If I Rest, I Rust: Confession of a Restless, Roaming Spirit

I came across this quote not a long time ago. It really stuck to my mind. “If I rest I rust. ” words from Helen Hayes, an accomplished American actress who won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award as well as receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom and awarded the National Medal of Arts. Wow.

“If I rest I rust.” Well surely Hayes didn’t rest nor did rust.

Since I left the comfort of my mother’s nest and moved out west, I’ve constantly been craving for more. I’ve tasted what it was like to live freely, adventurously, passionately… I was always planning the next adventure, and always had a destination country next on the list to visit. My bucket list evolves each year and my biggest dreams never fade to exist. I got to travel around the world, live and work abroad, volunteer overseas and even start my own business. And I get to adventure outdoors with my dogs and play in the immense backyard that is my home, the PNW. I live a spontaneous and rather adventurous lifestyle with amazing people by my side. And I am beyond grateful for that. But yet, I need more. Is this too selfish to admit?

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“My restless, roaming spirit would not allow me to remain at home very long.” – Buffalo Bill

When slowing down isn’t enough

Getting older makes me slow down. Having senior dogs also keeps me closer to home. Having to stay in one place, I try my best to change the familiar sights and diverse my days: hike a new trail, explore a new town, camp at a new spot, cook a new meal, try a new craft… I even started to play the Ukulele backwards and am re-learning my Spanish. But the region where I live is getting insanely busier by day, and after a while, I feel that the places I enjoy become a little too crowded for my wandering soul (I guess that’s the price to pay when you live where people vacation).

Surely, my heart constantly pangs for a new thing to get excited about.

Strangely, I’m the first person to hope to inspire people to live the moment. I’ve always believed that we need to learn to slow down time, and be in the moment if we want to live well. Inevitably, when I do things, I’m there 100%. Or so I try.

So why is there is a constant yearning in the deepest part of me to be in a place I’ve never been? Why am I constantly distracted by my dreams? Why is my mind always wandering, longing to where I’ve been, and homesick for a place I’ve never been?

“You are free to dream as big as you want, but always remember that every big dream comes with some big responsibilities. So be willing and courageous enough to step out of your comfort zone.” ― Edmond Mbiaka,

Is there all there is in life?

I’ve read once that the evolved human brain constantly needs something to keep him occupied. As such, we are always on the search for purpose, meaning, adventure, happiness… Some of us have created bucket lists, others have a goal ladder they wish to climb and some are content just the way things are.

I wish I could be content in one place. I try. But my desire never ceases to end. I long for more and am never fully satisfied with what I have. The truth is that this fiery desire holds me close to my dreams…

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“Man is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied.” – Henry George

Wanderlusting and the ceaseless yearning for an extraordinary life

Sorting through my boundless wanderlust, I find myself longing for a life spent at sea. Diving everyday with sea life, eating the fruits of nature, volunteering in communities, away from the mainstream, waking up and going to sleep with the sun, living with the pulse of the ocean, one wave at a time… To me it calls for freedom, peace, simplicity, a dream lived awake. Careful what you dream for, right?

I recently took a wonderful trip to Japan, with an incredible layover in China. It’s been a while since I stepped out of my country and explored a different part of the world. Far away from home I felt at home… in the uncertainty, in the unknown, in the newness. I came back refreshed, revitalized, rebooted. It was extraordinary. And it leaves me with exceptional memories. But coming back to my beautiful home the travel blues hits. Instantly. Back to ordinary. Two weeks was way too short. And I’m back on a severe case of wanderlust.

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“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton

Fear of settling down

In the past years, I’ve been stuck in a routine, living a predictable life, filled with small pleasures and frolic adventures. But I’m afraid to get a stable job and be locked in one place. I’m afraid to upgrade my living situation, afraid to jump into the mortgage world, have payments, have commitments. I’m afraid of settling down.

The slightest bit of idleness affects me. I’m afraid to rest for too long. I fear stagnation. I fear to see the years blend into one another and forget to move forward and progress.

Maybe I just need that one big adventure. To get it out of my system, before I slow down again and put my feet on the ground. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll always be restless. Maybe I’ll always chase this extraordinary life. And maybe that’s okay.

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”Adventure may hurt you but monotony will kill you.”

