Travelling on a mission

May 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm (kate, travel, Uncategorized) (, , )

A year and a half ago, I watched as my own mother was physically and emotionally broken down by stage 4 lung cancer. I can only hope that was the worst experience I’ll ever endure. Despite efforts, I had to eventually come to terms that denial was ineffective, and that I was completely incapable and unable of doing anything to stop it. Its grip came with a wrath that nobody and no medical treatment could control, reverse, or even hold off.

Throughout my mother’s entire life, she had one dream that overpowered most others. To be traveling through Europe, or more specifically, the South of France. Whether it was due to family, finance, or other forces, there was always something blocking the path of the Europe dream. In the early summer months of 2009, it finally became attainable. I could tell she was going to be a pretty agreeable travel companion while we planned our itinerary, as the only place she really cared about seeing was the French countryside…

Timing was definitely not on our side, as right when her ultimate dream was within reach for the very first time, it was snatched away in what felt like an instant.

Obviously there are countless upsetting angles, but one of the ones that still bothers me the most today, is that she was so close to achieving the one thing she wanted so, so badly. It is unfair, enraging and sad.

In ghost stories, you hear the term “unfinished business” a lot. I don’t believe in ghosts, but this is certainly a prime example of unfinished business. Although I’m not very spiritual, I feel I owe it to her to give the next best thing. I’m going to scatter my mother’s ashes across the countryside of Southern France. I’m not exactly what you would classify as “a believer”, (I wish that I was) but I’m confident I will feel better when this is done. The circumstances are not exactly ideal, but she will get there.

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Send me to Costa Rica.

January 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm (Good Things, kate, News, Shameless Self Promotion, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , )

In grade 10, I missed a class trip to Costa Rica and was left forever resentful. I can’t even remember why I missed it now, I’m sure it was partially to do with parents convincing themselves that I would surely be attacked by a group of vicious monkeys, go riplining into a tree, and/or plummet over a waterfall in my dinghy. However, gravity, among other forces have always lured me South. It’s warm, it’s different, full of the unknown and truths to be learned, stuff I wouldn’t be able to fathom unless I went there for myself. Most importantly, there is stuff that needs to be done, stuff we can actually do. I’m talkin’ beneficial, life changing action for both ourselves and the people of Costa Rica in different but equally satisfying ways. Tons of fortunate people take vacations every year to places like Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica, and still many never get a chance to leave their resorts and truly experience the country itself, or meet the people and understand their culture and the way they live. There is a misconception that associates these countries with elaborate buffets, sun and pools, fully stocked bars and pineapples carved to look like exotic fish.


Then I discovered a travel blog run by lad called Nomadic Matt, who seems to share this way of thinking about travelling. He travels to learn and gain experiences and make differences. He brings back invaluable memories and potentially life changing stories to share, instead of just a nice tan.

...Or a not-so-nice tan


Nomadic Matt has decided to give his following the chance to see what he’s seen, and is running a contest alongside the admirable travel and tourism company, G.A.P. Adventures. I want this trip because I want to experience and share the beauty of the real Costa Rica, it’s culture and people. Sometimes when on vacation, we’re left with the impression that these countries are limited to their beautiful resorts and beaches, but there is so much more to see. I can’t stand being locked in a resort knowing that all that new and unique culture is just outside the gates. I want to go on a trip that doesn’t mask anything, even though I probably won’t get attacked by monkeys r go over a waterfall, at least make it a possibility.
It’s the real, raw experiences that far outweigh relaxing on a beach. As nice as it is to do nothing, it feels way better to do something, which is exactly what I hope to get out of this trip. I would want to return with knowledge about locals, how they live, how they eat, what they do, the culture, the climate – everything and/or anything! It’s not just the country and people you would be learning about, I think this trip would teach me a lot about myself as well. Everyone has their limits but few have actually reached what they are. I think we are capable of things we don’t even know we can do until faced with that situation. Being thrust into a completely new environment forces us to become open minded. I want to do it, talk about it, document it, and maybe inspire someone else to gain a similar experience. The more parts of the world we see and experience firsthand, the better understanding we’ll have of each other.

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TRAVELS

September 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm (alcohol, animals, kate, travel) (, , , , , , , , , )

First, I went to one old place and one new place, to me. The old place was Key West. There’s a lot of personal history there, my parents met there, I got to see the house my mom lived in at the time, now it’s a jewelery store and probably looks heaps different but here it is anyway. See

My mom's old place

My mom's old place

We were on Carnival Cruise lines on a ship called Imagination. In other words, I’m on a boat, motherfuckers.

get your flippyfloppys

get your flippyfloppys


The ship staff was amazing, super attentive all the time, put on great shows, and had a great on board orchestra. I really wanted to hit on the bass player…
His name was Lee, and he played bass and he had an English accent. SOLD. Oh, and he could sing, Beatles. EXTRA SOLD.

