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Fall Leaves

When was the last time you actually played in the fall leaves? It’s been a while for me. The past few years I’ve watched them fall, admired and appreciated their colors, and photographed them, but it’s been a long time since I’ve kicked them around.

So as I enjoy my last few days before heading off to Central America, I’ve taken advantage of my walks in the country with Roxie and have enjoyed several moments like this one:


Get outside and enjoy the leaves!

4 More Sleeps Until Costa Rica!!!

Costa Rica, here I come!

I can hardly wait! In just 4 more sleeps I set out on the 17 hour journey to Costa Rica, and on Sunday afternoon I will be soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of a new tropical destination! Every time I get off a plane and smell that tropical air, it feels like I’ve arrived home. I can hardly WAIT!!

Almost every morning since I booked my ticket a few weeks ago, I’ve been waking up with this song in my head, so I thought I would share, not just to get it out of my head, but also because it’s a great song by a local British Columbian musician. Enjoy!

Costa Rica ~ Vince Vaccaro

Well I’ve grown tired of singing songs That I don’t believe in anymore
And I’ve grown tired of feelin’ old
Like I’m lookin’ for summer but I find the cold

Well my seasons roll by high and low
I don’t hold the reigns I don’t have control
And I wish my dice had a different roll
And I wish my path weren’t a ragged road

Lets leave to me and you babe
Lets go to Costa RicaLets leave to me and you babe
Lets go to Costa Rica

I wanna leave this place yeah to never be found
I wanna leave my old life far behind
Can I lose my name, be someone new
And I’ll throw my trouble deep in the wild blue

Lets leave to me and you babe
Lets go to Costa RicaLets leave to me and you babe
Lets go to Costa Rica


I’m Officially Homeless!

20131027-162140.jpgToday was a crazy day. I woke up in Whistler with my family, had a cup of coffee, and hit the road back to Vancouver for Moving Day. We drove straight to U-haul and were at my house, ready to load up by 12:30. By 2pm everything was loaded, the place was clean, I had dropped off the keys and we were on the road to the ferry terminal to head to Vancouver Island.

I’m officially homeless. I have no house. I left my car in Whistler, and everything I own is in a small U-haul trailer, and I’m sitting on a ferry as I write this. Holy crap!!

It’s a strange feeling to leave a city that I’ve lived in for nearly 13 years. As the ferry pulled away from the terminal, I looked back and thought, “I don’t live there anymore. Weird.” It feels strange that I don’t have a place to go back to, but at the same time it’s a freeing experience to know that I’m starting fresh and with a clean slate. By the end of this week I’ll have packed a suitcase and will be on a plane to new adventures, including beaches, sunsets, Spanish, new foods, new people, new EVERYTHING! So excited!!

But will admit that I’m more than a little freaked out. I’ve asked myself more than once today, “What the hell did you just do?!” But at the same time, my intuition is telling me I’m doing the right thing. So I have to trust that.

So, here goes nothin’! My new life has begun!



Thank You Vancouver, I’ll Miss You!

Over the past week, I’ve been walking around Vancouver appreciating the amazing weather and taking in the stunning views that I will soon be missing. So I thought I would share some my images that I’ve taken in the past several years in our beautiful city.

Thank you Vancouver for your amazing beauty and for 12 wonderful years! I’ll miss you!

BC Place, Vancouver

BC Place, Vancouver, Canada – © 2013 Mariska Richters Photography

False Creek, Vancouver, Canada

False Creek, Vancouver, Canada – © 2013 Mariska Richters Photography


The 2010 Winter Olympic Cauldron - © 2013 Mariska Richters Photography

The 2010 Winter Olympic Cauldron – © 2013 Mariska Richters Photography

Gastown, Vancouver, Canada

Gastown, Vancouver, Canada – © 2013 Mariska Richters Photography


The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver, Canada

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – © 2013 Mariska Richters Photography

Chinatown, Vancouver, Canada

Chinatown, Vancouver, Canada – © 2013 Mariska Richters Photography

Robson Square, Vancouver, Canada

An Evening at Robson Square, Vancouver, Canada – © 2010 Mariska Richters Photography


Summer Solstice Sunset at Jericho Beach, Vancouver, Canada

Summer Solstice Sunset at Jericho Beach, Vancouver, Canada – © 2011 Mariska Richters Photography

A Walk in the Woods at Lynn Canyon, Vancouver, Canada

A Morning Walk in the Woods at Lynn Canyon, Vancouver, Canada – © 2011 Mariska Richters Photography

Moon Rise Over Vancouver, CanadaMoon Rise Over Vancouver, Canada

Moon Rise Over Vancouver, Canada – © 2012 Mariska Richters Photography

 Thank you Vancouver, I’ll miss you!

Live Your Dreams and Live Them Now!


