If you want to take a short trip from Calgary and immerse yourself in an awe-inspiring beauty that can help make you feel totally disconnected from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then Kananaskis Country is the destination for you. Continue reading 7 Reasons To Visit Kananaskis Lodge
Spring At Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park
Emerald Lake, in Yoho National Park, is a classic beauty. Discovered accidentally over 100 years ago by a famous European mountain guide named Tom Wilson, while he was searching for his horses who went astray.
It is a destination that will never cease to impress you with its natural splendours. With spring having arrived, things are beginning to melt and seemingly come to life again. It is always amazing to watch the transformation of nature every year. Especially if you make sure to always take the time to stop and appreciate it all.
In the summer Emerald lake is so magical, with the sun glistening over the aquamarine water, creating a vibrant iridescent colour that can drop your jaw and ignite your soul.
The snow and ice-covered lake and mountain peaks, of winter and spring, are equally as picturesque as they come and also known to be some of the most impressive in the Rocky Mountains. With the lakes claim to fame being the stunning emerald colour of the water, one might think that it would be quiet during the off-season months.
However, that is not the case what so ever. As you stroll the paths, taking in the sunshine and spectacular views, there are plenty of other nature enthusiasts paying a visit to this unforgettable spot all throughout the various seasons.
On this fine spring day, the birds were chirping, and the flies were buzzing around. Two clear indications that summer is on its way. As opposed to what mother nature is making people think when winter seems to be lingering well into spring. Don’t you worry, I am certain, summer is right around the corner.
I do love all of the seasons, I think the only thing that gets a bit hard is the lingering when seasons are supposed to change.
The Emerald Lake Lodge which is situated right beside the lake is actually open all year round, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy in the area during every season. In the winter it is known for its cross-country skiing, and in the summer for its canoeing and hiking.
Let me just say, the thought of a nice cabin style room, with a warm fire blazing in the corner on a chilly spring night, truly seems so appealing.
Emerald Lake is a breathtaking place, with endless beauty to be appreciated, rain, shine or snow. An absolute must see if you find yourself in the area on a beautiful spring day.
5 tips to simplify your life, live minimally, and feel free
Freedom feels so good. In fact, for myself, it is one of the best feelings in the world. One of the best ways to create more freedom in your life so to simplify your life, and live minimally.
Having and creating more space in your life means you will have more space for new and amazing things to come in. Such as more travel, flexibility to enjoy a little more spontaneity, more money, and peace of mind in general.
Over the years I have downsized more and more. It seems every time I would leave the country to go travelling, I would come home only to downsize even more. Bit by bit my materials became less and less.
Although it is not just about minimizing your materials, it is also about clearing the space in your mind. It all goes hand in hand. But, by simplifying your life and all the various facets of it, you will free up your whole space, and welcome so much more awesome energy into your life.
By taking actions steps everyday to free up your life, it becomes easier and you naturally become in alignment within yourself. When you are in alignment, life won’t just give you lemons, it will give you the whole lemonade stand and a helper.
Here are 5 tips that have been tried, tested and proven true in my life to simplify and create so much more freedom.
- Reduce Clutter – I feel like this is self-explanatory, however, it can be so easy to let things build up, and before you know, there is just stuff all around you. I find that not only does meaningless stuff create stagnant energy in our lives, but it also blocks our creative flow. Anything that is just lying around and taking up space, can go. Unless something it has sentimental value, it is not necessary to keep around. Out the door, it goes for me.
- Think Before You Buy – ‘Do I really need this, or do I simply want it?!’ That is the question I so often hear myself saying. We have all done it, seen something shiny and pretty, and decided right on the spot that we had to have it, only to get it and have it accumulate dust. Never to be used, and only to be a space taker. When I come across something I like, that I wasn’t in the market to get, I always have a good think about it first. The majority of the time, I will leave and go think about it for a day or more. If a few days pass and I am still thinking about it, then I will go back and get it, and if it was still there waiting for me, it was meant to be, and if it is gone, then it wasn’t meant to be in my life. That helps keep the clutter down in my life.
- Choose Experiences Over Stuff – less stuff means more adventure. I don’t know about you, but I live for adventure and awesome experiences. It is so much more enriching then mass amounts of material stuff. My experiences that I have had around the globe are priceless, and if having less stuff means more of that, then I am in it for the long haul. Plus the less money you spend on stuff the more money you can spend on travel and adventure.
