The stories I don't tell my mom.Navigation
When I turned 37, I challenged myself with a list of 37 tasks to complete during the year. You can catch up over here. This was an easy little adventure as I’m always game for a road trip: throw a dart at a map of Ontario and go there. Originally this item declared I had...Read More
Years before I made it to Scotland, I bought a giant guidebook hoping that it would inspire me to get there someday. I read that sucker cover to cover, highlighting, dog-earing, studying and memorizing every last detail. I knew which pub to haunt, which castle would haunt me,...Read More
Anyone who has sat next to me for more than four minutes knows that this is one of my favourite places on the planet. Mtae is a teeny village high up in the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania. I can’t quite explain what it is about Mtae that captures me, but I suspect...Read More
Thousands of people, arm in arm, singing, swaying, and exuding an aura of peace. Every other person is wearing tie-dye, braid and Birkenstocks are high fashion. Musicians mingle with the audience in the beer tent, colourful people dance as though possessed by fairies. Old...Read More
A few weeks ago I ran away from home. It was a full blown hissy fit. I was mad about life in general and I had quite enough. More specifically, it was a lawn mower inspired temper tantrum. A lying in the middle of the floor, face beet red, feet kicking, fists pounding fit....Read More
So a word about my mom. Ok, maybe a few words. My mom is not a traveler – which is entirely fine. Except when you try to travel with her, and you are like me, a well-seasoned traveler. (Some might say I’m a little impulsive, impatient and keep going until I...Read More
I sure wish I had a proper photo of this one, but I was already pressing my luck. After a full day of travel that wrapped up a whirlwind adventure through western Colorado, I was keen to get home. For as much I love being on the road, there’s something to be said for being...Read More
One of the things I like best about travel is that you leave everything behind when you venture beyond the comfort of your home. No one to watch and judge you, none of the everyday life worries, and a whole different set of consequences if you screw up – the forgotten...Read More
I can’t explain it – I simply fell in love with this kid. Generally kids make me uneasy for I fear I will break them, or devastate them with the truth about Santa, or worse yet they might expect me to be a responsible adult. I was swarmed by kids as I traveled...Read More
Mouddy, my trusty Tanzanian mountain guide, had just proclaimed his love for me. I, of course, debated this with him. Love at first sight, it seems the stuff of fairy tales. Prince Charming catches your eye from across a crowded room, and suddenly both lives become...Read More
The nun waited patiently while I considered her offer. I already knew the answer was going to be yes but I had to allow the question to roam around in my brain for a little while first, savouring the moment, absorbing this little nugget of absurdity. The room was lit with...Read More
“Rhonda, beware of the giant spider on the sink. He’s in here somewhere,” read the little note I had posted on the bathroom mirror of our fancy digs in Zanzibar. He had vanished while I ran off to scribble out a warning, the behemoth could be anywhere. I had made a sleepy...Read More
As I stepped into the room, a man I hadn’t noticed slipped behind me and abruptly turned the deadbolt. Well, this is it, I thought. Lost in a tangled maze of alleyways in the heart of Dubai, locked in a room with two unknown men. No one would miss me for days. I had been...Read More
It was my second night in Africa, and I was twitchy excited. We were nestled in our tents, a mere stone wall preventing wild animals from chewing our necks open while we slept. Critters rustled about, dogs barked. “This is ridiculous” I thought, why on earth are we...Read More
Venturing beyond the warning signs
Whether it’s wandering through a market in the mountains of Tanzania, or searching out ‘hairy coos’ in the highlands, I am happiest in my hiking boots, defeated by unruly hair and desperate to know what’s around the corner. I’ve worked in both the private and public sector with a focus on treading lightly on the planet, while being dazzled by all that Mother Nature has to offer. My knapsack is always half-packed, my passport sits anxiously by the door, and my camera is locked and loaded, ready for my next adventure.
I have many bad habits. Particularly the inability to decipher between reckless and fun. Follow these tips at your own risk.
Just as important as clean undies and comfy shoes, there are some critical bits that you must bring along when you wander off. Most importantly, a sense of humour. When you are on a bus careening through the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania, standing sock-foot in what you suspect is a warm puddle of vomit, you can either let that wreck your trip (or at least your day) or you can hope that someday you’ll be able to look back on this moment and laugh. I’m still working on it…
My wishlist is as long as the line up at the airport check out counter in Zanzibar. Here are a few ideas that I hope will inspire – if I can’t get there yet, maybe you can!
One thing I firmly believe in, and am ashamed to say haven’t yet fully embraced, is knowing where you’re from before you go. When you’re wandering the streets of an unfamiliar village with a flag patch sewn into your backpack, you have to remember that you are representing where you are from. People will ask about how your place compares to theirs. So have some good answers, from “the town I grew up in has a giant cow statue welcoming visitors” to “We invented peameal bacon. You’re welcome.”