Spain certainly has a spell on me!

After nearly three weeks in Spain, I have worked my way through the highlights of this beautiful country. I experienced the insanely dry desert heat of Seville and its history, the beautiful coast line of Valencia and San Sebastian (both the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea!), shenanigans on Ibiza, Bulls and Sangria in Pamplona and finally the classic Barcelona sights. Here are a few highlights, memories for the books!

Naturally the coastal cities were a highlight for me. Valencia felt like a proper Spanish town. Finding English was slightly more difficult, stores closing between 2pm and 4pm for the siesta,  and more people than you would guess having cervasas and vino with breakfast. A highlight for me was easily the beautiful park which runs through the entire city, as it was an old dried up river bed that reaches the ocean. Renting bikes and strolling through, I felt like I escaped the noise of the city. 

To that note, I also felt like I escaped it all as I was phoneless. No longer could I snap a quick photo, or map where in the world I as. Which does enhance my feeling of freedom, but still sucks! It was actually stolen off my bed while I was sleeping. I rolled over to look at the time, woke up an hour later and it was gone – along with the creep in the dorm bed next to me. Thankfully I had a gut feeling to lock up my iPad instead of charging it that night. Anyone in Canada have an iPhone for me when get back in a few weeks?!๐Ÿ˜‰

Next up was Island hopping to Ibiza – we had planned our whole trip around these dates (the opening shows for all the resident DJ’s that summer). It ended up feeling like a music festival. I couldn’t have planned it any better. Pool party by day, and venue jumping by night. To that note though, I was pleasantly surprised by how chill the island was during the day. Lots to of chill hippy vibes. It wasn’t the intense showy scene I was expecting – which made it ten times better for my gypsy soul. We also did our first Air B&B here, what a nice experience. It was refreshing to be in a home rather than a hostel. Space to unpack, kitchen to cook in, clean showers, and lovely locals that hosted us. 

As if we werent tired enough from the island, we were off north for the Sanfermin (running with the Bulls) festival. Luckily we planned two nights in San Sebastiรกn to rest, and eat all the vegetable see we could find. I wish we had more time here actually, I would go back in a heart beat. Nice size city, with beautiful beaches and chill surfer vibes if you searched. Anyways, Pamplona, I am not sure where to begin. This was the craziest thing I have ever been apart of in a city. To clarify, I didn’t even run and I feel this way. We stayed out at a camp site which added to the fun, and made fellow travel friends to get amongst with. 

The festival kicks off with a massive Sangria fight. Everyone from grandparents to children are dressed in white and red throwing bottles of perfectly drinkable Sangria – FYI it does not feel pleastent in your eyes and does not come out of clothing. After the kickoff, for ten days the city hosts a three min run through the old town streets with hundreds of men (only a few women) and ten or so 600kg Bulls. Mental is the only way I can describe it. They all run into the stadium and continue to chase around the bull, or rather the Bulls chases them around. It was the most barbaric thing I have ever witnessed and it shocks me that it still goes on in 2016. In the evening they hold the bull fight/killings, which I did not attend.  I could only last fifteen minutes of the ‘bull chasing’ as it was. I was filled with fear for the men and sadness for the animals.  It was a cultural experience – and and for that my travel adventure soul is greatful I participated, but I would never go back ;) 

Lastly, we headed to Barcelona to actually relax and sightsee. From beautiful views, beach naps, delicious tapas and remarkable Gaudi designed buildings, it was easy to breath and take it all in. I also met up with a great friend from home for a few nights – a familiar face from Calgary. Sure makes the world feel small when you tackle new countries with fellow Canadians๐Ÿ˜‰  

J xx

Seaside once again, in Portugal

Absolutely shocked by the beautiful Algarve coast. A popular holiday destinations for Europeans, and heaps of Aussies๐Ÿ˜‰ we spent nearly a week, stoping in Algarve on our way to Lagos so that the girls could skydive! Their photos were unreal. I wish I could have even just gone up in the plane with them. Or of course actually jump. Itโ€™s been on my list for a while, next trip perhaps I can tick that bucketlist check.

Lagos was a cute little tourist beach town. We easily could have spent longer, and could return. Amazing little restaurants, beautiful coast line, and chill beach vibes. We spent the days on the beach, or kayaking the coast (trying really hard not to fall in as the Atalntic, as the coast is freezing. After the tropical waters of Asia, I think my heart would have stopped had I jumped in ha!).

