lilmissplanet http://www.lilmissplanet.com ...two feet and a heartbeat will show you the world... Thu, 06 Feb 2014 06:52:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.14 I’m that girl… the one who travels http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2014/02/06/im-that-girl/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2014/02/06/im-that-girl/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 05:37:15 +0000 http://www.lilmissplanet.com/?p=1271 I’m that girl…

At least I was that girl, and some people still seem to think of me as her.

 

The one that travels, apparently, or at least so my Facebook friends tell me anytime there’s an article titled “Date a Girl who Travels“, or something along the lines of Dating a Guy who Travels or not dating a girl who travels (make up your mind people). When these posts go viral I get anywhere from 25-40 private messages with links to the articles telling me how the article reminds the reader of me.

 

Truth be told I have been there, I was the girl who took off for months on end to various corners of the earth, ending up back in Toronto only to bartend for a few months or long enough to fund my next escape.

I’ve travelled solo to over 50 countries for the better half of the last two decades.

 

Yes there’s glamour and romance in it, being a single traveler and without worries or responsibilities is amazing, there’s that whole wind in your unkempt hair stuff, plus the fact that if you don’t like a situation or place you are you can simply hitch a ride, get on a bus and leave. The liberation of being comfortable in solitude and happy alone with your own thoughts is an amazing feeling to have; I think yogis call it enlightenment or something?

 

However, there’s more a nomadic lifestyle than the articles let on, despite the sun kissed hair, permanently bronzed skin and collection of selfies across the world, there is also heartache, heartbreak, and a false sense of reality.

The romance that these articles allude to is real, though sometimes only temporarily, forging relationships and bonds with people in a heightened environment where you’re convinced you have met your soul mate… it’s not everyday you go sky diving over the Namib desert with someone, kayak down the Nile, jump off a bridge in South Africa, dive the Andaman, or ride the Yungus trail. These amazing experiences are full of adrenaline and when your heart is pumping that fast it’s quite easy to mistake the eye contact as a shared intimate moment and I dare ANYONE in that situation not try to think it’s fate. Yes there’s love on the road, and romance, and simply fun but at the end of the day when you arrive back to home or wherever you’re permanently based you’re stuck with a reality check and culture shock that easily equates depression.

 

Love is love, and everyone falls differently. I did fall hard, honestly and with my entire being when met my boyfriend (and current travel partner) at an airport in Dubrovnik, however what the articles fail to mention or simply overlook is that for every soul mate one meets, there are a good 5 or 6 travelling heartbreaks along the way. Separations at airports where one is heading to a different continent, people you meet admiring the ancient wonders who go back to work while you still have 5 months of travel holding on to a shared night of laughter along a river or a stolen glance somewhere in a mosque. Travel is beautiful, travelling relationships are great but there is so much more to the stories.

 

There are the people who fall for you and then don’t trust you because they deem you to be a flight risk, the ones who you meet travelling who change your life, while they go back to their own routine back home, and sometimes even their own old girlfriends. There’s the Casanovas who promise you the world upon your return and are so overwhelmed by their love for you and your free spirit that they literally suggest a life together when you are done your travels even though you’ve only known each other 4 days.

 

The worst ones are the ones you actually fall for in return and together you picture, envision and make plans of grandeur of the two of you gallivanting across this planet, only to find out later that they have made said plans with countless other females.

 

Ladies be careful, there are many lifetime travellers who prey on those who have finally left behind their baggage and are enjoying being independent travellers. They are the ones you will never see coming. You will be happy and content travelling solo and secure with the decisions you’ve made, and all of a sudden you will meet them at an airport, have an encounter at a food market, or a chance meeting in a staircase and they will make you feel like you are the only person in the world they think are worth living for. The problem with ones are that you will give them your all, and trust them wholeheartedly, only to start second guessing yourself when you are seeing photos and messages online from other females who clearly shared the same connection, albeit in different parts of the world.

 

Just be cautious, travel is absolutely incredible and you will meet a million great people, about a thousand potential life mates, but also hundreds of assholes before you meet the one who has been waiting to meet you all along.

 

Do enjoy: travel, buy that plane ticket, fall in love, never return (or do if that is what you want) but do not beat yourself up or change your travel plans or life direction if you meet someone and it’s not as easy as all of the articles seem to say it is. Just don’t beat yourselves up while you’re waiting for your nomadic knight in shining armor and you meet a couple of travelling idiots in tin foil first.

 

Whatever you do though, don’t stop, keep traveling and I promise you there is somebody better, and better suited, waiting to meet you at the next train station, bus station, hostel, airport or beach.

