The Group Trip That Changed My Life

I love my solo travel. It is a massive part of who I am. However, I have also had incredible experiences on group trips. One in particular stands out more then any other group trip I have been on and participated in – my trip to Tanzania with UGO Impact. It has now been one year since my trip with them, and the continual impact from it in my life has not ceased to amaze me. It transformed my being and changed my life.

The program itself is a 3 month transformational coaching program, the trip was 2 weeks, and it consisted of a one week volunteer project working alongside the Dare Womens Foundation and then a one week trip to summit Mount Kilimajaro. There is group work and individual work focusing on personal development before and after the trip. This served to open us up before the trip so the experiences can have a deeper meaning, and after the trip so we can get the best long term success with everything we had just experienced during the trip. Another great thing about the group calls pior to the trip is that it gave us the opportunity to get to know eachother on deep personal levels, and when we arrived to Tanzania it was all warm hugs and embraces, as we had already began our journey together in the video chats.

I am very much into personal development, so when I read about UGO Impact combining it with travel, giving back, and then completely challenging ourselves with Kilimanjaro, it spoke to my heart and soul straight away. A magical combination.

I love doing volunteer work, one of my favorite jobs I ever had was when I used to lead volunteer projects in the remote jungles of Central and South America. It had been far too long since I had done something like that, so the first week working with the Dare Womens Foundation and alongside the community lit my soul on fire in so many ways that I couldn’t have imagined. It was as though I was suddenly back to a place where I feel so fulfilled inside. I actually had no idea it was missing from my life until I got on the trip.

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The whole week we sang, we danced, we worked, we ate, we laughed, we connected.

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We always made time to do our group coaching and personal development sessions. Some days I would go into the session not thinking it would be too profound and then after the session I was once again mind blown at my self discoveries. One week on the volunteer project truly didn’t feel long enough. Although, the excitement for Kilimanjaro was also pulling at us all.

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By time we got to Kili, our group bond was super tight, and it was exciting knowing we were all about to embark on the next level, life changing journey together.

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Even through the highs and lows of challenges on the mountain we still did our group work and coaching sessions. Saying that it brought a deeper meaning and impact, almost feels like an understatement. I mean, I feel like I should have much more profound words to use, as it is so hard to sum up into actual words the effect it all had. When you are mentally opening yourself up and digging deep within yourself in a group of love and support, you will automatically have a much more transformational experience in the other activities you do surrounding the mental work.

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As you go through the challenges everything you experience suddenly can become a metaphor for your life – who you are being, and how you are showing up.

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Kilimajaro was incredible and also life changing in and of itself. It was something I had wanted to do for many years. I am so glad it never happened until I did it with UGO Impact. If I would have just went and did it without this amazing coaching program, the great foundation from the volunteer work, and my amazing group that I was so connected with, it would have still been life changing, but not nearly to the level as with the combination. Not even close.

After Kilimajaro I found a determination in myself that was not there before, I found grit and drive that was buried deep within. I realized I have so much more in me then I was giving. I also learnt that some things in life don’t need to be rushed, it is more about the perseverence and taking it one step at a time. On the mountain they said ‘pole, pole‘ which means ‘slowly, slowy‘. We need to get acclimatized at every level so our body can keep going. As in life, we climb the mountain towards our goals, we can’t always run towards them, sometimes, we have to take it slowly, one step at a time, making sure we have our bearings for the next step and the next level. As long as we keep going in the direction, we will always reach our summit.

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On this trip I also fine tuned and discovered more of my deep values, and I realized I had stopped living my passions. Somehow I had let them go to the side and in turn I stopped feeling like my true self. Thanks to my trip with UGO, I found myself, I remembered what is important to me so I can live my best life, and give the world the best version of me. We all deserve to live our best lives.

It amazes me that a year later I am still having so many takeaways.

I am so excited that my friends, the founders of UGO, Jill Valentine and Nicole Hrinco are running this program again this fall! These two completely lead with love. They are there fully for your success and transformation.

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Photo credit to UGO Impact.

Courage, Community, Kilimanjaro 2020 – is happening this fall!

Every single person on the trip had such life changing transformations that they had to create the opportunity again. If I could, I would do it again, one hundred percent in a heart beat. It was that good. One of the most epic experiences of my life.If you are searching for more meaning in your life, and are excited about the idea of getting your hands dirty helping a community in need and climbing a mountain while connecting with the most amazing group of people, send me a message or comment on this post so I can connect you with UGO – truly two of my favorite women.I came back from this trip a better, happier and more aligned version of myself. For that, I am forever grateful.20190117_1442286647181426608491816.jpg

The Most Beautiful Village In Spain – Fornalutx, Mallorca

An idyllic mountain village sprawled in the mountain range of the Serra de Tramuntana is precisely what you can expect when you visit Fornalutx. The spectacular views from the village are what dreams are made of.

