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Tag Archives: Adventure

“Yes!” Will Change Your Life!


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When was the last time you said YES to something new? When was the last time you said NO and regretted it? These two little words have the power to change your life!

Life changing opportunities come in all  shapes and sizes and usually show up when you least expect it. It could be something as simple as accepting an invitation from a stranger to go for coffee, or it could be more complex like taking on a new health and fitness challenge. Either way, you never know where an opportunity may lead. That cup of coffee may turn into a life-long friendship or even the love of your life, and that new fitness challenge may turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself. Like Forrest Gump’s mama used to say, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Everything You've Ever Wanted is on the Other Side of Fear

New things used to scare me. I used to think that routine was what I needed to live a comfortable life. Then several years ago my life went through a drastic change (heartbreak can do that), and I learned how VERY wrong I was! While building myself and my life back up, I made a promise to myself that I would say YES! when opportunities came knocking. It was uncomfortable at first, but through this commitment to get out of my comfort zone, I’ve discovered so much about myself and about the life that is possible for me!

YES’es That Have Changed My Life:

  • Applying for a media pass at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics – This is where my Olympic passion was born!
  • A one-day (leave at 7am, return at midnight) media trip to the Yukon!
  • Spending a night in an Ice Hotel in -30 celsius in Quebec (Brrrr! but awesome!)
  • An invitation to spend a month in Bali in a gorgeous luxury villa (No-brainer, right? But I would never have dared to travel alone before!)
  • Two months of travel in Thailand and Bali, including some of the best scuba diving I’ve ever done!
  • A diving trip to the Great Blue Hole in Belize!
  • An invitation to join friends at the London 2012 Olympic Games!
  • Traveling to Costa Rica (alone) and spending a month learning Spanish, working out on the beach, releasing baby turtles into the ocean and exploring this incredibly beautiful country!
    Baby Turtle in Montezuma Costa Rica
  • Running a crowdfunding campaign to fund the Olympic Spirit Project at the Sochi 2014 Olympics – I succeeded in raising more than my goal, traveled to Russia (solo) and had a once in a lifetime experience.
  • The Cycling Co Logo Buying a cyclocross bike and taking a 6-week road riding clinic! – Who knew riding would give me such a sense of freedom?! (Well… lots of people know this, but I would never have, if I hadn’t said yes!) — Mountain biking is next!
  • Co-founding and building a road and mountain bike coaching business – The Cycling Co. (Good thing I bought that bike!)
  • Taking on a fitness challenge to kick my health and fitness habits into shape! – I’ve lost more than 20lbs and I feel like a million bucks!

  • An invitation to a team of incredible women in an online health and wellness company so I can help others achieve their health and lifestyle goals too! (This opportunity is available to ANYONE, by the way, so if you are inspired to help people reach their personal health and wellness goals and you want to learn more, contact me!)
  • And the most recent yes: I GOT ENGAGED last weekend to a kind, caring, generous, strong, amazing man! We are gonna ROCK the marriage thing! 😉

I said YES!

“Yes!” will change your life!

Life is too short to pass up new opportunities. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Maybe you won’t like it? Maybe you won’t have fun? Maybe you won’t be successful?  But…

WHAT IF you LOVE it??? And…

WHAT IF you achieve MAD SUCCESS??? And…

WHAT IF you EXCEED your goals and expectations???

You will never know unless you get out of your comfort zone, take that first step and say, “YES!”

YES. It’s a powerful little word. “Yes!” will change your life!

So my advice to you: Just Say YES! 🙂

Day Trip: China Beach, Vancouver Island


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As with all the beaches in this part of the world, China Beach, Vancouver Island has it’s own features and characteristics that make it an easy favourite for many. I have a pretty long shortlist of the best beaches on Vancouver Island, and China Beach is one of them.

China Beach on Vancouver Island

How to Get to China Beach

China Beach falls approximately at the midway point of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail between Jordan River and Port Renfrew on BC Highway 14. You’ll see signage for a campground and a little ways past that, you’ll see the day use parking lot entrance. The beach is about a 10 minute walk from parking lot on a clear and easy walking path.

Three Things I Love About China Beach

  1. The Sand!
    China Beach is a gorgeous long sandy beach with large rocks at either end. The sand is soft and clean with very few shells or rocks to hurt your feet on when walking barefoot. It’s a great place for kids to build sandcastles while parents enjoy a picnic basket and an adult beverage.The Sand - China Beach on Vancouver Island
  2. The Waterfall!
    If you hike over the rocks on the west side of the beach at low tide between fall and spring, you’ll find a river flowing out into the ocean. If you follow the stream up, you will come to a beautiful waterfall flowing over the rocks into a small pool that could be used as a swimming hole on warmer days.The Waterfall at China Beach on Vancouver Island
  3. It’s Dog Friendly!
    We usually bring two of our three dogs with us on our day trip adventures and China beach was no exception. I love that the beach is dog friendly and the dogs had such an incredible time digging holes, chasing sticks and playing in the water.Dogs playing at China Beach on Vancouver Island Dogs playing at China Beach on Vancouver Island