 

xx lil miss planet

 

Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon

 

 

 

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Crawling back to Mother Nature… Kilimanjaro part 2 http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2012/09/22/crawling-back-to-mother-nature-kilimanjaro-part-2/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2012/09/22/crawling-back-to-mother-nature-kilimanjaro-part-2/#comments Sat, 22 Sep 2012 15:33:14 +0000 http://lilmissplanet.com/?p=1259 20120922-182438.jpg

So two years after my first attempt at Kilimanjaro, I have returned to Arusha.

Earlier this afternoon, as I was flying the last leg of my flights I caught a glimpse of Lady Kilimanjaro and all I can say is WOW, she is a beauty.

I will begin my second ascent up tomorrow and this time Mother Nature all I ask is for you to be kind. I return with nothing but respect and admiration of your magnitude.

If you allow it, I will prove to you over the next 7 days just how important you are to me.

See you at the top

x lil miss planet

read my first attempt here
Ivona vs. Kilimanjaro

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Let’s refocus our focus http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/09/14/lets-refocus-our-focus/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/09/14/lets-refocus-our-focus/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2011 17:16:06 +0000 http://lilmissplanet.com/?p=1131 I came across this video clip this morning from the 1940s movie The Great Dictator.
It’s powerful and important message has gone neglected since the 40s.
…This speech will soon be 100 years old and we haven’t listened to a single word. Come on people!
Please watch the link below and pay it forward <3
The Greatest Speech Ever Made

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WibmcsEGLKo&feature=channel_video_title

“We must be the change we wish to see in the World.” – Gandhi

xx lil miss “still fighting for this” planet

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Top 4 Reasons to visit Nicaragua http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/09/08/top-4-reasons-to-visit-nicaragua/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/09/08/top-4-reasons-to-visit-nicaragua/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2011 19:10:22 +0000 http://lilmissplanet.com/?p=942 Paradise, Diving, Cigars, Volcanoes, Turtles, and a little bit of sun for your soul.

If you have read the book “The Beach” by Alex Garland, or have seen the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, then you yourself, like most travelers, are on a quest for that magical place where tourism hasn’t yet exploited paradise.

Alas, I have found Nicaragua, or more accurately… Nicaragua has found me. A Central American country not yet littered with all inclusive resorts, cruise ports and celebrity vacations it presents all of the natural beauty of it’s neighboring Costa Rica without the prices or parades of tourists.

Due largely to the fact that there are no all inclusives, Nicaragua has become a destination for traveler; vagabonds who are backpacking through Central America and stumble upon this magical country.

I have been a couple of times now and I absolutely love it – all of it and as you don’t want to read about everything, I will share to you 4 unique experiences that have helped wedge Nicaragua into my heart.

1. Little Corn Island.

This place is stunning – it is not accessible for any major airline. Basically out of Managua you hop on a tiny little old, questionably working plane that lights up with working lights when it turns on and fly over to Big Corn Island. Once there you have to wait for a panga (30 person water taxi) that comes twice a day and makes the 30 min open water journey to Little Corn Island.

arrival at Little Corn

This place is unbelievable… about 3 km long and 1 km wide it is completely inhabited by people who live for beauty of life. There are no vehicles on the island, no roads, no reliable source of electricity. To get around there has been a type of sidewalk built around the perimeter but most of the gems are accessible through dirt paths paved by barefooted beach bums who have taken up refuge there. This place is stunning, with what little space exists a commune of divers and sun worshippers have set up dive shops, restaurants and beach huts for you to explore, indulge, and relax in this pristine setting.

View from the plane landing at Big Corn- no boats in sight :)

Attention Divers – I have dived around the world, everywhere from the Andaman Sea, Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and many others and this is the best diving I have ever done in my life. Visibility is like being under water in High Definition and the lack of motor boats and ships have left this coral literally untouched – the night dive I had here is one of the top 5 experiences of my life.

2. Volcano Boarding

So I am not sure how this became an activity that is allowed and doubt it would be anywhere else in the world without serious liability forms but for about $30 USD you can do the following.

hey check out that volcano – lets climb it and slide down :)

Get driven out of Leon to Cerro Negro (an ACTIVE volcano), carry what I can only describe as a reinforced 2×4 (apparently it’s a sled) up to the crater while having your nasal passages romanced by the overwhelming scent of sulfur, put on an orange jump suit and safety goggles and come down.

seems safe enough

Sounds simple enough – but at speeds averaging 40 km/h with no real protection there are plenty of injuries because lava sand, unlike powdery snow, has zero give – so when you fall – you’re falling hard and your body is bouncing off what is essentially a giant rock. INSANE but amazingly fun. If you survive without any serious injuries – kudos :)

Me coming down the Volcano :)

3. Roll your own cigar.

On the main street in Central America’s oldest city you can visit Casa Mombacho. This beautiful villa in Granada is home to Mombacho Cigars and opens it’s doors daily to  tours of the walk in humidor and compound during which you can learn about the process of tobacco harvesting, how cigars are made and pressed and you can even roll your own.