When I was informed of this village that has claimed the title of ‘The most beautiful village in Spain‘ on two separate awards occasions, I knew I must see it for myself.

It is located very near to the town of Sollér on the west coast of the island. To reach Sollér from Palma you can drive or take a bus. I took the 40 minute bus ride which came to a total of €5.40 return trip, as I intended to walk from Sollér to Fornalutx. To reach Fornalutx you can also drive, however there is limited parking in the village, so in the high season this could be a problem. You can take a bus, or like I did, enjoy the beautiful 40 minute scenic trek from Sollèr. The scenery along the journey is in a sense – mindblowing. The picturesque landscape makes one feel as though you are walking through a real life painting.

The trails are very early marked so you will not get lost on the journey.

As I approached Fornalutx, the small village of 700 inhabitants that was sprawling down the mountainside looking so perfectly nestled between the mountains, I could not help but feel in complete awe.

I was surrounded by the many orange and lemon trees and the blossoming almond trees. It was pure magic.

The history of Fornalutx beginnings dates back to over 1000 years, to a time when it was an Arab farmstead. The gothic church in the village dates back to 1639. The villages architecture from the 13th century after the Catalan conquests has remained virtually unspoilt and is also why the village is known as an architectural jewel. At one time Fornalutx was actually a part of Sollèr, however in 1837 the village gained its independence.

Once you enter the village you will be welcomed by narrow winding streets, stone houses and the most beautiful stone steps.

The square known as Plaza de España has a couple of cafes, a small food store and a bakery. It is a great spot to just relax in the tranquil atmosphere. This is a small village however there are a good handful of restaurants to choose from. They range from local Mallorcan cuisine to Italian and Indian.

Fornalutx is also a great starting point for many exceptional hikes. It is right on the flanks of the Puig Major, which is the highest mountain on the island with an altitude of 1,445 meters. I did partake in a short 1 hour hike up a trail which brought to me an incredible view of the mountains and valley. The trails are easy to use as they are more like steps and very easy to navigate as they are also all marked.

After my hike, I sat on the terrace at the restaurant Ca N’Antuna where there was the most incredible view. It was the terrace that caught my eye as I was passing by and inclined me to go and bask on it. I did not actually eat here, I just enjoyed a nice cold caña. However, the menu boasted plenty of Mallorcan dishes and I was told they make an incredible paella.

I would absolutely set a whole day aside to come and enjoy the history, architecture, hiking and then finish it off with some local cuisine on a stunning terrace taking the unforgettable view. This whole experience had such a romantic feel. With a good selection of hotels for such a small destination, it makes for a great place to book a romantic getaway.

After visiting Fornalutx, I can absolutely see why it has won the title of ‘The Most Beautiful Village In Spain‘ on two different occasions. It is small on size and very big in beauty. An absolute bucket list must if you are visiting the island.

A Luxury Stay In Radium Hot Springs

Steaming hot springs and refreshing outdoor pools aplenty, that is exactly what you will find when you visit Radium Hot Springs Village in British Columbia. The drive into Radium from Calgary was absolutely beautiful. I had not been there since I was a child, so everything was new to me. I was actually shocked that it was such a short drive from Calgary and that I had not visited more often.

As you cruise along the highway the mountains sprawl on the sides of the winding roads. On the outskirts of Radium, the road is carved through mountain walls. It feels so majestic and dreamy. I was driving through it all, with the snow lightly floating down, and in complete awe of the beauty that was engulfing my eyes.

The destination was Bighorn Meadows Resort. It is different than your typical resort, as these are self-contained condos. That being said, these are not just any condos, they are luxury condos. There is the opportunity to own a condo, or you can just spoil yourself and your loved ones with a rental getaway. I would not mind owning a holiday home here in the slightest.

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The condos are incredibly spacious, much grander then you would expect walking up to the door. As you enter, the long hall leads past the two bedrooms onward to the open concept kitchen, dining and living room area. The view from the windows is spectacular.20191217_1132124108673947330798273.jpg

The fireplace is the perfect place to sit and unwind on a chilly wintry evening. As soon as I laid my eyes on it, I knew I would be planting myself right in front of it with my slippers on to unwind for the evening.

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Why settle for one fire? Go ahead and double it up.

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There was the most amazing welcome package waiting for me. It had everything a lady could ask for upon arriving. A welcome package after my own heart.

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Plus a fridge and countertop stocked with snacks.

