50 Favorite Travel Quotes: Visual and Vibrant

Hey, psst... wanna know a secret? I'll have to tell you, because you probably won't be able to guess.  Ahem.... here it is: I love to travel. Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you do too!

Since it is almost the end of 2012, and a great year of traveling for me, I'd like to celebrate with a bit of an unusual post for this blog, but one that I find incredibly inspiring. I'd like to share with you 50 of my favorite travel quotes, with stunning visuals, to inspire my readers (and myself) for an even more adventurous 2013!

An Adventure in Espionage: The International Spy Museum

My Internet handle has 007 in it for a reason. I adore mystery, detective stories, and spy movies. Action, adventure, espionage, and daring - if I had a dose of those items on a daily basis I'd be a happy woman indeed. (If not a bullet-riddled one. I'm not saying I would make a necessarily good detective. Although I did win "Best Sleuth" at our staff Christmas murder-mystery party this year... even though my husband says I should have won "Most Annoying" instead. But that's just a matter of opinion. I was SUPPOSED to be a nosey gossip journalist. I'd say that's a win for me.)

Backyard Bucket List: Alberta's Winter Wonderland

Sometimes I forget that I live in the middle of beauty. Either I take it for granted, or I find myself cursing the fact that I live in rural Alberta during the wintertime. Truly, I am not a fan of winter. I don't like driving on treacherous icy roads, I don't like having to use my blow dryer to defrost the sliding door to the deck, and I don't like having to scrape the ice off my car windows after a long day of teaching in class. And that's just a preliminary list of things that I don't like about winter!

Splash in the International Fountain in Seattle, Washington

Recently my blog as been all, "Vegas, Vegas, Vegas... yadda, yadda, yadda," which is not bad if you love Vegas, but I will admit, the theme is getting repetitive. So forgive me if I make one last Vegas reference of 2012 and tell you that I LOVE the fountains at the Bellagio. The casino puts on one heck of a show, which I appreciate immensely after watching a documentary about the mechanics and computer technology that goes behind the production of the water show. There is nothing like watching the water literally dance in time to the music, and it always ends with a big, cannon-like boom, water shooting miles into the sky.

What I Learned in Vegas (This Time Around)

Does Vegas ever get old? If you are like me, the answer is a resounding, "No!" Vegas seems to get better with every visit - once the initial electric shock wears off, you can relax and enjoy what the city has to offer at a less 'touristy' pace.

Or so it was with me last week when I went to Las Vegas, Nevada for the National Conference of Teachers of English. Of course, I showed up in town with grand plans to drive up to Antelope Canyon, or Area 51, or even just go for a hike in Red Rock Canyon. I always show up with big travel plans.

Paris Street Food: Decadent Crepes

One of the biggest "musts" while traveling is to sample the wide variety of tasty street foods a culture has to offer. Every nation has a specific palette of spices, smells, textures, and presentations - as a visitor, it is your obligation to try to experience at least some of these. At least, this is my opinion as a person who loves both travel and eating.

Stereotypically, street food comes on sticks or on paper plates. But the city of Paris does street food with more class and pizzazz, or so it seems!

Experience Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Las Vegas

Some people hate wax museums - a few of my friends insist that they are creepy, dorky, or a bit of both. To these people I say, "Lighten up!" Wax museums are tons of fun - you just have to suspend reality for a moment and be willing to think up brilliant and hilarious scenarios for your dorky / creepy photographs! There's not a lot of instructions or helpful tips to be shared about visiting Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Las Vegas, so this post will mostly be a 'photo-essay'.

Backyard Bucket List: Frank Slide

It is almost Halloween, my favorite holiday of the year. I love everything about this season - the mystery, the costumes, the candy, and especially the spooky stories! As I write this, I have Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" on in the background: a soundtrack for my creative writing.  It is inspiring me to write a post that also has a spooky undertone, rife with tragedy, mystery, and even some urban legends! I have chosen the topic of Frank Slide - one of Alberta's most interesting and mysterious sites.

