Part 2: Mountains, Mountains, Mountains!

Hi Everyone!

Its part 2 of our Travel Western Canada series, and today I’m going to talk about travelling in Alberta!

For the most part if you aren’t camping and travelling through Alberta, you’re visiting the mountains. Luckily Alberta is chocked full of beautiful national parks that contain a plethora of serene mountain views (see below).

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(ooh ahhh)

Park 1. Banff National Park

Probably the most well known national park in Alberta, it boasts lovely mountain views and (I believe) is the oldest national park in Canada. I used to go to Banff all the time as a child, and my dad would often have conferences or business trips that my brother and I could tag along.

On one memorable trip to Banff I was staying the week with my dad while he attended a conference and low and behold it rained the whole week and we got trapped in Banff for a few extra days (not too shabby). The whole town was on doomsday alert, the grocery shelves were bare, and the river was raging!

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Now a days Banff doesn’t call to me as much as it used too, it is often overpriced, full of tourists, and just generally commercialized. If you’ve never been it’s worth the visit, but keep in mind these next two parks (and bring yours patience if you do decide to visit)!

Park 2. Jasper National Park

The less touristy version of Banff; known for its amazing mountains, vibing LGBTQ+ pride scene, and serious snowboard scene. Recently this has been my families go to mountain vacation, as well as my boyfriend and I’s favourite place to spend reading week.

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Jasper is MUCH more laid back, if you don’t go during the summer months, many of the stores and restaurants are actually closed during the off season, so fair warning a head of time. Last time I visited my boyfriend and I stayed in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. I have never stayed in a Fairmont before and I was over the moon to have the opportunity. We had an adorable little cabin room, and seriously the price was worth it for the pool (and its views) alone.

Park 3. Waterton Lakes National Park

This park is a new discovery for me, I have only been once (last year), and I was blown away! Located in the southern part of Alberta this park also contains beautiful mountain views and as with all these national parks – a lot of hiking trails. Similar to Jasper, most of the restaurants and stores are only open seasonally so first time visits are perhaps better kept to summer months!

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As a bonus visit Albert sight, on the way to Waterton you can stop at Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, an archaeological sight that was used by indigenous peoples in the past to kill a large number of buffalo. It is seriously super cool and so worth it!

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That’s all for now!

Happy Travels

Kathleen

Travelling with Family

Hi everyone! It’s time for another Travel Tuesday! These are seriously my favourite posts to make, and today is no exception. This Friday I will be travelling to Portugal with my family, and so today I would like to lay out some tips and tricks for travelling with the fam.

Now I am pretty lucky in the way that I get along (for the most part) with most of my family, and especially my immediate family. The people partaking on this adventure will be both of my parents, my younger (by two years) brother, and my grandpa on my mother’s side. Now none of us have travelled with this grandpa, and he has never been out of the country, so he is kind of the wild card of the upcoming trip. None of us know if he is going to freak out or be completely chill, so that should be something fun to look forward to.

As I mentioned earlier I get along with my immediate family, so these tips are not going to talk about surviving family you don’t like (that’s a whole other can of worms). However I would like to share my top three tips to make travelling with your fam easier!

Tip 1. Pack some Snacks!

Now of course this is country dependent (and diet dependent), but most places will have some convenient, already wrapped, snacks to pack in your bag. The reason this is tip numero uno is because I don’t live at home anymore, so I know that my eating habits are not in line with my families. I am also someone who gets VERY hangry, and I think we all know the more people in a group trying to pick a restaurant the LONGER it takes and the more frustrated I know my mother gets when I get hangry.

I’m taking two “gomacro” bars with me – both to keep my hanger at bay, but to also provide myself with some vegan options (you never know if your dad managed to sign you up for a veg meal on the plane or not). So this is the second part to this tip! If you have dietary restrictions (GF, Paleo, Vegan, whatever!) bringing some of your fave pre-packaged snacks and help to lower the group frustration and give you some tasty options (there is nothing I hate more than people obsessing over whether I have enough options)

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Tip 2. Lower your expectations

Now this tip is not to say “Give up all the fun things you want to do”, it’s more so that you should be more flexible. Everyone has a certain expectation of what the trip is going to be, some more rigid than others, and you can only benefit the trip by allowing yourself to be the flexible one. Your family wants to get up at 8 and go to the beach when you want to sleep? You can sleep on beaches. Getting dragged to a million museums? Try and make a game out of how many of a certain thing you can count, or talk to your family members and make up histories for the object. That way when it comes down to the important things you want to do, your family will have seen that you can give and take and they are more likely to give!

Tip 3. Bond!!

Seriously family trips are such an opportunity to bond with family members. Last year my brother and I talked for hours after my parents went to bed, pack some card games (seriously a deck of cards takes up no space!) and stock up on easy games to play! Ask your parents about how they met, what was their favourite job when they were younger, favourite pet- anything! Now’s the time to make memories!

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(the Bro and I)

Happy Travels!

Kathleen

(p.s any Portugal people out there got any cool suggestions? leave them in the comments below!)

Road-Tripping

Hi everyone, it’s the middle of the week (and it’s starting to feel like spring) and I know most of us are thinking about getting out of town. Today I’d like to talk about a type of travelling – road trips! I am pretty used to going on road trips, my family and I used to do two-week road trips every summer when I was young and so now I definitely have a soft spot for hitting the road. There is something so intriguing about travelling across the province (or country) and seeing all the nooks and crannies the space has to offer.

Last year I did two road trips; the first was a road trip across Canada and the U.S with one of my closest friends, and the second was to the west coast with my boyfriend. The first road trip was long, two weeks worth of driving across Canada and the United States to a music festival. I drove the whole way and all I can say is driving through Chicago was the craziest driving I’ve ever experienced.

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(Geographic centre of North America in Rugby, North Dakota)

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(Somewhere in the middle of Manitoba)

The second road trip was much smaller, just short of a week, and I didn’t drive any of it. It was my boyfriend and I’s first trip together and it went great!

All I can say about road trips is to be prepared to spend lots of time in the car (uh duh). I think lots of people romanticize road trips but in reality there is usually a lot of travel time in relation to visiting the place your heading to. Pack lots of snacks, get the tunes going, and strike up an amazing conversation! I felt so close to my friend and boyfriend after these trips because you can cover all manner of conversations. Also pro tip, download some good podcasts because music can become a little monotonous (Serial is a great one). If you don’t have access to an auxiliary hookup try listening to talk radio. There are usually some pretty great radio stations bursting with Canadian stories to tell.

Got any great road trip stories? Let me know I’d love to hear them!

That’s all for now! Happy Driving

K