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My 2021 In Review

2021 was a year of ups and downs. To address the elephant in the room, the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. This year we saw the creation of a vaccine and the hope that the pandemic would soon be behind us. In the summer it looked like the world had gone back to normal, with music concerts, parades, and fairs happening almost every weekend. Then the Delta Autumn happened, and now we're into the Omicron Winter – when places are locking down, restrictions are being put into place and there's a lot of uncertainty about what to come.

My blog has felt the same ebb and flow of the world. Some months I am putting out content, videos, and podcasts like a madman, while other times I am silent and recluse. I'm working on finding an even balance with that.

Like in 2020, this past year has had me embrace rural Saskatchewan more. I visited more small towns, I saw more local sights and I dug into more local history. I also got to get away once this past year and visit the incredible Yukon territory.

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A Shitty Christmas Tradition for the Ages

"This is so useless. This shouldn't even exist in the world. Let's burn it."

This was Eric Hill's explanation on how he and Jeff Meldrum pick objects of their annual "Shit Fireplace" video.

Originally filmed in early 2016, Hill and Meldrum had forgotten about their footage until that winter. It's hard to remember that far back, but 2016 was a challenging year for a lot of people, and because of that, they decided to release their first video of Shit Fireplace. Since then, their annual burning has become somewhat of a local phenomenon and has even received cross-Canada attention.

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What to See In Dawson City in 72 Hours

Seventy-two hours is a lot of time in a town of about 1,500 people, so why did I pick that number? Well, when I arrived in Dawson City, I arrived on Labour Day Monday, and many of the local amenities were closed. Because Dawson City is so small, there is no taxi service from the airport. Had I gone there another day, I would have been able to call Klondike Car Rental for a lift, but they were closed that day. Out of all the hotels in Dawson City, I believe the only one that offers an airport shuttle is The Downtown Hotel – and I didn't stay there because the rooms at The Bunkhouse were about $10 cheaper.

So, with no taxi, no shuttle, and no car rental, I decided to try my luck hitchhiking my way into Dawson City. Honestly, I'm surprised how quickly I got a ride. I think only three or four vehicles passed me until I was able to hop aboard a truck and get a ride into town.

It was on this drive into town that I was told two things: one, that going to the Yukon by myself without knowing a soul was a very brave thing to do, and two: that if I don't drink, I'll get tired of Dawson City after three days.

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How to Hike Tombstone Territorial Park

I remember when I first heard of Tombstone Territorial Park. I was working on my "Instagramming Canada" series a few years ago and was searching through piles of photos from around the territory to feature in it. Prior to that, I didn't know what to expect when I was scrolling through pictures of the Yukon, but what I saw took my breath away.

To this day, I remember the photo. It was a beautiful, onyx lake with towering black mountains around it, cutting across a silvery-white sky. On the shore of the lake were round, coloured rocks, that almost looked like spheres.

I immediately wanted to know where this place was and discovered it was Grizzly Lake, in Tombstone Territorial Park, one of the most northern parks in Canada.

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A Halloween Unboxing From Tokyo Treat

In celebration of Halloween, Jessica and I decided to continue last year's tradition and unbox a package from Tokyo Treat. For those unfamiliar, Tokyo Treat is a subscription box service that sends you Japanese candy every month to try at home. We have unboxed several of their packages in previous articles, including one from last Halloween, so we thought it would be fun to do it again.

This article, and companion video, is not sponsored by Tokyo Treat. We just like trying their handy and reviewing foreign food. They do have an affiliate program, but I chose not to join it as it isn't very lucrative – and I like being subjective and honest about my reviews.

This year they had another wide variety of Halloween-themed candy, from gum to chocolate to corn sticks. There were a few duplicates in the box this year when compared to the 2020s box, so while it was still good, I didn't like it as good as last year's box.

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Top 7 Things to see in Whitehorse

Whitehorse is the capital city of the Yukon and is home to approximately 70% of the territory's population or around 25,000 people. It's a small city, but it has all the modern amenities you need, such as Walmart, Canadian Tire, and Superstore. However, it is also the final vestibule of civilization before the desolate Klondike, so it can't help to also have things like bear-resistant garbage bins and the nickname "The Wilderness City".

