When I started getting serious about my landscape photography, one of the first accessories I wanted to add to my kit was a set of ND Filters that would allow me to get the best image in camera that I could. This is always something I have been striving for. The more I can achieve in camera the less time I have to spend on post production. My current Formatt-Hitech filters allow me to accomplish this. But it wasn't ...
How to Improve your Photography with Filters
When I started getting serious about my landscape photography, one of the first accessories I wanted to add to my kit was a set of ND Filters that would allow me to get the best image in camera that I could. This is always something I have been striving for. The more I can achieve in camera the less time I have to spend on post production. My current Formatt-Hitech filters allow me to accomplish this.
But it wasn’t always like this. When I purchased my first set of filters, which were Cokin, I really just went for what was the cheapest. I couldn’t really understand why people were spending money on higher end filters. I thought they were basically all the same: A mistake that I think a lot of beginning photographers can make.
But let me tell you this…there is a HUGE difference in the quality of filters and a very good reason to spend money on them if you are serious about landscape or travel photography.
Neutral Density filters add a whole new dimension to your photography.
The main difference I found was the colour cast. A lot of the more inexpensive filters can cause a magenta or blue cast to the images. This is no big deal if you shoot black and white but it can be a nightmare when shooting colour especially with the graduated filters.
Before I get into all of this lets take a look at the different types of filters and what they do.
What is a Neutral Density Filter?
Neutral Density (or ND) filters are either resin or glass and are designed to reduce the amount of light entering the camera, which creates the need for an increase in your exposure time, but at the same time giving no change in the colour or hue of the image.
Why would you want to slow down your shutter speed? Well maybe you want that silky water look or to show the motion of clouds in the sky. What ND filters do is allow you to have more control over light, and thus give you more control over the image.
There are 2 different types of graduated filters out there, hard edge and soft edge. I prefer the soft edge as they allow a more gradual transition.
I really fell in love with my Soft Edge Gradual ND filters and use them often. Soft edge are my favourite because they allow for a more natural looking transition. It’s perfect for scenes that have no defined horizon lines as well as those that do. That is why it is such a versatile filter. Mostly I use it to balance scenes where one part of the image (usually the sky) is brighter than another part of the image. By balancing out the scene with these ND filters it gives me a more true rendition of the scene in front of me.
Using the Formatt-Hitech Soft Edge Graduated ND Filter to balance the sky in Ireland.
How it improved my photography: Before using the Soft Edge ND filters I would shoot multiple exposures and then digitally blend them in my post production work flow. By using the GND filters it is one less thing that I have to do in post and saves me a lot of time. Now, with usually a little bit of dodging to the foreground I can achieve a perfectly balanced image.
I use this filter primarily for sunsets and sunrises when the brightest part of the scene is at the horizon line. It differs from a regular Graduated filter, that starts darker at the top and gets lighter at the bottom. The RGND is darkest in the middle and the transitions to clear very fast near the bottom. It also fades gradually towards the top of the filter which helps in balancing the sky. This allows me to better balance out sunrise and sunset scenes.
Using the Formatt-Hitech Reverse ND Grad allowed me to balance out this scene.
How it improved my photography: This has been a real time saver for me. By using this filter to hold the highlights in a sunset or sunrise situation I am better able to control the dynamic range of those scenes. Instead of shooting multiple exposures and reconstructing the scene in post I can come away with a better base image to work with.
This is my go-to filter for late afternoon and cloudy conditions. I also use it in late morning when the sun is a little higher in the sky. It reduces the light entering the camera by 6 stops. I find this an incredibly versatile ND filter for travel photography. I also use it for cityscapes and waterfalls or moving water. It allows me slow down the shutter speed and achieve that silky water feel. It is a big bonus that the Prostop IRND coating on this particular filter reduces the colour cast to almost nothing.
Using the Formatt-Hitech Pro Stop 6 IRND filter allowed me to capture the silky water during the day by slowing my shutter speed.
How it improved my photography: The introduction of the ProStop 6 IR has allowed me to take my photography to new creative levels. Giving me another tool in my arsenal to control light and add more creativity into my photography. Whether it be smoothing out water or making silky skies with moving clouds it has introduced an element of motion to my photography that wasn’t there before.
A polarizer is a must have in any travel or landscape photographers kit.It has so many uses. You can use it to lighten and darken blue skies, get rid of reflections in glass, and water, and saturate or de-saturate the greens and blues in a scene: All in one filter. I also use it in conjunction with my other filters to help reduce the light entering the camera by about 1.5 stops. So as you can see you can cover so many bases with just one filter.
By using the Formatt-Hitech Circular Polarizer I was able to really punch up the greens in this photo.
How it improved my photography: I have always had a polarizer as part of my photography kit but using the 105mm Circular Polarizer in conjunction with my other filters by screwing it onto the front of the filter holder has allowed me to use the benefits of a polarizer along side my other filters.
What I love about the system is how easy it is to use and how versatile it is. Because the holder itself attaches onto an adaptor ring, it can be easily rotated to adjust the position of the filter without any effort. It is a little hard to explain but once you put it all together it really becomes evident how easy this modular system is.
The second piece of the system is the adaptor rings that come in all different sizes to fit many different lenses. They also come in standard and wide angle which are set back a little more to assist with vignetting when using wider angle lenses. So no matter what lens you are using there is something that will fit.
My filter Kit
100x150mm (4×6″) Resin Neutral Density Reverse Grad 0.6 (2 Stops)
100x100mm (4×4″) Resin ProStop IRND 6 (6 Stops)
100x150mm (4×6″) Resin Neutral Density Grad Soft Edge 0.6 (2 Stops)
100x150mm (4×6″) Resin Neutral Density Grad Soft Edge 0.9 (3 Stops)
105mm Circular Polarizer
The Formatt-Hitech Filter system has allowed me to take my photography to a whole new level. I can now be more creative with less effort. I have been really impressed with the construction and optical quality of the filters. There has been no loss of image quality and lens flares have not been a problem either.
Overall I think that if you are looking to take your photography to that next level or are just looking for a quality filter kit, these Formatt-Hitech filters definitely fit the bill. Also they have just released a new coating system called Firecrest which I am excited to check out and see how they perform alongside the Pro Stop IRND series.
New Zealand is probably one of the most photogenic country's on earth. There's a reason Peter Jackson came back again and again to film his epic trilogies, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in his home country. It does feel like you are passing through the set of a movie when traveling the country. Each corner you turn changes into a completely different scene. From jagged glacial mountains to long sandy beaches, New Zealand is a feast ...
33 Reasons you will want to Visit New Zealand right now
New Zealand is probably one of the most photogenic country’s on earth. There’s a reason Peter Jackson came back again and again to film his epic trilogies, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in his home country. It does feel like you are passing through the set of a movie when traveling the country. Each corner you turn changes into a completely different scene. From jagged glacial mountains to long sandy beaches, New Zealand is a feast for the eyes. There are many reasons to visit New Zealand including adventure travel, hiking, water sports, and culture but for me, capturing the beauty of its diverse scenery was what made it so memorable.
The Sun sets on a beach near Oamaru on the South Island, New Zealand
The Church of the Good Shepherd on Lake Tekapo on the South Island, New Zealand
Gazing over Queenstown, New Zealand art night. The Remarkables in the background.
Sunrise on the The Moeraki Boulders on the Otago coast of New Zealand
The mighty cliffs of Milford Sound, New Zealand
The sky explodes in colour on the South Island of New Zealand.
Enjoying the beauty of Abel Tasman by Kayak.
Hiking the Fox Glacier in New Zealand
The turquoise glacial waters of the South Island, New Zealand
Standing on the edge of the Thermal Pools of Rotorua, New Zealand
All roads lead to beauty in New Zealand
Taking a moment to enjoy the sunset on the South Island of New Zealand.
Swimming with Dolphins off the coast of the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand
The harsh but beautiful landscape of the Tongariro Crossing on the North Island of New Zealand
The Tranquil beauty of Lake Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand.
Watching whales fluke in Kaikoura, New Zealand
Waters rage at Huka Falls on the Waikato River, near Taupo, New Zealand
Just taking in the beauty of New Zealand
The Pancake rocks of Punakaiki, New Zealand
Sunset on the shores of an unnamed lake outside of Queenstown, New Zealand
Sunrise over “Mount Doom” on the Tongariro Crossing.
A long but beautiful walk up Fox Glacier.
The Mirror lakes near Huka Falls, New Zealand
Random beauty in the New Zealand forest.
A roadside stop in New Zealand. Epic landscapes surround you.
Milford Sound can sure make you feel small.
Walking through Mother Natures canvas on the North Island of New Zealand.
Rafting the Rangitata River in New Zealand.
A perfect afternoon in Abel Tasman.
Sunrise kisses the mountains near Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand.
Stretching the wings in the later afternoon light
Another crazy looking pool in Rotarua, New Zealand
Making our way over the 19.6km Tongariro Crossing on the North Island
For more on a visit to New Zealand check out our destinations page where you can learn more about the country.
It's been awhile since we gave people an update on Dave's two fractured vertebrae. The last update was his open letter to my travel family. We both received so much support from everyone it was overwhelming. It has been two months of highs and lows and here is a little recap of what we've been up to. Read: An Open Letter to my Travel Family, a thank you from Dave Dave spent 18 days in hospital and ...
Hospital Hassles and the Road to Recovery
It’s been awhile since we gave people an update on Dave’s two fractured vertebrae. The last update was his open letter to my travel family. We both received so much support from everyone it was overwhelming. It has been two months of highs and lows and here is a little recap of what we’ve been up to.
Dave spent 18 days in hospital and another two weeks at home using a walker. By the time Christmas holidays were in full swing, he had cast aside his walker and was walking on his own. We were elated when he took his first walk outside. It was a short jaunt down the road, but it was the start of a quick recovery. A physiotherapist visited our home for four weeks and by the beginning of January he was doing out patient physiotherapy at the hospital.
Hospital Trials and Tribulations
I can’t say that everything went smoothly. There are a lot of bumps in the road when it comes to Canadian health care. There was a delay flying home from Peru because there weren’t any hospital beds here in Ontario. We’ve learned that hospitals are understaffed and it is affecting Canadians in need of health care. Woodstock hospital finally took us, but they didn’t have a spinal department, so we were stuck with rotating Dr’s discussing Dave’s condition with doctors in London.
Getting on the flight home to Canada
When Dave first arrived at the hospital from Peru, he was in really rough shape. He hadn’t had a bowel movement or eaten for days. The heavy narcotic medication that they had him on in Peru wreaked havoc on his system. There are a lot of side effects to narcotics and he should have been on other medication to stabilize his system and alleviate discomfort. But they just kept pumping him full of painkillers.
When he arrived in Woodstock, he suffered greatly at first until until my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. Heather is a nurse with 20 years experience here in Canada and the U.S. She told me that he should be on IV and that they should be explaining the side effects of his medication. Her words were, this is unacceptable. I had to complain to the nurses to get him on IV as he was severely dehydrated, they said they’d talk to the doctor.
They didn’t give an IV until the following day. That night, Dave threw up blood and had severe pain in bowels and back because of the pressure from no bowel movement. The laxatives they were giving him weren’t working because he hadn’t eaten, he was dehydrated, and the pressure on his back due to his bowels was unbearable. Plus, they were giving everything to him orally and he couldn’t keep it down. He felt so sick.
I tried to get Dave to eat something
The next morning I saw the nurses talking to the doctor about their concern that Dave wasn’t doing any better and that he was sweating profusely. The doctor shrugged them off saying “his blood tests are fine, he’s fine.” I lost it and said he should figure out why Dave’s doing so poorly. I know my husband and he doesn’t complain about things lightly. I yelled at him and told him that Dave had been flat on his back in Peru for 8 days being pumped full of painkillers, and hadn’t eaten anything for 4 days. Plus he was severely constipated and had only 1 bowel movement during his 8 day stay in Peru. We need to get this figured out now. And then I used the word “Buddy” I don’t know why, but I called Dave’s Dr. Buddy. “You need to figure this out Buddy!”
Needless to say, we demanded a new doctor and got one. (To this doctor’s credit, he did apologize to Dave later.)
