Category Archives: Travel

Finding Time for Adventure

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Jebel Shams, Oman

For many of us who are old enough to consider retirement, the scarcest resource in our lives is probably not money, but time.

Life, they say, is what happens while you are busy making plans. Time is ticking away, life is short. These days, everyone is saying how busy we are.  But, as we all know, we all have the same 24 hours as everyone else, and it is up to us to prioritize how we want to spend our time doing the things that we want to do.

When we were younger, we only had a few weeks of vacation each year to plan for vacation and/or trips, typically 2-4 weeks at a time. Now, once we retire, we can choose to go on super long trips such as 2 months, 6 months, or even years at a time.

Many people delay their retirement for a variety of reasons.  They want to be conservative in their finances to ensure that money will never run out, or that they think they enjoy their work as compared to no specific plans, hobbies, activities or adventures after retirement.  They like their status quo. This sentiment is easy to understand, but whenever I hear about some friends developing critical illnesses or some famous people who just died on the news, it makes me want to take action for some big adventures.  Here is an interesting grave stone marking that speaks to this (Brandon Lee’s grave in Seattle):

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

And here is a website that calculates when you are likely to die, based on various parameters about our life (age, weight, gender, whether you smoke) – www.deathclock.com.   A big, unstoppable clock counts down the remaining seconds of our life.

This type of thinking is morbid, but it takes deadlines to spur most of us into action.  This non-extendable deadline is scary, as there is still so much I want to do before September 14, 2042.

There is no solution to make more time.  Money cannot buy more time.  But learning about my “Expire Before” date will help me decide not to waste any more time on unimportant things, and to take action on some new possible adventures.  We need to begin the conversations with the people in our lives – our family, our boss, ourselves – about ways in which it might be possible to pause the daily rhythm of lives long enough to do something different and really memorable.

One of reason why I like traveling to new places is that it makes me more aware of how much time I have.  I really don’t have any more time, but I have just freed it up to spend it on the things that I truly feel is important to me. I wake up excited, as the day is available to explore and experience something new.  And the day stretches long into the night.  I might meet some new people along the way, learn about new cultures and world heritage sites, visit some world wonders, or hike a mountain to see some wonderful vistas.

When I am away on trips, I do not feel busy, but my days are full and fulfilling.  I cherish spending that time.  At home my days feel short, hurried, and too routine.  At the end of most of those days, I feel I have not accomplished much that is really memorable.

I hope this post will urge you to fill your days with what feels important and worthwhile to you, not with the stuff that conventional society deems us to be doing, or with stuff that might be easy and uncomplicated but is not meaningful and rewarding in the long run.

Travel with Purpose

family tree

It is always nice to be able to travel with a specific purpose in mind. It can be to attend a conference, to participate in a sporting event, to meet a family member or a friend abroad, or to attend a world class festival or watch a major sporting event.

I have traveled on several trips to research on, and to meet new extended family members, while doing my “family tree” project.  My first trip with that purpose is to New Zealand and Australia in 2007 with my two older sisters to meet over 100 extended uncles, aunts and cousins, who immigrated to that part of the world while the majority of us immigrated to Canada.  It was an amazing discovery trip to enable me to expand our family tree from about 150 to over 300 members. I did not realize that I have so much connection to New Zealand.  This trip laid the foundation that allowed us to plan a huge family reunion event in Vancouver in 2008 with over 130 attendees, and expand the family tree to over 480 members at present.

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Large family dinner in Sydney, Australia

Another trip on this “family heritage” theme was in 2010 when a group of Vancouver and New Zealand family members traveled to Balingzhuang village in Guangdong Province of China to visit our ancestral village.  The 6 houses that our grandfathers built are still standing, and we met family members there that still remember to exact details of our parents’ time there.  They reminisced about the good times, and we paid respects to the older generations.  A year later, we brought our two adult children back to this village so that they are aware of their cultural heritage.

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Family photo, at the Balingzhuang ancestral village, near Guangzhou, China

In 2014, I went on an amazing trip to South America to hike Mount Roraima and Angel Falls.  As part of this trip, I flew to Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname, to visit another branch of my family tree.  With modern technology, I was able to make contact with them via social media ahead of time (QQQ & weChat), and we made arrangement for them to pick us up at the airport, and then visit them over a two-day period.  It was very interesting to learn about their immigration stories, and their way of life in this small South America city.

Inside kitchen area, again explaining to them about our family tree.
At the back of their restaurant in Parimaribo, Suriname, I was trying to explain to them about how we are all related

These are the type of travels that are really interesting and purposeful.  I hope to do more of these in the years to come.  With our love of playing badminton, we will try to incorporate some tournaments in our travels as well.

Land Border Crossings

Leaving Uzbekistan and entering Kyrgystan
Leaving Uzbekistan and entering Kyrgyzstan

In my opinion, crossing country borders by land is much more exciting than by air.  In the old days, air transportation is costly and limited in the choices, so overland travel is more common.  Nowadays with discount airlines and people having limited vacations, it is cheaper and less time consuming to just fly everywhere.  People can visit different countries by cruises too, especially to all the coastal cities and islands.

India - Nepal border
Hectic India – Nepal border

For me, going through the areas bordering countries is exciting and interesting, even though going through customs and immigration can be stressful.  It is interesting to think that just because of some arbitrary fence, wall or invisible line that is drawn up, people are separated in their way of living and are restricted in their freedom to move, even though they may come from similar backgrounds or environment.

Decided to cross into Zimbabwe to see that side of the Victoria Falls first. This is the Victoria Falls bridge.
Crossing the Victoria Falls Bridge to enter Zimbabwe from Zambia.