If I rest, I rust

I’ve been trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied in the present moment. I try to do the things that make me happy on a daily basis. But I can’t ignore that ache for more. It exists for a reason.

If living the journey is the goal, if pursuing a life well lived is the path we are on, it will not be restful. It will not be comfortable. Nor will it be easy. But it will be exciting. It will be valuable. It will be worth it.

So I’ll keep pursuing the most important things that my heart aches for, even as crazy as they are. Because as long as I can feel, I am living – and as long as I am living, I’ll keep moving.

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“They told me to grow roots, instead I grew wings.’ – Lou

23-Hour Layover in Beijing

Beijing

Being capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is the nation’s political, economic, and cultural center. Located in north China, close to the port city of Tianjin and partially surrounded by Hebei Province, it also serves as the most important transportation hub and port of entry. It is now known as one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, with about 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors in a year.

24-hour Visa-Free Transit

The 24-hour Visa-Free Transit in China, also called the 24-hour Transit Without Visa (24-hour TWOV for short), regulates that visa is not required for air, train, and ship passengers transiting in mainland China for a stay of no more than 24 hours before heading for a third country or region. It is also possible to get a 72 or 144-hour transit visa with similar terms and restrictions.

Since our fight from Canada landed in PEK at 4:25pm, and our connecting flight to our final destination in Japan departed at 3:45pm the next day, we had nearly 24 hours layover time. I had booked a hotel near Wangfujing, hired a chauffeur for the next day, and had all detailed information of our planned layover in Beijing in both English and Mandarin, putting all chances on our sides. We only carried a small backpack each and had our luggages sent directly to our final destination. After reading loads of forums about mixed situations that happened to Canadian travellers during this political dispute, we were quite surprised that the whole process went so effortlessly (at least it did for us). We got our transit visa approved in no time, and passed customs successfully. We exited the airport and walked to the taxis. I was glad to have our hotel printed in Mandarin –it made up for an efficient, timely and appreciated communication with the driver.

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Wangfujing Street

Wangfujing Street is the rich affluent shopping area of Beijing including many famous western brands and stores. After walking down the main street, we arrived to the snack street.

Wangfujing Food Street is Beijing’s local foodies paradise. Amongst locals and tourists, we meandered through the crowd, our eyes wandering with curiosity on all to see such as scorpions, snakes, bats, and tarantula on sticks. We weren’t brave enough to try much (after being sick in the Sahara Desert, I sadly tend to be more hesitant of what I eat when I know I’ll be away from restrooms for a longer period of time – however this is a personal experience and I encourage everyone to try street foods), but I couldn’t be on Wangfujing Snack Street without trying out a scorpion. So I did it! The feeling of the fried legs touching the roof of my mouth was scarier than the taste itself.  JF had 2 and I’m sure he would had have more. I was content with my one bite. It’s those little things on my bucket list that make me so happy to check off. 🙂

Food 

When I was travelling in Tibet back in 2010, the food was interestingly a hard one for me to grasp. I like to think of myself as an adventurous foodie, trying whatever is served in front of me. Having this culinary curiosity, I got the chance to try some marvellous (and very interesting) flavours around the world. But from my experience in China,  Chinese cuisine never really much agreed to my palate. I’m not talking about American Chinese foods, but the real, authentic Chinese cuisine. Maybe one of the hardest thing is understanding the menu (which will likely be solely in Mandarin). The photos helped, but don’t necessarily reveal what kind of meat nor ingredients are part of the main dish. I found that there’s some sort of parfum, an interesting fragrance in the plates that we ordered. My partner ordered 3 meat dishes, and I ordered 3 veggie plates. My veggies were quite tasty, but I could only have one bite of his (plus I’m not much of a meat eater). I would definitely love to go back to China and explore more of their culinary world.

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Great Wall of China

Previously, back in Canada, I hired John Yellowcar whom I found on TripAdvisor. John is a Beijing, English speaking native who’s been chauffeuring visitors around the city for nearly 20 years. My correspondence with John the weeks prior to our trip reassured me. He gave us valuable information on taxis, airport customs, translation, etc. John picked us up at our hotel the morning of January 1st at 6:45am in his clean and spacious vehicle. At our great astonishment, the roads were empty due to New Year’s Day (January 1st). It took us around 1 hour to reach the Mutianyu entrance of the Great Wall. John helped us get tickets and directed us to the entrance where we had the liberty to venture on our own. By 8am we were in the gondola heading up to the stoned path. 

