The British Columbia Hot Springs Tour

Halcyon Hot Springs, BC
Halcyon Hot Springs, BC

Wondering what to do on your summer holidays?  Here’s a fab trip idea for locals or tourists heading out from Calgary, guaranteed to be memorable! One of our most relaxing and fulfilling trips was a hot springs tour that took us from Calgary and into the heart of the BC Rockies. Our itinerary was focused on visiting the pools of Halcyon, Nakusp and Ainsworth that we hoped would provide the rest and relaxation we were craving but we got so much more.  The natural beauty of the BC Rockies, the serenity, solitude and escape from the usual crowds of summer will fill your soul and leave you feeling more fulfilled than any other vacation.Continue Reading

How much does a year of travel in Europe cost?

Packed and at the airport
Packed and at the airport

I’m ready to answer the ‘Million Dollar’ question that everyone had been asking us:-travel costs ‘How much does a year of travel cost?’ and I’m happy to say its not a million dollars! I kept a meticulous spreadsheet that tracked every penny of our spending over our year abroad. I’ll share it with you but first I have to tell you about how our plan came to fruition. I think its an inspirational story about the universe providing! If you only want the numbers and want to skip my long winded, thought provoking story then scroll down to the bottom.

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How to pack for all four seasons and a year of travel

Trip Planning
Trip Planning

I’ve had lots of emails through the blog asking what we packed for our year of travel.  I did a lot of pre-thinking and planning for it and glad to say we did fantastically well!  After live testing I can offer proven advice and some packing hacks that made our travels go brilliantly smooth. Below is a video while we were in Wales that will walk you through what to pack.

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Avola, Ragusa and Siracusa, Sicily- visiting the baroque beauties

I’ve left finishing up my travel stories in Sicily for far to long, thought I was almost done but realizing I still have a bit more to finish off. My last post ended in Agrigento where we visited from our hill top villa in Castrofillippo but before we got there I missed writing about the amazing cities we visited from our base in Avola; Ragusa, Modica and Siracusa.

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Agrigento, Sicily and The Valley of the Temples

As I’m sitting by the window watching the snow fall outside during this endless winter, my mind starts wandering to warmer places. Homesick for the warmth of Sicily I pull out my pictures of Agrigento and our tour of the Valley of the Temples deciding I have to render my video and do a post as I finish up the last of my Sicilian blog pieces.

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Pretty Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

On the Boardwalk at Puerto Vallarta
On the Boardwalk at Puerto Vallarta

Last minute plans are the best! Surprises are even better!  I finished up a job on Friday and Janet surprised me with a plan to join a few of my buddies that were leaving on Monday for Puerto Vallarta. My daughter arranged a cheap ticket for me (the perks of her being in the airline industry) and I found out about it all while on a weekend trip with our friends in Banff.  Although feeling more than a little spoiled I thought it would be a nice distraction and I could continue searching for job opportunities on line beside the pool. We got home from Banff, I had Sunday night to pack and Monday morning I was off to Mexico. I was lucky enough to get the very last seat flying standby so it was meant to be.

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Scala dei Turchi, Sicily

Its been months since I’ve posted anything.  Work is so busy these days, I barely have time to look up as I’m focused on building clientèle for a new sales position.  But working so hard in the dead of winter and trying to stay warm in temperatures that had dropped below -30’C last week has me pining for the beaches of Sicily.

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Hong Kong-shopping at Jardine’s Market and touring Victoria Bay on the famed Star Ferry

Victoria Bay Harbor
Victoria Bay Harbor

Yesterday I took myself out on a perfect date in Hong Kong. After a nice quiet breakfast at Starbucks, I got on the MTR and made my way to the Causeway Bay train station, arriving and exiting the station at Exit F. My plan was to wonder and do some souvenir shopping at the popular Jardine’s Market and  walk around in Hong Kong’s Times Square shopping mall. 

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Spectacular Sicily- our month long tour circling the island.

The harbor in Milazzo, Sicily
The harbor in Milazzo, Sicily

We spent an incredible month, actually 5 weeks slow traveling around the entire island of Sicily.  We had a lot of time so it was a real luxury to be able to pace ourselves, to dig deep into the Sicilian culture, to see the whole island, to live like a local and truly experience a lot of what it had to offer.  

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Palermo-starting our Sicilian Adventure

Piazza Grande, Palmanova, Italy
Piazza Grande, Palmanova, Italy

Our Slovenian adventure had come to an end and now we were excited to start the last leg of our 10-month odyssey in the south of Italy on the island of Sicily. At the crack of dawn, we dropped dad off at the airport in Ljubljana for his journey home and continued towards Venice, Italy where we would return our rental car and board a 2 ½ Hr flight for Palermo, Sicily. 

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Slovenia Part 4- Celje, Logarska Dolina and Ljubljana

Logarska Dolina, Slovenia
Logarska Dolina, Slovenia

After returning from our adventure in Tolmin we took a day to relax and visit with family.  Our hosts where the most incredibly hospitable folks and took such good care of us, typical of the Slovenian people we met throughout.  Our last few days were spent visiting a few cities; Celje and Ljubljana between a day at the most beautiful national park, Logarska Dolina. (Don’t miss the video of our visit to Ljubljana’s Old Town at the bottom of this post)

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Slovenia Part 3-Visiting the Julien Alps-Tolmin,Slovenia to Tarviso Italy to Klagenfurt, Austria

Along the Soca River, Tolmin, Slovenia
Along the Soca River, Tolmin, Slovenia

We returned to Smeteoz after dropping the kids off at the airport in Venice, Italy and spent another 9 days with dad in Slovenia. Our next tour began with a journey to the beautiful town of Tolmin, Slovenia nestled in the Soca Valley at the confluence of the emerald blue waters from the Soca and Tolminka rivers. Tolmin is situated on the southern tip of the Julian Alps and very close to the Italian border, an idyllic Slovenian mountain town.

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Scenic Slovenia-Part 2

The famdam in Lake Bled
The famdam in Lake Bled

And so our Slovenian journey continued with the kids; After an amazing day visiting the Postojona Caves and Predjama Castle we returned to Ljubljana in the evening to pickup dad at the Airport.  He arrived on time and was excited to see us all, looking forward to showing us the country where he was born.  We returned to our apartment and made plans for the next week over a bottle or two of Slovenian wine and got caught up on what was happening back home.

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Scenic Slovenia- part 1


Piran, Slovenia
Piran, Slovenia

Slovenia is but a dream now, we just arrived home and my plan to keep blogging in the moment didn’t work out as we had no Internet and were on the move everyday.  It was actually a blessing in disquise as it allowed me to be more in the moment and savor everyday than looking through the lens of a blogger.  The country is incredible, hospitality to the max, clean, green and beautiful and if you get a chance you should go.  Here is how our time in Slovenia unfolded;

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10 months abroad; what have we done, where have we been!

Leaving Palermo and making our way home
Leaving Palermo and making our way home

Leaving Palermo this morning we arrived in Gatwick, UK and are sitting in a pub called the Parson’s Pig reminiscing about our incredible 10 months abroad spanning over all four seasons.  By plane, train, automobile and ferries we managed to slow travel through 10 countries, visiting over 183 cities, towns and villages while staying in 51 different accommodations (45 plus 6 housesits). Lord knows how many miles we logged but here are the countries we visited (mostly in order):

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