Guapo

Guapo

The people were nice but it is littered with a lot of wretched excess type. I witnessed a LOT of gorging, which feels extra odd when you’re visiting countries such as our next location, Cozumel, Mexico. It was beautiful, but really really HOT. There was a little kid playing another type of Mexican bass instrument who I wanted to adopt. So cute, despite that he should have been in school during the time we saw him.

skills

skills

horseh does not approve of cooling method

horseh does not approve of cooling method


The food was all pretty good but the drinks weren’t included in the trip price. They are smart little bastards. They give you this card, called a “fun card” or something like that. It acts as a credit card so instead of paying for drinks and excursions in cash, you just swipe this little “fun card”, and all is well… Until that is, you get the bill. Then it’s anything but fun.
"Hey, nice drink." "Thanks, it was free with my fun card!" "OH RLY?"
It was crazy awesome to get to see the fam and be asea for a week anyway.

Next was a little trip I think of as “NYC round 2: Independence Day Edition.”

4th of, Ju-ly, Brooklyn's, on fire!

4th of, Ju-ly, Brooklyn's, on fire!


Since we are cheap bastards, we decided to take a bus to Buffalo and then fly into the city from there. We grabbed the necessities and got on board.
Fuel

Fuel

don't get too excited, it's just Buffalo

don't get too excited, it's just Buffalo


We met HEAPS (I learned that slang from the Aussies) of people in and around our hostel from Wales, London, Seattle, Guatemala, and Australia. We were bogans (another newly acquired Ausspeak!) and sat in the dirt and watched the sunrise on the 4th after fireworks and drinking.
Bogans

Bogans


We learned quickly that were in fact, watching the sunrise from the wrong side. Woteva, still good. Still good.
what's going on here?......awwwww shit.

what's going on here?......awwwww shit.

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Animal of the Week – Alcoholic Vervet Monkeys

June 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm (alcohol, animals, crazy, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The coolest animal since the Jerboa. Fast foward to about the 2:00 mark to see drunk monkeys. Yes, they’re monkeys, who DRINK BOOZE. Proof of evolution lies in the eyes and liver of this beautiful creature.
thirstymonkey
They mostly hang out in parts of Africa, though some have made it over to Florida and the Caribbean islands. SIDE NOTE: I’ll be there June 22nd, and will gladly share some cocktails with them.

where the boozemonkeys reside.

where the boozemonkeys reside.

Protect your supply.

Protect your supply.


You can tell the males from the females because the males have blue penises. Whereas the females, have no penises.

Just like that fake vegetarian you know, the majority of their diet is grass and fruits, though they sometimes eat small insects. They have to drink every day, unfortunately most days this is just water. But for this reason, they never stray too far from rivers, lakes, and keg parties. drunkmonkey-1
In St. Kitts they’ve been known to steal brightly coloured boozy drinks from the tourists. If the monkey feels like his safety or drink is threatened, it will hunt you down and BITE your finger off, so if tourists drinks get taken there’s not much they can do about it.

You know that douchebag from the bar who gets wasted and wants to sing Bon Jovi karaoke then fight everyone? That’s exactly how these monkeys can get. At first they seem so fun, maybe even kind of cute, great to party with. But don’t touch their drinks, don’t look at their babies.

Fun fact: a Python can swallow a vervet monkey whole. WOW. So there you go, if you’re scared of the vervet monkeys, carry a Python.

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The Greatest City in the World.

April 14, 2009 at 8:31 pm (travel, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Times Square, NYC

Times Square, NYC


I’ve returned in one, bruised piece after my first trip to New York City. They aren’t kidding when they call it “the city that never sleeps”, but I now understand why the I heart NY icon is so popular. It’s the kind of place where the energy you feel just by being in its presence can only be understood by going there yourself.
If you should happen to be in the area, I recommend a midtown bar called Blockhead’s for $3 margarita’s and free chips and salsa.
bheadsA great atmosphere and totally cool people. Also, stop by the NYFD and say hello to the firemen of the city. nyfd
They are awesome, as are the NYPD, and they recommend some great local pubs and hangouts. Like Stout’s and O’Lunney’s where the best bartender’s are!
Times Square can be a madhouse and you’re most likely only among other tourists, but it’s still a must-see nonetheless. If your legs can handle it and you like to see everything, check out Greenwich Village and Soho for calmer, cooler vibe.
Lennon tribute in Central Park

Lennon tribute in Central Park


Pretty much all of Manhattan is a must see. I’m already planning a trip back.

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