend to make fun of the French province of Quebec. The English – French rivalry in Canada has it’s roots in the formation of the country, which was dominated by settlers from the United Kingdom, and France battling for control of the land surrounding the St. Lawrence river, and the fertile great lakes region.

The closer we got to Quebec, the more vocal my jabs at the French became. The only problem – Sam and his family have French heritage (hence the road trip to partly French New Brunswick) so they were having none of it. It was all in fun, but deep down I knew it ever so slightly got to them. Thus, in order to prevent a civil war in the car, some ground rules had to be established:

  1. There shall be no French slander of any kind; and
  2. If said rule is broken I will be spending the remaining 10 hours of the drive sitting in the trunk.

We continued.

For those that don’t know, Canada is a bilingual nation. This means that our two official languages are French and English. The school system is mandated to teach both, but this doesn’t mean they do a good job.

This trip was the first time that I had been to another Canadian province other than my home of Ontario. It was a long time in the making, and I thought Quebec and New Brunswick were well worth the wait.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Most of this trip was spent on the road in 5 hours blocks, and there was no exception to this rule. You had better use the washroom when we were filling up on gas because otherwise you’d be peeing in a water bottle in the backseat.

The legal drinking age in Quebec is 18 years old, which is one year lower than Ontario, so you better believe we took this opportunity to buy some beer. To our surprise, we didn’t get ID’d by the gas station attendant and made it out without issue. Don’t worry, we didn’t open the beverages until we got to our final destination. It was a well deserved cold one.

Advertisements
Advertisements

By this time in the road trip my brain had turned to mush, my legs were practically falling off, and we were all getting pretty irritable. Luckily we didn’t have relatively far left to go and so, we pushed on.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Let me tell you, when we finally pulled off the highway and saw our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean, well, that was a fantastic feeling. We were itching to get out of the car and be greeted by a nice home cooked meal, and a couple drinks by the fire.

Although long, the journey was well worth it. I was grateful to see more of my home country and gained a new appreciation for the diversity such a large nation offers. We stayed in New Brunswick for a week, before cramming in the back of the car for the 17-hour return journey.


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

Why You’ll Fall In Love With Japan

Advertisements
Advertisements

If you’ve been lucky enough to have travelled to Japan, you know that it is a nation full of surprises.

On the surface, Japan is fairly normal. There are large sprawling cities, highly developed infrastructure, and familiar corporate brands not unlike you would find closer to home. This in part, is thanks to the nation’s post-war transition, and subsequent rise to become one of the world’s top economies. (Perhaps a discussion for another time)

But hidden beneath all of those familiarities lies something the Japanese have held onto for dear life: their way of life and unique culture.

One such aspect of this culture is the inherent respect that people have for one another. As a Canadian, we tend to have a global perception of politeness and tolerance in our society and while this is true to some degree, Japan just takes it to an entire other level.

When you arrive at your hotel, the staff handle your passports and credit cards like a newborn baby. Every time you enter a café, restaurant, or store you’re greeted like royalty. The service you receive in Japan is bar-none the best I’ve ever had in all of my travels, and nothing but the best is accepted by those who serve you. In fact, tipping in Japan is seen as rude. The Japanese see it as a pleasure, not an obligation to give you the best experience possible.

Kaminarimon (“Thunder Gate”), Sensō-ji Temple, Tokyo

This inherent respect translates to all areas of life, and are most noticeable in the mega-metropolis of Tokyo. The city streets are spotless despite there being a noticeable small number of garbage cans, the air smells clean and fresh, and in the 17 days I’ve spent in Japan I haven’t heard a single car horn.

Think about that for a second…

Advertisements
Advertisements

The greater Tokyo area has a population of nearly 40 MILLION people. In any other large city you would be drowning in honking. When I asked a local about this, she was almost offended at the notion that a Japanese person would be as completely irrational as to honk in traffic. Japanese people genuinely care about each other, their environment, and how they can play a part in bettering the world they live in.

The mentality is very much society over the individual.

The best real-world example I can give of the deep rooted cultural tolerance, respect and politeness in Japanese culture is from an encounter I witnessed while waiting for a train in Kyoto in 2018.

