Episode#8- How to Start Being Minimalistic and Travel?

This has been a topic that I have been very interested in the past two months, minimalism. Minimalism is when you are able to declutter the materialistic things in your life that you barely use or don’t use at all and only own the necessities of what you need. When you look at something, you should ask your self, what value does it bring to my life?

Since traveling almost full time since August 2018, I have looked into this lifestyle and I am slowly becoming a part-time minimalist. This means that I do get rid of 60% of what I own but the 40% of the things I need and the very few things that mean something to me that I choose to have it bring value to my life.

This topic was requested by Becca, one of our listeners who wants to learn about minimalism and if it is possible to be minimalist and more specifically how to be one and travel. I am excited to share with you all about my experience and I hope it inspires you to question the value of things a little more.

 

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“Don’t Need to be In Silence and Cross your Legs to Meditate”- How Travel is a Form of Meditation and Can Help You Find Your Own Meditation

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When people think of meditation they think of sitting in silence with their eyes closed and no sound. Meditation to me is relaxing consciously and subconsciously and being aware of your body and your mind. This can be done by sitting down doing nothing, listening to great music while drawing, spending time with family and friends and talking about how you are or dancing your heart ours.

My ways of meditation are laughing, dancing to Latin music, sitting in silence and being aware of my breathing to reduce my anxiety and have a time unplugged from social media. So ask your self what is your way of meditation?

Now you know your way of meditation, time to ad the action of traveling. One of the many reasons I love traveling beside meeting people from all over the world is the temporary detachment from reality, familiar environment, and people. People feel uncomfortable and most cannot take the change. However, I see it as an opportunity to reflect on yourself, grow, learn and feel uncomfortable.

With so many amazing exciting things such as a huge project launch, changing my career over the past 4 months from a part-time interest into my career, traveling from home 1-2 weeks of the month and working from home, it has been an overwhelming change that I didn’t notice until I decided to leave Canada for a month to be with family In St. Lucia I reflect, work on my projects, enjoy the sun and nature. I have cried, I have had anxiety attacks, I have felt depressed, I have laughed, I have smiled, I have exercised, I have worked, I have eaten amazing home cook meals and I have enjoyed the outdoors including sunsets. After all that, one heals, grow and becomes more grounded in them self.IMG_4311_Facetune_22-12-2018-14-48-42

Every time I travel I learn about the country, culture and myself. It is something that no one in school, work or your family can teach you but the world itself.

Traveling, my experiences and meeting so many people has allowed me to learn my way of meditation and respect the ways of meditation for others.

I wanted to share this with you guys hoping that you are able to find a type of meditation that feels like home for you and use it to keep you sane, inspired, collected, growing and be you. I would love to hear what your ways of meditation are and if there is one that is your favorite lately.

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Cartagena- How to Get to the Walled City

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Now that I enjoyed my time in Medellin partying and enjoying the food, it was time to slow things down and head to the coast for some island vibes and nature.

We decided to take Viva Colombia on the way there and back. It cost us 306$ CDN for the round trip there and back to Medellin ( we were planning to fly back home from Medellin). We woke up that morning to find out that our flight was canceled at 9am and our check out was at 11 am. Keep in mind we have not packed our stuff yet and we are slightly freaking out considering that I need to be in Cartagena today.

After 45mins of searching every single website you could think of for a cheap flight we final found another round trip this time flying with Latam there and Viva Colombia back for 330$ CDN. We packed our bag, checked out and left our bags at reception as we walked around the city and I worked in the work space area at Selina Hostel Medellin.

Our flight was at 6:30pm so we left the city at 3:30 just to be safe with traffic and travel time to the airport. The trick is to take a taxi to Santiago mall and wait there for an airport taxi ( they are the white ones) until the taxi is filled. This is what locals do as it is cheaper and easier. You will end up paying 10,000-15 000 COP instead of 75 000+COP for your trip. So much cheaper eh?

Once we got to the airport it was close to 5:15pm. We checked in, went through security and waited for our flight. When 6:30 came along they boarded people on the plane and we were off to Cartagena.

We Arrived

Once we got there, as soon as we stepped off the plane, I could feel the heat. We made our way down to the front of the airport where a person will be where the taxies are to give you a receipt that says how much the taxi driver should charge you depending on where you are going. Make sure you get this receipts to avoid overcharges.