- Make A List And Be A Doer – accomplishing things just feels so satisfying. No matter where I am, I love being a doer. When you make a list, it helps you visualize exactly what you want to achieve, and will be a sure way for you not to forget everything, it also pushes you to be a doer. You get things done and don’t let things pile up in life. When you let things pile up, it wears a person down, as you are always in a stress state of having way too much to do. Placing those check marks beside the things you finished, feels so good.
- Forgive And Release – emotional clutter is a thing. When we hold on to negative feelings or resentment, it holds us back and stops the flow in our life. A lot of time it’s about forgiving ourselves over others. It is so easy to be hard on ourselves, blaming ourselves for our hardships, putting ourselves down for not being as far along in our pursuits as we would like. Also, when we feel others have wronged us, and purposely did negative things towards us, it is all too easy to point fingers and hang onto anger and resentment towards them. The reality is, these feeling are truly only hurting ourselves. By forgiving and releasing the situation, whether it is towards yourself or someone else, and doing it sincerely and from your heart, you open a massive space for amazing energy to flow into your life. That doesn’t mean you need to keep anyone in your life that is holding you down, but you can still forgive and let it go. Total freedom is what lies on the other side of holding on.
When you create space in your life for more freedom, whether that is time freedom, mental freedom, emotional freedom, financial freedom, and so on – whatever it is that freedom is to you, you open up your energy space to many more wonders of life. When you are not bogged down by clutter in all it’s various forms, you then are standing up tall and reeling in the highest and most fulfilling life you can imagine.
For me, I love having the freedom to pack up at the drop of a hat and go explore the world. I love having the freedom to go and help people when they are in need, and I love to have the mental freedom to enjoy life to the fullest.
Freedom, feels amazing.
Easy, healthy, anywhere in the world – Flax Tortilla
I absolutely love nothing more than taking care of my body. Well, I actually love a lot of things in life, and that just happens to be one of the tops! It is so vital that we love and nurture our bodies, as they do so much for us, and the better we take care of our body the better it will take care of us. Especially in times of illness. If you love and nurture your body daily, it will bounce back from unforeseen illness so much faster.
No joke, travelling the globe I have experienced some seriously crappy travel illnesses. Something you can’t really get away from when travelling. Plus, just being home in the city also brings about some bugs. So, regardless of where I am, I prefer to keep my immune system in extra good shape, that way, in turn, my body is stronger and can naturally be healthy, vibrant and awesome.
Not to mention, when it comes to food, I like it to be easy, and tasty!! Something I can do anywhere and anytime. Travelling, camping, at home. You name it, I like to always have the ability to bring health and wellness to the table.
This flax tortilla is incredibly tasty and so easy to make.
All you need is 3 things.
- Ground Flax Seed
For this one tortilla, I used about 3/4 cup of ground flax seed, a dash of salt and about 1/4 cup of water.
You can also add any spices or herbs that you would like to change up the flavour. What can I say?! So versatile.
Once you mix it up, roll it in a ball, and let it sit for a couple of minutes while the pan heats up, then place it in the pan and use the back of a spoon to flatten it out gently.
I say gently as it will break if you are too rough, but if you are gentle, it will flatten super easily.
Cook both sides until golden brown, and then add your choice of toppings. Voila! You have an incredibly tasty morsel, chalked full of Omega 3’s, fibre and antioxidants.
I change my topping’s all the time. This time around I put, organic grass fed cream cheese, avocado, cherry tomato and fresh mint.
It’s even better when combining it with a fresh smoothie.
So easy to make, and even easier to get addicted too. Here’s to glowing, no matter where in the world you are.
10 Truths About Solo Travel
Discovering new destinations and far-off lands. Immersing yourself in a totally new culture and language. Living every day as the new adventure that it is. All while on your own terms, on your own journey of discovery, which doesn’t only mean places, but it also means of ‘Self’. That is what solo travel is all about.
I personally love solo travel more than anything else. For me, it’s where I connect with myself and the world on the deepest level. It’s a time where you will be pushed so far out of your element, that you have no choice but to grow and transform.
My solo travels have taken me around Central and South America, across the Amazon, throughout Africa from South Africa to Egypt, all around Europe and on my own home soil of Canada.
Through it all, you do tend to learn a few things, and a bit more.
