It's Mother's Day - let's celebrate with a retelling of how the most influential person in my life became my champion and gave me a spirit for travel. She's the reason I have been able to see as much as I have thus far and will be able to see even more in the future. I have zero doubt of this.
Although I'm originally from Montreal, I grew up in Toronto primarily with it just being my mom and I. She separated herself from the only city she'd ever really known to move me to Toronto where I could have a chance at a better life - where I did have a better life. It's not nearly as far as some parents might go from one country to another but I'm sure it felt like it at the time. And as we all know, single parent households are never easy so we were always bouncing below the poverty line. This doesn't exactly allow for people to believe that I would do what I have done. I'm sure if I was able to speak to a much younger version of myself I would never be able to believe this either. However, my mom was my champion in all things even while she was doing shift work or working under people she hated who under-appreciated her work.
We never travelled together during this time, unless it was so we could see family once a year in Montreal. We simply could not afford it. However, the travel spirit that I've developed is because of this time. During my younger years, there was not a lot of stability which I'm sure some might view as negative but moving from house to house and city to city was really helpful for me in seeing different places and changing my worldview as often as I could. Maybe I developed restless leg syndrome or maybe it's my normal to shift every few months but it's been great for me as an adult. Having very little money, I expected to never travel in the way I imagined all globetrotters did. People who travelled were seen as painfully wealthy - normally wives of CEOs or some stupid stereotype. Definitely bougie. I'd never been exposed to backpacking but I was exposed to extremely hard working women doing what needed to get done with my mother and her social circle during my youth.
Years later when I was ready to work to - I learned how to have a strong work ethic because I had learned what it was like to develop a drive for success and moreover I knew that one day it would payoff to work hard so I did. I worked as many as three jobs at a time whilst finishing high school. By this time we had been able to find a comfortable life in Almonte so while money was still a thought it wasn't as heavily a concern as it had been while living in Toronto thanks to my mother's own work ethic paying off tenfold. She's truly an inspiration and although we sometimes disagree I find her ambition admirable.
During my final year of high school, I had thought I would follow a very traditional model. Graduate high school, graduate university, start my career and take two weeks of vacation a year just without the 2.5 kids and a picket fence. More like 2.5 dogs and a condo was my goal but my goal was flipped on it's head when it came down to looking at Universities. As much as I believe an education is a great thing to receive, I truly believe there are many different ways to earn an education and truly I'd lost my passion for learning during my time in high school and I'd always wanted to travel. The money that I'd been saving for university was now imagined for time in Europe where I'd go to the canals in Amsterdam, see the awe-inspiring artifacts in London, and even see the blood of Jesus himself.
In Canada, university education can set you back around $40k a year for tuition and so I told my mom how afraid I was of that responsibility when without even suggesting my idea for travel she brought it up herself. She suggested I take some time to save a little more and then travel. Which I did. All thanks to her support and now after getting bitten by the bug I've been to over 30 countries and she's even joined me in a few too.
Happy Mother's Day and happy travels.
Long haul flights are my bread and butter as I rarely fly once I'm in the desired continent strictly because I prefer sea or land travel. It's one of the best ways to see a place because all sorts of people commute these ways whereas not everybody can fly and people are the best part of travel, in my humble opinion. This does not make long haul flights any easier though. There is something particularly unattractive about being stuck in a metal tube for 8+ hours that can even make the most adventure, travel happy a little agitated. So in my journeys I've cultivated a pretty solid list of skincare tips to make travel bearable and easy without looking like you're opening a spa in your seat.
Let's pretend that you get onto the plane with a bit of makeup. As you know makeup is already pretty bad for your skin even if it is the most fun thing to play around with ever. The air in the plane is 75% circulated and so it's not exactly idyllic to wear makeup the entire time plus, who are you really trying to impress as a commuter? FA's have seen it all and really don't mind if you look like the bride of Frankenstein's monster throughout the flight because their priority is your safety.
Once the plane is in the air it's a good time to get to the bathroom to start your skincare plans because no one would really have used the toilet much yet so you're in the clear from smells, luckily. As with any skincare routine you want to cleans first but with the water from the tap being more disgusting than you could ever imagine it's not smart to start with dirty water. Instead make up wipes are the simplest way to go. Compact, easy and in small doses they won't make you break out just be sure not to do use make up wipes every day or you'll have issues. Simple Skin Care wipes are my personal favourite because they are good for sensitive and combination skin.