Rolling my Own Cigar – not quite the quality of Mombacho but close ;)

Then once you are done rolling, you can sit outside on the deck in their courtyard, enjoy a mojito on one of their lovely brown and gold whicker chairs and smoke your creation (or if you are like me and can’t roll a cigar to save your life) or choose one of fine quality from the Mombacho line while you enjoy the view, the company and life at it’s best :)

Courtyard at Casa Mombacho – not a bad place to spend an afternoon

 

 4. Embrace Life by the ocean

This part is simple, check into Surfing Turtle Lodge… eat, drink, surf, sleep, wake up and repeat… for however long it takes until you find peace within your soul again.

Paradise at Sunset

This place is the true beauty of Nicaragua for me. Nestled on a small islet on the pacific coast 20 minutes outside of Leon lies this beautiful ecolodge. This place is my heaven on earth, you have good people, warm water, sunshine and an energy that just empowers you. Plus if you’re lucky they have a turtle hatchery to try to stop the poaching and you can witness the miracle of life when the little turtles break out of their eggs and try to make their way back to the ocean.

Mini Dude a few minutes old trying to make his way into the ocean :)

So that’s it, 4 reasons, amongst about a million I have as to why you should visit Nicaragua… I am going back in a few weeks as I can’t get enough and if you are looking for a getaway in this hemisphere a little bit off the beaten path I would definitely put Nicaragua up there on your list of places to explore

xx lil miss planet

I do realize writing this article will likely convince people to go… but consider it my map to you my fellow travelers to a perfect getaway (and chances are if you are reading my page you share my sense of adventure and will appreciate it)

As well – if anyone does want to come – I am going Oct 24 – you should too :)

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Love – redefined in Ghana http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/07/28/love-redefined-in-ghana/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/07/28/love-redefined-in-ghana/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2011 18:23:34 +0000 http://lilmissplanet.com/?p=1007 First off I am sorry,

This blog has been in the works for almost two months.

I have tried to sit down daily to write but until now haven’t been able to wrap my head around the experience of it all.

I have always traveled, and I volunteered before in various parts of the world, however I have never traveled with the sole purpose of volunteering; this was my reason for journeying to Ghana.

If you’ve met me or spoken to me you know that the very mention of Africa will cause my eyes to sparkle and I will smile in nostalgia from the months spent here last year. This trip is no different, I miss Ghana, most importantly I miss the kids, my beautiful kids, the ones who bring twinkles to the eyes and make my heart pitter patter.


In mid May when I was boarding my flight from Washington to Accra I wont lie, I had a mini breakdown, caught myself worried that emotionally I may not be able to handle spending time in a village so remote with people who have so little.

This is where I am ashamed of myself, Ghanaians like many other Africans may not necessarily possess a lot but in Dodowa I was reminded that while we Westerners may have a lot more that we own, in Africa there is one consistency across the continent that I find we struggle with in North America and that is humanity.

Its weird,the continent of Africa probably has more genetic diversity than the rest of the world combined with over 2000 languages spoken and countless cultural, tribal, and religious beliefs as well, yet I speak of it as though it were a country (and never would I refer to Europe or South America in the same sense); but in every country I have been to in Africa (13 so far) people share one goal other than survival and that is to be happy.

There is a universal language of celebration across Africa that is usually expressed through music; while the rhythms and dancing will vary – you will always find people dancing with rejoice – enjoying being human, celebrating each day and proclaiming their love of life. It is not that in the first world we don’t celebrate – but our daily achievements are almost always shadowed with a false modesty. In Africa neighbors celebrate being together, living next to each other and being able to wake up each day with the sun. Walk the streets of any big city in North America and you will see people stressed out, frowning or grumpy… I have yet to see anyone in Africa frown.

That is the difference, and of course now I am trailing, between Africa and what we call home, so you can imagine how silly I felt when I arrived into Ghana, traveled four hours north of the capital into the bush to a village that most tro tro drivers don’t know exist and found the home of these 74 little angels full of happiness, love, and joy.

Each one of the children welcomed me with open arms, as did the villagers.

I was never once asked for money or any handouts, they simply wanted to get to know me, and what I was doing as an obruni (foreigner) in their small village of no running water or reliable electricity. Women would offer to braid my hair, let me hold their children and be a part of their families routine while the men tried to get to know me and shake their head in shock that a female of 27 has neither children, chores or a husband.

The weeks with the kids were the happiest I have been in years as everything was simple – there was no fancy toys or money to cause fights or favoritism, children just wanted your attention and to show YOU how to have fun and be happy. I felt as though I were a child again, learning about life and love.