They do take great pride in making everyone at their resort feel extra special. Whether you are a condo owner on the property or a rental guest of a beautiful suite. They will tailor things to your individual wants or needs.

The kitchen is fully equipped with everything down to a blender. If you stay for two weeks you will have everything you need to make gourmet meals, or even just enjoy a light meal with a view.

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The balcony boasts a fantastic view as well as a barbeque and it makes it easy to envision gatherings with family and friends there.

The bedrooms have the most comfortable beds, and each room also has its own TV.

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There are two bathrooms, one connected to each bedroom. The bathrooms are stocked with organic toiletries, which of course my nature-loving heart was instantly impressed with.

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The master bathroom was huge. It was almost the same size as the bedroom. Hands down one of the largest and most spacious bathrooms I have ever used.

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There is a jet tub in there to ease your tired muscles from outdoor adventures. If that is not enough there are even the outdoor hot tubs. Those were my happy place.

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They are located right outside the gym and on the other side of the fence from the little ice rink.

A good workout, followed by a nice soak in the outdoor hot tubs surrounded by the snowy mountainous landscape – pure magic.

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This destination is a golfers haven, as there are 2 golf courses right there and 12 others in the area, along with ski hills, lakes and year-round mountain activities. Did I mention hot springs?

The Radium Hot Springs pools are very accessible and nearby. When I say near, don’t forget we are in a village. Everything is near when you are here.

If you want to get more rustic and immerse yourself in nature you can take an hour’s drive to the Lussier Hot Springs. Set on the side of a river, you can soak in the mineral-rich hot springs and then enjoy a cold jump into the river. Every hot spring you visit will welcome you with the aroma of sulphur, or to some, it may be more like rotten eggs. It doesn’t take long for your nostrils to become accustomed to it. Once you’re in the water all your woes will melt away and the scent will be a thing of the past.

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Don’t forget to remove your silver jewellery or the minerals in the water will turn your rings some very interesting colours. Nothing a good polish can’t fix.

A quick pitstop at the Fairmont Hot Springs is not a bad idea either. You can do a short hike up the mountain and see where the hot springs originated and take in an incredible view.

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The condo at the Bighorn Meadows Resort had such a home away from home feel and was so comfortable. My trip was to short and I didn’t go explore any of the culinary scenes in the area. I simply took in the idyllic setting and fabulous ambiance that the resort had to offer. When something is that you good, sometimes you just need to bask in it. This was a place that was checked off my bucket list only to be put back on again.

Waterton National Park – A Southern Alberta Gem

The windiest place in Canada. That is what Waterton National Park is known as being. Having clocked winds of up to 170km an hour. It is also known for its mind-blowing beauty. Prior to this trip, I had no idea of either of those things. How on earth did I not know?! Surely I have been living under a rock.

A short 3 hour drive from Calgary and you will find yourself in the little town of Waterton. The drive itself was beautiful. As you enjoy the country landscape, suddenly you find yourself amongst the wind farms.

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It was the first time in my life I was surrounded by so many wind turbines. So many firsts for me on this trip. It is incredible how majestic these turbines look and feel when you are up close and personal with them. I was in total awe.

As you head into the gates at Waterton National Park your eyes become immediately fixated to the view of the lake engulfed in the mountain range. It doesn’t take long for you to recognize that you are in a very special place.

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The first structure that greets you upon entering the town of just over 100 people is the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel.

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Established in 1927, it has an old world charm to it. It also has the most picturesque view in the whole town. It is as if you don’t want to blink, so you do not miss a moment of the splendour.

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Although sometimes you DO have to close your eyes and feel all the energy surrounding you.

The high tea at the hotel is something not to be missed. An elegant session of pure indulgence, with a view that is equally an indulgence for your eyes.

As you stroll through the quaint little town, the feelings of peace and tranquillity overcome you. My soul was feeling relaxed simply being amongst it all.

I stayed at the Bayshore Inn, which is a hotel that boasts lovely views of the lake. You are short walking distance to all the local restaurants, so it is not a problem to dine.

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Cameron Falls is a short walk from downtown, a beautiful spot where you can enjoy a bit of nature and take some nice photos while on a leisurely stroll.

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The area is known for its fantastic and very accessible hiking. It is amazing to see the aftereffects of the forest fire that nearly wiped out the town in 2017.

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The charred remains with the blanket of regrowth sprouting from the earth show all too well just how big and scary that fire must have been. That being said, the hiking is still incredible. An activity you must partake in when in Waterton National Park.

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Hiking to Bertha Falls is a great 2 hour excursion that is the perfect way to spend a bit of your day. The sights along the way will not dissapoint.