Alternately you can bring cotton wipes and micellar water cleansers, just be sure that they fit the TSA regulations in your containers. To use pour a little onto a cotton wipe and begin removing foundation, eye make up, or just sweat and grime for a clean face. I like La Roche-Posay's Micellar Water Ultra because it's not extremely perfumed and leaves my face feeling refreshed and genuinely clean while at times some make up wipes can leave me feeling a little dirty, mostly if it has been a long day culminating in a long haul flight.
Another basic skincare step made complicated by travel can appear to just be something you can miss if you're in the air but that's not the case and it's really not as complex as one might think. Using a travel container with a spray-head I fill it up with my toner and tea tree oil. The toner I use is Dr. Andrew Weil's Origins Mega Mushroom Skin Relief because as someone with sensitive and reactive skin I found that this was the perfect combination. However, if this changes I'll be sure to update you. To add in tea tree oil, which can be picked up from practically any pharmacy, it's best to use a 10:1 ratio. This is all pre-mixed of course. So I spray it on my face and pat dry carefully before moving on as this not only helps further cleansing but it hydrates the skin as well.
Serums are a tricky one though because there are so many on the market that it can feel a little uncertain as to what to use. Still it's important to use one especially on planes because dry skin is such a problem in flight and can really affect your travel photos later as your skin is trying to correct the balance. After I use toner I put serum directly to my skin with clean hands and gently pat into my skin. I currently use Mario Badescu's Herbal Hydrating Serum which I'm liking thus far specifically for flights. I find on a normal circumstance it's a bit too much for my temperamental skin but it's just perfect for the dry air on planes.
Giving a moment for my skin to soak in the serum I take this time to put my hair up, brush my teeth, whatever you like to do really. Then I put on a heavy duty moisturizer because beauty guru and really ridiculously handsome model Derek Zoolander once said "moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty." I have several moisturizers I really like and do depend on all at different price points. Kiehl's Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream ($60), L'Occitane's Shea Butter Comforting Cream ($30) and Lush's Celestial ($14) all do the trick for me depending on the day and how my skin is behaving. Lately I've been reaching for L'Occitane most often because I love that not only does it moisturize my skin it helps sooth my redness at the same time.
While many like to use long hauls as a time to do sheet masks I actually wait until three to four hours before landing to do one because that way I should have gotten a little sleep by that point and it's not good for your skin to leave one on too long. So around that time be sure to cleanse with a make up wipe, tone then use the mask of your choice. I've yet to find one I'm fond of but maybe when I go to Korea I'll be wow-ed. If you have any sheet mask suggestions feel free to suggest them in the comments and I'll try them out for size!
Note: This is not a sponsored post - all opinions are my own. Although if you're one of the brands I mentioned and you want to sponsor me I'd be fine with that. *wink wink*
Bisexuality and pansexuality are probably the most debated sexualities amongst the queer communities and the heterosexual communities yet those who identify as Bi or Pan are thought to have more privilege than others in the queer community. That is bull shit and it's important to understand why your ideas of bisexual and pansexual people need to change.
If you have a pulse you've likely heard or read the largest misconception of bisexuality to ever grace the planet: bisexuality isn't real. Um what?! Ignoring the multitude of studies showing just the opposite, people seem to have this preconceived idea about sexual and romantic orientation that is utterly false. It implies that one's sexuality is a choice... that sounds pretty homophobic, right? Okay so why is it different for bisexual or pansexual people? In reality it isn't.
To understand where this particular facet of biphobia comes from, let's discuss it more. Heterosexual people are only just coming to terms with homosexuality in Western culture - some are not even there yet. So to grasp the idea that sexuality is fluid is more complicated - especially because many have been raised with the view that you can only be straight or gay. Anything in between or left of centre is weird, wrong and too difficult to handle. Biphobia tends to just display as homophobia in heterosexual people, for the most part. Call it religion, politics, whatever. This is just a fear from what they do not know or understand likely because heteros know that being gay is harder - some even see it as bad. To be in-between or unidentifiable is to struggle more. On a basic level, we all want to belong and please others so not being able to clearly identify yourself as 'straight' or gay leaves you wondering where you belong as a person. Whether a heterosexual person actually knows that this struggle to belong is even more prevalent in bisexuality and pansexuality is on a person-by-person basis but it is a gut feeling we all seem to have. Sadly though, biphobia doesn't just belong to the heteros. Yep, gay people you can be biphobic too! In homosexual persons biphobia is rampant; this is likely as a symptom of "closeted" sexuality. Viewing your own sexuality as something to be ashamed of is hard so when someone who floats between what you perceive to have been your true self versus your "closeted" self it can feel like an insult to your personal struggles. Heavy stuff, I know. This is called implicit bias. Lingering self-disdain due to societal expectations from the majority group causes implicit bias. This shows up in racial minorities just as it does in other minorities. The bias that we all have in one way or another is a knee-jerk reaction. It's due to societies expectation of us and what we're exposed to. It's a bit like the 'doll test' done on children - we prefer what we are taught to prefer: white, cis-gendered, heterosexual men.