Here are 10 truths that I have learned from my life experiences of solo travel.
1. Booking The Flight Is The Hardest Part – yes you read that right. The majority of the time we can think too much about that solo trip that we yearn to take. The new destination that we want to discover. All while doing exactly that. Just thinking about it. Once you take that step of booking your ticket, you suddenly just solidified the trip. The rest is just details now. You’re doing it! You’re going on your solo adventure.
2. You Will Be Challenged – let’s be real here. If you are taking yourself completely out of your comfort zone, away from everyone and everything that you know, you will absolutely be challenged. It’s a whole new ballpark out there. Challenge is amazing though and is best received when welcomed. If you remind yourself that through a challenge is where you become a better version of yourself, then there is nowhere to go but up. To live boldly is to accept a challenge, and use it as a catapult to the next amazing step of your life. With or without solo travel, life will be challenging. Plus, you can pick easier destinations for your solo trip. Ease your way into it. I chose the most difficult because I am always looking for a new challenge.
3. You Will Develop Your Intuition – it’s true, you and that little voice that you often ignore in your day to day life, will suddenly become best friends. As the way, it should be. Your intuition knows what’s going on, and it will never steer you wrong. When you are navigating through new and foreign lands, you will learn very fast that you best be listening to your inner voice. It is your built-in compass. Developing your intuition will continue to be a tool that strengthens the rest of your life. This is a massive gift you will receive from solo travel.
4. You Will Get To Know Yourself Very Well – when it is just you and the open road of adventure, you have no one to lean on but yourself. At times things will be amazing, other times tough, and regardless of what situation presents itself, you will only have YOU to get on with it. Celebrating the highs and lows. You will come to know yourself very deeply. How you feel, how you react, what you truly like and dislike. It’s incredible. It is also a gift you will receive from solo travel. The gift that will keep on giving.
5. You Will Not Be Lonely – as opposed to what a lot of people think, travelling solo is not lonely at all. In fact, when you are alone, you are so open to everything, that you easily meet people. So much easier then when you are travelling with others, as when you are with others, you tend to get in your bubble and meet a lot fewer people. When I am alone, I meet not just other travellers, but so many more locals. They always invite me places, show me off the beaten track things, and I find I get the real cultural experience of the country in this way. I have so many more opportunities that present themselves when I am alone. Funny enough, you meet so many people when you are solo, it can be hard to get time to be SOLO.
6. Hostels Are A Great Place To Stay – let’s just say if you ever do find yourself actually feeling a tad lonely, then just go check into a hostel. You will make new friends immediately in any hostel. There are dorm rooms for the tight budget or private rooms if you prefer your privacy. I have stayed in plenty of stunningly beautiful and immaculately clean hostels in my time. Travel books and websites will always rate hostels, just as they do hotels, so you will have a good idea of what you will be arriving at. Many times over I have met amazing travel buddies at hostels, who are going in the same direction as me, so we team up to travel together for a bit. I have actually met some of my lifelong best friends in hostels.
7. When You Are Alone, People Will Go Out Of Their Way To Help You – that is after they question you if you are crazy for travelling alone. I have had that questions posed to me SO many times, particularly in third world countries where even the locals feel unsafe a lot of the time. Always, you will have people looking out for you when you are solo, making sure you are safe, that you get to your destination, that you are not getting ripped off. It’s truly amazing the beauty you will see in humanity when you are on a solo trip.
8. Single Supplement Costs Are Higher – yes, yes they are. If you are travelling with people you then are able to split costs of taxi’s, rooms, and get group costs on excursions. However, if I am craving ‘me time’ and just wanting to bask in my own company, then that is priceless and worth every extra penny so my vibes get recharged and remain high as heck.
9. If You Are A Solo Female, You Will Receive A lot Of Extra Male Attention – this is also depending on what continent you are on. Europe and North America are generally fine, but the catcalls in Central and South America can be a bit much, and the attention in Africa, will for sure become mentally exhausting. If you just take it all with a grain of salt, keep alert and level-headed, with a positive demeanour, and just remember it is truly just all part of the experience, then you will be just fine.