John picked us up at 11:30am where he had dropped us off. We headed back to the airport in no time. By 1pm we were back in PEK going through customs. Hiring John allowed us to see a great wonder of the world with a peace of mind. I would highly recommend him, or any great driver, if you have a layover in Beijing.

PEK Airport

PEK Airport doesn’t stand in my top favourite airports. But it’s not bad. Bathrooms are decent, offering both western and squat toilets. Although not very big, PEK offers a few shops and restaurants. Wifi is free, but remember that Internet censorship in China is among the most extensive censorships in the world due to a wide variety of legal and administrative regulations (social medias, YouTube and Safari didn’t work, although we managed to play Words with Friends). If you have a long layover, I strongly encourage you to look at ways to get a Visa-Free Transit to explore some parts of Beijing rather than spend it at the airport. 

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Safety in Beijing

It’s hard to have an opinion of a place while only being there for a day. But the general impression I got though, is that the streets felt much safer than what I expected. There wasn’t a time during this layover I felt threatened nor hassled. I am unsure if the police presence in the streets near Wangfujing were in conjonction with the western New Year’s, but the crowds were happy, the merchants helpful and friendly, and the streets rather clean. Even though I was traveling the streets with my boyfriend, I felt it would have been safe enough for me to travel solo. Again, I chose to travel by taxi and hired an English speaking private chauffeur, to ease things and save on time. And like in any other big cities in the world, you always have to exercise normal cautions. 

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Conclusion

The cleanliness of the streets, the kindness of the people and safety of the neighbourhoods definitely improved my perception of China. If you ever have the chance to have a long layover in Beijing, jump on the opportunity to explore the beauties of the city’s ancient past. I know I will come back. Hopefully for longer than a layover.

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2015 Challenge Accomplished: 20 Adventures In the PNW ✓

In 2015, I chose not to travel overseas in order to save money and focus on other projects. It was a tough decision, since I have been travelling around the globe annually for the past 14 years. It was something I had to do, in order to financially get back on track and work on my future. But not travelling doesn’t mean not exploring. I am fortunate to live in an area that offers such an incredible playground. So at the beginning of the year, I challenged myself in doing at least 20 adventures around the beautiful Pacific North West. 

#1. Snowboard trip to Red Mountain, Rossland.

#2. Winter canoeing on Green Lake.

#3. Nordic skiing nights at Callaghan Country.

#4. Fly over the Pemberton Icefield to the Meager Creek hotsprings aboard a helicopter.  

#5. Hike the Sea-to-Sky trail from Whistler to Brandywine.

#6. Camping-canoe trip to Marble Canyon.

#7. Hike to Stawamus Chief to catch the last rays of sunset.

#8. Take a floatplane to Vancouver from Whistler.

#9. Play tourists and bicycle Vancouver’s famous seawall, and through Stanley Park.

#10. Surf trip to Tofino.

#11. Hike Joffre Lakes.

#12. Weekend escapes to Anderson Lake.

#13. Ocean camping in the Gulf Islands.

#14. Family trip to Hornby Island.

#15. Pig roasting at a beach in the middle of a mountain to celebrate the end of the summer.

#16. Night canoeing under a full moon at Callaghan Lake.

#17. Hike the Skywalk trail up to Iceberg Lake.

#18. Spend a night at a cabin in the backcountry.

#19. Night iceskating under the full moon at Joffre Lakes.

But the most amazing adventure of the year:

#20. I bought my first home (on wheels)! I am now living off the grid, a lifestyle I’ve always dreamt about.

It is important to pause once in a while and look what’s around us. We don’t always have to travel across the globe to explore new paths and be treated with incredible views. Beauties are within reach and waiting to be discovered. And sometimes, it is the people who tag along, our home buddies, furry friends or family that make the journey worth of all beauties.

I am excited for 2016. I am well-rested, projects in hand and ready to move mountains! I wish you all a safe journey to the new year, filled with new beginnings, new dreams and new adventures!

Hornby Island for a Family Vacation

Raised by a single mother and with an older brother that took on his freedom filled life as soon as I was born, I never really had the chance to understand the term “family vacation”. Of course my mom always made sure we would go on road-trips and explore the beautiful corners and cultural gems of the province of Quebec. It was always a memorable mother-daughter vacation, sometimes tagged with our furry friends.