Moving up the coast to Lisbon, I adapted the full on city life again. As you will start to see by these posts, I donโ€™t know what to do city after city. Lots of walking tours and beautiful historic sites but  my soul is certainly craving a hike or some adventure.

A highlight of our week here, for me, was Sintra. A magically little town filled with castles and views that would make you think you were in a Disney movie. Tray and I rented a car for this day, turns out, I can still drive! Standard none the less, in these crazy city streets. I was feeling confident and stressed by the time we got back ;) 


Crossing Continents by boat!

This was an experience for the books. Spending one night in Tangier, we assumed it would be an easy walk to the ferry, hope the ferry, and walk off into wine country. Instead we arrived to cancelled boats. It was to windy! We were told their was another port about an hour down that had larger boats going across, so off we went. VIA hitch hiking, sorry mom๐Ÿ™‚ It was better than it sounds though, there were other cars driving over to the port so we caught a ride with someone, and even board the ferry with him to save a few EUROs. There are nice people in this world!  

Our first night  on the European continent was spent in Tarifa. We were sad to realize how amazing it was, when we only had one night. Enjoying tapas and wine right away, it felt great to be back in the ‘western world’. This was my first taste since leaving home in January! A proper shower, and a hostel where I didn’t use my sleeping insert, it was gold! Although wearing shoes was less enjoyable, and I still take them a off at every opportunity :) 

We were off to the Algarve coast in the morning. Trying to get through some of Portugal while Kristie was still with us so that she could enjoy too, before flying home. Her and Tray were determined to get on a plane to skydive! I must say I was super jealous, but my little backpacker budget count take that big of a crunch – another time for sure.


Morocco a best kept secret

Chefchouen was easily the highlight of Morocco for me. A beautiful little mountain town, covered in blue paint and friendly smiles. Aside from wondering the blue media, and shopping through all the markets, the people were were fantastic. It was like night and day how the locals interacted with us. If we didn’t want to come in and shop, they said have a nice day and we went on. Much different than the big city’s. I do wish we had more time here to adventure in the mountains. The weather would have been perfect. 

We did also stop in Fez for two nights on the way to Chefchouen, after our desert adventure. Although we only did one night in the desert, we were wiped. Than Fez took all of our energy on top of that, after getting lost in the medina, filled with 1000+ pathways and streets, overwhelming would be an understatement. It was here that we also learned Ramadan was starting in a week. We ended up changing our plans slightly to leave Morocco a few days early because of this. Not that we had to, but Ramadan does make it difficult for tourists and were already ready for a break from the hustle. 

Morocco reminded me of India in a lot of ways. The interactions between men and women, the Muslim religion, the intense staring and rude comments. But it was missing the amazing vegetarian food. I still crave Indian food every day. Anyways, I was a little more comfortable, or used to it I should say because of my past months. But all the same, we were all ready to catch up with some vino in the comfortable atmosphere of Spain. I hadn’t seen my amazing friends for months, after all. 


New continent!ย 

I have successfully adjusted to life outside of Asia, for the most part. I still wouldn’t mind being shoeless, eating a bowl of curry, and soaking up the humidity – all while sipping a dollar beer, but Morocco and my amazing friends from home are helping ease that feeling. I arrived a week ago today’s! I had planned to meet my girl Tray in the Mereckesh International (I flew in a few hours ahead and would wait a to jump on her st Arrivals)  – when I see her coming out, along with my favourite ginger, Kristie! I couldn’t believe it. As if they managed to surprise me with something this big. I cried, naturally.

Morocco is hectic and magical all wrapped into one. We spent our first few nights adjusting to the country in Merechesh. Learning the proper bardering prices, how to navigate 1.5 meter wide Media streets, and how to politely ignore the mass amounts of comments from men – three Canadians, two blondes and a red head, I’m sure you get the idea. Also quickly discovering we would eat nothing but Tagine (potato and vegetables skillet of sorts), Couscous, olives and too much bread for the next two weeks all while being sober. The girls are doing better with food than me, it’s fairly boring for a vegetarian, who shouldn’t eat a loaf a bread a day. Don’t get me wrong, we are having an absolute blast!! This is what backpacking is all about, exploring new places and adapting to new cultures – and laughing really hard along the way.

