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Can Social Media and Mindfulness Share the Same Space?

reconnecting with your bliss

Deepak Chopra & The Future of Wellbeing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what the future holds for us.

How we are shifting as a society, how social media is playing a role and how much technology continues to insulate itself in all parts of our lives.

I think of how our kids are processing all of this and what it will be like when they grow up. How we are managing through daily life, the push to be “on” all the time quietly suffocating our memory of what it is like to quiet, or even better to be still.

Deepak chopra future wellbeing toronto

Can you let go of your phone?

When was the last time you left your phone at home? I mean intentionally. For me, I work, live, connect through all waking minutes and days using my phone. It is my lifeline and feels like an appendage missing when I don’t have it on my person. That did I leave the stove on feeling, less the actual possibility of real bad things happening.

I will tell you very honestly that I had some distorted belief in my mind that while we were on our trip around the world, I “needed my phone” in order to capture all the divine moments we were experiencing. I will also tell you that on said trip, I believed that I would figure out the answer to the meaning of life, my purpose and where my life was meant to go.

Spoiler alert: That didn’t happen.

Another spoiler alert: I never needed my phone.

Ever.

Halfway through the trip, my husband began challenging me to leave my phone behind for the day. To be all in, 100% present. The first few excursions I repeatedly (& frantically) kept checking for it. Once I got used to not having it on my person, it felt like freedom.  Tech-free days are ones I am most grateful for now.  The closest epiphany I got to was that all that EVER really matters is being IN the moment, not recording it.

Deepak chopra future wellbeing toronto

Has social media helped or hindered how we connect with each other?

As the event producer of BlissDom Canada, an event anchored in the midst of social influence, content creation and industry standards on social media we are at the core of this conversation. There has always been a thirst for understanding better ways to create content and an engaged community online but I have one deeply-rooted fear.

In all of this design, is social media becoming more and more about MEDIA and far less about SOCIAL? Are the connections we create & crave only on the surface? Are the rewards through likes and comments providing a false sense of importance and addiction to positive review in a world where your heart is ultimately what should be guiding you? Our event is successful not just because of the programming it provides around social media but because its taking online connections and making them far deeper IN REAL LIFE.

What is the Future of Wellbeing?

You can feel it. There is a conscious craving towards mindfulness and connection, yet there are few paths that guide us in finding the balance between hustle and heart.

Recently we had the privilege of being able to sit down with Deepak Chopra and ask him a few questions around wellness, life and staying aligned in the midst of social media, entrepreneurship and parenthood.

It was a day I had dreamed of years ago and one I will remember for my lifetime.

His perspective on the Future of Well-being looks far past simply focusing on health and wellness but rather talks of an entire shift. A holistic approach on our emotional, physical, spiritual,  financial, environmental, and social wellbeing. We are becoming more conscious and see the need to be more mindful and he has the blueprint on where to begin.

You actually have a chance to see Deepak Chopra LIVE this October.

Vancouver on October 10th, 2018 and Toronto on October 13th, 2018.

As the social media sponsors of Deepak’s Canadian Tour, we have been provided a special promo code to pass on to our community. You can use Bliss15 for 15% off a single purchase ticket and on the 4 for the price of 3 package.

If you are coming to Deepak Chopra’s Toronto event, let us know. We would love to create more & more heartfelt connections to this beautiful community of ours.

If you want to try to WIN a ticket to join us at Deepak’s tour date, you have a chance by doing the following:

  1. Follow @MomDadCuppaKids & @BlissDomCanada
  2. Like one of our #BlissfulDeepak posts & answer the question “What do you believe is the Future of Wellbeing?” 
  3. Comment and tag the person you would love to share this experience with

Legal:

Open to Canadian residents until September 21st, 2018 at 11:59pm EST. Prize giveaway consists of (2) Deepak Chopra Event Tickets (Gold or equal to/greater value ticket: Value $260). This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.

If you want to join us at Canada’s premiere social influencer/creator conference, by all means buy your ticket here and come to Blissdom Canada. It’s pretty much magic.