We then arrived to our accommodation, Selina Hostel Cartagena. This hostel was absolutely beautiful and opened only in January. Once you enter the entrance, you will see the draping vines from the ceiling, the iconic Selina hostel colourful walls and the vibrant decor that matched the ascetics seamlessly. You are able to stay in a private room or a dorm. They also have a lounge and a kitchen so you can cook your meals if you want to save on eating out all the time. The best part was the rooftop. The rooftop has a bar with a pool and a panoramic view of the city. It was everything I could ask for in a hostel. I will be doing a full review blog post soon.

That day we ended up staying the night and leaving the next day to Santa Marta.

Tips on Traveling to Cartagena

  1. Make sure you print out your boarding ticket if you are flying Viva Colombia to/from Cartagena because they will charge you and/or not let you on the plane
  2. Get a taxi receipt at the airport so you do not get overcharged
  3. Take the Taxi in Medellin from Santiago, it will save you so much money
  4. Keep an eye on your bags ( as you should anywhere you travel)

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The City of Salsa, Nightlife and Colours- One Week in Medellin

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I have been wanting to go to Colombia for as long as I could remember. After sparking my interest in South America when I lived in Brazil I had the urge to go again.

My best friend and I three months ago were hanging out when we decided that we should go somewhere. With us both loving latin food, culture and men lol, we decided that Colombia was only appropriate. Literally a week before our flight we booked our tickets as we both had busy schedules and were getting our backpacks ready to explore the great Latin culture.

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The Traveling begins…

Our travels started in Ottawa ( my hometown) and next we were off to Newark airport for a seven and a half hour layover which I was not excited for but at the same time, it meant that I could answer some-mails and get my self-ready for my vacation so I did not need to worry about work. Our flight was supposed to leave at 3:35pm with United Airlines. My friend and I were sitting at the airport in a cafe at 3:45pm and still there was no announcement or status of our flight.

We then decided to check and see what was going on. When we checked the screen at almost 4pm our flight was delayed to 5:50pm. Like I did not stay in an airport enough, they decided to delay our trip. The only problem is that we were supposed to catch a connecting flight in Panama to Medellin for 10pm and with the flight being almost two hours delayed we would miss our flight.

We found the United airline customer service booth to find out that our flight was the last one out to Colombia and we would have to take the first one out. We were able to grab seats and the gentleman said that they would let Copa airlines know ( the airline we were flying from Panama to Medellin) that we were running late. We finally got on our flight and yes it was even more delayed as we left pass 6p. As I usually do, I slept on the plan most of the flight and we ended up getting there at 9:50pm. The piolet informed us for those who are on the flight to Medellin with Copa Airlines will make the flight as they told them to wait for us. We got off the flight and about 15 other people who were also taking that flight ran to the gate. Once we got to the gate, they refused to let us on. The plane was still there yet the doors were closed. We all complained and yet they refused to let us on the plane. We were able to complain enough to get a free stay at The Westin Hotel in Panama, dinner that night and transportation from and to the airport. At the end of it, we ended up complaining as we were not impressed with the customer service.

We arrived in Medellin

We ended up on our flight at 9am and we arrived there at 10:15. My friend and I were lucky to bound through our stressful trip with a couple who were going to Medellin for a wedding and the wife was actually from Medellin and moved to New York four years ago. They were so lovely and gratefully offered us a ride to the main city.

Once we got there, the city was bustling and crazy. Motorcycles nearly close enough to scape your car and people drive with no intention of using the lanes but rather making their own. It was exhilarating and such an awesome experience.

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Once we got to the main mall, Anna ( the lovely women we meet on our flight) showed us where to take our flight and the in’s and out’s as a tourist so we did not fall into any tourist traps. Our taxi ride to our hostel, Selina Medellin Hostel was short as it was only a 10-15min drive from Santiago mall. Once we got there I was in disbelief because firstly we have been on the road for over 24 hours and secondly the hostel was stunning. There was a workspace for normads, play space where you can play pool, have food and drinks, a cafe, kitchen to cook your meals and it was located right in the center of Medellin city where all the best restaurants and nightlife was. This was perfect for us as we saved so much on transportation and could walk everywhere.

We settle in our hostel explored and made it our mission to walk around the city. We went to Mungos which is probably not the best place to get Colombia food as it is a chain but that was our first bite of Colombia food. for a traditional meal with avocado, banana, rice, plantain, beans, pork, and arapas it came to about 10$( with the water $12). That price also includes tip ( all places will add a tip to your bill so you will not have to worry about it). So it was a great price. We then walked all over the city for the day and headed back to the hostel to get some rest.

What did you do in Medellin?

