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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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.
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.
Although the hot summer days of July are long behind us, 2017 is still Canada's 150th year. In honour of Canada's sesquicentennial birthday, I decided to put together a list of 150 things about Canada. This list talks about our quirkiness, our strengths, our weakness, and our legacy, for better and for worse. There are some sad facts, some odd facts and some facts that will probably make you open another tab to look into for yourself.
Hope you enjoy this list, and I hope you all had a great 2017!
1. Canada's two official languages are French and English, but only 20.6% of Canadians speak French.