I’ll forever roam

Exchange, Travel, University

Trinidad and all 18 countries in between have been one blur of fun. My adventure here is ending, tomorrow morning in fact. My bags are packed, but I don’t know if I am really ready to go. It feels like just yesterday I was getting off a plane at 4am and finding my way through the streets by myself, in a country I had never been to. However, from my middle of the morning landing in Trinidad the adventures has never stopped. From having no power, no wifi, and no water to all the rain possibly imagined, to constant sun and no season’s changing I wouldn’t have traded my experiences for the world. I saw 19 countries in 9.5 months or 265 days if you wanted to know exactly how long I was gone, made countless friends and of course did things I never would have done in a year at home. My bank account has far less zero’s in it now, but my heart is filled with memories. So to all those who had some impact on this journey thank you, Canada may hold my heart because it gives me snow, but I’ve left my heart in places around the world.

Its a funny thing coming home, nothing changes, everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. you realise what has changed is you. 

My adventure isn’t over, really it has just started, and it doesn’t matter how far I wander, I will always be a Canadian girl, but this girl is ready to take on the world one passport stamp at a time.

 

 

Until the next one

 

In safe travels,

Meg XX

34 Top things to do in Trinidad and Tobago… for your next Trip

Exchange, Travel, University

As I embark on my next 14 days and 20 hours of my time in Trinidad, I take it to reflect on the countless things I have done here and it’s sister island Tobago alone. My adventure sure as heck did not stay between these two sister islands, and even if it had I’m sure I could have filled the total of 265 days that I will have spent outside of Canada with something to do

Food

  1. Doubles
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Trini Doubles

I made sure to have the quickest start at this list just 4 days after arriving in Trinidad and going straight for Doubles with all the Pepper. Honestly I wasn’t educated on what they were, I was with 3 American girls and we saw someone scoop something onto of something else and abruptly and ever so quickly show us how to eat it and then tell us to give it a go, so why not. Later we found out we should have asked for less pepper, in fact we should have asked for slight pepper because we just weren’t used to the kind of seasonings here yet, but if you can take it, go right ahead.

2. Drink Straight from the Coconut

If we’re talking food here, drink straight from the coconut, just do it! Honestly this is the one thing among many that I am going to miss the most.

3. Eat Roti

Try it in a wrap, but my favourite is Buss up Shut. I tend to have it without meat because they leave the chicken bones in the chicken still, but from time to time I’ll have some meat on the side. My favourite has been potato chana, pumpkin and mango… Mom I hope you’ve been looking up some recipes.

4. Bake ‘n’ Shark 

This goes hand in hand with the beaches, but we’ll get there. Dress it how you like, don’t knock it until you try it. Honestly I never liked fish until I moved here, but now it’s kind of a staple.

Beaches

It’ll cost you a couple dollars (TT that is) to use the bathroom facilities for things like maintenance, up keep and well toilet paper, but don’t let that stop you. These beaches are just beautiful.

5. Maracas Beach

On the north side of Trinidad, about an hour from Port of Spain – it’s the home to great waves, tans and delicious food. It’s also where I spent my first weekend before school started and caught my first Trinidad sunset!

6. Manzanilla Bay 

On Trinidad’s east coast, Manzanilla beach connects with Manzanilla Bay. Don’t eat the apples that fall near to this beach though, they are said to be toxic. There isn’t much of a sand beach area, but up a few steps from the water there are tables for you to sit and enjoy your food.

7. Macqueripe Beach

Located in Chaguaramas, where on a clear day you can see Venezuela. Macqueripe Beach is also located at the base of the zip lining property – so like us why not kill two birds with one stone?

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Las Cuevas Beach

8. Las Cuevas Beach

The second most popular beach on the North Coast – and the longest strip of sand, catch yourself having a few beers and liming here to bring out that tan!

9. 100 Steps Beach

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100 Steps Beach

After your small hike down 100 (+) steps and a little rope climb, this beach is slightly secluded. A hidden gem really. Take a walk through the water, careful though the current can be high and under the caves to the other side of the beach if you want to see what might be washed up in the caves.

Waterfalls

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10. Maracas Waterfall

At an altitude of 91.5 meters, adjusting your altitude is exactly what this waterfall will have you doing. This is Trinidad’s highest waterfall. A quick easy 30 minute climb takes you straight to the waterfall, adjust your look from eye level and there you have it with all its beauty. On your way back down, journey off the path a little to the two pools for a quick swim.

