I would like to thank According to Zascha for nominating me for the Liebster Award! I've never been nominated for something, so this is really exciting! For those who don't know, the Liebster Award is an award for bloggers to become better known. Blogging requires a lot of hard work and dedication, so it's nice to get some kind of recognition
How this works is that the person who nominated you asks 11 questions, and then you pick 5 bloggers and ask them another 11 questions. It's pretty simple, so let's get to it!
1. What made you start traveling?
My parents often took me traveling when I was young, and it was common to go camping once or twice a year. We would always try to go somewhere different too, like to a different lake or a different national park. I started traveling by myself after high-school when I took a trip to Kingston, Ontario for the NEXT Generation Leaders conference. Here I met people from all over the world, and I was inspired to visit all of their countries like they had visited mine.
2. What's your favourite country?
Canada is of course my favourite country, and I could talk all about this place for days on end, but my favourite foreign country would either be Japan or Switzerland.
3. What country would you never want to visit and why?
I can't really think of any country I don't want to visit. Naturally, some would be more dangerous to go to, like Iraq or Libya, so I would probably visit those last, but I can't think of anywhere I wouldn't like to go and experience. I just want to go everywhere!
4. Worst food experience abroad?
I've eaten some weird things. I've had frozen, deep fried and mushed tofu, I've had fish balls, I've had fish eggs, I've had horse, I've had ox tongue, I've had sushi, I've had rabbit, I've had a whole bunch of strange dishes, and while I didn't always like them all, none of them were too terrible. I'd say my worst food experience was when I was about 13 and I went to Disneyland. We stopped at a diner after our day at the park and the next morning I had severe food poisoning. It wasn't just me, but my sister and aunt as well. I'll save you the graphic details, but it was an experience I would never like to relive.
5. What's number 1 on your bucket list?
I actually did an article all about my bucket list! My number one location would be Chernobyl and Pripyat in Ukraine! I love nuclear stuff, and this city void of human life would be an adventure of a lifetime for me!
6. What's your worst travel experience?
I would say the worst experience I've ever had was when I was in the subway in Paris. I was in no rush to take the subway so I was taking my time using the ticket dispenser. I don't speak or read French, and a homeless man saw me looking at the machine in confusion. He approached me and helped me with the machine. After I got my ticket he asked for my change, but I didn't want his help, and I could have managed without it, so I said no. As I walked away, he began shouting insults at me and called me a "stupid American asshole".
7. Nomadic life? Or travelling whilst having a home base somewhere?
A nomadic lifestyle would be amazing, but I haven't figured out the key to making money on the road yet. For now, I'll probably travel with a home base back here in Regina. It would be cool to have a home base somewhere where there are more countries though, like in Ireland or Ukraine, but for now Canada will do just fine.
8. What’s your number 1 travel tip?
I did an article about this too! My number one travel tip is to always carry the business card of your hotel with you. You might not speak the local language, and if you need to take a taxi and you're lost, you can flash the card to the driver and they will know exactly where to take you. This helped me substantially when I first arrived in Hong Kong, only I didn't have a business card: I had my hotel booking confirmation printed out. Anything with an address will do!
9. Traveling solo or traveling with a partner/friends/family?
It's like you read my blog! I prefer traveling with other people. Solo traveling has its benefits, but it's also dangerous, especially if you're a bit over-trusting like me and you often make basic traveling mistakes. If I had had somebody with me, then maybe they would have reminded me the power outlets in London will explode if I use my hair straightener in them, or not to leave my umbrella in my hotel while in Kyoto when Typhoon Halong was approaching landfall.
Also, most importantly, post-travel depression is a serious problem, and it helps to travel with other people to ease the pain of returning to your everyday life.
10. The most overrated place/country/attraction?
I would say Mt. Rushmore is the more overrated attraction I've ever seen. My parents took me there when I was younger, but I wasn't very impressed. There is a huge walk-way leading up to it, displaying dozens of American flags. The United States are very proud of it, but when you reach the zenith to look at the mountain, it's disappointing. It's impressive knowing it was done by hand, but for a 10-year-old boy, it wasn't that interesting at all. It's also really far away, which I was surprised to see.
