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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Inspiration

Discovering a lot of new music this past week which is leading to a lot of creativity flowing. Music has always been highly inspirational and a great motivator for me. This song...just, completes me.




Happy Autumn to all!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

All It Takes is One Person


All it takes is one person. 

Anyone who says otherwise should begin to do more good deeds for everyday people on a regular basis just because they can.

Love is any where you are willing to look for it.

<3

Monday, July 28, 2014

Visit Edinburgh - Virtual Tour

I am a big fan of time lapse videos.

I am also a big fan of Edinburgh.

I feel this time lapse video really shows all sides of Edinburgh, the city I called home for 18 months, and will do in a pinch if you can't yet afford your ticket to this amazing city (because everyone should see Edinburgh in their life time...really, it's like no where else in the world).

Check it out (clicky, clicky)!

Photograph of mine taken from Arthur's Seat looking out towards Calton Hill at sunset.

The Hardest Part of Travelling is Coming Home

This article really hits home for me and would be almost word for word of what I would write if I had written the article myself.

I am handling it a lot better than other times I have returned after a bout of travel, but that is because the reason I came home earlier than expected because I wanted to - I felt ready to come home and am entirely happy with my choice to do so.

Give this a read and a think.

I know every long term traveller can completely relate to this and should be something all would be/soon to be long term travellers need to accept before they get on that bus, that plane or in that car.

Happy travels to all!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

One Final Reflection?

Let's do a big summation, shall we?

  • 18 months using Edinburgh as my home base
  • 8 months living and working in a hostel in Edinburgh
  • 1 year working at a vegetarian cafe in Edinburgh
  • 2-ish months working at the Edinburgh Christmas Market (2013)  
  • 23 countries visited
  • Walked the french way (Camino de Santiago - 800km, 1 month) 
  • Sahara desert camel ride excursion (wicked!) 
  • Hostels, hotels, airbnb, couchsurfing, friends of friends and family of friends 
  • Hitch hiking, zip lining, lightening storms at the top of a mountain, new friends and enemies
  • Yes, I have remained vegan the entire time and no, it was not difficult
  • Frustration, elation, tears, fears, blood and blisters

It seems crazy to me that 9 days ago I was in Manchester wrapping up an 18 month adventure that is impossible to sum up.

People have been asking me if I will keep this blog going and I don't have an easy answer. My living in the UK and travelling is going to be put on hold for the next (better part) of a year, and so I don't feel as if this blog should be continued as such.

Still. I would like to use this blog for a more personal reason; to keep track of travel articles, inspirational whatsits and whatever else I feel like posting here for my future self and other travel friends.

Will I start another blog? I don't think so. Will I go back to my movie review blog? Very doubtful.

Is there a travel memoir in the works? Always. Has it taken shape or form yet? No. Besides the journals I was writing along side this blog, where I spilled more of my soul and personal thoughts and feelings, I don't honestly feel ready or capable of writing a book about my travels or travelling in general (how did we like that run on sentence? haha).

Right now I feel a bit numb. A bit over-excited. A bit wacky and complacent. I feel all of the things that one feels when they return home feeling very different but all together too much the same as when they left.

I no longer feel at home in Toronto - that is for sure. Walking home late last night through downtown made me want to run back to Edinburgh and hide. haha I just don't feel connected to the city at all any more. I suppose that was why I hid in the east side of the city for the majority of my time here before I left.

I love reconnecting with friends and old faces that I didn't know I would see again or not. The people, once again, have made a place feel like home. I am still the luckiest person to have such a supportive and understanding group of people surrounding me.

Right now I am preparing my resume to distribute to where I see fit this coming week - I honestly don't care where I work as long as it's not too stressful and doesn't involve heavy lifting (or my back will be broken forever). I want to focus on the 3rd edit of my book and looking into agents, publication, etc. and getting that ball rolling before it comes to a halt. I am beyond excited to share it with all of you, but as it is my first baby...I am a bit nervous and equal parts horrified to put it out into the world. Be patient, I might expose a chapter or two in the nearish future.

I suppose I could use a hand in what you guys feel should be next. I know that my online presence needs to diminish, if only to force me to focus on my main goal of writing as many books as my brain can spit out over the next year or so.

Well the rambling is done. Maybe I'll make a poll.

Ah. Yes. Something I wanted to say/do a few days ago is this:

Here is a paragraph for all you sneaky readers. I know that friends have told friends and family have told family about this blog and yet I am still unsure of who or how many people have been following my journey. For those who are too shy to say hello or maybe still do not understand the blogger comment section (I do not blame you) I want to say thank you! Even if I do not really know you, it means a lot to me that you have taken the time, even for a few posts here and there, to read my blog. While I always say how silly it is and don't take myself too seriously, it has been important to me and some what of a ritual, and I am glad that you came along for the ride.

For now I will return to my green tea and chocolate covered raisins and give a think on what life is up to these days.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Cheers! :)

 


Shannon, first month and last month. Still a massive nerd...


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Manchester, England


Easyjet connected us from Belfast to jolly ol' England late Tuesday evening. We bused from the airport to the area of Levenshulme where the lovely Winnie lives. A reoccurring theme on this rather large voyage is that my friends are amazing - it's too true and keeps being true. We have been greeted with booze, food and a lovely bed to sleep on. Even though her and her roomie are on their way to Croatia at the moment, they are letting us spend the night here without them.

My friends are amazing.


First night not much happened. We arrived, had some tea, caught up and then passed out. Next day we went with Winnie and her friend who is here from Australia to Winnie's work for some vegan treats. We got sandwiches, cookies, bread, etc. and it was lovely. The Chorlton area in general is really nice with a big park and lots of cool pubs and cafes. We stopped at Mono (not the same as in Glasgow) where another friend worked for some cheeky afternoon pints.