I travelled to Whitehorse around Labour Day this past fall and was able to see a lot – but I also missed a lot too. Because winter comes so soon to the Yukon, their tourism season is only about 120 days long, ending in early September. The purpose for my trip to the Yukon was to see the fall colours, not necessarily to take in the local sights, but it was nevertheless disappointing to see many of them were closed.

One of the things I try to do on this blog is not review places I haven't been to. Because of this, I can't review places like Whitehorse's iconic MacBride Museum because I wasn't able to visit it. However, I will list other points of interest at the bottom of this article for people who visit the city during tourism season or who have better time management skills than me.

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Trending Articles About Canada


5 Weekend Destinations In Saskatchewan

The past few weeks have been really busy for me, with a lot more time at the office and a lot less time travelling. Thankfully, the weekend is just around the corner and with it comes the possibility of a two day vacation. Having traveled to Lac La Ronge earlier this month, I've been thinking more and more about these short trips and how rejuvenating they can be.

Unfortunately, I haven't done as much travelling around Saskatchewan as I'd like, so I wasn't sure what the best places to visit were. There were of course the obvious choices such as Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, but I wanted someplace remote, yet somewhat close. For this project I approached some of my fellow travel bloggers and I got some ideas of what to go do and see for a weekend. I went through their ideas and came up with this short list of 5 weekend destinations in Saskatchewan.

Thanks to TELUS' incredible network, sections of Saskatchewan that once never had coverage can now be fully explored while still being connected to your mobile device. No matter where you travel in Saskatchewan -- or even in Canada -- this summer, you can rely on TELUS' mobile network to keep you connected.

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8 Places to Visit in Quebec City

I was recently asked if I preferred my time in Montreal or Quebec City more, and while Montreal is a gorgeous city, decorated with thousands of green copper spires, hosts incredible festivals, has some of the most fantastic food I have ever tasted, and is spotted with beautiful parks, there was just something about Quebec City that spoke to me. Being over four hundred years old, Quebec City is one of the last remaining "walled cities" in North America, and is the only one north of Mexico.  Quebec City was the location of some of the greatest conflicts in Canadian history, including the Siege of Quebec by the British.

Belonging to three very different countries (France, England, and Canada) in its four hundred year existence, Quebec City is a mixing pot of old traditions, new ideas, cobblestone streets and modern architecture. Since there is so much to see in Quebec City, I figured I would narrow it down to a couple and let you discover the rest! Here is "8 Places to Visit in Quebec City".

(Looking for more things to do in Quebec City? Check out Lonely Planet's guide to Quebec City and Montreal!)

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7 Things You Didn't Know About Canada

I'm proudly Canadian, and I accept the fact that a lot of people know very little about my country. A lot of people also seem to think cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver "define" Canada. Just to set it straight, while these are beautiful cities, they don't represent the whole of Canada.

Being such a quiet country, we often keep our secrets to ourselves... and often from ourselves. This is a list of 7 things you -- and maybe other Canadians -- don't know about Canada.

Editor's Note: if you liked this article, but want more than just seven items, here is my 150 Facts About Canada article.

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100 Facts About Regina

In my December newsletter I said I wasn't going to write about Regina as much anymore and focus more on international locations, but after a friend of mine told me there was no "interesting history" in my city, I decided I had to write this just to prove them wrong!

Let me know in the comments if you know something I don't, or if I got something wrong! Historical facts seem to change overtime, after all!

I'm happy to present to you, on the 113 year of its existence, 100 Facts About Regina!

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Birthday Freebies in Regina

As of last week, I am officially in the final year of my 20s. That has me a little worried because they say it is the 30s when you are forced to finally grow-up... and I really do not want to do that. So, with that sense of impending doom in mind, I decided to embrace my inner child and find some birthday "freebies" around Regina.

There was just a pesky little pandemic in the way.

Because of this, I didn't feel it was right (or safe) to visit a dozen stores around the city, many of them restaurants, asking for free things. A lot of small businesses are hurting right now and asking for free things "just because" doesn't help them at all.

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8 Places to Visit in Montreal

Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".

Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.

Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada.  Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade.  The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.

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Trending Articles About the United States


Journey to Ted Bundy’s Cellar

There are three things Salt Lake City is known for: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ted Bundy and skiing. Since we talked about the former already, and I'm no good at the latter, you can probably guess what this article is about.

From 1974 to 1978 Ted Bundy kidnapped, murdered and raped young women and girls across the United States. Between 1974 and 1975, he spent much of his time killing in Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, with his base being in Salt Lake City.