This new doctor was great. Dave was on IV that morning, and he came in to explain why Dave was suffering so much. He talked to us about the side effects of the medication and he told Dave that he would add Gravol to control his nausea. Plus, he would add more pain medication every two hours above and beyond his current dose. We didn’t know that the medication he was on yesterday was slow acting and that it would take 24 hours to get into his system. He also said that once he is hydrated the stool softener would start to work and he would finally have that much needed bowel movement. Once all the medication kicks in and he’s stabilized, he’ll start to feel better and they will send in a therapist to get him mobile as soon as possible.
Dave sitting up for the first time, two days later
We learned that with a fractured back that is stable, you should move as soon as you can. As the nurses said “If you don’t use it, you lose it”
By the way, Dave went to a gastroenterologist in January and she confirmed that he had a bleeding ulcer due to his medication in Peru and that is why he threw up blood, and that throwing up blood is never a good thing. (Take that bad doctor!)
Once he gained his mobility he started to recover quickly. Two days earlier he looked like death, but soon he had colour back in his face, he was standing up and walking a bit and eating a healthy dose of food. After a week, they discharged him quickly and suddenly.
Got his appetite back after a couple of days yay!
I was really happy to have him home, but once again, if it weren’t for my sis Heather, I wouldn’t have had any clue what to do. If Heather didn’t give us advice on making sure we met with the CCAC and to contact home medical care, we would have gone home with nothing. I swear they would have discharged us from the hospital and not given us any means to take care of ourselves.
As it turned out, we had a walker and high toilet seat delivered to our house, we had home physiotherapy set up and we were sent home with three weeks of medication until we could see our own doctor to get the prescription refilled.
We were so relieved when we got home. We set up the house to make it comfortable for Dave and felt like it was smooth sailing.
That is until we received a call from the pharmacy that the doctor prescribed the wrong dosage and that they can’t fill the prescription by law. I said I’d call the hospital and that’s when the pharmacist replied, “I already did and they said it’s not our problem, he’s already been discharged.” That was unacceptable so I called the hospital in hysterics and told them what happened. They weren’t very co-operative at first and said that there was nothing they could do. The pharmacist should be able to dispense the dosage. Well, I talked to my sister and she said, “no, pharmacists have strict guidelines especially for narcotics and they work differently than hospitals. In the hospital they can split up doses to make them work, when the pharmacy fills it ,it has to be exactly as the doctor orders. Well, 7.5 mg is not a dosage for Dave’s medication. It needed to be written out as 3 and 4.5. What a hassle.
Luckily the pharmacist said she will fill one dose for the night and one for the morning so that Dave wouldn’t have to suffer in agony but we’d have to get it figured out the next day. After several phone calls and angry conversations, we got our medication at about 5pm the next evening. Dave was set for the next three weeks anyway.
Dave’s medicine regime over the holidays
Dave received home care physiotherapy for four weeks where she worked on giving him some gentle exercises. She told him that he really can’t do too much until his bones are healed which takes about 6 weeks. So, with over 2 weeks in the hospital and four weeks of Physiotherapy, his six weeks were up and he was ready for outpatient physiotherapy.
We had to fight to get Dave physiotherapy which was frustrating. Our home care nurse and CCAC assistants should have been working on this for the entire month, but on Dave’s last day of physio she informed him that she can’t get him in and that he’ll have to go to a private clinic and pay. I looked it up on the Internet saw that he was qualified for coverage as he had spent at least one night in the hospital for a spinal injury. (18 to be exact)
A few days later the hospital called and said he’d need a note for physio from our physician. I was livid as our Dr. was closed for the holidays and we saw him just a week earlier to get his prescription filled. We could have asked him for a referral had we been told he needed one.
Once again I found myself yelling and taking my frustration out on the poor nurse on the other end of the phone. I especially lost it when she said that our home care nurse could have written the note and should have supplied us with the referring hospital Dr’s. note. I was like “we asked her all about this and she didn’t seem to know what to do to get us into out patient physiotherapy.” She said we may need to pay for a private clinic. I freaked out (yet again) and I guess my freak out paid off because the next week, the nurse called back and said that she pursued Dave’s dr from his hospital stay and got him the referral.
He’s now been to three out patient sessions at the hospital and is doing so well the nurse told Dave she doesn’t need to see him for two weeks!
Dave goes for his first walk outside
Back in Action
So we are now happy to announce that Dave is back in action. As of today, he has officially stopped taking his pain medication – Feel bad for him, he is in a bit of pain and suffering a bit of withdrawl and is working on strengthening his muscles surrounding the spine to reduce future pain. He met with the orthopedic surgeon last week and was told that his bones are nearly healed and that he doesn’t have to go back for another appointment. He was also told that his ulcer is fine and that he won’t need to worry about that either. He is going to make a full recovery!
We’ve been going for walks nightly, be it outside or to one of my mom’s walking videos inside. On really icy evenings, I don’t want to take the chance of having Dave slip and re-injure himself.
Visit from Travel Friends
On January 10th we had the most pleasant surprise when a group of travel friends hopped in their cars and took a road trip out to my parents place here in Woodstock. It was so generous of them to give up their Saturday afternoon and evening and spend it trekking two hours out of the city to wish Dave a happy recovery. The visit lifted our spirits and left us with a lot of food to eat over the rest of the weekend.
Our friends from Toronto Travel Massive
The holidays were a welcome change from constant travel and we spent our time relaxing, visiting friends and family and catching up on our favourite TV shows. We also caught up on a lot of work editing photos and videos and making plans for 2015.
Now that Dave is back in action, we are beginning to think about travels again. In the coming months, we’ll be crossing Canada for a media tour discussing travel safety on behalf of Sanofi Pasteur, we’re then speaking at the Outdoor Adventure Show on behalf of Outdoor Ontario and then we’re traveling to Alberta, The Caribbean and Hawaii before we settle in Spain and Europe for a couple of months.
Speaking at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show
It sounds busy, but this is all taking place between now and the end of April. (Plus, two travels are finishing up a couple of obligations left over from last year that had to be postponed due to Dave’s injury) We have decided to slow down a lot in 2015, and take things much slower. Dave’s injury was an eye opener and we have realized that we don’t have to be in high gear day in day out. We are instead going to get back to our roots of slow travel where we take our time and enjoy the moment. It’s going to be a all about giving ourselves time to craft great content and video before moving on to the next project or destination. Because life is short, anything can happen, and you have to follow your passion and do what’s right in your heart.
Weren't we supposed to have more time in life with the invention of computers and technology? People have visions of four-hour work weeks and spending more time with family, but it seems impossible as demands grow. I don't know about you, but as technology progresses we're wondering where our days go? We like to think of ourselves as a very organized people. We're focused, we make lists and we stick to a schedule. Unfortunately we have ...
8 Tips on how you can effectively manage your time online
Weren’t we supposed to have more time in life with the invention of computers and technology? People have visions of four-hour work weeks and spending more time with family, but it seems impossible as demands grow. I don’t know about you, but as technology progresses we’re wondering where our days go? We like to think of ourselves as a very organized people. We’re focused, we make lists and we stick to a schedule. Unfortunately we have found that our workload has grown so much over the years, that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done no matter how diligent we are at doing our work. We’ve often joked, “A travel blogger’s work is never done.” And that’s the truth. When you run your own online business there is always work to be done. There is always something on the “to do” list whether you are traveling or not. We run multiple facets of our business including writing for the blog, editing photos and videos, running social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, StumbleUpon, writing for our partners, taking meetings, and developing campaigns. If we tried to get the list completely done every day, we’d have a nervous breakdown.
Manage time and enjoy life
Last year, we had a long hard look at our future. As much as we love our careers in travel, we realized that we cannot keep up the pace of running our business and traveling non-stop. We were juggling the blog with endless busy travels hopping from one place to another week after week. We realized that we want to have our health and happiness to be able to continue be travel bloggers for a very long time. We love this career and we don’t want to burn out. When I think about what we accomplished last year, all while criss crossing the globe, I realized that we are really great at time management. People have often asked us how we do it all. And we’ve always said, when we are working, we keep focused and don’t get distracted. While last year was a very busy year, I look back and see that we optimized our time online, got our work done, and managed to grow and build our business. Now that we have made a conscious choice to slow our travels down, we’ve managed to have a life and get our work done too.
How to Manage your time online
It’s really not difficult to manage your time online, you just have to have a strategy. We thought we’d share our strategy with you to help you make more time in your day for family and friends while still accomplishing your online goals and dreams.
This is our schedule when we are not traveling. I’ll write another post on how to optimize time when doing an intensive travel schedule.
Social Media Schedule
1. Have a social media schedule and curate content to go out at specific times.
Dave and I have a schedule and we keep to it. We sat down and went through all our analytics to find the optimal times to post on our social media channels. We then take the morning to schedule the posts we want to go out each for each time slot of each day. If we have extra time, we’ll try to do a couple of days in advance. If we are about to leave on a trip, we will sit down for a few hours and schedule out the week. We keep our Google spreadsheet open with times that we need to send out tweets and when we find something worth tweeting or retweeting, we schedule it at that time. We have specific times that our own posts, photos, and quotes go out and then we intersperse great content that we see on the internet.
For the rest of the day, we’ll pop in and out to interact with our friends and followers. But once it’s all scheduled, we move on to the next task at hand.
Tools we use for scheduling:
Twitter – Tweetdeck or Twitter itself. To schedule through twitter we click on “Twitter Ads and then Help” Once we close help, “compose a tweet” comes up and we can schedule a tweet with photos through that.
Facebook – We schedule directly through facebook. Instead of clicking on “Post” we click on the arrow beside “post” and schedule the time and date we want our update to go out.
Instagram – We used to use Schedulegram but we heard that people were being penalized by using it so we now set our alarms and post one photo per day.
Tip: Don’t fall down the rabbit hole. It’s easy to get sucked into social media but if you let your time be consumed by talking in forums, arguing online or chatting with other people, you won’t get your work done in the day. Leave the chatting and socializing for later when you are finished your work day. There’s nothing wrong with browsing social media for as long as you want once your work is done.
2. Stay up to date with emails
Stay on top of inbox
I have had fellow travel bloggers tell me that they have thousands of unanswered emails. We don’t have unanswered emails. Each morning we set aside time to go through emails and reply to potential clients. By staying on top of emails, we don’t fall behind and can take advantage of opportunities. We are very strict about this.
We first skim through junk mail and delete and then go through emails that can quickly be answered.
We try to answer followers and fans that have questions first. We keep these emails quite short by sending them to relevant links to our blog that answer their questions along with a personal reply.
We then go to business contacts. People that we are currently working with get priority and then potential clients are answered next. We rarely have more than 100 unanswered emails in our inbox and most of the time it is under 50.
We take advantage of Google folders. We have a folder for 2015 follow ups and potential partners, current projects and awaiting response. You can make folders any way that works for you. We like stars as well. This reminds us that something is timely and important.
When you stay up to date on emails, it’s less overwhelming than having to constantly try to play catch up. So if you have a back log of emails, spend a day to clean them out. Trash the garbage, apologize to those who’ve been waiting for months, and then get down to business with the people you want to work with.
3. Keep a blog schedule and try to stay ahead by at least a few days.
Keep a blog schedule and stick to it
After our social media is scheduled for the day and emails are answered, we get to work on our posts. Dave will sit down for a couple of hours to edit and organize photos while I write blog posts.
We have a loose schedule when it comes to blog posts too. We used to post every day but we changed it up last year and started writing every other day. We didn’t like how that worked, so now we are posting 5 days a week and following our schedule. We have photostory days, advice days, information days, guest posts days, and video days. By having a clear vision of what we need to write about, we can always come up with content. Most of the time we try to get ahead of the game and have two weeks of posts either finished or have at least rough drafts waiting to be worked on so that we can post them quickly.
When we are not traveling, we work hard at getting a lot of posts written or mapped out so that when we are traveling, we can edit them quickly and put out content.
4. Set aside time for in person or voice conversations. Nothing beats a personal meeting
Taking phone calls over email is a good way to connect
Afternoons are usually set aside for miscellaneous work like taking phone or skype meetings. We usually try to make our meetings in the afternoon so that we can really focus on work in the morning. We have meetings with our sponsors, meetings with people that want to do projects with us, and interviews on a regular basis. We schedule these in the afternoon sometime right after lunch.
Afternoons are also time for other work that needs to be done. We split up the work. I edit our video,s so if I’m editing a video, Dave is doing everything else. When I’m not editing a video, we both tackle the tasks at hand.
answering social media comments
answering comments on our blog,
create our marketing strategy
put together campaign outlines.