 

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Real Life

Moody Blues & Seeing Red. Period.

Feeling the blues

Why women need to talk more openly about our ever-shifting hormones.

I am bleeding out like the elevator scene in the Shining.

I just cried my way through Avengers: Infinity War.

I hit a level of blue monthly that I don’t even recognize myself when it comes. Really unkind words come into my head that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I am as horny as teenager and have a fervour for sex similar to an animal in heat, while friends have zero interest in even a kiss.

I am a member of the Walking Dead, having not slept a full night sleep in months.

I have actively put myself in a time out to prevent losing it on my family. Sometimes I don’t make it in time.

I ask you people? What the fresh hell is this? What in the world of Aunt Flo is going on here?

Photo Credit: Antonio Arcos

Hormones. I am officially bemoaning the ‘Mones.

I know, probably too much information. You don’t really need to know any of this. But I think if you are a woman in her 40’s, you maybe do. You do, so you know that you are not alone in the myriad of challenges you are facing at the moment.

I am sharing this stuff because I have felt alone.

Surprisingly alone in trying to grasp how to process all of this.

I have spent more time than I want to admit searching the Googles on a laundry list of what happens when your hormones reek havoc on your system.

Emotional toll of perimenopause
Photo credit: Luis Galvez

I manage through this kind of stuff by wanting to talk about it. Yet when I bring up anxiety, depression, peri-menopause or sex, I immediately see people shirking away from having a conversation about it. Why? Why do we carry so much shame when it comes to our bodies, our mental health and how we are functioning in each phase of our life?

We live in a society full of perceived prettiness. Talking honestly about women’s health is something still so hushed up and hidden. Post-partum is JUST finally getting to the point of being discussed, a crucial support to Moms flooded with hormones. We need to let go of judgement & deeply-rooted stigmas. We need to stop focusing around how believe women SHOULD be and start focusing on the reality of how we ARE.

We need to know that This. Is. Normal.

MomDadCuppaKids
Photo credit: Alex Povolyashko

Hormones hit us hard at all stages of life

We gotta figure this out. Nobody benefits from us putting on these shows that everything is ok. It’s not. At least it’s not for me. I am watching my daughter trying to figure out her hormones as she edges into teenage hood. She is having a tremendously difficult time identifying what is making her cry, what is making her mad and why the hell she suddenly feels so sad. I am watching a friend, post-partum, desperately not wanting to go down a path of depression when she worked so hard to have this baby in the first place. I am going through a phase in life that I am aware I am changing, but I don’t quite know how to manage it peacefully & quietly. Rather it seems to be a raging kind of roller coaster for all us. If we identify that hormones are a natural part of WHO we are, and that they can affect HOW we are, we might find ways to treat them (& ourselves) better.

How to handle hormonal imbalance?

When I went to the doctors recently to see what to do about these 2-3 blue days I have been experiencing every cycle, his response was shocking yet disturbingly expected.

I got an eye roll, a “well its OBVIOUSLY hormones” and an offer for an anti-depressant prescription.

For me, personally, that’s not on. I already feel that I have put enough medication into my system in my lifetime, if I can help it, I don’t want to add more. Instead, I am trying hard to figure this out naturally. I have signed up for Jenn Pike’s Hormone Project which covers off the foods we eat that affect hormones (I had no idea that gut & liver health influenced so much of our body & hormone function), our medical histories, exercise, tracking your cycle, movement, meditation and more. Our family are changing eating habits. I am laying off so much wine because I KNOW that is a direct hit to my system and my mental health. I am pushing myself to exercise more. I have started back meditating & working on gratitude every day.

I will keep you posted how these changes are affecting my ability to manage through this. The possible shifts in my well-being and finding a harmony in this process have me super stoked. I am looking forward to finding solutions that don’t bring such deep dives to my system.

I know, it all sounds messy. I sound messy. But honestly, I would rather be open and talk about how this is affecting me than hold any shame around it. And if YOU want to talk, well, do it.

I am always hear to listen.

