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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    Don't mistake Portland's down-to-earth attitude for a lack of class: this is one sophisticated city.

    stay: From the oversized mural welcoming you in the lobby to the nude sketches in the Carrara marble bathrooms, the Hotel Modera embodies Portland's arts scene (even the city's hanging baskets are edgy).

    It's in walking distance from the Pearl District and the downtown core, but look no further than its buzzy restaurant, Nel Centro, for your nightcap.

    Gathered around one of the three sleek firepits on the terrace (with a glass of something bubbly) was the place to be the night we arrived.


    savour: There are only two places you'll find a Portlander at noon on a Sunday: eating brunch or waiting in line for it. Do like the locals and head to Tasty n Alder for comfort food with Asian and Latin influences (think crunchy Korean fried chicken tossed with short-grain rice, house kimchee and eggs, and a chocolate malt milkshake and dipping fries, for dessert).

    On weekends there's usually a wait so kill time at Blue Star Donuts and Heart Coffee. Dinner calls for lighter Thai-Vietnamese fare: fried tilapia with chilies, lime and coriander at Pok Pok's in the Hawthorne District does it.


    sip: For the lay of the brewery land (and guaranteed fun times) book your spot on a BrewCycle. On our two-hour Northwest Circuit tour, we pedaled our way to Lucky Lab, McMenamins and Bridgeport while belting out 90s tunes with fellow riders in an impromptu karaoke sesh.

    Beer not your thing? Head to the Heathman Hotel for a very sexy Fifty Shades of Grey cocktail (the book series is set here) accessorized with, what else? Tiny handcuffs.


    do: Haute galleries abound in this Northwestern cultural hub (which, by the way, k.d. Lang once called home). Take in local and international works at the beautifully curated Gallery 905, Augen and Froelick and the Museum of Contemporary Craft, all on Davis Street.

    By night head to the Kennedy School Theatre to catch a newly-released flick from the comfort of a living-room couch while noshing on pizza and beer, then join the tortoiseshell-bespectacled crowd to discuss it over drinks at the theatre's bar. Classic Portland.


    shop: In a city that loves the little guy, Portland is boutique heaven. For home décor, local handicrafts and the coolest air plants we've even seen, head to Boys Fort and The Real Mother Goose.

    On a Saturday afternoon it's worth stopping in to Knit Purl to watch the city's craft-obsessed fawn over the kaleidoscope of colourful yarns. From March to December take a stroll through the Portland Saturday Market where hundreds of local artisans show off their wares.

    Be sure to fuel your shopping spree with a cup of locally brewed Kombucha from one of the many food trucks (the trip isn't complete without it!).

    And when you start to miss PDX upon your return home? There's always Portlandia.

    -- Lise Boullard

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    For an alternate version of this blog with every instance of the word "Football" changed to read "Soccer," please click HERE.

    Two things are inescapable in South America (and around the world): EDM and Football. And, much like the metric system, it's an accessible and universally-beloved sport that Americans refuse to embrace as they rename it "Soccer" and insist that the Super Bowl is more important than the World Cup. Which reached 3.2 billion people in 2014, AKA "Half the human population of Earth."

    And while I've learned how to dance to EDM (the secret is that you wait for the bass to drop and then lose your goddamn mind), I've never managed to really build a love of football. Maybe it's because the act of even considering running around for 90 straight minutes sends my brain into a preemptive nap state.

    In my life, I've probably watched two or three football games to completion.

    Perhaps it's because I somehow avoided being enrolled in soccer as a kid because my childhood athleticism was more on the "chess club and participation ribbons at swim meets" side of the scale.

    But it's probably because Canada is only slightly less dismissive of the sport than America: Not only do we call it soccer, we also invented our own version of American Football with a bigger playing field, a larger ball, and a slight chance of hiring The Rock.

    In my life, I've probably watched two or three football games to completion. I've played half a game of FIFA before politely insisting we play Mario Kart instead. Most player names I know are from a fictional commercial in The Simpsons.

    So when our group in Córdoba drew names from a hat to determine which diehard football fans would get to watch the Argentina vs. Bolivia World Cup qualifier match in the city, I was obviously one of the people lucky enough to go, instead of, for instance, a lifelong fan and follower of Lionel Messi.

    (Who I successfully learned about after Googling "Leo Messy.")

    So, for my last week in Córdoba, I went off with a group of friends to go root for the national team and watch the greatest living player in the sport do his thing. And my only problem was that I knew nothing about the sport, or the player, or the game.

    But this type of thing hasn't stopped me before.


    Have Your Go-To Facts At The Ready

    Like most con artists/sociopaths, I believe in the power of saying something with conviction and authority, especially if you have no idea what you're talking about. I had two phrases that got me through every question that was thrown at me about the evening's match: "They beat them 12-0 in the friendlies!" and "This one is a World Cup qualifier, so it really counts."

    The key here is to never allow for follow-up questions. Do I know what a "friendly" is? Nope. Do I know how the World Cup qualifier system works? Hell no. But I knew those two lines, and I said them with confidence.

    Apparently Football Chants Are A Thing

    The depth of creative sports chanting in North America never exceeds the standard "LET'S GO [SPORTS TEAM], CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP," probably because anything more complex than that leads us into people-clapping-at-concerts territory. It's a bad scene. However, around the world, you have stadiums full of fans in the UK singing entire songs in unison, and customized contextual chants for any number of scenarios an Argentinian football fan could face.

    So that's why I found Fan Chants, and may or may not have spent the duration of a shower singing football chants to myself in Spanish, just in case. Did I ever get a chance to use them? Nope. Because it turns out, it is hard to distinguish which of the Spanish chants you hastily shoved into your memory are being sung by a crowd of 60,000 people. Which brings us to the next point.

    This Isn't A House Party -- Show Up Early

    Our group arrived at the stadium roughly an hour before the match was about to start, and the stands were already at capacity. As were the aisles leading up to the stands, and the vantage points between the security stages at the edge of the stadium. I'm almost entirely sure the majority of people showed up hours ahead, because this is serious.

    So unless you want to watch the game through the bars of a stadium's ground floor near a group of bemused security guards (and honestly, the view was pretty great), then you need to show up with time to spare.

    The More Bootleg Merch You Buy, The More Of A Fan You Are

    Argentina colours? Check. Jester hat? Double check. Gigantic scarf you will drop in a puddle that very night? Checkmate. I don't want to give anyone a single reason to doubt my complete and total football fan status by looking at me.

    Leaving my Washington Generals jersey at home probably helped, too. But ultimately, this is all window dressing, because...

    If You Know Nothing About Football, It Will Be Obvious When You Watch The Damn Game

    Actual questions I asked others during the match:

    • "Which one is Messi?"

    • "Wait, why are they kicking that way? I thought they were kicking the other way."

    • A five minute argument about why they water the field at halftime.

    • "Oh, I thought the other guy was Messi."

    • "This reminds me of the Quidditch World Cup!"

    The beautiful game is wasted on me.

    Mike Sholars is currently residing in Córdoba, Argentina as he travels the world for a year while working remotely for The Huffington Post Canada. Remotely Interesting is his weekly travel column. Follow @sholarsenic on Instagram and Twitter to be assaulted with his bad jokes and shaky photos.