5. Revisit emails and social media and tie up loose ends
Emails. We then do a quick response to our emails again as many people need replies and answers right away. We like to stay on top of emails so we give ourselves two chunks of time per day to sit down and reply or send out the important emails that we need to do.
More social media: we like to catch up again on social media and reply to tweets, Facebook and Instagram comments. While one of us is commenting, another is going through StumbleUpon shares and reading blogs.
6. If you can’t do it all, hire someone
Nobody can do everything and when your budget and business size of your business calls for it, hire people to help you out. We used to have someone help us with Twitter and Facebook. Our good friend Bran helped us curate and schedule content, but we have taken back the reigns of social media. For one, because she got a promotion at work, we two, we have found we have the time to do it all now. With all the new scheduling tools out there, we can be productive and schedule our own content. Every time you talk to us online, it’s us.
However, we have not cracked the nut known as Pinterest, so we have hired someone to help us optimize and run Pinterest. What you are weak at can be picked up by those that are strong.
We also have someone help us with the backend of our website and design. We have hired a designer to do the new layout and to take care of the technical side of our blog.
We have also hired someone to help us build pages such as our destinations pages to put in links, photos etc.
We haven’t gotten into the Virtual Assistant thing, but we have friends that swear by them, so we may hire one. We prefer to hire people that we know though. Yvonne Ivanescue, Mitch Canter, and Nienke Crook have been a huge help to us.
End of the Day
7. Take care of yourself and have “me” time
Enjoy your day
The most important thing you can do when running your own online business is to make time for yourself. If you don’t, you’ll burn out. Nobody can sustain working 16 – 20 hours each day.
I’ll never forget listening to Tim Leffel speak at TBEX (A popular travel blogging conference), last year and he said, “I have a life, I go out on the weekend and I spend time with my family.” It’s really important to make time for life. The work will never be done. If a video isn’t edited by the end of the day, I can finish it tomorrow. If all comments aren’t answered or replied to, it can be done at a later time. Life will not end if you don’t finish something.
We find that we are far more productive if we turn off. There have been many times when we’ve worked to the wee hours of the night and our next day is a complete write off. When we turn off the computer and spend the night having a life, we find that the next mornings are very productive and we get through our tasks quickly and effortlessly.
8. Get off that cell phone
use your cell pone sparingly
We aren’t glued to our phones all night answering every push notification that comes our way. As a matter a fact, we don’t have any push notifications on our phones at all. We can’t be online at all times, and if people can’t accept that we took a day to reply to their comment we can’t let that worry us. Our us time is important to us. We aren’t fans of being online at night instead we go for walks, watch a movie, work out, go shopping, or visit friends instead. We don’t even have our phones close at hand most of the time at night. If someone calls or messages, we sometimes won’t even notice until morning. The cell phone is great for work and while we’re traveling, but we don’t want to be slaves to the cell phone. Things can wait until the morning so go out and enjoy yourselves.
Do you have any tips that you use to help manage your time online? We’d love to hear.
The wildly popular Game of Thrones is taking over where Lord of the Rings left off. It was once a huge draw for visitors to tour New Zealand in search of LOR filming locations but in today's world it's all about Westeros. Filmed on location in such destinations as Croatia and Iceland, the Game of Thrones is TV's most ambitious project in years and it's also the show that has more people talking about it around ...
A Game of Thrones Tour of Northern Ireland
The wildly popular Game of Thrones is taking over where Lord of the Rings left off. It was once a huge draw for visitors to tour New Zealand in search of LOR filming locations but in today’s world it’s all about Westeros. Filmed on location in such destinations as Croatia and Iceland, the Game of Thrones is TV’s most ambitious project in years and it’s also the show that has more people talking about it around the world than any other drama that’s on TV. Dave and I were late bloomers when it came to watching the series, but once we saw the first couple of episodes we were hooked. We didn’t realize that so much of the series was filmed in Northern Ireland, but once we hit our first stop on our road trip around the country, we searched for more filming locations that help to create the fantasy land of George R.R. Martin’s epic series. Here’s what we found.
Game of Thrones Tour of Northern Ireland
1. Castle Ward aka Winterfell
Game of Thrones Role Playing at Castle Ward
Located in Downpatrick in County Down, Castle Ward is an excellent day trip for GOT lovers and non watchers alike. Just a forty minute drive from Belfast, this castle attracts tour buses all day long stopping for a quick view of the set of Winterfell. It requires a much longer visit than a quick to truly experience everything, so a self drive is the way to go. Set on the beautiful Strangford Lough, you will discover so many iconic Game of Thrones memories, you just may have your fix of series sightings all in one shot. You can book a day of Game of Thrones adventures through Clearsky Adventure Centre. Our day started off by meeting our guide, William aka John Snow for an archery lesson in Castle Winterfell. We dressed in official Game of Thrones robes from the costume department of the production and began our lessons re-enacting the scene where John Snow and Robb Stark taught Bran how to shoot an arrow. Bran wasn’t a great shot at the time and his brothers gave him a hard time, so Dave and I felt better when we weren’t the best shots either.
Dave managed to do a better job than me and I was beheaded for my lack of skills and forced to be Dave’s slave for the rest of the day.
Getting the ax for my lack of archery skills
Castle Ward was used for nearly all the Winterfell scenes in the early episodes, and as you walk around the grounds, you can picture scenes from the series. Like Bran’s fall from the castle thanks to evil Jaime. Or Theon’s regular visits to the brothel and King Robert Baratheon’s arrival with his entourage at Winterfell. But, it wasn’t only used for the setting of Winterfell, the producers chose to come back to this location a few more times taking advantage of the scenic setting. The fields were used for both Tywin Lannister’s Camp and Baelor’s Battlefield.
Game of Thrones on the Grounds of Castle Ward
Other Game of Thrones Scenes at Castle Ward
Canoeing on Strangfor Lough, just like Jaime and Brienne
a. Canoe with Jaime and Brienne
We hated Jaime in season 1. He was just so slimy and evil. But as the seasons have gone on, he’s become one of our favourite characters on the show, especially when he is teamed up with Brienne. Remember the scene where Brienne take a canoe down river? Well, it was here that they landed on the shore and got into all kinds of trouble.
b. Hanging Tree
As you take a walk along the trail you will come to a large branch hovering over the walkway. This is where Jaime and Brienne came across the corpses of three women hanging from the tree. Brienne cut them down and gave them a proper burial. Wasting time wasn’t a smart move on her part because the men that killed the women came back and she had to fight them. Although, we all know that Brienne loves a good fight. c. The Twins The two towers known as the Twins were put in via computer generated imagery (CGI) on either side of the harbour here at Castle Ward. The Twins are owned by Lord Walder Frey, and to cross the waters requires one to be in his good graces. Rob Stark promised to marry one of Frey’s daughters in return to let he and his army pass and we all know how that turned out. Remember the Red Wedding?
There are 11 filming locations in all here and you can either rent bikes, take a jet boat tour or walk and explore on your own. Costumes and swords can be rented for your photo opportunities and you can immerse completely in everything Game of Thrones. For more information visit Clearsky Adventure Centre.
2. Glens of Antrim
Glens of Antrim are another GOT location
It was here that Ned Stark beheaded a Night’s Watch deserter in front of his sons, Rob, John Snow and Bran. Honour is everything in the Stark family and it is that honour that is eventually their downfall.
3. Murlough Bay
Dave goes for a stroll at Murlough Bay
It’s worth a detour out to Murlough Bay to view the Scottish Isles and more of the stunning coast. You can follow the signs for the coastal highway, but this little corner of the country is beautiful, so instead, hang a right when you come to the turn. It is so picturesque that it was used as the rolling countryside where Theon and his sister road their horses toward their father’s castle.
4. Ballintoy Harbour aka Pyke Harbour
Dave and Theon Greyjoy
Poor Theon Greyjoy. If only he would have stayed loyal to the Starks, but instead he had to go running home to a father that hated him and a sister that resented him. This is where Theon first arrived home to the Iron Islands and meets his sister.
5. Dark Hedges aka King’s Road
The Dark Hedges were the King’s Road
The Dark Hedges are not only one of Northern Ireland’s most photographed sites, they are also a memorable scene from the Game of Thrones. When Arya Stark makes her escape from King’s Landing disguised as a boy, it is on this road. As she sits gazing back from a wagon, we can see the beautiful Dark Hedges hovering ominously overhead.
6. Mussenden Temple
A visit out to Mussenden Temple showcases another extraordinary coastline from high on a cliff, but it also is a spot where you can gaze upon the spot where Dragonstone Castle stands. Although you won’t see it because the castle is all built by computer in post production CGI. But you can see the beach where the Red Priestess burns the wooden statues to gather support for King Stannis Baratheon.
The Marble Arch Caves Geopark is worth visiting on its own, but it’s also the setting for a small but pivotal scene in Game of Thrones. Beric Dondarrion is that guy that can’t be killed. Beric and the Hound fight each other in the cave. The Hound wins, but Beric is resurrected and we discover that he can’t die. ooooh.
8. Belfast – Titanic Studios
Checking out the Titanic Quarter by Segway
We took a Segway tour through the Titanic Quarter of Belfast and were thrilled to find out that the Game of Thrones interior scenes are filmed right here at Titanic Film Studios. We didn’t see any stars hanging around outside, but the exterior of the building was abuzz with activity. I wonder what scene was being filmed that day?
As a travel photographer I spend a lot of time looking at travel photos as well as taking them. I am constantly learning from other photographers, honing my skills, and always striving to reach that next level. Over the past few months I have been sidelined at home because I broke my back in Peru earlier this year. This has given me a chance to go through photos from past travels that have never really gotten the proper attention. As ...
Explore the Elements Photo Contest: Show us your Best to Win Big!
As a travel photographer I spend a lot of time looking at travel photos as well as taking them. I am constantly learning from other photographers, honing my skills, and always striving to reach that next level.
Over the past few months I have been sidelined at home because I broke my back in Peru earlier this year. This has given me a chance to go through photos from past travels that have never really gotten the proper attention. As I look through my catalogue of all these different destinations I am always looking for a way to bring a group of photos together in some sort of theme. So when I was contacted by Thomas Cook to be a judge in there Explore the Elements Photo Contest, I looked it as a great chance to put this theme to work with some of my own images.
But the most important reason why I wanted to judge this contest was because I wanted to see your images and have the chance to award you guys with some amazing prizes. There is no better way to get lost in travel than through some amazing photography. And why not win something in the process.
Prizes will be awarded for an overall winner as well as category winners. Here is what you could win:
The overall winner will be awarded a travel fund worth £5,000.
Each Element category winner will have their choice of a MacBook Air, a Fujifilm X-T1 camera, or an iPhone 6 with Bose noise cancelling headphones.
How to Enter
Explore the Elements is a contest that invites bloggers and photographer to showcase the images they’ve captured on their travels. There are four categories (Earth, Water, Fire and Air) and the challenge is to submit photos that capture the essence of each of the elements. There is no stipulation on how long you’ve been blogging, so bloggers new and old are welcome to take part.
1. Publish an Explore the Elements post on your blog with images for all 4 elements. If you don’t have photos for all 4 elements, post images for the elements that you do have images for. Those who don’t have photos for all 4 elements will still be in with a chance of winning the category winner prizes but won’t be in the running for the main £5,000 travel fund prize.
2. Nominate and notify 5 other bloggers to take part in Explore the Elements at the end of your post to spread the word about the contest!
3. Notify Thomas Cook of your entry before the closing date of the 16th March 2015 by either:
Tweeting @thomascookuk including #exploretheelements and a link to your blog post in your tweet or;
Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, including a link to your post, your name and your email address.
4. Thomas Cook and the competition judges will share and retweet some of our favourite Explore the Elements posts throughout the contest’s 8 week duration so be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts closely!
5. Every Explore the Elements blog entry will be judged by 3 other judges plus myself, with each judge selecting an element category winner to receive either a Fujifilm camera, an Apple MacBook Air, or an Apple iPhone 6 with Bose noise cancelling headphones depending on their choice. Hint: I’m judging the earth category. The judges will then work together to select the overall winner of the £5,000 travel fund. For further information about the judging and the prizes see the Terms & Conditions by clicking the link below.
You may not have a clue where to start, so all of the judges have put together their own sample post explaining what they will be looking for. I chose five of my favourite photos that best resemble the 4 elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Wind.
