The Green Island

Sao Miguel: this somewhat hidden gem is the largest and most populous island that makes up the archipelago known as the Azores. Part of Portugal, the island is less than a 6 hour direct flight from the east coast of North America and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who want a little culture mixed into their travels. We spent time on this beautiful island and then flew to mainland Portugal, an itinerary I suggest for a balanced, satisfying and thrilling visit.

The city centre Ponta Delgada is made up of old architecture that you’d expect in any european city, with cobblestone filled streets and small independent hotels and bakeries. I recommend taking a day to explore the city of 45,000 but the real fun in Sao Miguel is the outdoor activities throughout the entire island. We were there to shoot an episode of my travel/fishing tv show Hookin’ Up so we were well taken care of by the local tourism board, allowing us to experience a lot in a short amount of time.

One of the dozens of breathtaking lookout points on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores.

One of the dozens of breathtaking lookout points on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores.

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Mayakoba & Playa del Carmen

I love Mexico. I’ve been to three different parts of the country and I love them all for different reasons. My newest favorite location is an area just south of Cancun, called Mayakoba, which refers to a span of about 5km of resorts and beaches along the Caribbean coastline, as well as the nearest town – Playa del Carmen.

All three luxury resorts in Mayakoba are pretty exceptional – Fairmont Mayakoba (generally the cheapest of the three and the most family friendly); Banyan Tree Mayakoba and ultimately, my absolute favorite, Rosewood Mayakoba.

One of the two main pools at the Fairmont Mayakoba.

One of the two main pools at the Fairmont Mayakoba.

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The Wanderlust List of Favourite Things

I’m a lover of many things. Herewith a list of some of my favourite restaurants, bars, hotels and other establishments that have stood out while on my travels. With the purpose of keeping current, I’m only listing places that I’ve been to in the last five years but it’s probably best to do a quick online search before you actually head there. Check back often, as I’ll continue to update this list as I travel this beautiful world 🙂

NORTH AMERICA

NYC

The Manhattan Skyline, seen from the boat of Fin Chaser Charters.

The Manhattan Skyline, seen from the boat of Fin Chaser Charters.

Ma Pêche Momofuku & Milk Bar, Ma Pêche is one of David Chang’s original restaurants. Every single dish was super tasty (best to order a bunch of stuff to share). There was even a dish with food that moved! ….and Milk Bar is his dessert line. Buy a few birthday truffles to go. So good they should be illegal.

Clinton St. Baking Co., really good for breakfast/brunch. I especially loved their blueberry pancakes.

Freeman’s, in Lower East Side, down a charmingly lit alleyway. This place is kinda hipster-y, the food is good and the atmosphere is fun…it’s just a bit loud, which I didn’t mind.

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Food or Sports? BOTH can be done well in Oregon.

I went to Oregon expecting to come back with lots of memories of the beautiful landscape and outdoors activities, but what really ended up leaving an impression on me was their food scene. Don’t get me wrong, the road trip from Vancouver to Bend, and then back up north to Portland, was a gorgeous one with a variety of mountains and canyons and farmland BUT a good majority of my time was spent eating, and I was impressed.

Our weekend started out in Bend, Oregon where hipsters and outdoors people (often one and the same) roam the town in search of the best lattes and bike trails. To say the city is a popular one these days, is an understatement. It seemed at every turn there was a new townhouse complex, shopping area, restaurant district or hockey arena being built. It’s no wonder why Bend is rated as one of the best places to live in the United States. Everything is relatively easy to get to, it has some of the best hiking and biking trails, ski areas and bodies of water for fishing (Deschutes is a world class fly fishing river), as well as water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking, and there are all sorts of fun little restaurants, bars and bakeries to indulge in. Oh, and let’s not forget, it has one brewery for every 4,500 people, which means a ton of tasty craft beers to choose from.

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Bass Fishing in Japan

This month marks two years since I fulfilled a life long dream of visiting Japan. We visited a bunch of super rad iconic places like Jiro sushi (if you haven’t heard of Jiro, watch the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi) and the Shibuya ward in Tokyo and the intricate and historical temples in Kyoto. This was a family trip and we didn’t have the cameras with us, but dad and I knew we had to take advantage of our proximity to the famous Lake Biwa in the Shiba prefecture where the world record largemouth bass was caught. A few weeks before leaving for our trip, I booked a few hours with Naoya Hiramura, a Lake Biwa guide who’s site “Truth Fishing Guide Service” seemed legit enough. You never know who you’re going to end up with when you seek someone simply by googling, without any word of mouth referral, but we got lucky and Naoya was awesome.

On the day we planned to go fishing, we also planned to meet up with the others in Kyoto, which, looking back was pretty ambitious, but you have to make the most out of your travels! Dad and I took the 4am on the bullet train (and it was actually pretty full, proving that Tokyo never sleeps). By the time the sun was coming up, we were being greeted by Naoya who picked us up from the station.

The thing that struck both my dad and I the most about Naoya, was his attention to detail – and I think this is emblematic of the Japanese culture. He made sure we had everything we needed from beginning to end, and was a true pro. He even presented us with fully packaged Naoya designed lures and Naoya instructional DVD’s!

Like I said, this was a quick fishing stop so although we didn’t have time on our side, we managed to get into a few nice sized largemouth, which we caught with Naoya’s “multi stick slide”.

Dad and I with our largemouth on Lake Biwa.

Dad and I with our largemouth on Lake Biwa.

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