The Ultimate (Online) Christmas Gift Guide for Travellers

It is November 22nd, and my Christmas tree is up. Students at my school have been requesting a ridiculous Jingle Bells remix song on repeat. My kids have already had one visit with Santa Claus, for goodness sake. Yes, it is safe to say that the holidays are officially here. 

With that comes one of the season's most challenging aspects, for me at least: choosing the perfect Christmas gift. (Or whatever denomination you celebrate - we do Christmas in our house.)

Six Creative Ways to Save Money for Travel

Since I have quit my full-time job to become a stay-at-home to my two babies, leaving my husband to pay the bills on his own (well, almost - I still do substitute teach now and then, but my income is nowhere near where it used to be), our travel adventures have definitely decreased due to financial constraints. Not to mention the logistics of trying to travel with a two-year-old and a three-year-old.

Things to See and Do in Invermere, British Columbia

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will have learned that I have spent a week of every summer for the last ten years visiting the Invermere area of British Columbia. My husband's family (well, a portion of it - he has a big family) opts to get together and rent a house, and then we spend our week lounging on the beach, eating way too much food, and trying out as many activities as we can. I have several posts on this region, but even with all of those posts, I still haven't written about everything we've done (and not yet done). So I'd like to take this time to kind of 'wrap up' my thoughts about the Invermere area, and share with you all of the lovely things to see and do. Enjoy!

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

Sometimes when you are obsessed with world travel and thoughts of adventure abroad, it is easy to forget about the cool and unique places your own local area can offer. I am definitely guilty of this behaviour, but have been attempting to be more 'locally aware' through my Backyard Bucket List travel series.

The Torrington Gopher Hole Museum in Alberta, Canada

What does a small village with little tourism prospects do to generate revenue from passers-by? Some places might erect statues of unusual items, like a giant sausage (Mundare, Alberta), or a massive replica Easter egg (Vegreville, Alberta). Others may hold strange and random festivals, like Spock Days, where everyone dresses up in a Star Trek costume and greets one another with "V" shaped hand signals (Vulcan, Alberta).

Explore 'The Home of 1000 Faces' in Radium B.C.

For a decade now, my family along with various members of my husband's family, have been vacationing for a week in Invermere, British Columbia. We rent a house (loosely called a 'cabin' by us), plan our meals, pack games and the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville mixer, and spend a week enjoying laughs, family companionship, and various adventures.

12 Day Travel Itinerary for Iceland

Many people have emailed me requesting more information on how we planned, organized, and timelined our 2013 trip to Iceland. I already have several posts highlighting the amazing feats of nature that we encountered in Iceland, as well as the fascinating man-made sights, but each post is basically a stand-alone story designed to be read on its own. I guess I wanted my posts to be able to be read individually so that people could decide whether or not to include that particular sight in their own personal travel plans.

The Coast Hillcrest Hotel in Revelstoke: Hotel Review

During a recent visit to Revelstoke with my family (my Mother's Day / birthday getaway), we had the pleasure of staying in Revelstoke's Coast Hillcrest Hotel. I have noticed that my readers seem to enjoy hotel review blog posts, so I thought I'd share a little about this mountain resort getaway for anyone planning on making a trek out to the region.

British Columbia's Three Valley Gap Ghost Town

Nestled along the TransCanada Highway just 27 kilometres southwest of the bustling town of Revelstoke, B.C. stands an odd and seemingly dilapidated assortment of buildings, sprawling out from the shores of the majestic Three Valley Lake. The red tin roofs, so out of place among the green mountainsides and glacial blue waters, make the establishment hard to miss.

When visiting The Enchanted Forest with my family a couple of months ago, we had to drive past this cluster of buildings known as Three Valley Gap, and decided that it was worth a stop.

Ride the Pipe Mountain Coaster in Revelstoke, B.C.

The Pipe Mountain Roller Coaster in Revelstoke, B.C. is an exhilarating ride. Down the Wrabbit Hole Travel Blog tells you what to expect and how to plan for your visit.

I wouldn't typically claim to be a so-called 'thrill seeker'. I have no aspirations of bungee jumping or leaping from an airplane. Heights freak me out, to be quite honest, although I can usually stomach them if I know I am perfectly safe. Even waterslides give me butterflies in my stomach, and I tend to stick to the ones where I am lined up with five-year-olds in the cue. So there isn't a lot of 'daredevil' travel stuff on my blog.

But this past weekend I rode a roller coaster down the side of a mountain. And that was pretty cool.

Discover Magic in British Columbia's Enchanted Forest

This May long weekend, my family took its first ever ‘family-only’ holiday - no extended family or friends, just us. It was wonderful and we had a total blast, spending some quality family time together. We headed out to Revelstoke National Park in British Columbia for a few days, choosing to stay at the Coast Hillcrest Hotel, which was really nice. (I will do a hotel tour post on that soon.)