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    Nine times out of 10, people have not heard of the Azores. Unless you have a friend or relative from one of the islands, it's virtually unknown to the majority of the populace. This is a good and bad thing. Good -- because these islands preserve some of the most untouched and natural beauty left in the world. Bad -- because if you're not here, you're missing out.


    Only about a four-hour direct flight from the North American content, the nine islands belong to Portugal but carry an identity so unique from one another that you'd be remiss not to travel to each of these European gems. On this particular occasion, we take a direct flight from Toronto to São Miguel Island, which is also home to the capital of the Azores, Ponta Delgada. Comprising about 50 per cent of the population of all the islands, São Miguel (also referred to as the Green Island) contains the most inhabitants, with approximately 135,000 people. Land mass wise, it is also the largest. But perhaps the most enticing aspect about all the islands of the Azores is the ability to have a European experience without the hustle and bustle or congestion a place like Lisbon could have.

    In part one of this four part series, I focus on São Miguel, Pico and Faial islands.

    Here's the best of what to eat in São Miguel, Azores.


    Alcides (São Miguel island, R. Hintze Ribeiro 61, 9500-049 Ponta Delgada), is the oldest restaurant on the island and still a family run operation.

    What to eat: The four to five pound (1.9 - 2 kg) tenderloin (called Lombo) -- the most tender steak on offer at the restaurant, with house cut fries and a glass of local red.

    Why: These local, grass fed cows are the epitome of the term "free range." Their lives are simple but happy. They're free to roam the fertile grasslands and eat as much as their two stomachs desire. At one to two years of age they're slaughtered and broken down; the meat rests in a climate controlled room for two days before serving.

    On the plate: you get a rustic, ragged shaped tenderloin -- it is definitely not the cookie-cutter shapes you see in North America (the fried egg on top comes highly recommended as well). Ditto for the fries- some come out thin and crisp, others like chunky wedges. The meat is tender and flavourful despite the cut being so lean. It is not overly chewy and is delicately sweet with a rich, beefy flavour. The steak is fried for two to three minutes on each side which creates this charred exterior with crusty edges. The meat sits in a simple sauce made of white wine and fat renderings. For this dish, simple is best and not much is done to altered the high quality of the beef.



    King of Cheese aka O Rei dos Quejos ( São Miguel island, Rua do Mercado da Graça - São Pedro, Ponta Delgada) is a family run business. With his three sons, the father, Carlos helms this 42-year-old operation. As you enter the small no-frills shop, your nostrils are assaulted with the pungent smells of funky, glorious cheeses. Wheels lines the walls and feature at least 60 varieties from the island.

    What to eat: São Jorge Cheese, a semi-firm variety that's aged for at least three months (and up to nine months). Younger cheeses have the texture of a gruyere or gouda and harder ones emulate parmigiano reggiano from Italy-- drier and a firmer texture with an assertive tang.

    On the plate: local wines to sip with (e.g. António Maçanita Arinto dos Açores Sur Lies 2014), cheeses and sweet breads (Bolo lêvedo), make a delightfully simple but delicious cheese sandwich.



    Restaurante SP - São Pedro ( São Miguel island, Ponta Delgada)

    Owner Joao Chaves loves to eat and drink and that was the primary catalyst in opening a restaurant with his industry friends. Initially, there were 10 dishes on offer, but now, you can choose from over 89 items on the expansive menu. After 12 years in this business, he still continues to add and experiment, sharing dishes he likes to eat with his customers.

    He adorns the walls with landscape images he's captured from the island he calls home. It's another passion of his; Chaves is self-taught and has been snapping photos for 10 years.

    What to eat: Seafood is fresh and vibrant and the must have dish here is the grilled lapas. If you've never had them before, you're in for a unique treat; the texture is a cross between mussels and geoduck.

    On the plate: rows of grilled lapas arrive sizzling on a cast iron skillet, they're cooked with garlic, white peppers, and copious amounts of butter. The small morsels are slightly springy, pack a juicy sweetness, and taste of the ocean. Mop up juices with house baked bread.



    Akeais Restaurant, Eco-Beach Resort (São Miguel island, Santa Barbara)
    The two year old resort offers picturesque views of the Atlantic ocean and eco-friendly dwellings that implement water usage caps, cork insulation, and local wood for cabinets and tables; it offers 14 intimate villas in total.

    What to eat: Blood sausage and pineapple (Morcel a com ananas) is a specialty of the region.

    On the plate: cylinders of pork are a ruddy, blackened rouge and stacked like matchsticks on wedges of pineapple. Like a soft pate, the sausage easily yields under the weight of your fork. The meat is rich tasting; there are bitter notes and slight traces of minerality. Lightened with the juiciness of the pineapple, when eaten together, the duo is a balanced and unique combination.



    Saca- Rolhas Taberna (São Miguel island, Ponta Delgada)
    This restaurant is a local favourite and all the food is prepared by Fernando Soares and his wife.

    What to eat: When you're on an island surrounded by water, it is your moral imperative to eat the seafood here; it is plentiful and fresh. The Polvo (octopus), in particular, is a stand-out.

    On the plate: Coils of braised octopus curl around a nest of baby potatoes. It is a simple presentation that needs few embellishments; the octopus has a meaty texture but is soft and supple in the mouth. Also a delight, the burnished edges that add char and crunch.



    TN Restaurant (Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, São Miguel island, Furnas)
    Situated inside the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, TN Restaurant offers a contemporary setting to try unique and traditional dishes from the island.

    What to eat: This dish is a must-try and it is advisable to call the restaurant in advance to reserve the Furnas Cozido. The meat and vegetable stew is cooked for at least six hours using the heat and steam from the Furnas Volcano (which also heats the Hot Springs). If you head to Furnas Volcano, you can see the designated plots where restaurants bury their stews to cook.

    On the plate: A melange of meats has been delicately seasoned along with root vegetables. Pork, beef, and chicken as well as their varied cuts are placed on your plate. For instance, the pig's ear is markedly delicious. While humble in appearance, its gelatinous texture is soft and creamy in the mouth.


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    Photo Credit: Traveller-Reini

    Families have been flocking to Florida for sunny, warm-weather vacations for decades. After all, the state is home to the Walt Disney World Resort (among countless other theme parks), thousands of miles of white-sand beaches and wildlife refuges just waiting for families to get outside and start exploring. These six destinations across the Sunshine State are the best of the best for your 2016 family vacation.

    1. Naples

    Naples is a Gulf of Mexico city that offers the best of both worlds, picture-perfect beaches and a thriving cultural scene. Families can spend long days on the sugar sand beaches and nights shopping and dining in the historic downtown area. There's something for everyone in Naples, ranging from the Vanderbilt beach wildlife preserve to world-renowned golf courses and family-friendly all-inclusive resorts.

    2. Sanibel Island

    Photo Credit: EricRi

    Venture even farther into the Gulf of Mexico to scenic Sanibel Island. This pristine barrier island is ideal for families who like to spend a lot of time in the wild.

    Sanibel Island's abundance of seashells, wildlife, trails and scenic drives makes it easy to stay active while enjoying Florida's sunny skies and warm temperatures. Take a guided kayaking tour to spot manatees or hike the trails of the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge in search of gators; there's no reason to turn on the TV when you're on Sanibel Island.

