Many Layers – Seeing Past the Red Light District, Amsterdam

Travel is as much a part of my life as family and friends. When I’m on a plane, a train, or a bus heading toward a new location, I’m on an adrenaline high. All I need to do is think about exploring a new country or culture and my heart speeds up. After visiting 33 countries, it’s safe to say that I can’t write about them all and I most certainly can’t write about every experience in every city. So, when I posted about Amsterdam, I wrote about what surprised me the most: The Red Light District. Everything about it was new to me. I don’t normally walk down the street and see prostitutes or strip clubs; smoking anything is not done publicly; and a “coffee” shop sells coffee.  I was in no way uncomfortable with the Dutch tolerance and public display of sexuality; in fact, I might actually think it’s a better system, but it was definitely a notable experience. I left out the twinkling canals, the cleanliness of the city, the bikes that filled the streets, and the Anne Frank Museum that I imagined touring since learning about her in grade ten. Beautiful, open-minded, and filled with something new around every corner, Amsterdam is a delight to visit, even if you skip the Red Light District.  Continue reading

Feels Like Home to Me

Charlotte, NC is currently our home. We’ve only lived here for two weeks, but our goal is to buy a house and make North Carolina our permanent residence, a place where we’ve lived long enough to remember the address, have family for neighbors, and be part of the community. Before moving here, we lived in California. It was a like being on permanent vacation with the perfect weather, unlimited possibilities, and endless adventures, but it was never my home. I never felt that connection to my environment. Growing up in Nova Scotia gave me a true feeling of “home”. It wasn’t only because I was surrounded by family, but because I was surrounded by community; I smiled and waved at the people around me and they smiled and waved back.  I want that friendly-neighbor association for Athena, which is what prompted the move from our permanent vacation in California to our new home in North Carolina. Moving back to the east coast is a reminder of all the great things that surrounded me as a child in Nova Scotia. Beautiful, majestic trees, fishing off of a pier or in a lake, swinging from a tree, vacationing at the beach, and parties with family and friends, thinking about Nova Scotia warms my heart and reminds me that I am home. Continue reading

“Destinations” Make All the Difference – Fanciful Flight Dreams Come True

“I love flying! Ever since I was a small boy, I dreamed of flying. At age 16, I took an introductory pilot lesson at an airport in Cameron Park, California and had the experience of a lifetime. We flew around for an hour and it was amazing! Ever since then, I have resolved to one day pursue my private pilot’s license. I dreamed about being back in the pilot’s seat again.” Jason MacLean

Bucket List Publications doesn’t believe in saying, “Get your head out of the skies.”  No! We believe in putting you back where you belong and Jason MacLean of Oklahoma belongs in the sky. Continue reading

Skydiving was #1 on my Bucket List… and I ACTUALLY DID IT!

Featured Writer: Chanel

I never would have imagined at the start of this year, that I would have won a contest and got a free skydiving adventure in San Diego.

But, life is unplanned and spontaneous 🙂 and that’s the best part about it!

Thanks to Bucket List Publications, I got to jump out of a plane on Easter and cross off the #1 item on My Bucket List. Continue reading

Delivering A Bucket List Reader to the Destination of His Dreams

Making bucket list dreams come true has become one of the most rewarding ventures of my life. Being able to say to someone that I’m actually going to make one of their dreams come true is like delivering Christmas and I’m a modern day Santa Claus! In the past month, Bucket List Publications has been able to send one reader, along with a guest, on a heli skiing and resort adventure with Selkirk Tangiers and Revelstoke Mountain Resort. His power dreams came true at the heli skiing capital of the world, BC, Canada, and all he needed to do was submit his bucket list and drive to the resort; we looked after the rest. Most recently, Len, a faithful reader, was delivered to the destination of his dreams – the back of a chauffeured Rolls-Royce limo with Matebele Limo. On April 6th, Len rode around in style and made one of his bucket list items a reality. Riding in a Rolls is an exclusively royal experience; even Kate Middleton chose to ride to Westminster Abbey on her wedding day in a Rolls-Royce Phantom. It truly is experiencing the lap of luxury, and Len was not disappointed.  Continue reading

Bucket List Publications Made A Heli Skiing Dream Come True

If you could have any one bucket list dream come true, what would it be? What is your deepest desire? Is it skydiving over the Swiss Apls? Bungee jumping in California? Riding a camel to the Pyramids? Sightseeing in Rome? Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef? Brian Bailey of British Columbia, Canada dreamed of heli skiing at one of the best resorts in the world and we at Bucket List Publications, with the support of Selkirk Tangiers and Revelstoke Mountain Resort, made that dream come true. Continue reading

Pole Pole to the Roof of Africa!

