Monthly Archives: March 2014

Interview With Dawn Kealing Of “Life, Love & Adventure”

saqqara dawn kealing

   pyramids dawn kealing   Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up; do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

Hello! 🙂 I grew up in a small town near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. When I was younger my main focus was to be positive, happy and healthy. I always had dreams of doing things that seemed pretty impossible to me at the time, aka. Traveling the world. In the past couple years everything has changed yet stayed the same, I am still that positive and healthy person yet I have been able to travel the world!

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?punta cana dawn kealing

There was no persuasion needed to get me out traveling the world! The key factor that made it happen though would be my amazing husband. I started working with him at his business and together after some time we financially made traveling possible!

What were your biggest fears before you left home?, and how do you feel about them now?

I can’t recall any specific fears; there definitely was a lot of excitement coursing through my veins as we were driving to the airport! There was also the, as I know now, the normal stresses of making sure to remember all the documents and the stress of my first long flight but everything went smoothly!

How long have you been traveling?

I have been traveling off and on for the past 2 years; we did 2 trips the first year and 4 trips last year.

Where are you now?

I am currently at home in Northern British Columbia trying to bear through another one of our freezing winters!

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

dawn kealing petraMy plans for this upcoming year are to work on my blog, A LOT! There are a few goals I have set up for myself to do throughout the year to improve my blog and hopefully get more out of it!

Another plan I have put together for myself is to travel more of BC this summer. I have lived here all my life and am starting to feel like I have traveled more of the world than I have my own beautiful province!

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Most of my travels have been all through Central America, the country that I felt the safest in would be Costa Rica! Everywhere we went through Central America everyone was always so friendly though! 🙂 I honestly think I felt safer in Costa Rica than I do in the town I live in in Canada. We’re the crime capital of Canada says MacLean’s magazine. :/

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger)?

The country that I felt the most on edge in would have to by Egypt. No matter where you are the spotlight is always on you. People trying to bring you into their stores or sell you stuff on the streets, people pulling at your clothes and snickering at you but you have no idea what they are saying.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Oh dear, my most dreaded question haha. I always seem to have issues with jordan dawn kealingborder guards, I don’t know why! When I was leaving Egypt to go to Jordan the border guard started speaking really loudly (yelling) at me and pointing to my lip, which is pierced. I had no idea what he was saying and he just kept getting more and more upset, eventually he let me through but only once I was bawling my eyes out. :/ All the other times have been coming back into Canada, as funny as that seems. I always feel like I am being interrogated for doing some horrible crime yet I have done nothing!

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Other than blogging while I am traveling I don’t do any other types of work. We work a lot a home, taking 2 weeks to a month away at a time is a great break from work for us!

Chichen itza dawnTell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

I think my most jaw dropping experience would be going on my first Hot Air Balloon ride in Luxor, Egypt over the Valley of the Kings and Queens. It was absolutely breathtaking!!

My most memorable experience that left me in awe would be seeing fireflies in Palenque, Mexico. We were sitting on a chair on the porch of our little bungalow and they started flying all around us and through the jungle. I couldn’t help but shed some tears, it was amazing!

An incredibly touching experience was when I organized a trip in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to a local school to donate school supplies.

Last but not least, my most terrifying experience so far in my travels would be doing to Mega Tarzan Swing in Costa Rica. After ziplining for a couple hours and my adrenaline was already up I thought, why not?! Once I got to the end of a super long suspension bridge that was hanging over a valley I tried to run back but the guys pushed me out! It was one of the most terrifying things I have done in my life!!

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Not really, my family has always been super supportive of my decisions. dawn kealing colorfull frogSometimes my mother gets a little worried depending on the places I am traveling to but she is always supportive regardless! The best thing is my little nephew (3), before leaving for my last trip I was at my sisters and he asked if he could come with me. Maybe one day little buddy! <3 I travel with my best friend so there’s no issue there! I have close friends at home and I always meet new friends while traveling but traveling as never affected any of my relationships negatively.

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

No regrets is the best way to live! The only thing I keep kicking myself in the butt for is not learning Spanish yet!

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

If I could travel for the rest of my life I would be the happiest person in the world! As of right now I have no reason or want to stop exploring the world so I will continue traveling for as long as I can! 🙂

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

saqqara dawn kealingMy biggest encouragement is to JUST DO IT!! Don’t look back, just go and explore this beautiful planet. It will be one of the best things you ever do! There is so much knowledge to learn out there that you cannot learn in a classroom, traveling is priceless!