My brother settled in British Columbia 15 years ago where he met his wife and her family. My first solo flight was when I was 15, to go and visit him on the other side of the country. I got really close to this new circle, a reconstructed family of many siblings. Now that my brother and I both live in the province, he on the island, and I in the mountains, we don’t see each other as often as we wish, but I try to commit to once a year since he now has two beautiful blooming boys. So, when my brother and his wife invited me to their annual family vacation on Hornby Island, there was no way I could miss this special reunion.

We left Whistler on Friday afternoon after work. We boarded the 5:20pm ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay. The 1:40min scenic ride through the Gulf Islands was refreshing and relaxing, soothing a long work week.

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Once in Nanaimo, we drove north on Highway BC-19A. I had booked a campsite at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, just to make the trip less cumbersome and more enjoyable. Rathtrevor Park is located along the shoreline, in the city of Parksville. The campground is very clean and the sites are large, well-maintained and just few steps from the beach.

In the morning, Juno and I went for a stroll. We traversed the short path to the beach across an old-growth forest. The low tide left us with many treasures to find on the golden sand. I took deep breathes and soaked in the fresh air.

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After everything was packed up, we head back on the Oceanside Highway and drove north towards Buckley Bay. We hopped on the ferry towards Denman. Then drove accross the island and took another 10min-ferry onto Hornby.

Hornby Island has a small community of less than 1,000 residents, mostly artists, retirees, bohemians, and any lovers of the remote rural island life. We followed the road that hugged the sandstone shorelines, making our way to the northeast of the island. We arrived at Tribune Bay Campground, where we set up camp. The clouds slowly covered the sky, predicting a heavy rain. We set up a large tarp above our site, making our cozy home for the weekend.

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The rain arrived at the same time as my family. We greeted under the protecting trees. We built a shelter from pop-up tents and tarps where we found dry refuge for the afternoon. After dinner we sat around the fire-pit, catching up with the grown-ups while grandma told stories to the kids.

The weather cleared out the next morning and we spent the day at Tribune Bay Beach. The kids played in the waves, leftover from the stormy weather.

In the evening we headed to the Pizza Galore. We sat on blankets on the soft grass in the middle of an orchard. Under an apple tree we opened our bottle of wine and enjoyed delicious homemade pizzas. A live band paired our meals with notes of beautiful music while kids played hide and seek, and others played boardgames under the trees.

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The sunbeams scattered the sky. We spent another night around the fire pit, telling stories and playing games. And when the night reached its deep darkness, we took a stroll on the beach. We watched the constellations grace the night as the shooting stars ignited one by one.

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We woke up to a stunning sky. The rain evaporated from the heating ground. The kids rushed through breakfast, ready to hit the beach. We headed to Helliwell Beach, located on a headland at the southeast of the island. The sand is white, the beach endless, and the water of a crystal clear blue I have never seen in Canada.

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It was a beautiful day skimboarding, kayaking and paddleboarding.

The girls even opened up a sand spa for anyone keen of a natural seaside massage.

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It was time for me to head back. I kissed and hugged deeply everyone goodbye. As we drove away, I waived a last farewell to my brother still standing on the beach watching me depart.

The 3 ferries home gave me the time and the space to imprint all those beautiful memories I had made. I thought about my dear mother, who I wished could’ve made the trip from the East. I am so privileged to have the mother and the brother that I have, along with all my consanguinity family. I am also so grateful to be part of this circle of people that I have met at 15 years old, half way through my current life. I hope to many more family vacations.

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Whether they are your parents, sibblings, family members, affinities, friends, or whoever with there is a sense of belonging, unconditional love, mutual respect and care, acknowledge who those people are and make time for them, as often as you can. Family is not an important thing. It’s everything. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to call my mother.

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6 Lessons My Free-Spirited Friend Taught Me

I just dropped my best girlfriend at the airport. Along with all her necessary belongings and a one-way ticket to Panama, she is leaving a place she called home for the past 11 years, and taking the plunge to start a new chapter with the love of her life.

She met her now-fiancé while on a surf trip in Panama a couple of years ago. What seemed to be a simple vacation fling soon turned into a flaming romance. She spent the last year with him, living on their sailboat and running charters. She returned home for a few months, to make money and sell all her stuff. Now she is back to a simple life: She realized that she didn’t need much to be happy and satisfied.