 

11. Paria Waterfall

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Paria Waterfall

Three hours one way, this will get your 10,000 steps in and your heart rate pumping. Not as hard as some of the other hikes Trinidad has to offer, but certainly one of the longer ones. Make sure you pack light and be ready to take in all that this one has to offer: the beach, the waterfall and the streams.

 

 

 

 

12. Brasso Seco Waterfall

With 11 waterfalls amongst the trails of Brasso Seco, this gem is unknown to most. Be one to take on them all.

13. Mermaid Pools

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Mermaid Pools

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Avocat Waterfall

14. Avocat Waterfall

Hike straight through the waters, this one is bound to have you enjoying the cool fresh waters that Trinidad has to offer, but why not take it a step further and climb yourself on top of the waterfall into the beautiful pools above a jump back in!

 

 

15. Rio Seco Waterfall

Located on the North Eastern coast of Trinidad, this waterfall has a broad spacious basin,  and reflects a wonderfully beautiful emerald green colour! It translates to Dry River, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here!

IMG_291816. Peechon Cove

Peechon cove is accessible through the bush only, in a small inlet located off the side of the road. The beach down below is located on a small shady, sandy area and it takes about 1- 1.5 hours one way to hike.

Other Things To Do

17. Mt St. Benedict

Located off of St. John’s road in St. Augustine, Mt St Benedict monastery overlooks all of

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Mt St Benedict

Trinidad from each side. Take your chances of hiking up here either early in the morning or later at night to catch a beauty of a sunrise or a sunset. Take it further by climbing all the way to the top or even just the lookout for a better view, but make sure your friends aren’t like mine and wont shake the lookout while you climb up!

18. San Fernando Hill

A natural hill with a panoramic view, located in South, San Fernando Trinidad.

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Lady Chancellor Hill

19. Chancellor Hill

Off the Queen’s Park Savannah, a running path and great views of Port of Spain, get your 10K steps in before the sun has finished rising.

 

 

 

20. Pitch Lake

A large natural deposit of asphalt in Trinidad, located in La Brea in Southwest Trinidad.

The 8th wonder of the world, and the top of my bucket list before I visited. It holds 10 million tonnes of asphalt, and spans 109 acres over an oval shaped car park. That’s right folks in Trinidad they call them car parks not parking lots. Visitors can walk the surface and even bathe in the pitch.

21. Toco Light House

Honestly stunning itself, but what made this even better was the gem hidden around the back where you could walk out on top of the rocks and watch the waves crash. Meditation in its purest form.

IMG_436322. Mud Volcano

Located in Penal, South Trinidad, the hike from the start to the Volcano is 20 minutes. During dry season there is no mud on the trail itself. Following your bathing in the mud. which is great for your skin, follow the trail to Lamoshell Beach to wash off, be careful of the rocks underneath.

 

 

23. Lopinot Heritage Tour

Watch how the cocoa crops are made, taste some wine, and crawl through the caves. Just

remember the bats are homed here and they aren’t afraid of you.

24. Wild Fowl Trust

Take it to another side and visit some birds and wild life of Trinidad. The home to the Scarlet Ibis, the Cayman and some other Trinidad species you’ll want to get to know on your trip to Trinidad.

25. Fort Abercromby

Slightly to the North of Las Cuevas Beach, overlook the remnants of Fort Abercromby. What remains – two giant canons marking the headland and a stairway to the lookout.

26. Green Market, Santa Cruz

Held every weekend, promoting going green and fresh eating. Links farmers and consumers to reduce waste and create a greener Trinidad.

27. The Avenue

For all the party lovers and goers. The pre starts later that you’re probably used to, and the party starts even later. In fact the whole night starts later than I’ve ever been out before and my bed time got pushed back a whole lotta hours, but its fun to experience this environment at least once while you’re in a new country!

28. Carnival

An annual event held the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, but the party really starts the Friday of the week before. The event is well known for colourful costumes, and extravagant celebrations. It’s like nothing you’ve ever been to before from Carnival Monday, to Mas, to Jouvert. With lots of steel pan, paint, music and great times.

Things to Do In Tobago

Climb aboard one of the many Glass bottom boats leaving from Store Bay or Pigeon Point and enjoy the many of stops that it takes in the 3 hour duration. It shouldn’t cost you more than 70 TT, and if it does, they’re trying to catch you in a tourist trap!

.albumtemp29. No Mans Land

The last stop on the glass bottom boat trip. In the far south of the sea, and uninhabited area of land and sandy beach, only accessible by boat. Usually selling a BBQ lunch.

30. Nylon Pools

A natural, meter deep crystal clear swimming pool in the middle of the ocean. Another stop in the glass bottom boat. Take a swim and use the sand to exfoliate your skin, no I’m not kidding you won’t look crazy, it actually works.

31. Store Bay

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Store Bay

5 minutes from the airport, and great local dishes and craft huts on the beach, grab your
towel and shades and get your tan on.

 

 

 

 

32. Pigeon Point

$20 TT to entre, to help keep the facilities up, but beautiful nonetheless, Pigeon Point Heritage Park is a nature reserve on the Southwest coast of Tobago.

 

33. Buccoo Reef

To catch a good look at the coral reef and the fish of the ocean, hop off the glass bottom boat at this stop and do some snorkelling, don’t worry they provide all the necessary gear you need!

34. Sunday School 

A long standing Tobago tradition, no this isn’t Sunday School like in a church on a Sunday morning. It’s a party the runs all night. The night begins early with a live steel pan performance, and then turns over to a DJ for everyone to get their “party on.” With a bar on site, or walk with your own cooler, and a few food vendors around, it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss on your 20 minute flight over to Tobago from Trinidad.

 

If you’re looking to head out to Trinidad and Tobago, hopefully you find something in here, or leave me a comment and let me know where you’ll be! Happy vacationing.

 

In Safe travels

Meg xx

 

(Was) It(’s)Only just a dream….

Exchange, Travel, University

Warsaw, Poland started out rough for me. I arrived late to find out that the hostel I TPQGE0168booked, just did not exist anywhere and when I went back on my Hostelworld.com bookings, the hostel no longer existed either. I tried calling and nobody would pick up. Here I was a 20 something, blonde Canadian girl standing on the streets of Poland feeling defeated. I only had WhatsApp to keep me connected with family, but I managed to call my mom from the streets of Poland, unsure of where to start. I can’t travel alone; but how could I really have these such thoughts. I’d just been to 6 countries before this in Europe itself and at the age of 20 something in my third year of University I flew 7 hours, 4043km from home alone and I managed to find my house with no address, no phone, just me and my 2 suitcases, so why now with a phone and my backpack could I not do it?

At almost 2am, when I felt as if there was nothing to do I stumbled upon Dream Hostel, I went in and asked the receptionist if they had a room for just one night, so I could sleep and regroup myself in the morning. He said yes, and I asked what the chances I could stay until the Monday were, he said of course. I got myself into bed and said I’d figure it all out in the morning. 

.albumtempI passed by reception again on my way out and the girl there told me that public transportation wasn’t going to work as normal because it was a holiday. She gave me all the information I needed to find myself through town and told me to come back if I had any questions.

Screen Shot 2018-04-28 at 2.16.18 PMAfter a day out in the city (it was three kings day – just look that up if you’ve never heard of it) I was exhausted and headed back and up to the 4th floor bar. The girls at the bar were the sweetest, Honka (IG: lichonn) spent a few hours talking with me about my travels and the “hot boy” that she was in dire need to meet. She may be the bartender but we laughed like backpacking friends!

.albumtempMy friend flew in from Iceland the night after me and the hostel was able to accommodate him without a booking as well, in the same room as me for the full duration of the rest of our stay. 

Location:

Warsaw, 55 Krakowskie Przedmieście str.

It was honestly in one of the best locations yet, I’ve travelled to many countries now, and most hostels claim to be 0.3 km from the city centre or relative to that, but in reality they are much further than expected to be. I lucked out at Dream, it was on my main street and only a 3 minute walk to Old/New Town.

Amenities:

Under the bed lockers are a deposit, when I arrived I didn’t have any local currency on me, but I was able to give 10 Euros for the deposit for the key.

All beds have privacy curtains, as well as personal lights and plugs beside the headboard which is a huge plus since you’re sharing a room with 2-8 different people!

If my heart ever takes me back to Poland, it’ll land me here to sleep!

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In safe travels,

 

Meg xx

Is it ‘privilege’ or hard work and determination?

Exchange, Travel, University

I’ve been called out a lot lately on this “white privilege.”