The ever-harmful idea of the myth of bisexuality is reinstated by media and porn but it is entirely due to male gaze so that heterosexual men can enjoy the fluidity of sexuality not for the people who are queer but for their own urges. It comes in the form of 'college experimentation', 'a phase', or the dream of threesomes because if one woman is hot then two women are even hotter, right? Well only if those women might be interested in the heterosexual man too. Now no offence to this hypothetical "dude bro" who wants a threesome desperately or needs the V x2 but just because you meet a bisexual woman that doesn't mean she's down to clown. Often there is the thought that if one is happy to date, fuck or marry any or multiple genders that they will be happy to do at the same time which often leads to the idea that bisexual or pansexual people are deviants. Once again, this is pretty similar to the old homophobic thoughts but now it's more specific and coming from both the queer and the hetero communities.
While bisexuality is popularized in the media it's called anything but what it is. Writers label characters as 'open' or 'free spirited' or, my personal favourite, 'not needing a label'. While I'm happy that some queer people refuse to label themselves because that's their lives my big issue is with fictional characters as we only see bisexual representatives refusing to call themselves bisexual while also in threesomes instead of twosomes - like we'd forget that Betty likes Veronica and Archie if it wasn't for the outrageous displays. Forgetting that this is actually poor writing and direction, this is exactly male gaze again because it seems that attraction to two or more genders is essentially boiled down to lack of control or sometimes even sexual greed. In particular with the porn industry, researcher and writer, Shiri Eisner has said that as bisexual women are only displayed in "hypersexualized contexts, as sexual objects for the hegemonic straight cis male gaze, while directly or covertly appealing to a quasi-pornographic fantasy of a (two females and one male) threesome, and while also reassuring us that these women are not really bisexual, but are simply behaving so for the satisfaction of the presumed male spectator”.
Boiling down an entire group of people to a fetish or non-existence, as preferred by television and movies, has serious repercussions not just for the mental health of the group but for their physical safety. Whether you like to admit it or not the biases we have can have real life consequences for ourselves but mostly for the group you might be biased against. These consequences can be boiled down to statistics. Rape, abuse, threats and everything in between are directed towards those in the LGBTQIA+ community all the time and these issues are even more prevalent for people of colour within the Queer community. However it's believed that when exposed whether in one's personal life or through accurate media representation people are less likely to act violently towards minorities. However, as bisexual or pansexual people are viewed as tourists in the Queer community it completely disregards that they are similarly likely to face discrimination while in same sex relationships or when they are open about it with their opposite gender partners.
As my experience is as a cis-gendered woman I'm hardly able to accurately comment on personal issues felt from biphobia from a male or trans perspective there may be more to this but to give a cliff notes version there are certainly troubles that bisexual men face that aren't particularly problems that cis women might have These issues typically are that while it's acceptable for women to be bi or pansexual, because it is really for a heterosexual man's pleasure, a bisexual man or transgendered person is unheard of. That's bullshit, too! Do you see a theme here? Hopefully you do!
The privilege that bisexual people are perceived to have from the rest of the queer community actually leave us out of the conversation, exclude us from belonging and all together do nothing to validate the truth which is: sexuality is fluid and whatever a person identifies as - they are. Some men, women, and gender queer people might identify as heterosexual but later realize they are homosexual and this is no different for bisexual people who perhaps later realize that they are homosexual, pansexual, ace, hetero or really prefer to leave themselves without a defined label. So to say that bisexual men do not exist is robbing people of their identities and of a huge part of themselves because when we are able to share who we love, regardless of gender, our other relationships can flourish too. The fluidity of sexuality is further explored by the Kinsey Scale. This scale was explained by the creators by showing that people "do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual" as there is many in-between just as there is many things in between a dog and a cat. The world is not black and white, but varying shades of grey which is exactly the case for human sexuality. This scale has done a lot for the furthering of understanding sexualities for heterosexual and homosexual persons alike but not nearly enough as bi and pan people still need to appeal to monosexuals so that they may understand the complexities of attraction while also trying to navigate a minefield of harmful stereotypes like bisexuals always cheat, are greedy, and confused just to name a few.
