Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: Beachy Heaven

Yale and I loving life on Playa Hermosa in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Santa Teresa is what surf and hippie dreams are made of. It’s built up enough that you can explore a cornucopia of restaurants, bars and little nooks to hang out in, but it’s kept raw enough that the focal point is still the wild and free ocean, and during dry season, you’ll get nice and dirty from the dusty, unkept, main road. It’s relaxed enough that people from all around the world come to stay for a cheap hostel stay, but magical enough that influential and wealthy people like Giselle and Brady have a vacation home in the area. 

My baby enjoying life in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

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Family travel: my favourite baby carriers for adventuring and at-home use

Yale in the Deuter pack, while sturgeon fishing.

My favourite baby carriers and backpacks for family travel, adventuring and at-home use.

It’s no secret that travel is one my most fundamental spiritual, practical and lifestyle mainstays in life. I travel for business, and I travel for pleasure and more often than not, I travel for both. Since having a baby, not much has changed, but the main shift has been literally having a small human hanging off me at most times, as I move through the world. Because of this shift, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time sorting through ideas on what kind of baby carrying devices make sense for me, as a mother, an outdoors person and a traveller.  Below, are my top four carriers or backpacks that I find useful in different situations of motherhood and family travel, that I hope you’ll find helpful too.

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What to Pack

Old school physical book, Onnit Shroom TECH Immune and Shroom TECH Sport, are 3 of my 9 favourite items to travel with.

Beyond the obvious of my iphone and computer, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite items I travel with – always, and automatically. I’ve been experimenting my whole life on what is most effective, so you don’t have to. What to pack can sometimes make or break a trip.

I find if I have these items, then I’m set – both mentally and physically.  Some key components to enjoying your travels, whether it’s for business or pleasure are: you get enough sleep, you feel healthy and energized, you can relax or dial it in at any given time. The combination of goods listed below ensures I have tools to have all these components nailed down regardless of if I’m in the middle of no-where in an exotic newfound location, or just hanging at my parents place. Full disclosure: the first three products are from Onnit, a company that I am officially partnered with, but I can genuinely say these three products are very effective for me and even if I wasn’t partnered with the company, I’d still be purchasing them. 

What to pack…

Onnit Shroom TECH Immune. I take two capsules during breakfast on the days I travel (extra germ-y days like planes, trains, big cities etc). If I feel like my body is not at its best, I take at least two capsules every day during my travels. If I’m feeling good, I generally just prioritize taking them on the actual travel days. (This is my go-to at home as well if I feel a cold coming on. It legitimately works very well for nipping anything like that in the butt).

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Food Guide for the Windy City

Chicago. To most, a coveted city full of fascinating and powerful people – former presidents, TV and media moguls, world class athletes. To me – up until my latest visit – just another American city, often compared to Toronto, my hometown. Because of this latter bit, I have to confess I didn’t feel the curiosity I usually feel for places I don’t know much about – if it’s always being compared to my hometown city, why bother exploring it? Well, as I discovered recently, there’s a lot to be admired about the Windy City. And yes – it does remind me of the place I grew up in, but in really fantastic ways: the people are friendly, the shopping and food is world class, and it’s a relatively clean place for being such a large metropolis. We were there in the heart of the winter so our focus was on food, with a little shopping and health and wellness mixed in. Herewith, my food guide –

Shared platters at Girl and the Goat in the West Loop, Chicago.

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Whistler in the Winter: Part Two

On top of the world in Whistler!

You know a travel destination is a true gem when you can easily write not one, not two, but three blogs on the same location! I’ve written a blog on Whistler in the winter, and Whistler in the summer, but I still feel compelled to share my experiences once again as I’ve come across another round of great finds.