Yes, there were heart breaking moments when new children were abandoned at the doorsteps of the orphanage by their parents. Parents who somehow decided they will no longer fight for their kids – sadly that’s the reality in parts of the world. We would never dream of just leaving out children out to die under a bridge, knowingly poison them, or beat them in the hopes of death (as many of the children at the orphanage were discovered), yet despite all of their hardships and brutality showed to them (and there are many stories of abuse that bring tears to my eyes just thinking about) these children love each other and life. They don’t fight, they don’t bully each other – instead they come together as one unit and treat each as brother and sister making sure that each has their chores and homework done, each is fed and bathed and taking care of one another if the other is ill (these are children – what child under 6 do you know who has forfeited play time to stay and help administer medication to another child through malaria).

As far as stories from this experience, I still struggle wrapping my head around it all, one day I will share it with you. In the mean time, in lieu of what is happening in the Horn of Africa I just encourage you all to stop and reflect on your life. How much that we have that is taken for granted. We have electricity, an substantial supply of drinking water, accessible health care and the opportunity to be educated.

Please be grateful, there are people in this world who are literally dying for the opportunity to live.

I can’t finish this post without urging you to act. Think twice about going out for food or a coffee and instead gift those few dollars towards saving millions, you may think you’re unable to make a difference, but if we each believe we can – we will.

xx lil miss planet

If you do feel compelled to act, the Canadian Government is currently matching donations to Canadian Red Cross, please don’t think twice. That one coffee you skip out on may change the world..

http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=40022&tid=001

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Breezing through the Windy City http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/04/27/breezing-through-the-windy-city/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/04/27/breezing-through-the-windy-city/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2011 13:31:39 +0000 http://lilmissplanet.com/?p=969 This last weekend in lieu of the Easter Holidays and my Uncle’s 50th birthday I flew down to Chicago to spend the weekend with my family and go on a little adventure.

Chicago is a huge city and a fairly popular one in North America and though last year alone I transited through the city 14 times I have never actually set foot outside of the airport, so needless to say I was quite curious and excited to grab a camera and have my cousin host me while I played tourist in a city the size of Toronto.

 

Chicago :)

 

I absolutely loved it :) Chicago has all of the architectural wonders, nightlife, and food scene of New York City but it is matched with the history, class and feel of London – plus there is a lot of eye pleasing parks, piers, colors, and squares so you never feel as congested as you may in Manhattan.

 

There are 7 things I would definitely recommend doing in you are in the Windy City for a brief period of time, there are many more but as I grew up in a household of artists I try not to see every museum each time I go away, so the reason those are left off isn’t because I am culturally daft, but more so because I like to admire a different form of art – that which is visible outside.

 

So if you have two days in Chicago I recommend these 7 things:

1. Have Pizza: More specifically, have pizza at Giordano’s, this popular and famous deep dish style pizzeria serves you more of a pie than it does a traditional pizza. You will wait about 35 mins (while this may seem long it is completely worth the wait, and when you see the size of this thing and how much cheese exists in it you realize cooking time is key) and when you finally taste it your mouth erupts into fireworks at what is quite possibly the best mix of crust, cheese, sauce, sausage, onion and pepper ever.  It really is great, I think the proper term is stuffed pizza, but basically its a platter of awesome. The pies themselves are quite heavy (both weight and content wise) so my cousin and I took the second half of our pizza to go, and here is how I know it is a good pizza – it tastes just as good for breakfast the next morning. If you are in the windy city – allocate at least an hour of your day and check them out: http://www.giordanos.com/

 

My Cousin and I with our Waiter with our pie

 

2. Picnic – Walk over to the Planetarium (again this is a situation where if you want to go in – by all means do so) and sit outside eating a sandwich while you are mesmerized by the magic that is the Chicago skyline. It is very comforting and soothing just to sit there (the gorgeous weather we had definitely helped) and star out on the various eras of architecture – just beautiful & having freshly baked cookies also helps with the whole experience :)

Chicago Skyline from the Planetarium

3. Sit under the cloud gate with a camera :) This sculpture, which is part of Millennium park, was built in 2004 with an original proposed cost of $9 million yet somehow ended up with a price tag of (wait for it) $32 million which obviously  was not well received originally by the tax payers of Chicago. It’s beauty has since smoothed things over with Chicagoans? Chicagoites? Chicagans? (one of the above). It is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together with a highly polished exterior (covered always in finger prints) that has no visible seams. Really beautiful – and if anyone has ever seen the movie “The Sphere” it has a similar effect of leaving you staring in wonder as you marvel at it’s construction and seamless beauty <3