I met Julie on a friend’s boat on July 1st, 2005. It was 35ºC, and she wore wool leg warmers up to her mini-skirt, rocking her unique fashion style in the summer heat. Her free-spirited nature amazed me and I knew right away a long friendship was about to begin. In those 10 years we have adventured often, such as road tripping Hawaii, backpacking Central America, and exploring the wilderness of Canada’s West Coast. Julie has always been my invaluable companion on so many escapades.

My friend is one special human being. The kind that doesn’t follow the mold, but instead chases her dreams. By following her heart, she ventured around the world, living and working in places such as Europe, Australia and now Panama. She has a collection of “Dreams-To-Do Lists” and manages to check off most dreams realized and goals achieved on a regular basis.

I will miss my best friend, indeed. But the inspiration she leaves behind is greater than any sorrow. I will follow her journey through life as I walk my own. And I will always be grateful her for those things she taught me:

1. Embrace Reckless Abandon

Life is too short to reminisce too much in the past, or live too far in the future. The moment is here, ready to be fully lived. Anything you want to do, at this right moment, do it. Taste experience to the utmost. Do what makes you feel alive. Be with the ones that fulfill you. Embrace your life and the people in it. And when you meet the moment, live it. Sometimes the little things are the big things. Be present to meet it.

2. Don’t Care What People Think

We tend to over-think what people might say by what we do or we don’t do. We act like this as a way to protect ourselves. But sometimes, putting too much energy into those thoughts prevents us from fulfilling our greatest potential and from enjoying life to its fullest. Life is too short to worry about what people think. Start living now! Express yourself, be bold, smile often, have FUN, shine brightly. Like story-teller Oriah Mountain Dreamer once said: “Look like a fool, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.”

3. It’s Okay To Be Scared

Whether it is being afraid of taking a big step forward, afraid to try a new experience, afraid of the change and transition, being scared generally means opportunities for growth. As long as you don’t let the fear overpower your mind and control you. Once you overcome your fear, you feel a sense of pride and independence. You get closer to who you are and discover what you are capable of. It makes you stronger, it makes you grow. So get out there and create new boundaries. Test the limits. Make the impossible possible. Make mistakes, make discoveries. Believe in yourself. Being scared makes life exciting: It makes you feel alive.

4. Discover And Do What You Love

What is it that you ache for? What makes your heart beat? Where do you feel the most alive? Whether you follow or cultivate a passion, the idea here is to do the things you love, and go after the things you want. Whether it is a job, a hobby, or an activity, it is important to have passion infused into your life. You can have a very successful job, yet feel unfulfilled. Like explains the author Gretchen Rubin: “What you spend time doing can also tell you what you should do. Because sometimes the things we do without thinking really are things we naturally enjoy or are good at. ” It’s about finding what draws you in and what makes you shine and feel beautiful. And once you find it, embrace and cultivate it.

5. Just Do It!

Ever wanted to learn how to surf? How to dance salsa? How to play tuba? Ever dreamed of travelling the world, owning a business, living on the beach? We live in an era of many possibilities and opportunities available for us to choose how to make the most of our lives. It’s easy to be lazy and dream of how things could be. But really, for most people that can afford the essentials in life, everything is possible. And you’ll never know until you get up and try. Stay curious and keep learning. Challenge yourself. It’s never too late. Just get up and do it!

6. Be free

Being a free-spirit isn’t a trend, or something you want to be. It’s about being you. It’s about creating your own freeway and not following the conventional path. Accept and be happy with who you are. Be honest with yourself and lead the life YOU want to live. Take the time to explore your heart, your soul, and your goals. In doing so, you will find peace. And once you do, spread your wings and fly. The world is yours, and you are free.

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If you ever make a trip to Bocas Del Toro, on the Northeast Coast of Panama, check out Julie and John’s charter business:

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Totally Pampered!

This post has also been published on Clapway.

I have been adventuring a lot lately, discovering dirt roads, camping new grounds, surfing new waves, hiking new peaks. But this time, for my friend Julie’s birthday, I decided it would be nice to get a little less dirty, and a little more sassy.

Starting off the day with a scenic flight to Vancouver from Whistler aboard one of Harbour Air‘s float planes, seemed like the ideal start to a day of indulgences. So on Saturday morning, after breakfasts of delicious omelettes and mimosas on the patio of Table Nineteen, at Nicklaus North Golf Course, we boarded our Beaver aircraft.

We took off from the calm glacier-fed waters of Green Lake and flew over the town of Whistler, hugging the mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb. As we ascended in a cloudless sky, we noticed below the familiars: the lakes we swim, the trails we hike, the roads we drive. I even spotted my house!

We were left in awe and wonder as we aviated over the Garibaldi Range of the Coast Mountains, flying up close to the mighty Black Tusk, a pinnacle of volcanic rock erecting 2,319m above sea level.

As we travelled south towards the big city, we looked upon the magnificent Stawamus Chief, a granite dome towering over 700m above water. Ahead laid a picturesque image of the majestic Howe Sound.

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We approached Vancouver, and admired the sailboats soaking in the sun in the Burrard Inlet, between the city and the North Shore Mountains. We commenced our descent in the downtown’s harbour, where we glimpsed at the spectacular Lions Gates Bridge on our right, and two massive cruise ships on our left, preparing to set sail to Alaska. Our eyes were pleased with splendors, and our hearts filled with joy and gratitude.

Once we landed in Vancouver’s downtown, we decided to rent bicycles and play tourists for the day. We pedaled around the famous Stanley Park‘s SeaWall, a 9km waterfront paved path, looping around the urban park. We paused for a quick refreshment where we made friends with geese grazing on grasses in the field.

After a couple hours of cycling and wandering, it felt right to head to a nail spa to rest, relax and simply get pampered. We went to Robson Nail & Spa where we had “manis & pedis” while sitting comfortably in a massage chair and sipping on green tea.

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After our beauty treatments, we walked up Robson Street. We chose Ebisu for dinner where we splurged on delicious cocktails and wine and regaled on very unique sushis.

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With our palates pleased and our bellies satisfied from a great meal, we headed to our hotel room at Executive Hotel Le Soleil, a 4-diamond luxurious boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown, a complimentary birthday gift from a friend of Julie’s. We popped champagne and cheered for a spectacular day of indulgences.

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We live in a world where we tend to spend more time working than living, and find ourselves guilty of forgetting to take care of our own heart, mind and body. Never forget to reward yourself occasionally. Whether they are daily little pleasures, or sporadic extravagant expenditures, pampering ourselves allows us to re-emerge into our daily routines with extra confidence, boosted self-esteem, and increased energy. Not only does pampering enhance our inner glow, but it also makes us feel special and worthy. Every boy deserves to be spoiled once in a while and every girl deserves to feel like a princess from time to time. So go ahead and pamper yourself, not only because you deserve it, but because you are worth it!

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The Call To Adventure

When the adventure is calling, you need to listen. Whether it is the wanderlust kicking in, a thirst for an unusual experience, or an immediate urge to escape, adventuring is the best way to disconnect from your daily routine, and reconnect with yourself.

This week, Julie and I decided to leave the Vancouver Coast & Mountains and drive north on Highway 99 towards the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast.

We left Whistler at dusk, with a car packed with camping gear and supplies, two excited dogs and a canoe strapped atop. We drove north on the open road with no fixed plans, just a map, and a snow storm in the forecast.

As we approached the pioneer village of Pemberton, we glimpsed at the sun slowly rising from behind the impressive peaks of Mt-Currie. The road carved through the indian reserve, following the Lillooet River. We drove along the shoreline of Lillooet Lake before climbing the winding Duffey road. We could feel the cool coastal air and noticed leftover snow glittering on the pavement.

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The road stretched through the southern boundary of the Cayoosh Range, with no signs of civilization, just nature resting quietly in cold air. We felt the air warming up as we approached the dry climate of Lillooet. We kept going on the rugged road meandering through steep cliffs and towering peaks.

On our left side, we perceived a splash of bright blue nestling in between majestic mountains. Seton Lake is a freshwater fjord on Cayoosh Creek, near the confluence of the Seton and Fraser Rivers. It stretches for 27km and is known as one of the deepest lakes in British Columbia. Seton Portage Historic Provincial Park is a popular recreational destination allowing its visitors to fish, swim, boat, and hike. The lake is also part of a hydro electric project.