10. It Will Be The Most Freeing Experience Of Your Life – it’s like spread your wings and fly baby! Seriously, solo travel is a whole new realm. It’s all about you and what you want. Where you want to go, what you want to see, and what you want to eat. Sometimes in life, if only for a brief moment, it is so important to just DO YOU. That is what you get when you travel solo. A nice chunk of time where nothing else matters but you and spreading your awesome high vibes everywhere you go. You will get a taste of freedom like none other, and your eyes will be opened to the importance of finding and creating a bit of freedom in your everyday life. Soul food.
If you have never taken a solo trip in your life, then I highly recommend doing so. Potentially you will find solo travel isn’t your thing, and you will decide that in the future you will only do group trips. Or perhaps like me, you will be feeling like ‘this is your jam’. Either way, I can guarantee you will come back from it with a stronger mindset, a deeper connection within yourself, a friendship with your intuition and some darn good stories.
The truth is, no matter how solo our trip may be, we are never truly alone.
A scenic helicopter flight over Montserrat Island and the active Soufriere Hills Volcano
If you are looking for a must see unique experience, you, one that will leave an imprint on your mind – then a stunning and very scenic helicopter ride over Montserrat island to see an aerial view of the active Soufriere Hills volcano, and the now desolate city of Plymouth that was destroyed in its furry wake, should be on your travel bucket list.
Adventure, nature and science enthusiasts alike come to explore and view this natural phenomenon. The best way to see this exclusion zone and the only way to get an up close and view of the active volcano are by helicopter.
It is possible to visit the exclusion zone by ground, but you must have special permission from the police and be escorted by the company of an authorized tour guide. This is to ensure safe and rapid evacuation if need be. There is actually an alarm system installed around the island, in case there is volcano activity that could affect the rest of the island.
The Soufriere Hills volcano is the most studied volcano in the world. It is located in the southern part of the island and was thought to be dormant for 400 years prior to its awakening in 1995. Between 1995 and 1997, the eruptions and pyroclastic flow from the eruptions destroyed the once lush capital of Plymouth. Two-thirds of the island’s population was forced to flee, leaving less than 1200 residents by 1997. As of 2016, the population rose once again to approximately 5000 inhabitants, all residing in the North of the island. That is what information I learned.
This excursion is as unique as they come.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy this helicopter excursion is from Montserrat’s closest neighbouring island of Antigua. There are a few operators to choose from that are based in Antigua, I booked through Caribbean Helicopter tours, who offer plenty of tours a day and provide great customer service. If you book online with them, you will save $10.
My first helicopter experience, I was pretty excited, and I can confirm, it won’t be my last.
A short 15-minute flight from St. Johns Antigua to Montserrat, which boasts views of pristine blue waters, and lush mountainous islands, will leave you in complete awe and amazement from the beginning of your excursion.
Upon arrival to the island of Montserrat, you will immediately fly right beside the 3000-foot-high active Soufriere Hills volcano. You can feel its majestic power, and see smoke, ash and steam being emitted from it. There is usually always a cloud cover over the very top.
From there you get taken straight into the destruction zone.
Plymouth has an eerie ghost town feel and look, with absolutely zero vegetation or animal life. The whole abandoned city is under a blanket of ash, some parts up to 40 feet deep. The helicopter gets nice and low so you feel as though you are right among it all. I can’t imagine being there and experiencing a heart breaking situation such as this.
It’s amazing to see the landscape difference from where the pyroclastic flow from the eruption touched in comparison the lush landscape that was untouched. There is a clear line down the middle.
After the tour of Plymouth, they take you one last time past the volcano, for the last look at one of natures biggest wonders.
There is no denying that the scenic 50-minute helicopter flight over the island of Montserrat and the Soufriere Hills volcano is absolutely awe-inspiring, heart-wrenching, and will be a travel experience that will not be forgotten.
A day of rain forest and suspension bridge adventures in Vancouver
It’s so funny how you can visit a place numerous times in your life and always miss out on one of the coolest places to visit while your there. Seriously I wonder how on earth it took me so long to go and check out the Capilano suspension bridge park?!
I was in Vancouver and craving an escape from the city life. The Capilano suspension bridge park had caught my eye, so it was a done deal.
Upon entering the park you are immediately surrounded by totem poles. Appreciating this traditional art is something I always welcome.
The area is lush, green and smells amazing! It’s those intoxicating smells of nature. Also very cool that it is in a rainforest. I have spent a lot of time in the rainforests in Central and South America, but never in Canada. So this was a treat!
The Park itself is beautiful and sprawled out perfectly.