 Tips For A Day Trip To China Beach

There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting any beach along Vancouver Island’s west coast:

  1. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. Thieves are active in the area and are not shy to break into cars. Be sure to take your valuables with you and to securely lock your vehicle.
  2. Protect yourself from the sun. Always wear sunscreen and a hat. Even on cool cloudy days, the sun can still treat you to a burn. Everyone hates dealing with a sunburn. Be sun smart!
  3. Respect the wildlife. Vancouver Island’s west coast is home to all kinds of wildlife, including deer, bears, cougars, wolves and raccoons. Be aware of your surroundings and if you happen to come across any local wildlife, do NOT feed it, do not approach it, and give it lots of space. Animals become dangerous if they feel cornered or if they have young with them. Steer clear, even if it means that you need to leave the beach for your and your family’s safety. We sometimes attach bear bells to our dogs’ collars to help alert any wildlife of our presence.
  4. Pack it in, pack it out. If you pack food down to the beach, please be sure you pack out ALL of your garbage (even the compostables) and dispose of it responsibly. Don’t be a litterbug. Please keep our parks and beaches clean.
  5. Bring a camera! The views and the waterfall at China Beach provide beautiful photo ops. We all have our camera phones with us these days, but it’s well worth the effort to carry your DSLR camera with you, you may even be lucky enough to see whales just off the beach!
View more photos of China Beach, Vancouver Island

China Beach on Vancouver Island

Have you visited China Beach on Vancouver Island?

Please share your favourite part in the comments below.

I Just Booked My Ticket To Mars!


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Anyone who knows me knows that I’m addicted to travel, adventure and photography. So when I saw the opportunity to book a ticket to Mars, I had to jump at it! And I’m taking my niece and nephew with me!

I just booked my ticket to Mars and you can come too!

Well, not exactly….

Every so often Nasa has fun interactive programs to name a star or to send your name to space, I’ve participated in a few over the years. The current campaign is sending names to Mars on the Orion Flight Test with a launching sometime in the December 4 – 6, 2014 launch window.

“NASA’s newest spacecraft, Orion, will be launching into space for the first time in December 2014, on a flight that will take it farther than any spacecraft built to carry humans has gone in more than 40 years and through temperatures twice as hot as molten lava to put its critical systems to the test.” Credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center

This NASA video explains the whole adventure far better than I ever could:

You and your kids can be part of this adventure too by visiting NASA’s website. But HURRY! The deadline is October 31st at midnight (ET).

[Tweet “I just booked my ticket to Mars! You can come too! #NASA #Travel”]

Change is Afoot


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"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!

The Hope Slide


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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.

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“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:


View Larger Map

Hiking Hollyburn Mountain


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Yesterday I went to another place I’ve never been. Although I had committed to this project as a weekend thing, it seems to have spilled over into the weekdays and I’m loving it. It feels great to be making the most of the summer and this amazing weather we’ve been spoiled with.

The original plan was to hike up to Lynn Peak at Lynn Valley, but due to traffic issues, we decided on a change of venue and ended up heading to hike Hollyburn Moutnain.

It was an easier hike with a few tougher bits that Roxie found to be a challenge and needed some coaxing (and lifting?) to overcome them, but she did it! (Good Doggie!)

I would definitely recommend bringing bug repellent if you plan to do this hike, the mozzies were brutal! Lucky for me, I’m never a mosquito’s first choice on the buffet when there are other people around, so my hiking companion got the brunt of it. So yes, bug spray and a long sleeved shirt for times when it becomes unbearable are recommended.

When we arrived at the top, it was nearing sunset and these were the views we were rewarded with. Simply beautiful!

More images will soon be available on Flickr.

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(These are just iPhone shots for now, stay tuned for updated images.)

 

Nairn Falls


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I’ve been to Whistler more times than I can count, but this weekend my aunt was visiting from the Netherlands, and I spent the weekend being a tourist in the Whistler area. So, after meeting up with my family on Friday afternoon, we headed out to the Nairn Falls provincial campground, near Pemberton.

It had been a while since I had camped, so this was a treat, especially since I had never been to Nairn Falls before. My aunt and I (and Roxie too, of course) took a walk to the falls and I was once again amazed by the beauty of nature and this amazing place we live in. Wow!

The last few times that I’ve been out for walks and hikes in the forest, I have been reminded of the beauty that surrounds me. It’s so easy to get distracted and forget while living in the city. I have been inspired to get out of the city more and get back to more hikes, walks, and trail runs in the woods. More nature. More camping. More fresh air. We are so lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and summer is the perfect time to get out and appreciated more of it!

Other local favorites: the trails and swim holes at Lynn Valley, Pacific Spirit Park, the beaches at Spanish Banks, the Grouse Grind, the Chief in Squamish, Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville.

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite places to hike, walk, camp, and reconnect with the beauty of nature. (local or otherwise) Please feel free to share them in the comments, and if I haven’t seen them yet, I may add them to my list!

Adventures in Bangkok


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Our first day in Bangkok was somewhat adventurous. After breakfast we grabbed our cameras and set off to first, sort out our travel plans to Koh Tao, and then to explore the city.

