I’ve been feeling a little mopey about the fact that I haven’t been travelling lately, and can give about a hundred reasons why “I deserve” to feel this way… (just look at what I was doing a year ago!) but then it was pointed out to me that it’s not an entirely true fact that I haven’t travelled – more so an opinion of mine. And so, I guess I have to admit that yes, I did spend a week the Dominican Republic, then a day in Panama, and weekends in Vegas, Jasper, and Seattle. Fine – if we’re going to get technical I supposed I still have had a pretty great summer adventuring around. Why is it that I always feel the need to see more, go further, lose myself somewhere new?? (I could easily spiral into all sorts of ridiculous thoughts like; ‘My identity is a traveller: therefore do I lose my identity and fade away when I’m not away?’)
Glossing right past the silly existential questions for now, I want to share some of the moments that stood out for me this summer. My most recent jaunt was to Seattle for a quick work event, and while I won’t bore you with those details I will tell about my day exploring Seattle’s famous sights. I may have a grownup job now but I still really enjoy my aimless explorations, and so when I travel on my own I very happily throw planning aside just to see what comes my way. I chatted with the hotel clerk and found out that I could take the free shuttle to the airport, then hop on the train from there to the centre where I would find the city’s highlights, so that’s exactly where I started. Stop number one for me was the famous Pike’s Place Market. I knew it was busy, but I have to admit some shock at JUST HOW BUSY it is! I did a bit of digging after, and discovered that it’s in the top 40 destinations by visitor number in the whole world. Crazy! ( Tourism stats ) I liked seeing it, though, even if I was almost equally amazed by the people watching as I was by the oldest continuously operated farmers market in the US. My wanders took me through the market, along the piers, downtown to coffee shops, past the Space Needle and back to the water. It’s a pretty city indeed on a sunny August day!
Moving back in time, I had a previous work event that brought me to Las Vegas. I’ve been there several times before so this didn’t hold the same wonder and awe for me, but I still had a great time walking the famous strip after dark to marvel at the neon lights, and sitting by the pool with a novel the next morning before my flight home.
More exciting for me was July and exploring my own ‘backyard’ in Alberta. Have you ever been to Jasper before? It’s stunning. You should plan a visit. Even though it’s an easy and scenic 5 hour drive from my front door, I haven’t been since childhood – I generally go to Banff instead, less than 2 hours away from me. But a long weekend camping trip in the cutest little cabins has me convinced I’ll be back again!
Continuing in my July adventures at home, I took in some time at the Calgary Stampede. If this is something else you haven’t heard of, look it up and plan to come. It’s a huge city-wide party, a cultural homage to our heritage, a thrilling competition and vibrant midway all packed together. ( Calgary Stampede ) And I just love it!
Prior to all this I kicked off my summer 2017 down South with a little quality beach time. Thankfully my cousin decided to get married in the Caribbean so I had a chance to visit Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I wouldn’t typically chose to go to an All-Inclusive resort, but I was thrilled with the chance to go and celebrate with family and friends. So often I’m alone when I’m away from home and this made it an extra fantastic treat to be in the middle of a huge group of friends this time. And now if I ever go to resorts again, I know I’ll want about 40 people I adore there with me. At least.
Going into this week in Punta Cana, I knew that this would be my last trip with the freedom to just book my own employee-pass standby flights, so I wanted to make the most of it. I didn’t know exactly how I’d be getting home until the day prior – when I saw that I could fly directly to Panama. OF COURSE that called my name! Spending time in Panama would mean that I’ve been to each of the North American/Central America countries and I just couldn’t resist. (and, I plan to celebrate that milestone again if I ever go to each Caribbean nation. I haven’t done that yet!) I didn’t have long, but I made the most of it in Panama by choosing a charming hostel in the Casco Viejo Old Town in central Panama City. This is the epicentre of the tourism in the city and gave me the freedom to walk and explore. I loved walking along the bay and taking in the contrast between the glittering new high-rises and the old Latin/Spanish legacy.
Pretty good for only 14 hours in the country, hey? I hope I get a chance to go back and see more of Panama.
So looking back with a little more gratitude, I can clearly see that I had a great summer and even one worthy of dusting off my travel blog. But let me tell you, I have higher hopes for my fall!