11. The most underrated place/country/attraction?
This might be cliche, but the most underrated place in the world is your own backyard. Every city in the world has it's own brilliant history and it's own unique structures. If I've learned anything from my exploration around Regina for my upcoming piece, it's that if you ask, there is always somebody with a story to tell. Simply asking can lead you to extraordinary places, like underground crypts, abandoned jail cells, hidden museums or clock towers. People spent thousands of dollars a year traveling the world, but they seem to forget about the city they live in, and the incredible history that made it what it is today.
My nominated bloggers are as follows (if any of you have already done this, you don't have to do it again.):
1. Where are you from?
2. When and why did you start your blog?
3. If you could start it all over again, what would you have done differently?
4. What is one destination you have always dreamed of going to?
5. If it isn't already, would you blog professionally, given the opportunity?
6. What was the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
7. What piece of advice do you have for other bloggers?
8. What social media platform are you most active on? Why?
9. You leave on a month long trip tomorrow morning. How do you spend your last night at home?
10. If there's a loved one in your life, how do you communicate with them while traveling? Through letters, Skype, or some other way?
11. Some people take their pets traveling with them. Would you ever consider doing that?
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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If you've ever passed through Medicine Hat, or you're spending a few days in the area, you've probably wondered what to do there. To most people outside the city, Medicine Hat might seem like a sleepy little prairie town in the Canadian Badlands; but for those who live in Hell's Basement, they'll tell you that this city is one of the most exciting places you can explore in all of Alberta.
I've gone to Medicine Hat three times in the past two years, and while I'm no expert on this thriving city, I know where the hidden gems are. If someone I know is passing through the area, I tell them they need to visit Medicine Hat. To help explain why, I put an article together for anyone else interested in visiting the Hat.
If you're spending 24 hours in Medicine Hat, you'll need somewhere to sleep. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a little under an hour away and a great place to camp. Camping in Cypress gives you the choice to explore the park, the city, and everywhere in between.
Cemeteries are a place of solace. All people, regardless of wealth, status, religion or creed are equals within a cemetery. It's a place of remembrance, respect and reconciliation. If you visit a cemetery, you are visiting the graves of lost loved ones. These may be children, pioneers, rebels or everyday people. Every grave has a story, and all are longing to be told.
Because of this, cemeteries are a library of knowledge. They hold the lessons of our past, and the wisdom of our future. As the leaves change and the days get shorter, cemeteries attract a much different crowd than that of just historians and family members. With autumn crisp in the air, cemeteries fill with thrill-seekers and paranormal believers. There is a fine line between what is and isn't acceptable within a cemetery and those who dabble into the affairs of the afterlife know this all too well. Few people go into cemeteries looking to disrespect the graves; instead, most are just hoping they can answer their own questions about life after death.
Not all cemeteries are haunted, but each holds their own stories. Keep this in mind while you read this article. If you end up visiting any of these sites, remember to step softly, speak quietly and respect the surrounding graves. You might not be as alone as you think.
The Island of the Dolls is in Xochimilco, a borough south of Mexico City. While it would be faster to take a car from Mexico City to Xochimilco, the traffic is dense and the roads are very congested. Instead, if you're going there, I'd recommend taking metro, which is easy and the cheapest in the world. What you gain in comfort, however, you lose in speed, as the train ride takes about 2 hours.
Mexico City and Xochimilco both sit in the Valley of Mexico. Until about a millennium ago, the whole region around Mexico City was surrounded by a massive body of water. Over the centuries due to both climate change and interference by humans, most of this water has dried up, for the exception of Xochimilco. With networks of canals crisscrossing the borough, car transportation is difficult and water transportation is essential. I'm sure there were motorized boats somewhere in the waters of Xochimilco, but I never saw any. Instead, canoes and rafts are common on the water. However, the most popular vessel is a trajinera – a colourful gonadal-like boat that is pushed along the water with a wooden pole.
Xochimilco is known worldwide for their Floating Gardens market, which are essentially canoes floating down the canals, selling wares to tourists on trajineras. These include things like food, drinks, silver rings, trinkets, ponchos and sombreros. Occasionally other trajineras full of Mariachi bands will approach tourists and offer to play beside them on the water.