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We had a snack on the beach, allowing the dogs to stretch their legs. We contemplated the incredible blue hues of the glacial-fed lake and the majestic mountains framing perfect scenery.

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We pursued our drive up to Lillooet, a small community on the Fraser River, at an intersection of deep gorges. Rich in history and culture, this little town is also home to an abundance of wildlife, unspoiled mountains, lakes, and valleys.We continued through the Gold Rush Trail, driving along scenic panoramic views of wide benchlands and the mighty Fraser Canyon dropping abruptly through narrow rock gorges and flanked by high cliffs.

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We arrived in early afternoon at Marble Canyon Provincial Park. The canyon is known to be a rare geological formation in BC. It is created from a collapsed karst formation, and a microcrystalline limestone bedrock. The drive is gripping and with the dry climate it really feels like a place far away from home. We drove pass Pavilion Lake, where we admired the vibrant shades of blues and greens formed by a colony of microbialites. We kept driving and arrived at a small campground between Turquoise and Crown Lake. No one was there, perhaps still early for camping season, and bit brisk and windy. That meant that we had the lake to ourselves! Perfect! We unloaded the canoe and loaded it up with our gear. We headed for a beach on the other side of Crown Lake where we set up a waterfront camp.

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We faced west, and admired the golden light reflecting on the Chimney Rock amongst the limestone cliffs erecting steeply in front of us. The water was intensively green and clear. This was the perfect setting. We had snacks on the beach and admired our surroundings.

When camp was set, we boarded the canoe and explored the lake. Julie noticed a waterfall on our left, so we beached and hiked towards our find.

We followed a narrow trail that climbed the steep mountainside and found a small cave. We sat inside, our feet dangling off the cliff and contemplated the beauties laying ahead as the sun set.

We spent the night bundled up by the fire, telling stories of life and watching a moon crossing a starry sky. The mountains reflected perfectly on a serene lake. There was no snow nor storm on the horizon, just 2 girls, 2 dogs, and a perfect setting, embracing every moment, and collecting memories.

Adventuring gives us the opportunity to find beautiful places, wander and get lost in them. Take risks, live dangerously, adventure often, explore more, never stop wondering and wandering, create a path and leave a trail. It’s okay not knowing where we are going, as long as we keep learning along the way, and embrace every moment we meet. 

Home vs. the Insatiable Wanderlust

3219168-old-globe I am sitting here with a glass of wine, looking at my globe accumulating dust. It hasn’t spun in a few months, resulting from having to keep my feet on ground for a while to make money. I have been back home since November, working the clock, collecting paper bills of different colors and trying to solidify the stump before I can go again, explore the world and vagabond.

The mountains, my home for the past decade, is a wonderful place. The mountain life is always filled with outdoor activities, creative arts, inspiring encounters and beautiful sceneries. It is a playground for the young and young at heart where people get inspired and live lively. However, why do I feel so nostalgic? Why, with all my amazing surroundings, am I still not completely fulfilled? Will it ever be enough?

I am a girl with an insatiable desire to travel the world. Without travelling, I am like a junkie without his goodies. I have itchy feet and I find satisfaction when I am submerged into the unknown. Routine and stability are scary things for me and I still don’t know how to live with them. I wish I could close my eyes right at this moment, spin the globe and travel to wherever my index finger lands. I want to be brought back in a smelly train in the middle of Asia looking at incredible landscape go by; I want to be squeezed again in that chicken bus in Central America amongst sweat and glorious stares; I want to be back holding on aboard a wooden boat somewhere in the Indian Ocean trying to spot a pod of wild dolphins… I have been to amazing places. I have seen things that I could never compare. I have met people that I will never forget. Travelling refreshes my senses. It brings me happiness. It fulfills me. And I miss it right about now.

Travelling blues? Yes indeed. Remedy? That’s why I started this blog. Not only to document my travels and experiences, but also to cure my nostalgia when she arises. Writing about my past adventures, I relive them. And I smile. And to read fellow wanderers that are diagnosed the same, my heart smiles. ”I might be a dreamer, but I am not the only one”.

My mother always told me to fully live all my emotions in order to get a better understanding of their origins. Feel the emotion, explore it, work it then release it. Perhaps turn it into a new emotion. Writing about this now, and embracing nostalgia, I come to realize that I am so lucky to have this unique life full with incredible and rich memories. And I am grateful for that…

Did gratitude just take over nostalgia?