Artistic Genius and Creativity never ceases to amaze me - Cloud Gate, Chicago

 

4. Walk around Navy Pier – like most seaside cities Chicago has that cheesy tourist spot with trinkets, rides and games galore. However there’s is done with a little bit of class, yes there is a Ferris wheel, boat ride, and the overly large sized McDonald’s but like the rest of the city it isn’t densely littered with stands or buildings and it’s sparsity gives you a feeling of being a child again walking through a playground. It is colorful, fun, and by the water – simple but really all I need in life <3

 

Navy Pier - Chicago

(ps for an added bonus go inside the food stand to Gorton’s Popcorn and order the Chicago mix – your taste buds will thank you for this delicious mix of caramel and cheese that you would otherwise think is impossible to blend together)

 

5. Take an architectural Cruise through the city – it really is a city full of architectural wonder – there are buildings from various designers that all compliment each other, and even the Trump tower was built to play homage to the three buildings in it’s surroundings. They will take you on a boat that allows you to see the city from the river and navigating under many of its 38 bridges. The guides are very fun and informative and it  is great to learn the history of buildings, architects, designers and the city itself while you take close looks at buildings you admire from the great vantage point by the Planetarium ;)

 

entering the city by water :)

 

6. Have a drink at the Signature Room: Nothing feels more rewarding than having a cocktail on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building after a full day of sightseeing, the views are incredible and you can a panoramic display of beauty that is Chicago. Note if you are a female, the very best view comes from the ladies’ washroom which is unobstructed and kept spotlessly clean.

 

View from Ladies' Bathroom at the Signature Room

 

7.  Visit Buckingham Fountain, a.k. the fountain in the opening credit of Married with Children, and while the show was never one I enjoyed the fountain is beautiful and creates a beautiful centerpiece to the skyline behind.

 

...you can't have one without the other...

 

While I am sure there are a million more things to see in Chicago, and I will go back to slowly start making that list shorter and see the family more frequently these are the ones I would recommend for travelers who, like me, save money with ridiculous stop overs and have a few hours to spend in Chicago.

It really is a beautiful city and I cant wait to see more of it on my next layover x

 

 

happiest by the water - it helps to have a beautiful backdrop

x

lil miss planet

 

 

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5 things you must do in Rio De Janeiro http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/04/16/5-things-you-must-do-in-rio-de-janeiro/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/04/16/5-things-you-must-do-in-rio-de-janeiro/#comments Sat, 16 Apr 2011 18:56:38 +0000 http://lilmissplanet.com/?p=882 As Easter weekend is just around the corner  – I thought I would share with you how I spent Easter in April 2010.

While Brazil is a country that I know is stunning and has many cities to visit, as well as one of the world’s largest waterfalls, there is a lot to see I will have to return for. Last Easter, I simply flew down for the weekend (wouldn’t recommend changing hemisphere’s for three days unless you have to) to see my 7th and final world wonder (Christ Redeemer), and quickly fell in love with Rio De Janeiro, the city, its people, and the lifestyle.

 

So here are the five things I would recommend you have to do (though I am sure there are hundreds more) if you only have a few days in this beautiful city:

 

1. Take a tour to see Corcovado – this magnificent statute (and one of the official world wonders) is currently being cleaned up in lieu of the upcoming games but it still stands majestic perched on its hill over looking the city.

 

Source: http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/sites/country/brazil.php

 

2. Take the Cable Car up to Sugar Loaf Mountain – the views from here are breathtaking – giving you a panoramic scope of the beauty that is Rio De Janeiro – you can see the ocean entering into the river, the waves meeting with the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and you are able to watch the city unfold into the foothills of the rolling hills and valleys that surround Rio. Amazing <3

 

View from Sugar Loaf Mountain at Dusk

 

3. Spend a day at Copacabana or Ipanema Beach enjoying the sun while everything you could possibly need gets delivered to you while you lounge and tan on your beach towel. Whether you need a new bikini, a sarong, dress, shoes, hats, fresh grilled shrimp, watermelon, fresh fried chicken or a beverage: Rio De Janeiro has redefined what beach vendors are capable of.

They walk around with large parasols advertising their merchandise or portable barbecues to perfect your meal according to your specified needs – amazing :) I personally preferred the $1 Caipirinhas

Copacabana : All you need is sunscreen 

 

4. Get on a boat, any boat! Whether it be a ship, tourist boat, zodiac, kayak or pedal boat make sure you see the city from the water – Rio De Janeiro has great beaches and you really appreciate them more when you see their length and grandeur from across the water. Not to mention that their marina is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. You will feel like a rockstar sailing around this beautiful city, I promise.

I was fortunate enough to make friends at the beach who had a sail boat – nothing cooler than coming home and having bragging rights about sailing around Rio De Janeiro and it’s beaches.