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

It takes a LOT of work, don’t give up, it’s so worth it!! Do what makes you happy, if you get to the point when you’re feeling super burnt out then take a small break to refresh your thoughts and begin writing again! Don’t expect everything to come really easily because it takes a lot of work, join into blogging communities on social media sites or around you if it’s offered. One of my most favorite things about blogging is the love and support from my fellow bloggers in the communities I am in!

Do you write for a blog that you would like to plug?

I have a blog that I strive to update daily; it is called Life, Love and Adventure! It’s a travel blog where I write about all the places I have been so far, where I want to go next and all kinds of travel tips I have learned in my years of traveling! 🙂

A BIG thank you to Roamin Around for featuring me on their page!!

 

 

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Take The Train to Chiang Mai

Train to Chiang Mai

Switching Trains

I just returned to Chiang Mai from a short tour of Cambodia. I had spent 2 weeks in Cambodia with my friends from Latvia, then had the good fortune to meet up with a friend for 3 days in Bangkok. Although I travel a lot, I must say it is quite draining on your system. Don’t get me wrong I love to travel and see new things, experience new cultures, meet new people, eat interesting foods, and creatures. 😉 . But what I have realized the most stressful part of the whole journey seems to be the transport.

Riding in Turbo buses (Silver high top Vans) in Thailand for instance willThai Turbo Bus leave you with very little sleep, your hair standing on end, and as you will see when you get the opportunity, these drivers are all in training for some sort of international Grand Prix. Driving on the opposite side of the road, forcing on coming traffic onto the shoulder. Avoiding all stoplights by turning onto the intersecting road making a u-turn at full speed, then turning back onto the main thoroughfare. (actually a neat idea,,, stoplights can last in excess of 200 seconds in Thailand). That being said they in fact do an amazing job at drifting through heavy traffic.There are handles bolted on to the back of the seats, many of which have been ripped off, either by the sheer terror of the passenger or just simple laws of physics and the steel/plastic handles are unable to cope with the stress.

Siem Reap Tuktuk    Then there are the Tuk Tuk drivers, who refuse to charge anything less the double that of a taxi ride. why…??? maybe it’s just the joy of being able to ride on a smoky, loud, slow, rickety piece of hand made ingenuity..  Then the biggest problem of course with the tuk tuk drivers is that they refuse to take you to your requested destination. You ask them to take you to the train station, they take you to a tour agency trying to sell you a tour package. You ask to go to your $10 per night hotel, they take you to a $200 per night hotel, and go into great detail explaining that it is high season and everything else is booked up. Yes, for those of you who have not been in Asia this is exactly how it works and unfortunately it is not the exception it is the rule.

Ok, now onto public buses, yea you know the ones , they come with great names like “V.I.P. Bus” , “The Hotel Bus”. these tend to drive at about 40kmph. There is a thing here in Asia that it does not matter how unsafe you drive provided you drive slowly. In the dusty roads of Cambodia, 40kmph is quite fast considering you can not see further then a few meters. The toilets do not work, so they will either randomly stop at the side of the road in a field for all the ladies and gents to use the public facilities. “The Hotel Bus” which is a sleeper bus. 2 layers of beds, 1 set of beds on the floor and one at about 150cm off of the floor. 2 beds on each side narrower then shoulder width, and about 4 1/2 foot long. generallyTrain to Chiang Mai managed by some local organized crime syndicate. and all of your valuables remaining with you for the extent of the voyage is also a risk and needs to calculated into the cost of the journey. This trip I had my Iphone stolen by the Bus driver assistant while I was sleeping, less then a meter from him, In less then 5 minutes after using my phone, after getting myself folded into an endurable position, I tried to get a short nap, and could not sleep so I decided to plug my headset into my Iphone that was no longer in my pocket.  Grrr.

old train carriage So after all of these stressful travels, I decided to take the train from Bangkok to Chiang mai. I actually did hesitate before making the decision, because from my experience the train has always been a minimum of 2 hours late. And this time was no exception. This time I had the joy of stopping about 2 hours outside of Chiang mai and wait a couple of hours for another train to come pick us up, as there were some sort of engine problems. So this time we all arrived only 5 1/2 hours late. Although I would still recommend it, It really is not much like traveling at all . there is a dining car ( actually more of a party car) the beds are quite comfortable, and I have always had the joy of meeting interesting fellow travelers to share stories with on the journey. The ticket price was around Train in Lampang area850 baht (approx $26). I showed up at the train station with only about 15 minutes to spare to catch the 19:35 train, and there were plenty of tickets available on a Thursday evening. The evening went fast, met some awesome people, hung out in the party car for a bit, not that I was into the party, but the ambiance was quite interesting. I was able to get a fairly good rest, ( first time in a while) . And I got to enjoy the views of the beautiful country side of northern Thailand.