Standing on the train platform looking across the tracks, I noticed two businessmen having a conversation. After a couple of minutes, the man on the left motioned to his watch and signaled that he had to leave. The two said goodbye to each other by bowing not once, not twice, not three times or four, but FIVE times back and forth. And these weren’t quick bows; they were slow and meticulous as if they were in the presence of royalty.

The man on the left turned and began to walk away before quickly bouncing back around as if he forgot to mention something. The businessmen talked for a couple of seconds before they began the arduous goodbye process all over again. Just like before they bowed several times, almost as if it was a competition to have the best form. The man on the left turned again and walked away for a short distance before realizing he had gone the wrong direction.

Tokyo, Japan. Not far from Tokyo Station.

He reversed his motion and as he walked past the other man, the two began to bow AGAIN. Each step he took he would stop, plant his feet and bow. It seemed to never end, and not until the two were 10 feet apart did they finally go their separate ways.

This whole goodbye process from start to finish had to have taken 3 or 4 minutes. I didn’t even spend that long saying goodbye to my parents when they dropped me off at University! The level of respect that the Japanese people have for one another and for those visiting their beautiful country is astounding, and quite frankly it opens your eyes to the almost barbaric nature of how we treat each other in North America.

To sum it all up, I could talk and write about everything I love about Japan for hours on end. The culture, the people, the food, and the sights all combine to make the nation somewhere I could return to time and time again. It truly is a special travel destination that never fails to give.

Unfortunately, my words don’t come nearly close enough to articulating just how memorable it is. It’s just something you’ll have to discover for yourself.


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

Why I Prefer Long-Haul Flights

Advertisements
Advertisements

I don’t know about you, but if I had to choose between taking a 14 hour flight or a 4 hour flight, I would choose the 14 hour flight 9 times out of 10.

At this point, you might be asking yourself:

“Is this guy crazy?”

And your completely right to think that. I’ll admit it seems odd that someone would want to spend that much time on a plane, but let me explain.

For me, it comes down to mental preparation. Growing up, I was pretty accustomed to spending hours on end in a car; whether it be driving 3 hours to the cottage every weekend throughout the summer, or travelling 400 km for a minor peewee hockey game on a school night.

So when I see that the flight time to a destination is anything less than 6 hours, my brain relates it to time spent in a car. Obviously, being in a car and a plane are nothing alike. On a road trip I can stop whenever I want, roll down the windows for fresh air whenever I want, and can spread out as much as I want. On a flight, this just isn’t possible.

For whatever reason, I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that the two just aren’t the same. A few hours into the flight I get irritable, sore, and extremely bored. Every single second is counted down in my mind, and it’s torture.

But put me on a flight for 14 hours from Toronto to Seoul? No. Problem.

A view out of my window seat on a Boeing 747 flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Tokyo, Japan
Advertisements
Advertisements

My mind completely dissociates the experience from being in a car. I accept my fate, find inner peace, and breeze through it like it was a short run to the corner store.

Now, obviously mental preparation isn’t the only factor. Long Haul flights use larger aircraft with more space, have more comfortable seats, and provide a much wider selection of food, entertainment and amenities.

But If you’ve travelled a bunch, you know that these extra benefits only get you so far. Unless you’re flying business or first class, at the end of the day a plane is a plane and isn’t exactly the most enjoyable experience.

So given the choice, I would choose a long haul flight over a short haul flight any day.

Do you agree with me?

What are your tricks for making flying just a little easier?

Leave me a comment and let me know!


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

Cup and Saucer Trail Guide – Manitoulin Island

Advertisements
Advertisements

Cup and Saucer trail

The Cup and Saucer trail is a 14 kilometer hiking trail located on Manitoulin Island, just west of Little Current, Ontario. It navigates an extension of the of the Niagara Escarpment, and features 70-meter sheer cliffs, large forested areas, narrow rock-lined footpaths, and several awe-inspiring lookouts over the island’s many lakes, including the largest lake on an island on a lake in the world, Lake Manitou.