Bundy moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah Law School, and left his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer in Seattle, Washington. However, he was not faithful to Kloepfer (besides the raping part) and would date at least a dozen other women while in Salt Lake City.

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What To Do in Historic Philadelphia

A few months ago I entered a contest for a trip for two to visit Philadelphia on Two Bad Tourists. Normally contests like this are limited to United States residents so when I saw this one was open to Canadians I jumped at the chance. I've never won something like this before, so I actually forgot about it until I got the emailing saying I had won. Two Bad Tourists then worked alongside Visit Philly to organise the trip for me and my mother to explore Philadelphia for three days. Visit Philly paid for our flights, hotels and gave us a VIP Pass to experience the city to our heart's content. It is thanks to them that this trip is possible.

Several movies and television shows have tried to capture the essence of Philadelphia over the years – from the boxing Blockbuster Rocky, to the paranormal thriller The Sixth Sense, to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and even Boy Meets World – but each described the city differently. There is no easy way to approach a city as dynamic as The City of Brotherly Love. With countless layers of art, history, religion and the paranormal, Philadelphia is a city unlike any other throughout the United States. 

One thing that surprised me the most about Philadelphia was the history. The city was founded and designed by William Penn, who is also the state of Pennsylvania's namesake. Born in London, England in 1644 he lived through The Great Fire of 1666 and The Great Plague of London from 1665-1666. Both events shaped Penn's life so he designed the city to be strictly stone buildings (to stop fires from spreading) and to have plenty of space between the buildings (as to prevent illness from spreading). This led to the older areas of the city to have winding corridors between old stone walls.

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The Haunting of Kay's Cross

If you're looking to visit the notorious Kay's Cross in Kaysville, Utah, you might be tempted to just wander down into the hollow and see it for yourself. However, the cross is on private property and the owners aren't a fan of trespassers. Legend says that the owners will shoot you if they catch you, but they told me they would just call the police instead.

Either way, access to the cross is $20 USD, or $28 CAD, and they only take cash. It's a much cheaper option than a trespassing fine or a trip to the hospital so I recommend this approach.

However, a lot of people still take the risk and visit the cross without permission. Kay's Cross – or the remains of Kay's Cross after it was mysteriously destroyed in 1992 – has become a beacon for the paranormal, both for investigators and for practicers alike. My guide told me that Satanists often visit the cross and perform rituals. Once, he even said he encountered a dark entity while down there.

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Inside Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shut its doors in 1970. A year later, in 1971, it would briefly reopen and house inmates from Holmesburg Prison after a devastating riot. After the prisoners were returned to Holmesburg, Eastern State would sit empty for over two decades. It would rot, decay and collapse. Trees and shrubs would grow into the structure and a clowder of cats would take residence. These hallowed halls would sit empty, the only noise being the chatter of startled birds and the trotter of feline paws.

The following decades would see various discussions of what to do with the building. Eventually, it was decided to preserve it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Although it officially opened for tours in 1994, attendants would have to sign a waiver and wear hardhats before entering until 2008. They had 10,000 visitors the opening year, a number of tourists not seen in the prison since 1858.

From 1829 to 1970, Eastern State Penitentiary underwent a variety of changes and transformations. This massive, sprawling, 11-acre complex was founded under the belief that solitary confinement was the cure needed to prevent criminals from committing future crimes. It was believed criminals who served in solitary confinement would turn to a higher power to reconcile with themselves for their crimes – hence feeling "penitent". To assist in this process, each cell was equipped with a slit window on the ceiling nicknamed "The Eye of God". It would be the only light source available to the inmate.

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Remembering Seneca Village

Seen as an urban oasis, Central Park has been featured in countless films, television shows, music videos and novels. It has been praised by thousands and is visited by millions every year. It has gone through several declines and revivals since it was created in 1857, but the park has nevertheless persevered, and is a personification of the determination and strength of New Yorkers.

The park has brought the city together in times of need, with the most memorable time being after the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. With the city torn, an influx of sympathetic volunteers arrived from around the world to assist with the cleanup, forming a miniature community in Central Park. Families seeking lost loved ones came into this community and hung posters by the thousands, looking for the three thousand plus missing people that were victims of the terrorist attack. This community brought safety, unity and reassurance to a city that needed it.