First stop was the cliff walk.
To my surprise it definitely provided a bit of an adrenaline rush! Even my legs were shaking a bit. Which was fine by me. I am always up for a healthy dose of adrenaline.
As you walk along the one bridge that stretches out over the edge, you can totally feel it moving, and that combined with looking down is was brings on that surge of adrenaline.
The views are amazing!! Seriously beautiful. My soul was drinking it right up.
There was lots of peek-a-boo beauty to be appreciated along the way.
And the landscaping was speaking straight to my heart.
The main suspension bridge didn’t provide as much of an adrenaline rush, as opposed to what I had expected, but the views were spectacular.
Once you get across it you really get into the deep forest feel, and the intoxicating smells get even more intense. The walkways are smooth, super easy to navigate, and the landscape is once again on point.
The tree top adventures brought me straight back to my childhood.
It had me reminiscing about that time when I was 10 and built myself a tree house.
I spent weeks, day in and day out, cutting and hammering away. I only had help putting the floor and support beams up, and the rest I did myself. I had a hinged door, carpeting, the whole works.
So now, I have decided I would like to add a classy tiny home tree house with suspension walkways from tree to tree to my book of desires. I would be in my total happy place.
Another great addition is the posts all around the park sharing information about the workings of nature and all that is around us.
Knowledge is power, you can never do too much learning.
Don’t forget to hug a tree while you are there. It provides a healing surcharge like none other. Yes, those know me, know that I am what one would call – a tree hugger!
This was hands down one of the best days ever! An ideal way to recharge and connect with nature, and a highlight of 2018 for me for sure.
What a fantastic way to spend an afternoon if you find yourself in the Vancouver area and need an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
Winter hiking around Johnston’s Canyon in Banff National Park
So it’s no secret that I am always up for an adventure. Rain or shine, snow or ice, if adventure is the name then partaking is my game.
More often then not, I end up on a spontaneous adventure when I am not really prepared at all.
Finally this time around, I knew I would be doing something awesome, so I made sure to pack all the stuff I thought I would need. Not going to lie, I felt pretty proud of myself for being so prepared.
Being in Banff for a couple days, it was certain that some of the area needed to be explored, and particularly area that was yet undiscovered by Moi.
Johnston’s Canyon is a place that I had heard about many times. It is a hop skip and a jump from Banff, and so it tends to be a popular destination for an easy and very enjoyable hike.
I actually didn’t even know what to expect really, and of course, when you go into something with no expectations, it always ends up being awesome!
Upon embarking on this leisurely little hike, I felt like a boss. I was totally prepared and ready to just have a seamless afternoon adventure. The weather was ideal, the energies high, and I was ready to rock this.
The paths are well laid out, and the scenery is spectacular!
I learned very quickly though, that with the number of people that do this hike, the paths become pretty icy, and if you are not wearing the right shoes(which I wasn’t) you are in for a bit of a challenge.
Of course, when I thought I had it all together, some minor yet not so minor detail had to come and knock me off of my high horse.
My shoes were crap.
There is no other way to put it really. Let’s just be honest here. Luckily this isn’t a fashion blog, because if it was, this time around would be a major fail.
I hadn’t even made it to the first lookout point at the Lower falls and I was already struggling. I was actually not just struggling, I was worried about what the way down was going to be like.
I was thinking right then, that cleats for my shoes would have been a winning idea.
I did manage to make it to the lower falls lookout point, barely, but still with enthusiasm.
Stunning! Seriously stunning.
From there I made my way to the upper falls.
The frozen falls are so majestic on the cliff side. It’s as though mother nature is singing a song that only your soul can hear.
Obviously, I couldn’t just stop there, I had to get myself to the higher Upper Falls lookout point to get another angle. Like the upper – upper falls.
The struggle was real!! I was questioning it on my way up as it was even more difficult than getting to the lower falls. Not in an extreme hike sort of way, simply in an extreme icy uphill sort of way.
My inadequate shoes just weren’t cutting it. I will say, that I wasn’t the only one with this problem. I did see others in the exact same situation.
Once the upper -upper viewpoint, it made it all worth it. Another incredible scene to bask in. I love the recharging you energy you get in nature, and it’s truly amazing when you compare and enjoy the contrast of winter to summer.