    3. Melbourne

    Florida's Space Coast offers a more quaint atmosphere for playing on the sand and in the sea with the ones you love. Melbourne is just south of popular Cocoa Beach but far enough away for families to experience a more "local" Florida vibe. Take nighttime walks on the uncrowded beaches, explore local farmers' markets, dine at locally-famous seafood restaurants and try a family surf lesson. Melbourne is a place to discover Florida's coastal charm without the crowds.

    4. Orlando

    Photo Credit: Photographing Travis

    Orlando is a paradise city for kids. It's one of the world's most famous places to visit theme parks, including Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure. However, adults don't have to dread visits to this city of non-stop attractions, because Disney and numerous hotel chains offer themed resorts that are geared toward entertaining kids while adults relax at the spa or by the pool.

    5. Key Largo

    The Florida Keys make tropical vacations more affordable. Forget about costly flights to the Caribbean, the Keys offer the towering palm trees, coral reefs and turquoise waters you're seeking without the outrageous tourist prices. Key Largo is the northernmost of Florida's Keys and is known as the diving capital of the world. However, you don't need to be an avid diver to enjoy the island town's coastal seafood restaurants, unbelievable snorkeling spots and mangrove trails that are perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding.

    6. St. Petersburg

    Photo Credit: thephotographymuse

    St. Petersburg and nearby Clearwater are known for housing Florida's most scenic white sand beaches and turquoise Gulf of Mexico waters. The "Sunshine City" continues to land at the top of Top 10 lists for it's family-friendly beaches, bathtub-warm ocean waters and activities for all ages of visitors, ranging from jet skiing and parasailing to skimboarding, swimming and dolphin tours. An abundance of oceanfront resorts make it easy to pick accommodations that suit your family's travel needs.

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    Most people have never even seen the inflatable slide that deploys in aircraft emergencies — so the sight of one flight attendant using after a routine landing stunned onlookers.

    Click2Houston reports the incident happened around noon local time Monday after a United Airlines flight landed at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

    Just as the plane stopped at its gate, the flight attendant opened a door, inflated the slide and dropped her bag onto the ground before sliding down herself.

    People watching from inside the airport were flabbergasted.

    "That's insane. Why?" Sharon Lovedahl told the outlet. "Why would she do that?"

    united airlines airport

    In a statement, United said an investigation is underway and the employee had been suspended.

    ABC13 reports 159 passengers were on the flight from Sacramento. Six crew members, including the attendant in question, were also on board.

    The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is looking into the incident, according to

    No one was injured. The plane was put back into service after an inspection and a new slide installed.

    This is not the first time a flight attendant has used the slide.

    In 2010, a JetBlue employee named Steven Slater made his creative exit after announcing over the plane's intercom that a passenger had abused him and he was leaving his job. Before sliding off, he took two beers.

    While United believes their employee intentionally exited the plane this way, accidental slide deployments are apparently common — and expensive.

    In an internal November 2015 memo obtained by travel journalist Brian Sumers, United said there had been seven unintentional deployments that year.

    It warned attendants to make sure a lever on the plane's main door reads "disarmed" before opening it. If the lever is "armed," the slide will pop out automatically.

    In 2014, the International Air Transport Association said accidental slide deployments cost the industry over US$20 million a year.

    One has to wonder about the bill for this flight attendant's five-second joy-slide.


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    When you book your flights and you're finally ready to book hotels, are hotels your accommodation of choice or is there consideration for hostels, apartments, or even some really unique accommodation options. This country is filled with amazing places to stay that are very different from any typical hotel option. Canada is filled with beautiful scenery close to lakes, mountains, forests and much more.

    Here are a few of the most unique accommodations options in Canada selected by Flight Network.

    1. Hotel de Glace, Quebec City, Quebec


    Arguably the most unique place to stay in Canada, to produce the Hôtel de Glace, we need 30.000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice and offers guests the chance to sleep on a bed made of ice. Sound chilly? You can always warm up in the hot tub or sauna, or opt for a Deluxe suit that's decked out with a much-needed fireplace.

    2. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Tofino, B.C.


    Set on Vancouver Island and only reachable by seaplane or boat, this resort offers the perfect glamping experience, complete with luxurious en-suite tents and heated floors. The in-house activities director creates personalized adventures for every guest.

    3. Soule Creek Lodge, Port Renfrew, B.C.


    Each yurt at Soule Creek Lodge comes with its own private deck that looks out over the west coast scenery. The rustic rooms are complemented by the surrounding landscape, which is filled with walking trails and beach views.

    4. Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C.


    Go one step further and explore the underwater world of Vancouver's Aquarium after closing hours. You can bed down for the night in front of the colourful sea creatures -- a one-of-a-kind experience for the whole family.

    5. Fogo Island Inn, Joe Batt's Arm, N.L.


    Carving a modern silhouette against a timeless landscape, the Fogo Island Inn is described as a cultural movement that brings together creatives from all walks of life. Its contemporary interior boasts artist studios and gallery space.

    6. Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux, Saint-Fulgence, Que.


    Dangle from the treetops in a tiny orb overlooking the Saguenay Fjord. When you're not cooking up a storm in the designated picnic areas, you can enjoy the views and relax under the twinkling stars.

    To view more unique accommodations in Canada visit Flight Network

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    Foldable, booster-style seats, self-cleaning toilets, and newly defined aircraft cabins are among some of the most interesting aircraft innovations that could take off in the near future.

    Winners of the Crystal Cabin Awards were announced at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg Germany this week, which recognizes innovations in aircraft cabins across eight categories.

    Here are some of the highlights:

    Foldable, ‘booster' seats
    Rebel.Aero's design for foldable seats similar to the ones found in movie theaters took the award for best Passenger Comfort Hardware this year. The concept is multi-pronged: Foldable seats enable passengers to stand in their own “footwell” space more comfortably and offers easier access to fellow seatmates. The result? Quicker boarding and turnaround times. Likewise, long-legged passengers can fold up part of the seat pan into a booster-style arrangement, giving them more leg room. The new standing seat configuration also allows passengers to straighten their legs and stretch their lower backs during short-haul flights.

    Self-cleaning toilets
    Boeing's much buzzed-about “self-cleaning” toilet took the award in the category of Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment for its slew of features, including a system that can disinfect the bathroom in three seconds and a hands-free experience. Ultraviolet lights are positioned to shine on surfaces like the toilet seat, sink and countertops once the occupant leaves the loo. Toilet seats are being designed to open and close automatically, while hands-free door latches and faucets are also in development.

    Lifestyle Cabin
    Zodiac Aerospace dared to reimagine conventional cabin categories which are traditionally divided by fares. Instead, designers propose a new “Lifestyle Cabin” that divides cabins by different needs and desires. The lounge area, for instance, would be designed to allow passengers to move about freely and socialize, while the sleeper cabin would be reserved for flyers who want nothing but to snooze. Private berths, meanwhile, would be akin to First Class, offering passengers a boutique hotel-like experience with banquet seats that morph into lie-flat beds.

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    When acts of terror rock our world, the last thing we want to think about is whether our kids are in the middle of it. Just the thought of someone you love being in that kind of trouble can make you catch your breath. And while your heart always goes out to families who do lose loved ones in those situations, there is also often a bit of guilty relief that your family is safe.

    It's why the thought of even considering putting your child in harm's way is a hard one to swallow.

