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November 27, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

After attending 7 travel conferences over the past 10 years, the International Indigenous Travel Conference is one to remember.  All of the amazing people met, and amount of knowledge gained.  And mainly due to the cultural & emotional experiences that touched each of us. It began with a very moving …

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November 12, 2019 | Lois Farley

Over my many years of travelling, both for work and on vacation, there have been lots of Best Days Ever. But, this is definitely one of the best! My two daughters and I recently took a trip to Ireland. We started out in Dublin, and had a couple of days …

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November 8, 2019 | John Lelis

  Travel With a Purpose is the new trend in travel that is changing the industry and bringing people together. Besides a holiday or a well-deserved rest, when was the last time you traveled and asked yourself why? Why that destination, why that route, why those activities on the road? Traveling …

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Karen’s Best Days Ever!

December 09, 2019 | Karen Pearson

My partner Chris had told me so much about Salar de Uyuni. The photos from his previous trips were stunning. I was so excited to see the salt flats that I didn’t even mind waking up around 4:00am. The drive from our accommodations to Incahuasi Island took about an hour. In the dark, the salt seemed so much like snow on a gravel road that I felt like I could have still been on the prairies. That feeling was reinforced when the sun came up and everything I could see for miles was white and flat. It was like being on Lake Winnipeg in January, and I felt completely at home. Even some areas where the salt was shallow looked like when the lake starts to melt in the spring and there is a layer of water and slushy snow on top of the ice. The only indication that it was not snow was in one area where the water was bubbling up like a geyser, and around it the salt looked like sand. Read More >

Tianna’s Best Days Ever!

December 04, 2019 | Tianna Evans

My best day ever started at sunrise in the Negev Desert at the Khan Be’erotayim Eco-lodge. After a quick and delicious traditional Bedouin breakfast it was time to begin my first camel riding adventure. The Khan is home to a herd of beautiful camels and after introductions and a safety briefing it was time to climb aboard.

photo credit: Israel Ministry of Tourism & Eyal Harel

Camels are very tall and I am not, so getting onto my camel was a challenge of its own. After a helpful hand and a gentle push up, I successfully made it onto the camel! It was time for some pictures and the start of the journey. If you have ever seen a camel, you will know how they fold in on themselves when they sit and the steep angle and jolting motion as they stand was startling. It was also at this moment that I took notice of how high up I was sitting and how far down the ground was and while it was a little unsettling the views of the desert from this perspective made it all worth it.

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International Indigenous Travel Conference – One to Remember!

November 27, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

After attending 7 travel conferences over the past 10 years, the International Indigenous Travel Conference is one to remember.  All of the amazing people met, and amount of knowledge gained.  And mainly due to the cultural & emotional experiences that touched each of us.

It began with a very moving talk from the first Inuk to every play in the National Hockey League; Jordin Tootoo from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.  In 2011 Jordin established the Team Tootoo Fund, a non profit organization addressing suicide awareness and prevention.  Jordin shared his personal struggles with us, and spoke about the loss of his older brother Terence, who died at the age of 22.

I am looking forward to reading Jordin’s book; ‘All the Way, My Life on the Ice.’  Jordin continues to support the fund, and speak throughout Canada at different events expressing that there is help, and we need to accept it.

 

 

 

We also experienced a very powerful presentation from the beautiful Sarain Fox, dancer, choreographer, activist and television host.  Her talk helped open our eyes to just how proud we should be to share the amazing Indigenous culture and travel experiences that Canada has to offer.  We are very fortunate to have these experiences offered through every province and territory of this great country.

And when the audience seemed exhausted from information over-load, who better to get us all up on our feet, than ‘Double the Trouble.’  Identical 15-year old twin fiddlers along with their father on guitar, from Winnipeg, MB who delivered a fantastic musical performance.

Indigenous Tourism Canada made a very special announcement during the conference.  They have signed a contract and will now be using an Indigenous owned travel agency, Indigeno Travel,  for all of their leisure and corporate travel arrangements.  We are very excited to begin this new venture with them.

The message relayed during the 3-day conference was return to your land and take care of it for the generations to come.  This is a very strong message with everything going on in our world, and what we can do to protect it.

I am also very happy to report that the 2020 International Indigenous Travel Conference will be held in my home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Hope to see you there!

Lois’ Best Days Ever!

November 12, 2019 | Lois Farley

Over my many years of travelling, both for work and on vacation, there have been lots of Best Days Ever. But, this is definitely one of the best!