I was pretty certain I was going to ride down on my butt. Just when I was on the verge of doing just that, this lovely couple who had asked me to take a photo of them at the lower falls and send it to them as their phones and camera died, came gracefully trotting along in their cleated shoes.
As their cleats were tie on ones and they were so grateful to me for taking their photos for them, they offered to lend me a pair to hike down with.
LIFESAVERS!! Seriously, it was one of those moments when angels appear.
I was suddenly able to run up and down all the hills. Almost like walking on water.
Talk about what goes around comes around. Paying it forward is a truly a beautiful thing.
It gave me the opportunity to really take in all of my surroundings on the way down. What a gift.
Johnston’s Canyon truly is an absolutely wonderful place. A place in which I look forward to returning in the summer to enjoy the contrast.
However that being said, if you decided to visit in the winter, I have one word for you…… CLEATS!
My Experience Traveling Egypt As A Solo Female
History, pyramids, desert, camels, perfumed oils, sheesha, tea and yummy food you eat with your hands. Those are just a few of the amazing things Egypt has on offer. It is a land full of wonders, rich in history and holds a very real energy that one can feel almost pulsing out of the land.
As magical as it is, it can also be very full on. Egypt was my last stop in my solo trip across Africa which began in Cape Town, South Africa. By the time I arrived to Egypt I was very well seasoned to what to expect as a blonde hair, blued eyed solo female traveler in Africa. Or so I thought….
I came up through the South and one of my first stops was Luxor. For some reason to this day and before that visit when I think the word Luxor I think of Las Vegas and the luxor hotel there. That image is in bedded in my mind. I was SO excited and also extremely tired upon my arrival. It was a long trip getting to Egypt and I hadn’t slept in about 2 days while on route. So tired was an understatement.
The first thing I learned when looking for a hostel to stay at, is everything seems to be named after Bob Marley. Hotels, hostels, boats. So it only seemed fitting that I chose to stay at a place called The Bob Marley Hostel.
Even though I was totally exhausted when I arrived, I knew I had a limited time in Egypt as my return flight to Canada was only 2 weeks away, and I had extended it so many times over the course of a year and half that I could no longer extend it anymore. Two weeks for me is a ridiculously short period of time. This is coming from the women whom if she likes a place she will stay for a few months to get a real feel for the people and culture. Short time frames don’t always work for me. Seeing as how I had to wait for my room to be cleaned before I could check in, I figured I mine as well head out and do some sight seeing. After all, time was ticking.
I was warmly welcomed at the hostel, and offered a ride to and from the Luxor Temples from one of the guys there. Now usually when you are offered things like this in Africa, it is never free(something to be very well aware of), and many times people tried to charge you ridiculous prices for any assistance accepted solely because you are a foreigner. If you accept, they will do it, but then demand money after, and sometimes a very substantial amount. Trust me, I learned the hard way. But at the same token in a lot of these places it is survival of the fittest and they do what they can to make a few bucks to get by.
Now being on a very tight budget, I made sure to double check that they were in fact offering out of the kindness of their hearts and not going to surprise me with some large fee at the end. To my delight, they said they really just wanted to help me and be hospitable. Sounds good to me! I was in.
Of course as with all the other countries I visited in Africa, the attention from people was instantaneous. Although even a bit more then usual, as in Egypt the attention came not only from men, but from kids, and families.
I got dropped off to the Luxor Temples, which date back to 1400 BCE where I signed up for a tour, and even though I was exhausted, I was super excited to see my first historical site.
It was a fabulous way to start my Egypt trip, but the extreme lack of sleep started to kick in and had to go retire for the night. The next day I had booked a taxi to go and see some other sites.
Being alone and having already experienced a massive amount of attention the day prior, I made arrangements for the taxi to wait for me while I explored two different sights, Temple of Deir al-Bahri (Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple), and Valley Of The Kings, that way I wouldn’t be stranded or unsafe.
From the minute I was walking to the temples through the markets along side the road, I was having the men from the market stalls yelling things like Shakira, Claudia Schiffer(no complaints about those nicknames), and running up trying to offer me gifts and inviting me to their booths for tea. I kept telling them as I briskly walked past the stalls that I would be back after my visit to the temples so I had to go. It was pretty darn intense actually.
Once in the temples, I was being approached by people of all sorts wanting photos with me. Literally, kids, adults, families, and even police. So I posed with everyone whom approached me and asked for one. I actually felt like I was experiencing what it would be like to be famous.