Visit a Cactus Garden in a Chocolate Factory

There are some things every person pictures themselves doing while visiting the amazing light show that is Las Vegas: strolling the Strip, gambling in the casinos, drinking from a cup shaped like the Eiffel Tower, and enjoying a variety of performances, from Cirque du Soleil to Carrot Top. Maybe some people envision themselves visiting a cactus garden. (I never did, but cacti are pretty popular in this area of the world.)

Why I'll Probably Never Hike the Wave (a.k.a. #35)

When you have a travel bucket list as long as mine, you have to be an optimist! I am optimistic that somehow, someday I'll have unlimited funds and time to accomplish the items on my list. I am optimistic that I will have the health and fitness to explore with energy and enthusiasm. I am optimistic that my husband won't divorce me after I either a) drag him around the globe several times or b) ditch him repeatedly to globe-trot on my own.

But every now and then, I must also be a realist. This is why I am willing to admit that there might be one item on the list that might not get checked off. (Just one though... let's not get too crazy here.)

Getting Antsy at Home: My Husband's Worst Nightmare

It has been four months since my wonderful, inspiring, and beautiful trip to Scotland. The summer flew by with a fun family trip to the Rocky Mountains and lots of adventures with my Little from Big Brothers Big Sisters. September literally rocketed past due to my involvement in teaching a new grade, in a new (elementary) division with all new learning styles and curricula.

Kayak in the Rocky Mountains of Canada

When you think "Rocky Mountains of Canada", I would bet a fair chunk of my monthly income that you are picturing towering, majestic, snow-capped mountains, or deep-green, spindly pine trees flanked by peaks and valleys. You might even think about the turquoise green-blue waters, icy cold as they rush from their glacial parents towards the Pacific Ocean.

You probably don't think: wetlands.

DTWH Featured in "TrekWorld"!

Another exciting announcement for Down the Wrabbit Hole! My Loch Ness post has been featured in the online magazine "TrekWorld" - please go check it out and "like" it, "tweet" it, "stumble" it - whatever you have to do! I have been invited to contribute to the magazine in the future as well, so keep your eyes peeled for more articles and announcements. 

My article featured in "TrekWorld" - A Loch Ness Monster and Castle Quest

Soak in a True Natural Hot Spring in the Canadian Rockies

True, natural hot springs are hard to come by. However, they do exist, if only you know where to look or who to ask. That's how I have been able to soak in a few mostly-natural hot springs in Canada.

For years I have been visiting the hot springs of Canada’s Rocky Mountains: the Banff Upper and Lower hot springs, the Jasper Miette hot springs in Alberta, and the Radium and Fairmont hot springs in British Columbia specifically. I know exactly why they are so popular. They are relaxing, toasty warm, therapeutic, and they have the best view of any pool I’ve ever been to.  

DTWH is a Contributor to "Yuppee Magazine"

I am excited to announce that I have signed up to be a contributor to London-based "Yuppee Magazine", a lifestyle magazine featuring stories about travel, fashion, music, and other such lifestyle-related topics. While I will be primarily contributing to the travel section, I am not going to limit myself to just one category. This month, I have three articles published in Yuppee, and I'd like to share them with my blog readers! I hope you like them, and if you have any suggestions or things you'd like me to write about, please feel free to drop me a line either here, on my Facebook fan page, or on Twitter (@thewrabbithole).

Where to find my articles on www.yuppee.com

Backyard Bucket List: Explore Alberta's EM-TE Town

I have lived in Alberta my whole life, all "28-and-holding" years. It shames me to admit that I have only visited a handful of the major sights in my own province, despite being obsessed with experiencing literally everything an area has to offer when I travel. This summer I vowed to do more "backyard" exploring, and have even had the chance to discover some places I never even knew existed. EM-TE Town is one of those places.

