Bucket List Item: Introducing Baby to Costa Rica

Last month, my family ventured to Costa Rica for our first international family vacation. Flying was surprisingly easy, as I discussed in my last post (which was about a month ago - I have been very neglectful of this poor little blog!).  The rest of the trip was just as stress-free, for the most part. We LOVED introducing our beloved Costa Rica to our 10-month-old babe, Avy!

Tips and Tricks for Flying with an Older Baby

My family and I just got back from a two-week holiday in Costa Rica, where my 10-month-old daughter got to spend some quality time with her grandparents in their Guanacaste home.  I was apprehensive but hopeful regarding the entire 'flying with baby' scenario, but due to being extremely prepared and well-researched, it all went smoothly.

Here I share my top tricks and tricks for flying with an older infant.  I hope it helps!!

Losing Weight Before a Trip: Should You or Shouldn't You?

With thoughts of lounging on a Costa Rican beach looming in my immediate future, my present has me fretting about my post-baby body (and who are we kidding - it wasn't tight and toned pre-baby either!).  On one hand, I want to set a positive body image example for my daughter by embracing who I am and what I look like, flaunting my baby pouch in a little black bikini and not worrying about the cellulite on my thighs.  On the other hand, I'm a normal woman who shudders at the thought of lolling about on the beach with my less-than-supermodel form.

Booking Airline Tickets for a Baby: What You Should Know

Booking Airline Tickets Baby

Some exciting news for this new family: we are headed to Costa Rica in November!  The tickets are booked, hotels taken care of, and a list of fun activities and destinations drawn up.  My husband and I have been to Costa Rica before (we even got married there), but this is the first time we've ever been there with our wee babe, let alone traveled on a plane with her.  This is a whole new ball of wax!

Finding the Curious, Eclectic, and Strange in Seattle

strange things to see in Seattle Washington

My last post about Seattle ("Top 10 Things to See and Do in Seattle in Summer") focused on the more touristy-type attractions I experienced in the fun and exciting city.  The Space Needle, the EMP Museum, the Duck Tour - these are all things that people visiting Seattle really should try, just due to the entertainment factor.

However, if you are more interested in finding the more understated sights the city has to offer, this post is for you! Seattle is bursting at the seams with strange stores and shops, eclectic art, and fun 'curiosities'.

Top 10 Things to do in New York City (On a 3 Day Trip)

Statue of Liberty Top 10 New York
Quick trip? Then don't miss these famous landmarks in the "Big Apple"!

I could easily live in New York. It really is the city that never sleeps, but not only that, it never even gets tired! I visited one summer with some work friends, and am just waiting for the day when I get to return.

I was only in New York for three short days, but those days were certainly worth it! In the three days, I felt like I barely scratched the surface of what this fascinating city has to offer. I have the feeling you could spend a lifetime in New York, and be surprised each and every day by something new, if only you had the curiosity to explore.

Here's my list of Top 10 things to experience while in the good ol' 'Big Apple'.

Destination: Memory Lane - DTWH's New Blogging Challenge

This is a true fact: we travel bloggers can sure spin a tale.  We have stockpiled stories, from accounts of stunning beauty to hilarity to despair.  We talk about food, music, meeting strangers, and modes of transportation.  We share insider tips on prices and bookings, how to charm hoteliers and restaurateurs, and how to go to the bathroom in a variety of cultures. Our blogs are filled with literally hundreds of anecdotes about our travel memories.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in the Rocky Mountains

This past month, during our annual family vacation in Invermere, British Columbia, my sister-in-law brought up the idea of trying our hands at stand up paddle boarding.  I had always wanted to test myself on a stand up paddle board - I am not the most graceful person - and I jumped at the chance to go with her.  So did my husband and brother-in-law.

Soak in Lussier Natural Hot Springs, British Columbia

Lussier Natural Hot Springs, located in the Kootenay mountain range of the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, are possibly the nicest natural hot springs I've had the pleasure of visiting.  I realize I haven't visited many natural hot springs, but I feel safe in saying the Lussier Springs are stunning and relaxing and anyone who visits them will be glad they did.