To be honest, Medellin is probably the one place we went to that we just took it easy and spent most of our time talking to locals and socializing. That being said we were still able to do a lot:

  1. Guatape- this is the colorful city that you see all over your Instagram feed. It is beautiful and you can go to local stores with hand crafted crafts, see the church and just get lost in the city. We were supposed to do the hike but we got there way to late. I would suggest going there before 11am because the fog rolls in and you will not get to see a great view or take pretty pictures.
  2. Sanchos- this is an amazing meal that I loved. it was a soup and you can choose to have it which chicken or fish and it is served with a side of rice, avocado and banana. It was amazing! You will find this meal for only $6 including tip. I was able to have the best one in Guatape at a local restaurant ( there are many amazing local restaurants. We ended up asking the locals where to go)
  3. Make friends with locals- especially when you are in a hostel, it can be difficult to socialize with locals as travelers are surrounding you. I suggest brushing on some basic Spanish and trying to talk to locals as such as possible. Our most memorable memories were when we were with locals and to be honest they were the main people we talked to and became friends with on the whole trip. You will have a whole new experience that cannot be found at your hostel.
  4. Nightlife- The nightlife here is unreal. Most places do not have a cover but if you so end up paying you are looking at 20,000 COP ( 12$) for cover. If you go to an after-hours club ( usually they are from 4-7am ( sometimes later) you are looking at triple that cost, 60,000 COP and the drinks are even more expensive. The place we went to is Skybar. There was a perfect mix of locals and travelers. Another great place to look at are the salsa Discoteca all along the main road in Pabaldo. If you really want local dancing you can go there.

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What do I wish I did but did not have time to do?

  1. Parque Explora- if you want to look at the botanical garden which is right next to it and take nice travel pictures this is the place. You can also learn about the technology of Colombia and their history as well. A lot of locals recommended it to us but it was near the end of our stay in Medellin.
  2. Botanical Garden- Like I mentioned a pretty place to go for a walk
  3. Comuna 13- great way to see the history and the hardships of Colombia in a form of art. I would recommend going with a group to be safe and go in the morning as this neighborhood is still a bit unsafe.
  4. Escobar tour- I really wanted to do this but again to much time socializing with he locals. If you go to Guatape you can do a full tour and go to one of Escobar’s many homes.

Before you knew it, it was time for us to go to the other city and there was still so much left to discover. I would definitely go again and explore Medellin and I am thinking of going back this September to see more of the south and possibly meet up with some new friends I made along the way.

Travel 2018- What’s Next?

A lot of you chicas have been asking me where will I go next and how often I will be traveling. As mentioned before, I am going through a lot of life changes this year. Nice living space at the end of summer and beginning of fall, going after my dream career and working on my self. I am making traveling my top 5 priority for this year to help me grow as a person, experience things outside or my comfort zone and meet new people from all walks of life.

There are so many different places to travel too, however, I have decided on a few places I would love to travel to this year:

LA

The city of sun, hipsters, beach, and sand. All the things I love and more. I have never been to California and with Coachella coming up soon, I would love to attend. I will be going with a couple of my girls most likely in April for a week. I am excited to check out the food scene, collab with other creators and check out some warehouses for a project that I am working on for you loves ( I am so excited to share it with you guys when I can).

Indonesia

Bali is everywhere and literally half of the Instagram feed. I have always wanted to go to Indonesia, more specifically Udub and Bali for years. Spirituality and wellness is a huge part of my life. I would love to do a ‘self-love/ healing’ retreat in Udub and explore the vegan food, beaches and find some great content creators to connect with. I also would love to go hiking and check out the waterfalls there as I am a huge nature lover. I am hoping to go either in Spring of September this year. All depends on California.

Thailand

Fitting perfectly with Indonesia, I would love to check out Thailand. The food, culture, beaches, hiking, elephant sanctuary, snorkeling, go on a tuk-tuk, enjoying the nightlife and enjoy the amazing weather. I have friends and family who have gone to Thailand and loved it. Some had great personal growth experiences other just left a part of their heart in the country because they love it so much. I am so excited to experience all of that and more. Again, the spiritual beings that are here, the amount of travelers you will meet from all over the world is endless and to understand the culture and the people from Thailand is something I am looking forward to.

Colombia

The country of salsa and such rich culture. If you haven’t found out already, I love Latin culture. The language, food, people, music, dancing, everything! I would love to check out the nightlife in Medline, go to all the lovely beaches in Cartenga and check out the local artist, history and walk the streets of Bogata. I also love how Colombia has such a rich soccer community and would love to witness watching a live soccer game in the stadium and then celebrate it like a true Colombian at a bar or street party.

