12 Travel Quotes That Will Inspire You To Buy That Ticket

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


Is your camera roll filled with travel inspiration? Are you lusting over a European city you’ve never been to before? Have you been daydreaming of adventure?

It’s time to buy that plane ticket!

Sometimes, you just need a little inspiration to remind you that investing in travel (and yourself) is worth it! These 12 travel quotes are meant to inspire just that — so buy that ticket and get out there!

“All you need is a passport”

“Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

“I followed my heart and it led to the airport.”

“It is okay to live a life that others do not understand.”

“You weren’t born to just pay bills and die.”

“There’s no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this.”

“Go where you feel most alive.”

“If you never go, you will never know.”

“Travel is an investment in yourself.”

“Yeah, working is great. But have you tried traveling?”

“NOW is the right time for a new adventure.”

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Travel quotes that will inspire you to buy that plane ticket
Travel quotes that will inspire you to buy that plane ticket



Your Guide To Visiting The Skytram in Jasper National Park

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , , ,


Open from the end of March to the end of October (check the website for exact times, as this can change based on the weather) the Jasper Skytram offers breathtaking views of the town of Jasper, the surrounding park, turquoise glacial lakes, and six mountain ranges (yes, I said SIX!).

Located on Whistlers Mountain, a short 7 km from Jasper, the tram can hold 26 passengers and takes 7 1/2 minutes to travel from the lower station (1,258m above sea level) to the upper station (2,263m above sea level).

If you want to experience amazing rocky mountain views (without having to hike for hours), this is the way to get them.

Inside the tram there are three small seats in the corners, rails on the sides to hold onto, and had hold hanging from the ceiling. There are windows on all sides, offering a 360 degree view.

Planning Your Visit

Location

From the town of Jasper, follow the Icefields Parkway south for 2 km. Then turn right on Whistlers Road (it is clearly marked). Follow the road up the mountain (you will pass a hostel on your way up) until you get to the Skytram parking lot.

Hours of Operation

Hours vary based on the time of year you are visiting. Check the website for updated hours.

Ticket Prices

Adults (16+) $49.30, Youth (6-15) $26.30, Child (Under 6) Free
*Note: You can purchase a half price one-way ticket if you choose to hike to the top (there is a well-used hiking trail) and would like to ride the tram down.

The unloading area at the upper station once everyone has left the tram.

What To Bring

The weather can change quickly on the top of the mountain so you need to make sure you are prepared, especially if you are planning on hiking to the summit. Here’s a list of items you should bring with you and/or wear:

  • water

  • hiking boots or supportive runners if you are planning on trekking

  • sunscreen (even on a cold day you can get a sunburn at that elevation)

  • layers, including a wind or waterproof jacket

In the spring there is often still snow at the top of the mountain. The summit trail takes you to the top of the ridge in the photo, you can snowshoe it when it is still covered in snow. Just on the other side of the ridge are views of Marmot Basin.

When you get to the top, whether you have a clear view or are surrounded by clouds, you are in for an incredible experience.

On a clear day, you can see the shockingly blue Patricia Lake, Pyramid Lake, Lac Beauvert, Lake Annette, and Lake Edith. The Athabasca River winds through the valley, and you’ll also get incredible views of Pyramid Mountain, Old Man Mountain, the Colin Ridge, and the Victoria Cross Range.

This is the view from the tram just after leaving the top. You can see the second tram in the distance and the incredible views!

But being at the summit on a cloudy can be an incredible experience too, as it feels like you are suddenly in an alien landscape!

Jasper Skytram Whistlers Summit

There is a wooden boardwalk at the summit that is kept clear (unless it just snowed like in this photo) and nice and wide so it can be enjoyed by everyone.

There is restaurant and gift shop at the top, a accessible boardwalk near the tram, and a 1.4 km trail that will take you to the summit of Whistlers Mountain. In the spring, the trail is usually still covered in snow and can be hiked in snowshoes that you can rent at the top or in the town of Jasper before you make your way to the tram.

There is nothing better than feeling like you’re on top of the world!

