Saturday, November 5, 2011

Famous Words of Bob Marley...

"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around.  You can tell them things that you've never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more.  You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you.  When something wonderful happens, you can't wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.  They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself.  Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful.  There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only quiet calmness when they are around.  You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are.  The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever.  Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it's like being young again.  Colours seem brighter and more brilliant.  Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn't exist at all.  A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day's work and always brings a smile to your face.  In their presence, there's no need for continuous conversation, but you find you're quite content in just having them nearby.  Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you.  You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do.  Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon.  You open your heart knowing that there's a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy you never dreamed possible.  You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel pleasure that's so real it scares you.  You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soulmate who will remain loyal to the end.  Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile.  Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life."

             - Bob Marley

I know this isn't really something I would normally include in my blog, but I guess I'm a hopeless romantic, and its inevitable for me to talk about love, life and the meaning of it all once in a while.  I couldn't have said it any better than Bob Marley himself.  The exert beautifully describes what love is, and what it should feel like to be with someone who can fit so perfectly in your life.  I'm not saying that you need someone to be around at all times in order to be happy; I for one am completely content with being on my own right now; I'm just enjoying my youth.  Have I ever been in love?  I'm not sure.  I don't think so. However, when it does happen (if it ever happens), I hope it's someone that can keep up with me, not someone I need to slow down for.  

Peace and Love

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Beer, its the best damn drink in the world. -Jack Nicholson

I'm clearly not very good at blogging about the things I do on a regular basis. As you can tell with my lack of posts. I promise to get better at this... Maybe when I start doing things worth blogging about. My last adventure took place in Kitchener, Ontario. It might not be the real Germany, but for 2 weeks of festivities every year, it becomes a mini Berlin. People are running around screaming outlandish phrases in German, bars and pubs alike are pumping German folk music, men, women, and children are dressed traditionally, and let's not forget the German sausages found on every street corner.

This was my first ever Oktoberfest, and I was not disappointed. It's not something I'd do every year but it sure is something you have to try at least once. The music, the beer and the people really make you feel like a real German.

The way Oktoberfest is set up, you can check out a different pavilion every night. They vary on crowds, music, authenticism (not a word, but I'll use it to get my point across), decoration and purpose.

Do you want a fun night out? Want to try something new? I suggest you plan for a night out with your friends in little Germany. It's a really good time.

I'm adding the website below for anyone who wants to plan something for next ear. It has pavilion descriptions, hotel deals and packages for more than one night of Oktoberfest-ing.

If it turns out to not be your thing, at least you had a good laugh with good friends.

Ps for the dim witted, the event runs in October.

Peace & Love

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. -Stanley Horowitz

Grand Bend in the Fall:

I was having an awful day and decided to go for a drive.  I ended up in a deserted town with 2 amazing girlfriends.  There were no people, no city hustle, just the sounds of birds and the lake crashing.  I have to admit, this might not be an epic adventure or something worth writing about, but it was well worth the trip.  It was a peace of mind that I really needed.

My suggestion to the rest of you:
Check out a local beach off season.  Go in the fall, in the winter, or even in the spring.  It gets your mind off life and the real world for just a few hours.

I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day. -Frank Sinatra

This weekend I travelled to a magical place called BUDCAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**this post should have been posted over a month ago**

Life happened and I forgot to write.  Does that make me a bad blogger?  Probably.  I got a little preoccupied with boys, friends and school.  So I will briefly summerize my BUDCAMP experience.

Flashback One
I'm in a bar.  I'm winning ballots.  I'm being called upon.  I'm on stage with 7 other contestants.  Suddenly I'm racing to put on a life jacket, a helmet and flipping a cup.  There's 4 of us now.  I'm tossing bikinis on a hook.  There's two of us now.  I pick the 4th key.... AND I'M OFF TO BUDCAMPPPP!!!!!!!!

Flashback Two
Budweiser so lovingly paid for our flights to Ottawa and even gave us spending money for booze.  We arrived to the airport (when I say we I mean Jessica and I) with a two small carry ons.  We boarded the plane anxiously and nervously because sadly, this was the first trip either of us had taken all summer.  The back of the plane was filled with other budcampers; we soon quickly found a common interest: beer.  And the drinking had began.  We drank on the plane, in the Ottawa airport and the second we got off the bus and ran into BUDCAMP.