As you may be able to tell, I am a bisexual woman. However, I have only dated men. This does not mean that I am not attracted to women nor does it mean that I'm actually heterosexual. Our history does not actually mean much in terms of our sexuality which is why "Gold Star Gay" is a particularly disturbing term as many people have had to hide their sexualities for their safety, religion and perhaps even not fully comprehending what they feel. Now although I share this information pretty freely, it's not acceptable to ask someone about their sexual past. I would hardly go up to a stranger and demand to know what they've done in the bedroom because I'm pretty sure that our private parts and what we do or not do with them are private. I have loved a woman before, though. However as I know that many in my community whether heterosexual or homosexual view bisexuality as false I don't know if I could go through with dating a woman because I know that there will be more troubles to face. This is not privilege. This is closeting because for those around me, they aren't actually faced with it. They don't notice because there is nothing "abnormal" about me dating a man but to date a man then a woman or really whatever that's probably more than most people know how to handle because of all of the above. (This is a personal matter, not really up for discussion on my blog though. I share this just to explain a little more. Please be respectful of this.)
These problems are not just my own - all genders in the bisexuality and pansexuality identities feel this one way or another and it is their prerogative as to whether they will be open enough to date the same gender or if they will fight those feelings because of intolerance in both communities. If you are queer or an ally, it's important to make bisexual people feel welcome because hiding your sexuality can lead to depression and a host of other problems - with even suicide being a major one. So before sexualizing bi persons or saying they don't exist just listen, try to understand that what you say may be a big difference in a person's life good or bad. I hope you choose to be a good difference by encouraging your bisexual comrades to be their truest selves because equal rights for LGBTQIA+ was built on the backs of bisexual, trans-women of colour. We owe them that much.
To celebrate Black History Month I think it's important to share my favourite black bloggers because this medium and basically social media is like every other field - it favours white people. I'd be remiss if I didn't share the beautiful ladies whose pieces inspire me daily from novice to professional. Please check their work out and share this so that we can all see more colour in the field and in travel - representation matters, folks!
Glo - The Blog Abroad
If you don't know Glo... where have you been? She's remarkably talented and always so friendly. My favourite thing about Glo is that her personality really does show through her writing. Every post from Glo has me smiling, laughing and at times even feeling so truly sad at the state of the world as she's written about travelling during Trump's America. Although not all posts are political, the ones she writes about politics are succinct and make you feel as if you're able to have a conversation rather than being preachy with even some clever quips thrown in there too.
Find Glo here: Blog, Book, YouTube and Twitter.
Star - 87 Pages
This military wife is based out of South Korea though American. She is a travel, lifestyle and beauty blogger. Though she's not on the road currently her style is wonderfully minimalistic and accessible for everyone to enjoy. If you've ever thought about going to South Korea she is the expert I'd go to because of the sheer wealth of knowledge she has. Her posts are honest and beautifully crafted - she had a clear plan with her blog and her posts which is admirable as I'm so scatterbrained.
Find Star here: Blog, Youtube, and Facebook.
Nicole & Renee - I Luv 2 Globe Trot
Want two for the price of one? I Luv 2 Globe Trot is written and about the travels of two interesting women who met while teaching in South Korea. Nicole and Renee's respective pieces about travel are both informative and inspiring. I'm particularly a fan of their pieces about Asia and Travel Hacks because it's clear that they truly grasp what's helpful for all types of travellers - whether you are a solo traveller, couple or even a family.
Find Nicole & Renee here: Blog, Youtube, and Facebook.
Oneika - Oneika The Traveller
Oneika is absolutely everywhere and I for one can't get enough. From Toronto, Oneika is an expat and traveller to over 90 countries. Unlike most solo travellers she is married and brings an interesting outlook to solo travel because of it. She is a smart, funny and extremely politically minded writer (can you see a theme in my favourite bloggers?) who has had some controversy with her viral videos and blog posts but she has dealt with all of this with such grace that it's inspiring, just as her travels are. Oneika is realistic about the truth of a travellers life and how different it is to someone who has different priorities and abilities which I can only admire.
Find Oneika Here: Blog, Youtube and Facebook.
Roni - The Travel Guru
Roni is an expert in all things Charlotte - enough to make me actually want to visit North Carolina which was a place that was never on my travel bucket list. She has been all around the world during her travels and has an impressive amount of knowledge on how to make travel easy for a novice traveller. Her positive outlook is wonderful and I appreciate it more and more each day.