Canoe Across the Turquoise Waters of Moraine Lake

canadian rocky mountains, canoeing

Close your eyes and picture a lake with the bluest, clearest waters you can imagine. Then add a stunning mountain range framing this lake, capped with pure white glaciers and carpeted with lush, green trees. In your mind’s eye, slice through this lake in a bright yellow canoe, silent and calm, leaving a slight ripple as you glide across its blue waters.  

There.You have just visualized my Sunday afternoon at Moraine Lake. It was a little piece of heaven.

My First Guest Post

Please check out my very first ever guest post at the wonderful site We Said Go Travel. I want to thank Lisa for inviting me to write an article: it was an exciting experience and I don't care how nerdy that makes me! Be sure to comment, and perhaps they'll invite me to write another!  :)

Go on a Glasgow Walk-About in Scotland

The great thing about Glasgow is that if there's a nuclear attack it'll look exactly the same afterwards. 
Billy Connolly 

This is a direct quote from Billy Connolly, one of my favorite Scottish actors, a truly funny man, and a native of Glasgow, Scotland. His sentiments, which strongly insinuate that Glasgow is a bleak, ugly, grey city, were shared by many people that we talked to. Several people, some even from Scotland, raised their eyebrows when we informed them we’d planned two days in Glasgow during our tour of Scotland.  

Visit Loch Ness and Search for Nessie the Loch Ness Monster

Facts About Loch Ness, Scotland:
  1. There is more water in Loch Ness than all the other lakes in England, Scotland and Wales put together.
  1. Loch Ness never fully freezes: it is too large and too deep.
  1. Because warm water rises, and colder water sinks, in the middle of winter Loch Ness can be seen steaming like a hot tub as the warm water hits the surface.
  1. And of course, Loch Ness is infested with a giant, humped-back water monster, nicknamed “Nessie”.  Or is it?
When my husband and I ventured to Scotland this summer, I made it a priority to drive up north to Loch Ness as a part of our adventure. I was determined to stand at the lake’s edge and search for this infamous creature, and see what there was to see.

The Most Fun You'll Ever Have in a Vegas Restaurant

Today I am sitting here, enjoying the warm Canadian sun, which we don't get to enjoy all that often, and I am beginning to daydream. Ah, a nice cold drink would so fantastic right now... and now my mind is beginning to wander to all of the lovely, ice-cold drinks I could possibly have at this moment. Now I am reminiscing about one of the best ice-cold drinks I've EVER had, way back in March during my Spring Break trip to Vegas. You see, it all began like this (insert trippy 'Wayne's World' time travel effect here):

Foodie Bucket List: Try Some Haggis in Scotland

I promised everyone in this blog on the day that I left for Scotland that I would eat some haggis. True to my word, I did. During our castle tour day, we stopped at a pub in North Berwick and I saw haggis on the menu. I was feeling adventurous, and so I ordered a plate for Joey and I to split. (That way, if I didn’t like it, I could make him eat it.) Luckily, or maybe unluckily, I didn't have to push the plate his way: we both devoured it like vultures on a dying man in a desert.

Historical Inaccuracies in Braveheart (The Sad Scottish Truth)

This post is somewhat of an aside, deviating from my regular format of diary-like entries about my travels. It is a bit of a rant, a rant about Hollywood and its penchant for historically inaccurate films. This post is about the time my visit to Scotland opened my eyes to the mirage that is "Braveheart".

City I Love Contest Entry - "Finding Florence"

I am not a leading expert on metropolitan lifestyle. I haven’t been to some of the most major cities in the world, cities like Tokyo, Los Angeles, or Munich, and can’t tell others definitively that “this” is the “best” city in the world. I am just a humble teacher and travel blogger, trying to experience life to the fullest.

But Florence is the best city in the world.

Top 5 Things to See & Do in Stirling, Scotland

Stirling was an unscheduled stop in our Scotland trip. We were planning on driving through it on the way home from Loch Ness, but ended up staying overnight and most of the day in Stirling while driving to Loch Ness. No matter the agenda, we were glad we made some time for this historical and beautiful town.

