Temples & Tragedy: Angkor & Phnom Penh

I was on my way from Saigon to see the famed temples of Angkor. It was a long, hot, bumpy ride to Phnom Penh. There were miles of rice paddies and many, many water buffalo wading through the watery ditches and fields. Once we crossed the border into Cambodia, almost everyone we passed waved at our van – both […]

Camels & Dunes: Wadi Rum Desert

The back of a 4×4 pickup is a bumpy, windy and downright fun way to see the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan. Wind in my hair, holding my scarf tight so it doesn’t fly away, the afternoon sun pulsing down, and Arabic pop music wafting out from the driver’s open window. Golden red rock formations, […]

Classical Ruins in Turkey

Turkey is a paradise for lovers of Greco-Roman history. In fact, it’s been said that there are more Greek and Roman ruins in Turkey than there are in Greece or Italy. We managed to see quite a few during our travels around Western and Central Turkey, and each one offered something unique. Ephesus Even though […]

Emotional Immersion in Varanasi

We walked towards the river while it was still dark, making do with only moonlight and the dim beams of lanterns swinging from vendors’ carts to illuminate patches of the rutted roads here and there. Varanasi was surprisingly quiet at that early hour, with just the odd cowbell clanging, the muted buzz of a distant […]

Dodgy Driving Along the Danube

Accepting the car rental company’s offer of an “upgrade” to a full-sized wagon-style vehicle seemed like a good idea when we arrived in Frankfurt. It didn’t cross our minds that bigger cars are always the last to go at European rental agencies for a reason. Our Opel Vectra – a behemoth of a vehicle by […]

Beauty & Bullet Holes in Croatia

The scenery in Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National park was breathtaking. It was what I imagine the Garden of Eden must have been like, and it was one of the most beautiful sites I saw in Croatia. There were hundreds of waterfalls and cascades of all different sizes connecting a network of 16 beautiful turquoise lakes. The colour of the […]

Rocky Mountain Ice: Winter Hike in Grotto Canyon

When Tammy suggested the Grotto Canyon Ice Walk for this mid-February Sunday, I was a bit nervous. After all, I don’t own ice cleats (those metal spiky things you put on your boots), and I certainly don’t have any ice climbing experience. But now that I’ve done it, I can’t believe I’ve lived in Calgary […]

Calgary Culture: Film Festivals for All

While attending a film festival screening last night, I got to thinking that Calgary really has a lot to offer film buffs. Almost any month of the year, there’s a cinematic festival lighting up big screens somewhere in the city. Reel Fun Film Festival (February) I discovered this non-profit event through my colleague Mike, who serves on the […]

Best Travel Booking Sites for Flights & Accommodations

I admit it – I’m a planning nerd. I enjoy travel research almost as much as the travel itself. Let me be clear though – planning does not equal scheduling. I leave plenty of room for spontaneity in my trips, but I research and plan so that I can maximize my time and enjoyment, minimize […]

Are Guided Tours Always Completely Lame?

There was a time when I refused to think about joining an organized tour. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck on a big bus with a huge group of possibly annoying strangers, forced to stick to someone else’s idea of the best itinerary. But I’ve learned that there are as many tour […]

Perfect Port Days on a Baltic Cruise

When I booked a cruise with a friend around the Baltic Sea in order to see a few cities in Scandinavia, I felt a bit sheepish. After all, I had done my share of poo-poing the idea of cruising in the past. I felt the need to explain to my friends that cruising isn’t always […]

Culture & Colour in Rural Rajasthan

We arrived in Jojawar in rural Rajasthan on the day of a local festival in honour of Lord Shiva’s birthday. The main street of the village had been painted red, symbolizing joy.  Women were dressed in their brightest saris, their colours vibrant against the backdrop of dusty streets. Trucks and buses crammed with people who […]

Grown-Up San Diego

Almost everyone knows about the kid and family-friendly side of San Diego, but what if you end up there for a conference? Is it worth adding a business trip bonus day to your itinerary? On a recent trip, I had about a day and a half of free time. I found enough grown-up San Diego […]

Cuba: Cocktails, Culture & Communism

Cuba is famous for its rum cocktails, and rightly so. It is, after all, the birthplace of Bacardi. There’s the Cuba Libre – simply rum, coke and lime – one of which I enjoyed in the hotel bar just a few short hours after touching down in Havana. Next we have the mojito, and it didn’t […]

24 Hours in Singapore on a Business Trip Bonus Day

If you travel for business, adding a day or more of sightseeing onto a work trip is a brilliant way to fit more exploration into your work year – I call these “business trip bonus days”. Whether you can get away with a single day, a weekend, or stringing a few more days together, take […]

Sensory Guatemala: Colour, Sound & Scent

Guatemala is such a treat for the senses. Pastel colonial buildings line the streets in Flores and Antigua. Vibrant textiles, brightly patterned traditional clothing and decorated buses present a swirl of colour. Markets and jungles are a cacophony of sounds and smells, and festivals bring even more sensory delights to the streets. Ancient civilization meets jungle

Peru: The Inca Trail Hiking Experience

Trekking the Inca Trail was both physically and mentally challenging, and the 4-day hiking experience definitely involved some roughing it. Was it worth the effort? Here’s how it all went down …and up … and down … and up. Day 1: uphill all the way Our group of 15 hikers knew we were in for about […]

Business Trip Bonus Days

If you’re trying to see the world while working full time (like I am), it’s important to leverage every possible opportunity for satisfying your wanderlust. Not everyone travels for business, but if you do, I highly recommend working in some Business Trip Bonus Days whenever you can. As long as your company policy allows it, […]

24, 48 or 72 Hours in Copenhagen

Copenhagen offers a compelling blend of old world fairy-tale charm and modern, cutting-edge culture and design. The city is often a jumping-off point for other destinations in Scandinavia or around the Baltic Sea. Whether you’re on a Baltic cruise that starts, stops, or ends in the city, or visiting Copenhagen as part of a longer […]

Planning a Trip to Northern India

India is amazing and intense. It will overwhelm every one of your senses and change your perspectives. I think everyone should go at least once, but as a travel destination, it can be intimidating. Unless you’re a seasoned independent traveler with other developing countries under your belt, a local guide or organized tour is worth considering […]