Explore Sonoma Valley's Wine Region in California

For someone who enjoys wine as much as I do (I even brew it at home!), a trip to California without visiting one of the more famous wine regions would be implausible. Luckily, I visited San Francisco in September of 2016 with several like-minded ladies, and we found ourselves embarking on a sunny road trip around Sonoma Valley in search of beautiful vineyards. We managed to hit quite a few in the time we had, discovering not only a plethora of delicious wines, but also olive oils, cheeses, and even some authentic Mexican cuisine.

Climb into the Mouth of the World's Largest Dinosaur

Spring is in the air here in central Alberta, so that means the fam-jam and I are slowly exiting hibernation mode and venturing out into the world. I've been clearing out my gardens, raking up old leaves, and have a mini-greenhouse in my basement filled with little green seedlings that will soon turn my brown flowerbeds into a vibrant sea of color. The kids have been learning to bike, bouncing in their inflatable bouncy castle, and jumping in 'muddy puddles' a la Peppa Pig. It has been a good few weeks.

Riding the Rails: A Guide to San Francisco's Cable Car System

Chances are, when you think of San Francisco, you either picture the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, or envision yourself hanging off the side of one of the historic cable cars. I had the chance to do both when I visited San Francisco last September with a group of friends for a 'ladies' trip, but in this post, I'll be regaling you with tales of the latter.

15 Movies That Inspire Itchy Feet, Part One

I am not a 'new nomad'. Despite loving to travel as much as I do, I don't really get to explore the globe as much as I'd truly like. Not even close. So I try to make do with the trips that I have, which I am EVER so grateful for, travel locally when I can, and keep myself otherwise occupied. Check out my blog post on what to do when you have itchy feet but can't travel to see what I'm talking about.

San Francisco's Gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts

San Francisco is full of structural and architectural marvels: the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, and the old, stone walls of Alcatraz prison to name a few. I was aware of all of these interesting sights prior to visiting San Francisco last September. One that I happily discovered while researching the vibrant city was the majestic Palace of Fine Arts. I knew it had to become part of my itinerary - it was too beautiful to miss.

Explore Calgary's Spark Science Center and Calgary Tower

Last weekend, my husband and I had a fun weekend exploring Jasper National Park, away from home AND the kids. It was a bit of a break from the whirlwind of potty training, shape sorting, macaroni making, and everything that comes with two busy toddlers. However, even though I know they had fun with their beloved grandparents, I felt bad leaving them while we went out and had all of the adventures. (I know, you can't wait to take a break from your children, and then when you leave them, you miss them. There's just no pleasing mothers sometimes!)

Hiking Maligne Canyon in Alberta

I always have a hard time shopping for presents for my husband. He is the kind of guy that when he needs something, he simply goes and gets it and puts whatever item he has bought to practical use. He doesn't even like receiving presents. So gift-giving is tricky with that man. Especially gift-giving for his birthday, which comes so close after Christmas.

Go Snowshoeing in Jasper National Park in Canada

Item number 57 on my bucket list has been "Go snowshoeing" for years. Despite living in rural Alberta my whole life, where it is winter three-quarters of the year and always full of snow, I have never even stood in snowshoes before. It was actually a little sad that I had never checked item 57 off my list yet.

Things to See on a San Francisco City Walk-About

One of the best things about the city of San Francisco is that there are a lot of iconic landmarks and things to see and do that can be easily reached on foot, by trolley, or even a short jaunt in a rental car. Most of the places we visited in this post were reached by foot, although we may have used a trolley or car for a short portion of the excursion. My girls and I logged a lot of kilometres while strolling the city of San Francisco in September. (And hey, with all the calories we burned walking, we were able to sip some grocery store wine completely guilt-free in the evenings!) Here are some of the amazing places we were able to explore while traversing the city on foot.

Visit a 12th Century Monastery on Miami Beach

One of the last things I expected to explore while visiting Miami Beach in Florida was a 12th century monastery, ancient and grand amid the hustle and bustle of swimsuit clad tourists. However, that is exactly what I found myself doing last October.

Bike Along the Shores of South Beach in Miami

During the planning phase of my trip to Miami, which happened in October, I read several blog posts and articles about how to get around Miami Beach most effectively. Walking along the boardwalk, taking shuttle buses to and from your hotel to the various beaches, grabbing an Uber - there are many different ways to access the different hot spots in Miami Beach. One that I knew my husband and I would want to try was to rent a bike and cruise along the streets and boardwalk, taking in the sights while getting some healthy exercise.

Touring San Francisco's Alcatraz Island

Today on Facebook, one of my friends shared a photo taken last September during our ladies' San Francisco trip. In the image, four of us are standing in the interior of a ferry, soaked to the bone. We are dripping wet, cold, and smiling like fools. The picture brought back such excellent memories, and now I have been inspired to write about that time we visited Alcatraz Island.