Category Archives: Travel tips

200 Days On The Road

It was this after­noon while we were hang­ing out in the Athens apart­ment we rented for a week when Helene real­ized today marks day 200 of trav­el­ing across the world. It is some­what fit­ting that this morn­ing we had no idea where we would be trav­el­ing to by the end of the week, but of course that’s the fun of it.

So, for this post I’ve decided to list five things that hap­pened on this trip that we totally didn’t plan for or expect.

Con­tinue read­ing

So long Canada!

A few months ago Tim and I decided we were going to pack up and go travel the world together for a year.  What we never expected was how much work it was going to be to make it hap­pen.  Now that it is all over and we have finally begun our jour­ney, I can say that despite all the hard work, it was def­i­nitely well worth the trouble.

Our first step was to start sell­ing every­thing we didn’t need any­more.  Apart from our couch, futon, TV, and mat­tress, we sold all of our fur­ni­ture.  Then we started sell­ing small appli­ances and other ran­dom things we felt were unnec­es­sary to keep.  In total, we made a cool $1200 (mostly through Kijiji) which was a lot more than we ever expected we would have made.  It was really lib­er­at­ing to slowly free our­selves from so many possessions.

Next step — sell­ing my car.  This seemed like a really daunt­ing task but as pre­dicted, right on the day we were mov­ing I received a call from some­one.  2 days (and an unex­pected 4 hour wait at Cana­dian Tire) later, we watched a man drive away in my his car.

We packed a lit­tle through­out Decem­ber before we left, but let’s be hon­est. We packed all our boxes 2 days before we moved.  We were get­ting pretty tired and fed up, but per­sisted and man­aged to get every­thing done.  Apart from a few casu­al­ties (RIP Microwave) and 2 extremely long dri­ves between Ottawa and Mon­treal (4 hours each way stuck behind the snow plow trucks) the move went rel­a­tively well. We are extremely for­tu­nate that we have very nice fam­i­lies and we were able to store all of our stuff in var­i­ous people’s basements.

The next week was spent vis­it­ing with every­one we knew and slowly say­ing all of our good­byes to every­one.  It was pretty hec­tic at times, but we are glad we got to see most of our friends and fam­ily before leav­ing.  We col­lected enough good mem­o­ries to last us the year!

Finally, on Jan­u­ary 8th, we woke up and enjoyed one last breath of –15 degree air and walked into the air­port to catch our flights to Mex­ico City.  All I could think in my head was “So long Canada!” I will def­i­nitely miss the peo­ple, but I will def­i­nitely not miss this weather.

Helene Winter

6 Tips to Plan Your Trip to India

Another School day in Kochi, Kerala

Some peo­ple love India. Oth­ers hate it. Close friends warned us that the food would make us sick. Fam­ily cau­tioned about safety. And almost every­one agreed that the coun­try is met with extremes: extreme weather, extreme poverty, extreme wealth, extreme joy and extreme frustration.

Per­son­ally, there were times I loved India and times I hated it. Above all, though, I found the coun­try to be quite lovely and an absolute must for those look­ing for new expe­ri­ences in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent country.

Before you leave, there are a few things you really should do before you hit the road:

  • Use India Mike, an invalu­able resource, to plan your route. The com­mu­nity can tell you if your planned route is real­is­tic, answer vir­tu­ally any ques­tion and get you really excited about the trip.
  • Book all your buses and trains in advance. India is a busy place. Trains will be sold out if you show up last minute, unless you want to pay top dol­lar or change routes. Most last minute bus and train can­cel­la­tions only cost 2–3 dol­lars. These are the sites we used for the bus and train.
  • In Canada we have a Cholera and trav­el­ers diar­rhea vac­cine mar­keted as Duko­rol, but it may have a dif­fer­ent name in your coun­try. I’m cer­tain this vac­cine pre­vented us from get­ting into a nasty situation ;).
  • Get informed about Malaria. It isn’t every­where in India, but Malaria is some­thing you should know about before you leave. We ended up tak­ing malaria pills for about a week, but I ended up hav­ing an adverse reac­tion. The side effects were not worth the trou­ble. A cou­ple things we did to help lower the risk of catch­ing malaria were:
    1. slept with mos­quito nets;
    2. stayed indoors at dusk;
    3. made sure there weren’t any mos­qui­toes in the room at bed time;
    4. used repel­lent with deet;
    5. Google the inci­dents of peo­ple catch­ing malaria in the region we vis­ited.
  • Try to eat in restau­rants that look busy and avoid restau­rants that do not have a high influx of people.
  • Try to avoid street meat. Avoid­ing street meat is prob­a­bly one of the more con­tentious pieces of advice, given that street meat could be both the best and the worst part of a trip to India. I think the main con­cern is that a lot of street ven­dors are using local water that may con­tain bac­te­ria that we are not immune to.Just use your judg­ment and make sure the water bot­tle seal is not broken.

And one bonus tip:

  • Embrace the frus­trat­ing moments. Think­ing back, the frus­trat­ing moments were among the high­lights. My favourite — get­ting dropped off in the mid­dle of a busy five lane high­way and lit­er­ally scream­ing over being scammed out of a dol­lar. One dollar!