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Guide to visiting the skytram in Jasper National Park
Guide to visiting the skytram in Jasper National Park



Hit The Beach! Your Guide to the Best Beaches in the USA

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


Winters are long and cold, and I find myself dreaming of the beach for most of the year (who am I kidding, ALL of the year).

There are so many incredible tropical locations to explore in the world, but when the warm weather hits, the beaches in the US are well worth a visit.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the total length of the US shoreline (which includes outer coast, offshore islands, sounds, bays, rivers, and creeks), is a staggering 95,471 miles (153,646 km)!

That’s a lot of beach to explore!

What’s interesting about the beaches in the States is that they are so varied. Some do feel like a topical paradise, others are stormy and rocky, while others are deserted and isolated. Because of the sheer size of the country, there is no way you could visit all of the beaches in a single visit, but there are some more famous and popular ones that are definitely worth planning your trip around.

Surf Spots

Is catching a wave your idea of the perfect day at the beach? There are some amazing surf spots in the States. Here are two of the most famous:

Huntington Beach

Orange County, California
Also known as “Surf City,” this beach attracts serious crowds. There are actually four different surf spots in the area that cater to all levels — from the novice to the expert.

According to Gear Patrol, “longboarders should head to the northwest beaches, while shortboards are best in the south, by Huntington Beach Pier.”

Pipeline

North Shore, Oahu
I couldn't talk about surf spots and not mention a beach in Hawaii!

Considered to have the some of the world’s biggest and best waves, this spot is for serious surfers only. The currents are strong and the reef is sharp and cavernous, but that’s the reason for the incredible 30-foot waves and the large, hollow tubes of water that surfers are often photographed on. If you aren’t experienced enough to ride the waves yourself, it’s the perfect spot to take some amazing photos of world-class surfers!

Suntanning + People Watching

Located on opposite sides of the country, these two spots are the best beaches to see and be seen in America.

Miami Beach

Miami, Florida
This famous beach has more than 13 million visitors each year (!) making it the ideal spot to people watch.

The southern portion, or South Beach, is known for being the spot where models, celebrities, and other millionaires hang out (get ready for some celebrity spotting!), and this is where you will find the famous Ocean Drive with its stunning Art Deco architecture.

Venice Beach

Los Angeles, California
More than 16 million people visit the quirky and charter-filled Venice Beach every year to experience the sights and sounds of this one-of-a-kind spot.

Stroll down the boardwalk, purchase some unique souvenirs from a street vendor, get your fortune told, play some basketball, go dancing, relax in the sand, or get a little surfing in — there is so much to do here!  

Sunsets + Romance

Walk barefoot in the sand and catch the sunset at one of these locations that seem made for romance.

Your guide to the best beaches in America

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach, North Carolina
This gorgeous spot in the Brunswick Islands has a mile-long beach that is south facing, which means that you can watch the sun both rise and set over the water.  

Located at one end of the beach is the Kindred Spirits Mailbox, where lovers can pen notes to each other, or leave behind wishes for the future.

Montauk Point State Park

Montauk, New York
A favorite escape for New Yorkers, couples love this destination for its peace and serenity.

Go for a romantic horseback ride, take in the stunning views from the majestic rocky shore, or explore the beautiful 200-year-old lighthouse that sits on the cliffs in the park.

Get Your Party On

It’s 5 o’clock all day at these destinations that are always ready to party!

Your guide to the best beaches in America

Wildwood Beach

Wildwood, New Jersey
The famous Jersey Shore is known for its boardwalk and amusement park with more than 100 rides!

There are a variety of clubs and bars that turn up the heat when the sun goes down, and are where you can enjoy great food, indulge in some cocktails, or spend the night tearing up the dance floor.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, Virginia
The beach’s boardwalk is home to a strip of bars that is perfect for those that are looking to bar hop the night away. There are also some pretty incredible happy hour prices along the strip — some starting as early as 11 am!

LGBTQ-Friendly Destinations

Sun, sand, and all-inclusive fun await you at these LGBTQ-friendly destinations!

Race Point Beach

Provincetown, Massachusetts
Dubbed “P-town,” this free-spirited beach town has been a must-visit destination for LGBTQ travelers for years.

