"Where to next??" gallivanting1's Profile

The early years

I was born in Quebec, Canada and as my father was in the military we travelled extensively across this great nation. I love Canada but would trade the Alberta winters for a beach - anywhere - in a heartbeat. I don't enjoy the snow and cold and so it seems logical to try and get away any chance/excuse I get.

I've now settled in Edmonton, Alberta which makes absolutely no sense given my previous statement. The winters here are doubly harsh and so I hate them even more but I just can't give up the river valley and all the parks and festivals. I guess it's a trade off.

The 80's

October 1987 - July 1988
My fiancé and I decided to get married and when we began planning our wedding it all seemed so overwhelming for 1 day. His family was located in Ontario (a huge family none the less) and mine was in Alberta. Finally, after working all the angles, we decided to elope and travel the Pacific Rim. What an incredible journey! We stopped in Australia to get married before heading up through Asia and continuing our year long honeymoon. Travel in China back then was very difficult and people were very suspicious of Westerners but we managed.

When we finally returned home it was like a dream. The culture shock was something we never expected but the addiction to travel was set and we determined to make travel a priority in our lives.

The 90's

1991 - We spent 6 months travelling through South America and it was fascinating! The diverse cultures and peoples were incredible. It's still one of the places I hope to return to. The Galapagos Islands were a once in a lifetime trip and one I would recommend to anyone without any hesitation.

1993 - A Filipino friend of ours was going home to the Philippines and invited us to come and stay with him for awhile in Manila. After our stay with him we decided to do a little island hopping - easier said than done when you look at all the islands to explore. A great place to escape to and just discover beach after beach.

1995 - Back to Asia for a bit of a vacation with friends

1999 – My first solo trip after my divorce. A trip to East Africa to wander for awhile and gather my thoughts was far more than I had expected. What a jewel! Rwanda opened up to tourism while I was there so I had to go. I’m glad I did as it was the highlight of my trip. I’m hoping to return at a later date and take another safari. I went on two while there – 1 in Kenya and 1 in Uganda. Both were awe inspiring and I enjoyed going “budget” with the safari as I got to stay with the Masai and their hospitality knows no bounds.

The 00's

December 20, 2002 – January 28, 2003
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
My younger sister asked if I would be interested in going back to Asia with her. She had never travelled and wanted to see what I was so addicted to so off we went. I had been to Asia a number of times before but now, a lot of areas within Vietnam that had been closed to tourism were opening up so we planned our trip starting in Vietnam, travelling through Cambodia and Laos and ending in Thailand. The changes I was seeing in a lot of the places I had visited back in the 80’s were dismaying but my sisters “fresh” eyes helped me to see that to a newcomer it is still exotic and enchanting. For myself however, this would be my last sojourn to Asia. It’s just too painful to see the havoc tourism has wrought on the environment, people and culture. Since returning home, my sister has travelled to a number of places, taken up diving and generally become another world traveller. I think travel brochures should read “Caution, may be habit forming”.

November 28, 2005 – February 21, 2006
Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Portugal
I decided to check out the Middle East so I travelled from Jordan over to Egypt then across to Morocco and on to Portugal. The Jordanian people were very friendly but the reports I was hearing from other travellers coming from Egypt weren’t good. They didn’t recommend I travel alone and thought I would have a lot of trouble given the “Muslim mentality”. I was worried but decided to forge ahead and I’m glad I did. I found the Egyptian people to be very considerate and respectful. I’m not sure what the others travellers were referring to with their “Muslim mentality” remarks. If anything, it was refreshing to see people who openly celebrate their faith and make it an integral part of their lives. Egypt is a land of discovery and everywhere you look there’s something recovered from the past. I flew to Morocco and while flying over Libya I couldn’t believe the landscape. Definitely a place I want to visit in the future. Morocco was a land before time. The culture, people and every changing landscape all flood your senses. Did I mention the spices? I’m in love! Such flavourful food and the hospitality of the desert nomads in the Western Sahara was incredible. I took the ferry across the Mediterranean Sea to Spain and caught a bus for Portugal. Talk about culture shock! I couldn't believe the transit system, fat cows grazing and you could get a glass of wine just about anywhere! Secretly, this is where I think I got my addiction to Sangria - God bless them. I enjoyed Portugal and it was a sweet nightcap to my adventure.