Our first big adventure was all the way out to Merzouga, Sahara Desert. We were set to drive nearly two full days, stoping at cheesy tourist spots along the way, until we reached the Sahara where we took the camels out to our camp spot. I could have done without the camel riding – little did I know I would be left with bruised legs, I actually walked part of it and was dazed with walking barefoot through the Sahara – toes in the sand! I was a happy camper to say the least. Second perk I was looking forward to were the stars. The epic Milky Way. It did not disappoint. We even slept out under the stars; partially due to the heat in the tents, and partially due to a massive creepy spider we found inside (let’s just say I screamed so loud I had the whole camp standing up before dinner while I was already far away outside -whoops). Why outside seemed after than inside, I have no idea. But we survived with no more ‘near death experiences’๐Ÿ™‚

Off on our second week to Fez for more Medina mazes and Chefchaouen’s epic blue energy.



Immediately after crossing the boarder from Thailand into Cambodia I was intrigued. Driving through the country side down to Siem Reap, I couldn’t believe how much the area reminded me of India. Back to proper backpacking in my eyes, it was a nice change in pace from how ‘easy’ Thailand was to travel. With under a month to see the country, I only had three ‘must see’s’ – the Angkor Temples, the history sites in Phnom Penh and Koh Rong.
Starting in Siem Reap I tackled the Angkor Temples right away. Hitting Angkor Wat for sunrise was beautiful. I wish I could say it wasn’t filled with hundreds or people, but we all know that would be too good to be true! It was nice to wonder around in the cooler morning air though. We spent a good part of the day at Angkor Wat, Bayron and Ta Prohm – along with a few other small temples. Sun rise at Angkor Wat was beautiful but Bayron was easily my favourite. It was in in more ruins than the others, but it was clear how much detail once stood. Ta Prohm was beautiful because all the nature and trees have started to overcome and grow throughout the brick – plus ‘Lara Croft; Tomb Raider’ was filled here, a neat bonus. 

Phnom Penh was intense. I went with the purpose of seeing the S21 Museum and the Killing Fields. What Cambodia went through, not that long ago in the late 1970’s, was astonishing to me. From 1975 to 1979 the Khmer Rouge was responsible for at least $1.3 million executions – I would recommend reading about this if you haven’t heard. I had not idea until traveling Asia myself. More than that fact though, I was and still am in shock as to how recent this happened. Traveling Cambodia it was clear the country was rebuilding after this devastating history. 

On a lighter note, after tackling my ‘tourist check marks’, I headed for the coast and hopped the ferry to Koh Rong immediately. On my journey out there, I had a funny feeling I would find myself happily stuck on the island – and I was right! I ended up being offered a job at Skybar my fist night on the island and I couldn’t say no. Not only because the island was beautiful, had lots going on and an awesome group of people, but because I was itching to sit still. The thought of not moving my bag, and having one bed to call my own for a few weeks sounded like heaven. So I ended up staying three weeks. I am still missing my Koh Rong family and ‘island life’.


Northern Thailland

Since I am so behind on posting, I have actually been to Chiang Mai three times, and Pai twice. I can’t get enough of the energy up there! There isn’t one quality that stands out, rather the entire culture. It’s much different from southern Thailand – or the main tourist islands I should say, which is where I went. 

Chiang Mai is a huge city, but it never felt that way to me. Traffic is manageable and somewhat clam, the old city walls around the downtown area and mote that circles the core is beautiful. Clustered with street vendors selling everything from silly magnets to delicious Khao Soi. There are small streets you can wonder and get lost checking out cafes or hit the bar street any night of the week for a good dance party, live music fix, and even a good old Irish bar. What else do you need?!

And than you have Pai. A beautiful little town three more hours north of Chiang Mai. To reach this gem you encounter 762 turns along the road, through the mountains. I wish I had a chance to scooter up – it’s fairly common for tourists to do, I just didn’t find the right opportunity. Next time. Anyways, Pai is filled with cafes, yoga and mediation, night street market and heaps of waterfalls, hot springs and canyons to explore. I also may or may not have found my favourite bamboo tattoo artists here, Korns Bamboo Tattoo. His talent is incredible, and prices in Pai are much more manageable than his Europe shop – so when in Pai ;) 

I can not wait to return to this area of the country.