Find Roni Here: Blog, Facebook and Twitter.
Do you know all of these ladies? Which ones are your favourites and which do you think are missing? Feel free to share them in the comments below.
There is a moment of pure silence just before the world comes crashing down. It seems like everything is in slow motion - just like the movies. Maybe it's shock because your brain is trying to process the information it receives. That part doesn't really matter, though. The part that matters is the rush of panic, confusion and utter pain when you realise the worst has happened.
For me, I found out that someone I care about had become deathly ill. More than that the weight of their illness came with guilt because I know how much money I have in my bank account and I know it's not enough to fly back to Canada in my wildest dreams. If you don't know - I'm currently based out of New Zealand. That is just over 15,000 kms and 24+ hours of travel away from my home town where I know my family is reeling. And I found out this news from Facebook just like I've found out most things from back home that have happened while I've been on the road.
When I lived in London there was a deadly shooting near my parent's jobs in Ottawa and I found out through Facebook.
When a friend had died I found out through Facebook.
When a friend was engaged and later got married I found out through Facebook.
When a new family member was born I found out through Facebook.
I make my living through social media (ok well... I'm still trying) and yet it does something to you when you find out all your news - good or bad - from social media. It hurts and you physically ache because it just shows how far away you are. It gives you definitive proof of your distance. Especially during the bad times. Sometimes my town can feel like nothing has changed while I've been away, growing and thriving but this is not the truth. Everything changes and all so quickly. If you've ever thought about being away for a long time and especially a long distance you'll know the pain because it will come. There will be a lot of guilt felt as there are times when it's not at all feasible to return even if you need to but there are ways to help with that.
I'm not a big supporter of the asseveration "blood is thicker than water" because of my life experiences. I've learned that chosen family is the only important one you can have and when the family you choose is drying up while you're thriving there is a pain that is hard to really handle - especially if they are supportive as mine have been in my aspirations to travel the world. The reason I'm sharing this is because if you are living abroad, travelling or even just on the other side of your country it's important to know that you will miss out on life while you are living yours.
How To Make Things Easier
Yes, we all know about Skype and FaceTime but do we really utilise this tool as often as we should? It's sort of like visiting grandma in the home. We don't do it as much as we should because life gets in the way. I know that I will regularly go three months without speaking to family without using Facebook messenger because it's easier. However it's important too make the effort to schedule in a time at least bi-weekly where you can talk to people back home. If your family and friends are technologically illiterate like my parents are then you can buy Skype calling minutes and call landlines or cell phones. This is especially helpful during emergency situations like mine was because all you need is wifi or strong 3/4G internet and you can do it. I bought 15$ worth of minutes about a year ago and I'm still nowhere near finished. (At the moment I have 10.38$ left. However, this is a more of a sign of the fact that I've been fairly useless at calling home and because someone has taught my parents to FaceTime (even if iMsssage alludes them still.) More than being able to get as close to face-to-face communication this will force them into the habit of sharing things with you over voice or video instead of over the easier Facebook.
It's also nice to write physical letters. I'll be the first to say it - my handwriting is completely atrocious and really a disgrace considering I used to be pretty good at calligraphy. However I don't think I'm ever quite as happy as when I get proper letters in the mail. It's the same when you send them to people too. I currently have a few holiday cards on my mantel - even though it's nearly February - because they were so touching and funny. Maybe this is not the best way to share an emergency event but it's something to hold onto when things are rough or you're homesick like I am now.
Meeting half-way, if you are able to financially, is easily the best way to combat any surprise difficult conversations because it's the easiest way to connect when you're face-to-face. Pick a city where both of your closest international airports fly to and meet there. You'll be so happy you did and you get the opportunity to catch up on all the big and small news while you're travelling together. You would not believe half of the major news that is left out of regular video or voice chats until you talk in person.
I'm in no way perfect at doing any of this - frankly this post is self-indulgent - but it's important to try. If you have any helpful advice please feel free to post them in the comments and if you have any spare funds I would appreciate it if you could donate it to your local Heart and Stroke Foundation. Until next time, stay safe and healthy. xo
Whether you are travelling with your long-term partner, met a cutie from your hostel or are trying to explore your own city with someone you've newly entered a relationship with most people will claim that Paris is the quintessential romantic city-getaway however there are a lot of places that are utterly understated yet just as perfect places to spend the day with your Valentine, whoever that may be. (Single travellers: feel free to check this post out in the mean time.)