I have also included a description of each category for you. Once you have posted your five photos, nominate five people who you would like to see interpret the 4 elements. Let Travel Supermarket know by either email or a tweet. I have my five nominations of photographers I enjoy at the bottom of the photos along with a little overview of what I’ll be looking for when choosing the winner of the Earth Category and helping to choose the overall winner.
Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth
Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness , physicality and gravity
The Giants Causeway in Ireland
I chose this photo of the Giants Causeway in Ireland, not only for the beauty of the destination and how the Basalt columns are one of the best examples of the uniqueness of what Mother Nature can do but also because of the story behind them. Whether you believe the tale of Finn McCool or not it certainly leaves you wondering how these were created in perfect symmetrical hexagons.
Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world
Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit
The shifting Glaciers of Greenland
I am sure when you think of Fire, the last thing that would come to mind is Greenland. But I though this image really represented the energetic, forceful, moving things of the world. These glaciers are always shifting and you can feel the energy as they calf and crash into the water below.
Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world
Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism
Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland
I chose this waterfall from Iceland for water but really could have chose any waterfall from this country. To me Seljalandsfoss really captures the beauty of the landscape but also does a great job of representing the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. This was the first waterfall we came across in Iceland I will never forget how my jaw dropped as we approached it.
Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement
Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom
The Milky Way over Northern Ontario
I chose this image of the Milky Way for Air because I remember standing there looking up and thinking how the universe around us is constantly changing and in flux. The sheer expanse of our galaxy seems like something that will elude us forever.
I am extremely honoured to be included with this esteemed panel of judges. I follow all of them and have the utmost respect for them as photographers. I also love their work. Each of them will be judging their own category, so be sure to check them out and see what they are looking for in each element.
The official hashtag of Explore the Elements is #exploretheelements. Follow the hashtag to view competition entries and keep up with conversation about the contest!
What I am looking for:
When choosing the photos I will be looking for ones that not only showcase the beauty of the elements but do it in a unique way. Each photo should evoke emotion and at the same time be able to transport the viewer into that destination. For me originality will always take precedence over a pretty photograph.
Now Time to Nominate: Over the years I have had the pleasure of witnessing some stunning photography from my fellow travel bloggers and there are always more and more that stand out every year. So I wanted to nominate some of my favourites not only because I love their work but because they are great people as well. In no particular order I nominate:
You haven't had an adventure until you've tried a microlight flight. We took our first microlight flight outside of Durban, South Africa. The Ballito Mircrolight School took us way up in the air to explore the coastline. Flying over old sugar cane fields, the golden beaches of Ballito. The area is just 20 minutes from Durban on the East Coast of South Africa and it is spectacular. A microlight aircraft is a tiny vehicle that feels no bigger ...
Video of the Week: Microlight Flight in South Africa
You haven’t had an adventure until you’ve tried a microlight flight. We took our first microlight flight outside of Durban, South Africa. The Ballito Mircrolight School took us way up in the air to explore the coastline. Flying over old sugar cane fields, the golden beaches of Ballito. The area is just 20 minutes from Durban on the East Coast of South Africa and it is spectacular. A microlight aircraft is a tiny vehicle that feels no bigger than a riding lawn mower. With a seat belt holding you in, you take off and enjoy the wind in our hair and the breeze on our face. It’s a strange feeling to be so high up and flying while completely exposed to all the elements. A microlight flight is an experience you’ll never forget.
Feeling like a bird outside with A Bird’s Eye View
It's the start of a brand new year and time to reveal the top travel destinations for 2015. As the snow drifts higher in our driveways and we fight the icy roads and cold weather, it's the perfect time to daydream about faraway places. It's a big world out there and choosing the right destination can be overwhelming. AMEX Canada surveyed more than 200 of their travel counsellors in Canada, U.S and Mexico on the top ...
The Top Travel Trends and Hot Destinations of 2015
It’s the start of a brand new year and time to reveal the top travel destinations for 2015. As the snow drifts higher in our driveways and we fight the icy roads and cold weather, it’s the perfect time to daydream about faraway places. It’s a big world out there and choosing the right destination can be overwhelming. AMEX Canada surveyed more than 200 of their travel counsellors in Canada, U.S and Mexico on the top travel trends they’re seeing for 2015.
As a result of this, these are the top destinations that they found.
Thirty seven percent of travel experts say that people are looking to create lasting memories and want a more enriched travel experience. People are going farther and traveling longer. That’s exciting for us because we have always encouraged people to step off the resort and try an adventure. Some of the top destinations that Canadians are traveling to this year, just so happen to be some of our favourite destinations as well.
Times Square: New York is on the list!
Of the top 10 destinations we weren’t surprised to see places like, New York City, Paris, and London on the list but to hear that people are travelling to Chile, India, Argentina, and Australia is very exciting. We love hearing that people are looking to experience new cultures, explore far away lands, and are stepping away from the cookie cutter tours and creating their own custom itineraries. What this survey suggests to us is that travellers are getting smarter and more informed.
Sydney is one of the top 10 Travel Destinations of 2015
What’s really surprising to us is that other than Puerto Vallarta and Turks and Caicos, every other destination is a giant metropolis. One would expect that most Canadians want to escape to quiet tropical islands, but it turns out that most North Americans are ramping up the excitement and heading to big cities. Buenos Aires, Argentina has a population of 15 million and Mumbai, India is a chaotic city housing 18 million people. This seems like a strange trend, but with family and multigenerational travel on the rise, cities are the perfect place to please everyone’s taste in travel. If you want a choice of activities blended with luxury and culture, these are the spots to go. I’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of awe and excitement while exploring the sights of Mumbai. There was so much to see and do, from historic sites, museums, The Gates of India on the picturesque waterfront, and the non-stop nightlife, it can keep you active for days.
We like all the choice of cities on the list. Sydney, Australia is one of the most beautiful in the world and San Francisco is one of the funkiest spots on earth. Santiago, Chile has transformed to the cool cultural centre of South America, and Paris, France will always be our favourite city to visit. We can never get enough of seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the skyline.
We’ll always have Paris
Even though you can have a great adventure like doing the bridge climb in Sydney or taking a rickshaw ride in Mumbai, we were even more excited to see an increased demand for adventure travel destinations like Vietnam, Myanmar, Croatia, Iceland and Italy
The Incredible Ruins of Bagan, Myanmar
Hiking through the mountains of Sapa in Northern Vietnam is not to be missed, and there’s amazing kayaking on the Adriatic Sea along the gorgeous coast of Croatia. We took our Croatian adventure by using our American Express rewards in 2012. Booking a vacation is so easy on the travel-booking site,and accumulating rewards is so fast when you put your every day expenses on American Express. But what’s even better is that Amex offers support before, during and after your trip. We’ve spoken to Amex travel support from Greece to Peru. Their support centre is open 24/7.
Kayaking in Croatia is spectacular
We were so surprised to see just how in line the Travel Trends report is with our travel style. We’re even going to take our first Caribbean Cruise this April. After trying our hand at a river cruise and small ship cruises, it’s time for us to try the real deal. Cruise bookings are on the rise and it looks like we’re following the trend.
European River Cruises are the top travel trend for 2015
All the destinations listed in the AMEX Travel trends survey are making us want to travel today! We can’t wait to hit the road for our 2015 travels. Do you plan on travelling to or have you been to any of these top spots? Where will your travels take you in 2015?
When we think of Hong Kong, the images that come to mind are skyscrapers, people, and air pollution. So you can imagine our surprise when we explored outside the downtown core to discover that there is a lot of green on the islands. When it comes to the air pollution, the people of Hong Kong blame China. When the wind blows in the wrong direction, all the smog from the mainland drifts across to Hong Kong and this upsets them ...
Hong Kong Day Trip: The Tian Tan Buddha to Tai O Village
When we think of Hong Kong, the images that come to mind are skyscrapers, people, and air pollution. So you can imagine our surprise when we explored outside the downtown core to discover that there is a lot of green on the islands. When it comes to the air pollution, the people of Hong Kong blame China. When the wind blows in the wrong direction, all the smog from the mainland drifts across to Hong Kong and this upsets them very much.
The view from Sky 100 in Hong Kong
But, there’s not a lot that can be done about that except get out of town! And that’s exactly what we did.
Taking a taxi out to Lantau Island, we caught a cable car to the mountain village of Ngong Ping. The Cable Car is a fun adventure that soars through the air for 5.7 km over rolling hills of green trees above Tung Chung Bay. The ride takes 25 minutes to complete and offers a pleasant birds eye view of the area.
The cable car to Ngong Ping on Lantau Island
You can pay a little extra to secure the Ngong Ping 260 Crystal Cabin. It has a glass floor that lets you feel the height and excitement. The queues are long so if you don’t want to wait, this is probably the car for you as it puts you at the front of the line! You can also enjoy queue free service if you book a private cable car. We had our own tour guide so that also bumped us to the front of the line which is totally worth it.
Prices are: HK $3,500 per standard cabin/ HK $4500 per Crystal Cabin.
We arrived at the top and were greeted by the picturesque village of Ngong Ping. They call it the spiritual home of the Tian Tan Buddha but it feels more like an amusement park or themed village up here. The TV and movie entertainment zone is so prevalent that I asked our guide if Hong Kong’s movie studios were close by. He said no, and that this is just an attraction.
The Tian Tan Buddha
Ngong Ping Village Gate
There are a lot of attractions up here that can be fun for a family outing. Like the multimedia presentation following the path to Buddha’s enlightenment.
But the real attraction is the Tian Tan Buddha himself. It is a giant seated bronze Buddha statue that is a staggering site to witness. If you arrive early you can beat the crowds and take in all its splendour.
Deb imitates the Tian Tin Buddha
We felt very lucky while walking around the Po Lin Monastery to witness Monks in the yard chanting. It was fascinating to listen to them, even if we had no idea what they were saying. As quickly as it started, it was over and they peeled away single file into the back workings of the monastery leaving us to explore on our own.
Monks Chanting in from of the Monastery
Tai O Village
Once we saw all the sights at Ngong Ping, we caught a local bus down the mountain to the village of Tai O. Tai O is a traditional fishing village located on the South China Sea. Fishing is a fading profession in Hong Kong as the younger generation moves to the city so I wonder how much longer this village will be in operation.
Older generation is all that is left in Tai O Village
Here you can walk the streets taking in the many stalls selling dried fish. There’s a lot of dried fish on display here and we wonder how many people actually buy from these vendors.
Its the villages stilt houses that are the star attraction. Built because of the tides, the stilt houses create a community intertwined with one another making for a picturesque setting.
Dried fish in Tai-O on Lantau Island, Hong Kong
We visited a local family in one of their traditional houses where we learned how to separate and dry goose eggs, and how to make traditional congee. It took a lot of work to make this mushy porridge made out of grinding beans by hand.
Deb making congee
We were surprised how spacious their houses are. They go on and on in the back and because the weather us quite mild year round, there is a lot of open space. The open concept probably works well for winter storms and typhoons as the wind can blow right through..
It was then onto the boat in search of the pink dolphin. You can catch a boat ride at any time of the day to take you out to the bay to search for these rare beauties. You don’t have to make an appointment, once the boat is full, it takes off.
The impressive stilt houses of Tai-O
The journey starts with a ride down the channel to admire the stilt houses before going out to open waters. Were told that they hadn’t spotted dolphins for a few days so we didn’t have our hopes up, but within minutes of getting out of the channel we spotted them jumping in the sea. They move quickly and it was nearly impossible to snap a shot of them. So we don’t have any proof that we actually saw them. But we did! Honestly.
What we were really impressed with was how the boat didn’t chase the dolphins. They kept their distance and stayed away. I was expecting the captain to point the boat towards them and make a b-line to them once they were spotted, but instead he moved closer, but stayed far enough away so as not to disturb them. Sure, it didn’t make for the best photographs, but we were happy to see that they were left to enjoy their lives in peace.
A Great Duo Day
The Tian Tan Buddha from the Cable Car
Both Ngong Ping and Tai O can be visited on the same day. They are not far from each other. Once you take the cable car up to Ngong Ping it’s just a short walk to the parking lot to catch a local bus down to the village where you can eat lunch and do some shopping before catching the local bus back to the city.
Our day at Tai O and Ngong Ping was excellent. It’s a great way to get out of the Hong Kong and see a little bit more a traditional village. It felt like stepping back in the past as time stands still in Tai O. The culture feels that is it is quickly disappearing though so you may want to get there soon. It’s sad to see the fishing industry die a slow death in Hong Kong, but we can understand why the youth are wanting to go to the city in search of a better life.