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I happened to be there during the Taste of Waterton food festival and part of their festival includes a pie cruise on the lake. It is exactly what it sounds like, a boat ride with pie. This time was a very special cruise as Country music star Paul Brandt hosted it.

Paul Brandt spoiled us with some music, and we cruised over to the United States side of the lake and back.

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It was anyway exceptional way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Waterton National Park is a very special area. In some ways, I am glad I didn’t know about Waterton prior to this visit as the shock and awe of its beauty went far past what my expectations would have been if I had heard of it. It left my imagination wide open. A bucket list must for all nature enthusiasts.

If you would like to watch my vlog about the visit you can have a peak right here.

The Enchanting Bridal Veil Falls In British Columbia

Strolling through what feels to be an enchanted forest full of mystical creatures and possibly little fairies flying around. That is the exact feel you will get when exploring the woodsy area around Bridal Veil Falls in British Columbia.

From the minute you enter the wooded area the smell of nature is intoxicating. It instantly fills your nostrils and then engulfs your whole being.

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With the streams effortlessly flowing the sound of water will create ambient music that will entice your ears. I don’t know about you; I find the sound of flowing water so soothing.

Ferns sprawl across the land in many areas. Which could also explain the amazing, clean, crisp, aromatic air.

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It was actually my first time in my life seeing wild ferns in their natural habitat. I am so accustomed to seeing ferns in homes as opposed to out in nature.

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The walk to the waterfalls is a very short distance. As you approach the waterfalls, you can feel the energy pulsing.

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Even with small waterfalls the energy always runs high, or right off the side of a cliff. It always amazes me how majestic waterfalls of all sizes feel.

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At Bridal Veil falls you can easily hike right up to the base of the falls where you will feel the mist lightly falling on your skin. While you sit there basking in all the splendour, you can feel your soul recharging. If you close your eyes, you can heighten your senses and absorb it even deeper into your cells. Like a powerful surge of pure healing bliss penetrating into the depths of your soul.

Of course, the shoes came off. I can’t be in the enchanted forest and not do some grounding a tree hugging.

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I was also keeping my eyes open for the infamous Sasquatch, as apparently, this area has had many Sasquatch sightings over the years. I am very intrigued about this whole Sasquatch possibility.

Have a peek at the video I made of my visit to the falls.

If you find yourself in the Chilliwack area in British Columbia, then a pit stop at Bridal Veil Falls to stroll around the mystical forest is highly recommended.

My Top 5 Activities While Visiting Nungwi, Zanzibar

Sometimes you dream of being in the most magical place, surrounded by an endless array of beauty to ignite your senses. Then suddenly one day you wake up and you are on the island of Zanzibar. Your dream is now your reality.

Ten years ago I was privileged enough to spend many months in Zanzibar, diving every day and enjoying the postcard life. Since that time, Zanzibar has always been in my dreams. I knew I had to return one day; I didn’t know when that would be. Then recently I woke up and there I was.

Well, maybe after a few plane rides across the world, then a small plane ride across the Country of Tanzania and a good sleep from all the travel, I woke up and there I was. Back in the place that left an unwavering imprint on my mind.

 

 

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It is always surreal to return to a place after so long. So many things change, and so much new infrastructure goes up. With infrastructure also comes more people, and life seems so much busier than I once knew there. It took me a day to absorb it all.

One thing that has not changed is the beauty. It is still there like the most amazing buffet you have ever feasted your eyes on.

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Zanzibar is known for its diving, and for its spices. Its nickname is spice island. Diving and spice tours are popular activities when visiting the island. I did none of this, this time around.

This time was for relaxing, being present in the moment, and taking in every second.

One thing I should add is there are no ATM’s in Nungwi, so you must bring enough cash to fund your whole trip. There are a few places that accept credit card, not many, so I would not rely on that. The closest place to withdraw money is in Stonetown.

That being said, here are my top 5 activities that were simple and brought me a great deal of pleasure, while I enjoyed life in and around Nungwi, Zanzibar. Simple yet strong enough reason’s for me to recommend that you take a getaway to this incredible destination right now.

  1. Enjoy the beaches, grounding with the earth, and swimming

I think this goes without saying; I am saying it anyway. Zanzibar has some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever set your eyes on and dip your toes in.

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The water is such a crystal clear blue, so warm and refreshing, it will not only cleanse your body but also your soul. Some of the best grounding/earthing is done when you are barefoot on the wet beach. You get the ultimate recharge from the earth. Mother nature has it on offer and she is so generous with her giving, that it is hard not to embrace it to the fullest. It was my daily rejuvenation.

2. Walk to Kendwa

Four Kilometres from Nungwi is my favourite beach on the North coast – Kendwa beach.