Bused back, made dinner (one last baked potato in the UK) and then we headed into town after some drinks to walk a bit and use our bus day pass to its full extent. We didn't have a map though so after seeing a bit of the north end of town and the centre around Piccadilly Garden. Returned and had some more beverages with the ladies before heading to bed.



Today has been equal parts epic and equal parts fail.

We have been lucky again to arrive in a place during some sort of strike, this one means that the two museums we tried to go to today were closed until Friday due to some sort of Industries Union thing...it wasn't too clear on the little notice, but we assume strike.

Lame.



So we didn't get to see the People's History Museum or the Art Gallery, which sucked, but we did walk outside of the centre to this AMAZING vegan cafe called Teatime Collective. We have a Cajun chicken burger and a club sandwich followed by a 4 scoop of ice cream SUNDAE!!! It was all very, very delicious and the younger gals who run the place were pretty darn cool. It was in a park in a done up church looking thing made into a community centre. Pretty neat-O!

We were exploding with food and walking a bit slower. Our legs waddled us over to the Castlefield area which was really cool. There were house boats and cafes and cool pedestrian bridges under some under passes and old factories. Also some ruins of an old Roman Fort popped up...pretty cool. We also speed walked through a part of the Museum of Industry and Science, but I was too full and the day was too sunny to thoroughly want to pay attention.

[below is a singular photo from outside the Opera House and it is one of my favourite slang words]



This led us to the John Ryland's Library, which may just be my favourite stop of the day. Built as a public library, it now houses some written word related artifacts and interesting exhibits along with one of the more beautiful libraries I have set foot in. I asked one of the staff members how to get to the second floor and he was fantastic, asked his colleague if he could take us (it's a no-go zone for tourists usually) and he brought us up and around on a mini tour. Wonderful people - highly suggest checking this place out. It's free as well, so you have nothing to lose. The amount of photographs I took demonstrates my love of this place:








After this is when we had the fail with the museums and we got a bit sleepy and a bit bored due to lack of money so we walked through China town and the Gay Village before deciding to come home and get everything sorted for or return to north America tomorrow!

...tomorrow. Geez. That is still so weird for me. I'm going to be completely in la-la land for the first two weeks or so I think. A year and a half isn't that long but a lot of things have changed since then, with myself and a lot of people. I am equal parts excited to catch up with everyone and go to some of my favourite places around Toronto! It's going to be a grand summer!


Now we have to pack, print, eat, double check lists and go to bed early; I am not looking forward to our 5 am wake up time tomorrow. Ew.

Fingers crossed for some wicked new movies on the plane though - always a bonus!

Catch you on the flip side, UK. It's been a slice!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Belfast, Northern Ireland


We bused from Galway, through Dublin and up to Belfast in under 5 hours. It was an easy bus ride filled with rain and general green sight seeing.

We arrived and walked to the main centre of town but we missed the information office opening hours by 4 minutes so we sat by the side of the road for a bit and waited for Ryan's friend Chris to come pick us up from the bus station.

Chris and his family are the main reason why we loved Belfast so much. They lived in an amazing house on the outer edges of the city. Their backyard looked out into fields and we had a big barbecue the first night, sat in the back and drank a lot of Magners with some friends of friends. Their little puppy Lucy was so sweet and we cooked in their lovely kitchen, did laundry and had our own room made up in the sitting area.

Just lovely.


The first day we hitched a ride in with Chris's dad on his way to work. We planned on going to museum but it was closed. We hit up the information centre, got vegan sausage rolls, bought some stuff at a cool shop, walked about a big cathedral area, ate falafel, drank some warm beverages at a cool cafe called Black Bear and just had a big walk about.

Took the bus back to Chris's, had a nap, did some mucking about, made dinner and then we went back into the city to Wetherspoons for cheap pints with more friends.

Next day we had all good intentions of getting up early and getting to the museum but we were exhausted so we slept late, made a late lunch. We were debating what to do, either bus to a smaller area or into the city to see the Ulster museum. Phil, Chris's dad, actually came in from work, picked us up and drove us right to the museum. A couple hours later he swung back on his way home and picked us back up - amazing! Just amazing people.

The hospitality of the Irish is impressive.


If you can't decide what to do on a rainy day in Belfast I highly suggest the Ulster museum. It is really interesting and has a little bit of everything to see.

Things besides the museum to check out: City Hall, University building and campus area, St. Anne's Cathedral and the general Northern area around the Cathedral.

We made another feast after we got back to the house and were spoiled once more by Phil and Chris and were driven to the airport. Made the flight extra early and then off we went to Manchester.

Ireland was fantastic! Galway was a highlight but spending time in Dublin and Belfast were filled with good times, laughs and friendly people. As always, another few days or a week there would've been fantastic, but I am very happy with the small tour we did do.


 

Now are are happy in Manchester! But that's another post. Another day to go here, before we are back to Canadaland.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cliffs of Moher & Burren Tour, Ireland



If you are looking to do a tour of the Cliffs of Moher I highly, highly recommend the Galway Tour Company. Our driver, Paul, was hilarious, intelligent, incredibly friendly and wanted every single person on the bus to get the most out of the tour. He was also the best bus driver I have ever seen; the roads in that area of Ireland are as small as they come and he was rocking a big coach bus. Very impressive.


 
 

We took off from Galway before 11am after a few pick ups around town. For all the stops, please check out their website HERE (I am far too lazy to explain it all - sorry). The lunch stop in Doolin was fantastic, the castle and abbey were impressive, all the history I gained was worth it...





Then we got to the cliffs.

They are worth the hype. It was worth the trip. We got to say for the better part of two hours there, walking here and there, sitting on some grasses patches and taking photographs.

Once again, let's flip to the pics. They say it all: