travel more. worry less.

Traveling has changed me.

As a child I was fortunate enough to go on frequent family vacations. I am forever thankful to my parents for providing me with those opportunities. Together we created memories that will last a life time. Something to look back on and reminisce about.

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Although these trips have been special, I believe traveling as a young adult is different. It strengthens you. It allows you to grow and get cultured. It makes you appreciate the little things. And it ultimately defines the rest of your life.

As you know, over the past year and a half I’ve done a bit of traveling to Europe (Finding the Inspiration) to visit my boyfriend. I’ve always been a nervous flyer. I don’t enjoy being on a plane, especially when I’m by myself, surrounded by complete strangers. What am I supposed to do for 7 hours? Who can I talk to? Where do I go when I get off the plane? Will I have enough money? What if I get lost? These thoughts floated around in my head incessantly. Until I decided to let go. I chose to let these worries escape me and learned how to go with the flow (a skill that is difficult to master). It ultimately opened my eyes and changed my attitude into a more care-free, positive, enriched attitude.

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I’ve discovered new things about myself that will stay with me throughout my life. Lessons that I’ll be able to hopefully one day share with my children. Ideas and thoughts that I would like to share with you now.

5 things traveling has taught me:

  1. Experiences over Material things. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to shop. But, I’ve learned to recognize my needs vs. my wants. Happiness isn’t about getting those pair of shoes you’ll probably never wear, or that new handbag that is similar to another one you already have in your closet. Happiness is about making memories and embracing new experiences. My travels have taught me to buy experiences, not things.
  2. Taking a break from social media is okay. We have become so dependent on our phones and computers, that we often forget how to live our life free of them. I’ll admit, I’m still learning to master this. But, traveling has taught me to break free from social media and take time to enjoy what I’m doing, in the moment, rather than spending my time showing everyone else what I’m doing.
  3. The best restaurants are hidden away from tourist attractions. If you’re looking for delicious food at an affordable price, avoid the high traffic tourist areas. Yes, it might be nice to sit under the Eiffel Tower for dinner, but you’ll pay the price for it and it probably won’t be the greatest food. In my opinion, I got more joy out of stumbling upon a small, quaint restaurant down a cobblestone alley than going to a fancy, extravagant lounge.
  4. Step out of your comfort zone. Meet new people. Try different foods. Speak the language. Be adventurous. Say yes. In our lives, we often get scared of trying new things. But, I’ve come to learn that the magic happens outside of your comfort zone. This March, Justin and I are traveling around Switzerland and we decided to go paragliding during our time in Interlaken. I’m terrified. But I know it’s going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
  5. Appreciate the beauty. Breathe in the culture and nature while you’re visiting a new place. Sometimes you have to put your camera down and just enjoy where you are, who you’re with and what you’re looking at. Let it sink in and envelop you. Because that is what you’ll carry with you forever.

I’m sure as a take flight and explore new destinations, I’ll add more lessons to this list. I look forward to exploring and experiencing life the best way I know possible.

finding the inspiration

It isn’t always easy to find meaningful topics to blog about. Not to mention the fact that life gets in the way, and frequently, you don’t get the opportunity to just take a moment and appreciate all the amazing things you got going on. It’s been about 8 months since my last entry and I feel like so many spectacular things have happened to me.

At the airport with Justin

At the airport with Justin

I’ll start with the month of December. For me, this was an exciting month. For obvious reasons it meant that Christmas was fast approaching, but more importantly, my boyfriend, Justin, would be coming home from Ireland for the holidays. At this point, we had been apart for 4 months, so it was really nice to spend some quality time with each other and our families.

Another special moment, was when my brother and sister-in-law told the family at Christmas that they are expecting a baby in summer 2015. After an extremely tough 6 months, with the loss of my niece, Isla (A Journey of Grief), it was a bittersweet moment of joy to find out that we would be welcoming another little one into this world. With it now being just over a year, my family has had time to heal and we couldn’t be happier for them. I’m so looking forward to meeting my little nephew at the end of the month!

This brings me to the month of March. My first trip on a plane by myself. First stop, Ireland.