Sorting out our travel plans wasn’t as simple as we expected. A friend had arranged our train and ferry tickets to the island of Koh Tao and had sent the tickets from Koh Tao to a Bangkok travel office. However, due to the storms in the gulf of Thailand at the time, the tickets never actually made it to Bangkok. So, day one in Bangkok, we were told to come back the next day to see if the ferries were running again for our tickets to make it to the mainland… So, off we went to explore Bangkok!

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Within minutes of leaving the travel office we were approached by one tuktuk driver after another offering to take us to various tourist attractions. We were standing on a corner looking at the city map, when a woman walked up offering to help give us direction to the Grand Palace. She told us the easiest way to get there was by tuktuk and so we climbed in. The ride was exceptionally cheap that day, as it was a Buddhist holiday and the government was sponsoring the tuktuks for the day, so we ended up paying 20 baht (about 64 Canadian cents) for a two and a half hour tour of Bangkok with several stops along the way. Not bad!

View from the back of the tuktuk in Bangkok, Thailand

First stop, the Standing Buddha. This was the the first big Buddha I had ever seen and I was blown away by its sheer size! This was also my first experience watching Buddhists leaving offerings and pausing for prayer. They would pay a donation to the temple and in exchange they were given three incense sticks, a candle, and gold leaf. The incense and candle were lit and left in designated areas, while the gold leaf was pressed onto a Buddha statue for luck. Next they would kneel in front of the Buddha in prayer.

Me, at the Standing Buddha, Bangkok 2011 12 Giant Standing Buddha, Bangkok 2011 16

Praying at the Standing Buddha, Bangkok 2011 9

Lighting incense for prayer, Standing Buddha, Bangkok 2011 6

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We made a couple of other stops before the driver took us to Top Ten Tailors, the first sponsor of the adventure. I had read about this so was not surprised. Basically the tuktuk drivers are paid in gasoline coupons for bringing tourists to their sponsors (usually tailors and jem shops). So, we played along… Although the clothes were truly beautiful, and much more affordable than back home (a 3-piece men’s suit was $75 CAD), we weren’t about to lug something like that all over Thailand with us for seven weeks… So after listening to the half hour spiel, we politely declined and were on our way again.

We stopped at one more temple before we told our driver that we were not interested in any more sponsor stops, our tuktuk tour abruptly ended right back where we started, and the friendly woman who had been so helpful earlier pretended not to even know us. Haha! Quite hilarious, really…

From there, we carried on on foot. We explored the famous Khaosan Road, where you can buy anything and everything you can imagine!

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We eventually made our way to the Grand Palace. However, by this time it was later in the afternoon, and there was not enough time before the palace closed to do it justice for exploring. So we decided to go back the following day. But we’ll save that for another post…

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For more photos of my Bangkok adventure, please visit the set on Flickr!

Bangkok: Grand Palace


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Bangkok: Grand Palace, a set on Flickr.

New photos posted to Flickr of my visit to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand.

Off to a Rough Start…


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My trip to Thailand didn’t have the greatest start… For starters, the morning of my flight to Bangkok I woke up to find that my car window had been smashed. I had to leave for the airport at 10:30am, and found my smashed window at 8am while taking the dog out for one last good walk before being away for 7 weeks… Ugh… Thanks to great friends and amazing family, it was quickly looked after so I could focus on getting my last minute things done before heading to the airport.

My journey was in two legs: Vancouver to Beijing, then Beijing to Bangkok. The flight to Beijing was a long 11 hours. And thanks to the six kids who took turns screaming, throughout the entire flight, it just that much longer… After a 4 hour layover, the Beijing to Bangkok flight was much quieter, and I actually slept through almost the entire trip.

The arrival in Bangkok was smooth. The luggage came quickly and the next thing I knew, I was in a taxi and headed to the hotel.

Quatchi's last photo at YVR

Quatchi's last photo at YVR, enjoying a ceasar while waiting to board the flight to Beijing.

We arrived at the hotel after more than 30 hours of traveling and just as the taxi drove away I realized I had left a bag in the cab… Which wasn’t a huge big deal (duty free booze, a scarf, and travel slippers), except that there was one item in the bag that I’ll miss a lot during the trip, and was a huge part of my little travel project… Quatchi. Quatchi was in the bag. 🙁

So… as much as I intended to post plenty of photos of Quatchi checking out Thailand at @QuatchiTravels, Quatchi has embarked on his own personal undocumented journey. I’m thinking that the driver was quite happy with the gift of rum, his wife has a nice new scarf and slippers, and his kid has a fun new toy…

Surprisingly, after more than 30 hours of travel and maybe 4 hours of sleep, sleep did not come easy on the first night in Bangkok. So, what better to do at 2am, than to search the streets for some tasty tom ka (coconut soup).

My luck was changing, cuz we found such a tasty soup not far from the hotel at a street vendor. Tom ka seafood! YUM! With a belly full of soup, sleep came much easier! Not a bad way to start the Bangkok adventure!

Good luck Quatchi! I hope you find happiness as you embark on a whole new adventure!


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