About a 6-hour drive from Toronto and 2 hours west of Sudbury, the Cup and Saucer trail is no day trip for many. However, it makes for a great opportunity to camp overnight and take in the sites of beautiful Northern Ontario. Personally, I recommend staying at Chutes Provincial Park, a small yet picturesque park located about an hour drive away in Massey, Ontario, which offers its own scenic trails, a raging river, and a large waterfall.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The parking lot at the trailhead of the Cup and Saucer is split into 2 parts: an upper and lower level. The lots are small; when I arrived at around 11 a.m. the upper lot was already jam packed, and the lower lot was quickly filling up, so I recommend getting there early. Each level has convenient access to a porta potty, and considering this is a longer hike I would make use of their availability (although make sure to bring your own toilet paper!).

Cup and Saucer Trail Map
The trailhead map of the Cup and Saucer Trail

The hike consists of 3 sections: the Main Trail (4 km), the South Loop (5 km), and the Adventure Trail (500m). If your looking to keep it short, 3 of the 4 marked lookouts are located on the Main Trail and they alone make the trip worth the effort. This is as far as I went when I did the hike and I was very content with not going any further. However, if you’re looking for more, the South Loop and Adventure Trail are both excellent additions with the latter being relatively more difficult.

The hike along the Main Trail took me just under 2 hours, totaling 5.62 km according to my Samsung Galaxy Fit. Although the parking lot was full, the trail congestion itself was fairly spaced out, making for quite an enjoyable experience. There are several steep and rocky sections that may be more difficult for some than others, but in general the Cup and Saucer can be enjoyed by anyone. (I saw quite a few people that brought their small children, and even dogs along with them!)

Advertisements
Advertisements

All in all, the Cup and Saucer is well worth the stop. The hike can be challenging at times, but what it asks from you, it gives twice as much back. Manitoulin Island itself is a fantastic destination to visit on its own, offering memorable scenery, quaint communities, and rich Indigenous culture and history which I implore you take the time to discover yourself.

Cup and Saucer trail

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

I Spent an Unexpected Extra Day in Barcelona, Spain

Advertisements
Advertisements

Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia, and the Barcelona skyline (Stock Photo)

The year was 2013 and the destination was Barcelona, Spain. My family and I (recently turned 14 years old) had just gotten off the 8.5 hour red-eye flight from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

We made it through customs at around lunch time. After a short cab ride to the hotel, we discovered that we couldn’t check-in until sometime after 3 p.m. Not a big issue, we left our bags with the concierge and started to explore the nearby streets of Catalonia’s capital. We grabbed some food and basic groceries, visited some tourist sites, and enjoyed the warm Spanish summer sun.

Now I don’t know about you, but for me it is impossible to sleep on an airplane. I’ve tried everything from not sleeping for 2 days leading up to the flight, to bringing my own full sized pillow and blanket, to practically overdosing on sleeping pills. Nothing works, and I’ve just accepted that I will have to suffer through every second of every flight I will ever go on. (But if you have tips, I’d love to hear them in the comments)

So as you could imagine, when we finally made it back to the hotel to check in after touring for the afternoon on zero sleep, to say I was ready for bed would be an understatement. We climbed the stairs to our apartment-style accommodations and finally had the opportunity to rest. I threw my luggage on the ground, and b-lined for the bedroom. I pulled down the black-out shades, climbed under the covers in my sweaty clothes and passed out almost immediately.

When I woke up, my phone was dead. The kind of light shining through the cracks in the window shade told me that it must be dawn, but I wasn’t sure. Had I really slept through to the next day? I opened the bedroom door and as I walked towards the living room, I heard the shower running in the bathroom. A few steps further and I noticed my dad sitting on the balcony drinking his morning coffee. When I got to the living room, my brother was sitting on the couch watching TV. He had a bowl of cereal in his hands and was wearing a new set of clothes.

All the clues were telling me that it was the next morning.


Advertisements
Advertisements

My initial reaction was confusion, but it quickly turned to anger. How was it possible for a human to sleep for more than 14 hours, and why in the world didn’t my parents wake me up for dinner last night? I shrugged it off; maybe they slept through dinner too. Either way, I was hungry. I went to the fridge but nothing really seemed appetizing. I needed real sustenance and there was just some sliced bread and a block of cheese to be found.

