Archive for December, 2009

2009| Reflection

Note to self, try to stay away from blogging while sick. Yesterday’s post is scary and took WAY too long to write!

Dear Friends;

As 2009 comes to a close- and I’m at home, sick- I’m prone to some reflection.  For the most part 2009 was a rather boring year for me.  I was back in Alberta, instead of traveling.

My year began with a new job in retail.  Instead of the food industry, I found myself in a management position with a National Bookseller.  Although I’ve always enjoyed reading, it’s never been my soul source of joy.  However, with my new job, I gained a greater love for reading- taking advantage of book loan programs at work was fantastic.  Although there are aspects of my current job that I love, I’ve also struggled.  I tend to feel boxed in, tired and stressed.

2009 also took me to a new city. Calgary. I have never been a big fan of Calgary.  It’s an okay city, but it’s still a very residential city.  That is to say that it’s not as entertainment focused as cities like Toronto or Vancouver.  Or better yet, it’s not as international.  I crave diversity, and Calgary is not diverse enough for me.  Although I find ways to enjoy myself, my future will contain a move to either Vancouver or Toronto.

This year also brought sadness mixed with joy.  In September my Grandmother became very ill, which threw life into a never-ending roller coaster. Although there was a lot of worry and concern, we managed to find ways to connect with one another.  I was given time to get to know her better, to laugh and reminisce.  Although my Grandmother passed away at the beginning of December, I am eternally grateful for the time we had together.

2009 was a heavy year.  Heavy in terms of emotion, and mental events.  I look forward to 2010, to the possibilities.  2010 promises to be a lighter year.  A year in which I look inwards and start to take care of me. 2010 is the year that I will endeavor to make my dreams and goals come to life- one way or another!

I wish all my friends and family a very happy and prosperous New Year.  2010 can be your year.  Take time for yourself so you may better take time for others.

Best Wishes,



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2010 Travelutions

Toward the close of every year most people participate in the tradition of New Years Resolutions. Every year I make what turns out to be empty resolutions, resolutions like eating healthier, exercising, spending less money etc, and every year I falter.

This year I’m going to do something a little different. I refuse to make the usual New Year’s Resolutions, instead I’m making New Year’s Travelutions.  Yes, you read that correctly.  This year, my focus is travel, one of my greatest passions. Hence, Travelutions.

  1. Improve my travel photography skills
  2. Travel to countries in Asia that @eppyboy (Twitter) hasn’t been too (it’s a Jones’ thing, lol).  I’m currently compiling my list 😛
  3. Explore more of Canada- looking for deals to Newfoundland, Churchill (too see the Polar Bears) and Northern BC.
  4. Attend TBEX ’10 in NYC
  5. Create a more travel focused blog
  6. Be a Green Traveler
  7. Participate in Voluntourism

The list isn’t a big one, but it’s more attainable that way.  After the last month, I KNOW 2010 is going to be a better year.  Full of learning and growth. I look forward to new experiences, new friends, and new countries.

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I’m slightly excited about my upcoming trip to New York City for the Travel Blog Exchange conference in June.  NYC has always been a fabulous city.  My first visit was in ’93 with my Father on one of his business trips.  My next visit was in ’08 with Moose Travel Network (I was working for HI Niagara at the time and the trip was ridiculously cheap for employees).  This time though I’ll be on my own!  I can’t wait!

I love exploring places on my own, discovering something new and exciting.  But when it comes to NYC, I look forward to visiting some favourite places too.  One of them being Mama Mexico where they serve the BEST, FRESH Guacamole I have ever tasted! I’m also looking forward to shopping and partying in the Village, and perhaps a show as well.

The plan so far? Attend TBEX, shoot and insane amount of photographs, and walk until my poor feet fall off!

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This Christmas felt rather strange.  It didn’t really feel special or different. Just another day.  My Grandmother wasn’t a big celebrator and she rarely accepted our invitation to Christmas dinner, but knowing she was gone somehow changed things. In a way I felt odd celebrating. It felt wrong. I know that sounds silly, but it did. Between working retail & losing my Grandmother at the beginning of December, I feel more like a robot, than like myself.