You’ll find a thriving art scene, whale-watching, incredible seafood, and lots of romantic and secluded spots to stroll.

Will Rogers State Beach (aka Ginger Rogers Beach)

Santa Monica, California
Located right off the Pacific Coast Highway, this is the closest (unofficial) gay beach to Los Angeles, so you may have a chance to do some movie star spotting here!

This is also the beach where the movie Creature From The Black Lagoon was filmed, as well as the TV series Baywatch!

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Your guide to the best beaches in America
Your guide to the best beaches in America



12 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Nova Scotia in Canada

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


Though Canada’s east coast has been occupied and built up longer than most of Canada by outsiders who brought farming, building, and industry to the “New World”, there is still something raw, wild, and just beautiful about this part of the country.

Yes, a lot of that beauty is a result of human occupation, but there seems to be a symbiosis between the land and the people who live in it, and a respect for the roaring ocean that is always close by.

These 12 photos show some of my favourite parts of this stunning province, and showcase why it is worth the visit.

The boardwalks that take you from a gravel parking lot on the side of the road, through the sand dunes, and out onto the beach that is stunning if it is shrouded on fog or glowing under the blue sky!

The happy, multi-coloured buildings found everywhere you look — in cities, villages, and on farms!

Sleepy fishing villages with moss covered roofs in quiet coves.

Fishing nets, boats, traps, colourfully painted floats, and the fishermen themselves are full of character.

The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove — it doesn’t matter how touristy it is, this will always be one of my favourite spots!

Short ferry rides that give you views of small villages along the water and shorten your drive time.

Stunning parks are found throughout the province, like this one in Halifax.

Weathered, historic buildings that have held their own through winter storms and bright sunshiny days.

It’s just so ridiculously beautiful — I mean, look at those colors!!

Everywhere you turn, you seem to be at the beach, which is almost more beautiful in the fog than it is in the sunshine.

I could stare at the rough and wild Atlantic Ocean that crashes against the shoreline for days.

The colourful buildings in the North End of Halifax that have so much character!

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Visit Nova Scotia in Canada
Visit Nova Scotia in Canada


What to See, Eat & Experience in Lisbon, Portugal

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


See, eat and experience Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is one of my favourite cities in the world! Sun drenched squares, colourful architecture covered in elaborate tiles, charming locals, amazing coffee, bakeries everywhere, amazing views, and easy-to-navigate public transit — what’s not to love!?

Here’s everything you need to see, eat, and experience in Lisbon on your next trip.

Must-see sights in Lisbon

Praca do Comercio

The former gateway to the city, this main square is bordered by imposing looking lemon coloured buildings on three sides and the riverfront on the fourth. There are cafes and restaurants looking out onto the square and a statue of Dom Jose I in the centre.

The most stunning and eye-catching part of the square is the Arco da Rua Augusta, a massive arch that is the entrance to the pedestrian-only Augusta Street.

Augusta Street (and surrounding streets)

Leading eight blocks from the main square, this street and the surrounding streets, are filled with restaurants, cafes, and shops. They are packed with people, strolling, window shopping, and dining, at all hours and are lovely to wander through at any time of day.

If you are in shopping mode, keep your eye out for Zara. Even though this retailer can be found all over the world, the clothes are actually made in Spain and Portugal so (even with the exchange rate) they are often cheaper than they are in other countries and there are some unique items that you won’t find in any other location.

Elevador de Santa Justa

I know, I know, an “elevator” doesn’t seem like something worth seeing, but this outdoor wrought-iron elevator is definitely a sight to behold.

It was built by the apprentice of Gustave Eiffel (yup, that’s the man who built the Eiffel Tower), and gives amazing views over the central part of the city. A ride will coast you about 5 Euros — make sure to get there early to beat the crowds.

Convento do Carmo & Museu Arqueológico

This convent was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, and now the remains of it’s pillars and arches are exposed to the elements. It is an incredible sight from both far away and from the inside.

There is also an archeological museum attached to the site that is definitely worth wandering through. It costs around 4 Euros to enter.