Valentine's Day in Tokyo is gaining traction however it's not the typical flowers, candy and nookie that has been popularized. While many expect to receive gifts from their male partners - it's the women who do most of the gift-giving during this celebration. Typically in Japan women give that special someone chocolate. Luckily if you're in a queer relationship you both get chocolate. Talk about win/win! If chocolate isn't what you both are about, Tokyo however does have an option that is decidedly more Parisian. The Tokyo Tower is a classic symbol of the city and gives you panoramic views of the city. You're sure to see a lot of other travelling couples there on Valentine's Day too.
Maybe it's because I'm Canadian but I've always found that a snowy, cold day is the best weather - especially for romantic pursuits. If you're in Moscow and walking through the Red Square isn't exciting or fun enough a personal favourite of mine is to go to the natural (and free) ice rink in the centre of Moscow on Chistye Prydi. You'll feel like you're in a small town backyard rink from all the privacy as you skate with your someone special. Be sure to bring your own skates as there is no rental service there then go for coffee to warm up and maybe to laugh about how many times you both fell.
Important: Queer couples are advised not to be openly affectionate in Russia for safety, sadly.
If you know nothing about Buenos Aires except that it's in Argentina you'll be happy to find that tango is infamous here. Whether you have two left feet or are a professional dancer, many flock to Buenos Aires to see people dance. It's the perfect thing to see on Valentine's Day and maybe try it yourself. It's fun for any couple to compare yourselves to professionals if you just have fun - even if toes are stepped on.
With a city like Cape Town it seems like there are endless activities to do. From hikes up Lion's Head to surfing, if you are an active couple there is so much to do but if you want to perhaps do that in the day then at night have a relaxing evening there is an open air cinema playing When Harry Met Sally on the beautiful Nooitgedacht vineyard. That's not all though before the movie begins you there will be plenty to do as well between 6pm and 8pm, when the film starts.
While Cologne might not be the original site of the love lock bridge, if you and your partner have some strong urge to engrave your name on a lock to declare your everlasting affection for one another you can do that here. Or you could be like me and declare your love for soft pretzels because that's the one true love if we're being honest with ourselves. Ok for real, Cologne has a gorgeous view of the Rhine River, of the Cologne Cathedral and truly intimate spots to go for a coffee and a cuddle or even a drink if you're more inclined. There are alcoves all around Cologne with cafes perfect for outdoor dining even in the cold February air thanks to overhead heating. So if you're not sure where to go for Valentine's Day or what to do, Cologne provides simply by being the city that it is beautifully and unpretentiously itself.
I'm sure wherever you are and whatever you do, it will be easy to spend quality time with your partners if you allow yourself to have fun and just go with the flow because travel and life have a way of figuring themselves out.
Welcome to 2017! I know it has been some time since I’ve posted on my blog and while I could give you a huge variety of reasons for this I’ve decided not to review on 2016 but instead plan for the new year as I want to look to the future and to more exciting goals and achievements.
Currently I’m in Queenstown, New Zealand. I’m seeing more of the country I’ve lived in for nearly seven months because it’s overdue. In the short term I plan on seeing this city as well as Oamaru and Timaru along with a trip to the beautiful Catlins because it is such a gorgeous country to be active in and I want to do more of that.
My biggest goal for 2017, however, is to see ten new countries so it has left me with an interesting itinerary that I am organizing but here is a month by month rundown of my travel intentions for 2017. This is subject to changes but this will certainly be the general idea.
January - Queenstown, Oamaru
February - MoerakI
March - Catlins National Park
April - Timaru
May - Paihia
June - Auckland, Tonga
July - Hamilton
August - Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Singapore, Malaysia
September - Thailand, Vietnam, Laos
October - Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal
November - India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka
December - Thailand, Indonesia, Australia
This is the roughest of rough travel outlines and most of it is in New Zealand or bouncing around Asia. My hope is to see as much as humanly possible in these places but I do have to replenish funds which means travelling very cheaply - which I’m afraid I haven’t been doing too much of lately. My hope is to utilize the opportunities I’ve been given to live in Oceania and being so close to Asia where I would normally find it difficult to find myself. The only question remains is where are you going to be in 2017?
Disclosure: Please note this is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.
Saving money whilst on the road is just as difficult as it is while at home for some, myself included at times. I'm not free of the pull marketers have on me. My Apple purchase history could tell you that much to my dismay as they all seem to end up smashed anyway. That said there are things we can do to save money for experiences over material things that do us no good except cool points from those around us. If you can even call them cool points when that term is exceptionally passé. (I've heard French is always cool. Hon hon hon.)