Finding hope in hormone imbalance
Photo Credit: Raquel Raclette

 

 

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Changing the WorldFamily Matters

It Was Her Eyes. Making a Difference For Hungry Kids #Toonies4Tummies

I’m hungry

We are all responsible to make sure our kid’s tummies are full.

It was her eyes.

That’s what I remember the most.

We were sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Buenos Aires, people streaming along the ramblas in front of us enjoying the 30+ heat and sunshine. As we people-watched, I noticed a number of children, dirty, no shoes, messy, tangled hair, carrying babies with diapers as their only coverage begging to those passing by, pleading for money to feed their family.

I know what you are going to say, it might have been a scam. A ruse to foil tourists into giving them money. Maybe. Quite possibly. But you can’t make someone’s eyes look the way hers did.

At one point, I looked over at a trash bin and saw a little girl wildly licking her fingers as she devoured the sauce left inside a styrofoam takeout container. We locked eyes and in that moment, I wanted to cry for her. The pain of hunger etched across her face. Her eyes, sunken and manic with a desperate need to eat something. She was full-on starving.

Her eyes are burned into my brain.

We spent 3 months travelling through some of the poorest countries in South America. The word “hustle” has a different meaning down there. Their hustle is for survival and it can be very difficult to see at times. Throughout our entire trip around the world, one of the biggest impacts for us was how often we would see more of those eyes. Countless examples of children in dire need of food.

Kids often get mistaken with behavioural issues when in reality, it is hunger leading the way

Fast forward to when we came home to Toronto and I was at my child’s school. I was walking down the hall and ran into a child with those same hungry eyes. She said her tummy hurt and again, I wanted to cry for another child going through pains that they shouldn’t have to suffer.

The issue of child hunger is still a big problem here in Canada. Over 1.1 Million children access student nutrition programs on a daily basis and 1 in 8 households in Canada are food insecure, meaning they struggle with getting food on the table.

We all know kids who eat breakfast do better in school, and missing meals can impair a student’s success. Behavioural & concentration issues can be a challenge in children who are hungry. It takes a village, as they say, to care for our children. In this case, our village is our local school community and the programs set in place to help kids thrive.

One of the main contributors to this community is the Grocery Foundation and their #Toonies4Tummies program. This is a program that brings a significant number of grocery retailers and product brands together to help raise funds for student nutrition and keep tummies full at school.

The beauty of it all?

The Grocery Foundation funds all of the expenses for the campaign which means 100% of the donations received go directly to serving local communities.

Over the course of January, February and March, #Toonies4Tummies are collecting toonies at the till in store to help towards their $1Million dollar goal this year.

Even better, you can donate right from home by going to the Grocery Foundation website and donating online TODAY.

All it takes is a toonie and you are helping be the change with children across Canada.

Teach your children the importance & impact of helping others by watching how far our toonies grow with the Toonie Tracker at Toonies4Tummies.ca

We are all in this together. It’s time to care for our village.

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Real Life

Raising Kids in the Firestorm of Social Media

Are you ready to battle

How to give them the confidence to stand tall in the face of it all.

My daughter at 10 has always been awfully independent. When other kids were hiding behind their parents legs, she wasn’t. In fact, I was a little envious of the way those kids needed their mom. My little one just seemed to be entirely comfortable heading out there on her own, chatting to new people, learning life lessons as they came.

Lately though, she has started asking me to come cuddle with her and help her fall asleep.

In the past, I would have told her that she is strong, that she can put herself to bed in fear of creating a “habit” that she might expect me to come cuddle every night. We have always wanted our kids to be capable enough to self-sooth and not become reliant on our help to fall asleep.

Only this time things are different.

This time I sense that she is in real need of some mom time. I’m not sure what it is but I can FEEL how quickly time is passing. I know that in a heartbeat, she won’t want me in her room. In fact, she will want her privacy and with that comes no part of “mom”.

When I come cuddle with her, we have a sort of deal.