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Towering above Lisbon, it costs around 10 Euros to visit the castle, but the breathtaking view is well worth the entry fee.

There is a cafe and restaurant, or a you can purchase a glass of prosecco from a kiosk and enjoy the view from the pine-shaded courtyard after exploring the castle ruins. 

Museu Nacional Do Azulejo

In Lisbon, tiles are everywhere, and they are ornate, detailed, and absolutely stunning. The national tile museum is where you learn the history behind tile making and why it continues to be an important tradition in the country.

The museum has a free app that accompanies all of the exhibits to give you extra detail about what you are looking at, and there is a charming courtyard where you can dine after you are finished exploring. Entry is 5 Euros.

Basilica da Estrela

I would suggest wandering into any church you come across (it’s free!), as the architecture and treasures inside these churches are absolutely amazing.

The Basilica da Estrela is a bit outside of the main tourist zone, but is definitely worth the trip. It is covered in pink and black marble and has incredible carved wood, paintings, and tiles throughout. There is a beautiful garden across the street, that reminds me of parks you see in New York, that has two spots to grab a coffee or snack.

Dos Prazeres Cemetery

I love visiting historic cemeteries in Europe! They are always so peaceful and there are eras of amazing architecture to see. This cemetery is located a short walk from the Basilica da Estrela and was originally built to handle the thousands of victims of the cholera epidemic in 1833.  Then in 1839, wealthier families began to build elaborate tombs and many important Portuguese figures have been buried there since. 

The Prazeres Cemetery became the model for most cemeteries in Portugal, and is considered to be “the most cosmopolitan cemetery” still existing in the country.

Belem

A suburb of Lisbon, Belem is a short tram ride away from the city centre and is home to two MUST-SEE sights. It also has a lovely waterfront promenade with some pretty impressive monuments and parks along it, and some fantastic art galleries and museums to explore. Here are the two can’t-miss spots:

1. Belem Tower

The Torre de Belem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a symbol of Lisbon and Portugal (you will see on postcards everywhere). You can pay to enter the tower, or just enjoy the stunning building from the outside, or from a one of the nearby cafes.

2. Mosterio dos Jeronimos

This monastery is absolutely stunning and completely took my breath away. I’ve been to monasteries all over Europe and this one was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The detailed architecture, view of the central garden, and attached church are definitely worth exploring. It costs around 10 Euros to enter.

Where and what to eat in Lisbon

See, eat, and experience Lisbon
See, eat, and experience Lisbon

Time Out Market Lisbon

Do you want to try a variety of different types of Portuguese food in one place? Look no further than the Time Out Market Lisbon! Created by the Time Out team in 2014, this gourmet food market has 24 restaurants, 8 bars, and a dozen shops. You can try food from different stalls and get an amazing sampling of some of the best fare the city has to offer.

Food Trucks & Kiosks

The waterfront is lined with food trucks and kiosks selling everything from cocktails to ice cream to entire meals. There are usually a few cafe tables available outside of each one and is a lovely way to enjoy some local food and watch the world go by.

Portuguese Tarts

You must try Portuguese Tarts in Portugal!! And you will have no trouble finding them, as they are literally sold everywhere. In my experience, the best ones come straight from bakeries (rather than restaurants or cafes). Pasteis de Belem is considered to be the BEST place to try these treats, so plan on stopping in there during your trip to Belem.

Can’t miss Lisbon experiences

Fado

Born in a working-class Lisbon neighbourhood, the melancholic, haunting music of Fado has been around for centuries. A lone voice is paired with a 12-string Portuguese guitar and the raw emotion of the songs, recalling broken hearts and lost youth, will bring you to tears. You can buy tickets to a formal performance, or catch one in a more intimate setting at a restaurant or cafe.

See, eat, and experience Lisbon

Checking out the tile covered buildings

The narrow, winding cobblestone streets in the centre of the city are lined with historic buildings covered in stunning tiles. They are definitely worth exploring, but make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes — some of the streets are incredibly steep!

Tram 28

This yellow tram is usually packed with tourists at all hours, as it travels between all of the major sites for less than 3 Euros. If you are short on time, this is a great way to get around and take in some amazing views. Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings when riding this Tram, however, as it has a become a popular spot for pickpockets.

