It all started with a Skype call with my editor at Bootsnall (a popular indie travel website that I’ve been using since 2009), a conversation about solo travel in Southeast Asia, and adventure. A conversation where I ended up suggesting an article on travelling solo, and before I realized what was happening the word ‘Myanmar’ had trickled off my tongue. I didn’t even thinking about getting my Myanmar visa.
When you’re a bigger person, in a much smaller world, things are going to be different, and sometimes they may even be hard, but that doesn’t mean you need to fear them or avoid them. Body image in Bangkok and most of Southeast Asia is vastly different than what we face at home.
The sun was beating down on me, it was mid-afternoon, and I had been walking through the ruins in Ayutthaya for all of ten minutes, and desperate for some shade. Of course, I didn’t want to sound like a wimpy tourist in front of my Thai friends, so I plodded along, praying for a wee break.
Thirty-six hours is rarely enough time in a city, but sometimes one need a mini getaway, or a stopover to break-up in an insane flying schedule. A gateway city to many destinations in Asia, Hong Kong is a relatively easy destination: English is prevalent throughout the city, the transit system is vast and easy to use, and there is a large expat community — at times making it feel like you’re in a western country.
This is it, I’ve hugged my Mom, grabbed my backpack and day bag, and boarded a bus to Union Station in Toronto. Tonight I’ll be laying on a single bed with a white fluffy duvet, the sound of the train clicking along the tracks and the gentle sway of the carriage lulling me to sleep. The start of my four-day journey to Vancouver. But before I leave, before I start my journey, I need to do one thing. I need to change my desktop picture from one of Apple’s colourful landscape shots to a photo of my Dad. The same photo hangs in my Mom’s house. It’s the photo that rested atop his casket at his funeral. It’s the last photo I took of him that shows the man he was before his Alzheimer’s disease set-in and changed his personality.
It’s known as the city of love, but that is not the only reason to visit Paris. And frankly, visiting Paris, solo, can be a lot of fun. Seriously, I have never travelled to Paris with another person, and I have never left the city thinking “Ugh, that sucked”.
Where do YOU go when you’re in Paris? Here’s my Paris itinerary.
Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, the Russians invaded 16 days later, thus beginning the European theatre of World War II. By October 6th the Germans and Russians occupied all of Poland. The war lasted for five years and eight months in Europe, and during that time Poland was home to some of the most notorious prison camps known to man; Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, Stutthof. Overall there were roughly 250 camps in occupied Poland, both concentration and extermination. Over 3 million people were killed in those camps.
I always debate about whether or not I should write about being an overweight traveller. It’s not that I think people will leave nasty body shaming comments, which I’m sure a few would, it’s more about the fact that I hate talking about it.
And that is the problem, nobody talks about it.
It’s been almost two months since my Dad passed away in a hospital room in Fergus, Ontario. I remember getting the call to drive home early from Québec City, which resulted in the longest nine hours of my life, where I pleaded for him to wait for me to get to his bedside. Two days later I was holding his hand, stroking his hair, and telling him it was time for him to go. I then watched him take his last breath.
Born on the dining room table at the farmhouse in Bracebridge, Ontario, Dad was the youngest of twelve children (nine boys and three girls). Premature at birth, he was taken to the hospital inside the doctor’s little black bag. In those first weeks Dad’s sisters would take turns holding him at night, resting their feet on the wood stove; heating their bodies, which would, in turn, heat his. When it was time for him to eat, they fed him with an eyedropper, and as Dad loved to say, “…now they use a funnel!”