This is the space that is our cone of silence. The space where we talk about things that throughout the day, she can’t (or isn’t ready to) talk about. In the quiet moments, we lay snuggled up together, and chat in soft whispers. Honestly and openly.

We talk about things that are hella hard and topics I didn’t think we were even CLOSE to talking about.

But here they are.

She has an old soul. Her ability to read a situation and develop a sense of what is going on and the deeper meanings behind them feels far beyond her years. I will give you that. But man, kids are dealing with so much more than we had to and at such an earlier age.

She is on the verge.

I will take her to women’s marches. I will talk endlessly about consent. I will enforce that her body is her own and nobody ever (EVER) has a right to touch it without her permission. I will push hard on getting her strong. Mentally over physically so that she is ready to take on the world of teenage hood. I want her to walk into that world with as much confidence as I can possibly give her. To be kind, but not railroaded. To be respectful but not suffer fools. To be ready to do battle, not give in to follow like a sheep.

Starting a foundation of core values and respect with our kids from the youngest of ages.

Moments from now, she will enter into the Ring of Fire. The pressures of social media are so unbelievably intense that teens sense of self worth is entirely wrapped up in the “count”. How many likes, comments , valued comments, tags, stories and snapstreaks they are getting proves (in their world) just how special they are.

Never mind the countless anonymous posting apps like Sarahah, which allows you to be “HONEST” with your friends on how you truly feel about them. Seriously. Like going through life as a teenager isn’t hard enough, we have now added a cyber mean book to be passed around.

But it’s not just our daughters. It’s our sons too.

And who are we kidding, it’s us.

I have heard from so many friends countless and painful accounts of the “why’s and how’s”.

Why is their life so glamourous? How can they afford to travel like that?Why are they doing so much better than me in business? How did they get so many likes? How are they doing this/going there/getting invited to that?

FOMO, YOLO, hashtag hash-holes and all kinds of content gets them up in arms. Feck. It is there for all of us, but imagine not having the capacity as a teen to work through the real/not real in your head. I have seen people play dirty on social and I have seen them be oh so mean. 

It is as much our responsibility as grown adults to let go of the self-worth game we create because of social media as it is to teach our kids to do the same.

“You Do You”, as my husband always says and it is something we are trying to engrain in our kids.

Let your self worth be measured by you and you alone. Nobody else needs to comment or like for you to love who you are. I think we need to keep enforcing that message to our ourselves and to our kids.

YOU are the only one that matters.

 

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Changing the WorldFamily MattersKids Corner

23 ways to Teach Your Kids Kindness This Holiday Season

JOYTO THE WoRLD

We are our children’s biggest role models in how to grow up to be good humans. Yet in our running around, hectic scheduled mayhem that is so common today, we just might be teaching them the wrong set of values.

Teaching your kids how to be kind (now and in every day) is an important part of modelling as a parent. As the world shifts and changes, more than ever it is important to teach your kids kindness as a crucial part of their core set of values.

The holidays can be crazy for sure but it is also the most wonderful time of year. It is a time to be grateful, to spread joy, to embrace the holiday spirit and most importantly to be kind.

I know, I know, there is so much going on but TRUST ME, being kind is super easy.

This year we brainstormed WITH our kids on what we could do to be kind this holiday season and this is what they came up with.

 Teach Your Kids To Be Kind By Getting Them Involved

Handwrite a note

Take the time to tell someone how they have impacted your life, send a thank you note, or share a sweet sentiment to make someone’s day.

Save your pop can tops

Bless her heart, my grandmother would berate us if we didn’t take the pop can tops off for the countless years we were growing up. I actually didn’t think they still did this anymore but March of Dimes indeed does collect pop (& beer) can tops to purchase mobility items for those in need.

Donate money to the food bank

Did you know that food banks/soup kitchens are most often able to secure up to 4X the amount of food as you are purchasing from the grocery store? Many people will donate what they haven’t used in their cupboards. Canned goods (while still food), often lack the nutritional value a family needs to stay healthy. Consider what you donate. Giving money AND food is a great way to help provide fresh produce to families in need.