Wander along the riverfront promenade

Known as Ribeira das Naus in Portuguese, this promenade runs between the Praca do Comercio and Cais do Sodre and gives you amazing views of the river. There are spots to sit and read all along it, kiosks selling coffee, cocktails, and other treats, and excellent people watching!

A few Portugal travel tips 

  • Of all the countries that use the Euro as their currency, Portugal is by far the most affordable.

  • Almost all locals speak English, so don’t be shy about asking questions!

  • Portugal charges for wifi like we charge for cable in North America — there are different levels and packages. While most businesses have wifi, it is usually the basic package so while you will be able to check your email and access some social media, you won’t be able to access things like Google Docs, Dropbox, etc. Keep that in mind if you are planning on working abroad and needing access to certain websites.

  • The streets in the areas where all the main sights are located are mostly uneven cobblestones. These can be a bit of a challenge to walk, so keep that in mind. when choosing your footwear!

  • If you are taking the train anywhere ask for a first class ticket. The first class seats are only a few Euros more than regular class and they are air conditioned, have bigger seats, have free wifi (though this can be spotty depending on where you are traveling to), and are much quieter.

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See, eat and experience Lisbon, Portugal
See, eat and experience Lisbon, Portugal



13 Travel Quotes to Feed Your Wanderlust

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


Travel quotes to feed your wanderlust

I have always loved quotes — those one or two sentences that can shift your perspective, inspire you to say yes to an adventure, or pull you out of a funk. 

These are some of my favorite travel quotes by writers, travellers, fictional characters, and people who just had something inspiring to say. 

“Coming back to where you started is not the same as not leaving.”
— Terry Pratchett

“Never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay your welcome. Keep your mind open and suck in every experience. And if it hurts you know what? It’s probably worth it.”
—Richard from the movie The Beach

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“But I am a born pilgrim. Even when I am feeling really lazy or I’m missing home, I need take only one step to be carried away by the excitement of the journey... I realize that I will never reach my goal by staying in the same place all the time. I can speak to my soul only when the two of us are off exploring deserts or cities or mountains or roads. ”
— from Aleph by Paulo Coelho

“If adventures do not befall a lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”
—Jane Austen

"If at some point you don't ask yourself 'What have I gotten myself into?' then you're not doing it right" 
—Roland Gau

Image Credit: Oliver Sjöström, Instagram: @ollivves, Website: https://ollivves.com/ 

“Travel is rebellion in its purest form. We follow our heart. We free ourselves of labels. We lose control willingly. We trade a role for reality. We love the unfamiliar. We trust strangers. We own only what we can carry. We search for better questions, not answers. We truly graduate. We, sometimes, choose never to come back.”
—Author Unknown

“The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them”
—Amelia E. Barr

“We travel because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something inside our minds has changed, and that changes everything.”
—Jonah Lehrer

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”
—Amelia Earhart

“Twenty years from now you will more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
—Mark Twain

“May you never be too busy to stop and breathe under a palm tree.”
— Unknown




Your Guide to Literary Road Trips Across America [Infographic]

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


Road trips are at the heart of North American culture.

From the pioneers who chased the Gold Rush out west, to college students who take to the open road at the start of summer, cross-country road trips are a rite of passage.

It’s one of the beautiful things about this giant continent — anyone with a car can go anywhere! 

There is nothing like the pull of the open road — a set of wheels provides you with a freeing feeling that can’t be obtained anywhere else. But road trips aren’t just about exploration, they are also symbolic. A car is the visible expression of freedom, a driver's license the ticket and the cross-country trip the destination. It’s no wonder a host of authors have written classic literary novels that document their experiences along the way!

Inspired by well-known works of literature, like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, this infographic follows the narrative arcs of six books to give us a guide to literary road trips across America.

Check out these awesome routes that recreate each authors' experience. Who knows — you may end up writing a literary road trip of your own! 



literary road trips

This infographic guide to literary road trips across America was created by and is being reproduced here courtesy of carrentals.com.  

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literary road trips across america
literary road trips across america