Luckily I have a most important website for you because not only are you able to save on items you need while you're scrounging for cash like I do between trips but it also helps you save on those trips. You're able to save on Orbitz, Travelocity and Best Buy where you can get those nifty yet very breakable toys. Time for a drone? I think so! Ok so maybe that's not the most practical of purchases but really, you can save enough money to help with your ability to afford such luxuries because we all deserve it.
The deals range from a months worth of free samples on makeup products to even nearly 75% off of a hotel room. With perks like these it's a wonder how I'd ever shopped any other way so it's really not fair of me to sit on my bonnet with this because we should all be able to take advantage of such a great opportunity.
The site where you will be able to save money on flights and other treats is Groupon Coupons. It's worth searching through the website to find that special flight or hotel so you're able to have the best time while keeping your wallet thick enough to enjoy some of the best food from your destination. You deserve to treat yourself, Parks and Recreation style, of course!
You’ve packed your bags, checked into your flight, double and triple checked that you have your passport and you’re ready to go but how can you know for sure that your liquids will be accepted by TSA or won’t explode in your bag? Only by making sure you have no liquids at all! Here are five items that will make you liquid free for your next flight.
You can suffer through getting 100ml bottles and putting your shampoo in it but you can also get a solid shampoo. It’s a revolutionary thing for travel and since discovering it has made it in my travel bags. Lush makes a wide variety of solid shampoo bars, which do different things for different types of hair. In my experience they last about 60 washes. At under 6£ it’s a score! All you need to do is get your hair wet, scrub a little bit into the roots of your hair and then put the bar away because your hair is lathered up at this point. I’ve made it to third day hair on Seanik Shampoo Bar before I even thought about using a dry shampoo or washing my hair again which is good for your hair so even better!
As my hair is short and I don’t find the need to use conditioner often - it just adds extra grease for me - however there are those of us who do want that extra bit of moisture for our luscious locks and once more Lush has you covered. Ranging from 3.50£ to 9£ they offer solid conditioner similar to their shampoo bars. Just run the bar down your wet hair a few times and rinse and you’re good to get your day going!
Unless you’re a fan of gingivitis, it’s particularly important to bring toothpaste on any trip but it can be such a nightmare if it gets on your clothes. Toothy Tabs by Lush are a solid saviour from the exploding toothpaste. Ranging from 2£ to 3.50£ these are a dream at keeping your pearly whites, well, white. All you need do is nibble a single tab to break it up for each brush and then start brushing!
If you’re like me and you like having a bit of makeup while you travel there is one range perfect for you! Tarte’s Amazonian Clay line includes powder foundation, bronzer, blusher and highlight for that full faced look. It wears like a dream and covers absolutely every imperfection without feeling caked on or dry. Now your travel photos will make you look absolutely beautiful without having to deal with carrying liquid makeup. Trust me, it's a very frustrating mess to clean up when foundation explodes in your suitcase.
No one wants to smell but deodorants and antiperspirants can take up so much space just because of their container. Since any spray bottles must be checked by the TSA solid bar or powder deodorants are the way to go if you’re going away. Making only two different stores necessary, Lush makes both and they price between 4.95£ and 6.25£! It’s a score!
If anything else, these options will allow you to bring back that perfume you bought shamelessly at duty-free. I know they helped me pick up a bottle of my favourite perfume at Heathrow.
This post is not sponsored and I have no affiliation with Lush or Tarte.
In my younger years I never appreciated beauty to the fullest, thinking that it was pure vanity which was probably due to some internalized misogyny that I had going on despite being labelled feminist because I wanted to be different than my typically feminine peers. Since then I've learned more about girl magic and a bit about beauty. I enjoy watching myself transform and how put together I feel so this is important for the times that I am on the road.
It's easy to get lost within all the dirt that you're surrounded with when you camp or backpack the way I tend to so it's a treat to be able to get scrubbed up which is why I always bring a makeup bag. Over the last few years my makeup selection has changed drastically from one trip to another. I'm an over-packer by nature but I have reduced my choices to what I feel I need to wear for a basic face and even a few extras to dress that up.
To start, the makeup bag I have been using recently I actually got for free when I was purchasing some skin care products. It's large enough to fit everything I want to bring and can be made small enough to fit into a clutch if I desire. Since I'm a budget traveller I prefer to make the most of my things and live inexpensively which is why I haven't bought a more en vogue makeup bag but perhaps will in the future when I tire of this. The bag is made by Origins and I got it with Dr. Weil's Mushroom skin care line from Debenhams a year ago. I love the earthy green but I wish the inside of the bag was more easily washable.