Who knows, maybe in a few years time, they’ll be coming back to their roots to seek tranquility once again. We all know how living in the rat race can take its toll on us all. I think Tai O Village has a long life ahead of it still.
The United States has beautiful National Parks. There are 59 protected areas around the country, and some of the most dramatic parks can be found in the Southwest corner of the country. A road trip around Los Angeles from Yosemite to the The Grand Canyon will take you through some of the most remarkable landscapes you'll ever see. What is so captivating about this area is how varied it is. From the unique rock formations of Zion National Park ...
U.S. National Parks in Photos: From Yosemite to the Grand Canyon
The United States has beautiful National Parks. There are 59 protected areas around the country, and some of the most dramatic parks can be found in the Southwest corner of the country. A road trip around Los Angeles from Yosemite to the The Grand Canyon will take you through some of the most remarkable landscapes you’ll ever see. What is so captivating about this area is how varied it is. From the unique rock formations of Zion National Park to the narrow caverns of Antelope Canyon you’ll be mesmerized by the striking beauty of this area. It’s no wonder Hollywood set up shop in Los Angeles. Just hours outside the city you can be in a different world making for the perfect movie settings. But if you aren’t into movies, they’re better for hiking, taking photographs, and enjoying the wonders of nature.
Enjoy this photo compilation of U.S. National Parks from Yosemite to the Grand Canyon.
Yosemite National Park
Looking down the Yosemite Valley
The sun fades in Yosemite National Park
A Geological look at the Yosemite Valley
Look closely…Climbing in Yosemite is insane!
The beauty of the valley floor
The magical Sequoia trees of Yosemite National Park
The beauty continues even as you exit the park..
Death Valley National Park
On the road to Death Valley
Looking over Death Valley National Park
Red Rock Canyon National Park
The striking Landscape of Red Rock Canyon National Park
Blue skies against Red Rock Canyon National Park
Zion National Park
The unique landscape of Zion National Park
The entrance to Zion National Park
Amazing detail in Zion.
A river runs through the landscape of Zion National Park.
Antelope Canyon: *Not a National Park but had to include it!*
Art in the slot canyons of Antelope Canton.
Light beams dance on Antelope Canyons walls.
The sands of time in Antelope Canyon.
Grand Canyon National Park
The sun illuminates the Grand Canyon
The rains threaten over the Grand Canyon
Sunset is a perfect time to enjoy the Grand Canyon
A burst of sunshine over the canyon.
Colours pop in the Grand Canyon.
Joshua Tree National Park
The stunning landscape of Joshua Tree NP.
Bursts of colour in the desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park
For more great photos of the United States check out our GALLERY
See more videos from our time in South Africa: Riding an Ostrich Shark Diving Microlight Flight over Durban Wildlife South Africa What's the best thing about visiting South Africa? Seeing wildlife of course. Yes, we love adventure the and we have written about all the amazing things a person can do in South Africa, but there is something special about seeing wild life "just be" in their natural habitat. On safari you can quietly watch them live their lives ...
What’s the best thing about visiting South Africa? Seeing wildlife of course. Yes, we love adventure the and we have written about all the amazing things a person can do in South Africa, but there is something special about seeing wild life “just be” in their natural habitat. On safari you can quietly watch them live their lives. They barely seem to take notice of you as they bask in the sun, play, and fight. With the rhinos in grave danger in South Africa, we thought it was time to show just how beautiful the wildlife is there. They are important and meaningful. We want to preserve the wildlife of Africa so that they are still around for generations to come.
When we were in Alberta, Canada last year, we stood high on a lookout where the buffalo used to roam. We imagined what the plains must have been like filled with buffalo, big cats, and wolves. Canada was filled with wildlife. We thought about how we sort of had our own “Savanna” here in Canada. It was filled with different animal species, but they were no less majestic. Our ancestors were so ignorant they nearly wiped the Canadian wildlife off the face of the earth. Let’s not let Africa make the same mistakes we did. Isn’t it time we stop hunting and poaching them and instead capture their magnificence with our cameras?
Support the #JustOneRhino Campaign and donate here
Budapest is fast becoming a travel favourite for anyone visiting Europe. It truly is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities on the continent. Dave and I have been fortunate enough to visit Budapest on two separate occasions. Once in the winter and once in the summer. Both times of the year are beautiful. As a matter a fact, Budapest has a very popular Christmas market. In the months of November and December it's a thriving tourist destination ...
16 Things you Must do in Budapest
Budapest is fast becoming a travel favourite for anyone visiting Europe. It truly is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities on the continent. Dave and I have been fortunate enough to visit Budapest on two separate occasions. Once in the winter and once in the summer. Both times of the year are beautiful. As a matter a fact, Budapest has a very popular Christmas market. In the months of November and December it’s a thriving tourist destination. Having spent quite a bit of time exploring the city, we thought we’d share some of our favourite things to see and do in the beautiful Danube River cities known as Buda and Pest.
Things to do in Budapest
Take a Danube River Cruise
The Budapest Parliament Building on the Danube
There is nothing more romantic than watching the lights of the city from a the Danube River. Many week-long river cruises go through Budapest and that is how a lot of people see the city, but you can take dinner and sunset cruises in Budapest as well.
Heroes Square can be found at the end of Andrássy Avenue: an excellent walking street. Heroes Square is one of the world’s oldest squares. The millenium monument in the centre of the square surrounded by statues honoring the seven chieftains of the Hungarian tribes who conquered the area now known as Hungary.
Enjoy a Thermal Bath
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
The most famous is the Széchenyi Bath and it’s located just a 5 minute walk from Heroe’s Square through City Park. A trip to Budapest wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Thermal Baths.Hence the reason we have to go back! The city is filled with hot springs and you can experience authentic Turkish Baths here. Since we came directly from Turkey to Budapest, we skipped the baths, but we still regret it to this day.
Russian Monument, Liberty Square
This Russian monument honours the soldiers of the Red Army who died during the liberation Budapest from the Nazis. It is ironically located directly across from the US embassy and a statue of Ronald Reagen stands on the other side of it. Reagan played a key roll in putting an end to communism in the Soviet Union.
The Ronald Reagan statue
By the way, while you are there, check out the statue of Ronald Reagan while you are there. It’s an odd site but a fun photo spot.
Imre Nagy monument is a popular stop on walking tours
Just a short walk from the Ronald Reagan statue you’ll find another noteworthy monument of Imre Nagy. This statue of a man standing on a bridge looking over to the Parliament Buildings longing for freedom attracts crowds each day on walking tours to learn about the city’s communist past. He led the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and was executed for Treason two years later. This monument symbolizes the difficult road to freedom.
The House of Terror Museum
Photos of victims who died during the Communist Regime
The House of Terror is a memorial to those who fought and died during the Communist era of Budapest. It was the former headquarters of the Nazis and was used as a prison. Many atrocities happened behind these walls.
Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of Hungary’s most significant tourist attractions and can you believe it is the third highest building in the country? We’re not huge church goers and there is a back story to this place, but honestly we didn’t listen to much. It was pretty though! You can find out more about it here.
Take a free walking tour
Deb at the start of our walking tour
A free walking tour of Budapest is an excellent way to learn about the history. We took a walk with Get Your Guide’s free walking tour where we met at Vörösmarty Tér in central Budapest. (The meeting point was the white lion) As advertised it is a free tour and guides make their money off of tips. Whatever you feel it is worth, you pay. They are great guides and it doesn’t feel like a free tour at all. They’re working hard for your tips and it’s polite to give them something useful.
An old Trabant Car in Budapest
One of the coolest ways to discover Budapest is to hire a Trabant Car. A chauffeur will drive you around town and let me tell you, when people see you in this car, they are going to wave and laugh and point. This was the big car of choice during the Communist era of Budapest and many people will have fond memories of owning their first Trabant. It’s a tank and it sounds like one. It was known as “The Paper Jaguar” back in the day.
Walk along the Chain Bridge
Budapest Chain Bridge
The Budapest Chain Bridge was the first bridge to connect the towns of Buda and Pest. Spanning across the Danube River, this bridge is a thing of beauty. It’s a pleasant stroll across the bridge giving you a view of both sides and down the river. But make sure to walk it at night when the bridge is all lit up. Behind the bridge is Buda Castle another site not to be missed!
Go to a Ruin Pub
A photo from a ruin pub in Budapest
Ruin pubs are funky and trendy bars that have popped up in previous abandoned buildings. They’re decorated with old eclectic furniture, ruin pubs are where the hipsters and cool cats hang out, listen to music and have some drinks. This is where you should too!
Eat at the Gundel Restaurant
Our party at Gundel Restaurant
The Gundel Restaurant dates back to 1894, and is considered one of the pioneers of Hungarian gastronomy. It is the premier traditional restaurant in Budapest and if you want to savour authentic Hungarian cuisine in an historic grand fashion. This is the place to do it.
The covered Central Market Hall is an excellent spot to shop for souvenirs and nick naks. From here you can escape the cold in winter and heat in summer and it’s bustling with shops and eateries and a lot of places to buy meat and cheese. It’s the largest indoor market in Budapest. Located right at the river, ships used to sail right into the market back in the day.
Gellert Hill Liberty Statue
Gellert Hill offers great views of the city and the Danube. There is also a monument paying tribute to the Soviet soldiers who liberated the city from the Nazis. Erected in 1947, it’s a good place to explore just outside the city on the here’s a cave church, old army barracks, the citadel and the Gellert monument to see up there.
Views from Fisherman’s Bastion
Views from Castle Hill
Located above Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion is an excellent spot to take in city views. It’s also a great walking destination with a fairytale setting. Seeing Budapest from above is an excellent way to take in the beauty of the city. It’s a unique location with beautiful buildings on either side of the river. It’s no wonder so many people are falling in love with Budapest.
January is the perfect time of year to visit Antarctica. We started our expedition on January 30 and it turned out to be the most incredible time to visit the continent. Newly hatched penguins had now grown to adolescence. They developed the most curious nature by the time they had grown a bit. When we'd land on the shore after a good day of kayaking or exploring on the zodiacs, young penguins would waddle over to see what we ...
Amazing Antarctica in photos
January is the perfect time of year to visit Antarctica. We started our expedition on January 30 and it turned out to be the most incredible time to visit the continent. Newly hatched penguins had now grown to adolescence. They developed the most curious nature by the time they had grown a bit. When we’d land on the shore after a good day of kayaking or exploring on the zodiacs, young penguins would waddle over to see what we were up to.
Chinstrap Penguins, named so because of their obvious chinstrap pattern on their face
An adolescent penguin comes over to say hello
The wildlife of Antarctica was outstanding with whales breaching, seals sleeping, birds flying, and penguins playing right before our eyes. But it was the landscape of Antarctica that truly took our breaths away. Dave has been going through photos from years past putting together photography compilations of our travels. Many of his stunning photos had never seen the light of day due to catching flights and moving onto the next location. He has become adept at going through images quickly, choosing the best, sharing them with our readers and moving on.
Beautiful layers of blue ice in the icebergs
But on a closer look, we realized that he was missing many of the best of the best. Well, no longer. The best images have yet to come. You’ll be seeing a lot more of these amazing photo stories from Dave in the coming weeks, right here every monday. And today enjoy!
Antarctica in Photos
Beautiful Antarctica Ice and skies
A penguin looks back over the shore of the continent
A Beautiful whale breach: This whale stayed with our ship for 45 minutes!
A whale shows off his tail in this amazing whale fluke capture
Iceberg reflections in the still water
Ice, Ice and more Ice
Old Whaling Stations
Old oil drums on abandoned whaling station
Old abandoned whaling stations can be visited when taking an expedition to Antarctica. This is a ruin on Deception Island. Back in the day it was a large whaling station where they slaughtered whales for their oil.
Crumbled building on Deception Island
We even camped on the continent of Antarctica
Each day we’d leave the ship to go out and explore by zodiac
Our guide, Solen Kayaking around an iceberg
We spent several days kayaking in Antarctica. It was the most serene and peaceful thing we’ve ever done. There was nothing but the sound of ice crackling and our paddles dipping into the cold water. We could move silently as to not disturb wildlife and we came very close to seals sleeping on floating ice, penguins jumping and we even had a whale breach right behind our group of 12 paddlers.