The Temples were incredible!! Seriously unreal. Just to stand there and imagine the people whom have walked there, the events that took place, and the thousands of years that they have been there. Imagining things that long ago and in comparison to how life is today – total awe from my side.
Upon leaving I was already mentally preparing myself for that walk back through the markets. The nick names starting being called and the men were running to me offering me gifts and tea. I kept telling them I don’t have money for their gifts, and every single one of them responded to me saying ‘they are really gifts’, they don’t want my money and I can come pick whatever I like.
So stall after stall I kept getting to pick gifts, and I would try and have a sip of tea with each merchant out of respect also, and soon my pockets were so full of gifts I had to turn the rest of the merchants down. ‘Thank you so much but I can’t take anymore’ was the line of choice for the next 5 minutes, and possibly rushed sounding as there was a lot of them and I was high tailing it to my taxi. Which was more like my knight in shining armor at that point. I was pretty eager to just relax and enjoy a bit of solitude.
That was a full on, but pretty exceptionally awesome day, and I now had loads of souvenirs for my friends and family back home in Canada. Worked out perfectly as I was on a tight budget.
I was spoiled at the hostel in Luxor as the guys whom were running it invited me to breakfast everyday.
My new friends from the hostel also arranged for me to go on a Felucca trip, which is the term used for local wooden sail boats. They arranged it with a friend of theirs in the Southern town of Aswan so that I would not be bothered, taken advantage of physically or financially. It is always a great idea to make friends with locals, they know where to go, will help keep you safe, and can also help you not to get ripped off.
No surprise that the Felucca I was on was also called Bob Marley, although the captains name was Mohammad, as large majority of guys I met there were named Mohammad. Bob Marley & Mohammad, the two most popular names in Egypt.
I went for an over night trip and we had to sleep below deck in a very small area. There was only room for sitting and then sleeping. It was so fun though, we ate typical Egyptian food, exchanged cultural stories and were up at the crack of dawn to enjoy some more sailing. He even arranged for me to do some camel riding with his friends on an island.
Let me tell you getting up on a Camel is not easy! They have long legs, and its front legs go up first, so you have to push hard to keep yourself upright while they then get their back legs up. It feels like you are going to fall right off.
Being in the area of Aswan I had to make a trip to the temples of Abu Simbel. For many it is the highlight to their trip to Egypt. It was absolutely a highlight for me.
This area was absolutely awe – inspiring.
I even found the key of life.
From there I made my way up the country to Cairo where I met some other travelers at the hostel I checked into there. One of the best parts about staying at hostels, is that you will always immediately make new friends.
Of course in every country I visit, I love eating street food!
Something about eating with your hands really makes you feel more connected to the food you are putting in your body also.
Horseback riding through the desert, past the pyramids should be a MUST on everyone’s bucket list if you are in Cairo. Amazing!!
I am not just talking trotting along, I am talking full speed galloping!
I have never been on a horse at full speed before that point and I was hanging on for dear life. Seriously by time we got to the little shack in the dessert where we were due to have tea, the adrenaline in my body was pumping so much that my legs were shaking, hard, and I could barely walk.
And Yes, in the days to come I could still barely walk. Clearly my legs were latched on for life when I was on the horse. Trust me, there was no way I was falling off.
The view was incredible.
It’s amazing how small the Pyramids actually are. I always expected them to be huge, but they are not at all.
The view did get even more spectacular when I visited the pyramids up close and personal. Awe inspiring and majestic. They are hard to sum up in words. If you ever visit, you really need to make sure you are totally present in the moments and taking every second of it.
That view was so good I had to go back and see it by Camel. Of course it looks totally different then by horse.
I ended up heading North to Dahab and Sharm el Sheikh. Totally unplanned and spontaneous. When I went to the bus station in Cairo I asked where would be a good place to go, and they put me on a bus up North. So when I arrived in Sharm el Sheikh, I had no idea what to expect and no place booked to stay. Like I said, I was tight on money, so I was very surprised to see it is a resort town when I got there. Resort = Expensive. So do taxi’s. So I had to walk with all of my stuff for like 3 hours until I could find a place to stay.
I finally found a place that had huts for rent for $20 US a night. I was sold. Little did I know it was at the top of a mountain, that I had to hike up with all my stuff. Still struggling to walk from that horse riding excursion.