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Trinidad

When I talk to people it’s obvious I’m not from Trinidad, though people, if they were nice will lead with “Where are you from?” and I’ve played it up since I’ve lived here for the last year that I’m from Trinidad, and most will follow it up with “Originally?”.. Okay fine, Canada, but that’s if I’m lucky and they didn’t right off the bat say “oh so you’re american.”IMG_6200

So this white privilege thing comes in once we’ve established where I’m from and exactly why I’m in Trinidad. Many people bring up the aspect of travelling. I’ve done my fair share of that over the last 9.5 months, but in no way did my parents give me a single penny towards my travelling.

First, I pay for my education on my own, and once I finish paying my education the world is my oyster.

This was my year of adventure, following my dreams and finding myself. I funded this myself though. Last summer I worked 6 jobs, deadicately. I think over that time I may have slept only 6 actual hours. I went from job to job to job, some nights working triples without a break.

London Phone BoothSo in the end it’s not about ‘white privilege’ just because of my colour does not make me any more able to travel than the next person or a person of colour. If you want to travel you have to work towards it.

Stop buying the fast food, save the ‘pennies’ or in my case some loonies and toonies. Skip the extravagant lattes and make your coffee at home, or forgo it for a year. Apply for an extra job and create the savings; but just because I’m white and you’re black does not mean it is easier for me to travel. In fact, through travel I see just as much harassment, difficulties and hard times as the next person. I am not given royal treatment at airports, on planes, in hotels or taxis, and the streets are not the safest place for a solo white female, but none of this stops me from .albumtempmaking the travels I have been on safe, fun, enlightening and worth the experiences. None of this to say is that my experiences have been terrible or bad. I’ve only had 3 awful airport encounters, but one person’s travel struggles will always be different from yours; and yes you may share stories along the way and there may be some similar experiences but we can all travel and travel just as much or as little as we want to, but you have to put yourself out there to make it possible for yourself just as I did.

So before you walk around telling a white person who travels that they have some IMG_4076privilege to be able to travel and you can’t because your black or you have less, think about what you could do to be there, travelling yourself.

 

Until the next one,

 

And in safe travels,

Meg xo

I’ve Never Met a Sunset I Didn’t Like

Exchange, Travel, University

31444727_1032610170226980_7658087088616636416_nLet’s talk my favourite colour here for a minute. Something a little different than what I usually do but nonetheless still very relevant. The thing is, if you asked me my favourite colour I wouldn’t tell you pink or blue or green.. In fact I don’t really think I could describe it. Some people say “cotton candy skies” but even that I don’t think gives it all the credit for what it is worth.

I find clamingness in hiking, and the ability to ground myself and rejuvenate, but I have never set out to find the sunset and NEVER met one that I didn’t like. Sure I’ve gone out looking and they haven’t all been capturable to their fullest through the lens of my smartphone, but the really beauty is just letting go of everything else and being  with myself under the sunset itself.31403909_1032610076893656_3954647921554620416_n

Now really though, in the sunsets I have captured, there isn’t much more to say other than wow (sure I may be biased, but I believe some truth stands behind that)

Before I came abroad I’d head out in my truck and find a field and watch the sunset after a day at work, and then I would go home and feel as if I was centred again. Being on the other side of the world, I found that didn’t work as well – maybe there were evident factors missing (my truck, the fields) but something just felt off, so I took in sunsets in a different form. I embraced the colours of the sunsets around the world, the idea that whatever had happened had ended and a new beginning was happening.

Appreciate small moments of happiness for they are so important

But it was a change in mindset on this adventure that really let me enjoy every single one regardless of them not being from the back of my truck and for that I will never completely be at home again watching the sunset on the other side of the world.

My adventures abroad have been nothing but enlightening, adventurous, fun, but there

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Trinidad

have been the downs involved as well. When you are away from home for such a time, things aren’t going to be the same. I’m not nervous for what the future holds, but I’m at a point in my life where, it doesn’t matter where I am taken, I have established something from home to being away that I can adopt wherever I go.

 

 

 

In none of these (on a different day) is the sky the same. It’s incredible that if you adopt this mentality your life can be this way too. I think this has been largely impactful to my exchange and my time overseas that NO two days are going to be the same, and like that NO two sunsets will ever be the same. So with that, I leave you to think how much time do you spend watching netflix, and how many sunsets do you watch? If your answer is more netflix than sunsets I challenge you to change that.

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Argyle, St Vincent

Every sunset is the opportunity to reset

… and with every opportunity to reset you can set out to do a million things. This life is yours to create it to be exactly what you want it to be.

So get out there, have fun and watch more sunsets than netflix.

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Crown Point, Tobago

 

 

 

 

Until the next one…

And in safe travels,

 

 

 

Meg xo