Seal basking in the sun
this guy looks so content!
Can’t get enough of penguins
The Penguin highway in Antarctica.
A penguin checks out his own reflection
Let us be honest with you. Penguins smell. When you land on shore to observe a colony, the stench immediately hits you. It’s a mixture of fish and feces. However, they are so darn cute that soon your nose gets used to the smell and you could sit for hours watching them. We saw a lot of penguins in Antarctica, but each viewing was as exciting, cute and fascinating as the first.
We never tire of penguins in Antarctica
When visiting the continent you are not allowed to approach penguins closer than 5 meters. But, if you stand or sit very still, they may approach you and that is completely allowed!
A whole lotta penguin love going on
A glorious way to start the day
Brash Ice leads out from an Iceberg
Snowcapped mountains of Antarctica’s mainland in the distance
A stop at the British Base is a must. You can do some shopping and send a postcard home!
Whale bones pieced together to make a full whale carcass. It’s huge!
Whale bones are common to see when walking on beach shores at abandoned whaling stations.
The tranquil scenery of Antarctica
Paddling the calm waters of Paradise Bay, Antarctica
Every day on our Facebook page we post inspirational travel quotes. When Dave and I were searching for what we wanted to do with our lives a decade ago, we read a lot of books and magazines for inspiration. Oprah Winfrey's "O Magazine" was quite popular when it was first launched in 2000 and it was through her magazine that we discovered how powerful quotes can be. She used to offer little cards with her favourite quotes in the ...
The Ultimate Travel Quotes As Chosen by You
Every day on our Facebook page we post inspirational travel quotes. When Dave and I were searching for what we wanted to do with our lives a decade ago, we read a lot of books and magazines for inspiration. Oprah Winfrey’s “O Magazine” was quite popular when it was first launched in 2000 and it was through her magazine that we discovered how powerful quotes can be. She used to offer little cards with her favourite quotes in the magazine, and Dave and I would clip them out and put them up around our house. We used them to motivate ourselves and to find our purpose in life. Since then, we’ve always looked to quotes for inspiration and since starting our travel blog, we’ve found that some of the most inspiring quotes in the world are ones regarding travel.
“It is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.”
For New Years Day, we thought we’d share some of the more popular travel quotes from our Facebook page. Dave and I have our own favourite travel quotes, but we clearly don’t know you as well as you do. So when we decided to share these photos to kick off the new year, we decided that we shouldn’t choose. We should let you choose. So we went through our Facebook page and rounded up all the travel quotes that received the most likes, shares, and comments of the year. If you are looking for a little motivation for 2015, look no further. You may just find them in the words below.
“Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets”
The Ultimate Travel Quotes from ThePlanetD Facebook Page
“I would rather own a little and see the world, than own the world and see a little of it.”
“This heart of mine was made to travel this world” ~ unknown
“Someday I’m going to be free and I’m going to travel the world”
“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way” ~ Carl Sagan
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ~ Maya Angelou
“Don’t listen to what they say, go see” ~ Chinese Proverb
“Let’s find some beautiful place to get lost”
“Travel doesn’t become adventure until you leave yourself behind” ~ Marty Rubin
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
“You can shake the sand from your shoes, but not from your soul”
“I want to make memories all over the world”
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.”
“Traveling is not something you’re good at. It’s something you do, like breathing.” ~ Gayle Foreman
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~Andre Gide
“It feels good to be lost in the right direction”
“Travel…the best way to be lost and found at the same time.” ~Brenna Smith
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~Mae West
“Travel has a way of stretching the mind” ~ Ralph Crawshaw
“Fear is temporary. Regrets last forever.”
“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
“Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Ghandi
All images are from our travels around the world. It is so much fun to match photos with words and if you have a favourite photo that you think would match a good quote, send it on to email@example.com. We’ll share it on our Facebook page and be sure to tag and mention your blog and Facebook too!
Do you have a favourite travel quote? Share it in the comments below.
What a year! My passion is photography, and I have been lucky enough to travel the world photographing some of the most beautiful and unique places on earth. It was a thrill for me to win gold in “Best Photo Illustration of Travel” at this year’s Society of American Travel Writers, Lowell Thomas Awards. I never thought I’d have anyone recognize my photography in such a way and then it happened. And now, I want to share my ...
The Year in Pictures: A Photographic Journey through 2014
What a year! My passion is photography, and I have been lucky enough to travel the world photographing some of the most beautiful and unique places on earth. It was a thrill for me to win gold in “Best Photo Illustration of Travel” at this year’s Society of American Travel Writers, Lowell Thomas Awards. I never thought I’d have anyone recognize my photography in such a way and then it happened. And now, I want to share my own round up of my favourite photos through This Year in Pictures…
Lake Louise in Winter
We ended 2014 in Alberta Canada. This time last year we were sitting in Canmore finishing up a trip doing amazing adventures in Banff and Lake Louise. What an adventure that was! Check out our fun and silly adventure Ski Jorring!
Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary in Alberta
Ontario: Missinaibi Trek
The Missinaibi Headwaters Expedition in Ontario
Deb and I had the privilege of exploring our own backyard of Ontario Canada and let me tell you, it is beautiful! The sheer scope and scale of the province was astounding. We could drive for 12 hours and barely put a dent in our exploration of Ontario.
We then popped over to Oregon. That state surprised me. I loved photographing everything there. What was so surprising was how varied the landscape was. From the stark rocky landscape of Smith Rock to the high desert and even the lush forest with waterfalls and rivers, I have my camera ready to snap shots of everything.
The Cliffs of Moher in Irealand on the Wild Atlantic Way
We then hopped a flight to Ireland where we had the honour of being the first media to drive and document the entire Wild Atlantic Way. This route is a photographer’s dream.
Horseback riding in Dingle, Ireland
It was nearly impossible to drive more than a few miles before having to step out of the car and take yet another shot of the stunning coast. From the high cliffs of Moher to the green countryside of Dingle, it was one beautiful shot after another.
It was then a summer packed full of adrenaline as we took on daring adventures in Ontario, Canada. Adventures that challenged us, scared us, and excited us. I pulled out the GoPro for our water shots as we took on the Ottawa and Madawaska Rivers.
Whitewater Rafting on the Ottawa River with Owl Rafting
June: Moose Safari, Algonquin Park, Ontario
Moose Safari in Algonquin Park
I then had my best lenses and gear armed and ready to capture moose in Algonquin Park.
A sunrise paddle in Algonquin Park
Enjoying a cottage country sunset.
Fly Fishing: Hornpayne, Ontario
Fly fishing at Timberwolf Lodge in Northern Ontario
Later in the summer, we took a floatplane way up north to escape civilization in the Ontario Wilderness where we learned to fly fish. We had a cameraman with us on this trip, but I still brought my own gear and spent my time snapping photographs of this beautiful part of the Province.
A classic Fly in Lodge in Northern Ontario
July: Slate Islands, Ontario
Sunset on the Slate islands, Lake Superior, Ontario.
We paddled the Slate Islands on Lake Superior in search of Caribou.
The Milky way as seen from the Slate Islands
The Slate Islands are home to the largest concentration of Woodland Caribou
Lake Superior, Ontario
Taking in the Petroglyphs on the North Shore of Lake Superior on our Motorcycle trip.
We drove motorcycles around the same lake exploring the entire 2500 km of coast.
Beach time on the North Shore of Lake Superior.
August: Manitoulin Island, Ontario
What a view from the top of Manitoulin Island
We set off to Manitoulin Island: The world’s largest fresh water island, where we followed the Great Spirit Circle Trail with the Anishinabek People of the island.
Camping on Manitoulin Island is beautiful.
Bridal Veil Falls on Manitoulin Island
Learning about First Nations culture on the Great Spirit Circle Trail.
Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario
Hiking the Pukaskwa Coastal Trail in Ontario.
It was then back up to the North Shore of Lake Superior to hike the Pukaskwa Trail. Photography proved to be a challenge here because we had to carry all of our gear on our back for the entire the 60 km trail.
Enjoying the spectacular views on the Pukaskwa Hiking Trail.
I wanted to scale back on my photography equipment, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture every moment of our time on this beautiful trail.
Taking a rest in the lush green forest of the Pukaskwa
September: Cancun, Mexico
Swimming with Whale Sharks in Cancun
We then flew to Mexico where we finally had the chance to swim with whale sharks. The GoPro and Lumix waterproof cameras came in handy for this.
Sunrise in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Exploring the Cenotes of Rio Secreto in Cancun.
The Dark Hedges of Northern Ireland
It was then back to Ireland. But this time we drove the Causeway Coast seeing sites like….
I think the moments I remember most during 2014 were the quiet ones with Deb either early in the morning or watching the sun go down together. Photographing the world is a dream come true, but being able to stop and enjoy the moments without a lens to my eye is even better. So make sure to stop and enjoy the moments too. All the best to you for 2015!
Did you know that simply by booking your next holiday through Expedia, you can help save a child's life by donating your travel points to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital? When booking your holiday travel with Expedia, you can donate your Expedia Rewards points to the kids being treated and to support their families in their time of need. Even Santa got in on the action this year and took a trip (flying in coach!) around the world ...
Santa Flies Coach, and you can Help the Kids of St. Jude too
Did you know that simply by booking your next holiday through Expedia, you can help save a child’s life by donating your travel points to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital? When booking your holiday travel with Expedia, you can donate your Expedia Rewards points to the kids being treated and to support their families in their time of need. Even Santa got in on the action this year and took a trip (flying in coach!) around the world to spread the word.
Santa Flies Coach
As someone who has just spent two weeks in hospital at Dave’s side after he broke his back in Peru, I have a clearer understanding on just how important support from both hospital staff and a strong family is to heal faster and make your stay more comfortable. It was the support of the nurses at our local hospital here in Canada that kept our spirits high. Nurses stopped in to visit Dave to talk about travel and tell him tales of their own broken bones and hospital stays. It helped immensely. He even had the president and CEO of the hospital stop by to say goodbye!
Our Hospital Stay
We were feeling pretty low just a couple short weeks ago, and we feel for anyone that has to go through a prolonged hospital stay. Especially children. I cannot imagine the difficulties families face having their child in the hospital. But St. Jude Children’s Research hospital does everything possible to make sure their patients have as normal a childhood as possible. Plus they support the whole family through their journey. A hospital stay can be just as hard on the family as the person suffering from the disease or injury.
Donate your Expedia Points Today
Dave and I have been booking travels on our Expedia account for years and are donating our Expedia rewards to St. Judes Hospital and you can too! If you don’t have Expedia points, don’t worry, you can donate directly by credit card or even a personal cheque to help a child in need.
While doing research on St. Jude’s we were surprised to find that the hospital was founded by famed actor Danny Thomas, who just so happens to be the grandfather of our friend and fellow Expedia Viewfinder, Kate Thomas. If you haven’t seen her travel videos, check out her YouTube Channel here!. We now know where she gets her talent and creativity from. Danny Thomas opened the doors to St. Jude’s research hospital with the intention of curing cancer and other catastrophic diseases in children. “Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall survival rates for childhood cancers from 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to more than 80 percent today.” What’s even better is St. Jude’s shares their breakthroughs, allowing doctors worldwide the opportunity to save their own patients.
The St. Jude Story
St. Judes is an incredible success story. Today, seventy-five percent of St. Jude’s $2-million per day operating budget is covered by public contributions generated with more than 8 million donors support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude. But it’s the personal touches that matter so much. When families arrive at St. Jude, they assign a treatment team to their child that will be with them every step of the way helping children and teens understand medical procedures, ease their fears and anxieties and find ways to express their emotions.
Education is important and even though a child is in hospital, it’s comforting to know that they still have access to classes. The St. Jude School has six teachers, and they can teach their students almost anywhere – even in a hospital room. When a kid finishes cancer treatment, the St. Jude teachers work with his or her teacher and classmates back home to help everyone understand how cancer can make someone look, act or feel different.
St. Jude even helps families celebrate special moments like Halloween, graduations and even an annual Spring formal.
When families come to St. Jude, they never receive a bill for hospital care, travel, food or medical expenses. They believe that families should only have to worry about helping their child live.
We know how important it is to not have to worry about medical bills. Being Canadian, we don’t have the fears of our US neighbours. While Dave was in hospital, all medical expenses were covered by OHIP. I do not understand how a country as great as the United States does not have universal health care for its citizens, but it is good to know that there are organizations like St. Jude’s helping families in need.