However, Central Park hasn't always brought people together, and in the 1850s it was responsible for driving away thousands in what is considered one of the most tragic events in early New York City history.

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24 Hours in Salt Lake City

I recently had 24 hours in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I really wish I had had more time. For those unfamiliar, Salt Lake City is the heart of Mormon country, and with this comes a lot of religion, history and lore. In fact, the Mormons – officially followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – have a major impact on all things Utahan. It's nearly impossible to walk around the city and not see some connection to Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, or Brigham Young, the man who lead the Mormons eastward from Carthage, Illinois.

Although I didn't have much time to explore the city, I noticed there was an overarching Mormon theme everywhere I went. This list only touches on a few of the places of interest I visited, so if you know of any more, please let me know about them in the comments below.

Towering over Salt Lake City is the Utah State Capitol. It was constructed between 1912 and ended in 1916. If those years seem like a strange time to be building a massive structure, keep in mind that the United States didn't enter the First World War until 1917. From 1912 – 1916 they had the resources and men to build something this impressive while the rest of the world did not.

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Trending Articles About Europe


Visiting Auschwitz

They say hope was the last thing to die in Auschwitz.

It's been just over 70 years since the Allies liberated the death camp and the horrors of the "Final Solution" were revealed to the world. Prior to their arrival, Auschwitz was the most effective death camp ever created, having taken the lives of over 1.1 million Jews.

Block 4 of Auschwitz holds the museum, explaining the best it can about what happened seven decades past. The museum explains what Auschwitz was originally built for – a camp for Polish prisoners of war – and how it became key to the Nazi's "Final Solution". The museum goes over the construction of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II (Birkenau) and Auschwitz III (Monowitz), the increased sizes and effectiveness of gas chambers and the factories of death that stood and smoked over the camp during its operation.

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Lucerne

I am writing this from a jail-cell in Lucerne, Switzerland.

But don't worry; I'm not in trouble or anything. Tonight we get to sleep in the Jailhotel. Jailhotel is a hotel that was made out of an old jail (if you hadn't already guessed that). The rooms are small, cramped and have wooden, creaky floors. The only furniture in the room is two beds, a sink, and a single wooden chair. Behind me is a small barred window, high up on the wall. My writing light is one single lone bulb hanging from the ceiling. The illusion of sleeping in a jail cell would be complete, except for the portable bathroom over in the corner, with white towels, a shower and a toilet. Ignore that, however, and you feel like you're actually in jail.

We left the Flower City at quarter to 8 this morning. Flip told us to sit in the front of the coach if we wanted a good view as we entered the Swiss Alps. It wouldn't have really mattered though, because an hour into the drive everybody on the coach was fast asleep -- including me.

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12 Things You Didn't Know About Helsinki

The following article was written by Patti Haus from I Heart Regina. Be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more awesome destinations!

We visited Helsinki the summer of 2015 for a week of friendly people, excellent food and tons of sunshine. Helsinki is the capital of Finland, which is the home of Santa Claus, reindeer, Nokia, and Angry Birds.

Here are 12 things I bet you didn't know about Helsinki Finland:

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What HBO Got Wrong About Chernobyl

Those who attended my Chernobyl lecture at the Queen City Collective earlier in May would have heard me singing praises about HBO's new miniseries Chernobyl, and for good reason. HBO did a fantastic job on the miniseries by immersing the audience into mid-1980s Soviet Ukraine and by peeling back the layers of the disaster.

With that said, there were some liberties HBO took while making the show. As somebody who spent two days in the Exclusion Zone in 2016, I know a thing or two about how the events unfolded, and a few parts of the miniseries weren't accurate.

Chernobyl began by tackling a nearly impossible task. The miniseries had to break down one of the largest cover-ups in human history. They had to show the devastation of the world's deadliest nuclear disaster and also highlight the many countless heroes who stepped up to make a difference. It's natural to expect HBO to simplify this – and they only had five episodes to do it. I don't blame them for some of these mistakes, but I felt they should be pointed out.

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St. Goar

We have arrived in Germany and St. Goar! Flip told us that German's have the lowest cultural pride in the world -- and I believe this. However, in my opinion, Germany is kind of like that weird kid at school that gets picked on for doing nothing (World War I and the Treaty of Versailles) and finally snaps (World War II), but is still found responsible for his actions.