We often forget how short life is and how fragile we are. It’s not until we are faced with the loss of someone important to us that we are reminded of what’s really important. This week, brought this back for me while supporting a friend through such a loss.

About two years ago I went through a similar experience. I faced the sudden and unexpected loss of a friend. Processing the array of emotions was one heck of a roller coaster ride. I experienced denial, anger, frustration, a lot of sadness, and eventually acceptance.

I value the lesson I learned from the experience, although I wish I didn’t have to lose someone in order to learn it. I came out of the process with a renewed appreciation for the people I care about. I started to notice that I was sweating way too much of the small stuff and not being present to what was important and right in front of me. I had far too much attachment to material possessions. I was holding on to the past and this was holding me back from LIVING LIFE NOW!

This experience was the initial realization that I had to transform my life, and choose my happiness. I had to start living a life in the present, and appreciate every moment. Once I let go, there was nothing in front of me but possibility. No one knows how much time they have, so make the most of the time you’re given.

So, to borrow the words from a friend, and to pay tribute to those that we’ve lost, let this be…

“A reminder that life can be short; so live it with love, passion, emotion, and adventure. Live your dreams and live them now!”

Clean Up the Clutter, Clean Up Your Life

Preparing for any extended trip can be stressful. Add a move into that, and the stress escalates. This is the second time I’ve moved right before traveling. You’d think I would have learned the first time that this isn’t the best idea.

My last extended travel was a couple of years ago for a 2 month trip to Thailand. I had to have my house moved pre-trip. I did something very similar to what I’m doing now, and moved everything into storage to save on 2 months of rent costs while I was gone. Because really, it makes no sense to pay rent when that money can be spent in much more exciting ways like travel!

This time, things are a bit different. I’m not moving stuff into a storage locker here in Vancouver, but rather I’m selling or donating all the big stuff (furniture etc) and I’m storing the rest with family. Although my Craigslist experience has been a frustrating one, things are slowly selling off. My TV now lives on the floor, I hang out by candlelight in the evenings, I eat my meals at my desk, and my patio is standing room only. There’s still a pile of stuff to sell, but it will all happen in the next week. It has to!

It’s funny how we get attached to stuff. I’ve been working on this purging thing for probably about a year now, and I can honestly say that I’m not attached to much anymore. The more I get rid of, the easier it gets. It all just feels like stuff. Stuff that if I really wanted it again, I could buy it again.

The experience of watching my things go out the door has been freeing. Each item I’ve sold has given me a little bit more breathing room. It’s a great feeling to free myself from the shackles of possessions. It’s almost like any attachment I’ve had to my past goes out the door with it, creating a clean slate to recreate myself and my life.

Some people do spring cleaning, I’m doing a life cleaning. Scrubbing away all the unnecessary crap that just ends up being put on a shelf, shoved in a corner or stored in a box. If I haven’t used it in the past year: Gone! I love it!

I’m sure you also have a bunch of stuff that you could live without and not even notice. So why not do exactly that? You will love the feeling of decluttering your life!

Clean up the clutter! Clean up your life!

Change is Afoot

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started." ~ Mark Twain

Photo: © 2012 Mariska Richters Photography – Vancouver, Canada

I made a major life choice this past weekend. I have watched so many of my friends over the past few years, make the leap from a life being enslaved to an office job to that of a digital nomad. I have followed their blogs and adventures with stars in my eyes, as it has always been my dream to do the same.

I’m not sure what I’ve been waiting for…? Some kind of sign? Some kind of magic opportunity to be handed to me on a silver platter? I’m not really sure. But this past weekend, when yet another friend made the courageous leap, and moved his life to his dream location in the tropics, something in me flipped. Although I’ve always known it, it became very real to me that the life I want isn’t going to just happen TO me, I have to MAKE it happen!!

So on Saturday afternoon I made the decision that I would make a major life change. I would give my notice at my Vancouver apartment, sell and get rid of most of my possessions, and begin the process of becoming a digital nomad, living a life that I love!

I started making calls to friends and family and have been showered with nothing but enthusiasm and encouragement.

Within a couple of days, I have found new homes for most of my furniture, I’ve posted a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, packed a few boxes, and have decided on my next location to begin my transition.

Then yesterday it all became very real, when I paid my last month’s rent and delivered notice to end tenancy to my landlord! Ahhhh!! It’s finally really happening! There is no chickening out or turning back. My new life begins NOW!

It’s truly amazing how quickly things begin to happen and flow with ease when you make a choice with full determination.

So I leave you with this quote from Mark Twain, which is really resonating with me at the moment:

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

And I ask you: What have YOU been waiting for to start living a life you love?

Let the adventure begin! A year from now you will wish you had started today!