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When the tide is out, the walk from Nungwi to Kendwa is absolutely amazing. It takes about 30 – 35 minutes to walk, yet it is pure bliss every step of the way. Not only is the view incredible at every angle it is a great way to get a bit of extra exercise. Especially when you are relaxing and enjoying the chill life. I did this walk almost daily. The beach in Kendwa is so vast and with a lot fewer people than Nungwi beach. The swimming is pristine, and extra inviting. It is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy an afternoon.

3. Enjoy all the amazing food

From the seafood to the street food your tastebuds are in for a treat. This is the time to enjoy every morsel. Take the word ‘diet’ out of your vocabulary and just indulge. If you eat seafood you are about to be in seafood heaven. Every day the fresh catches are prepared for your delight. My favourite in Zanzibar is the Octopus. It is the most tender you will ever have in your life.

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Mama Mia – one of my favourite restaurants in Nungwi, they boast an incredible view, and they accept credit card.

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The street food and local restaurants are equally delicious and a fraction of the price you will pay in the touristy restaurants. Be prepared to eat though, the local restaurants are not shy with their portions.

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Let’s not forget about the fresh fruit. You can go anywhere in the village and buy fresh, beautiful, sweet tropical fruit in abundance. I could not get enough fresh passionfruit juice. It was a splurge on the daily.

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4. Swim with turtles

I never knew that swimming with turtles was on my bucket list until I did it. At the Nungwi Natural Aquarium, you can swim with rescued turtles. These turtles were caught in fishermen’s nets and injured. The aquarium will actually give money to the fishermen for the turtles, they will rehabilitate them and then release them back into the wild.

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They live the good life in the aquarium, getting loads of love and food all day long. They are such gentle creatures.

Although, move out of the way when seaweed gets tossed in as they will push their way past you to get a mouthful. I even got a turtle bite on my arm. It did not break the skin, just nipped me with a hard pinch. Not his fault, there was a piece of seaweed right next to my arm. I was actually proud of my turtle bite. Hands down one of the coolest things I have ever done.

5. Take in all the sunsets

The sunsets are stunning. It is the refreshing cool down from a hot day. The finishing of another beautiful day of being alive and the welcoming of the evening ambiance.

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I love a stroll on the beach in the evening. The stars light up the sky, and when the moon is fuller, it lights up the earth in such a magical way. As you watch the sun disappear over the horizon, you can not help but reflect and bask in the beauty of life.

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I will be back!

This trip to Zanzibar was about filling my soul, being present and overflowing with high vibe energy. The more you have, the more you have to share. Not every activity has to be extravagant when you travel. It is the simple things that when appreciated will bring the most pleasure.

Volunteering, Community and Connection in Tanzania

Giving back and supporting others – that’s what makes the world go round. In fact, I forgot just how much immersing myself in a different culture, giving back and working alongside the people sets my soul on fire. The sharing of energies in these situations amazing.

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While in Tanzania I took part in a volunteer project with UGO Travel For Change and we partnered with The Dare Women’s Foundation. It has been so many years since I partook in a group trip. Yet the values of UGO Travel For Change spoke to my core, so it was a no brainer to go on this adventure with them. Plus the group of women(and one guy) on this trip fit together like a perfect puzzle. It was amazing how much we all complimented each other as a group. I would for sure join UGO again.

The Dare Women’s Foundation does incredible work in Tanzania. It is an NGO working to empower Tanzanian women and girls, with a focus on rural areas, through poverty alleviation, social justice, economic empowerment, and gender equality.

The foundation had a piece of land donated to them, and with it, they plan on building a home where women who need shelter can live, heal and work on building a sustainable future. We came to help build them a fence to enclose their property.

I love hands-on work. There is something so satisfying about getting dirty and doing physical labour. Especially when you are doing it alongside an amazing community of locals. It was very hot, and that took to get used to, but the sweatiness just added to the whole experience. This is literally where the term ‘sweat hot mess’ is very fitting.

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Every day the mama’s would come and out of nowhere they would build fires on the ground and whip up the most incredible meals. I mean unbelievable meals. Makes me think I need to step up my game next time I am camping.

Song and dance accompanied all the tasks and even the bus rides. There was always singing going on. It always amazes me how the people in Africa truly know how to enjoy life. Making the most of every day and every moment.

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I would have to say the cement was the hardest part of the work. First, we had to mix it on the ground and then we had to carry it in buckets to the fence where we then poured into the ground to create the cement base. Most of the buckets didn’t have proper handles so that would be why I would say it was the hardest. It was more so just painful for the hands.

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The baby goats made my day – every day! The neighbours were kind enough to let us use their outhouse for the duration of the project and on their little property; they had cows, goats and chickens. I had no idea that playing with baby goats is one of my absolute favourite things to do in life. Now I know.