I originally started writing this post with the intention of going through some of our greatest adventures of the year but then as I sat staring at my blank computer screen, I realized that 2014 was one extraordinary adventure from beginning to end. I marvelled at our schedule and sat in awe at our stamina. I'm not going to say that I intend to ever keep up this pace of travel again, but when looking back at the year ...
2014, The most Rewarding and Overwhelming Year of our lives
I originally started writing this post with the intention of going through some of our greatest adventures of the year but then as I sat staring at my blank computer screen, I realized that 2014 was one extraordinary adventure from beginning to end. I marvelled at our schedule and sat in awe at our stamina. I’m not going to say that I intend to ever keep up this pace of travel again, but when looking back at the year, I can understand why Dave and I feel that it was the most rewarding and fulfilling year of our careers, but also the most exhausting and overwhelming of our lives.
Our 2014 travels started off on January 3rd where we began our year long adventure with Ontario Tourism promoting activities in our own backyard. We took a drive up to Haliburton Ontario to do some dogsledding. It wasn’t your average dogsledding adventure, we went out with Hank DeBruin of Winterdance. Iditarod and two time Yukon Quest finisher with his all husky team of race dogs. We were the first people outside his inner circle that he allowed to ride with his race dogs, and after a few days of learning about dog racing, going out on a few practice runs and meeting his family, we spent a night on the trail with him and his dogs as they went on their final practice run before leaving for the Yukon Quest.
We finished at 5:00 am and drove directly to Toronto where we joined the ladies of The Social on live television to talk about using adventure travel to put the spark back into your relationship. Smelling like dog slobber and going on zero hours of sleep, our adrenaline was pumping as we told our story and shared our travel experiences with Canada. We love going on that show and visiting with the ladies, especially segment producer and regular guest star Kate McKenna. She’s been amazing to us, thanks Kate!
On Set of the Social
Our next trip took us to Seattle, Washington where we met up with our fellow Expedia Viewfinders to discuss the year ahead. If you didn’t know, we are a part of a team of esteemed travel bloggers that write for Expedia.com. We’re their Viewfinders. There are a dozen of us that write for Expedia and represent the brand around the world and they really are the greatest group of Bloggers out there. We think of them all as family and love meeting with them yearly to discuss ideas and brainstorm ways to make the travel and blogging world better.
Spencer Spellman and Rick Griffen: Fellow Expedia Viewfinders
There was no rest after the meeting as we were back in Ontario to take on our most epic challenge we have ever done!
Once we arrived back in Canada, we packed up our car and drove to Sudbury, Ontario where we met Dave and Keilyn to being our 100km trek through the Arctic Watershed. This was by far the most difficult thing Dave and I have ever done in our lives. We had to survive in -35 degree weather as we trekked the frozen Missinaibi Headwaters on snowshoes, pulling our own gear, chopping down our own firewood, chipping through ice for our drinking water and creating a bed of spruce boughs to sleep on. If it weren’t for the guidance of Dave and Kei, plus the amazing camera work and support from Dave Hartman and additional support from Travis and Leslie, we never would have made it through the 10-day trek way up North.
As soon as we finished that trek, we drove directly to Huntsville where we took on a more leisurely winter adventure in Arrowhead and Algonquin Parks where we did some ice skating on the world’s only forest ice trail, did some back country snowmobiling, winter tubing and tried our hands at fat biking: The new winter craze that’s just like mountain biking, but you do it in the snow! Muskoka Ontario has it all, from find dining to great outdoor adventure and romantic getaways. See all there is to do at Sample a Taste of Everything in Muskoka.
Don’t forget Public Speaking
Once we finished all our winter adventures, we shared our stories and experiences at the Outdoor Adventure Show in Toronto. It’s the largest outdoor show in Canada and we had six slots where we talked about Ontario, shared our videos and answered questions about traveling through out great province.
We’ll be speaking again this February! Join us at the Outdoor Adventure Pavilion Feb 22 and 23 in Toronto. Details here!
Off to Australia!
The night the show ended, we boarded a plane to Australia to explore Queensland. We spend a week traveling around Australia’s tropical north doing everything from White Water Rafting, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and taking a helicopter tour over the Great Barrier Reef before diving below the surface of the world’s largest coral reef.
We then spent a week relaxing in a luxury apartment on the Gold Coast courtesy of Peppers Resorts where we did nothing but relax, meet up with our old friend Duncan who we met in our travels way back in 2003 and explore the most beautiful coast in the world.
Queensland’s Gold Coast
Put to the Challenge
Once we cam back from Australia, we took our motorcycle test in Toronto. We spent a weekend with Motorsoul Riding School to learn how to ride a motorcycle because come the end of the summer, we had the intent on circumnavigating Lake Superior (the world’s largest fresh water lake) by motorbike!
We passed our test, but didn’t have long to celebrate because we jetted off to Oregon to take part in Instagramming the beauty of this great US State. Oregon surprised and delighted us. We couldn’t believe the beauty of this place and wondered why every American doesn’t choose to live here? It has mountains, deserts, fine dining, micro breweries, a wonderful coastline and no taxes! If I were American, I’d be there in a Heartbeat! But I’m not so we had to settle on just visiting. We also had the opportunity to meet Bo Baumgartner and the lovely ladies behind the fabulous travel blog Wave Journey. And we ended our trip visiting with our long time friend and blogging mentor Andy Hayes!
Our Guide Bo Baumberger looking over Smith Rock
Not one but two trips to Ireland in 2014!
We were then off to Ireland for our first of two trips to the country to drive the Wild Atlantic Way. We had the honour of being the first media to drive the entire length of the Wild Atlantic Way from bottom to top. All 2500 km of it. We instantly fell in love with Ireland. It became our favourite country in the world and it was the most beautiful and romantic trip we’ve ever taken. How can it not be romantic, we stayed in castles!
Back to Canada
After Ireland, we did an about face from romance and relaxation and high tailed it up north to take an intensive week-long course of whitewater kayaking. I was terrified about flipping upside down in raging cold water, but our guide Fidel at Madawaska Kanu Centre was so amazing, that I enjoyed every minute of it and by the end of the week, Dave and I were running class 3 rapids, we’d mastered the roll and had an amazing time doing it. If you are ever in Ontario Canada, make your way to Madawaska Kanu Centre to learn to white water kayak, it will be the greatest adventure of your life, and the bonus is, World Champions teach you! The only have the best. Book your course there today!
It was then time for our first motorcycle ride on the open road. The guys from Northern Ontario Travel and Ginny from Motorsoul Riding School came to meet us at my parents house with a camera crew. We all then hopped on the motorbikes and the gang took a four day trip through Grey Bruce County. Grey and Bruce counties are probably the most beautiful counties in Ontario with the Blue Mountains, Georgian Bay and the Niagara Escarpment. This area was our old stomping ground when training for the Tour d’Afrique way back in 2007 and when we used to have seasons passes at Blue Mountain Resort for snowboarding. We stopped to see the sights, but it was more about riding and getting used to the bike during these four days.
On the Water
Once we finished up here, we packed our bags yet again and joined wildlife photographer Rob Stimpson and Voyageur Quest on a canoe trip through Algonquin Park in search of moose. It was a successful expedition as we saw 18 moose and had an incredible time camping in the Great Canadian wild, canoeing through beautiful Algonquin Park and making new friends. Steve Bruno from Outdoor Ontario joined us and he is the greatest guy on earth that you could ever work with. That was a big bonus getting to hang out with him.
Adrenaline in the Forest
It was then time to up our skills on the motorcycle a bit so we took a weekend dirt biking coursein the Ganaraska forest. We met Steve Weycamp: Owner of Trail Tours in Peterborough and followed him into the forest where we geared up with all the protective padding to keep us from breaking anything as we whizzed through the forest. Our instructor Al taught us how to hop over logs, do skidding stops, stand up on our bikes, make tight turns and so much more. By the end of day one we were driving through narrow trails in the forest having a rip roaring time on all the obstacles. We especially loved the mogul type bumps in the middle of one trail.
Hobnobbing with Celebrities
In the middle of all this, we popped over the Universal Studios for the opening of Harry Potter’s Diagonally. It was a huge media event where we got the chance to see all the starts (Sans Hermione, Harry and Ron) walk the red carpet at the studios. But was was better yet, we had VIP passes that gave us free run of Universal Studios, we saw Jimmy Fallon introduce Jimmy Buffet and we popped in to see the Blue Man Group! We even attended a private VIP concert with the Beach Boys. We stood right at the stage and shook hands with Mike Love!
Fans with Tom Felton: Draco Malfoy of Harry Potter
It was back to work when we came back to Canada though where we joined Bill Spicer of the popular fly fishing TV show, The New Fly Fisher as guest stars. He taught us how to fly fish in the St. Mary’s River in Sault Ste Marie before hopping on a float plane to Timberwolf Lodge where we spent the next few days fishing for steelhead. We practiced our casting and worked on finessing our moves. I can’t say that it made a fisherman out of us, but we certainly loved the act of casting. I think I could do that all day. As a matter a fact we did!
Deb with The New Fly Fisher, Bill Spicer and his Cameraman
Our final motorcycle practice trip took us through the Kawarthas in Ontario where we spend 3 more days getting comfortable on our bikes, seeing the sites and filming more footage for the motorcycle series following our journey on Ontario Motoroads.
We were then back in the North of Lake Superior to kayak the Slate Islands in search of caribou. The Slates have the highest concentration of woodland caribou in Ontario and we ended up seeing about 9 of these beautiful creatures. Our trip started at the Rock Lodge of Naturally Superior Adventures and this is the place to be on the lake. It seems that every adventurer and paddler stops in here either to camp, stay in the spacious and comfortable lodge, to shop at his gear store or to grab a bite of their delicious home made meals. We spend a night there before driving another 3 hours to our boat shuttle out to The Slates. It was 5 glorious days on the water where we felt the power of Lake Superior and witnessed the beauty of this untouched land.
It was then off to Manitoulin Island to enjoy the Great Spirit Circle Trail with four lucky winners of The Best of Outdoor Ontario Contest. We met four incredible beautiful ladies from Michigan and spent seven days taking on adventures on the world’s largest fresh water island. We also had the honour of learning about Aboriginal Culture and to take part in many ceremonies and First Nations activities. But most importantly, we came away making new friends!
Our Northern Ontario Travels weren’t over yet, as we finally had our great motorcycle adventure around Lake Superior. We’d love to give this trip another go on a longer time schedule. We were so busy filming take after take for the camera crew that we never got to enjoy the beauty of the 2500km shore line that passes through three US States and a huge portion of Ontario. It is one of the epic rides in the world that many motorcyclists yearn to conquer. We think it’s a journey not just for motorcyclists but for anyone. I’d even do it in a car. Maybe rent a convertible, let the top down and enjoy the view. There are so many amazing places to stay, things to see and people to meet, we say, take a couple of weeks of your summer holiday and get out there to explore the Lake Superior Loop!
Lake Superior was a huge part of our lives in 2014 and we ended our summer hiking the Pukaskwa Coastal Trail. We were terrified of this hike worrying that we weren’t in good enough shape for this. It was 65km of rugged coastal trail and it’s one of Canada’s most remote trails. It’s known as a very difficult and challenging hike, but we ended up loving every minute of it! We chalk it up to having another amazing guide provided by Naturally Superior Adventures and to the fact that we gave ourselves enough time to enjoy the route. We took 7 days to hike the trail. I think 6 days would have been enough, but 7 gave us the chance to create a video and take photos of this awesome landscape. It was the best way that we could think of ending our summer. We loved it so much, we’d do it again!
We didn’t even have time for our tent to dry before we were on a plane for the next adventures of our lives. With Ontario coming to an end, it was now time to set our sights on International Travel.
International Travel Again!
Our first stop was Cancun Mexico where we spoke at our favourite travel blogging conference TBEX. But before the networking of the conference, we explored the Cenotes of the Yucatan, and swam with Whale Sharks near Isla Ballestas. Being back in Mexico made us remember why we fell in love with this place. We always talk about how we plan on buying a place in Mexico and this trip sealed the deal. We’re looking in earnest now! We also had an amazing time at the conference. I think it was the most fun we’ve ever had working. We caught up with old friends, made new friends and developed some amazing business relationships.