Justin picked me up at the airport and I spent a few days with him in Limerick. While Justin had classes, I was able to explore the downtown city centre. There’s something so exhilarating about being in a place, by yourself, navigating through unknown territory. The city lies on the River Shannon and has a vast variety of old architecture, lush pastures, unique shops and local pubs. Definitely worth traveling to.

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After seeing Justin’s home away from home, we were on our way to our next travel destination. Paris! For anyone who doesn’t knows me, I have been dying to go to Paris for years. So when Justin and I decided to book the trip and go, I was ecstatic. We rented a quaint little apartment through Airbnb, which was located in the 3rd arrondissement. Once we arrived, it was beginning to get dark, so as soon as we got settled in, we decided to head over to the Champ de Mars. I will never forget the feeling I had when I got off the metro and finally, after months of anticipation, walked the streets of Paris. My face hurt from smiling so much. We turned the corner, and there she was. The most magnificent, breath-taking piece of architecture I have ever seen. The Eiffel Tower.

During our stay, it was impossible to see everything Paris has to offer. But, we were able to see the iconic architecture, taste the delicious food, explore the chic boutiques, and experience Parisian culture. Here are some of my favourite pictures from the trip.

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Eiffel Tower (Day and Night)

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Garden Shop (near Notre Dame) and Pont des Arts (love lock bridge)

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Sacré-Cœur and Moulin Rouge (Montmarte)

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Arc de Triomphe and Candles at Notre Dame Cathedral

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Musée d’Orsay and The Catacombs of Paris

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Palace of Versaille (Inside) and Jardin du Luxembourg

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Notre Dame Cathedral and Palace of Versailles

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The Louvre and Our love lock on Pont des Art

After our time in Paris, we flew back to the Emerald Isle and landed ourselves in Dublin! I had traveled to Dublin once before as a child, but let me tell you, it is much better as an adult. During the day we walked around the city and in the evening we enjoyed a few pints at The Temple Bar. Again, here are a few photos I took along the way.

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St. Stephen’s Green and Flowers at Dublin Castle

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Entrance way to the garden at Dublin Castle

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Christ Church Cathedral and The Temple Bar

On to the next adventure…

separated by ocean

For those of you who don’t know, my boyfriend of a year and a half just moved out to Ireland to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. Being separated by 3212 miles is not the most ideal situation for the two of us. However, I’m so unbelievably proud of all his hard work to get to where he is today and I stand by him 100%.

With that being said, it doesn’t mean this hasn’t been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Leading up to his last days in Canada, I was handling it all very well. Being supportive and positive. But then we had a going away party for him, and it was all downhill from there. I was an emotional mess. How was I going to survive without my best friend?! There would be moments before he left, where we would be hanging out together – I would look at him and just start crying. I kept thinking about all of his little quirks and the memories we shared. There was no doubt in my mind that our relationship wouldn’t work, but I was faced with the reality that it was going to be tough at times. Luckily for me, I have an extremely compassionate guy who reassured me things would be okay.

For those of you out there who are going through a similar long distance love, just remind yourself that distance means nothing when the person at the other end means so much. I understand it may be hard at times, but there are so many different things you can do to keep the relationship alive. Justin and I really try our best to keep our relationship thriving. Here are some ideas that we’ve done so far:

1. Text/Video Chat. We talk everyday, even if it’s not for long. Fortunately, we have grown up in a time where technology is so easily accessible. It’s nice to feel connected to one another while you’re apart. So whenever time permits, we update each other with what’s going on in our lives.

2. Writing. Seeing as I’m also a bit old fashioned, I think it’s important to write each other every now and then. Whether it’s a postcard or a letter. Everyone loves getting mail and it makes it that much more romantic when it’s from the person you love and miss.

3. Date Nights. I know, this sounds silly. How are you supposed to have a date night when your significant other is on a totally different continent? Well, it’s possible! What we do is, we decide on a movie to watch together. Get a few snacks before hand, then video chat each other and start the movie at the exact same time. It feels like you’re side by side, laughing or crying together. I highly recommend this.