Make a friend

Friendship can be a difficult challenge for many kids growing up. Encouraging your kids to be fully aware of what is going on around them, to look out for kids who might be alone and actively seek out people to help or sit with can have an absolutely HUGE impact on another kid.

Listen to a friend

Social media is not your way of keeping in touch with important friends. That is and always will be the highlights of their lives. Check in, visit, and be present. Ask and truly listen to a friend who might need to talk a bit over the holidays.

You can make a friend anywhere you go, as long as you try.

Give money/Buy extra coffee/sandwiches and deliver them on the street

I have many friends who disagree with the belief in providing money and food to those in need. Yeah. No. No one, not one person, has ever asked for a fate of trying to stay warm out in the freezing cold without a roof over their heads or knowing where their next meal is coming from. No one ever. We have all taken wrong turns in our lives. For some that wrong turn has gone further down a path than others. For others, mental health issues have prevented them from maintaining a job or relationships or even providing the capacity to take care of themselves.  You never know anyone else’s story. Find the compassion in your heart to imagine how difficult this must be. Don’t judge. Just give.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen

We have been working with the kids on the concept of “jump to help”. Don’t wait to be told, offer up your help wherever possible. Spread joy & strike up conversations with patrons who are visiting this service. Nothing is more valuable than human connection.

The kids had the best time volunteering at a Mission and became fast friends with the people they were working with.

Hold the door open

Such an easy idea can really brighten someone’s day & in turn put them in a mindset to pay it forward as well.

Learn someone’s name

Whether its your barista, server, retail clerk or even the homeless person you meet on the street, dignity is everything. It’s such a simple thing but asking someone their name can often mean the world. It acknowledges them and shows them the respect they deserve.

Pay for someone’s coffee or meal

Next time you are at drive through, consider paying it forward by covering the order behind you. It is such a nice delight and usually starts a chain reaction of kindness.

Offer to help wrap presents

Older neighbours or friends who might feel challenges with arthritis or body pain might find it difficult to wrap gifts. Do it for them while having a visit and a cup of tea.

Hug someone

Hugs are the best. Seriously, if I could just offer free hugs at the mall to everyone (especially those who look Grinchy) I would. Hugs release oxytocin in a squeeze and have massive, awesome medical benefits. Not only does it help lower heart rates and reduce blood pressure, it also decreases stress hormones. Who doesn’t need a hug?

Bake or cook for your neighbours & friends

Sometimes putting time in to bring joy to others is the best kind of kindness you can share. Prepping a meal or providing baked goods to someone having visitors over the holidays is a great way to get your kids involved in considering the value of community.

Offer to take kids

I always say to our friends, more is actually easier. I love the bustle of kids running through the house and it allows us to have quality time with people we care about. Dropping off kids allows our kids to think of ways to entertain and allows our adult friends to go Christmas shopping or have a nice, quiet dinner out without concern of running home while the babysitter meter is ticking.

Fill the school library with books that support important dialogues

As the world is shifting, we still have so much to learn. Gifting a book to the library as part of your holiday plans helps to create dialogue on a number of important issues. Indigenous history & reconciliation, world religions, sexual identity, self-esteem, bullying and building respect are all topics that could use more accessible literature within our schools.

Get social in real life. Encourage kids to say Hi & smile.

Challenge your kids to meet someone new. I think in our over-concern of stranger danger, we have created a lot of nervousness in our kids. We have been focusing instead on being aware of your surroundings and trusting your gut. It is important for our kids to learn how to be social and a smile is one of the best kind of “viral” sensations you can create.

These lovely ladies were super awesome to volunteer beside and treated the kids with such kindness.

Stop by the fire, police or nurses station with baking or treats

Shift work is killer over the holidays. Many emergency/medical occupations miss out on their own family Christmas to provide care for others. Stopping by with kindness shows kids how we need each other in a community to function & flow. To show our gratitude & appreciation for those who watch over our world.

