All posts filed under: Musings

Travel Dilemma: Heartbreaking Interactions with Southeast Asia’s Child Beggars

While begging occurs widely throughout Southeast Asia, we were struck by the prevalence of child begging in Siem Reap. Frankly, it caught us off guard. Should we help out or abstain? What were the economics behind it and what potential social repercussions would we be compounding? Being approached by a young child was alarming. She would hold your arm, look up at you with large brown eyes and say, “I no want your money, I am huuuuuungry.” Sure, she was small, as most Asian people are, but something was off. She didn’t look hungry. I needed to research this a bit further. Here’s what I uncovered online. Common Child Begging ‘Scams’ Kids are effective beggars because adults are more predisposed to giving children money. This encourages parents to put their children on the street, which is especially dangerous given that Southeast Asia is commonly acknowledged as a hotbed for human trafficking. It also encourages parents to pull kids from school and forces kids to roam the streets late at night as drunk bar patrons mill about. The …

Visiting Vimy Ridge Made Me a Better Canadian

One of the highlights of my 2014 trip to France was visiting the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. For many of us, Vimy is simply something we learn about in middle school; something we recall again during Remembrance Day ceremonies or see played out in Hollywood mini series. But you don’t have to look too far down the lineage of a Canadian family to find a relative who served in World War I. We visited on an inconspicuous Sunday in May, and we were hardly the only Canadian visitors. Our Canadian National Vimy Memorial Experience We departed Paris in the morning, arriving in Arras around 11:00 a.m. We arrived at the visitor centre by cab not more than 25 minutes later. Before the taxi left us we collected a business card from our driver which came in handy later, when we had a bilingual staffer call a cab to collect us. At the visitor centre we first signed up for the free 1 p.m. tour, then watched a short documentary and picked our way through the interpretive exhibit. Following that, we walked …

I’m a cover girl!

Just kidding, I’ve only ever had a magazine photo published on the last page and now the sixth. I’m photographed in Havana holding the Fall 2015 issue of Canadian Traveller, which of course depicts Cuba. Here is the original image, snapped by Cindy Langley.

4 Places I Never Need to Visit Again

  Overrated, litter-scattered or completely charmless; some places just aren’t my jam. Given the chance to return I’d politely decline an invitation to these four places. Battambang, Cambodia My Fodder’s guidebook sang high praise for Battambang. (I visited in mid-2012) It touted colonial charm and a glorified bamboo train. A train described as “one of the world’s all-time unique rail journeys” by Lonely Planet. By all means I had it on good authority that Battambang would be a home run. What I recall most distinctly were disappointing accommodations, a bucolic riverfront restaurant operated by the world’s least attentive proprietor (British and grass smoking – neither which I am necessarily offended by), rats the size of small raccoons scurrying around the market after dark, and under cooked peanuts offered up by a street vendor. Soggy peanuts, just imagine. Sorry, not sorry Battambang. Olympic Village, Beijing.  Yawn, even for sporting fans like us. (I can’t help but tear up when Olympians receive their medals. They’ve worked so hard.) I’m not sure what we expected but basically we were greeted by a massive …

13 Vintage Posters Travel Junkies Will Swoon For

Isn’t the Golden Age of Travel a romantic notion? A time when railways wound through even the most distant corners of the earth. Transoceanic flights were plucking wealthy travellers from the capitals of Europe to exotic places; the likes of the ‘Orient’ (a term discouraged today) and far flung Pacific islands. Step back in time and imagine the world advertised through these colourful posters – a far cry from the hyper social world we live in now. All images are courtesy of the Boston Public Library Flickr account

I Kick Myself | Things I Didn’t Do

It’s almost as if when you flashpack, backpack or travel for an extended period of time, you have a license to be the Anti-Tourist. There’s no pressure to run around like mad and see all of the necessary attractions. In my opinion, this is part of the reason that we were cavelier about some of the sights we missed.