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Before we finished the project, we each planted a tree on the property. The significance being we leave a piece of us that will grow and be something beautiful when we return.

On our final day, we had a farewell party. All the mamas came as well as the construction guys for lunch and a little ceremony so we could thank them for all of their amazing hospitality. We all pitched in to prepare the food with as much love as they used to prepare all of our food.

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We sang we ate, we danced, and we said our heartfelt ‘see you again’ to each other.

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It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It encompassed so many of my passions all in one and it ignited this massive desire to incorporate more of this into my life once again. It is a good reminder we should always take the time to do something we love, whatever lights us up, even if it is just something brief, as that light we gain from it will overflow to all areas of our life.

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The more you give the more you get, and I am starting 2019 off full of gratitude. It is about more than just giving back. On the deeper side, it is about community and connection on a global scale.

Summiting Mount Kilimanjaro -The Trek That Changed My Life

A physical, mental, emotional and spiritual journey that will change your life.

Walking up a mountain. No big deal right?
At least one would think it was no big deal until you find yourself immersed in it all and in a very different reality.

Mount Kilimanjaro has been on my bucket list since I first laid eyes on it when I was doing my solo trip across Africa with my portable massage table. I knew I would one day be back to conquer it, I just didn’t know when. Then the opportunity arose recently in my life, years after my solo trip across the continent and it was suddenly time.

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We chose the 7-day trek up the Machame route. Not the most difficult route, but absolutely one of the most challenging.

From day 1 we were amongst some of the most incredible scenery.

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We began at the lush rain forest, and as we progressively got higher in altitude the vegetation continually changed. The landscape and beauty were spectacular every day.

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I was totally blown away by the porters running up and down the mountain with very heavy loads. We would leave camp they would pack up and run ahead of us to make sure everything was ready for our arrival.

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Blown away, and incredibly grateful. That is not an easy job.
We had some long days in the beginning with a duration of 6 – 7 hours hikes, as we got higher the hikes got shorter yet more intense particularly due to the altitude.

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We always had snacks and warm drinks waiting for us when we reached our next camp.

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It is about around day 3 that most people start to feel the effects of the altitude. I made sure to have all of my natural supplements and remedies with me in order to prevent altitude sickness as much as possible. As we get higher our blood begins to thicken which in turns starts to make us ill. So I had plenty of natural things in my little health kit that helps to thin the blood. It all worked so well, I had my moments, but really nothing too bad at all.

Altitude sickness comes in waves. At one point you can feel totally fine, then suddenly you feel awful, and then shortly after that you feel fine again. It is like a roller coaster ride all in itself.

The most important things are – rest and water.

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We chose the absolute best company to guide us. They are called Safari to Summit, and they continually went above and beyond for us on the daily. Our safety and health were number one, and the food blew us away every day.

Literally, the chef also known as ‘the stomach engineer’ prepared our meals in a tent on a propane stove, and the things he would produce were what dreams were made of on a cold, strenuous journey up Kilimanjaro. No matter the elevation, the food was always on point.

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Summit night was tough. My lips were cracked, my body feeling the pressure, and my mind having to keep strong. We started our last leg of the journey at 11pm. It was dark, cold, and where the real challenge was about to begin.

About an hour in is when I started to feel the altitude. There were some that were vomiting, others with severe headaches and body aches. For myself when it would pummel me like a crashing wave, it would come on as tight pressure in my chest and body making it very difficult to breathe along with vertigo that would make it hard to focus as well as giving me the feeling I was about to fall down the mountain. It was extremely tough, to say the least. I had to stop a couple times to even out and give myself a pep talk. I shed a few tears and asked my body if it could go on. It said yes. So onward I marched.

As we got higher the weather became more brutal. It was blizzarding and so cold that even with two pairs of gloves and two pairs of socks plus hand and feet warmers, I was still so cold my fingers and toes were burning with the icy bite of frost. Pushing through the last few hours was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my whole life.

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Having an incredible team of support absolutely helped make the success of this possible. At times I was the support and at other times I was receiving the support. This time I joined a group trip with UGO Travel for Change, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

This accomplishment put so many things into perspective for me. I found a drive in myself that is so much bigger than I ever thought before. I can clearly see I am capable of so much more.

The journey down the mountain was split between two days, and I will say aside from the summit the trek down was the hardest. It was rough and my knees almost couldn’t take it. I was ready to throw in the towel and say I couldn’t go on. It was so painful. Although clearly, that wasn’t an option. How in the heck else was I going to get down?
On the last morning of the trek, we were treated to a farewell song and dance by the guides and crew. They were so amazing and what a high vibe way to say goodbye.