Clean someone’s driveway/Bring garbage cans up from the street

Especially as it gets colder, helping neighbours who could potentially slip and fall is an easy kindness to do every week. A wonderful task to get your kids involved in and seeing the importance of considering others in your every day.

Wash someone’s windows at the gas station

Its one of our son’s favourite things to do (& as long as he gets permission) he loves washing the windows around the gas station.

Stop by a seniors home

Often times seniors don’t have people coming to visit as much as they would like, need to get to appointments or would like to go to the store but don’t have the mobility to get there. A simple conversation and company can go a long way. A drive to somewhere they need to go could be an absolute dream.

Take a treat in to teacher/mechanic/hairstylist/doctor/dentist/service provider

A nice surprise that says “We appreciate you” will often make the team at any of these places smile.

Donate unexpected items to drop off at shelters

Consider donating products like diapers, new underwear, tampons, pads, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, even toilet paper can be welcome stock to share.

Spread Kindness & Joy

In any way you can.

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Real Life

Travel Isn’t Always Good.

IMG_6407

It may seem glamorous, but it has its dark sides too.

Do you remember when we were walking through the rice fields of Sa Pa and sliding/falling in the mud? Or when the kids giggled the whole time clambering behind that waterfall in Banos? Or the sunsets on Koh Lanta?!! 

White Water Rafting in Banos was cheap and awesome!

Sigh… Such good, good times. 

It is kind of “be careful what you wish for” isn’t it?

Knowing what we do now, I would go back to long-term travelling in a heart beat.

The sunsets on Koh Lanta, Thailand are burned in my brain

The element of slow travel, of exploration and our plan of no planning/go-where-the-day-takes-us suited us wholeheartedly. As a family we became wicked close. As a couple we were bonded in the desire to make this the best experience of our lives.

And man, was it ever.

But as I wistfully reminisced this morning about all the amazing experiences we had, the hubs reminded me that I was looking at our trip around the world through travel-coloured glasses.

Shit. Yes. I totally am.

There was a magical beauty to being able to see Darwin’s Finches every morning as we ate breakfast in the Galapagos

I am in the trenches of my very first #NaNoWriMo experience. NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is the concept that you can write a novel in one month if you dedicate the time and energy to doing it. Your goal is to get to 50,000 words by the end of November and can enjoy a community of fellow writers who are talking, supporting and encouraging you through the process. It is way harder than I thought, an average word count required to be written daily in order to stay on task that is a bit daunting. Especially when you haven’t quite found the flow yet. I am writing about our trip and as I write I am deep in reflection mode, working on what nuggets should be pulled out to inspire others to do a similar adventure.

If I can convince people to go here because of our writing, I will consider that a success.

Travel is absolutely something special. Yet there are times that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. We create this sunshine and roses ideal, but here are a few piece of reality that made me giggle today as we talked through those funny/not funny moments of our trip.

    • I peed my pants at a World Heritage Site.
    • Lauren threw up all over the bus station in Lima (as we left our backpacks entirely unmanned as we went to clean up the puke off of her, me and every piece of clothes we had on).
    • Chris paid $30 for 3 apples in Vietnam. Sometimes currency conversions just don’t quite work out.
    • Spencer went to the equator but really he just lied on the grass and didn’t move, our very first adventure and he had some kind of flu the whole way through.

  • We got to an AirBnb in the middle of the night and there was zero, absolutely NO toilet paper. None. (Ha! You try and hold it!)
  • We had headphones stolen off a bus in Bolivia.
  • Having to choose meats that are hanging out in hot sun and vegetables in markets that have flies everywhere gives you a stronger sense of “Just deal”.
  • We almost didn’t get on our flight to New Zealand because we didn’t have our visas to Australia sorted (an important note if ever you are going both places).
  • Chris thought he might have died in Sri Lanka, I thought I was going to in Cambodia, Spencer was convinced he was in Ecuador. You will get sick at some point. It is what it is.
  • There will be tight quarters. Claustrophobic level rooms or sharing of beds or kicking one out of bed.