Flip also told us how and why Hitler came to power, what happened to Berlin after the war, why the wall was built and why it fell in 1989. I learned all about this in history class and I know the majority of people lived through the falling of the Berlin Wall, so I don't think another history lesson is needed. After yesterday's rant, I don't think you'll want another lesson for a while.

Flip went over what we were doing the next few days in St. Goar, Munich and Innsbruck, Austria. We also got a copy of all he optional tours. The website didn't say anything about the group photo in Venice, nor the Venetian dinner we can have. We can also get our own t-shirts!

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The Statues of Piazza della Signoria

I'll never forget the first book I read by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. This novel, Brimstone, focuses on several businessmen who supposedly sold their soul to the devil to gain wealth and power. Things take a turn for the worst, however, when the businessmen begin to be killed off by some kind of demonic force. This thrilling mystery novel takes the heroes to Florence, Italy where they uncover something as dark as hell itself: the human soul.

I hadn't realized it while reading Brimstone, but Preston was actually writing two novels while living in Florence. While one was about a fictional devil, the other was about a real devil, "The Monster of Florence". The Monster killed for 17 years, and had almost twenty victims. He would kill lovers, mutilate the females and occasionally send pieces of them to the police. The Monster was never caught.

While living in Florence, Preston teamed up with Florencian journalist Mario Spezi, a man who had followed the killings since the beginning and knew more than anybody else about the Monster.  Together, the two journalists uncovered vast amounts of shady police work, missing evidence, unreliable witnesses, false testimonies, blatant accusations, innocent imprisonments, corrupted politics and Satanic rituals.

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Trending Articles Asia


Tokyo & Hong Kong

It wasn't even 4 o'clock when my alarm went off. I had packed everything the night before, so it was a quick shower, and quick goodbye to a sleepy Steve, and I was out the door by 5.

Alison, who throughout the trip was always two doors down from us, had also just left. I met up with her in the hallway and we walked down the main floor together. After yesterday, we both knew how to get around Tokyo, but nevertheless, waiting for us in the lobby was our tour guide. She came over and gave us a hug, and her business card. I never realized how hard it must be for tour guides, who travel and meet people from all over the world, then say goodbye and never meet them again. Siako said she teaches English when she's not touring, so I wonder if she's doing that now.

She told us how to get to the subway system, and we parted ways for the last time. Alison and I walked a few blocks to the station, and waited. It was the first train of the day, and there were hardly anybody else there.

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Himeji

Today I woke up, and skipped the shower. I normally don't do that, but the lodge didn't have any warm water, except for the bath water from last night which, but that had long been drained.

I brushed up, did my hair and went down to the morning meditation service. During the service, each member of the group would ring an iron cauldron with a metal hammer. Then each person sprinkled some scented dust into the smoldering incense and asked Buddha for enlightenment.

After the service, we excited the lodge and walked a building down the street and participated in the fire ceremony. Unlike the calm chanting of the first service, this one involved an ever growing fire, with much louder chanting. But like the first service, we participated in this one as well. Each member of the group was given a piece of wood and we were to write one thing we wanted to improve on in our lives on it. We then handed it to the monks, and they burned them all together, sending our wishes into the universe.

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Miyajima

We took the train from the restaurant in Hiroshima about a half hour outside of the city to a port, and then crossed on a ferry to Miyajima island.

Most temples in Japan are structures, but Miyajima is different. In this case, the whole island is considered a temple. There's a temple on the island too, but in this case the island is the temple, as is the water surrounding it, so all must be treated with care (but we can, thankfully, wear our own shoes while in this temple!).

Another interesting thing about this island is it's paper-eating inhabitants: deer. Very friendly, very adorable, very aggressive deer. Arriving on the island, each person is given a map of the island. Occasionally people drop these maps and the deer will eat them. In fact, the deer will often go after the maps while people are still holding them!

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Hiroshima

Hiroshima did not disappoint.

(Editor's Note: If you wish to sign a petition to help make the future nuclear free, please check out The Atom Project. Thank you.)

After a quick, non-complimentary breakfast, we boarded the train from our hotel and rode it for about 20 minutes, arriving at the A-Bomb (as in Atomic Bomb) Dome. It was so incredible to see. Back in 1945, the building was a landmark of the city. It was a famous dance hall, where performances and shows would often take place. Now it's a landmark for a completely different reason. Now there are no cries of joys or folk music coming from the structure. There is nothing but a haunting quiet that hangs around the burnt, dilapidated stone structure. The structure demanded silence; as if speaking too loud would cause it to finally collapse.