I miss my Grandmother.  I miss her opinionated nature and quick wit. I always knew where I stood with her, whether I wanted to know or not.  She made me want to be a better person, to live my life and enjoy every moment.  This Christmas was a difficult one, but I’m determined to make next Christmas a better one.

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I cannot stand the stagnant life anymore.  I wasn’t born to do the mundane, although I’ve tried to be happy with it over the past few years.  As I see it, I have a choice. I can continue to struggle with the mundane and easy aspects of life, or I can try and do those things that I’m passionate about.  I may fail or I may succeed, but I will never know unless I try.  (I’m finally taking my own advice. I know, it’s unconventional).

Here’s the deal. Life is too short to not go after what makes you happy.  Why should I sit by the sidelines and continue to dream or wish? I shouldn’t. Plain and simple.  Life = Living and it’s time for me to take a chance and live.

First up, Travel.  I’ll be heading towards Asia late summer 2010.  By then my apartment lease will be up, I’ll have some money in the bank and the gear I need. I have a general idea of where I want to go, but I’m waiting to make final decisions later on.  In preparation for my travels I hope to do the following.

  • Blogging- I’ll be using my blog to keep in contact with my friends and family, but also to express my views and experiences whilst traveling etc.  I need to work on my writing (and grammar lol) skills, and plan to attend TBEX ’10 in NYC to get a better feel for the travel blogging industry.
  • Photography- always a passion of mine.  However I want to work on my skills a little more at home before leaving.  Perhaps I can find a photography workshop or two before I leave.

I have a passion for the creative. However this stagnant life of mine has been slowly sucking my creative side out of me.  If I’m to stay on course and accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself, then I need to put myself out there.

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You may think this is for you’re benefit, but in fact it’s a list to help me remember what I need to pack before my next trip!  I’m a very busy girl and therefore I am a very forgetful girl at the moment.

No matter where I’m going or for how long, there is no way I can leave home without the following items:

  1. Passport- it’s a give-in, but you know somebody would ask if I didn’t put it in this list.
  2. Toilet paper- I’ve mentioned this before, it’s vital! The softer the better.
  3. my Nikon D60 camera and a little point and shoot for quick easy photos.
  4. A journal/notebook
  5. pens and pencils
  6. iPod- I need my tunes for bus/train/plane rides.
  7. Bag- I bought a fabulously big bag from Chengdu, which is now a travel must for me.  Daypacks scream tourist!
  8. Travelers Checks- yep, I’m an American Express commercial! But it’s very true. I always have travelers checks hidden on my person whilst traveling.
  9. A good book- usually a pocket book that can be traded later on.
  10. Cell phone- it’s my alarm clock and handy when I’m in a bind. Although to date it’s only ever been an alarm clock.
  11. Utensils- I have this thing that has a knife, fork and spoon and bottle opener in one small holder that’s on a laynard. I think it’s meant for skiers, but I love it.
  12. First aid kit- aside from the usual band-aides and ointments, I also carry twine, a small pocket knife, compass and lip balm.
  13. USB reader for my SD memory card- in case I want to upload some photos at an internet cafe.
  14. Spare batteries for my cameras.
  15. Photograph of my family

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    “I am the master of my fate:

    I am the captain of my soul”.

    Invictus.  After a day of trying to refocus myself, I decided to go see a movie- alone.  My choice? Invictus.  If you haven’t heard of this movie, you should.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It was utterly fantastic. For years now I have admired Nelson Mandela.  I’ve admired his perseverance and his desire for peace.  I tried reading his autobiography, but I couldn’t seem to connect the way I had hoped.  Now, I’ve connected.  Morgan Freeman was amazing as Nelson Mandela.  I left the theatre inspired and repeating the above quote to myself.  It was exactly what I needed.

    I googled the poem Invictus when I came home tonight.  Here is how it goes…


    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    by William Ernest Henley – 1875

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