In the past I never had much interest in makeup but lately the interest has been growing into an obsession so it's very difficult to narrow down which products I will use on a regular basis without breaking the bank. For the most part this means having the bare essentials but being able to mix and match enough so that I don't worry that my look is getting tired. It's most important to start with a fresh face and I have a long skincare routine so I won't share the details here but if you're interested in it please comment below and I'll be sure to get to it if you'd like.
On my base, I normally use the Smash Box Photo Finish primer because the green counter-acts any redness I have and minimizes my pores. It also makes my makeup last longer so I don't have to worry about touching it up while I'm taking in street art. It makes the life of a backpacker much easier, really. From there I always bring two foundations. One which is more full coverage and another which is buildable. Lately I've been loving Mac's Studio Fix Fluid and Rimmel's Lasting Finish Foundation, both have SPF in it which is seriously important!
Concealer is something I'm constantly changing my preference on. I used to use nothing but the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer - which Quo has a perfect dupe for at a fraction of the cost - for underneath my eyes and to brighten my face a little bit. Jet lag can be nasty, after all. For imperfections, I do generally stick with MAC as well. The Studio Finish concealer has SPF in it, as well. It's a little less blendable than the creamy concealers so you have to be careful not to be too liberal with the amount of product you put on any spots or else it's obvious that you are trying to cover something.
Once I've done this, I put a touch of pressed powder on my T-zone where my makeup fades the fastest and begin with the fun part: contouring! The goal isn't to look as sculpted as Adele does when I'm backpacking because I really enjoy getting out the door as soon as I can. Instead I give myself enough definition and colour so I don't look like a ghost.
While it looks like I have a lot of duplicates in my makeup bag, this is furthest from the truth when it comes to my bronzers. The Bourjois contour palette is lovely but the shade of brown looks most like dirt on my face if I use it to contour so I use it very conservatively to make my skin tone less Winona Ryder and a little more Kylie Jenner. The best part of the palette is that it smells and looks like chocolate! I bought this from Boots ages ago and not only has it lasted for a log time and was inexpensive but the smell hasn't dissipated at all. The Hoola Matte Bronzer by Benefit is perfect for me as a contour and most lighter skin tones are able to use it for exactly that reason. While it's a little pricier than I'd like it has lasted me over a year now with almost daily use. The brush you get with the product is perfect as well.
Returning back to the Bourjois palette I use the highlighter on my cheeks, above my lips and just a touch on my brow bone. I find that this gives a pretty highlight for the day if you aren't going to attempt strobbing. Aside from this palette, I've yet to find a highlight I like that isn't extremely expensive that I can use during the day. I do have a NARS highlighter but it's impossible to travel with because the shimmer simply gets everywhere and the packaging isn't completely sturdy as well as it's not appropriate for day time, especially in conservative settings like a temple in Thailand.
As it's spring and summer will be approaching, I decided on a mouse blush by Maybelliene. The packaging isn't as sturdy as I would like, admittedly, however the product is perfectly long lasting and comes in a wide range of shades. It's also very moisturizing which is perfect for anyone with dry skin. During winter or colder locations I might decide to use a powdered blush instead but this is perfect for summer because of the consistency of the product.
Eyes are where a lot of people tend to overpack because they fear bringing the wrong eyeshadow palette or don't invest in palettes to begin with. I have several eyeshadow palettes but I find that the one which I can use to create the widest variety of looks is the Naked Palette 3 by Urban Decay. If I'm going out during the day, I will stick mostly to the left side of the palette - typically the lighter colours. If I am planning to go to a club or bar with my fellow backpackers then I will venture into more exciting territory with a smokier look which is completely possible with just this palette. From there all you need do is decide if you're going to attempt eyeliner or not. Most often I will attempt winged liner but it's not necessary - especially if you find yourself amongst higher company.
A touch of mascara and some lipstick and I'm almost done. What might seem like a long process truly isn't. I finish with a setting spray by Urban Decay just to get my makeup to last that much more just in case I decide to stay up until sunrise in a strange place with new friends.
A touch of mascara and some lipstick and I'm almost done. What might seem like a long process truly isn't. I finish with a setting spray by Urban Decay just to get my makeup to last that much more just in case I decide to stay up until sunrise in a strange place with new friends.