Doing The Things 2017: Goin’ Places

It’s no secret that – if I have the time and funds – I enjoy travelling.

Last March, I visited Cuba (just after about-to-be-former President Obama, but around the time of the big Rolling Stones concert in Havana), touring the central part of the island with a small group.

Despite the crappy trip manager in charge of our group, it was a fun experience, and I appreciated both Havana and the smaller towns I had the privilege imag0897.jpgof visiting.

My next trip wasn’t until November, when I spent a weekend in Montreal – with a huge group of people I knew – for a friend’s birthday.

I’d been a couple of times before, but this time was different. It was my first time visiting Montreal in the fall. And we arrived the day after folks learned that Leonard Cohen died, so you could just sense the mood in the crisp November air.

It had been 13 years since my last visit,  but this felt like the first time that I actually walked around and took in my surroundings.

Which brings me to right now.

For the last couple of years or so, I always want my ideal travel intentions to be trips that take me out of the city, out of the province, and out of the country (not necessarily on the same trip).

So, I’m getting off to a running start in 2017.

On Friday, while events unfold south of the border, a group of friends and I are hot-footing it to Montreal.

Yes, I was just there. But months before my friend’s birthday plans – at my last birthday – I had already decided I’d be celebrating my 40th birthday differently.

Admittedly, I’ve found the whole planning/reserving process for accommodations and restaurants stressful. I’m used to organizing travel plans for myself. But I hope from here on in, it’ll be fun and easy.

Then about three weeks after that, I’ll be headed to Asia for a two-week tour. And by “Asia”, I only mean one country, which I’ll reveal later. But it’s somewhere that’s been on my travel list for at least 15 years. Let’s see how I handle finally being there.

As for my out-of-town adventure? We’ll see what the year brings. I’d love to check out an area like Prince Edward County, but where I’ll end up is anyone’s guess.

What are your travel plans for 2017? Will you be staying local? Are you knocking any destinations off your “to-go” list? Planning any road trips? I’d love to hear what you’ve got in the works!

**Photos posted above are mine. Please don’t use without permission.




My Camping List

Summer’s almost here.

But camping season has already arrived. (Did it ever leave?)

Straight up: I’m not a roughing-it-in-the-woods-and-portage kind of woman. More like the occasional, every-other-year, borrow-a-tent-and-chill-car-camper type.

But when I get a chance to go, I do get into it.

I like the fact there are so many campgrounds and conservation authorities with camping areas within a one-to-two-hour drive from Toronto.

But at some point – not necessarily this summer – I’d love to attempt trips to the following sites (both national and provincial):

Point Pelee National Park. My number one future camping destination – with a bullet.

Why? First off, it’s the southern most point in Canada.

There are lush forests, close to 400 species of birds, and butterflies (which holds a quirky, if special place in my heart) – all on this parcel of land.

It would just be cool to hike or bike around, taking in the lovely scenery. And there are also shuttles that take you to the very tip of Pelee.

If I understand correctly, you can’t technically camp at Point Pelee; there are campgrounds in nearby Leamington. But it’s still close enough to get to the Park to explore.

Algonquin Provincial Park. I kind of feel as if it’s a pilgrimage that campers make at least once in their lifetime. And when I think of camping, this is the park that – for me – is synonymous with camping in Ontario.

This park is MASSIVE. And I like the fact there are activities and accommodations for all kinds of visitors – campgrounds for car campers, enthusiasts who prefer to  “rough it” – even cabins for visitors who don’t like roasting marshmallows and getting a little dirty.  You can even rent a yurt, if you’re so inclined!

Obviously, there are campgrounds within the park that are open all year round.

Tobermory/Bruce Peninsula National Park. One of my close friends camped at Tobermory with a bunch of her friends a bunch of years ago. The two things I remembered from her re-telling of the trip there:

(1) It’s a beautiful area.

(2) The weekend they went, there was a massive rainstorm. (Was there a thunderstorm, too? I don’t recall. Refresh my memory.)

Now, I’ve been southwest to the Pinery, along the shores of Lake Huron. But never as far north as the Bruce Peninsula or Georgian Bay. And from the looks of some of the images I’ve seen online, it just looks absolutely stunning, and so majestic it’s almost a bit overwhelming.

Unfortunately I’m not much of a swimmer, so I probably couldn’t enjoy the clear waters as much as someone who swims like a fish. But I can certainly appreciate the beauty just the same. And there are lots of other things to do and see in the area, whether it’s hiking or checking out some of the caves.

Aaaand it’s part of a UNESCO World Biosphere. That’s pretty special.

And even if I didn’t make it to the national park, any park or campground would do – the entire area looks beautiful.

Sandbanks Provincial Park. I’ve had friends who’ve camped at this park in Picton, Ontario, and they’ve had good things to say. Plus, it’s obviously not as far as Algonquin or Pelee.

The main attraction for me to this park – as for anyone – would be the beaches. And taking a bike ride along the sand dunes, or just lounging on the beach, just sounds lovely and relaxing.

Of course, there are many, many other campgrounds and parks that campers hold dear, that I haven’t mentioned.

I’d love to hear about other campgrounds/parks in Ontario that are worth visiting. If you’ve got a recommendation/suggestion, please leave ’em in the comments!