A dying tradition: the leg-rowers of Inle Lake

I’ve been struggling to write about my time in Burma. The magnitude of visiting this country continues to follow me. I dream of pagodas, I feel the delicate strands of silk when I wrap myself in scarves, and my taste buds dance when I indulge in tea leaf salad, the supply of pickled tea leaves I brought home rapidly dwindling. How can I do the people justice? Continue reading

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I see you shiver with… Anticipation

I sat up wide awake at 5:30 this morning.

This is not unusual for me. I’m an insomniac at the best of times, despite trying desperately to go to bed at a decent time every night and get in a good 7-8 hours of sleep.

But this time, I sat up in anticipation. In about 5 weeks, I’m taking a well-deserved holiday from a summer of moving twice due to flooding, a broken bone, a pet dying, and unbelievable work stress. I’ve been planning this holiday since January, which is a particularly long time for an impulsive person like me.

I’m going to Burma. (Or Myanmar, if you prefer.)
Shwedagon Pagoda

My flights are booked. My immune system is pumped full of fresh boosters. I’ve gone through the diplomatic waltz of getting a visa, which was surprisingly uncomplicated as long as one follows instructions. My pet sitter is ready for miss Interrobang. I am carefully squirreling away spending money for a country that for the most part is off the credit card radius, does not accept traveller’s cheques, and has very few functioning ATMs. And I’m bringing a relative travel virgin with me to boot.

I don’t think we will come back the same.
Temples of Bagan

And tonight the realization hit me. I haven’t been this giddy to go exploring in years.

But first, I must conquer sleep. Baby steps.

Inside the Þrihnukagigur Volcano – Journey to the Centre of the Earth

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It is not every day that you have the chance to venture into the belly of the beast, deep inside a dormant volcano. I seized the day on June 16, 2013 and made my way deep into the bowels of Thrihnukagigur (Þrihnukagigur) volcano, a short 35 minute drive from downtown Reykjavik. There’s something amazing and new on Iceland’s tourism scene, and in my previous winter journeys, this was inaccessible to me. Continue reading

Overcoming a fear of diving in Fiji

Last year, I found out with about 10 days notice that I was going to Fiji for work, on a whirlwind of property inspections. In a blur of packing, trying to find my passport, and finding a pet sitter for Louder rat, I barely had time to look at the itinerary, let alone research some of the properties I would be visiting and staying at. Fiji is admittedly not my field of expertise in the travel industry – I don’t typically sell it, since I deal primarily with Asia in the context of my job. I didn’t sell it in a previous travel industry job, so it was a big empty hole in my personal knowledge base.

And yet somehow, I found myself sitting on an Air Pacific flight from Los Angeles to Nadi, with plenty of time to contemplate this destination with some of my colleagues. Continue reading

Sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small…

I took a walk yesterday, into the sprawl. An exercise in clearing my head. A chance to relish autumn’s fleeting colours, and feel the crunch of leaves under my shoes. A recent assessment of what I like to do when I travel left me realizing that I don’t take enough day hikes when I’m at home, and it’s something I’m trying to change. A few years ago in Montreal, I hung out a bit with the Montreal Psychogeographic Society and had a lot of fun.

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To the end of the world and back – exploring Iceland

To describe the Langanes peninsula in north western Iceland as remote would be the understatement of the year. In a country where hikers regularly vanish into the highlands, never to be seen again, understanding the vast emptiness of this country takes some getting used to. You can easily stand beside the thundering waterfalls that line the country side, scream at the top of your lungs until your frustrations vanish, and will not encounter a sole in the process. Continue reading

Diving in the Galapagos

My dive instructor advised me at the end of my PADI Open Water course that you won’t like every dive. I brushed him off when he told me that. How could a dive be anything but magical? I was completely in love with the sport, and the idea of breathing underwater for long periods of time. It was a completely romantic idea.
Snorkeling with sea lions

Chasing after sea lions won't get you very far

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An assortment of ramblings with minimal caffeine

It is a rainy Saturday morning in early June, and I am catching up on weeks of unlistened to CBC Radio 3 podcasts, backing up a few thousand images from my recent travels. My coffee is now lukewarm, and the raging thunderstorm outside is threatening my electrical collection. The shutters are trembling from the latest clap of thunder, and despite having a perfectly good laptop at my disposal to write this, I’ve decided to boot up my dying iMac to compose my thoughts. Continue reading