 

Marina Da Gloria – Rio De Janeiro

 

5. Enjoy and Embrace. Rio De Janeiro is one of the sexiest cities in the world: and I say this because everything is beautiful and people are passionate about all aspects of everyday life. Sure there is a lot of plastic surgery, but people of all sizes stroll the beach confidently, walk the streets with a sway in their hips, and dance at every given opportunity. It really felt to me like a city celebrating, everyone was polite, the Caipirinhas were flowing and there was countless tanned and toned bodies everywhere.

Both day and night this city is full of life, music and laughter. Whether you stand back and admire and jump into the action you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable time in a city too beautiful for it’s own good.

So go on – go to Rio De Janeiro – especially if you like me are constantly chasing the tan – don’t forget your sunscreen, and while you’re there indulge a little and spend the $1 on the beach to have a Cairpirinha in my name.

 

 

Cheers!!!

 

xx lil miss planet

© Copyright 2011, Lil Miss Planet

 

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…a quick injection of vitamin D http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/04/13/a-quick-injection-of-vitamin-d/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/04/13/a-quick-injection-of-vitamin-d/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2011 03:35:51 +0000 http://lilmissplanet.com/?p=853  

we all have those moments in life, myself more frequently during the winter months, during which we just want to leave everything behind and run away or hide to clear our heads.

Last week I did just that…

Cabin in Tulum to which I have frequently run away to x

 

I have never been one of those people who can run a hot bath, soak and be magically refreshed and focused for the following week of my life – simply not me – i was always a shower person first off.. but i always knew during the winter months I suffered a serious case of the blues mostly from a lack of sunshine and vitamin D.

It has never been seasonally affected depression for me but rather most winter months I tend to travel less and hence it is more of a case of GDS (Geographical Displacement Sickness – basically my body fighting against my current GPS coordinates) – knowing I had no adventure planned until April 29th when I take off to volunteer in Ghana for a couple of weeks I did what I do best – booked a last minute flight through the team at Flight Centre (Amazing Thanks again guys) to sunnier skies and it was to one of my favorite places in the world – Mexico. Yep – no better way to get over my winter blues than to spend 4 days parked on a beach with no cares or responsibilities other than to apply sunscreen – yep a 96 hour injection of vitamin D into the skin to wake my body up and get my hair lighter, skin darker and confidence to take over the world a little bit bolder

Now Mexico, sadly, gets a lot of bad press, yes there have been many unfortunate situations in the country the last few years which have been highly publicised but for the most part I find the country very safe (mind you I haven’t visited the Texas border part of it – nor do I plan to).

The main beach coasts, like most other parts of the world are very safe to tourists if you’re respectful to the fact that you are in a new country and certain cultural sensitivity must be adhered to because different customs do exist.

 

First of all, while I normally sleep during the entire duration of my flights, ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE in the world but here, the descent into Cancun Airport is amazing – the water which connects with hundreds of miles of white sandy coast line and gives of this magnificent tone of blue that basically is what screen savers look like – just magical.

Flying into Cancun – and the camera doesn’t even do the color justice

This trip was probably my 8th or 9th trip to Mexico, I have visited a few parts, Los Cabos, Cancun, Merida, the Yucatan province for a few weeks and Quintana Roo – but I always seem to come back for one place – Tulum. Now I have yet to be to Australia (which I am being told may be the only place that may win) but from the beaches I have seen in Zanzibar, Mombasa, Egypt, Thailand, North America and South America, Tulum is hands down my favorite. I have been here about 6 times and and it is white sand beaches with a backdrop of turquoise waters that is just stunning, secluded and therapeutic to anybody trying to clear their head.

 

To clarify, the Tulum I know and love is the town of Tulum, not the resort area – don’t get me wrong the beach outside of the Bahia Principe complex is amazing and the hotel stunning – but I prefer the wooden beach huts outside of town that you can rent for $40 USD a night in Papaya Playa and have a completely different holiday.

Beautiful Beach Cabins on the Left – Beautiful Ocean on the Right

 

After landing into Cancun airport, taking a shuttle to the bus terminal, followed by two minibuses (there is a connection in Playa Del Carmen) for a total transfer cost of $7.50 I arrived into paradise. With the exception of one couple, the bartender/cook and the receptionist there was nobody else on this resort.

I quickly rented a cabin over looking the water (as pictured above) with a hammock on my front deck, basic mattress and mosquito net and after changing into my bathing suit ran into the inviting waves to wash off some of my GDS. Amazing – everything I thought it would be and more – the water was warm, the sun was shining and there were no handlers trying to sell me jet ski rides, silver bracelets, sarongs or hair braids.