The Friday was very low key.  There was a live band and lots of dancing.  Saturday is where all the cool shit went down.
7 AM: wake up
3 PM: Lunch
5 PM: Competition
7PM: Concert and Party

Let me tell you that water rafting was the coolest thing I have done to date.  It was fun and wild and rough and crazy and my instructor was the sexiest piece of man meat I've ever seen.  The tour was super long, but well worth it.  For a first timer, rafting the Ottawa River was something I'd always wanted to do and have been talking about for the last couple of years.  I was not prepared for how much pain my body would be in afterwards.  Would I do it again?  YES.  Should you do it?  YES.


Competition Time was wild.  We did everything: paintballing, ATVing, keg tossing, watch explosions, ride in monster trucks, play human bowling, run obstacle courses, play in a lazy river, cliff jump into rapids and lastly, practice our wrist shots.

All in all, it was an epic weekend.  I am so glad I went.  Even more glad I brought Jess along.  <---shes amazing.

I wish I could write more, but its 2:30 AM.  What I should be doing is writing my paper..which is due tomorrow at 1 30 PM.   Instead I'm considering learning how to beat box with Kyle.   So I guess I leave you with one beat box or not?

***side note: I can't even do accents; I highly doubt beatboxing will be my forte***

Information for anyone interested in a BUDCAMP experience:

Check out the following site.  It's adventure camp.  It offers many of things we did at BUDCAMP and more. It's fun and the team is really great.  They know their stuff and really make your experience worth while.  (also really good looking team...if that means anything at all to you)

Chances to win:

Don't forget:  GRAB SOME BUDS.

Peace and Love.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Be not afraid of going slowly; be only afraid of standing still -Chinese Proverb

It's 9:30 am on a Monday and here I am, sitting at the office with a black coffee by my side and I'm having serious trouble keeping my eyes open.  All I can think about is that I only have 2 weeks left of work until I'm back in my beloved London.  London means freedom.  I'm also dreading that my younger brother comes home today from his Eurotrip.  Don't get me wrong, I love him more than anything else on this planet, but while he was living the dream on the other side, I was here, working like a dog and still have nothing to show for it.  I'm extremely jealous of the summer he's had. This summer has made me realize that I am so sick and tired of trying to do the right thing, or pleasing other people; from now on, I'll do what I want, when I want-whether it be a good idea or a bad idea; you know what they say:  no regrets, just lessons learned. Or in my case, ride debt for as long as I can, I have my whole life to pay it off; plus I'm only young once. Consider this: I could be working as a bartender in Croatia, or a server on ranch in Calgary.  But, no, no, not me, I listened to the voice of mother. I stayed here; although it wasn't a complete waste of time; I feel like I did some self improvement and some growing up.  So, today I have decided to let you all in on my life plan, my reasons behind it and give you some insight to the person that defines me.  I compiled a list of places I'd like to visit by next August; I also included my after graduation plans.  

The List
New York
El Salvador
Costa Rica

Goals for After I graduate:
Southeast Asia

For those of you who don't already know, I'm moving to Belize in January for school.  I'll be there for 4 months.  In those 4 months, I want to see all of Central America and do as much as possible.  My best friend,  Jessica (whom I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot about) will be meeting me in Columbia at the beginning of May.  Together, we're backpacking all the way through South America.  Not bad for a first time back packing trip eh?  Meanwhile, my roommate has decided we're going to yacht week in Ibiza.  This means we'll be booking as soon as possible.  From Ibiza, we can make our way to Croatia, where I have a home, then to Italy and finally to Greece.  This will be our Graduation trip.  Cancun is in the works for reading week; we're not sure if we're going to make it that far-fingers crossed though.  I guess working this summer hasn't been completely in vain, after all, with all the travelling I have planned, I'm going to need they money and it did inspire this blog.  

Ultimately, my goal is to hit up every continent before I'm 30.  I want to spend my life travelling and helping people.  I know that sounds cliche and perhaps overly ambitious, but its what I want to do.  In the past, my trips were family orientated.  I've travelled in the past as well, but it was a trip down south to Mississippi that changed my answer to WHY I love to travel.  I was down there building houses with Habitat for Humanity, when a man stopped me in the street to thank me for the my contribution to his community and how thankful he was for people like us.  I don't know if it was his southern accent, or maybe the tears swelling up in his eyes, but I knew right then and there, this was the kinda stuff I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  Belize is going to be for educational purposes, but I'm going to try and get to El Salvador for another build for reading week.  While we're going through South America, I plan on volunteering where we can.  Once I'm back and graduated, I want to teach English is Southeast Asia and then make my way to Africa, and help build communities and educate women.  I'd be lying if I said it was going to be all work and no play, everyone loves a good party, especially me. 
Plans change though, so we'll see where I end up.   