4. Trust and Open Communication. Two of the most important qualities to ANY relationship really. It’s very different being so far away from one another. That’s why trust and open communication is so key. Be honest with each other. If something is upsetting you, talk about it and come to a solution together. But, trust in the love that you share and know that it is okay to be apart and have “me” time. As long as you’re being respectful to your partner.

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I’m confident that it will get easier. And, we’ll be a stronger couple because of it all. I’m only about a month into this, so I’m sure there are other strategies to learn in the months and years to come. We really do appreciate all the love and support that we’ve received from family and friends. It’s nice to have a good support system standing behind you!

a journey of grief

I wish I could sit here and say that it was a grey and miserable day. But, it wasn’t. It was sunny and beautiful outside. The beginning of what I thought would be the best summer of my life. Instead, it was the day that would change me, forever.

I decided it was the perfect morning to go for a run along the beach. My boyfriend and I were up at his cottage, three hours from home. Out we went, iPhone’s in hand, music playing softly through our earphones. We were about halfway through our 5 kilometer run. As I quickly changed to the next song, I realized that my music was being interrupted by an unfamiliar jingle that was my ringer. I looked down to see that my Mum was trying to reach me. I answered the phone call, a little out of breath, explaining to my Mum that we were just out for a run. She told me the news.

My sister, who was 34 weeks pregnant, had an episode during the night and was rushed to hospital in the morning. There was no fetal heartbeat. As my Mum told me the news, it was as if everyone surrounding me was moving in super speed and I was stuck, in this slow motion nightmare that was consuming me. I talked to my sister briefly on the phone. As she sobbed, I sobbed. Both of us were completely and utterly heartbroken. We later found out that my sister was having a baby girl. Isla Alexandra Claire. My first and only niece.

Nearly 3 months since the loss of Isla, my family and I still grieve. It comes in waves. Some days, I feel better than others. But then it hits me. I won’t get to be the kind of aunt that I was so looking forward to being. Many keep telling me that I’m still an aunt. But it just doesn’t feel the same.

She’s gone.

I never saw the colour of her eyes. I never saw her smile or heard her laugh.

My emotions vary. I feel numb, frustrated, angry, sad, and empty. I try to stay strong, because I know I need to be strong for my family, especially my sister. But some days, I’m tired of pretending to be brave. I’m tired of seeing all the great things going on in other people’s lives around me. Because, for me…My heart now has an Isla-shaped hole that will never be filled. A missing puzzle piece.

So as I mourn for her, I can only hope that Isla is in a safer place, looking over me and my family.

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Isla Alexandra Claire – June 1, 2014

cry me a river

Yes, break ups suck. Whether it’s someone you’ve been in a long-term, committed relationship with or someone you’ve dated casually for only a couple months, they’re never an easy thing to deal with. No one likes being hurt (I mean, unless you’re into that kind of thing….). So yeah, break ups tend to make us all a little uneasy.

With this being said, I think how you handle a break up says A LOT about your character. Based on my own experiences and those that I’ve heard of from friends and/or family, I believe that there are two types of “break up personalities.”

1. There are the people who are naturally very upset and hurt over the break up, but handle the situation maturely and try to move on (without slandering their ex’s name),

AND THEN…

2. There are the people who obnoxiously stroke their own ego by rudely and aggressively shit-talking their ex (AKA. the ‘bitter breakup betty’s!’)

If you’re a “number two” break up person (no pun-intended), then I strongly suggest you reevaluate your life choices. It’s one thing to be hurt and not agree with how things were handled in the relationship. But it’s another to speak ill words about intimate relations you had with that person (someone you cared about at one time). Hate to break it to you friend, but you are NO where near being perfect, which is probably the reason why your ex didn’t want to stay with you in the first place. So instead of being immature and bitter, try being a big boy/girl and take the break up graciously. Because, at no point in time, is it EVER appropriate to be judging your ex or slandering his/her name to others. Figure it out.