It is literally dripping with Scottish heritage, so much that you really could spend a few days there rather than just a morning. We packed in as much as possible before having to drive through Caingorn National Park up to our BandB in Loch Ness. Here are some of our Stirling highlights!

Castle Touring the Lothians Outside Edinburgh, Scotland

One thing Scotland is renowned for is its castles. Ruins upon ruins of once grand structures dot the countryside, and every now and then you'll be lucky to see a castle that has remained mostly intact due to the Historic Scotland Society. You don't have to drive far to stumble upon a castle in Scotland's green hills and valleys.

Visit Rosslyn Chapel from the Da Vinci Code Movie

I am a huge Da Vinci Code fan. I read the book when it first came out, before all the hype, and I remember telling Joey that it was going to be a hit because of its mind-blowing ending. But then I watched the movie and became an even bigger fan, particularly of the scene where Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou visit Rosslyn Chapel. What a spectacular place, I thought! Wouldn't that be nice to visit?

Exploring Edinburgh's Real Mary King's Close

Halfway down the Royal Mile in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, is a narrow close called Mary King's Close. For those of you unsure of what a close is, they are narrow alleys between buildings that run parallel to the main roads of Edinburgh - remnants of medieval streets from a time when the lanes were large enough for only a couple of horses to squeeze past one another.

There are many closes all over Edinburgh, some with some very creative names, but the most famous is Mary King's Close because of how preserved it is, and how it offers visitors a glimpse back into time.

Edinburgh's Amazing Scott Monument

The city of Edinburgh in Scotland is rife with stunning feats of architecture: castles, cathedrals, bridges, and even a quasi-Greek forum a top Calton Hill. But one of the most jaw-dropping structures in the city is the magnificent Scott Monument. Standing at just over 200 feet tall on Princes Street, this Gothic spire sticks out due to its height, detail, and unique style. It is unlike anything else in Edinburgh.

Visit the Historic Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

The city of Edinburgh is a cultural hub for Scottish history, and there is so much to see and do. On my second day in Scotland, and my first full day in Edinburgh, my husband and I spent the morning on foot exploring some of the fascinating architecture and historical sites in Old Town. After lunch, we had saved several hours to explore the sprawling Edinburgh Castle, visible from nearly anywhere in Old Town.

Go on an Edinburgh City Walk-About

After our first crazy night in Edinburgh, what with the airplane flying and Scottish singing and military-men dancing, you'd think I'd be too exhausted to get up in the morning full of energy and the need to explore. Well, if you think that, then you don't know me at all, and how obsessed I am with experiencing everything while traveling. I was up at 7:00 a.m., fresh as a daisy, much to Joey's chagrin. Ready was I to have him show me around Edinburgh, since he'd been there a whole week before me!

An Evening Out on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland

I made it safely to Scotland, and have already had a whirlwind time! Everything went smoothly on my flight, with only a small delay at the London Heathrow airport due to major thunderstorms in southern Scotland. I landed at about six p.m. Edinburgh time, and my husband was there to greet me. I hadn't seen him in nearly two weeks, so his face was a welcome sight!

We grabbed my luggage, hopped on an airport shuttle bus, and headed straight for the hotel - I needed a shower in the worst way after being on a plane for FOREVER. I hadn't slept at all either, but there was no way I was going to sleep just yet. I just wanted to freshen up, and get my Edinburgh on!

Scotland 2012: The Journey Begins

It is the last day of school today - an exciting day in its own right. My students and I suffered through one last final exam, and then it was a day of fun and games, with a water fight, a game of Predator and Prey, and an afternoon movie. Fun... but exhausting. And the day isn't over yet!

In my car, sitting calmly but full of promise, is my suitcase, jam-packed full of items for my impending journey to Scotland tonight. My husband is already waiting for me in Edinburgh, and has been for the last five days or so.