Anyways, I really should get to work.  

Peace and Love.  

***stay tuned; epic weekend plans ahead***

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

in every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. -John Muir

The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I had a self proclaimed day off.   What to do on my day off?  I wanted to do something fun, simple and cheap that didn't involve me walking around a mall all day or watching reruns of CSI. I grabbed my roommate, Alex and my friend Jaclyn and we headed off to the exotic waterfall capital of the world...Hamilton.  I bet you didn't know that, did you??  With over 120 waterfalls along the Niagara Escarpment and the Bruce Trail, Hamilton takes the title. I myself just recently heard this, so naturally I decided to make this a destination worth exploring. I began with my dear friend Google and found a list of trails easy enough to get to and moderately easy hiking directions. I devised a game plan for Saturday:

1.       Leave bright and early.  Epic fail: got there at 3 PM
2.       Do not tell Jaclyn what we're doing.  Pass: Jaclyn wasn't told till we picked her up
3.       Make sandwiches.  Epic fail: slept in too late to make them
4.       Pack lots of water.  Half Pass: lots of water was packed, just not for the hike
5.       Sunscreen.  Epic fail: what is sunscreen??? We want to tan.
6.       Bring snacks.  Epic fail: we ate them in the car on the drive up...

Come Saturday morning, I hit the snooze button till about 10, roll out of bed, pack my lululemon bag with the essentials and show up at Alex's door for noon.  We pick up a still drunk/partly hungover Jaclyn and head off to Sonia's house (lucky for us, we have a friend who lives in Stoney Creek-just a hop, skip and jump away from the all the trails).  At this point, we break the news to Jaclyn gently that this may or may not be a hiking trip...she is not impressed.  

***side note about friends like Jaclyn***  Refer to bottom of entry. 

Lovely Italian man selling raspberries on a back road
And the road trip begins...The QEW Niagara is in deadlock traffic, bumper to bumper, so we decide to take back roads with the help of my trusty navigational system.  Epic fail, we ended up on Highway 6, on a dirt road, with a gate blocking us where the GPS is instructing me to make a right turn.  On the up side, we found an adorable Italian man selling raspberries on an old fruit stand, which naturally we stopped to buy as a tasty snack.  Two hours later, back on the QEW we tried so hard to avoid, we finally arrived.  From Sonia's, we changed and head off to the King Forest Trail to see the Albion Falls - one of the top falls in Hamilton.   

The Creek 
Not the Albion Waterfalls...but sure glad we took a wrong turn

It was hot, and yes, we forgot to pack water.  Thankfully, we were shaded under a canopy of trees and the humidity was bearable.  Now normally, there is a guided walk, however, we went with locals, Danielle and Olivia, and took the path less travelled on.  We ended up walking through a lovely, soft flowing creek with tons of rocks everywhere and yellow and blue finches being stopped periodically.  Eventually we found a trail and reached a fork in road.  Now, had we gone left, we would have reached our destination.  But no no, not us, we decided to go right.  Right took us to a very pretty, half-dried up waterfall, that was impossible to get to otherwise.  There were large rocks to sit on and the water trickled and splashed off the rocks cooling us. Now that we had seen A WATERFALL, my tired, thirsty and hungry friends, specifically Alex and Jaclyn, were ready to turn back.  But no, not I, I came to see the Albion Falls, so we were going to see these damn falls!  I notice a pathway (um definitely not a pathway) to the right of where we were sitting; Danielle and Olivia agree that the falls can't be too far from where we are.  We start hiking uphill, which really turned into a vertical cliff and rock climbing.  Jaclyn was not impressed once again. 

       ***at this point we're reassuring Jaclyn and Alex that we know where we're going, we actually have no idea...*** 

Albion Falls!! <3 finally...
Gotta love your friends <3 
At the top of this cliff, we reach a road.  Turns out we were on the mountain; if we hang a left and walk about a kilometer, we'd hit Albion falls.  So the walk continued, and we reached our destination.  The Albion falls are a series of rocks and cascading water with tiny pools of cold water that accumulate at the bottom.  There are families with picnic baskets, backpackers with snacks, children running around bare foot and us.  