    So what to do when your kids have the opportunity to travel -- whether as part of a school trip or a solo backpacking adventure? Do you hold them close or let them go?

    The answer isn't clear cut but there are some things you should consider as you make your decision:

    Get the facts:

    Read the terror alert warnings from your government and measure them in context. Talk to people who are in a situation similar to yours (other parents of kids poised to take the trip, parents and teachers of kids who've already taken the trip, the organizers, etc.) .Confront your fears and ask the tough questions. What are the safety protocols that give you comfort? Where are they traveling? What makes you uncomfortable? What are the real risks and what information do you have to support it?

    Talk to your kids:

    Ask them how they're feeling about the potential travel? Are they nervous? Uncomfortable? Unfazed? Have a discussion where you listen more than you speak. Be careful not to push your fears onto them but also be open to having an honest, age-appropriate discussion.

    Remember the reasons independent travel is important:

    Travel holds real benefits for young people including increased self confidence, world awareness and learning opportunities. What benefits do you see for your child? What would your hopes be for them on such a trip if terror wasn't front of mind? Are you any less committed to your beliefs in that regard? And if you have wavered, do you have concrete reasons for doing so? You may come out of this analysis committed to your gut feeling that it's not a good idea for them to travel. That's ok, too. It's the analysis that is important.

    Prepare them:

    Don't send them off on a big trip without a discussion about how you'll stay in contact (and how often), remaining aware of their surroundings and trusting their instincts. Have the conversations that prepare them for the world they're heading out to explore. Technology is your friend. Equip them with a cell phone and a sim card that will allow them to contact you (or you them) if you need to. Talk about what to do in case of any emergency -- not just a terror related one.

    Let them go without you:

    The chance of a terror attack does not decrease because you are beside them. School trips, near or far are an opportunity for independence , learning and growth. Let them go, or don't, but don't water down the experience with your fears or helicoptering. That's not fair to them.


    We talk about fears, family and the importance of travel a lot at . You can read our thoughts on one school board's recent decision to cancel all trips to Europe and see our recent appearance discussing it on Canada AM here

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    The "Trump Bump" is real on Cape Breton Island, and it's YUUUUGE.

    Two months ago, a website titled "Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins" urged Americans to move to the island should the businessman win the presidency.

    It drove a surge of interest in the Nova Scotia community — CNN even sent a news crew to the island to see what it has to offer.

    cape breton trump
    The front page of "Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins." (Photo:

    The website, created by Rob Calabrese, advertised Cape Breton as a gorgeous place of refuge.

    Since then, the island has become a "household name," Destination Cape Breton CEO Mary Tulle told CBC News.

    The publicity boost has manifested in several ways, such as a 15 to 20 per cent increase in annual bookings at the Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa in the community of Ingonish.

    Calls started pouring in the day after CNN's report, general manager Graham Hudson told The Canadian Press.

    donald trump
    (Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

    He said staff have witnessed a big uptick in American tourism, and Victoria County bed and breakfast owner Earlene Busch said the same. (Although, the surge could also be influenced by the low value of the Canadian dollar.)

    cape breton
    The coast of Cape Breton Island. (Photo: Shaunl/Getty Images)

    Calabrese told CBC News that media interest in Cape Breton still hasn't died down — the creator has plans to meet with a film crew from New York City to talk about the island — but he did admit that traffic to the website has lessened.

    However, Calabrese said it's entirely possible interest could shoot up once again.

    "The [U.S.] convention is still months away. We'll see how it develops," Calabrese told the network.

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    Canada has it all. From beaches to mountains to lush landscapes coast-to-coast, each province holds it's own set of treasures.

    Last year the Globe and Mail asked Canadians why they weren't camping anymore, and apparently, it might have to do with city slickers not being comfortable with the remoteness of the great outdoors.

    The article explored the idea of parks becoming more urban dweller friendly, by increasing access to amenities and making it a more social experience. Meanwhile, in the comments section, readers posited that it might have to do with the rising cost of camping and the difficulties of booking site.

    gros morne camping

    According to Google Trends, while interest in camping has dipped since a decade ago, it seems to be on the rise, especially in Ontario, Quebec and British Colombia.

    But beyond spending a mini vacation cooped up with your best friends, roasting marshmallows and taking in Canada's natural beauty, there are some health benefits of camping as well — just think about all those calories you're going to burn hiking.

    To get you inspired (and to get you booking) we've compiled a list of some of our favourite places to camp from coast-to-coast. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned camper, we've got you covered. The list below contains sites suited to those who are looking for adventure, solitude, wondrous sights, a variety of amenities and of course breathtaking nature.

    Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.

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    Photo Credit: faungg

    You've probably heard of Florida's Walt Disney World Resort, California's golden beaches and Colorado's world-renowned ski resorts. However, joining the flocks of tourist in those frequented parts of the country often means you're missing out on some less popular but equally as impressive sites. The following are five of America's most underrated sites that are just waiting for you to discover their unique personalities and beauty.

    The World's Largest Spring Fed Swimming Pool

    Balmorhea State Park's crystal clear spring-fed swimming pool is the largest in the world. However, it's not just the pristine, 1.75-acre, fresh-water pool with three diving boards and varying depths of water that makes Balmorhea State Park such an excellent place to relax on a hot summer day in Texas. Park goers can camp steps from the pool, geocache, learn about West Texas' arid desert environment, enjoy the outdoor sports area and enjoy a family picnic by the pool or in other areas of the park. However, there's no doubt you'll want to spend most of your time in the pool skin diving, scuba diving or swimming.

    The Car-Free Island in Northern Michigan

    Photo Credit: Randy McRoberts

    Michigan isn't the country's most visited state, but that's what makes days spent on untouched beaches staring into the turquoise waters of the Great Lakes so special. Mackinac Island is one of the state's most spectacular places for an escape. Motor vehicles are not allowed on the island, so take a ferry from Mackinaw City, rent a bicycle and cruise around the island visiting bars, restaurants, shops and scenic spots. The views of picturesque Lake Huron from just about anywhere on the island will leave you in awe.

    Alabama's Uncrowded Gulf Coast Beaches

    It's no secret that Florida's picture-perfect Gulf Coast beaches get swarmed with tourists in spring and summer. But those who are in the know head to Alabama's favorite Gulf Coast beach towns, like Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. In addition to white sand, bathtub-warm Gulf of Mexico waters and towering palm trees, visitors can indulge in delicious seafood restaurants, cool coastal shops and outdoor activities like parasailing, fishing, dolphin cruises and more.

    Hit the Beach in Colorado
    Photo Credit: AER Wilmington DE

    It may not actually be on the ocean, but Great Sand Dunes National Park's towering piles of sand will make you feel like you're far away from Colorado. Visitors can wander along the tallest sand dunes in North America, take a refreshing dip in Medano Creek, climb to mountain peaks or try fun dune activities like sledding, sandboarding, sand castle building and more. Visitors can stay at one of the park's campgrounds or choose from a number of cozy lodges that serve as comfortable home bases for sand dune and mountain adventures.

    Head to the Grand Canyon in Georgia
    Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park is one of the world's most famous sites, and that means crowds are common along the canyon's famed rims. However, you can enjoy the beauty of the Grand Canyon on a slightly smaller scale, with far fewer tourists, at Georgia's "Little Grand Canyon." Providence Canyon was formed due to poor farming practices in the 1800s, but it has since become a unique geographic wonder. The park includes backcountry campsites, cottages, numerous hiking trails, and gullies that drop as far as 150 feet. When you're seeking a getaway to a natural wonder that doesn't involve hoards of camera-toting tourists, there's no better place to visit than Lumpkin, Ga.