Just myself, the ocean and the sun on my skin :)

This for me is paradise- you have the sun, sand, and water that you need minus the chaos of the swim up bars, poolside stereos and buffet line ups. I woke up every morning with the sun and fell asleep to the sound of the waves.

My breakfasts were fresh cut fruit, in completely peaceful settings overlooking the ocean, while my days were spent lounging on the resorts beach beds reading and writing. There is nothing better for me in life than to smell the scent of salt water in the air, feel the sand between your toes and be silenced by the sounds of waves crashing in the ocean.

Fresh fruit breakfast with Big Blue – it doesn’t get better than this

This is just me, and my preference and to be fair I did spend my final night in Cancun before I flew back home. It is equally beautiful and has a stunning contrast between some of the bluest water with some of the whitest sand I have ever seen – it seriously can be so bright sometimes you need sunglasses just to look at the sand – it’s amazing. I was fortunate enough to be hosted by the 5 star Riu Caribe property in the Hotel Zone and while it wouldn’t have been my first choice of holiday it far exceeded any expectations I may have had. The hotel itself is exquisite offering very high end amenities and facilities at very competitive prices. They have a 24 hour all inclusive service available that satisfies both the insomniac and those trying to quench their thirst amongst some beautiful scenery. The pool area is fairly large and being there towards the end of spring break I was pleasantly surprised that after my 2pm arrival I was still able to have my choice of lounge chair by the pool or the beach.

Very Happy and Very Surprised :)

Clear Blue water with some Bright White sandy Beaches :)

Luckily the resort wasn’t too busy and I got to finish my three days of solitude and perfect beaches with perfect weather, a stunning sunset and a resort which though so closely located to the madness that is Cancun nightlife gave you a sense of being away at a hotel in some secluded part of the beautiful cristal clear watered caribbean.

Sydney J. Harris once said that “Happiness is a direction, not a place” for me I can pretty much say that my happiness can be directly influenced by my presence in Mexico :)

...tanned again, and very happy again... gracias Mexico

 

x lil miss planet

 


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defining inspiration http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/04/03/defining-inspiration/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/04/03/defining-inspiration/#comments Sun, 03 Apr 2011 05:16:23 +0000 http://lilmissplanet.com/?p=832 as some of you may or may not know, I have spent the past few weeks in a state of confusion, not so much with what to do, but more so with how to go about doing it…

 

my trip last to Africa awoke something within my heart that taught me the true meanings of compassion, hope, love and living…so since I have been back I have known that I want to return to give back to a continent that defined to me what the true meaning of love is in this world (and to me that is seeing a child, who has absolutely nothing, not even access to clean drinking water – come up to you and squeeze your hand, simply because you have tears in your eyes and they want you to smile)

these are the two girls who came outside while i was crying and put a smile on my face - simple gesture with them taking my hand - no common language and no words spoken - just a smile and a twinkle in their eye :)

two lovely young ladies who came and held my hand when they saw me crying


regardless, I have been confused and came back and couldn’t relate to North American society, capitalism, commercialism, greed and endless spending to fill voids with materialistic things. I know that I want to awake the child within myself, the one who as a young girl bandaged up a teddy bear after it was hurt in a fire because I thought “if you put a band-aid on it the pain will go away and Teddy will smile”. I want to look at the world with Bambi eyes again and know that I will make a difference.

 

This week has been an emotional roller coaster – between leaving my job, being sick, and trying to make a career choice I was informed about the Roadside Zoo in Alberta called Guzoo.

Basically what happened was a few people, animal lovers, stopped by this zoo over the weekend and posted some photos of the horrifying conditions that these animals are living in. If any of you follow me on twitter or facebook you know that I immediately became very vocal and started standing up for the animals and together with people from around the world – we drew the media attention that was required to help start a formal investigation by the government of Alberta and various Animal Rights groups… now I am getting off topic (Google Guzoo Zoo and you will see what the uproar was about and please sign the petition if you feel as strongly about this as I do).

Anyways, back to this GuZoo thing, this was the first time since I came back from my trip that I felt alive inside and it reminded me about being a little girl and knowing I can change the world – so, to try to make this story make sense. I went to go see a lecture at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto tonight by Dr. Jane Goodall.

This woman, who is so petite you almost want to put her in your pocket to keep her with you, is nothing short of a hero.

She has paved the way for young women worldwide to break the mold, follow their dreams, and make a difference in a society where situations may not otherwise seem hopeful. She is my idol, inspiration, a fellow traveler, and I truly love her as a humanitarian for everything she has done in Africa. Working with the animals, people, education, and her foundation helping women empower themselves into self sustainable economic positions to feed their families through micro-financing, Dr Jane Goodall has spread the message of love and hope across world.