Brazil

Yes, I have been here before and yes I talk about this place every day all day! It is such a huge country with each city being so different you could have sworn you went to a new country. I would love to travel the northern cities of Brazil as I only lived and explored the south parts. Rio de Janerio, Sao Paulo, Salvador and more. I am excited to see the difference of history and culture compared to the south which is very European. Also, I love the language and want to practice my Portuguese and miss the people as well.

Spain

Another place that I have traveled too, however, I honestly only spent three days in Barcelona and did not even get to see the city and the country. I would love to go back to Barcelona. I did not see much of it. I would want to check out the nightlife, go Sangreda Familia, check out the markets, museums and just enjoy the people and the culture. I would also in all honestly would love to be a beach bum and relax on the beach all day. A few other cities I would love to go to is Madrid, Seville and Valencia.

Amsterdam

Now let’s get real here I will probably gain a few pounds because of all the great food such as fries and Belgium waffles however what I really want to explore is the fashion. Amsterdam is a huge fashion hub that I honestly do not give people from Amsterdam enough credit. I love how effortlessly fashionable everyone looks there. I would love the rade the vintage shops and bike around the city.

South Africa

As you know I love my wine. A lot of my favorite wines are from South Africa and my dream would be to go wine tasting there. I would also love to check out a great hipster cafe, go hiking, lay on the most beautiful beaches in the world, find some cute penguins, go on a safari and check out the museums. Those are just some of the many things South Africa has to offer. I wouldn’t even mind living there for abit over the winter for a month or two however with the daught going on we will see.

Germany

I have always dreamed to go to October fest, dress up traditionally and just immerse myself in the culture. Why not right. Germany is another fashion hub and I was always fascinated at how advance their economy is compared to many countries in the world. I am loking forward to also eating lots of sasuage and tasting local beers of course.

South of Portugal- Beach, Sand and Sun

As our trip to Porto came to an end, we were ready to start a new adventure. We ended up meeting some great travelers, one from Russia and the other from New Zealand that happened to have the same travel plans as us as we decided to do a road trip along the south of Portugal with them while making reservations for an Airbnb to share.

We flew out of Porto later that night at 7pm. We were flying with Ryanair and with cheap flights comes not the best service. Turns out our flight was delayed by almost two hours. We were tired and annoyed but finally, we ended up being on our way and making our way to Faro, the main city of the south.

By the time we ended up arriving in Faro it was almost 1 am. We decided to get a Uber driver and the ride to the hostel we ended up staying at for the night before we ventured out on our road trip with the boys was on 10 minutes away from the airport. We stayed at the 1878 Hostel. It was like staying a hostel that was haunted. The old fixtures and french wared outdoors gave a ire vibe to the hostel. It was clean (enough), free breakfast, wifi, and close to the centre town.

The next morning we checked out of the hostel by 11am and left for the road trip to Albufeira at 2pm. It was only an hour to get there so really close. Once we got there we decided to find parking and check in to our Airbnb. Our Airbnb had the backyard of the beach, was in the center of Albufeira, two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchenette and a living room. It was all we need to make ourselves feel at home in Albufeira. This Airbnb for the 2 nights was 50$/ per person. Such a great value and such a great place.

We went to the beach for the rest of the afternoon and finished the day with sangria and homemade pasta.

For the rest of the two days we honestly just went to the beach, I went for a run in the morning, we ate great food and had wine. It was a break from the big cities of Portugal. I think most of us were tired out and needed a beach bum destination to recover.

We ended the other two days of our trip at Faro beach which is a secluded island that has an amazing beach. Be warned the waves are strong here but the beach is big enough and not as populated to have your own private area. There are little beach shacks along the beach. Again it is a little pricey so I suggest getting food off the island first and cooking at an Airbnb.

I really like the beach, surfer vibes I got from this location. I will say it is more expensive here as it is mainly targeted to tourists. So I suggest buying food at the grocery store and making most of your meals. It will save you in the long run. I also suggest renting a car even if it is only for a couple days as the south is so small and you can drive from one end to another in two hours. There are toll highways but you can avoid them by taking the back route and making sure you select the no toll highway option on your GPS. Besides those tips, I would go to the south in a heartbeat. I was able to self-reflect from my reality for a bit and enjoy the nature of the ocean.