Traveling through time in Old St. Charles Town, St. Louis

During my whirlwind work trip to St. Louis, my boss and I set aside one day, and one day only, to explore St. Louis before we had to fly back to Canada. We wanted to explore some unique and fun sights around our hotel area in Westport, rather than paying for a $60 taxi cab ride to the downtown area where the Budweiser Beer Brewery and the St. Louis Gateway Arch stand (although, I really did want to go back downtown so I could go UP the arch). We asked our concierge where to go, and he responded with a resounding, "Old St. Charles Town, of course!"

Strut under the St. Louis Gateway Arch

If you follow my blog, you already know that I visited St. Louis at the beginning of May for a conference, and that I had an exciting chance to take my first beer brewery tour. However, I also had the chance to check out the massive Gateway Arch on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi in downtown St. Louis, do a wee bit of gambling and some shopping, and stroll the quaint and colonial streets of Old St. Charles Town (next blog entry). For only having one day of free time in St. Louis, we sure packed in a lot!

Tour the Budweiser Beer Brewery in St. Louis

Recently I had the chance to do a quick jaunt to St. Louis, Missouri, for a convention / workshop on the "Pyramid Response to Intervention" with Mike Mattos. I went with my principal and two other ladies from my school division, and we all agreed the workshop with Mike was fantastic. To make matters even better, we'd left behind chilly Canada with its light dusting of snow and crispy ground frost for a sunny, muggy, and green St. Louis.

Drive the Dinosaur Trail in Drumheller, Alberta (Part One)

I grew up in the area around Drumheller, and spent many a fine day exploring the dinosaur-saturated streets during the summer months of my youth. It was always fun to see the variety of dinosaur statues and paraphernalia that Drumheller had to offer, but I guess when you grow up with it, it isn't super exciting or interesting.

I do remember a day in high school when my best friend and I took it upon ourselves to photograph one another with every single dinosaur statue in town (there's A LOT, so it took us all day to do this), but other than that, I didn't have much to do with Drum's tourist options. Yeah, I'd been to the museum (I'd even slept over inside of it when I was about ten years old) but even that was "old" to me.

Ride the "Manhattan Express" Roller Coaster in Las Vegas

The only thing more fun than going on rides is going on rides with other people who hate going on rides. Call me twisted, but it delights me to hear their cries of fright and anguish - it makes me laugh and enjoy the ride all the more. (This must be genetic, because my mother is the exact same way, and... oh god, I’m turning into my mother!)

It’s not that I want others to be hurt or in pain... it’s just funny that they are scared and I am exhilarated. While I’m letting out little, “Woo!” sounds, they are either shrieking, swearing, or praying to their deity of choice. It is entertaining, to say the least.

Zip Lining in Bootleg Canyon - Or Not...

Clear Coke. A long lifespan for the Hindenburg. Kevin Costner’s British accent in “Prince of Thieves”... just a few examples of things that were not meant to be. Add to this list my trip to Bootleg Canyon in Las Vegas for a fine day of zip lining over the Nevada desert. It began with a stumble, and as the day progressed, turned into a full-out trip down a mountainside - literally!

Hoover Dam: A Must-Do Las Vegas Side Trip

In March of 2012, my cousin Marriann and I headed down to “Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” for a girlie weekend. We walked the Strip until our high-heeled feet could walk no more, overpaid for some glam dresses, and even ventured into a high-roller room and got a tutorial on how to play the high-roller slots from one of the casino workers. (There were two machines “on hold” in that particular room because the people who had been playing them the night before had invested over $400,000 in each machine, and were intent on winning the jackpot. My mind boggled - who has $400,000 to drop into a slot machine? How does that even work?)