Quails’ Gate Winery

Last weekend I took a little road trip to Kelowna in BC’s Okanagan to support my friends as they competed in the Ironman Challenge in Penticton. I took this opportunity to do a wine tour at Quails Gate Estate Winery (cuz it’s wrong to visit the Okanagan in the summer without stopping in at at least one winery…)

I headed to the winery with my friend Bruce around lunch time. I had heard that their food was incredible and their patio was amazing, so I wanted to see for myself.

We started with the Wild Coast Mussels and Clams (shallots, garlic, parsley, tomato broth, grilled crostini), and then I moved on to the delicious Albacore Tuna “Tartine” (confit tomato, egg, potato salad, pickles & olive house made focaccia, anchovy vinaigrette), and Bruce had the Yarrow Meadows Duck Leg Confit (quinoa and cabbage salad, sprouted beans, carrot, cilantro, cucumber, mirin dressing). We paired our meals with a bottle of the 2012 Chenin Blanc, and it was a party in my mouth! See more of the menu here.

Mussels at Quails Gate Winery    Tuna Tartine at Quails Gate Winery


After lunch we took a walk around the vineyard and took a little afternoon break to take in this gorgeous view:

Mariska at Quails Gate Winery


From there (after dreaming of never leaving), we headed into the tasting room and tasted their delicious wines. Having had the Chinin Blanc with lunch, we tasted the Dry Riesling, the Rose, and the Quails’ Gate Old Vines Foch. I have to say that I enjoyed the whites and the rose more than the red, but all were excellent!


Then, of course, we couldn’t leave without doing a little shopping! (I might have left with half a dozen bottles of fermented goodness…)

If you’re a lover of food and you appreciate good wine, I would highly recommend visiting the Quails’ Gate Estate Winery in Kelowna. I can’t wait to get back to the Okanagan to sample some of the other wonderful wineries! Who’s coming with me?? : )

Which Okanagan wineries have you visited? Please share your experience and recommendations in the comments below.

Quarry Rock

I never even knew this place existed until I was invited to go for a hike in Deep Cove. It was more of a walk than a laboring hike and this was the stunning view that awaited me at the top. Amazing. Once again, I am so appreciative of this beautiful place that we call home!20130807-132802.jpg

Some details about the hike:

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.8 km
Elevation Gain: 100 meters
Season: year-round
Dog Friendly: YES! (insert happy face here!)
Transit: Yes
Washrooms: not on the trail, but are available at the beach at Deep Cove

The trail is the beginning of the Baden-Powell Trail, which begins along Panorama Drive. The trail is well marked with signs, so you can’t miss it.


This is always an important topic for me, as Roxie is my preferred hiking companion!

Your dog is welcome to be off leash on the trail, as long as s/he is under voice control. When you get to the top, do be careful as I have heard stories of dogs adventuring around and getting stuck in places that they could climb down to, but not back up. Also, it’s a very steep drop from the top of the rock. So if you have an adventurous puppy, you may want to consider leashing it when you arrive at the top.

As always in Vancouver, please be considerate of others on the trail, and pick up after your dog. There’s nothing worse than getting doggie doo on your shoe!

What are some new hike you’ve enjoyed this summer? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below, as I’m always looking to discover new places.

The Hope Slide

The Hope Slide is the largest historic landslide located in western Canada. I’ve driven past it many many times, but have never actually stopped to find out what it’s all about. Today, I made the stop and was amazing by the story.



“Early Saturday morning, January 9, 1965, an enormous landslide descended into this valley of the Nicolum Creek, destroying about 3km of the Hope-Princeton Highway.

“Apparently triggered by a minor earthquake, the slide consisting of more than 46 million cubic meters of earth, rock and snow, crashed down in seconds from the 2000 meter high mountain ridge forming the north side of the valley. It filled the valley bottom with debris 70 meters thick in places and completely buried Outram Lake at the foot of the slide.

“The water and soft clay of the lake bed and the adjacent land were displaced and cast violently up the opposite mountain side and then back into the valley, spreading out in a south easterly direction and back up the north slope to a height of 30 to 60 meters. The boundaries of  the area swept by mud and slide debris are visible along the south side of the valley where the mature forest cover was wiped out leaving a scarred path. Four persons  in three vehicles stopped by a small snow slide earlier, were caught in the wave of mud which swept back into the valley from the south and all were killed. Two of the victims were never found.

“Seismologists recorded two earthquakes that morning with epicenters in the Nicolum Valley area. The second of these was at 6:58 a.m., the approximate time the big slide occurred. The new highway and this viewpoint are built on slide debris approximately 55m above the original ground level.”


If you’re driving through Manning Park at any time, it’s worth the stop to see the huge-ness of this landslide. Looking up at that mountain and imagining that huge chunk of rock breaking off and tumbling down made me feel incredibly small.

The Hope Slide is located here:

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