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The Mountain Village of Koyasan

I awoke at 5 this morning and hustled to the subway station. From there we took a commercial train an hour and a half outside of the city. Then we took a rail car half an hour up a mountain. Then we took a bus for 45 minutes. And then we walked for 10 more minutes.

During this excursion, we had lots of time to view the Japanese landscape. We saw misty mountains, farms, with lakes and forests, and everything in between. I even saw a deer from the rail car, casually watching us roll past it. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but growing up I always thought Japan was coast-to-coast cities, with no nature remaining, let alone with fully inhabited forests! Words cannot explain the lush waterfalls, the greenery or the plant life. It was like a rain-forest!

Arriving in Koyasan, we went to our Buddhist Lodge. It's exactly what you imaged a lodge would be like: rice screen doors, waterfalls next to the rooms, trees, nature inches away. A very earthy, yet clean, experience. And best of all, no mosquitoes!

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Kyoto - The Storm

I was able to sleep in today, and woke up at 8am. I quickly showered, ignored the hotel's "bring an umbrella" warning, and began my first free day out on the town. My first stop on my trip was one I happened to discover before I came to Japan; the Headquarter's of the video-game giant Nintendo.

I didn't know how to get there from my hotel, so I asked the lady at the front desk. Although she had decent English, she had no idea what I was asking. I wrote it down and she googled it, and came back with a map. She explained what subway to get onto, how many stops to take, and how to get from the subway to the HQ and back. I thanked her, and left.

Leaving the subway station, it didn't take me long to see the top of the building from afar. However, it was much more difficult navigating the winding streets to get to it. Add to that, the sky was overcast and there was a very distant rumble coming from the clouds. It was either because I misunderstood the seriousness of the thundering clouds, or because it was obvious I had no idea where I was going, but a Japanese man who's English was comparable to my Japanese buzzed his car over, ran up to me and asked if I needed help. I showed him my map and he gestured to his little Japanese car to get in; he would take me there. My mother told me to never get into vehicles with strangers, but I sized up the small man who I was about a foot taller and about 100 pounds heavier than he, so I got in his car.

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Christmas Gifts for the Traveller in Your Life

Is there a traveller in your life? Somebody who loves exploring new places, trying new foods, driving long distances for a picture and who will yammer on and on about their travels if you let them?

For the first time in Kenton de Jong Travel history I decided to put together a list of gifts you can get the traveller in your life. Many of these gifts I own, so I can testify that they are worth investing in.

Many of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you buy the products I recommend, I may get a little financial kickback.

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Top 7 Things to see in Whitehorse

Whitehorse is the capital city of the Yukon and is home to approximately 70% of the territory's population or around 25,000 people. It's a small city, but it has all the modern amenities you need, such as Walmart, Canadian Tire, and Superstore. However, it is also the final vestibule of civilization before the desolate Klondike, so it can't help to also have things like bear-resistant garbage bins and the nickname "The Wilderness City".

I travelled to Whitehorse around Labour Day this past fall and was able to see a lot – but I also missed a lot too. Because winter comes so soon to the Yukon, their tourism season is only about 120 days long, ending in early September. The purpose for my trip to the Yukon was to see the fall colours, not necessarily to take in the local sights, but it was nevertheless disappointing to see many of them were closed.

One of the things I try to do on this blog is not review places I haven't been to. Because of this, I can't review places like Whitehorse's iconic MacBride Museum because I wasn't able to visit it. However, I will list other points of interest at the bottom of this article for people who visit the city during tourism season or who have better time management skills than me.

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How to Hike Tombstone Territorial Park

I remember when I first heard of Tombstone Territorial Park. I was working on my "Instagramming Canada" series a few years ago and was searching through piles of photos from around the territory to feature in it. Prior to that, I didn't know what to expect when I was scrolling through pictures of the Yukon, but what I saw took my breath away.

To this day, I remember the photo. It was a beautiful, onyx lake with towering black mountains around it, cutting across a silvery-white sky. On the shore of the lake were round, coloured rocks, that almost looked like spheres.

I immediately wanted to know where this place was and discovered it was Grizzly Lake, in Tombstone Territorial Park, one of the most northern parks in Canada.

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