It was a painful experience getting up to my hut, every single step up came with me saying ‘OW’, very loudly in my head, right until I reached the top.
The hut was so cool. It was a grass hut and inside was a couple of single beds, a night stand, a fan, and a lamp. At least I thought it was cool until after the sand storm.
Upon arrival I put my stuff down and hobbled straight back down the mountain to the restaurant to have a well deserved beer. While I was there a sand storm hit, so I was stuck in the restaurant for a couple of hours. In that case I figured I should indulge in a few well deserved beers. When the storm subsided and I made my way back up to my hut, I was astonished at what I found.
I opened my door to the hut to find that EVERYTHING was covered in an inch blanket of sand. Literally, the bed, the tables, the floor, my backpack, everything. Yes of course, what else would you expect when the walls are made of grass.
I had to go in and start uncovering everything. Let me tell you, wiping off a blanket of sand is not easy.
What a sandy mission.
I was due to head out at 3am to go and hike up Mt. Sinai.
You know, where Moses read the 10 commandments. 6:30 am was sunrise so we needed to make it on time for that. My sleep was rough, it was as though there was sand in the air, and I woke up feeling as though there was sand in my lungs – and there most likely was.
Egypt is HOT, but when you hike up a mountain in the middle of the night it is a different story. It was freezing. Luckily a guy that worked at the resort I was staying at lent me a winter jacket.
At the top you can rent blankets for $20US, and get a hot chocolate for like $10US. It’s a pretty good business, as when your up there and freezing your ass off you will pretty much pay anything for warmth.
The sunrise was worth every penny.
We took turns warming up around the little gas stove.
There is the Monestary at the top as well.
Let’s not forget about the burning bush where god spoke to Moses through.
Ending my trip across Africa with such an over the top incredible trip across Egypt was like the cherry on top of a trip of a life time. I was spoiled, pampered, challenged, and got a taste of what fame would be like. I went with no expectations and left with my mind blown and my heart opened.
Egypt is one of those almost mystical places that you have to see to believe, and I will absolutely make it a point to return there one day.
Fresh Rose Hip Tea Foraged In -40 Below
There is nothing like pure organic ingredients freshly harvested from the earth. It really can’t be beat. You wouldn’t think there are very many colorful berries that can be found to be picked when it is a beyond balmy -49c. If that is what you think then you would also be spot on! Although if you look hard enough and with a keen eye, you will always be pleasantly surprised at what is on offer.
Rose Hips are one of those little gems that you can find frozen in place and just waiting to be picked. Cold and yearning to be put in a hot glass of water. Seriously, it’s written all over them. It is actually a lot of fun picking berries in the winter. Not gonna lie! Even though it was beyond frozen to the bone cold, running around and foraging berries for fresh tea felt very rewarding.
Anytime you get outside and put the work in to gather and forage your food and ingredients, it always brings your appreciation and value for what you have way up!
I literally only needed a handful to make solo tea for 1.
When your making Rose Hip tea you want to make sure to leave the berries whole, as not to ingest the hairs of the seeds, they can cause some digestive problems. Which also means when you eat a Rose Hip, you just eat the outside of the berry and not the inside.
It only took a few minutes for the berries to begin steeping.
Rose Hips offer a wide variety of health benefits. Here are some, just to name a few.
- They are chocked full of Vitamin C. Like seriously little Vitamin C powerhouses. They actually contain 60% more vitamin C then oranges.
- They promote good blood circulation, especially when in the form of tea.
- They help lower blood pressure.
- They promote radiant skin.
- They are very high in anti-oxidants. Rose hips contain carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols, which eliminate or neutralize free radicals found within the body.
- They boost immunity.
- They aid in digestion.
When I was young I would go berry picking with my grandma, and we would pick buckets of rose hips, and she would make jars and jars of rose hip jelly. What I wouldn’t do for a jar of that right now. Yummm – is all I have to say. Healthy tastes so good.
I ended up having some other tea which was also collected from various plants in the Northwest Territories. I Figured they would meld well together, and I was right. I love keeping it as local as possible no matter where in the world I am.
The tea was divine, healing, and just what the doctor ordered on an extremely cold winters day.
It is just a reminder that you should always go after what you want. There may be a bit of obstacles in the way, but what you want is there just waiting for you to come and get it. Happy, healthy, healing and endless awesome vibes to you.