Thinking back to my first backpacking trip in Mexico (2008) brings up so many incredible memories (and emotions). I had the time of my life in Mexico and it’s hard to believe how much I did while I was there. Each time I return to Mexico, I explore more within one of my favourite countries and learn more about myself along the way. It’s hard to believe that a once control freak like me took my trip day by day and planned as I went along. No itinerary, no guide, and no specific direction. It was really nice not having to plan so far in advance and never knowing what would come next. It truly was an adventure. The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of adventure is “an exciting or dangerous experience”. Traveling in unchartered territory was exciting and my trip did have some form of risk involved, considering that I knew little Spanish, traveled alone as a female, and didn’t plan too far in advance. I let the wind move me so to speak. It literally was an adventure. I trusted my gut in every situation and let me intuition guide me in the right direction. To no fail I was always safe. Continue reading
Upon arriving to Cancun, I made my way to the Cancun Island—the hotel strip and central touristy area of Cancun. I was interested in seeing the 25 kilometres of beaches that Cancun offers. After walking 10 kilometres of beaches, I enjoyed an afternoon of swimming and snorkelling. After I had enough of the touristy Cancun, I made my way back to real Cancun where I went to the Cancun market and explored the various plazas in the area for a true cultural experience. Authentic Cancun had more to offer me than the very Americanized touristy Cancun Island strip. I didn’t leave North America to experience an area similar to home; I wanted to emerge myself in a completely new culture and lifestyle. After one night in Mexico, I still did not know where I would be going next, but I knew that I needed to make my way out of Cancun and to some place off the beaten path. I did exactly that. Continue reading
Landing in Mexico for the first time as a solo female backpacker went surprising smooth, with the odd transition here and there. It was much easier than I thought it would be arriving at the airport and finding my way to the hostel (by myself—without speaking much Spanish). Prior to departing Canada, I spent so much time telling everyone how fine it would be with me traveling alone, yet it wasn’t until the airplane was making its descent for Mexico that I realized how scared crapless I was. My heart was racing, my hands were clammy, and I started thinking of the worst things that could or would happen to me. It was in that moment when I realized: this is real. Continue reading
One of my favorite countries is Mexico! As much as I love visiting new places and new countries, there is something special about Mexico that keeps luring me back. I’ve been to Mexico on three different occasions, with each trip lasting 1-8 weeks in length. Each adventure took me to a new region in the country and allowed me to explore more within one of the most beautiful countries I know. It’s been 4 years since I’ve been to Mexico and I am already feeling the pull back to the country. I’m surprised I didn’t land there a fourth time during my 14 months of full time travel. It won’t be long before I go back. It’s a must. It’s already in the works. Just waiting for the perfect moment. Continue reading
With the school year well under way, I know that next summer will lead to another inevitable travel journey abroad. It’s hard to believe that just two months ago, I finished an epic journey traveling around the world and visiting 22 countries. Although I am no longer able to travel full-time at the present moment, my job enables me to reach new destinations or to experience something completely different each summer and during school holidays. Prior to my sabbatical year, I connected my abroad travel with volunteering. Reminiscing about my past “voluntourism” opportunities has me wondering what responsible tourism vacations I’ll do next! I’m already planning my next trips! Here are the highlights of some of my past responsible travel tours. Continue reading
Prior to my 14 months of full-time travels, as a teacher I was only able to travel on school holidays. Each summer I would travel to a new destination, often backpacking my way around the country. Each trip that I took, I tried to find an opportunity to volunteer while in that country. I felt it was the best way to get a feel of that place, by getting in with the locals. In Texas I volunteered at a soup kitchen, in Nicaragua I planted community gardens, in Honduras I built wells, in the Dominican Republic I volunteered at an orphanage, in Guyana I taught teachers, but my volunteer experience in Mexico was by far the most impactful–I volunteered at a dump.
In 2010, I traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and volunteered at the Children Center of Hope Orphanage and the School of Champions through Feed the Children Vallarta (formerly known as Children of the Dump). Most of my time was spent at the School of Champions volunteering at the summer camp. I had an amazing time teaching English and facilitating games and crafts to the many innocent, sweet, and joyful children who live in and around the dump. Approximately 200 families lived at the dump in the past and, through education and support from Feed the Children Vallarta, fewer and fewer families are depending on the dump for their livelihood. Continue reading
I wrote about this when I first started blogging, but I had no followers back then, so I don’t think any of you read about this unique experience. At least once a week, I’d like to share with you one of my previous travel adventures and swimming with whale sharks in Mexico off Isla Mujers (The Island of Women) in 2008 is by far one of my favorites! Would you consider swimming with these colossal creatures?
It’s dawn and the sun is finally blessing me with its presence. After traveling one hour in a small wooden boat off the coast of Isla Mujers, Mexico, where the ocean floor can be found fifty meters deep, I jumped into the dark waters to find the most magical and angelic creatures- whale sharks. It’s hard to believe that I had the opportunity to swim in the Caribbean Sea with wild whale sharks. Below the choppy dark blue surface, I could see the massive graceful creatures, twenty five feet in length and five feet wide; they were a sight to see. Continue reading