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    Photo Credit: kun0me

    It's easy to get caught up in California's costly resorts and touristy attractions on your summer vacation, but you'll be missing out on some of the state's best features. California is loaded with state parks, offering some of the Golden State's best scenery, hiking trails, campsites, beaches and more. From the cactus-studded desert to the deep blue Pacific Ocean and everywhere in between, these are the top six California state parks for your summer vacation.

    San Clemente State Beach
    Photo Credit: DBduo Photography

    When you're looking for a beach getaway that doesn't involve overpriced resorts, costly restaurant meals and uptight rules, the San Clemente State Beach is the place to visit. This family-friendly campground, perched on a scenic cliff overlooking the Pacific, is located just a couple miles from downtown San Clemente, but the less-traveled beaches and shaded campsites will make you feel much farther away.

    Reserve a campsite on the cliff ahead of time, and you'll enjoy peaceful ocean views and plenty of space for your family, friends, pets and camping supplies.

    Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

    Photo Credit: ben.haeringer

    California receives a lot of credit for its beaches and mountain peaks, but much of the state is characterized by dry deserts littered with Joshua trees, saguaro cacti, sagebrush and other common desert flora.

    The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park invites visitors to experience the unique beauty and adventure of California's desert. Visitors can camp, mountain bike, hike, horseback ride and simply gaze at the plants, wildlife and unhindered desert sunrises and sets. The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is truly a place where you can escape from it all and enjoy an active vacation in the wild.

    Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
    Photo Credit: starm42

    Julia Pfeiffer Burns was a prominent local resident of the Big Sur country, so it's no wonder to long-time locals that this picturesque park was named in her honor. It's a place where visitors can stand in awe of the Big Sur coastline, which is home to an 80-foot waterfall, granite cliffs, redwoods, tan oaks and arguably California's best views of the Pacific.

    Visitors can whale watch from the Overlook Trail, explore the park's underwater scuba diving area, discover the McWay Waterfall House and camp at hike-in only sites that will leave unforgettable memories of the beauty of Big Sur.

    Natural Bridge State Beach
    Photo Credit: Dave Hamster

    It pays to head north if you're seeking a more secluded California beach getaway. Natural Bridge State Beach, located in Santa Cruz county, offers the rock formations, wildlife and unhindered ocean views that remind the state's residents and visitors of how California used to be. The natural bridge rock formation is a favorite for photos, but it's the migrating whales, otters, sea lions and abundance of birds that make this beach feel like an outdoor aquarium visit. Wander the beaches, watch the Monarch butterfly migrations and be sure to stay for some of California's best sunsets.

    Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
    Photo Credit: Ken Lund

    Enjoy the best of both worlds at Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. This scenic park south of Crescent City features a unique coastline where towering redwoods lead into the deep blue Pacific. Bring your rain jacket, because the park sees up to 100 inches of rain each year, but that abundance of water is what makes the trees grow to be some of the tallest in the world. Hike the Damnation Creek Trail through the lush redwood forest to the sea, and spend some time biking the portion of California's Coastal Trail, which runs the length of the park. Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park's 8 miles of rugged Pacific coastline offer more adventure than you can cram into one short summer getaway.

    Columbia State Historic Park
    Photo Credit: DBerry2006

    Not every state park visit needs to involve hiking adventures or beachcombing. The Columbia State Historic Park takes visitors of all ages back in time to California's Gold Rush of the 1850s. The park is located less than 3 hours west of San Francisco in Columbia, Calif., where residents live and work in period-appropriate trades and shops. Visit a Western-style saloon, ride in a real stagecoach, watch a blacksmith work and admire relics from California's booming mining days. No cars are allowed in the town, which was California's second largest city during the peak of the Gold Rush, so be prepared to travel by horse or foot.

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    Feminism, Sisterhood and girl power are all part of the modern-day vernacular. But on a miniature tropical island barely 650 meters wide and seven kilometres long, the locals have been worshipping women for centuries. Purportedly, Isla de Mujeres earned it's name thanks to the Spanish pirate who after being rejected by one of the many beautiful Mayan female inhabitants, named it such (and then famously died of heartache shortly thereafter.)


    Fittingly, more than 10 centuries later, I find myself here on a recent girls weekend. I snuck away from winter to meet my mother along the Mayan shores of this breathtaking beach. Cancun, the closest airport, is a short four-hour direct flight from Toronto.

    Mi mama, a retiree, is now spending her winters under the Mexican sun, what better way to log some quality time together? The plan was hatched and we both booked flights to arrive as close together as international and internal flights would allow.

    We checked-in to the Preferred Club at Secrets Resort in Playa Mujeres -- a pristine stretch of sand 30 mins north of Cancun directly across from the Island of women, Isla de Mujeres. The property is on the edge of a vast jungle, neighbouring an empty beach of protected land. In fact the whole development takes the pursuit of preservation very seriously. The beaches are unspoiled and much less groomed than most typical resorts thereby preserving the beautiful white sand beaches from erosion and protecting all the natural plant and sea-life below. A huge plus in both our books.


    As a mom of two busy little boys, this retreat was all about pampering myself. Having left behind my 17-month-old who was teething like mad, and my busy little preschooler, the biggest reward for me were the full nights of sleep in a deliciously comfortable bed -- well that and being waited on hand and foot by the most attentive staff -- but more on that later.

    A late afternoon check-in meant I had time to swim, relax and shower before my moms arrival and our dinner, which was served in the private wine cellar at Bordeaux restaurant. The courses were each more delicious than the last and the white Chilean Antares Chardonay tasted rich and luxurious -- I may have over-indulged -- same with the dessert. But no matter, I had my heavenly bed, optional pillow menu and comfortable quarters to look forward to retiring to. Had we had more energy, we could have taken in the expert magic show or had a glass of champagne at the little ride-up Veuve Cliquot bar, but we were just excited to be reunited and happy to collapse into bed for some girl talk!


    I had the best intentions of partaking in the 8 a.m. Pilates class the following morning -- held under a breezy palapa by the pool, but after enjoying the superb sunrise, and comfortably ensconced in the luxury of our terrace (complete with a private swim-up pool) my robe was too comfortable and the views too dreamy, so instead we ordered eggs and coffee from the 24-hour room service and dined alfresco.

    It would have been easy to wile away the day poolside but we were booked into a golf lesson at The Secrets Playa Mujeres golf course. The majestic setting amidst mountains and the turquoise sea took my breathe away -- having just arrived from a cold and barren winter landscape. Our instructors were sweet and patient and we had fun trying to pick up a few tips while practicing our Spanish vocabulary (mine much more limited than my mother's).


    I love travel and vacationing for the opportunity it provides to dine on local specialties, taste new flavour combinations and inspire my own menus upon returning home. I was pleasantly surprised by the gourmet offering at Oceana. Many local dishes I had never come across on my Mexican travels and of course some old favourites, all served with fresh caught seafood from the salty ocean just in front of us.