My two daughters and I recently took a trip to Ireland. We started out in Dublin, and had a couple of days in that fun city, where’s there’s so much to see and do. Then, we picked up a rental car and off we went, road warriors! The self-drive trip itself was great, although I admit to being a bit too ambitious in my planning. Trying to fit in everything that all three of us wanted to see was just not possible. We did manage to see a lot of awesome places, though (and even some we didn’t intend to, thanks Google maps!) But, I always say, when you’re on holiday you never get lost, you just take scenic detours. And sometimes those detours work out great. Note to self, just because a road in Ireland looks straight on the map (there are one or two, but that’s probably it) does not mean it’s flat (as our Prairie brains automatically equated it to be). There was one in particular that was a real roller coaster!

The day that stands out in my mind is the day we spent at the Giant’s Causeway with my friend Mark Rodgers, a fabulous local guide and Causeway native. His stories and good humour made the ground speak to us and the stones sing, all the while with the wind whistling around us and waves crashing onto the rocky shore. Magic!

After the Giant’s Causeway we drove along the Causeway Coastal Road and then headed inland through the Glens of Antrim to the Ballymena area. Our quest was to find a small farm nestled at the foot of Mt. Slemish, and find it we did!

And that’s where my heart and my soul really soared. Because, on this land, my Grandma Hannah Muirhead was born and raised, along with her many, many, many brothers and sisters, my great aunts and uncles, and their parents. To think that my Grandma’s feet walked these pathways and her hands helped build the stone fences surrounding the fields, was a palatable link to my past.

 

 

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Ian’s Best Days Ever!

November 12, 2019 | Ian Kalinowsky

Iceland Scuba Diving – one of my Best Days Ever!

I am a Scuba Diver. I have dived hundreds of times in Mexico, Roatan, Belize, Cuba, Thailand and Canada. But, my single best dive was at the Silfra Dive site in Iceland with my eldest son David.

  Silfra is a fissure between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates in Thingvellir National Park. It was formed by earthquakes in 1789 when the tectonic plates tore the earth apart and created this fissure. It is a “living” dive site in that the continents drift apart at a rate of 2cm per year. Silfra is the only place in the world where you can dive (or snorkel) directly in a crack between two continents.

The Silfra fissure cut into the underground spring and filled with glacial melt-water from the nearby Langjökull glacier. The water is filtered through porous underground lava for 30-100 years before reaching the spring that feeds into Silfra. The water is therefore extremely pure by the time it reaches the north end of Thingvellir lake and it allows for underwater visibility of over 100 meters in Silfra. For reference good visibility in the ocean is about 100 feet (33 meters). The underwater visibility of the water in Silfra will rarely, if ever, be surpassed. Silfra is said to have the clearest water in the world. Read More >

Lindsay’s Best Days Ever!

November 12, 2019 | Lindsay R

Disney World truly is the happiest place on Earth!

Their tagline says it’s the happiest place on Earth, but you don’t really understand what they mean until you visit it for yourself. I’m so in love with Disney World, I wish I could return year after year, as I would never get bored! There is always something new to experience.

Growing up I was lucky to be able to take a vacation every year, and usually that was Disney.  The first time I visited Disney World I was 7 years old.  From that moment, I knew it was going to be my favorite place to visit. Everyone always says “Disney is just for kids”.  Let me tell you…it’s for everyone, which is why I chose it as my honeymoon destination!  My husband thought the same thing, it’s only for kids, I won’t like it etc. Now he also think’s that it’s truly the happiest place on Earth!

There are so many different things to experience: parades that make their way through the streets, characters waiting to meet & greet you, some of the best fireworks displays you will ever see & much more! Read More >

Shauna’s Best Days Ever!

November 12, 2019 | Shauna Cook

My best day ever started as one of the final days of an Iceland Circumnavigation cruise.  We were set to arrive into Heimaey, Westman Islands for a full day port stop.  The crew made sure to tell us what time to be on deck as pulling into the harbor is one of the highlights of this stop.  They were not wrong.  On approach we see green and rock, and hundreds, possibly thousands of seabirds using the rock for nesting.  An overwhelming feeling of familiarity came over me, and I felt very calm.

      

Prior to this, I had never visited the Westman Islands, however I felt like I was being welcomed home.  Walking around the village felt comfortable and familiar, it was like my feet and my memory knew exactly where to take me.

I feel that Heimaey was my home in a past life.  There is a wonderful cliff at one end of the island that allows for incredible views, and I sat on this cliff and cried. Surrounded by the stunning blue ocean, the incredible green cliffs, and the sunniest day we had experienced so far in Iceland (on day 12!). My tears came from nowhere, but I was overwhelmed with emotion of being in this place that I felt so connected to but had no connection to at the same time. Prior to this, I had never felt this emotion and connection to any place, and I have not had such feelings since.