For a list of my favourite hotels in Whistler, see my first piece (January 2016)

If you’re looking for more of a livable space, with a kitchen and laundry, Evolution in the Creekside Village is a fantastic option. We stayed in a two bedroom, two bathroom condo. The building has two large hot tubs, a heated pool, steam room and sauna and it was never overly busy. Possibly the biggest plus to this accommodation is that it’s ski in/ski out. There’s a small grocery store in the same complex and a gas station and pizza place serving super delicious food across the street. Since it’s ski in/ski out, you won’t need to head to the main Whistler village much, but when you do, it’s only a 5 minute drive (or approximately a 45 minute walk on the Valley Trail with stunning views).

The Valley Trail connect’s all of Whistler’s neighbourhoods. So good!

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Whistler in the Spring

Big Sky Golf in Pemberton, twenty minutes outside Whistler.

The charming ski village Whistler, in British Columbia, Canada, is one of my favourite places in the world. It’s most well known for its epic winter season with its world class mountainous ski terrain, and that’s definitely my number one reason to go there. That said, it’s also become a year round destination with many attractions to suit most needs. I’ve blogged about Whistler before, but today I’m going to focus on springtime in this loveliest of towns.

Let me begin by making clear that skiing/snowboarding in Whistler in early spring is still alive and well, and can sometimes be the best time to go because the lineups disappear and the hot weather comes out to play. If you can get time off during a weekday, it’s especially glorious, as you will often come across runs that are all to yourself.

One of the many runs we had all to ourselves during our April Whistler trip.

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Ice, Ice, Baby! Iceland Top Travel Recommendations

Like many people these days, the small island country of Iceland had been on my list of places to visit for quite some time. Actually, I remember distinctly the first time it made its way on to my radar – I was in my first year of university in England and we were taking advantage of the fact that we were living in Europe to travel to a new country a few times a month. My little group of friends didn’t make it that year, but it was forever marked on my list of “must-see” locations ever since. And a must-see country it is! It is equally barren and alive, and just as magical as everyone makes it out to be.

I eventually made it to Iceland on a work trip, traveling with the Nobis team to model for their Fall/Winter 2017 campaign, in September. The weather was as you’d expect it to be – cool, wet, with sun and rainbows shining through multiple times throughout the day. As I understand it, the key to packing, basically at any time of the year, is layers. Nobis is a high quality outerwear company with the most gorgeous designs and fit, so I was well equipped. Something else to prepare you for is, it is an expensive place to be. Items both big (accommodations, guided tours) and small (groceries and transportation) are significantly and consistently more expensive than most countries. I tend to have expensive taste, but this is one of those places where even the more frugal traveler will find it hard to cut down totally on costs (we literally bought a bag of peanuts, some apples, some crackers, bottles of water and granola bars at a grocery store and it cost the equivalent of almost $150 US.) That said – it’s all worth it. If you visit, it is almost guaranteed to be a memorable trip, with some of the stunning landscapes seared in your memory for life.

One of the dozens of waterfalls we came across in our short four day trip in Iceland.

One of the dozens of waterfalls we came across in our short four day trip in Iceland.

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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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Vietnam

Vietnam is like Thailand’s slightly less cool, less popular and less experienced cousin, but with just as many good qualities that you want to hang with her too. Make sense? Let me elaborate –

Before we spent 10 days in Thailand, we spent 6 days in Vietnam and it was such a good time. Because the country as a whole is less developed than Thailand, it made for a sometimes more relaxing experience and at other times a more hectic environment. For example, you generally don’t get the crowds that you do in most places in Thailand so if you have a view of the beach, it tends to be totally secluded and “yours” = relaxing (and beautiful!!). On the other hand, because it’s less touristy, many locals don’t know english and many hotels cater to mostly locals so communication can be tricky and a little trying at times = not so relaxing. That said, it’s all good, and of course, sometimes the beauty of travel is not knowing exactly what is going on, taking it all in, and learning from it.

Gorgeous beach to ourselves = soooo relaxing.

Gorgeous beach to ourselves = soooo relaxing.

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