    Our first night in Sri Lanka & yes, that foot was in my face all night and Dad slept on the floor
  • There is absolutely NO such thing as air-conditioning in developing countries at 40+ degrees. It is called a window. Just deal.
  • We over paid for cabs/tuk tuks in Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Thailand, Vietnam, Greece and Morocco. Shit happens. You can’t get upset. It just all works out in the wash.
  • We watched corruption at its best in too many countries to count.
  • We saw really hungry kids and families with nothing. It will make you desperate to want to fix it somehow and yet you will start to realize you can’t.
  • We witnessed countless piles of garbage, plastic in the ocean, heart-hurting climate change.
  • Every fish market will always smell bad.
  • We fought in Napier, New Zealand and the kids were convinced we were going to get divorced. (We hardly ever fight, I was hangry and we were living in a close-quarter caravan for a month. It takes its toll).

You try living in this 24 hrs with your family for almost a month and see how you do 🙂

We can laugh at it all now. Sure, we had some minor challenges along the way but it will never take away from meeting some of the most wonderful people in the world.

We used Booking.com and AirBnb a ton for our trip and as I look at the bad, the opposite is how amazing these hosts made our experiences throughout our travels. It was the people and mother nature that made our trip as special as it was, and I can’t tell you enough how much these folks make me smile.

Alejandro in Quito, Ecuador who dealt with my tears on election night, took us on a tour of Northern Ecuador and introduced us to Otavalo market, local food, hot springs and Bizcochos.

Alejandro our awesome host and tour guide

We got to see how Bizcochos were made from scratch. So much fun.

Maria in Galapagos, Ecuador who coordinated transport and tours and recommended us to local eateries to enjoy life on the island.

Victor in Banos, Ecuador who painstakingly walked us through everything fun to do in Banos and organized zip-lining, white water rafting and cabs (& has the sweetest smile).

Victor was unbelievably kind and we met a TON of fellow travellers at this hostel.

Giovanna in Mancora, Peru who was so welcoming and open to us adding days onto our stay, as well as coordinating pick ups in the middle of the night as we go off the bus.

We adopted or got adopted by a lot of cats & dogs
Normal life became propane stoves and bottled water.
Life & school on the road.

Alfonso in La Serena, Chile  who not only picked us up but helped us go shopping at the local grocery stores as soon as we arrived. Plus he spent time in Edmonton so he already knows how awesome Canada is.

Pamela in Puerto Natalas, Chile who introduced us to Matcha and chatted with us about entrepreneurship, femicide and explained all things Chile to us.

The crew at the Circus Hostel in Buenos Aires who took us local to learn to tango & helped us navigate the currency situation in BA.

It was not uncommon for us to share a bed (2 to a single or 3 to a double) This became one of my all time favourite pics of the trip

Hue in Hoi An  who helped organize scooters for us and took us on a total off-road adventure in the rain..

Hoi An off roading

Wasunt in Bangkok who gave us an epic back alley scavenger hunt to make Bangkok fun & interesting for the kids and Grandma.

Our back alley adventures took us on a long boat trip through the centre of Bangkok

Ruwan in Ahangama, Sri Lanka who (along with Kumara our tuk-tuk driver) went so far above & beyond in hosting us including being part of a 2nd birthday party, bringing oils when Chris was sick, going over to their family’s house for dinner and for taking me across hell’s half acre translating and trying to get my computer fixed (& also for teaching our son to drive a tuk-tuk!)

Spencer became BFF’s with Kumara and we have been able to keep in touch.

Harrison in Dubai  who made us feel fancy as we arrived in Dubai and organized our trips where we needed.

This was by far the fanciest place we stayed on our whole trip. It was perfect. Right beside Dubai Mall and looking out at Burj Kalifa.

Mohammed in Marrakesh who made countless arrangements for tours and meals and talked openly about being muslim and teaching us more about the Koran.

Riad Julia in old town Marrakesh was simply stunning
Mohammed was a lovely host and a genuine human being

As I look back on what we did, I am forever grateful to the human connections we made. They were really the best part of travelling. They are what make me want to do more.

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