It really is a hidden delight in otherwise not-so-beautiful Hamilton.  We too, took of our shoes, walked around, splashed in the puddles, climbed trees and climbed up the cascading rocks, enjoying the much needed cooling of the water.  After relaxing for
about an hour, we decided it was time to head back.  Alex, Jaclyn and Sonia decided to cab home from the road, while Olivia, Danielle and I hiked home on the right pathway this time. 

We met the girls at the end of the trail, who thankfully had water waiting for us.  We went back to Sonia's, ate food, hydrated on margaritas and hit the LCBO for a night out in Hess Village. 

Moral of the story, bring water and food.  Wear proper shoes, and maybe follow the path.  If you just wing it though, you might find a beautiful little creek, a hidden waterfall, rockclimb to freedom and get a sweet tan.  Make sure you end your night off with good friends, some drinks and lots of laughs.  

***Friends like Jaclyn***
Friends like Jaclyn are always down to have fun, always there when you need them and always on your side, even if you're wrong.  However, friends like Jaclyn do not like hiking, do not like kayaking, probably wouldn't like camping and will not enjoy any form of outdoor adventure activities.  If you're anything like me though, you're going to want to take her with you once in a while.  So I've come up with some useful tips to help get her out in the wilderness. 

-          Make sure she has the day off
-          Probably shouldn't let her drink the night before...
-          Pick her up with your car, so she can't back out later
-          Tell her to pack essential clothing, because you might "work out" later
-          Let her listen to her favourite songs in the car
-          Break it to her gently that you're going hiking, and promise her she'll enjoy it (even though you know she wont)
-          Tell her there will lots of single, handsome men on this hike
-          Bring her favourite snacks along
-          Keep telling her you're almost there, even if you're not
-     Bring up the after bar food she ate last night as motivation 
-          Bring some money, she may or may not cab home at the nearest road
-          Be ready to buy some alcohol, because you're going out with this party animal after the hike  

She may be mad at you for a bit, but you can always take her on another hike to remind her why she loves you so much.  

Check these links for more info on trails, waterfalls, and birding in the Hamilton area!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

a lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable. -William Wordsworth

There's nothing I like more than a walk by the lake with a Moche Light Frappuccino in hand after a long, hard day of work. In fact, I've been walking or biking the trails by the lake since I was a kid. I always marvel at the vastness that is Lake Ontario and how little I actually use it. On a clear day you can see sail boats in the horizon, speed boats zipping through the harbour and rowboats under in the canal.

A friend of mine is always hassling me about going out on the lake with him and his boat and I always have a reason not to go. Yesterday, since we hit an all time record for hottest day of the year, at an unbearable 45 degrees, I said "what the hell, lets go." My boating experience is zero; in other words non-existent. I've been fishing once in my life and I climbed into my first kayak this May. Baby steps right?

**side note about my first fishing experience** I was about 6 years old when my dad decided to take me and my little brother fishing. Long story short, it ended up with me freeing the fish we caught, tangling the line and snapping his favourite rod. I haven't gone fishing since.

***another side note*** fishing is on my to do list this summer by way. I'm talking about real fishing, like 5 AM, sitting on a boat in silence, with me and my thoughts kind of fishing.

Did I have a lot of fun speeding through the waves? Yes I did, even if I was sopping wet by the time we reached our look out point. The view was impressive. Toronto from the lake looks awesome. The CN Tower, the Skydome (I refuse to call it the Rogers Center) and the rest of Toronto looked picture perfect; a snap shot away from being on a postcard.

From the corner of my eye, I spotted the Toronto Islands and was informed there's a Nude Beach on one of them! DID YOU KNOW THAT? I definitely didn't--not that I'm interested in that, but still a fun fact for those of you who might be. Anyway, Hanlan's Point, Centre Island and Wards Island are definitely going to be my next boating destinations in the Toronto area.

So my advice: throw on a bathing suit, grab a pack of bud light, pile your friends in a car, get out on the nearest lake and jump into a boat!!! It's a great way to spend a hot, sunny afternoon.

Also, get your boating licence. It costs practically nothing, and takes an hour out of your day. I just got mine! If I can do it, anyone can--seriously, anyone can.

Here's a place for Boat Rentals in Toronto for those of us who don't have boats or friends with boats:

I'll definitely keep an eye out for other places and cheaper ones too!

Peace and Love!