It was at this time that my mom walked into the kitchen.

“What are we going to do for breakfast?” I asked.

My mom paused and seem puzzled.

“Are we going out to eat, or should I make do with what we have here?” I continued.

Suddenly my mom’s confusion turned into an ear to ear grin across her face before she said while chuckling:

“What day do you think it is? We’re about to leave for dinner…”

I was shocked. I checked the time on the microwave clock, and realized I had only been asleep for a few hours. Suddenly it all clicked. My mom was just showering to freshen up, my dad just wanted to taste test the Spanish coffee, and my brother is just weird and eats cereal at 4:30 in the afternoon.

I collected myself and got ready to venture onto the streets of Barcelona for dinner. The rest of the night was a haze, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was living on borrowed time. We finished up, got back to the apartment around 9 p.m., and I went to bed for the night… for the second time that is.


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

What are Some of the Best Travel Shows?

Advertisements

Andre Dupuis (Cinematographer and co-creator), Justin Lukach (co-host), and Scott Wilson (co-host and co-creator) of Departures.

By now, all of us are getting pretty sick and tired of this whole self-isolation thing. The world is out there, calling to us, practically dragging us out the front door with our passports in hand. Unfortunately, it might be some time before we’ll actually be able to go anywhere except the grocery store.

So in the meantime, I’ve put together a list of my favourite binge-worthy travel shows. Grab your popcorn, take a seat on the couch, and get ready to explore the world in the comfort of your own home.

1. Departures

Available for free on YouTube or on Amazon Prime, Departures is a down-to-earth documentary travel series that follows three lifelong Canadian friends, Andre Dupuis (Cinematographer and co-creator), Justin Lukach (co-host), and Scott Wilson (co-host and co-creator) as they drop everything and take a year off from their everyday lives in search of new adventure, unique destinations, and self-discovery while travelling around the globe.

Departures, Scott Wilson, Justin Lukach, Andre Dupuis
A still from Departures‘ opening credits

Departures isn’t afraid to chronicle the reality of travel, and all of the emotional highs and lows that comes with it. It is perhaps the most relatable travel series ever created, and that is one of the many reasons why it is my personal favourite, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Some of the show’s must-see episodes include North Korea: The Other Side (S3-E12), India: Sacred Ground (S1-E3), and Ascension Island (S1-E5).

The show originally aired from 2009-2010, spanning 3 seasons and 42 episodes. Departures boasts a 9.0/10 on IMDb and has been nominated for several Gemini Awards, including two wins.

Advertisements

2. James May: Our Man in Japan

Available on Amazon Prime, James May: Our Man in Japan is a highly produced travel series that follows the comedic journey of television presenter James May (Top Gear and The Grand Tour) as he explores the length of Japan and discovers the quirks and hidden gems of the sometimes mysterious nation.

James May: Our Man in Japan
Presenter James May, and his robot sidekick Robohon

I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for anything Japan related, but nonetheless James May: Our Man in Japan does a fantastic job of showcasing a multitude of differing aspects of Japanese culture. From creating his own subway jingle, to controlling life-sized transformers, to simply trying his best to order a bowl of noodles, James May: Our Man in Japan does it all while keeping you laughing the entire time.

Here is the trailer for the show, and one of my personal favourite moments involving that of James’ love-hate relationship with small robot named Robohon.

James May: Our Man in Japan spans 1 season including 6 episodes and well deserves the 8.5/10 rating it has on IMDb. It is a show you won’t regret watching.

Advertisements

3. Around the Next Bend

Also available on Amazon Prime, Around the Next Bend is raw documentary travel series that chronicles the reckless adventure of two friends from Canada, Adrian Traquair and Dustin Corkery, as they voyage on a journey of self discovery in their attempt to paddle a mind-boggling 2,500+ km long stretch of the Ganges River in a raft.

Around the Next Bend, Adrian Traquair, Dustin Corkery
Adventurers Adrian Traquair and Dustin Corkery paddling on the Ganges River

From the moment they arrive in India it becomes clear that they are woefully unprepared for the monumental task that is ahead of them. Their time on the river is full of hardship, surprises and a whole lot of laughs.