Backyard Bucket List: Bellevue Coal Mine

The countdown to Vegas is on, and with that, a trip out to see Hoover Dam that I am very much looking forward to. I have also eyed up the zipline on Fremont Street, or better yet, the zipline over the Mojave Desert, courtesy of Bootleg Canyon Flightlines (oh, the possibilities!). I hope my cousin Marriann isn’t into that little thing called ‘sleep’ because my list of things to see and do is rapidly mounting! I can’t wait to go and experience the city again - but as if for the first time. I am also excited for the interesting blog posts that will be sure to follow.

Backyard Bucket List: Corn Mazing in Rural Alberta

I have been reading and re-reading my bucket list lately - usually with big, forlorn sighs because there's so much I want to do, and so little money to do it with! Today I realized that virtually everything on my list has to be done... away. Yes, it is a "travel" bucket list, but it is also, in essence, an adventure bucket list. And as I've been adding to this blog over time, there have been several entries where I didn't cross an item off the proverbial list, but I felt as if I'd had such a great time with the experience that it deserved to be chronicled here.

Visit Portland in the middle of rainy February

I love how life takes you on unexpected twists and turns. Things never usually turn out according to plan, but this isn’t a bad thing, because the unexpected is what makes life so magical and mysterious. Making a wrong turn on a journey can often lead to the meeting of new lifelong friends, the discovery of amazing places and sights, or adventures that turn into cherished stories. I have literally hundreds of items on my Travel Bucket List that I am saving my pennies and dimes to accomplish, but ironically my most recent expedition was to a place not listed, nor one that I had ever thought to list.

Four Red "S"s (Or: What NOT to have Printed on your Airline Ticket)

Recently my mother began reading my blog. I know - I've been writing it for almost three years, and she just got on board. I think that says a lot about how blog readership is built. Oh well - I'm glad to have her as a fan. She has been enjoying the blog, and recently told me her favorite post to date has been my husband's crazy story about Tijuana. I chuckled and said, "Yup, that's one of the craziest stories that I know of where I actually knew the person involved." My mom looked me in the eye and commented, "I know another one. Why haven't you written about your trip to Philadelphia?"

Right. That story. I had almost forgot about that story. I suppose if I can share my husband's travel nightmare, I should probably share mine.

The Catacombs of Rome

I am a morbid person, but not in a bad way - at least, I don't think. I am a morbid person in a 'historical fascination' way. I think graveyards are interesting, and went through a phase where I did grave rubbings or photographed really old or unusual headstones. I used to do cemetery tours as part of my museum job when I lived in Lethbridge, Alberta.

I like stories about how famous people died, or learning about the places they were buried at. When I went to Seattle, we had to make a special trip to visit the grave site of Jimi Hendrix, one of my favorite musicians. When I took my Junior High students to Paris, I convinced several of them to accompany me to the Paris catacombs to check out piles of bones.

Celebration Time - Vegas, Baby!

It's time to celebrate! The good news is in - I am cancer-free!

Got the news last week from my doctor - all my December tests came back negative. There's not a cancer cell left in my body (and believe me, they freaked me out when they literally gave me a full-body MRI scan). I am healthy as a horse, and ready to reproduce! Watch out, world, soon there will be a whole troupe of "Wrabbits" ready to explore the world!

Euro Disneyland Paris: A Surprise Trip to France

My parents, who are in their fifties and are just now starting to become world-travelers, recently returned from a trip to Disneyland. They went with my sister, who is 24-years-old, and had a total blast! I was inspired as I flipped through their photo album, viewing pictures of them hugging Eeyore, dancing with Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas, and jumping the line of 500 small children to get first dibs in a picture with Mickey Mouse. Close to retirement, new to travel, my parents are excellent examples that it is never too late to start crossing items off your bucket lists!

A Dose of Perspective

Some of you may not know that I began writing "Down the Wrabbit Hole" after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer. November 2009 was a bit of a shocking month for me - my husband and I had decided to start a family, and I went into the doctor's office for an annual physical. While checking my lymph nodes, the doctor noted that I had an "abnormally large thyroid".

This abnormality turned out to be three 1.2 - 1.8 c.m. cancerous lumps wrapped around my thyroid.