In East Africa, in an area of the world that is very politically unstable, volatile and untrustworthy of foreign influence she has managed to create a harmony between Man and Nature through her work with Primates that has held strong despite revolutions, uprisings, guerrilla warfare, genocide and climate change.

Again veering off path, tonight I got to meet her and listen to her speak for an hour as well as have a few mins of her time, she had some great things to say. Most importantly what stuck with me (as I question which road to follow) is that this is the life you lead – the choices you make result in opportunities created by you and for you.

So friends, all of you – if you are struggling with a decision, just do it – the only cost to you is the opportunity loss if you give up your dreams because you think there is something standing in your way.

Break down your barriers and start living the reality your dreams are made of <3

 

 

Here is the quote from Dr. Jane Goodall that brought me to tears tonight:

“You have a choice ever day to make a difference,

choose the difference you wish to make”

- Jane Goodall

 

So after a wordy post, haha, I just wanted each of you to know that what we are sometimes searching for in life to find peace is inside us… if you pursue your passions and dreams you will achieve that state of content where you will once again look at the world with twinkles in your eyes and know that everything is possible.

Side note: in grade school my Gr. 8 teacher Mr. Pescnye told us that the word “impossible” is simply a typing error – it is meant to say “I’m possible” and if we start reading it as that we can prove how endless the possibilities really are.

 

xx goodnight

 

lil miss planet

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a city missing its soul http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/03/28/a-city-missing-its-soul/ http://www.lilmissplanet.com/2011/03/28/a-city-missing-its-soul/#comments Tue, 29 Mar 2011 03:45:40 +0000 http://lilmissplanet.com/?p=793 hello world,

I feel like i have been neglecting my writing and my travelling, having been sick the last month I have had few moments of inspiration to write but I promise that will change.

To start I am going to write about my weekend – thought I doubt it is on anyone’s top ten lists of places to see, I spent my Saturday in Detroit… yes Rock City… KISS once sang that “you gotta lose your mind in Detroit Rock City”.

While i don’t know how much mind loss is required – you certainly clear your mind as you drive through what was once the U.S.A’s 5th most populous city and now resembles a ghost town. From the moment you cross the bridge over from Canada you are surrounded by an overwhelming sense of neglect – it’s almost a city that needs a hug to try to make it smile.

 

This building was burned during the Detroit Riots of 1967

It really is sad – I mean ever since the original gas crisis of the early 70s Detroit’s heavy dependency on the automotive market has caused it to become a city who’s economy has suffered parallel to the attempt of stabilizing oil prices – though in all fairness even up until earlier this past decade there was a substantial push to revive it with three major casino’s opening up and hosting the 2006 Superbowl and World Series to try to pump some blood back into it’s economy.

These were are sadly failed attempts. The economy has slowly seen some good publicity for the hip hop talent it has produced in the last two decades – but that is sadly the only consistently good export from this area.

8 Mile Rd – known as the divider between the bad and worse parts of town

You drive around now and find beautiful houses either burned up, abandoned, boarded up or occupied by masses of homeless people who suffered first hand with the collapse of the US’s domestic automotive market during the last 7 years.  Even across the border on the Canadian side you have the city of Windsor which in 2000, boosted one of the highest incomes per capita in our country, and now hosts the highest unemployment rate per capita – it is a sad sad tale.

Any who, while I do not frequently cross the boarder over – this time was simply to purchase some canvas and art supplies -but despite the destitute of the cities – it was a gorgeous day – and if you find yourself with some spare change in your pocket it is probably the ONLY CITY IN THE WORLD where for $500 you can likely purchase a four bedroom three story home in the downtown core.

 

 

Graffitti amongst abandoned buildings

Graffitti amongst abandoned buildings

It is sad just how abandoned this city is.

Buildings just look sad and the downtown area itself – once globally known as Motown and a huge cultural influence reputable for its music, talent, and vibe has now become a place so dangerous that even in broad daylight most people will drive through red lights and stop signs because car jacking isn’t even a chance you take – its a probability you face.

The equivalent of Yonge St in Toronto – deserted at 1pm on a Saturday

It really is sad – luckily we were there during the daylight – but there was a feeling of eeriness driving through a megacity that from across the water looks futuristic and promising but in reality is dying – if not already dead and has a strange sense of calm in it’s empty streets, piles of garbage, abandoned buildings, and failed enterprises.

 

another abandoned building downtown Detroit - would probably sell for $1500

This is a city so rich in cultural and civil history that I do hope the government does follow through with their promises to revive it so it can provide the future generations with decades of history lessons versus serving as an example of an economic failure <3

 

GM World (or the muti-building GM complex greeting you when you cross into Michigan)

Next post will be happier and sunnier I promise

 

x lil miss planet

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