So what do you do if you have a “number two” ex (LOL) on your hands? I understand sometimes it’s hard to hold your composure and usually your initial instinct is to rip their head off. BUT, before you make any sort of rash decisions, take a step back, think about the situation. Do you look like a total crazy? Nope. Do they they look like a total crazy? Yup! 100% without a doubt, they look like a bat-shit crazy person who time-traveled back to high school.

So essentially, you win. Don’t stoop to their level. Be cool. And remember, you’re not with them anymore (Thank God for that!)

melt when you smile, dissolve when you laugh


Where do I even begin. I remember watching this video for the first time back in college – when I was just a simple 18 year old girl, who had a lot of growing up to do. A time where I also had no idea what the concept of ‘love’ really entailed. I think it’s still a learning process for me, as I’m sure it is for everyone else in this world. But now, watching this video back as a 24 year old woman, there’s a lot I’ve come to realize.

First… In a relationship, you make sacrifices and compromises for the one you care about (I’m not just talking about romantic relationships here, but also friend and family relationships). It’s so easy for people to just give up and not solve problems that they are encountered with in life. I’ve lost a fair amount of friends and boyfriends for similar reasons to this. At first it’s devastating and it hurts, a lot. Because after all, aren’t they the ones you thought cared for you the most? It’s a difficult situation to handle. But when this happens, I think it’s just proof (a sign, if you will) that this person didn’t belong in your life to begin with. They say everything happens for a reason. Maybe them choosing to leave your side is evidence that they were never really meant to be by your side in the first place. The ever so beautiful Marilyn Monroe once said, that “sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Second… I strongly believe in fighting for what you love. If you care for something or someone, you’re going to do everything in your power to hang onto that. No ifs, ands or buts. If someone isn’t willing to give and take a little then it just confirms that they aren’t willing to care to their fullest potential for you, which may mean it’s time to move on. This is really scary for people to comprehend sometimes (myself included).

This leads into the third (and most important) thing…don’t lose hope. There’s nothing more fragile and uncertain in life than love. One second, things can be so perfect and the next things fall apart. There are times when I lose hope and wonder if my other half even exists in this crazy place. But, I’ve come to realize how important it is to savour every moment in life. And when you have that person or thing you’ve dreamed of for so long, don’t take it for granted.

At the end of the day, we all want to experience that, “overwhelming, undying, overpowering, unconditional, all-encompassing, heart enriching, mind-expanding, ongoing, never-ending love” for someone. All it takes is a little hope and patience.

Hopefully this video helped you all have a little more faith…

the little things

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Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote by Robert Brault. I’m sure most of you have read it or seen it (perhaps on Pinterest?). I don’t think enough people in this world really appreciate the little things in life. We’re so stuck on the negatives (myself included) that we forget to be grateful for the people, places and things around us. Cause, let’s face it..when it comes down to it. It’s the little things that truly make us the happiest!

So for today…I’m putting aside all of my negativity and taking a few minutes to reflect on ‘the little things’ that really put a smile my face.

– Being kissed on the forehead
– Hearing my favourite song on the way to work
– Giving someone the perfect gift
– When babies laugh
– Receiving unexpected flowers
– When my friends make just as much of an effort to see me as I do them
– A spontaneous girl’s night out
– A smile from a stranger
– When the leaves change colour
– Courtesy wave while driving
– Hand written notes / cards
– Breakfast in bed
– Laughing so hard, you cry (or pee) with your best friend
– Kissing in the rain
– The sand between your toes (hurry up summer!)
– Seeing little kids play

Maybe it’s time we all take a few minutes from our hectic schedules and think of some ways we can show our loved ones how much we really care (whether it be your BFF, family or significant other).

Here’s some helpful tips for those of you who might be struggling with this one….
Guys, screw taking your girlfriend out for a fancy 5 course meal that will cost a fortune and instead, make her breakfast in bed or write her a cute hand written note for when she gets home from work.

Girls, make the effort to see your best friend after he/she has had a really rough day or find the most perfect birthday card to give to them.

Everyone, give your Mum/Dad or Brother/Sister a BIG hug when you see them next.

Cause sometimes…those little things in life occupy the biggest part in our hearts!

xo.