The 00's - Continued

May 11 - June 1, 2007
I met someone who told me they always wanted to travel to Turkey. The look on their face and the dream in their eyes was infectious and I knew I had to go check it out. I’m glad I did. On the cusp of so many cultures it’s a rich and heady mix of European, Asian and Middle Eastern. Unfortunately, this is one trip that was too short to see everything I wanted so now I have the perfect excuse to go back.

Dec 19, 2008 - Jan 3, 2009
Dominican Republic, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua, St Maarten, Tortola
My parents 50th wedding anniversary so we gathered up the whole clan and spent a week on the Dominican Republic and a week cruising the Caribbean. Not my preferred mode of travel but it was my parents trip and they enjoyed it immensely. I had trouble getting used to the "all inclusive" mentality still, a little luxury every once in awhile never killed anyone . . . . but I hear alcohol poisoning can.

That brings me to today. I’m currently planning a trip back to Egypt for my boyfriend and I, his two sons (9 and 10) and his daughter (18) and her boyfriend. Should be interesting as they’ve never travelled on their backs before and this will be their first transatlantic flight. We have 3 weeks to race around so see it and all as well as get a little beach time. I’m sure we will do it but for myself, the challenge will be in coming home after such a short trip. I find I can’t travel for a year or even 6 months anymore. 3 months appears to be my limit and so I try and pace myself accordingly. Seven more years until retirement and then the world is mine for the exploring – indefinitely

2010 - Eastern Europe

My mother mentioned that she had always wanted to travel to Eastern Europe but my father wouldn't go. Sensing an opportunity, I volunteered to go with her. She surprised me by saying that she would like to try backpacking and travelling the way I do. Now I know my mother has a real sense of adventure but she is in her 70's and I just wouldn't feel right putting her on some of the local transportation I take for 6 - 10 hours at a time so we compromised.

Peugeot had a lease option that was actually cheaper than renting a car so I booked with them via their Open Europe plan. Our flight would land in Munich, Germany and the company would drive our new car to the airport for us on the date/time we specified. I was skeptical but upon arrival there was a woman there to meet us to take us to a rental/lease location just down the road and to our car. I'm not sure how they are able to give us a brand new car for 5 weeks with no limitations (outside of Russia) on where we could go. Apparently, with the economic recession Peugeot has a lot of new cars sitting and aging so they came up with the Open Europe plan. In planning this trip I purchased a GPS and had pre-filled in our travel routes. Now I was just hoping that: I would get a signal, the maps were current enough and that my mother would be able to see the screen and follow the directions. She insisted that she wanted to share the driving which scared me because she can be a bit of a distracted driver. She has never had an accident but when she gets talking she's looking at me and not where she's going. I didn't need to worry because once we got going the speed intimidated her a little. Speed limits were set at 130 KPH as a minimum but most people seemed to travel at around 150 KPH. I was nervous at first but the roads were in such great shape and the other drivers were very courteous that we were soon zooming down the Autobahn like it was nothing. About 2 hours into our trip a car pulled in front of us and a man leaned out the passenger side window waving a red flag and pointing to an off road rest area. The flashing sign in the back window read "Bitte" which is "Please" so I followed them to the rest area to see what was up. As it turns out they were police officers and they pulled us over because the cars license plates were from France. After I explained the lease and showed them all of our paperwork, passports, drivers licenses and so forth they seemed to understand that we weren't from France and that we were Canadians on vacation with some weird lease agreement. The fact that the car was a Peugeot and that the company had driven it to Munich for us got them shaking their heads about how the French do business. Not sure why because I thought it was a great deal. I asked if the plates were the only reason they had pulled us over - wanting to make sure I wasn't doing anything wrong like speeding - and they just laughed and said to stay in the right hand lane until we were more comfortable before moving into the left lanes. Flashing headlights behind you means get out of the way so if you're not willing to tear up the road in the left lane at least have the courtesy to get out of the way of those that are.

  • Intro Updated Dec 20, 2012
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“A man belongs where he settles, and not where he grew up. Where he is now and not where he was born. - Arabic proverb”

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Janice Garnier
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