Next time I take a trip, It will either be by plane, train or the best will be on my motorbike. See a country by motorbike is a whole other story. All The Best on your next journey.. And by the Way….. Take The Train…Finally Home in Chiang mai

 

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Interview with Kelly Mazur of kellyellamaz.com

Sorrento

PlayaDelCarmen_5thAveShopping    Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I’m Kelly Mazur, owner of www.kellyellamaz.com. I was born and raised in Canada, and I’ve had a passion for travel since I was a kid. The idea of going on vacation has always excited me, and I’ve always obsessed over the planning and research for months before any given trip! That passion grew into an obsession when I started travelling as a young adult.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

Honestly one of the biggest factors was the harsh Canadian winters I was living through. I live for summer weather and beaches, so I’ve always been inclined to leave Canada for warmer weather! I also love the feeling of being in a new place. Everything is exciting when it’s new and fresh – like the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower or swam in the Mediterranean Sea!

How long have you been traveling?

I’ve been travelling frequently for the past three years, and my obsession just continues to grow.I’m currently planning an 18-month adventure that will be my longest yet!

Where are you now?

Right now I’m at home in Canada, about an hour outside of Toronto. Other than a trip to Quebec City I’ll be home until I move to Europe in July!

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

I just bought a one-way ticket to Barcelona! After spending some time in SpainMarrakech_Camel, I’ll be heading to Australia for a while too!

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Spain for sure! After being in Barcelona for less than 24 hours I split with my boyfriend for the day and went shopping by myself while he went to museums! I felt completely at home there. I guess that’s why I decided to move there!

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

I didn’t always feel safe in Morocco. Women aren’t treated equally in Morocco, and I found it to be a harsh adjustment. I was viewed as my boyfriend’s property and the men at the hotel wouldn’t even talk to me! If I asked a question, they directed the answer to my boyfriend.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

I was accused of having a fake passport at the USA border! After about a hundred questions the border official finally let me through.

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jRome_SpanishStepsobs?

I have about 4 different sources of income off my website that help pay for travel. Advertisements, product sales, freelance writing, and travel planning services all contribute to my income. None of it’s substantial, but it allows me to stretch my travel budget!

Any major life targets, that you are working on?

My goal this year is to turn those various sources of income into a full-time job. Like most travel bloggers, I want to quit my day job and work from my laptop from anywhere my heart desires! It’s a bit of a long shot right now, but I’m enjoying my small successes along the way!

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?Sorrento

The view I had of the bay of Naples from my hotel room balcony in Sorrento (Italy) is something I’ll never forget. I had a glass of champagne in one hand, and my boyfriend’s hand in the other. I felt incredibly lucky to have experienced that beautiful city.

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Travelling has definitely affected a few friendships. I’m not home as often as I used to be so I miss out on a lot of things. When I am home, I’m saving money and working non-stop on my website in order to be able to afford my next trip. It’s a huge sacrifice, but it’s a choice I’m comfortable with.

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

The only travel regret I have is not travelling longer! Once it’s time to fly home I always wonder why I booked such a short trip…

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I’m sure 20 years from now I won’t be travelling as frequently, but my passion for travel will never change.

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

Commit to saving money, then buy a ticket! Money is the biggest roadblock for most of us, but if you make sacrifices in other areas of your life then you can find ways to afford travel.

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?Marrakech_RooftopPool

Set clear goals for yourself and your blog. What do you want to accomplish? How will you measure your success? If you just buy a domain name and write aimlessly you won’t get very far. Don’t be afraid to aim high, as long as you’re aiming at something.

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug?

My blog can be found at www.kellyellamaz.com, and my first e-book is being released on March 4th! It’s titled “101 Tips for Luxury Travel… on a Budget” and it’s really my personal collection of travel tips. I’ve gathered these tips through a few years of travelling as a ‘broke student with high standards’! I’m really proud of this book and I think anyone who struggles to afford travel will really value this information.

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