Update: Fairmont Natural Hot Springs 2014

This summer, during my family's annual trip to British Columbia, I had the chance to do a quick check-up on the natural hot springs located beneath the commercialized Fairmont Hot Springs.  After two years of people commenting on my blog, lamenting on the hot springs' state of disrepair, I had to see for myself.  I'd promised my readers to let them know if the springs had changed much from when I'd visited last.

Backyard Bucket List: Banff Gondola and Upper Hot Springs

It's that time of year again - the time of year where we pack up our vehicle to the brim with suitcases, tennis rackets, good food, water sprinklers, board games, and beach toys, and head off on a beautiful drive through the Rocky Mountains of Canada to enjoy a week's stay in Invermere, British Columbia. This is our seventh year renting a cabin in the valley with my husband's family, and our first year doing so with a baby in tow.  (The car, incidentally, seemed MUCH fuller this time around!)

Alberta's Beautiful Devonian Botanical Gardens

This summer, my goal is to explore as much of the beautiful province of Alberta as I can with a six-month-old baby.  My little Peanut is a great traveler in the car, and loves to people-watch and explore new surroundings, so I am hopeful that I can get out and about as much as possible.

Our first 'mother-daughter' adventure took place at the Devonian Botanical Gardens just outside the town of Devon, Alberta (about half an hour south of Edmonton).  It was a smokin' hot summer day, my husband was away at a conference in Banff, and Avy Bear and I were looking for something relaxing to do.  The drive wasn't too far for us, and the weather for the day made an afternoon out seem promising.

Moments with Strangers: The Beauty of Travel

The day was hot and muggy.  My husband of about four hours and I were tired from a long day of getting ready, getting photographed, getting married, and getting away from it all via a hilarious ziplining adventure through the jungle in our wedding clothes.  We were exhausted from a day where every moment had been laid back and at the same time also hectic, but we weren't ready to go back to our lodgings just yet.

How (Not) To Be a Horrible Hotel Guest

Allow me to set the scene:  It is the summer of 2012.  A rental car pulls up to a beautiful, large log cabin, surrounded by pines and a thin sheet of fog that drifts off the cooling waters of Loch Ness.  The 'parking lot' of this bed and breakfast cabin is a large rectangle, cut into the front lawn, covered in a layer of sweet-smelling wood chips. A tired couple emerges from the vehicle, stiff from a long drive from Stirling and a little stressed after getting lost along the banks of Loch Ness, with its twisting roads and wooded avenues.

Dining at "Papa Rex" in Rome: Dinner with Flair

Sometimes in life it's good to have a little 'cheese'.  No, not mozzeralla - I'm talking about tacky, wacky, and even a bit cliched type cheesy.  What's travel without a little 'over-the-top' now and then?

When my husband and I visited Rome, we were there for three days with a tour group. On our last evening in Rome, our group was invited to an evening meal at a restaurant called "Papa Rex", which offered amazing food and, even better, dining entertainment.  After eating a delicious multi-course meal, we were surprised by a man, fully dressed in gladiator regalia, leaping into the center of our tables.

What to Expect on a Washington D.C. Monument Tour

Some cities are known for fantastic food, some for the exciting night life, some for their sports teams and events.  Some cities, however, are dripping in history and are known for the one billion monuments sprinkled throughout various neighborhoods, making the city a fascinating place to explore.  Washington, D.C. is such a place.

Foodie Bucket List: Costa Rican Cuisine

While I have no immediate travel plans, what with a four-month-old baby at home and my husband working hard to be the sole provider for his family, I will admit that I am secretly hoping we can swing a trip to Costa Rica this year.  My husband's father has a house down there, which is beautiful, and I feel like we are wasting it by not visiting (is that a good enough argument for my hubby, do you think?).

Exploring Paris' Louvre Museum

No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the world-famous Louvre Museum.  (At least, not your first trip to Paris. It's okay if you don't want to attend the Louvre every single time you hit up Paris!)  The Louvre offers many great things for history buffs, architecture nuts, and art lovers.  Even if you are none of those, you will still probably appreciate at least one visit to the museum.

