Uncategorized

Watch out for wolves

‘Wolf warning in effect’, read the poster at the start of the Rainforest trail we were about to walk. Supposedly, there was a pact of wolves active in the area, which had shown bold behaviour towards people and dogs. There had been a number of recent attacks and therefore we were given advise on how to act if we were to come eye to eye with a wolf (or wolves!).  Most importantly, we were told to keep the ‘eye-to-eye’ contact  – to not turn around, let alone run away! Then, to step backwards while spreading out our arms to look larger and let the wolves know who is boss by speaking to them in a loud, impressive voice… something I simply didn’t see myself pulling off. If the wolves would approach us despite these precautions, we were meant to throw sticks and stones at them. The last sentence of the warning poster gave me no peace of mind either: ‘If all else fails, then fight!’.
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Canada

(Killer) Whale watching on Vancouver Island, Ca.

We woke up early to make our way to Telegraph Cove, a port town on the northern part of Vancouver Island. Here, a boat was waiting for us to take us out on the ocean for a couple of hours. Ever since watching Free Willy, it had been my dream to sail the waters that killer whales call home. The tour guides, who were all marine biologists and researchers, welcomed us and told us what to expect from the upcoming trip. To create more realistic expectations, they explained that there had been no sightings of orcas for a while now, but that we were likely to spot some sea lions and dolphins. I was worried, as this would be our one and only chance to see orcas – we would soon leave Victoria Island and travel away from the coast, deeper into British Columbia. Then, just ten minutes after the boat’s departure, the captain received a signal from one of the fishing boats out on the ocean…
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Brazil

Brazil, chapter 2: lost in the jungle.

Sana is known for being a hippie town in the middle of waterfalls, wildlife and spectacular natural sights. It is located in the mountains of Casimiro de Abreu, about 1.5 hours away from our place in Buzios. At eight in the morning, we were packed and ready to go hiking there for the day, explore the countryside of Brazil and bath in natural pools. We were waiting excitingly outside of our apartment for the tour guide to pick us up.

However, at 8.15 there was still no sight of our tour guide. This wasn’t the first time that someone showed up late during our time in Buzios and my mum assured me that it was just a matter of ‘Brazilian timing’, nothing to be worried about. Secretly I was quite concerned that something had gone wrong with the booking, especially when at 8.30 there was still no tour guide around… Right when we thought it was acceptable to phone up the tourist office without coming across as neurotic Europeans, a car stopped in front of us. A man in a bright pink shirt greeted us and introduced himself as Juliano. It turned out we had a private-chauffeur who would be our guide for the rest of the day!

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Brazil, Uncategorized

Brazil, chapter 1: cultural differences.

Many of you probably know the concept of home-exchanges through the movie ‘The Holiday’, where Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz decide to swap places: a little cottage in England for a mansion in the USA. This movie happens to be my favourite feel-good movie of all time, and it’s the way my mum and I have been traveling for many years. I love to explore the world by exchanging homes, because you get to ‘live’ somewhere and feel less like a tourist, save a lot of money and often get really great insider tips as a nice bonus! Among many places, we have stayed in a massive house  in San Francisco of a former Harvard University law student, a gay couple’s flat in New York, and a large farm in England. Now, we are in Brazil for the next 2.5 weeks living in a house with a swimming pool at a peninsula’s coastline.

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Canada, The Netherlands

The things I miss about Europe while living in Canada + giveaway contest!

I always knew that one day or another, I would move to Canada. When I was as young as 4 years of age- or I should better say as far as my memory goes back – I remember telling everyone over and over again that I would one day live in this country. Six months ago, at the age of 22, I finally went and did it: I made the move to Montréal together with my boyfriend. My time here has been a wonderful experience and absolutely met my expectations (see, the 10 things I will miss most about living in Montreal). However, I have also missed Europe and started to appreciate certain things about it more. In this blog, I will name a few of these things. Also, in this blog post I am holding my first giveaway contest! More info about this at the bottom of the page.

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Boston, Canada, North Hero, quebec, Uncategorized, Vermont

The 10 things I will miss most about living in Montréal

In less than a month, I will be returning to my home country, the Netherlands. Therefore, this is a recap of the 10 things I will miss the most about living in Montréal.

10) My favourite hotspot: the anti-café. This is a place where you pay per minute, rather than per drink. What this means is that you pay 3 dollars for the first hour you are there, and 2 dollars for the following hours (with a maximum of 9$). Basically, during your time at this cafe you can consume as many cups of tea and coffee as you would like, in addition to unlimited cookies and snacks. If you know me, you know that I drink a crazy amount of tea every day and that I hope to have a huge tea corner in my future dream house. Therefore, this place completely suits me.

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North Hero, United States, Vermont

A secret spot in Vermont: North Hero.

My favorite thing about traveling? Serendipity. The moment that you just start driving without a plan and stumble onto something wonderful.  Specifically in America, driving around looking at the beautiful scenery and the houses that you’ve only seen in film settings, is something I love to do; and more often than not, you will find a nice local place to eat that tourists don’t know about. My mother and I discovered North Hero by accident, a small place in the state of Vermont.

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Boston, Harvard University, Uncategorized

Visiting the prestigious Harvard University.

My boyfriend and I visited Boston a while back, and of course, being in Boston one cannot miss out on visiting America’s first institution of higher education: Harvard University, where we took a 2-hour walking tour around the prestigious campus. Visiting Harvard really interested me, as I was very aware of the fact that Harvard is ranked as the best university in the world and has been the home of many of history’s important individuals, from US presidents to the founder of Facebook. To go back to university, specifically the idea of studying among the intellectual elite of the world, is something I very much desire. Unfortunately, for many of us, Harvard is but a dream.

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Canada, The Netherlands, Uncategorized, United States

Big Brothers Big Sisters ‐ Big Achievements

A few months ago, I moved to Canada to do an internship for an organisation called Big Brothers Big Sisters. Many people have asked me what BBBS is about, and my answer usually was `We provide children with a positive role-model. ` However, I wasn`t fully aware of either the meaning or importance of this at the time nor of the actual role of a mentor. What does `being a Big Brother or Sister` entail? How do they make a difference? Over time, I have learned a lot about the positive effects our volunteers have on the children in our programmes. Mentoring has not only helped children, but has helped their parents as well. Additionally, many volunteers feel that they have benefitted from the experience themselves too. Let me tell you more about the insights I have gained from my time at BBBS.

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Canada, quebec

Indian Summer (Montmorency falls)

Today was quite possibly the most beautiful day of my life in terms of natural scenery. My boyfriend and I visited the Montmorency Falls just outside of Old Quebec City to get a taste of the Indian Summer. Not all the trees had turned red yet, however, it was the perfect time to see the transition in colours between the seasons. The forest was filled with different shades of green, yellow, orange and red. This blog is full of pictures, my favorite one being the one above… as green fades into yellow fades into red.

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