    We decided to spend the remainder of our day at the beach. The water was refreshing and we scored a sweet little palm leaf umbrella with two loungers. In and out of the sea, then painting the view with our portable water colour sets, trying to translate the azure sky and Aqua waters into picture perfection, but of course nothing is quite like the real deal!


    With nightfall came another amazing meal -- this time a teppanyaki at Himitsu. The chef's showmanship and artistry made for an entertaining evening and the food was delicious, washed down with a lovely house blend of Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, 2014 Vistaña. Not having to worry about meal prep or bedtime felt like such a luxury, it also meant my mother and I could enjoy each others company without the external everyday stressors of family life.

    One day we had the great pleasure of boating over to the Isla de Mujeres, for a tour via golf cart no less. The vibrant vistas of the blue-green hued ocean had us repeatedly grabbing for our cameras and a special lunch at Villa Rolandi was certainly a trip highlight. The chicest all white open-air dining room jutting over the sea brought visions of Capri, Italy to mind. And the Italian-born chef further endeared himself to us with platter after platter of the freshest local seafood, prepared according to his strong Swiss and Northern-Italian roots.


    In the spirit of women supporting other women, we had the uplifting opportunity to visit Casa Hogar, a home for girls run by a group of incredible nuns. Secrets Resort supports the residence as part of their charitable initiatives offering up maintenance staff, food, furnishings or other support as necessary. Our timing was felicitous as the home needed help to repaint their chapel after some rain and environmental damage. We donned some spare t-shirts that were offered to us and spent a couple hours painting and getting to know the girls. It made me miss my babies and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all we have.


    Not surprisingly, the days passed quickly in a haze of salty sea air, (too much) great food, sandy toes, mini bar raiding, beach frolicking, and so on. I was able to indulge in a daily bubble bath in our hydro-tub (thanks to the luxurious bath salts that the Secrets housekeeping staff replaced daily), spend some uninterrupted one on one time with my amazing mother and most importantly, put myself first, which doesn't happen as often these days.

    I look forward to a return visit to Playa Mujeres -- as wonderful as it was to have some kid-free time, I kept thinking how much my boys would enjoy the magnificent beaches, tropical climates and local wildlife. Maybe next time I'll bring them along;)

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    When you visit the town of Niagara Falls, you'll inevitably go to see the actual Falls. It's no wonder. The so-called seventh Natural Wonder of the World is comprised of the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. Combined, the falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world, with a vertical drop of more than 165 feet.

    But there's so much more to this tourist area than these magical waterfalls. We chose some of our favourites:

    1. Whirlpool Aero Car

    The Whirlpool Aero Car, located downstream from the falls, is a cable car that crosses the Niagara River, travelling a one-kilometre round trip over a natural whirlpool.

    2. The Butterfly Conservatory

    A photo posted by Sze G (@duffbeersze) on

    The Butterfly Conservatory on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens features over 2,000 colourful, tropical butterflies from 45 different species.

    3. The Royal Botanical Gardens

    A photo posted by @jcb.1969 on

    The Royal Botanical Gardens are 99 acres filled with thousands of perennials, rhododendrons, azaleas and other flowers and vegetables, not to mention a world-famous rose garden featuring over 2,400 roses. If you're feeling romantic, take a horse and carriage ride through the grounds.

    4. Clifton Hill

    A photo posted by Ray (@seabound) on

    The Niagara SkyWheel is just one of the many attractions on Clifton Hill, the most famous street in Niagara Falls. You'll find everything from wax museums, midway rides and souvenir shops to themed restaurants and hotels along this commonly named "Street of Fun."

    5. The Niagara Bird Kingdom

    Just a five-minute walk from the falls, the Niagara Bird Kingdom is home to a vast array of birds as well as bearded dragons, snakes, tortoises and other creatures.

    6. Hershey's Chocolate World

    Hershey's Chocolate World is a chocolate lover's paradise. Come hungry. Try the chocolate fudge or chocolate-covered strawberries and wash it all down with a thick Hershey's chocolate shake.

    7. The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

    A photo posted by ali (@alishachristmas) on

    The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, inside the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel, features 16 slides that are up to six stories high, a giant wave pool, adult Jacuzzis and play areas for toddlers.

    8. The Upside Down House

    Have your world turned upside down at this attraction. Yes, everything is upside down on the inside as well, so feel free to belt out Lionel Richie's 80s hit "Dancing on the Ceiling" when you visit.

    9. AG Inspired Cuisine

    Niagara may have its fair of fast food or chain restaurants, but that doesn't mean you can't find fine dining. Check out AG Inspired Cuisine. The Sterling Silver tenderloin of beef tastes as good as it looks.

    See current Niagara Falls deals here.

    Andrea Chrysanthou is an editor of the Travelzoo Canada blog and is based in Toronto, Ontario. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.

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    So often I talk to other moms who lament that vacation with their family isn't really a vacation. For them, it feels like more work on top of their already overloaded lives. It doesn't have to be this way. I'm not saying that getting ready for a vacation is not like taking on a third job, it is, but, a little planning can actually make your time away feel like time away.

    Now, we need to set some parameters. If money is not an object on your vacation then you probably don't need to read this. If you budget for your vacation and want to get the most out of it, read on. There are different types of vacations. Let's divide them into three broad groups:

    Family is a known thing. Take off the rose-coloured glasses and look long and hard at where and who you will be spending time with. If you know your mother-in-law is going to criticize the fact that you don't bathe your kids every day, work around it. Either throw them in the tub every day or do what you normally do and let the criticism roll off your back. Either way, be prepared to not let others ruin your vacation. Do not try to convert her to your way of thinking -- this, my friend, will never happen. She won't join you. Same with food. If your kids are not eager eaters, step in and do some cooking. Yes, you're cooking on vacation but you are avoiding discussions about crazy stuff like the "Clean Plate Club." Most importantly, plan time away. Your family will appreciate the time apart and so will you.


    Maybe it's just your family and a sibling's family or maybe it's all 187 cousins and their families. Be pro-active. Know the territory and plan for your own family. If you know your crazy second cousin is a big hugger and your kid doesn't like to hug people they don't know very well then be sure to scoop your child up in your arms for that introduction. This will help your child feel comfortable and your crazy second cousin to not feel shunned.

    Bring a lot of stuff for your children to do while there; don't assume there will be things to do. I've made the mistake before and paid the price with two very unhappy and bored children. It's better to have too much than not enough. I love travel sized games, inflatable balls, Frisbees and other games that are compact and easy to travel with. And, always remember, it's nice to be with family but you are a grown up. If it gets to be too much, don't make a fuss, just leave.

    This seems like it would be the easiest type of vacation.

    If you are driving . . .
    • Plan for scheduled stops where the kids can get out and stretch their legs. When I was a kid we always drove the same five hour trip and my parents planned a picnic lunch and a swim at a lake that was half way. We loved that because it was something to look forward to and it tired us out for the rest of the drive. You can stop at a mall and walk around, find a local park to let your kids play for 20 minutes or a lake to go for a swim. These little stops may add time to your trip but they will save your sanity in the long run.

    • Bring snacks, cereal and other dry goods from home. Pack a cooler with the basics -- milk, lunch meat, cheese, yogurt, etc. It will save expensive stops on the drive and you won't have to run out to grocery store the minute you arrive.

    • Be prepared with audio books, old-fashioned car games and distractions beyond video. If your kids have been engaged mentally for most of the trip, they are less likely to be hyper when you arrive at your destination.