Portugal’s Big Apple- Lisbon

I have been planning to go on this trip for a good year now and I finally got to go after many months of researching, planning and booking accommodation and flights. I have been and lived in Brazil in the past as well as traveled other countries in South america and wanted to see the difference in culture and history in Europe.

Getting There

I started my adventure with a 13 hour flight with West Jet, Ottawa to Toronto, Toronto to Porta Delgra, Porto Delgra to Lisbon. This waslong day and by the time I got to Lisbon I was ready to head to my Hostel. I spent $407 with tax (one way) for my flight and I booked my flight two anda half months in advance. This was definitely a great deal considering the price went up to almost $600 by September.

Checking In

When I got to Lisbon I got a little lost with all the narrow streets however finally found myself to Living Lounge Lisbon. This hostel was clean, very homey and just comfortable. I slept in a 8 bedroom mixed dorm for $23 a night which is such a good price. They had three floors of accommodation, a living area, laundry services, free breakfast, countless tours, great staff and three course traditional Portuguese meal every night for only 10 euros ( which is amazing). May I add all you can have wine 😉 The hostel was .5km away from the center so we were literally in the middle of the city which was great and made it cost efficient for transportation as we walked most places.

Checking out the City

Where do i start. I started on the first day participating in a free walking tour hosted by the hostel ( at the end of the tour you pay by tips)  for two hours where we got to see the main attractions by foot, got to visit a great Portuguese bakery, learned all the tourist traps and the history of what makes Lisbon what it is today. 

We then were on a hunt to find amazing Portuguese dinner and we were guaranteed to find a restaurant full of locals which we did in a small narrow road with an outside patio. We sat down as my friend and I shared a traditional Portuguese meal of cod fish and sardines with potatoes and salad on the side. These two dises was only 12 euro together( about $24) which is amazing. We then had to get a nice cold 1.5 liter jug of white wine to share for one 2.75 euros. May I just say we hit jackpot with this one?

After a long day of walking all over the city and have a delicious meal we decided to have a nap at the hostel before we had dinner and headed out to check oout what was in store for Lisbon. 

We ended up having a Portuguese rice a seafood dish with a Portuguese vegetable soup along with a coconut cake with ice cream for dessert ( and of course some white wine). Then we were ready to check out what Lisbon had to offer at night.

We stumbled across a local Jazz and traditional music called Fado performance that was amazing in the center square of Lisbon. I was in awe with the talent that Portugal had to bring in the music scene. After an hour and a half we decided to head to a underground bar with locals and travelers from all across the world where they served beers for only 1 euro. With a cold local lager and connecting with people all across the global while hearing their stories reminded me why I love to travel.

The next few days happen so quickly:

  • We ended up trying Gijinha which a sweet liqueur that is poured in a cup made out of chocolate. If you have a sweet tooth you will love this treat
  • I had Pastel de Natal probably every day with an espresso for lunch which is a small custard tart that is nothing but heavenly.
  • We went to Sintra for a day which was amazing. I wish I had more time in the city. It is 45 minutes away from Lisbon and you can get there by train. I suggest not doing a tour to save you more money and buying the train ticket your self. Before you go there choose what you would like to do as Sintra has endless sights to offer. If you like castles, nature, gardens, history and cute village looking cities you will love Sintra
  • I watched the sunset over looking the city. This sis a must as I try to see the sunset in every city I travel. Sunsets are so magical
  • Last night we went out to the pink street which historically was where all the soldiers used to celebrate with their friends and partners after the war was done by going out and enjoying the nightlife. We decided to celebrate the pink street in the modern days on our last night and be warned that the Portuguese know how to party. It is a fun time just remember to be fun and go with at least one other person as it can get really busy especially on a weekend night.

Those were all the main highlights of my trip over the course of the four nights in Lisbon. Overall, Lisbon was honestly a treat to experience.

Budget

Here is what I would recommend budget wise based on my experience. I was staying at hostels in this city, eating out once a day sometimes twice a day at mid range cost places and I did not spend on souvenirs only experiences. This price can reduce by eating out less:

  • Accommodation- $20-35 a day
  • Food- $30 a day
  • Spending money – $15 a day
  • Total a day- 65-75$ a day

Out of all the places I have been, for Europe it is definitely one of the cheaper places to go. So any one that are on a budget Portugal will definitely give you the European experience without damaging your wallet. The food is amazing, the people are great, there is a lot of history for those who are into that and you will never get bored in Lisbon as there is something for everyone. I am planning to come back to Lisbon soon and I hope you can visit this amazing Portuguese treasure soon as well.