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My knees were swollen for days after and I could barely walk. Going down is no joke. This adventure turned out to be more than just a physical challenge. It was physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

I had so much support to help me achieve this incredible feat. I had the intention to fly this flag at the summit to show my gratitude to all those who supported me in so many ways. However, I never expected this to be as difficult as it was, nor with such extreme weather conditions. My time at the summit was so short as it was unbearable and my flag was in my bag that one of the porters took to carry when the altitude was nearly doing me in. I still flew my flag with nothing less than overflowing gratitude when I returned to base camp, and it was with us all at the top.

Metaphorically speaking, here is what I learned about life from this amazing experience – having been crashed on by waves of altitude/challenges along the way, having to stop and shed some tears a few times, check in with myself and have strong self talk to keep going onward and upward to finally reach the top. The summit. Where I shed more tears, this time of joy. It showed me that in life when we are climbing our mountains, building our success and working to achieve greatness, it will not always be easy, the hardships will come in waves, and we may cry a few times along the way. Yet if we can keep our eye on our goal, our mindset strong while being gentle on ourselves through the hardships, we can do anything and everything that we set our mind to. Ending up at the exact destination we were reaching for or somewhere even better.

Diaries Of A Road Trip From Alberta To Utah

Cruising down the open road of adventure with the tunes blasting is one of the most soul-soothing places to be.

I have done one road trip in the United States prior to this one, and it was from Texas to Arizona. I had such an incredible time that I knew right then I would be embarking on some more adventures on the USA highways. There is a lot to see, and I really dislike missing out on things in life. It is kind of a pet peeve.

This time around the trip began in Calgary, Alberta and finished in Salt Lake City, Utah. Aside from the smoke from the forest fires, the conditions were pretty amazing.

Before even departing from Canada the sights were pretty pristine. First stop was at Lundbreck Falls near to Pincher Creek in Southern Alberta. The Crownest river flows right over into the canyon below to create these small but mighty falls.

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It is a great opportunity to take a swim or simply kick your shoes off and dip your toes in for a nice refresher before hitting the highway again. There is also a campground in the area if you feel like sticking around for a while.

From there it is not a long drive before you reach the US/Canada border. Even though I am a world traveller, the excitement of crossing a border into a new country gets me every time. The appeal just never wears off.

So yes, I was excited! To say the least. It was as if I was off on my first adventure once again.

Hello Montana!

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Now let me tell you about our initial experience with Montana.

It started off really exciting. Not long into our time there we came across this very interesting historical spot. It was a stunning spot. Minus the smoke.

Then, we drove, and drove, and drove some more. We saw plenty of prairie land. As the day was turning into night and we had driven for hours, plus we were hungry, we pulled into a place called Great Falls. It was about 9 pm, and everything was closed. There was barely any people or vehicles, yet there were loads of police patrolling around. It was a bit eery, so we left. Perhaps it is actually very amazing and we just arrived there at a quiet time. Something I am not sure I will ever be back figure out.

From there we drove on to Helen the capital of Montana. We figured surely it is the capital city so there would be lots going on there…. Alas, it was also deadsville. There was nobody around, most things were shut, there were not even lights on in houses and it was only 11pm. All we could find open was a Mcdonalds, so that is what we settled for as our stomachs were gnawing away at us.

Just outside of Helen we found a roadside turnout which is where we decided to sleep for the night. Thank goodness for having a jeep with a back seat that folds down.

Would have been a little more comfortable if I had of remembered a foamy.

We hit the road bright an early at 6 am and let me tell you, we were not in prairie land anymore.

Lining the highways were rocky hills, looking totally majestic and awe-inspiring. It was pitch black the night before and all we could see was the fluorescent markers on the road.

What a pleasant surprise in the morning to see what we were amidst. The landscape changed from the rocky hills to tree blanketed mountains.

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Suddenly you could see people fly fishing in the river, and the magic of Montana was taking over. I was worried there for a bit.

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The fact that Yellowstone National Park was so close, and the opportunity to enter yet another state on this adventure, we clearly had no choice yet to take another detour. So off to Wyoming it was!

I had never researched Yellowstone National Park or seen photos, or even knew what to expect what-so-ever. I knew I had definitely heard of it and I was totally looking forward to the spontaneous adventure.

Once again, I was blown away.

The best part is, is when you go into something with no expectations, then there is no room for a letdown, and only room to be amazed.

From the minute we entered the park, it was a smorgasbord of the mother natures finest offerings. My jaw had to be picked up off of the floor a few times.

