When I'm not out exploring the world, I am at home exploring the amazing city that I live in. Still being a relatively new resident of Toronto, I don't find it hard to come across new places to check out. When you hear the word "Toronto", one immediately thinks loads of people, horrific traffic, the hustle and bustle that comes with a booming metropolis. But there is so much more to Toronto than these typical stereotypes. There are countless places to escape the busy life of a Torontonian, right here in the city - and if you don't slow down to look, you may just miss them! From hidden beaches, lush ravine trails, and many parks to explore, you won't have to look very far to find some peace and nature in this busy city I call home.
Now, living in Canada can be frustrating at times- mostly during the winter months. It’s hard to want to brave the cold, the snow, the wind and ice, and to head outdoors to get some fresh air. But, there is hope! Right here in my city is a place where you can escape the horrible Canadian winter and feel like you are on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific. That place, my friends, is Allan Gardens Conservatory. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, it is an indoor botanical garden that features six greenhouses. From palms to orchids to cacti, this place has it all! It’s an amazing spot for horticultural enthusiasts, photographers, or for anyone who wants to take a break from the winter and pretend for a few hours that they are far, far away. Since discovering it, I have been three times and each time there has been something new to see or a different angle to snap a cool shot from. It will definitely become a spot that I’ll visit often to forget how hectic life can be at times, and relish the small things. Check out my most recent visit of Allan Gardens on Instagram @kbsguidetotheworld.
I always had a desire to go to Morocco - its beauty and mystery left me with so much curiosity that I knew I needed to travel there myself. I had never been to a country where I knew so little about the culture, the history, and the way of life; it all seemed so foreign to me, which is why I think I was so attracted to it. I truly wanted to learn their way of life and to form unforgettable memories while exploring this beautiful country.
I will always remember my first night in Marrakech. I was on a rooftop cafe watching the sunset when it started: adhan, the call to prayer. At that moment I felt something inside me that was so powerful and moving, words cannot explain... it could only be understood by the soul. It was one of the most beautiful things that I have experienced while travelling. You could hear the prayer occurring all over the city, and at that moment, time seemed to stop. All I could feel was pure bliss. Throughout my travels, whenever I heard adhan, I was brought back to that night and paused to take in the moment. Needless to say, I was still in disbelief that I was finally in 'The Gateway to Africa'.
I've been to quite a few places so far in my life, but when asked the question, "what is the coolest thing you have experienced while travelling?" Morocco instantly comes to mind. One night in particular really stands out. Of all the amazing things I had the chance to do while I was there, leaving the busy city life of Marrakech to head to the countryside to spend the night in the Sahara Desert stands out the most. After driving through the windy roads of the Atlas Mountains and stopping for some kefta (a Moroccan minced meat) in a small village along the way, I eventually arrived at the edge of the Sahara. There is was: out of nowhere, huge sand dunes appeared. It was so surreal to be at the foot of the greatest desert on earth.
With the African sun beating down on me, I headed out by camel to where I would be spending the night. The sun was setting in the horizon, changing the sand to the most amazing orange colour I have ever seen. I had to stop to take in the moment and (of course) capture some images. Once arriving at camp, the sun had set and the stars started to appear. I wondered, Could this day get any more magical? After having dinner, I got to lay on a sand dune in the middle of the desert and stargaze. no city lights were present to pollute the sky, allowing you to see every star that night. I could have stayed there forever, laying there and looking up at space, trying to figure out life. It was a night that I will never forget, nor could I ever duplicate; it was one of those 'once in a lifetime' moments that I am so grateful to have experienced.
Reluctantly, I headed back to my tent to get some sleep. After all, I only had a few hours before the sunrise, and I wasn't going to miss out on that. At 6:30am, I woke up to the sound of my alarm, and walked out to the dunes to watch the sun come up. "Am I really in Africa right now? Watching the sun rise over the Sahara Desert?" These disbelieving thoughts were what popped into my head during this time. I'm a sucker for sunrises; there is something about being up at the crack of dawn and watching a new day start that is so marvellous to me. It is especially extraordinary when I can do so in a foreign setting. It was a tremendous way to end my time in the Sahara.
