Paris, Je T’aime

Paris is one of the few places on Earth outside of Canada where I kind of feel at home when I visit. I think this is my fifth time in Paris and I’m sensing a pattern that actually makes a lot of sense: the more time you spend somewhere, the more comfortable you become there! Who would’ve guessed?

I’ll always remember Paris (along with Florence) as being the catalyst that propelled me into artistic life. I loved writing, but when I visited Paris for the first time at 18, I had absolutely no interest in the visual arts. That all changed abruptly, with dizzying force. I can’t pinpoint a specific painting or sculpture that changed my life. It was as if being surrounded by so much beauty made me realize for the first time what we, people, are capable of.

It’s not that I’m some kind of expert at, well, anything, but Paris really opened my mind to fearlessly embracing art. You don’t have to understand it or intellectualize it. All I know is what I like and how it makes me feel. I think that’s enough, for me at least. I gained some sort of understanding about creation. The knowledge that creating something, however small or amateurish, is in itself a monumental feat. The thing that makes our souls unique from all other living beings.

Paris, to me, means a lot of things. Romance, not between two people, but the romance of living, being alive. The brightness of being, the depth of self-discovery, an assault on every sense, the endless joy and profound solitude of love.

This is my Paris. A place where beauty, ephemeral in nature, can rest for just a moment, just long enough for us to drink in its essence, feed our spirits and fuel our lives. A place of intense longing. Being kissed by a poignant melody, under dancing moonlight, as you walk hand-in-hand with ghosts of the past through a valley of endless possibility. A prism of tender imagination. A vessel of lovely daydreams.

Paris travel Louvre Museum fashion 1

Paris travel Louvre Museum fashion 2

Paris travel Louvre Museum fashion 3

Paris travel Louvre Museum fashion 1 (1)

Paris travel rue Cremieux fashion

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Travelogue | Hungary & The Balkan Coast

Travelogue | Hungary & The Balkan Coast

I just got back from an amazing trip that took me from Budapest, down through the Balkan coast all the way to Athens. I went with very little knowledge of the area, but sometimes that just makes the discoveries more interesting. For instance, I had no idea how big of an influence Italy had on the architecture and food throughout these coastal countries. Makes total sense now that I think about it. And something I really loved and appreciated was the history literally written all over the buildings. WWII bullet holes were still visible in some of the hundred-year-old stones. Original Roman floors were kept in what are now banks and shoe stores. I really appreciated that although they modernized and renovated, so much of humanity’s history (recent and long passed) was kept intact. I was so impressed with how well things were built in the past, that they have withstood so much weather, time and progress…

Budapest travel colorful street

Budapest travel castle hill district Matthias Church

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Travel Beauty Essentials

Travel Beauty Essentials

I’ll be leaving at the end of August on a three-week trip to Europe and I thought I’d share some of my travel makeup essentials with you in case you want some tips or are just curious. Keep in mind, I am bringing way more makeup than most people probably want to, but I like to have options, even on the road! Continue reading “Travel Beauty Essentials”

Camping & Quebec City

Camping & Quebec City

This past weekend, Kyler and I went camping for the first time since moving to Quebec, almost a decade ago. To be honest, I was never a huge nature/hiking lover, but our honeymoon in New Zealand last year has awoken in me, a newfound appreciation for the great outdoors. I insisted we go camping at Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie, one of Quebec’s provincial parks. And what a beautiful park it was!

Rivière Malbaie Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie

PARC NATIONAL DES HAUTES-GORGESDE-LA-RIVIÈRE-MALBAIE pin-blanc campsite river

The park’s main attraction is a collection of tree-covered mountains and valleys with the Rivière Malbaie running through them. We were able to get a campsite at the Pin-Blanc campgrounds right by the river. It was a lot colder than we thought it would be, but that made my favourite part of camping all the more enjoyable: the campfire!

PARC NATIONAL DES HAUTES-GORGESDE-LA-RIVIÈRE-MALBAIE camping campfire roasting marshmallow Continue reading “Camping & Quebec City”

Travelogue | New Zealand

Last year was a crazy year full of big events and firsts. We got married, we bought our first house, Kyler’s company launched their first game, and we traveled to the southern hemisphere for the first time. I put Kyler in charge of our honeymoon and told him to completely surprise me. I didn’t want to know where we were going until we got to the airport. I had someec guesses beforehand, but there was one really big slip-up that kind of gave it away. We were supposed to fly in to New Zealand the day after the big earthquake hit in November and Kyler was freaking out, calling what I later learned was the camper rental company trying to get information about whether or not our trip was even still feasible.

Turns out, everything was pretty much normal when we arrived. There was just a small section of the South Island, north of Christchurch, that had really bad roads and mudslides and the camper Kyler originally booked for us was stuck there with no way to get back to Christchurch. But the company hooked us up with another one that seemed even nicer so it all worked out. There were no really signs of any earthquake damage or trouble anywhere we went, although some of the tourist sites were closed or had sections that were closed off for precautionary reasons.

New Zealand camper camping travel

New Zealand flowers travel

New Zealand Mount Aspiring National Park river travel

We drove ourselves down and back up through the South Island, took a ferry to Wellington and did a quick tour of the North Island before flying out of Auckland. We were there for about two and a half weeks and if I have any advice, it’s that you should probably set aside a good three weeks or more if you really want to explore all of the country. We didn’t have time to hit all the spots of interests, but still saw a fair amount. And I highly, highly recommend renting a camper to drive yourself around to see everything that’s worth seeing!

New Zealand Mount Cook travel

New Zealand Fox Glacier hike travel 2

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Travelogue | India

India Taj Mahal travel

I went to India a few years ago and it was the first and only place (so far) where I had experienced a real culture shock while travelling. There were a number of factors, not least of which was the fact that Air India lost my bag and I was without my stuff for about a week. When they finally located my bag, they wanted to just leave it at the New Delhi airport for me to pick up even though I was long gone from New Delhi and traveling around the country… Do not fly Air India. But I digress.

 India travel cityscape

I feel that most Westerners experience a ton of culture shock when they visit India because of the extreme poverty they have likely never witnessed before. That wasn’t what shocked me. I’ve been to China several times and still have family there, living in what many in the west probably consider poverty. When I visited my father’s mother for the first time since I was born, I was about 10 and have very vivid memories of the stone and mud house they lived in. Their door used a plank of wood as the lock. There was no shower. The most high-tech thing they owned was a rice cooker. People bathed in the streets. In short, the poverty I saw in India is not what shocked me.

 India rundown building travel

It was a completely different way of living, a different mentality. The unspoken social rules and automatic expectations I was so used to were completely different there. It’s not just that I didn’t speak the language and the food was different or they used different gadgets. I felt like Alice in Wonderland.

 India tuk tuk ride street travel

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