The Paint Pots are especially memorable. Throughout the whole park there are several dispersed collections of geothermal features which is an expression of Yellowstone’s volcanism, of which the paint pots are most popular. They are like nothing I have ever seen before. I actually didn’t even know things like this existed prior to this visit.

No two features are exactly alike, and they range from those that have a lot of water(hot springs and geysers), and those that have a limited amount of water(mud pots and fumaroles).

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There is a beautifully built path so you can walk along and take in all of the majestic power and incredible beauty of this amazing display.

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We arrived early in the day and the parking lot was already full! It is a popular spot, which is something to keep in mind.

From there you can take another short drive to Yellowstone Lake, which is the largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park. It is a perfect location to just sit and take in the sights, or dip your toes in the water for a little refresher.

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What a treat that little pit stop in Yellowstone National Park was!

From there it was a short cruise to Idaho, where you can take a moment to appreciate Idaho Falls.

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Another very unique destination where there are waterfalls that were created by a diversion dam for a hydroelectric power project.

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They are quite long and very different from any waterfalls I have ever seen.

The cherry on top of this spectacular road trip cake was cruising around Salt Lake City on scooters. Not only was I blown away at how clean and tranquil the city felt, but I was also super excited to see these little joy rides.

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This seriously rocked my world. I had no idea I would have so much fun burning around on these.

The coolest part was that you use an app to rent them, and you just pick them up and leave them anywhere and everywhere. There are no particular spots for them. So if you are walking along and suddenly realize you need to get somewhere, or you no longer feel like walking, you just sign on on your app and take off.

Road tripping in the United States just continually proves to be epic time and time again. It is hard not to anticipate the next one.

Say yes to adventure! You never know where it will lead you.

Takakkaw Waterfalls And The Whiskey Jack Wilderness Hostel

Solo adventures in pristine destinations. That is a win-win if you ask me. There is nothing like being disconnected from the world, and totally immersed and connected to nature. That is where ultimate recharging happens. High heeled in the city and barefoot in the bush.

Plus taking myself on the best ‘me time’ dates ever is just what I do.

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I have been ever so grateful to have experienced a few various wilderness hostels this summer. It has been on my bucket list for years and this year I made it happen.

Recently I made my way to Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park. These falls are some of the highest in Canada, and their remote and lush location simply adds to their magical majestic splendor.

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They are only a summer destination as the road to visit them is closed in the winter.

Located in perfect view and a short hiking distance to the waterfalls is The Whiskey Jack Hostel.

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It is a wilderness hostel where you get basic and very comfortable accommodations.

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There is no cell phone reception, triple decker bunk beds, a kitchen with a propane stove and refrigeration, and there are even toilets and showers in the rooms, which is a big luxury as the other wilderness hostels I stayed at only had outhouses on offer.

 

I absolutely love the tranquility of being in nature, and being totally in the moment doing nothing other then recharging with natures endless abundance of energy.

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The beds were actually super comfy, and truly nothing could beat that view. I sat there in the evening with me tea, and in the morning with my coffee.

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Of course I also did spend a lot of time barefoot connecting with the earth. Yet there were also a lot of slugs.

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It was like a little slug mine field, which means watching my step while I was running around barefoot took some careful placement. I wasn’t really interested in experiencing what it would feel like to squish a slug with my barefoot. Not only that, they seemed so happy doing there little missions, I would have not wanted to abruptly end that for one of them.

Right from The Whiskey Jack hostel there are plenty of trails to hike, there are also plenty of wilderness campsites located in various spots throughout the forest in the area. Another activity I want to return to enjoy.

Hiking up to the Takakkaw Falls is so amazing and so easy from the hostel.

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You can feel the power and energy pulsating all around you. There is the Yoho glacier very near by.

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To the left in the distance behind the trees is the Yoho Glacier

From that the glacier river that flows past the waterfalls.

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As you walk the path just over the bridge towards the waterfalls the surroundings turn so lush. It is impossible to not feast your eyes on the beautiful shades of green. Within moments on that path you will begin to feel the mist from the falls. Refreshing and cold, it is a spectacular feeling.

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Getting up close and personal is extremely accessible. No matter what your fitness level it, the hike is so easy, and you literally just walk right up to the base of the falls.

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That right there is where the ultimate surge of energy comes. Just when you thought the energy could not be any higher, you feel the pure boundless energy right at the base.

This whole experience left me feeling on top of the world, and full of over flowing recharged energy. My vibrations have been soaring ever since.

If you have not already been, I highly suggest getting yourself to Takakkaw falls, booking into the wilderness hostel or pitching a tent, turning off your cell phone as it ain’t going to work anyway, and recharging your awesome energy in one of the most energetically abundant places I have ever had the privilege to experience.