Much like Departures, Around the Next Bend is a very down-to-earth show. If you can get past the relatively low production value, you will see parts of India, and moments of human connection rarely traversed or witnessed by your everyday traveller.

Around the Next Bend has 1 season, including 12 episodes and received a 8.6/10 rating on IMDb. It is a breath of fresh air in contrast to some of the more conventional travel shows shown on TV.

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 to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

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


What is Saudades, and Why Am I Trying to Find It?

Advertisements
Advertisements

SAU·DA·DES (NOUN):

a Portuguese term that describes the feeling of yearning, melancholy, or nostalgia towards something or someone.

If you’re like me, the mundane nine-to-five lifestyle fills every square-inch of your body with dread. You wake up, get dressed, go to work, slave away, go home, eat, sleep, repeat. People can go their entire lives doing the same things over and over again like a broken record before one day waking up to reality and realizing that they wasted it all doing something they didn’t even like doing.

We try to escape this grim reality though, even if for a moment. For some, this means watching your favourite sports team, or going on a date with that girl you’ve always liked. It means learning to play the guitar, or binging a new show on Netflix. For far too many it means buying a whole bunch of useless things to try and fill the void in your life with stuff.

Travelling is a great method by which a lot of us choose to escape, including myself. Not only are you mentally removed from the stress of life, but you are often literal oceans and continents away. Nothing beats exploring the ancient city streets of Rome, or wandering through medieval castles in the English countryside. Or seeing the lights of Tokyo gleaming down on you like Blade Runner, or laying on the white sandy beaches in the hot beating sun of Thailand. There is something wondrous and freeing about being in total control of what you do, where you go, and how you choose to schedule your day.

The problem is that no matter how much we try to escape, or compensate for the discontent in our lives, the reminder of our harsh reality is always there lurking in the background. You still have to be back at work on Monday, you still have those bills to pay, and you still need to get the oil changed in the car.

            When you’re back in the mundane nine-to-five nature of life, you might find yourself daydreaming, longing, or yearning for those brief moments of escape, repeatedly playing them back like a movie in your head, wishing that you could live in them forever.

That feeling of longing, yearning, and nostalgia is Saudades.

A word only found in the Portuguese language, Saudades can best be captured by Fado music, which is known for its melancholic and expressive nature. Musicians will often sing about the struggles of life, and the helplessness in facing the seemingly uncontrollable nature of existence.

Although while emotional, Fado music isn’t necessarily meant to be sad, and can in fact be inspiring. It is about accepting the hand you were dealt, acknowledging the realities of life, and making the effort to better yourself and your situation.

Seeking Saudades is the quest to make those brief moments of escape a permanent fixture in your life; to break out of the mold and pursue your passions. To control the one and only life you have to live. Nothing in life comes easy, and only you can be the master of your own destiny.

So, what are you waiting for?


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!

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

About Me

Advertisements
Advertisements

Places I’ve Been:

For a detailed list, click here.

Hi, my name is Dillon. I’m a 21 year old travel enthusiast from Canada who is constantly yearning to explore the world.

I’m currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree of Environmental Studies in International Development.

When I’m not studying I like to play guitar, hang out at the cottage, and day dream about all the places I haven’t yet been to.

Join me as I navigate my way through life, attempt to travel around the globe, and tell a few tales along the way.

The quest to find Saudades is a long one!

Advertisements

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

Coffee Run: Niagara Falls

Advertisements
Advertisements

Have you ever been so bored that you decided to go on an impromptu coffee run to Niagara Falls at 10 o’clock at night?


Well I have.


Welcome to life in boring southern Ontario. It’s not uncommon for myself, and my friends Sam and Devon to go and get coffee late at night. In fact, it had become a daily tradition ever since the beginning of our grade 12 year of high school. Just old enough to drive, yet still too young to drink. That meant the bar was out of the question, so off to Tim Horton’s we went.