Featured Writer: Jenna Brook

When I was at university, I had a book that I wrote little bits about life in as I learnt them. It had quotes, recipes, tickets from events I’d been to and at the back a list of things that I titles “things to do before the end”. Morbid I know, but it was my bucket list. It was constantly changing as I crossed things off and added new things. One of the things on it was climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

After getting dumped and quitting my job, I decided it was time to hot foot it overseas for a few months and picked Africa as my destination. Even in 5 months I saw nothing but a snippet of what Africa had to offer, but I did cross a couple of things off my list with the main one being making it to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Before Kili, I ventured to the top of Mt. Meru (the second highest mountain in Tanzania) and to be honest I found it a far more gruelling trek as you ascended much quicker and I was up and down inside 3 days, whereas Kili took 9 days in total. It was on Meru that I learned the practical use of the words poley poley, which translates into slowly slowly. You can do Kili much faster on different routes, but not wishing to spend my entire trek vomiting and with a pounding headache I opted for the longer option and avoided both of these things, suffering only from a drum being played inside my head and the urge to vomit when sleeping inside at crater camp inside the mountain. Continue reading

Reaffirming My Faith in Humanity, One Pedal at a Time

The Joys of Bike Touring from Vancouver to Mexico
Featured Writer: Patrick Byrne
http://searchingfortheroadlesstravelled.wordpress.com/ 

Some numbers:
2 – Patrick’s flat tire count
23 – Total flat tires suffered by group
1 – trip to the emergency room
15- nights spent at strangers’ homes

Gifts from strangers on the street:
4-pears
2-beers
1-chocolate bar
3 tire tubes
1 bike maintenance book

“So, how far is it from Vancouver to San Francisco?”
“Oh I have no idea.”
“But…you’re going to bike there?”
“Yeah, it’s cool, it’ll be an adventure.”

And thus began nearly every early conversation I had with coworkers and friends about my “plan” to bicycle down the West Coast in September of 2010.  As of August 1, I had no bike, no route, and no gear. But exactly one month later I found myself rolling my precariously laden bike (total weight of bike + gear = 81 lbs) down the residential streets of the Point Grey neighbourhood in Vancouver, unsure, for the first of many times during the trip, where I would sleep that night.  Starting off with 2 friends and 1 relative stranger that day in September, I had no idea that by the middle of December I would find myself with beefy thighs and a mean shorts tan, posing for pictures with my father at the Mexican border having traversed over 3200 km, more than 1000 km further than the original itinerary. Continue reading

Travel is Fatal – Cairo in Review

Travel is Fatal – Cairo in Review
Featured Writer: Marilyn Gardner
http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com

A quote attributed to Mark Twain says, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Perhaps it is also fatal to contentment for it is hard to be content with the normal when you have experienced the extraordinary.

This post then, is an attempt to give glimpses of the extraordinary through pictures and narrative. Thank you for taking the trip along with me to Egypt, an extraordinary place with extraordinary people. Continue reading

3 First (Worst) Teaching Days – #2 – Norway House, Manitoba – Anyone Up for a Hospital Visit?

3 First (Worst) Teaching Days

As a teacher for over 8 years and in various schools around the country, my journey was filled with happiness, laughter, fear, nervousness and countless other emotions, often at the same time. Students have a unique way of touching your heart, driving you completely insane, and making you proud all at once. The first day of the school year can often set the tone for the entire year. It can be a stressful day naturally, but when you add a first day curse things can get out of hand. I’ve experienced the craziest first days during my career; including no heat over night in -50 degrees, going to the hospital with a concussion, and not making it to work because of a freak storm disaster. They are powerful enough to make you question entering the teaching profession altogether. Follow me on my first days of disaster and teaching.

#2 – Norway House, Manitoba – Anyone Up for a Hospital Visit?
I arrived in Norway House, Manitoba just early enough to catch the local flu bug that was going around. The day before school started, I was sick and miserable with few options. It was the the first day of school so I wasn’t exactly going to call in sick. I woke up that morning with watery eyes, a churning stomach, and a pounding head. The thought of a first day curse crossed my mind after my experience in Shefferville, Quebec but I quickly diminished it and went about planning my day. My first strategy was to eat as little as possible before heading to work. I had been throwing up everything that went into my stomach and I wasn’t prepared to vomit on one of my students. My second goal was to dress in warm clothing since I suffered from chills for two days. I assumed it would keep my body temperature at an even rate for the day and I could take off the top layer if I was too hot. Finally, I was going to arrive early, although this wasn’t exactly because of being sick since my idea of being on time is an hour early anyway, to settle in to my classroom and prepare for the day. I wanted to create as little interruption as possible so I made this plan of action, but it turned out to be a long list of disastrous choices.

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