The Via Rail Experience & Home

Home is a funny idea. What is it exactly? A place? A sensation? Possibly a complete narration of the mind. When I left the country where I was born, being in unfamiliar surroundings meant rebirth over and over again. You walk through a ring of fire and arrive to the other side, blemished a tiny bit, but doused in the baptist waters of renewal. Tackling that foreign pronunciation on your tongue, while the native food stings your taste buds. Oh, the smells! That always get me, those competing odours of a country that sometimes seem familiar but then don’t. So coming home (again, that word) was a doorway to old, yet new discoveries for me. I keep forgetting to wash my hands after using the restroom because with public toilets in China, there is no soap. Anywhere. Don’t panic! I do remember more often than not now. I keep forgetting to tip, so I seem like a jerk when I don’t. I started talking to myself out in the open the other day. It was a habit I fell into because nobody could understand me and I could get away with it in China. Not anymore, crazy bag lady. The cure I mentioned a while ago was Via Rail Canada. Lots of people don’t know what this train trip is about. Some people mistake it for a commuter trip or a waste of time. They’d rather take the bullet train in Japan. A Via Rail experience is a journey. It’s slow, considered. Meditative. On top of it, the journey continually offers some of the best views of Canada. I didn’t think it was going to be a life changing experience, but it kind of was. It was better than I expected and allowed me to acclimatize to this country I once called home and still do. […]

By |April 23rd, 2014|Adventure, Canada|29 Comments

The Weirdness of Coming Home & the Cure: Via Rail

People have been asking over and over again: are you going back to China?  The resounding answer: NO!!! Mentally I am done with China, but as I said in a past post, even when a place or person isn’t good for you anymore, you tend to cling to it. Cause often the unknown is worse. Yet, several years ago I trained myself to embrace the unknown, that it’s part of the cycle. So I went. Packed up a 62 L bag and tossed whatever things I accumulated in China by selling them or leaving the rest behind. It was bloody liberating. It’s amazing how much one can horde in a 2 year period. Being in China seemed to be about learning those lessons again. Let go of material possessions. Gather the unknown close to your bosom and jump.  GO. So, here I am again, back home after 2 years of being gone. And it’s weird. An odd feeling that is familiar but so strange.  […]

By |April 1st, 2014|Adventure|47 Comments

Competitours, the Real Version of Amazing Race

I was recently approached by Competitours to be featured on the site. I get a fair share of these requests and often ignore them, but paused this time to ask, what’s so special about Competitours? The simple answer: The Amazing Race. You all know of my past disdain for reality shows, until I ended up on one quite by accident (one of my nightmares is after I’m dead, that I’m not remembered because of my talent for prose but for House Hunters International, etched on my tombstone: SHE WAS ON HHI. AND THAT WAS IT. Arghhhh! As I scratch my face). But I admit to having watched bits of The Amazing Race and feeling that anticipation of a new locale; a new challenge. The Amazing Race is that secret jar of candy that you hide behind the couch and bring out once in a while to indulge. Competitours centres on a holiday that involves team competition. Even though this post came to me by a sponsor, the concept of a real Amazing Race struck an adventurous chord with me. To do it in real life? Yeah, I might ‘audition’ for my next reality ‘show’ experience. […]

By |February 19th, 2014|Adventure|7 Comments

Seeing Prague by Ebike

Ebikes are the main mode of transportation in China. I bought one myself in September of 2012 and it’s the closest thing to a motorcycle that I will ever get. I’ve seen dogs in baskets, families of three, nuzzling couples and solo riders either whizzing beside me or directly towards me. Pray for me. That I don’t die. Before my recent purchase, ebikes were somewhat of a mystery to me. In Canada, they are considered greener, but sadly, freakin’ expensive! A mountain style-bike can start at $800 CDN, spiking upwards to $3,000 CDN for a motor scooter style. When truly, you can purchase a ‘beater’ car for $1,000. One that covers your head in inclement weather, plays Whitesnake and takes you places near or far. Based on those glaring pluses, an ebike loses its appeal. Global warming? It sucks to be you. […]

By |February 26th, 2013|Adventure, Prague|26 Comments

Chicks Conquering the World: ProjectExplorer.Org

It’s a new year and the best way to mark it is by relaunching a Chicks segment. Believe me, you’ll want to meet Jenny Buccos. Follow the breadcrumbs of a business minded project manager’s awakening to the gifts of travel. Jenny saw a deficit in the world and instead of dismissing it – she started a non-profit organization – one that blends joy, discovery and circling the globe. But not just for anyone, her educational multimedia content targets the most impressionable – school children. If you’re an educator or just intensely curious about our global community, welcome to  Q:  You founded in 2003. Why combine education, children and a video travel series? What did you see in the world that was lacking and prompted you to start this organization? A:  In the early stages of developing, I found that people had a wide variety of preconceived notions about other countries and cultures, particularly here in America where our culture, news, and discussions can be so inwardly focused. In our rapidly shrinking world, I believe global understanding is a critical 21st century skill that all students will need to possess in order to succeed. Seeing foreign places firsthand and having my own beliefs challenged was a real awakening for me, and I wanted to try and give that experience to as many people as I could — especially young ones. Of course, it is not possible to take every student abroad. For me, the solution was simple: by creating free student-focused videos on global topics, thousands – even millions – could experience the world beyond their borders through online video. […]

By |January 11th, 2013|Chicks Conquering the World|5 Comments

Skydiving in Prague

Most people who visit Prague are interested in the immense history of this charming city. Enthralled with structures like this: Which is understandable and holds my interest as well. Once in a while I seek out something different. When I found out a company called Sky Service offered tandem skydiving jumps, that inner voice told me to do it. Sometimes we simply have goals that we want to accomplish and I knew leaving this earth without skydiving just once would rack me with regret in old age. Nobody’s sole employment in old age should be regret. I wanted to know what it feels like to jump out of an airplane. […]

By |September 11th, 2012|Adventure, Prague|36 Comments