Back to Ireland
Directly from Mexico, we flew to Ireland to revisit our friends on the Emerald Isle. We had already explore the entire West Coast, so now it was time to explore Northern Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway, the Dark Hedges, and Belfast were out of this world. Once again, we had unbelievably beautiful weather and once again, we decided that Ireland is our favourite place on earth!
We spent 10 days exploring on our own before meeting up with a tour we had planned in conjunction with the Adventure Travel World Summit. Unfortunately Dave sprained his ankle just prior to this tour and I caught a flew bug of some sort, so we didn’t get the chance to really go crazy on this tour. But we did a lot of newspaper and radio interviews with the Irish press as the rest of our group went off on hikes.
After Ireland, we flew to Greece for the very first time in our lives and went directly to Santorini. This was a dream destination for me and it didn’t disappoint. Santorini turned out to be the most beautiful and romantic island on earth. We were lucky enough to stay in luxury at three different accommodations around the islands. We had the good fortune of experiencing two luxury cave hotels complete with infinity pools and private dining on our balconies and a local cave villa in a quiet village with our own private pool and courtyard. Stay tuned to read all about it in 2015!
After Santorini, we spent a little time in Crete, but we didnt’ do enough to talk about there, so we’ll skip Crete and hopefully we’ll get to go back to really see it properly.
We were then off to Athens where we attended TBEX Europe and had so much fun meeting up with old friends. It was the first travel blogging conference we’ve attended since 2010 that we weren’t speaking at and it was wonderful to have zero pressure and just sit back to watch and learn. We made amazing connections and forged future partnerships. We loved Athens and can’t wait to go back one day soon! We were thrilled with the amount of press we got too. We ended up being interviewed for a few different newspapers in the country.
There was no rest after Athens, immediately after TBEX, we flew to Hong Kong. We had been to Hong Kong once before, but we were on a tight budget and only had 2 days in the city. This time, we did it in style staying at the Mira Hotel. We spent 7 days exploring downtown and the outer limits and fell in love with this city. If it weren’t so expensive to live there, I’d say we’d make this our Asian home base. We haven’t had the chance to talk about Hong Kong on the blog yet, but we can’t wait to share everything we did there. You are going to be blown away!
We had to pop back to Ontario for a few days to speak at the Ontario Motorcoach conference in Ottawa. We had such an amazing time talking to the industry about our time in Alberta. It solidified our goal of doing more public speaking and we thank Travel Alberta for the opportunity.
It was a short homecoming though, because after Ottawa, we were back on the plane to Sri Lanka where we attended the Professional Travel Bloggers Association’s first conference – TBCAsia. Sri Lanka has a special place in our hearts. We spent a month there in 2010 and have always wanted to go back. Unfortunately this trip was a whirlwind and we felt that we didn’t get to experience the country again the way we would have wanted to. We realized that we should have skipped the pre conference tour. We were preoccupied with working on our keynote presentation and we hate sitting in tour busses. One of our early mottos of ThePlanetD was to inspire people to look out from behind the glass of a tour bus, and here we were exploring Sri Lanka by tour bus!
We had an amazing time at the conference though and made a lot of future connections
We didnt’ have the luxury of staying in Sri Lanka to explore on our own, because we were finally going to the Amazon. We had been talking with International Expeditions for over two years about going to Peru. We could never make our schedule work, but we knew that if we were to go to the Amazon, we’d want to go with them. It finally happened and a few days after Sri Lanka, we found ourselves on the Amazonica Estrella, floating down the world’s largest river delving deep into the jungle.
<photo of dave with kids>
It was a beautiful trip filled with an abundance of tropical birds. We saw pink dolphins, monkeys and three toed sloths. We walked through villages and met the local people that live on the Amazon River. We had fabulous guides discuss the flora and fauna we saw each day and we were just getting into the rhythm of the trip when Dave took a fall and broke two vertabrae in h is back!
He had to be air lifted out of the Amazon by float plane where he spent a week in hospital in Iquitos before being flown back to Canada via air ambulance. He spent another 9 days in hospital in Canada and is now at home recovering. It’s been nearly a month since he took his fall and he’s walking and healing nicely. He’ll be back and ready to go for 2015, so stay tuned….2014 was amazing, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2015!
Dear Travel Family, I am writing you this letter because I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. In the past 3 1/2 weeks I think I have had tears in my eyes more than any other time in my life. It has not been from the pain (although at times unbearable) but from the outpouring of support and encouragement that I have received from you...my travel family. When I broke my back a little ...
An Open Letter to my Travel Family
Dear Travel Family, I am writing you this letter because I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. In the past 3 1/2 weeks I think I have had tears in my eyes more than any other time in my life. It has not been from the pain (although at times unbearable) but from the outpouring of support and encouragement that I have received from you…my travel family. When I broke my back a little less than 1 month ago it changed my life. Not only did it open my eyes to the fact that life can change in the blink of an eye, but it also made me hyper aware how important friends and family really are. I could not get through this without Deb. She has been my rock and unsung hero not only through this whole ordeal but my entire life. While I was laying in the hospital in Peru spaced out on painkillers she was by my side 24hrs a day tending to my every need, trying to communicate with doctors with her Google Translate as well as having to organize all the details of getting me home in an Air Ambulance and all the insurance needs. This woman is superhuman let me tell you as anyone who has met her can attest to. Thank you my love.
Family and Friends
I also could not have gotten through this without the support of family and close friends. Just to see the faces of my brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, my nephews, and close friends or to hear their voices over the phone really lifted my spirits and I believe it has been a huge part in my recovery moving along so quickly. Thank you guys. But truthfully the support of my family and friends did not surprise me. They have always been a part of my life and always been their for me during my ups and downs. Your reassurance and comfort has been unwavering.
Travel Family Around the World
What was most overwhelming for me was the words, comments, gift baskets, phone calls, emails, and Google chats that came from you…my Travel family. We have been doing this for 6 years now and have been fortunate enough to meet and work with some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. The joy that I get from meeting new people is the fuel that powers my passion for travel. And that is exactly what you guys do. Fuel my passion. You will never know how much those words of encouragement have meant to me and when I see you again you will be getting an embarrassing hug so be prepared. But it is not just the people I have met in person that are responsible for that, but also the people that I know only virtually. Some people can argue that your “online” friends are not your true friends. But obviously they have not met my online friends. Our goal when we started ThePlanetD was to develop a relationship with our readers and if the response that we have received during this tough time is any indication than I think we have accomplished that. I have been overcome with emotion each time I read your comments and realize how lucky I am to be part of this incredibly giving travel community. This may sound strange but when we were younger we used to cut out quotes from Oprah Winfrey’s magazine and stick them to our fridge for inspiration and there was always one that really stayed with me.
It was “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher”.
I feel that is exactly what we have done. You guys have become part of that group that lifts me higher and inspires me to follow my passion and take the risks necessary to live a fulfilling life. So thank you again from the deepest reaches of my soul and heart for being you and most importantly for being my travel family.
With Love and Gratitude,
We’d like to thanks International Expeditions for all their help after the accident. They stayed with us for the entire week I was in the hospital in Peru. And especially Jaime who was on call and at the hospital in the blink of an eye when Deb needed him. And a huge thanks to Joyce and Ryan, fellow passengers on our cruise. Joyce is a retired nurse who took control of the situation, stabilized my back and made sure I was safe until the float plane came to take me to the hospital. Her nephew Ryan, is an amazing young man who didn’t have to stay with us, but he was there to help move Dave and keep him comfortable too!
Freedom is a pretty ‘big’ term. It has been following me since I started thinking. First there were the little things: I wanted to decide on my own what to wear in the morning. I wanted to feel free and was looking forward to any excursion we had at school, I wanted to see and experience different things. Of course as a teenager different aspects came up: the freedom to decide when and where I was meeting my friends, but ...
The thing about freedom and traveling
Freedom is a pretty ‘big’ term. It has been following me since I started thinking. First there were the little things: I wanted to decide on my own what to wear in the morning. I wanted to feel free and was looking forward to any excursion we had at school, I wanted to see and experience different things. Of course as a teenager different aspects came up: the freedom to decide when and where I was meeting my friends, but also the political aspect of freedom: the freedom of speech, the freedom to demonstrate for what I believed in. Then I was free to decide what I wanted to study and which university I wanted to go to. In my home country, we didn’t have fees to attend school and I could pretty much decide what courses I wanted to attend and which subjects I was interested in. Thanks to an additional grant I had enough money to start traveling: the freedom to travel, to explore new countries and cultures. I was free to dream about my future and new ideas.
Watch a short video about my recent road trip:
The thing about freedom started to change when I had my first full-time job. Suddenly I had a boss who could decide which direction to follow in a project. Suddenly I had hardly any time about deciding on my dinner – I was working hard. Suddenly I had to pay a lot of bills and put money aside for retirement as parents, friends and insurance consultants told me that this was necessary. My freedom to decide what was good for me was shrinking. I started giving up freedom for security. And so did most of my friends. The days of trying, exploring and dreaming seemed to be far away and daily routines and a structured life were taking over. And everyone seemed to direct their freedom of choices towards very little things: I could decide if I wanted to wear the black or grey business costume to work, I could decide about the color of the new tiles for the bathroom and I had the freedom of choice between lactose-free or fat-free yoghurt in the supermarket.
…Until I decided to take a half-year career break and travel independently in West Africa. After almost six years in an office job, I was desperate for new challenges. Guess what: I was gaining back freedom: new cultures, different lifestyles and opinions. I found out that people from Ghana and Cameroon were still smiling – without a retirement fund. I also found out that just traveling without a purpose wasn’t my cup of tea (despite the financial aspect of running out of money at some point). But I couldn’t go back to my old office job. I was ‘suffering’ from a severe overdose of freedom and it felt so good!
I decided to funnel my new freedom into a new job. I applied for a job as a tour leader and driver for an overland- and adventure company. I trained driving big overland trucks and learned a few mechanical tricks and off I went back on the road between Cairo and Cape Town as well as Rio de Janeiro and Quito. Since then I haven’t gone back into secure and well-known patterns: being out of my comfort zone was addictive. I found a husband while traveling the world and we started our own adventure company. The last two summers have been epic trips from Arizona to Alaska: spending most of my time outside in the wilderness. If your dreams don‘t scare you, they are not big enough!
Natalie: Left Germany end of 2010 to backpack West Africa. After feeling the freedom of the road applied for a tour leading job and since then has been driving overland trucks from Cairo to Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro to Quito. After remodeling an old school bus into an ultimate overland vehicle and starting her on adventure company together with Dave (who she met traveling and working in Africa) Natalie is on the road again: This time to enjoy the beauty and wilderness of Alaska with like-minded people.
Dave had been back in Canada for about three days when the people from CBC Radio Called. "We heard about your accident in Peru and wondered if you'd like to chat with host Wei Chen on Ontario Morning next week?" Dave was pumped full of painkillers and muscle relaxers and would pretty much agree to anything at that point. So a few days later he was sitting in his hospital room talking with Wei Chen of the CBC live ...
Dave Chats About his Broken Back and Travel on CBC Radio
Dave had been back in Canada for about three days when the people from CBC Radio Called. “We heard about your accident in Peru and wondered if you’d like to chat with host Wei Chen on Ontario Morning next week?” Dave was pumped full of painkillers and muscle relaxers and would pretty much agree to anything at that point. So a few days later he was sitting in his hospital room talking with Wei Chen of the CBC live about the fall that broke his back, our travels and our relationship. Even in severe pain, he could still be a romantic.
Dave Chatting with CBC Radio from Woodstock Hospital
CBC Ontario Morning with Wei Chen
Listen to the Podcast by clicking the photo below. Dave’s on right at the end of the show at 38:44 – A player on a blank screen will pop up and start playing, use your mouse to scroll to 38:44.
In other News:
Dave’s fall also made the local paper. The newspaper called us at the hospital and while Dave was in his first physiotherapy session I chatted with them about what happened in Peru. I really enjoyed reading this piece. You can click here or on the photo to read more
On the Road to Recovery
Dave’s home from the hospital now and on the road to recovery. We are so grateful for all the support that we received from friends, family, and colleagues. It was a difficult time for us, but to receive so much love and support lifted our hearts. We’re entering the holiday season filled with optimism and thanks for the people we have in our lives. Even though we’re grounded for a bit, we’re happy to be home and close to those that matter most.
Thanks again everyone and have a wonderful day no matter where you are or what you are doing. Life is unpredictable and short, make each moment count!