    If you are flying. . .
    • Each kid gets a backpack for toys, snacks, books. And, each kid carries his own backpack. It's a good idea to include a change of clothes in the backpack. My son once spilled apple juice on his pants and we didn't have a change of clothes for him. Never again! Do you know how bad spilled apple juice smells?!

    • If your children have not flown before, do a few practice runs at home. Include tips about not kicking seats, not leaning over other passengers and using their inside voices. Ask them what things they could do in their seat if they are feeling antsy and want to get up and walk around but they can't. Giving kids ownership over ideas like this make the ideas more effective I find.

    • Know in your own mind what you will do if your kids flip out on the plane. Having a plan in place makes a meltdown much less stressful. Hopefully it won't come to this but being prepared will help. I find a lollipop helps in these cases. It's a huge treat for my kids and one that I know works well as a bribe and to help them calm down. Sometimes you have to pull out all the stops when flying just to save your sanity and, more importantly, the sanity of those around you.

    No matter what, once you arrive, find time to spend with your partner. It might not be as romantic as you like but you can make it memorable. A moonlit walk around your childhood neighbourhood, time spent on a cramped balcony while the kids snore in the hotel room or a quick kiss over Grandma's potato salad while the relatives fuss at your kids. Vacation can mean a lot of things. Make the best of yours.

    Originally published on

    Laura Berg
    Travelful Life
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    The conversation about digital nomadism is at its height. Travel startups are cropping up to make the experience more accessible, while the early adopters are increasingly vocal to show that this lifestyle goes beyond the hype of working on a laptop from the beach.

    I recently spoke with Victoria Watts Kennedy, a writer who is based in the UK and travels for part of the year to get her perspective on the lifestyle. For Watts Kennedy, travel constantly challenges who she is; her personality and ideas. We dug into some of the emotions, challenges, and rewards that have come with traveling through 50 countries since she hit the road in 2012 with her partner.


    Watts Kennedy in Peckham, England.

    Credit: Victoria Watts Kennedy

    Tell me about being a digital nomad. 

    I became a digital nomad by accident. I quit my full-time job as a writer for the British Red Cross in 2012 and set off on a one-way ticket to Rio with my partner Steve. Steve has his own film company and knew he'd be working while we were on the road, but I wasn't so sure what I'd do.

    The main thing I wanted was to explore. So I started a blog about that exploration -- of both the world and myself. It started as a hobby, but I soon realized there were a lot of people out there who had a made a life for themselves out of blogging or freelancing while on the road. I decided to try it myself, and four years later, that's more or less what I do.

    I don't travel full-time and my work is a patchwork of different things, including blogging, writing for magazines, and copywriting and editing for charities and travel companies. Most of this work is done remotely, but when I'm in the UK I sometimes work in an office. The variety suits me.


    Watts Kennedy in Kyoto.

    Credit: Victoria Watts Kennedy

    What have you learned while writing on the road? Give a recent example. 

    A lot of people idealize the concept of being a digital nomad -- there's this idea that it's like a never-ending vacation where you also happen to get paid. Although there are obviously perks, such as managing your own time and getting to see the world, being a digital nomad is also a lot of hard work and it's definitely not for everyone. Many of the digital nomads I know work longer hours than I did when I had a full-time job in London, and most have burned out at some point along the way. It's not all hammocks and cocktails on the beach.

    Steve and I were the same when we started out. We found it really hard to find a good work/life balance and ending up working far too much, which started to take the joy out of travel. Over the years, we've experimented with different ways of managing that and are slowly learning what works for us. Our current trip in New Zealand has been ideal. We've mixed stretches of work with stretches of travel rather than constantly trying to mix the two. Our time travelling has felt more like it used to -- like simply travelling -- rather than work.

    What are you learning about yourself while traveling with your partner Steve?

    Steve and I have been lucky to realize we share similar priorities. After a few years of being nomadic, we started to long for a base -- a place to return to and call home. Along the way, we made many different plans -- we even came close to buying land in Mexico and building a yoga retreat -- but eventually we realized we wanted that base to be closer to our friends and family. The Mexico house may still happen one day, but for now, we've chosen to make England our place to return to with lots of travelling in between. We're lucky to share that dream.

    On a more day-to-day level, we've happily both learned that our memories are fallible. I think one of the biggest causes for arguments between couples is the whole "no, you said this" and "I said this" type of bickering. Once you've learned your own memory might be wrong, you can let those little things go, which saves a lot of time!


    Watts Kennedy and her partner Steve Watts Kennedy on a recent trip through Cable Bay, New Zealand.

    Credit: Victoria Watts Kennedy

    Who's had the biggest influence on your life and why?

    My Mum, for sure. She died in 2009 after a long struggle with MS that she faced with a huge amount of strength, humour and dignity. My Dad also died eight years before so I have a keen understanding of how short life can be. The love my parents had for each other is a major source of inspiration for my own relationship with Steve and I try never to take that love, or my health, for granted. I feel lucky every day.

    How do you challenge yourself? 

    Some people say they "find themselves" when travelling, but I've found the opposite to be true. It's like that saying, "the more you know the less you know for sure". When I was at home I had quite a clear idea of who I was, and so did all the people around me. When travelling, I'm constantly placed in new situations and find my ideas and personality are in flux. This isn't a negative thing; it's actually one of my favourite things about travelling -- how your own ideas, even about yourself, are constantly being questioned or seen in a different light. So in that respect, I challenge myself through travel.

    Anything else you'd like to mention? 

    I write a lot about my journey as a digital nomad on my blog Bridges and Balloons. Please do follow along and feel free to ask me any questions you have. I love hearing from readers.

    Follow Victoria on Twitter and Instagram.

    I'm fascinated by creative women -- their passions, challenges, and contributions to society. If you know a creative woman to feature, please tweet @kmarano.

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    "Long flights can either be the best thing ever or the absolute worst," says Heather Greenwood Davis, award-winning travel writer and founder of Davis has learned this during her extensive travels around the world, most recently to long-haul destinations such as the Azores and Hawaii.

    Often, she's expected to launch right into a full day of tours and meetings without first heading to a hotel to catch some sleep or even splash some water on her face. So, how does she stay fresh when facing a long flight?

    "Sometimes refreshing is also about not losing the freshness to begin with. To that end, I tend to wear very little makeup on the flight and use moisturizer throughout," she says.

    Banking executive and business writer Dina Vardouniotis agrees. She travels frequently with her family and for work, where she often exits the airport and heads right into all day meetings.

    "Don't wear makeup when you're flying out an early morning flight... having to be at the airport a couple of hours early at best plus flight and travel to your meetings means you'll have half worn out face by the time you see one person that knows who you are." Instead, Vardouniotis brings a mini pouch of makeup essentials in her purse and heads straight to the airport washroom for a fresh application.

    Davis agrees, adding that she also brushes her teeth when she lands. Of course, being physically refreshed is only part of it; mental freshness is also very important, particularly if you're heading into an important meeting or heading out onto a press tour.

    "At the hotel, sometimes I only have an hour or so before I have to hit the ground running again" says Davis. "I've recently begun to include meditation in my days and a quick guided meditation from either an app or a YouTube video can do wonders in about 20 minutes. It's like a nap for those of us who can't nap."

