AirBnB Review

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AirBnB is not new, in fact it’s been around since 2008.  We know people who have used the service and had glowing reviews; and others who did not fare as well (there are some horror stories).  In the past, we’ve always opted to stay at a Starwood hotel because our status gave us upgrades and other perks.  This year, however, that status has expired which was the perfect opportunity for us to venture out of our bubble and try something new. Continue reading

Rookie Mistakes


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I use this blog as a way to share my travel experiences – both good and bad, and this one is a doozy.  It started with a lost passport and ended with our dead-in-the-night scramble to get out of Portugal.  As you read through this article, you’ll think to yourself, these are all rookie mistakes that I would never make.  Trust me, I thought so too – until we made them all.  Given that we have been traveling extensively for the last 8 years, it’s downright embarrassing, but what can you do?  Sometime shit happens.

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Things I wish I knew

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I was a chubby little monster

Today I turned 36, that was almost my mother’s age when she left Vietnam.  She traveled half-way across the world, and left everyone and everything she knew in order to give her family the opportunities she didn’t have.  That level of self-sacrifice seems so adult and mature to me.  I am half way through my 30s and I still feel like a little kid; not to say that I didn’t have my own challenges that I had to overcome. But I am going to take this opportunity on my birthday to reflect on the things I’ve learned in my 30s that I wish I knew earlier.  I’ve condensed my ‘wisdom’ into a nice short list, one for each year:

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No-Frills Flying

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[photo credit: Visit Norway]

Since we reviewed our first class flight with Etihad, I thought it would be fitting to go to the other end of the spectrum and share details of my flight in coach on Norwegian Air.  There are many carriers in Europe offering super cheap no-frills tickets, and it seems that many of the North American carriers are beginning to follow suit. But fear not! Below is a summary of my in-flight experience and a few tips that will hopefully make your bare-bones flying experience better. Continue reading

Catching Up

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I can’t believe it’s fall already, where did the summer go?  I have learned to love the fall season in New York, with the brisk air and colorful leaves.  But with the change of season, comes the colder weather – which I am definitely not a fan of.  This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, so I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on our year so far.  There are so many heartbreaking things going on in the world, and it makes me appreciate everything that I have and everyone in my life. Continue reading

Stuck in Africa…Almost

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[photo credit: www.skyscanner.com]

When you travel there is always the possibility of delays and flight cancellations.  That’s part of the “experience”.  Somehow, it seems to happen to us quite a bit. On our last night in Stone Town as we were weaving our way through the markets, Fausto got an alert that our 5:45 am flight on Kenya Airways was cancelled. We had 2 tight connections to get home, so a cancelled flight would mean that we’d miss all of our other flights; and that was no good since we both had to be back at work Tuesday morning.  What was a great vacation turned into a bit of a nightmare as we scrambled to find a way home. Continue reading

The Day My Life Changed

Two years ago on this day, I found out I had breast cancer.  Yes, the dreaded ‘C’ word.  This was a shock to me, because to be honest, no one in their early 30s is expected to deal with this, right?  At that age, I still feel invincible, and there was no time to contemplate my mortality.  I still remember getting the call from the OBGYN office asking me to come in for my results. It was then that I knew it was going to be bad news (why else would they call you in?). In that minute my world changed. At 33 years old, with no family history, I sat there in silence as the doctor told me I had ductal carcinoma-in-situ. That was the bad news; the good news I was told, is that the cancer was caught early and was non-invasive. Yay me?

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Time Management

I am sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been conspicuously quiet on the blog the last few weeks.  There was a death in our family which prompted me to make a last minute flight back to Canada.  I’ve been home ever since, spending time with the people I love the most.  But even before that, I’ve been struggling with time management, especially the last few months when work had gotten increasingly busy.  That’s one of the challenges of being a part time travel blogger while holding down a full time job.  Juggling work, traveling, and writing can be tough at times, particularly when I continue to fall behind on my posts. 

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Travel Tip: Australian Visitor Visa

As you may know, we’re traveling to Australia in a few weeks.  Three weeks out, it finally dawned on us that we still haven’t gotten our travel visa yet and we need to get on it ASAP.  Since we have passports from one of the few countries that are allowed to apply for an electronic visitor visa to Australia, we thought it would be quite simple: fill out the form online, pay the $20AUD fee, and and be on our way.  The whole electronic visa process is supposed to be hassle free with a high acceptance rate of 99.8%.  But nothing is ever easy or hassle free when I travel, and it turns out that I am in that special 0.2% that got rejected – with no explanation and also no refund for the $20AUD fee. So this post is not so much about travel tips as it is things you should not do from my personal experience.

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The Day I Shopped Again

I fell off the wagon.  On June first of this year I decided to forgo shopping in an attempt to curtail my materialistic urges.  I started out with the good intention as I abstained from buying anything except the bare essentials all throughout summer.  It was especially hard on my trip to Hong Kong, but I continued to hold out and determined to not be distracted by all the shiny things I see. When I finally gave in and bought a pair of shoes last week, I was disappointed in myself.

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Pretty shoes

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