Monday, 27 October 2014

Life is too short..take time to be silly!

Costumes: Reflections and Effectuations on Personalities.

My favorite part of Halloween is the fact that it gives everyone license to dress up and be someone else for the whole day. We can shed our inhibitions and free ourselves of the preconceived notions others might have about us. The costume a person picks has two main implications. One: it reflects their innate personality. People choose what to be based on what they like and characters with which they strongly relate. On the other side of the coin however, what costume a person wear can also impact how they feel and behave while disguised by it.

Although it's extremely unlikely that clothing alone can literally alter an individual's inherant personality, it's commonly accepted that what a person wears and how it makes them feel has a direct effect on how they might behave.

For instance, it's not uncommon, for a shy person to choose a bold costume like that of a super hero and while wearing that costume become more outgoing and assertive. The psychology behind this phenomenon is complex and beyond the scope of this simple article. However, what we wish to impress upon people is that Halloween and the act of wearing costumes offers everyone a chance to explore hidden facets of their personality. Perhaps even a way to fascilitate long term positive changes.

So next time you're trying to decide what costume to pick, think about who you are and also about who you want to be. Not just for Halloween, but every day.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Travel Tip of the Week - Food for thought

Treating yourself to the local cuisine is definitely one of the highlights of any trip. Whether it be fine or casual dining options with a cruise ship, resort, bed and breakfast or local restaurant the possibilities are endless and palate pleasing. Funds permitting, we try to travel twice a year and the cost of meals and tipping can become quite expensive. These are the shortcuts we have taken to maintain our budget:
* Shop at local markets and grocery stores. You are still eating local, fresh food, supporting the local farmers and fishermen and saving on costs.
* Pack Ziploc baggies in your luggage. That way you can pack snacks for day trips or hikes and not get overcharged in prime tourist areas.
* If breakfast is included with your room take a few items with you for later in the day. Apples, granola bars, yogurt, crackers and cheese are great items for future snacking.
* Attempt to have at least a bar fridge in your room so perishable items can be saved.
* Pack a steel lined travel mug for hot and cold items. Coffee and juice can be very expensive, especially in Europe, so purchasing these items from a grocery store and having them at your disposal can really cut costs when you are on an extended trip.
* Treat yourself to restaurant meals when appropriate. Sometimes the cost to purchase all the ingredients to cook your own meal is actually higher than dining out, especially when ingredients are imported, so know your prices.
* Get as far away from the tourist sites as possible when choosing a restaurant. Leaving the tour groups, noise, higher costs and lineups a few streets away creates a more enjoyable and authentic experience.
* Be able to see the humour when you mess up, and you will! In Dubrovnik we thought stewing beef was steak we could pan fry and mistook tomato paste for spaghetti sauce. Sometimes language barriers create not only unusual meals but very funny memories.
* Take food on day trips, bus / train / ferry / plane rides, and remember to hydrate. That way you are not grabbing the first thing you see when you are very hungry or starting to dehydrate and spending less money on impulse buys.
* Make a mini meal on the run. In Venice we bought a multigrain baguette, a package with lunch meat and cheese together and made a sandwich to carry. While not fancy it did the trick, filled our tummies and we could get back to sightseeing instead of wasting our time indoors.
* When dining, ask about the specials or server's recommendations, try new beers, wines and foods, and indulge a little. That's what vacations are for.  
* Know your environment. In Costa Rica there was limes and grapefruit that had fallen off the tree every day and we were able to grab a few fresh items daily.
* If you cannot pack them in a travel lunch to go leave your groceries and drinks behind for the next guest, the housekeeper or your host allowing you to both 'give back' and minimize waste.


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Hats off!

This blog is dedicated to students...

to those who have a dream of  what they want to become and continue to burrow through their course work in an effort to make it happen. I, as a committed lifelong learner, understand not only the need for commitment but also the challenge to juggle work, family, self-employment, social obligations and a healthy lifestyle while being a student.

It is with great pride that I attend my convocation this weekend, surrounded by my family and supportive husband, who rallied around me for the past 25 years as I juggled life and the completion of a university degree. The humorous turtle on my graduation cake says it all...slow and steady wins the race.

So, despite the sleepless nights, multiple assignments, dwindling bank account and frazzled nerves find solace in the thought that everything you are doing is so worthwhile. As an Employment Counsellor of 30 years I can honestly say that a good education, confidence, humility and a clear vision is the best gifts you can selfishly fight for.

Keep Calm and Study On.



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Travel Tip of the Week - Planning for a "Ferry Tale" Ending

Whether boarding on foot or with vehicle ferries can be a scenic and time-saving way to travel.

Based on our experiences we have the following suggestions if you want your ferry ride to have a happy ending:
* If you have investigated the times, dates and prices on line make sure to still go into the local office in person as well. The boarding, launching and travel times were all different that our research indicated on more than one occasion.
* The level of enjoyment on a ferry can be directly linked to the weather so be sure to bring a book, magazine, cards / games to pass the time if you are stuck indoors.
* Pack a lunch, drink and munchies for your travels. Food selections are limited, seldom nutritious, expensive, and  dining hours may be restricted.
* Arrive early to get a good seat.
* Apply sunscreen for protection from both the wind and sun.
* Purchase your ticket in advance. In the event it is overbooked you may be stranded at your  destination for several days.
* If you have the opportunity to take an early morning ferry the landscape and sunrise will make getting up early worthwhile.



Saturday, 18 October 2014

Journey of a Different Kind

While writing a blog can be fun, engaging, sometimes even therapeutic, the chosen content shared is threefold for me. Firstly, to celebrate the many beautiful places and people in the world, share experiences, tips, and lessons learned. Secondly, to promote the small business economy as a more authentic and rewarding way to experience communities. Finally, to provide an opportunity for those unable to travel to experience the world's beauty through means of a virtual environment. 

As I sit in a bustling corner of our local hospital, comforted by the aroma of 'Timmies' coffee, a renewed sense of perspective unfolds. For as easy as it is to get wrapped up in own lives, commitments, daily routines, dramas, plans for the future, and financial perils we can often overlook the role that health plays in our life. For some, making it from one day to the next is all they can focus on and all they have the strength for. As two people very close to me have bravely tackled cancer surgery in the past 8 days I rally to stay strong for them, keep my composure, and give the much needed support to fight such a battle.

Wondering what to say, how to help, how to be anything but awkward as I try to make some small difference yet understanding that there is no formula for helping someone heal, either physically or emotionally, other than to be yourself and do your best.

Kind thoughts and well wishes to you and those dearest to you...

cancer, hope


Saturday, 11 October 2014

Holidays hold a special place in our hearts as we share food, good times and memories with family and friends. This weekend signifies Thanksgiving...a time when we give thanks for the fall harvest. Yet, on a more personal note, we are also provided with the opportunity to reflect on our own lives and reminisce about what we are thankful for in our lives. In paying tribute to our 27 years of marriage, family ties, friendship, good health, safe community, solid employment and privilege to travel and meet people from all over the world we encourage input on what you are thankful for as we share this opportunity to reflect together.   


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Pics of the Month

Many thanks to those of you that read, comment and share our blog as we appreciate this fantastic world together. We are adding a new feature to the blog where we will repost the top pictures with the highest number of likes each month. As well we would truly like to thank the followers who have shared our pictures, stories and vision 75 times with others as this helps us to promote the value of embracing 'the local experience'. Cheers, Jean and Barry

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy

St. Paul's Chapel, Manhattan, USA

Statue of Liberty, NYC, USA