    Ah, the elusive Plane Nap. While many of us try to catch some sleep on an early morning or red-eye flight, the rest of us try to power through with caffeine.

    But overdoing it can make for a restless night when you finally land. As well, Vardouniotis knows, "coffee makes for bad breath." Instead, she hydrates with water and carries Excel gum to freshen up just before stepping into a meeting.

    Vardouniotis also maximizes the time spent on a long flight to prepare for when she lands. "Don't use the plane ride to chat with a stranger or watch a new movie release," she says. Instead, "go over your notes so that you freshen up on concepts and messages."

    If you have to fly overnight with the expectation that you'll be meeting folks within minutes of landing, consider travelling in more comfortable clothes and changing into your more business-like outfit at the airport. Above all, take the time to review your schedule and look for opportunities to take a few minutes to refresh and revive your body and your brain before meeting back up with the real world.

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    Officials in Japan have created a fairly petrifying simulation of a tsunami ravaging a popular tourist destination.

    The video, which you can watch above, shows a gargantuan wave crashing on the town of Kamakura, according to The Weather Network. The water slams into shrines, a train track and homes as it floods the town.

    Local officials said they hope the exercise raises awareness and preparedness, according to The Daily Mail, as people have let their guard down since a horrific tsunami hit Japan in 2011.

    Yep, definitely feeling more aware now. (YouTube)

    Global News reports that scientists believe a 14-metre tsunami could strike Kamakura. If that happened, residents would have eight minutes to flee.

    A different animation created earlier this year showed what the Pacific Ocean would look like if an estimated 9.2-magnitude quake hit a faultline that runs from Vancouver Island to northern California. Such a tremor would generate a tsunami that would reach Japan nine hours later.

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    The paradise that comes to mind when one thinks “unspoiled nature” is that of the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec, Canada.

    A vast area of almost 40,000-square miles, the region is best known for its humbling and breathtaking natural scenery. It’s highlighted by the picturesque Saguenay Fjord and the two bodies of water that provide its name: Lac Saint-Jean and the Saguenay River into which it drains.

    sag fjord

    Cycling around the region may be one of the best ways to see it. The Véloroute des bleuets, a 159-mile paved path around Lac Saint-Jean, and the nearly 250-mile Véloroute du Fjord du Saguenay are great ways to take in the natural splendour.

    No matter what level cyclist you are, there are paths to satisfy your adventure needs. But it’s important to be prepared before you hit the pavement. Here are a few tips and tricks for your next biking trip.

    Plan Your Route
    Wherever you choose to cycle, make sure you have an idea of where you’re going and how you’ll get there. Route-planning is essential and thanks to technology, easier than ever. Download the Véloroute des bleuets app and let it guide you through the trail. It provides you with a map of the region and charts out all nearby accommodations. There are also tons of other apps cyclists can use to plan trips and track their progress, both for mobile and desktop.

    Stay Hydrated And Pack Snacks
    Long-form exercise — like cycling — requires carbohydrates to power the body and a breakfast at the beginning of the day won’t sustain you for the full ride.

    Water and healthy snacks are also essential for your bike trip. Bananas, for instance, are easy to eat and trail mix can be a one-two punch of healthy fats and potassium. Blueberries are also easy to pack in a bag but in August to mid-September, you can purchase Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean’s iconic wild blueberries at roadside stands. What could be better than that? Lay out a blanket and enjoy these snacks at resting areas along the bike trails. There are about 40 of them alongside the Véloroute des Bleuets, all of them with spectacular views.

    First-Aid For You And Your Bike
    It’s always smart to be prepared and carry a first-aid kit while on a biking adventure. To that end, your bike may need some first aid too. Investing in the requisite tools and bringing compressed air with you in case you need to refill a tire or two is a good idea. On the Véloroute des bleuets, volunteers wearing red t-shirts carry bike-repair kits with them and can offer help when you need it.


    Research The Marine Transport Services
    The Marine Shuttle (otherwise known as the Fjord Shuttle) will help you transverse the marine territory between the larger towns and smaller villages. Taking a shuttle allows you to see all that Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean has to offer and brings you to yet another adventure.

    Enjoy Your Surroundings
    While you’re on the bike trip, make sure you take the time to fully appreciate your surroundings. While trekking through the Véloroute du Fjord du Saguenay, hop off your bike and explore the Baie Éternité (Rivière-Éternité) area on kayak or canoe. You can also set up camp at La Baie Sainte-Marguerite to catch a glimpse of beluga whales.

    There are great things to do in the land of the giants. Visit Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean in Quebec, Canada for your next adventure excursion.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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    When you need to get away from it all, the Eeyou Istchee Baie-James region in Quebec, located 700 kilometres north of Montreal, is the perfect escape. The landscape is remote -- consisting of rugged wilderness, pristine waters, tundra and vast expanses of Arctic boreal forest -- and the scenery is solitary and silent.

    You’ll be awestruck by the area’s unparalleled beauty and rich Cree culture. James Bay, as it’s commonly called, is unspoiled wilderness -- a tourism destination unlike any other.

    james bay fishing

    Eeyou Istchee Baie-James represents some of the last pristine fishing destinations in the entire continent. Lake Mistassini, the LG4 reservoir and the Rupert and Broadback rivers are astounding fishing spots that offer enthusiasts of all skill levels unforgettable moments. Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is home to the largest freshwater lake in Quebec where walleye fish, speckled trout, northern pike and lake trout are yours for the catch. Numerous outfitters or fishing camps are available for individuals, groups, and families. Spend an unforgettable holiday at Lac Goeland Adventure Outfitter or Broadback Outfitting Camp.

    Aboriginal Culture
    Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is a territory the Cree call their traditional homeland. There are roughly 18,000 Cree spread out among a total of nine communities both along the coast and inland. Their traditional values of sustainable hunting, trapping, fishing and connection to nature are maintained through events, celebrations and cultural institutes. The Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute, which opened in 2011, is a living, breathing symbol of the James Bay Crees’ determination to preserve and share their stories, legends, history and culture. Whether you stay in a modern lodge or a traditional dwelling, Nuuhchimi Wiinuu Cree cultural tours offer a unique insider's perspective into local ecotourism organized and headed by local Cree owners.

    robert bourassa

    Hydroelectric Facilities
    As you take in the culture of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James, be sure to visit the impressive hydroelectric facilities. The James Bay hydroelectric project covers an area the size of New York state and is considered one of the largest hydroelectric projects in the world. Eight generating stations produce a significant portion of Quebec’s electricity including La Grande-2 power station, now known as the Robert-Bourassa. The dam is as tall as a 53-storey building and has a spillway system that looks like a giant staircase. Ten enormous steps each the size of two football fields control the flow of water. Be sure to visit this marvel of modern engineering while in Eeyou Istchee Baie-James and let guided tours illuminate you.

    Amazing Landscapes
    Whether you paddle, hike, fish, or travel by car,Eeyou Istchee Baie-James has extraordinary and untouched scenery just waiting for you to discover. A stunning expanse of fauna and flora and the beauty of the northern lights all make Eeyou Istchee Baie-James a unique tourist destination, unlike anything else.

    Come discover extreme ranges of temperature, endless expanses of snow and a sky streaked with the glorious shimmer of the northern lights! Eeyou Istchee Baie-James -- escape like never before.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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