Why I Took "Ride an Elephant" Off my Bucket List - And Why You Should Too

Riding an elephant looks fun and glamorous - but it isn't worth it.

I have always wanted to ride an elephant. I think it stems from when I was a little girl - I have a vague memory of the circus coming to my hometown and people riding the elephant there.  I was too young and not big enough to be allowed to ride, so my young self vowed to perch on an elephant when I grew up.  The goal made it to my travel bucket list (#36. Ride an elephant) and I have been waiting for my chance to check it off, complete with accompanying glorious photographs and an adorable tale.

A Visit to Versailles: Paris' Golden Palace

There are literally hundreds of amazing things to see and do in the vibrant city of Paris, France - the Eiffel Tower, cruising the Seine River, wine tastings, explore the Louvre, and so much more.  But visitors to Paris must also remember to take at least one day and get OUT of the city to stroll the grounds and palace of historical Versailles.  This beautiful feat of architecture is dripping with gold and sprinkled with opulence.

Top 5 Things to do on Mexico's Isla Mujeres

Spring break has come and gone here in chilly Canada, bringing with it 20 more centimeters of snow (Spring, what IS your problem?).  As I gaze longingly out the front window at the piles of snow on my front lawn, with a wee little baby in my arms and spit-up on my shirt, I am remembering fondly one sizzling Spring Break back in 2011 when I journeyed to Mexico for an escape from the cold.

Travelers vs Tourists: Why I am SO SICK of this Debate

I do not rant on my blog.  I try to always keep things upbeat, positive, and hopefully, inspirational.  But I feel the desperate need to weigh on in this subject - the silly debate between what makes a tourist and what makes a traveler.  I have read about it on several blogs, seen people comment on Twitter, and even heard about it on television via travel shows and channels. So many backpackers and 'new nomads' bragging about selling their home, staying in hostels and cheap hotels, 'getting down' with the culture, making fun of people who do quick trips, stay in resorts, and visit the standard sights a location has to offer.  People who claim to be 'travelers' and not 'tourists', as if being a tourist was a disgraceful occupation. People who believe that because they do things differently, they are a superior breed of explorers.  Usually I just ignore these people.

Animals of Mexico - in a Resort, That Is

What do you focus on when traveling?  The culture?  The food?  The people?

Typically, I focus mainly on exploring and learning about the people of an area, the sights and attractions, and the natural landscapes.  I am not really a huge 'foodie', nor am I a big museum person, which is odd, because I love museums. When traveling, though, I feel that time crunch and museums don't usually fit into my itinerary.  I also tend to skip over the fauna of a region - I take note of the local wildlife, but don't make a huge point of searching it out.

Life's New Journey: Motherhood!

I know this is officially a travel blog. I promise I'm not going to turn "Down the Wrabbit Hole" into a parenthood-oriented play-by-play of my child's growth and development.  (Not that those blogs aren't great, because trust me, as of late I've been reading a lot of them!)  However, I cannot resist the temptation - nay, the DUTY - to introduce my beautiful, big-eyed, intelligent, and breath-taking offspring to my readers. (And yes, she's just that perfect.)

Travel 2014: From Passports to Pampers

Is there travel after babies?

I have found myself asking that repeatedly over the last few months as I ponder the biggest change my life will ever have - a change that is hypothetically only 5 days away.  As excited as I am to have Peanut in my arms, I am daunted by the immensely challenging task of becoming a parent. Will I instill positive values and work ethic in my child? Will I be able to protect her while at the same time encouraging her to spread her wings and make her own choices and mistakes?  Will I become one of those dreaded 'helicopter parents' who thinks her own child does no wrong?  (Probably not on that one - I'm a teacher and I have experienced 'reality' when it comes to what kids will tell their parents and what actually happened.) Will I drop Peanut on her head or accidentally let her roll off the change table?  These are all things I ponder.