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You Should Travel

Posted 11/7/2020

Puerto Morelos, Mexico
May 2018Puerto Morelos, Mexico May 2018Prior to 2008, our family had never been on a vacation. At least not one that I thought of as a real vacation: one that involved getting on a plane and flying to another country. When T and I were married, our honeymoon was a drive over the mountains into British Columbia, staying at a couple of B&B’s, and visiting some tourist sites in the Selkirk Mountain Region.

Just J on Honeymoon
May 1995Just J on Honeymoon May 1995We had an amazing time and we never gave any thought to seeing the rest of the world. After the kids were born, any of the limited spare time we had was spent camping or visiting the kids’ grandparents, who lived about a day’s drive away. We were also extremely limited in any spare cash since during that time T was a ranch hand and I was a stay-home mom. We never concerned ourselves with vacations because we did not know what we were missing. It was not until we thought the Girl and the Boy were old enough to build the memories, that we decided to scrounge enough money to take the kids to Disneyland. It was January of 2008 and a brand-new world opened for us!

The Girl and the Boy
Disneyland January 2008The Girl and the Boy Disneyland January 2008I will never forget the amazement I felt when I stepped out from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California into the 20C air in mid-January. I had heard there were parts of the world that did not suffer the deep freeze of Alberta winters, but I am not sure I ever genuinely believed it. I was quite literally in shock. We spent ten days on holiday and saw all the things one is supposed to see on a California vacation: Disneyland, California Adventure Park, Universal Studios, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and three beaches. We saw palm trees and unusual plants and flowers. We played in the salty ocean. We shopped at giant outlet malls. We experienced so many new things. It was a fantastic trip, and we remember it fondly. It was also a trip that planted a seed. That seed was to grow into a huge desire, a need almost, to see what other wonders the world held. Neither T or I had travelled as children, and we decided that we wanted our kids to experience other cultures besides their own. Its now 2020, and we are just scratching the surface on seeing more of this big blue marble. We can hardly wait for each new adventure!

Walking through a cypress dome in the Everglades November 2012Walking through a cypress dome in the Everglades November 2012

In the twelve years since that first vacation, we have visited Florida, Las Vegas, Texas, Mexico, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Panama. Many of these places we have visited multiple times. Sometimes it is just T and I, sometimes it is also the Girl and the Boy and a couple of their friends. We have stayed at all-inclusive resorts, time-share properties, hotels, private Airbnb’s, and have twice hiked through the jungle to a little hut in the jungle of Costa Rica to spend our vacation there.

Snorkeling in Florida Bay
January 2015Snorkeling in Florida Bay January 2015We have travelled by international jet plane, local prop plane, railway, cruise ship, local fishing boat, rural bus, city bus, subway, taxi, Uber, rented bike, and walking. We have zip lined over agave fields, rode horses on the beach, rappelled down waterfalls, swam in hidden freshwater lagoons, kayaked in mangroves, snorkeled in many oceans, and walked the Everglades at night. We have seen wild coati, crocodiles, peccaries, manatees, sloths, dolphins, iguanas, and monkeys, as well as innumerable birds and fish. We have eaten delicious fare from beach huts and tiny hidden sodas including food we had never heard of. We have laughed with locals as we stumbled through language and cultural barriers. We have become addicted to learning about how others live and what is out there in the rest of the world.

Rappelling on the Rio Blanco Dominican Republic March 2016Rappelling on the Rio Blanco Dominican Republic March 2016

I often think about how our lives would be different had we not taken the kids to Disneyland. There are no other families within our circle of family or friends who travel like we do. I feel blessed to be able to share these experiences with our kids. We have learned how to find cheap flights, how to shop around for inexpensive accommodation, and how to save money on food. Because we stay away from the popular vacation locations, we can afford to enjoy more experiences, and we have so many bucket list locations that we are waiting to explore including Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean!

Lunch at Playa Casa Blanca, Las Terrenas, DR December 2018Lunch at Playa Casa Blanca, Las Terrenas, DR December 2018I know that we often see what tourists are meant to see, but we try hard to move beyond the tourist zones and stay in more local areas. We vacation in towns not advertised at travel agencies. We use public transit. We buy groceries at little locally run bodegas and eat in restaurants away from the main roads. We try to experience the local culture as much as possible.

Crossing the Gulfo Dolce, Costa Rica January 2020Crossing the Gulfo Dolce, Costa Rica January 2020

Our travels are on hold at the moment as the world struggles with Covid-19. We are spending this time researching our next adventure and are eagerly anticipating booking flights and accommodation. If you are not currently a traveler, I encourage you to investigate it. I encourage you to research a place you may have had an interest in. Read stories about the local people and the visitors. Watch movies and videos about the area. Cook a few of the traditional dishes. Learn a few phrases in the local language. Then, make the time and book a vacation. I am quietly encouraging you from this written blog when I really want to shout it from the rooftops! You should get out there and see more of this wonderful planet and the fantastic people who inhabit it! You should fly away and experience a new world! You really should!


Trust me, it will be worth it!

Hut in Zamia Wildlife Refuge Costa Rica January 2019Hut in Zamia Wildlife Refuge Costa Rica January 2019


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