                                 

Heimaey is the largest and only populated island in the Westman Islands and the largest and most populated island off the Icelandic Coast.

It is well known for the January 1973 eruption of Mount Eldfell.  The eruption started in the middle of the night and all 5000 residents were evacuated to the mainland, with only 1 single casualty.  Most of the village of Heimaey was destroyed and the eruption caused the island to expand in length.

My short time in Heimaey in the Westman Islands truly changed my life, and it remains my absolute favorite place in the world.

Allison’s Best Days Ever!

November 11, 2019 | Allison Silvaggio

‘Arriving on my 7th Continent’

With so many fantastic travel experiences, its hard to choose just one.  However, I think of this day often.

After a two-day sailing across the Drake Passage, I have finally arrived; my 7th continent! The anticipation of stepping onto the Antarctic  Peninsula for the first time……solid ground is wonderful!

Not long after our arrival, we experienced the true Antarctic greeting, as some curious penguins waddled by along the shores.  We enjoyed a snowshoe with the most breathtaking scenery surrounding us.  The peacefulness was so serene, that we decided to stop and sit for a bit.  To take the time to absorb our surroundings and appreciate the silence.  The only sound was the waves against the shore and our penguin friends.  The weather was perfect, with a cool breeze on your face, and the sun trying to peak through the overcast clouds.  Light flurries were falling, which made the experience even better.

After returning to our expedition vessel, I enjoyed a warm beverage and some wonderful conversation with our fellow travellers.  Followed by an amazing dinner, paired with some fantastic wines from Argentina.

The solitude, serenity and scenery make this my best day ever!!

 

Corina’s Best Days Ever!

November 10, 2019 | Corina Parisien

One of my Best Days Ever was at an all-inclusive resort in Cuba. We booked a Swimming with Dolphins excursion. We started the day on a catamaran and sailed out to a beautiful spot where we stopped and went snorkelling.  I absolutely loved snorkelling!  I think I was one of the last people back to the boat.  I just found it so beautiful and relaxing.

From there we went to an island and had a lobster lunch with time to go relax on the beach and have a swim.

After that, back onto the catamaran and to the dolphin swim where I met Oscar.   Oscar the dolphin swam around and showed off his skills and swam up close so we could all say hi.

As we were coming out of the water, the trainer asked if I wanted to swim with Oscar and, of course, I did!  I got back in the water and I got to go for a swim with 2 dolphins.   The swim ended with dolphin hugs.  It is an experience I will never forget.

Nicole’s Best Days Ever!

November 10, 2019 | Nicole Fell

Vancouver Island – a west coast beauty thriving abundantly with lush greenery and flowers blooming effortlessly. An oceanic coastal scene mingled beautifully with deep forests and soaring mountains. I visited for my first time last year for my best friend Amelia’s wedding. I didn’t know what I was expecting when I landed in Nanaimo, but I did not expect to be as overwhelmed and taken aback by its tucked away charm as I was. Growing up on the Manitoba prairies and never really travelling to any of my neighbouring provinces did leave me wondering. and unaware, of the vast diversity of our country from one province to the next.

I returned to Nanaimo again this May for another visit. I am going to highlight just one day I spent on the island. We started off by picking up a coffee in Nanaimo and sitting by Departure Bay, where we watched the ferries coming and going from the port. Once we were caffeine infused we headed out on the road, passing by town after town down the coastal highway. I remember staring out the window as we drove down the winding highway, passing towering trees that went on for miles and, when there was a break in the trees, ocean and mountains. It was completely serene and peaceful.

One of the moments that stood out the most was visiting Cathedral Grove, an old forest in MacMillan Provincial Park with towering ancient Douglas fir trees. Some of the trees are over 800 years old – their trunks are broad and thick, they almost looked wise with their weathered and strong bodies upholding for so many years. It was one of those rare moments where I felt truly small, surrounded by these giant trees that towered overhead, with their branches creating a blanket of leaves high above.

There was bright green moss that grew freely over branches and broken down logs, the sun light filtered through the leaves and the spaces between the trees, washing over every surface. The forest had a very mysterious and whimsical feel, you cold easily get lost in your thoughts wandering and admiring its magnificence and raw beauty.

After, we stopped at a farmer’s market where we bought fresh produce and sipped on iced coffee from a hole in the wall coffee shop by the side of the road. We hit two different beaches and ending up in several towns. We took time to explore and embrace the fresh air by the water and watch the mountains in the distance. We wearily made the drive back to Nanaimo and ended the day with a glass of wine.

My experience of Vancouver Island was one of wonder, fascination, and happiness. I am always looking for an adventure and a new place to discover. The island gave me all of this and more which is why I can say this was one of my best days ever.

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