Among the many other things that I got to experience throughout my stay in Morocco, that definitely stands out the most. This was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up, even though it was so far out of my comfort zone that the thought of it scared me. I am terrified of bugs and let me tell you: the Sahara had some pretty creepy-crawlers that came out at night. Yes, it frightened me, but would I have changed it? Never, because it pushed me and helped me to face one of my biggest fears. I survived and am so incredibly happy and proud of myself that I did it. I encourage you to do the things that you have always wanted to do. Don't wait until it's to late. It's adventures like these that help you grow and open your mind to so many things that you never even knew were possible. Travel is my passion, and I hope I inspired you to go on an amazing, life-changing adventure of your own! Follow my travels on Instagram @kbsguidetotheworld.
For me, the hardest part of planning my next travel destination is deciding where I would like to go. Now, this is an issue for me mainly because I would like to go EVERYWHERE! I also have this goal to step foot on to every continent before I turn 30, so narrowing it down to one place takes some serious thought. My first step to picking a place is to look back at where I have already been, each continent that I have already traveled to, and scratch them off the list, one by one. Europe- check. Africa- done! North America- uhhh, I live there! Oceania- finito. So that leaves me with a choice between Asia or South America.
… Both of which have some pretty amazing stops that I must make in my lifetime. For my next travel experience, though, I want a major culture shock, and I mean more so than any other culture shock I’ve ever had before. So, which should come first? The breathtaking views of Machu Picchu, perhaps? But The Great Wall of China would be unreal! Hmm, or what about Japan? I’m intrigued… the landscape is a photographer’s dream, from the mountains and volcanoes to the ocean, lakes, and gardens… I should have no issue capturing the beauty that Japan holds. And the Buddhist way of life would surely be eye-opening. Oh, and the food! Can we just stop and think about the food for a moment!? OK, Japan it is! That wasn’t so bad, and I am already gleaming with excitement to go! Now that the location has been picked, the planning begins.
The first question I have to ask myself is, when? And then, for how long? Usually, that is an easy answer: September. I have this thing where I need to be in a different country every year on my birthday, so September is always a travel month for me. No complaints there. As for how long, I would like at least two full weeks in Japan, so I’ll start to look for flights to Tokyo. I always book my flights through flighthub.com and absolutely love their services. Once I see a flight that I like, I usually book it sooner rather than later, as prices tend to go up the closer you get to your departure date. I like doing this because then I know it’s officially happening and then I can start to plan for it. After booking the flight, I take a few weeks to a month to research different destinations and things to do, so that I can narrow down exactly what locations I would like to explore, and get a rough estimate of how long in each place. Once I make my final decisions on where I would like to go, I look for accommodations. For hotels, I do most of my bookings through hotels.ca. I love their reward system: for every 10 nights stayed in one of the hotels on their website, you get a free night’s stay- pretty awesome if you are a frequent traveller such as myself!
…Yay, the rooms are finally booked and now that all the hard planning is over with, I can just sit back and count the days till I leave! During the time leading up to the trip, I will do lots of research and take notes on different restaurants I want to try, what to pack for the season’s weather, must-see places that are great for photography, and any other things that I may need to know before heading overseas. The entire process should be fun and exciting. For me, the planning is just another part of the adventure, and you will make mistakes and you will learn from those mistakes on your next trip. I mean, wouldn’t it kind of take the fun out of it if everything was already laid out, telling you exactly what to do, step-by-step? No thanks, I want to create my own journey right from the very beginning! I know when you first start to plan your travels it can be overwhelming at times- there are so many things to do and consider, and you may think to yourself, how will I ever be able to make concrete decisions? My advice to you is to take it slow, and give yourself months in advance to plan your ideal trip. Pick a destination, then book a flight, and so on and so forth. It does not have to be all booked and planned in a week’s time. Don’t rob yourself of the excitement the planning can bring you. Enjoy the journey every step of the way, as you will surely be a different person by the time you get back home. Follow my photography and travels on Instagram @kbsguidetotheworld.
Site powered by Weebly. Managed by SiteGround