I know I will be on the road again, feeding on the natural and cultural beauties of the world. But meanwhile, I must live in the present and enjoy my surroundings and the people that are part of it. I will climb to the peak of the mountain, grasp a breath of fresh air and remember that I live in one of the most magnificent places of this world, and that I am fortunate to be standing here along with extraordinary friends and family. To be able to wander the world, I need to wander mine first. To have a beautiful tree full of branches, it needs to have a solid stump. And it starts at home.

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(I do not own these images)

7 Ways To Cure Your Wanderlust At Home

Travelling months overseas and returning to the nest to feed on money isn’t always easy. We go back to commonness and boredom can easily come from daily routine. We feel strapped in normality with the urge to be on the road again living a satisfying life of adventures and discoveries. We constantly scroll down our travel pictures, chat too regularly with our friends met abroad, steadily look at flight sales and we wish we could throwback Thursday everyday. We withdraw ourselves from our current world and dream of our next escapade. The symptoms are right: we are diagnosed with wanderlust. This impulse to travel and explore burns our body with an aching fire. But until the time comes to fly away and vagabond another continent, there are a few things you can do to help cure your wanderlust, at home.

Keep Planning

Whether you plan the next big trip abroad, or simply a weekend getaway with your friends, planning soothes the wandering soul and energizes the spirit. Researching about a new location, new activities, new places to eat and to sleep is exciting and refreshing. It is always motivating and stimulating to look forward something.

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Set Yourself Goals

Setting goals not only allows us to have a better understanding of where we are going with our lives, but it also raises our motivation and self-confidence. While we are mainly focusing on planning and saving money for our next trip, doing a little bit of life planning isn’t a bad idea either. By setting the ‘big picture’, we can start to assemble the resources we’ll need to achieve our dreams. Open a saving account, and even if it is a little at a time, you will be grateful in 10 years that you put that  money aside. See yourself do the things you love. Work on the things you really care about. Set yourself the goals that will allow you to fulfill your short and long-term dreams.

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Be Creative

Just like artists, travellers are built with deep emotions. We are passionate, compassionate and loving individuals. We are inspired by life and are engaged in all its beauties. By writing about our wanderlust, or photograph through nostalgia, or paint our emotions, sometimes it helps relieve the itch and find clarity. Travelling is an inspiration booster, make sure you keep your inspiration alive.

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Try a New Activity

Trying something new is not only revivifying for the soul, but it also gives you the opportunity to meet new people and challenges your skills at something you’d never think you’d do. This winter, I took a shot at skate-skiing. We have such a beautiful terrain built here in Whistler, a legacy of the 2010 Winter Olympics, offering over 35km trails of nordic skiing. I’ve never tried downhill skiing before, being primarily a boarder, so it involved a few funny falls indeed. But to be out there with friends sharing the same first experience, meeting people with different conversation topics and exploring a new zone in my own town made me feel like I was a thousand miles away.

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Photo by Toshi Kawano courtesy of Tourism Whistler

Go On a Road trip

You don’t always have to fly to cure a wanderlust. Sometimes you can just hit the road for a few hours and feel completely lost. Taking a couple of days away from what we know, and wander to a new town is refreshing and rejuvenating. Put on a good playlist in your car and head to a new town. To see how people live in a city nearby, do what they do, eat where they eat, play where they play – Sometimes only a few k’s can change drastically and make you feel like a world away.

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Explore Your Own Backyard

When I come back from travelling abroad, it takes me some time to adapt to everyday life, and then suddenly I fall back into a routine. That’s why I chose Whistler as my home base, a playground itself, so I can get energized by nature and adventures. While my goal at home is to focus on making money, and spending time with the ones I love, I make sure I get outside every day. From exploring a new forest trail with my dogs, hiking a new peak, camping a new ground, canoeing a new lake, snowboarding a new run, I find extreme satisfaction in simple moments, right here at home.

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Ask Yourself: Why Do I Feel Like Packing My Bag And Leaving?

Bored with routine? Life is lacking of purpose? Running away from something? Absence of inspiration? Missing your friends abroad? Lost in wanderlust? Sometimes it helps to know where the itch comes from so we can sooth the tingle.

Although sometimes, there’s really only one remedy…

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