The order of choice? Well an extra-large double-double of course, and occasionally a sour cream glazed donut. We would sit in the booth and talk among ourselves whilst browsing Reddit for hours. At about midnight, we would head out, cram into the back of a mid 2000’s Toyota Highlander, and drive 5 minutes down the road to the next Tim Horton’s where we would hangout until either our mothers got worried, or we got kicked out because the 24 hour restaurant was “closing”; whichever came first.


As you can imagine, over the course of 8 months this began to resemble something like Groundhog Day. The solution: visit neighbouring cities and see what their Tim Horton’s were like! Night by night, coffee by coffee we managed to drink our way through pretty much every location in the region. When we realized we had nowhere new left to go, we realized we had reached a defining moment. Would we simply admit defeat, go home, and play video games like a normal group of teenage boys? No! We had to persevere! Surely there were more Tim Horton’s to discover!


Now, here is where I will admit that this expedition to Niagara Falls was not of my planning. It had been mentioned in passing on several coffee runs as a joke, but it was my friend Sam who decided to actually put it all together. (Mainly because he was the only one with a car) I got a text from him at around 9 o’clock on a late August night, reading the ever so familiar question: “Tim’s?”. I agreed but knew something was up when after picking up our buddy Devon from work, and upon arriving at the Tim Horton’s closest to our houses, we did something completely unheard of: we went through the drive thru.


I questioned the night’s plan but received no answer. We got our drinks, headed for the highway, and pulled onto the Q.E.W. This wasn’t too unusual as there are plenty of coffee spots on this route, but with drinks already in hand I watched as we took an exit and passed under the road sign that confirmed my suspicions. We were headed to Niagara Falls. My first instinct was to panic. By this time I was getting ready to move away to university. The last thing I needed was for my parents to find a reason to cut me off, forcing me to live in a cardboard box in Dundas square. On top of that, the very next day Sam was due to come up to the cottage with me and my parents for the weekend. If his, or my parents found out we were headed to the falls, you could throw those plans right out the window.


Advertisements
Advertisements


Did I mention that we didn’t tell our parents where we were going? Like, as in not just on this trip, but throughout the entire history of Tim’s runs. This whole time they thought we were just down the road safe and sound within arms reach. To venture and hour and a half down the highway without their knowledge was asking for trouble.


It was about midnight when we arrived. We parked the car and walked down to the river where we got our first glimpse of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Niagara Falls. Millions of people from all over the world have travelled, and paid a pretty penny to see this waterfall, and here we were just on the quest for some sub-par caffeinated beverages. Of course, we took some obligatory photos, but then made our way to the gift shops and arcades where we blew all of the loose change we had to win a collection of cheap plastic toys.The ironic part in all of this was that we had actually lost track of time, and Tim Horton’s closed for the night before we could get there. So, we decided to settle for Wendy’s instead.


It was here, waiting in line for chicken nuggets at 2 in the morning when we discovered what genuine fear for our lives felt like. Out of the blue, Sam’s phone went off. It was a text from his mother that simply read:

“Get home. Now.”

Had she figured out where we were? Was she watching us? Did someone rat us out? By now did she mean now now, or like whenever it suits you now? Either way, we were screwed. We were supposed to be a 2-minute drive from his house, not a 2-minute drive from the United States of America.


We grabbed our orders, hurried back to the car, and put the pedal to metal. How we made it back home in the time we did is one of the top 10 questions science still can’t answer. Regardless, we had made it back. Sam dropped Devon and I off at our houses and headed back to his to face the wrath of God.


I crept into a quiet house, making sure not to wake the dog. I made it to my room and laid awake in bed awaiting the e-vite to Sam’s funeral. But to my surprise, it never came. Darkness turned to light, and a new day was upon us. We had all managed to successfully sneak into our homes and submit the usual cover story to our parents as to where we had gone the night before. We had all given the same, simple yet effective answer: “We were at Tim’s.”


And so concluded our first annual coffee run to Niagara Falls. Was it pointless? Yes. Was it stupid? You bet. Would we eventually decide to venture to seemingly every Tim Horton’s within a 200 km radius of our homes? Without a doubt. But for the time being we had found a way to ease our boredom, if only for the night, and came away with a story to tell. There was only one question left to ask: where to next?


Advertisements
Advertisements

Pics or it didn’t happen, right?

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