 Here is a summary of our land/ferry border crossings (73) so far:

Border Crossings   / Crossing Details /    Year
1 Canada USA, Surrey-Blaine (via Peace Arch crossing) 1971
2 USA Mexico, San Diego-Tijuana (via rental car) 1971
3 Canada USA, Surrey-Blaine (via Pacific crossing) 1975
4 Canada USA, Delta-Point Roberts (via highway) 1976
5 Canada USA, Fort Erie-Buffalo (via Peace Bridge) 1980
6 Canada USA, Niagara Falls-Niagara Falls (via Rainbow Br.) 1980
7 Canada USA, Windor-Detroit (via Ambassador Bridge) 1981
8 Canada USA, Waterton-Glacier (via boat across Lake) 1983 9 Canada USA, Rossland-Northport (via own car) 1983
10 Canada USA, Fort Frances-I Falls (via Fort Frances Bridge) 1985
11 Canada USA, Stewart-Hyder (via highway) 1988
12 Canada USA, Aldergrove-Linden (via Aldergrove crossing) 1991
13 Canada USA, Abbotsford-Sumas (via Sumas crossing) 1991
14 USA Mexico, Nogales-Nogales (via foot) 1992
15 USA Mexico, Catalina Island-Ensenada (via cruise ship) 1994
16 USA Bahamas, Fort Lauderdale-Freeport (via cruise ship) 1995
17 USA Canada, Bellingham-Vancouver (via cruise ship) 1998
18 Canada USA, Vancouver-Ketchikan (via cruise ship) 2001
19 USA US Virgin Is, Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas (via ship) 2001
20 Hong Kong China, Hong Kong-Shenzhen (via MTR & foot) 2006
21 Hong Kong China, Hong Kong-Macau (via ferry) 2006
22 Argentina Brazil, Puerto Iguazú-Foz do Iguaçu (via bridge) 2008
23 Brazil Paraguay, Foz do Iguaçu-Ciudad del Este (via bridge) 2008
24 Hong Kong Macau, Hong Kong-Macau (via ferry) 2009
25 Macau China, Macau-Zhuhai (via foot) 2009
26 China Hong Kong, Zhuhai-Hong Kong (via ferry) 2009
27 Czech Republic Slovakia, Prague-Bratislava (via train) 2009
28 Slovakia Hungary, Bratislava-Budapest (via train) 2009
29 Slovakia Austria, Bratislava-Vienna (via train) 2009
30 Germany Poland, Berlin-Szczecin (by train) 2009
31 India Nepal, Sunauli-Bhairawa (via highway) 2009
32 South Africa Namibia, Pofadder-Keetmanshoop (via road) 2010
33 Namibia Botswana, Buitepos-Mamuno (via road) 2010
34 Botswana Zambia Kasane-Kazungula (via pontoon ferry) 2010
35 Zambia Zimbabwe, Livingstone-Victoria falls (via bridge) 2010
36 Argentina Chile Calafate-Puerto Natales (via highway) 2011
37 Chile Argentina, Puerto Arenas-Ushuaia (via highway) 2011
38 China Tibet, Xining-Lhasa (via high speed train) 2011
39 China Nepal, Zhangmu-Koderi (via Sino-Nepal Bridge) 2011
40 Egypt Jordan, Taba-Aqaba (via ferry) 2012
41 Jordan Israel, Amman-Jerusalem (via shared taxi) 2012
42 Israel Palestine, Jerusalem-Bethlehem (via tour van) 2012
43 Norway Sweden, Oslo-Stockholm (via train) 2012
44 Sweden Estonia, Stockholm-Tallinn (via overnight ship) 2012
45 Estonia Finland, Tallinn-Helsinki (via fast ferry) 2012
46 Finland Russia, Helsinki-St. Petersburg (via overnight ship) 2012
47 Denmark Sweden, Copenhagen-Malmo (via train) 2012
48 USA Mexico, El Paso-Ciudad Juarez (by foot) 2013
49 Turkmenistan Uzbekistan,Turkmenabat-Bukhara(via truck)2013
50 Uzbekistan Kyrgyzstan, Andijan-Osh (via overland truck) 2013
51 Portugal Spain, Faro-Seville (via bus) 2013
52 Spain Gibraltar, La Linea-Gibraltar (by foot) 2013
53 Spain Morocco, Tarifa-Tangier (by fast ferry) 2013
54 Romania Bulgaria, Bucharest-Sofia (by bus) 2014
55 Bulgaria Macedonia, Sofia-Skopje (by bus) 2014
56 Macedonia Kosovo, Skopje-Pristina (by bus) 2014
57 Macedonia Albania, Ohrid-Tirana (by bus) 2014
58 Albania Montenegro, Shkodra-Podgorica (private driver) 2014
59 Montenegro B & H, Herceg Novi-Trebinje (private driver) 2014
60 Bosnia & Herceg Croatia, Mostar-Dubrovnik (by bus) 2014
61 Croatia Serbia, Zagreb to Belgrade (by bus) 2014
62 Serbia Bulgaria, Nis to Sofia (by bus) 2014
63 UK Belgium, London to Brussels (via Eurostar) 2015
64 Belgium Luxembourg, Brussels to Luxembourg City (train) 2015
65 Ireland Northern Ireland, Newgrange to Belfast (rental car) 2015
66 Northern Ireland Ireland, Sligo to Ballina (rental car) 2015
67 Canada USA, Haines Junction to Haines (rental car) 2015
68 USA Canada, Skagway to Whitehorse (rental car) 2015
69 Austria Italy, Innsbruck to Brenner (train) 2015
70 Italy Austria, Bolzano to Feldkirch (rental car) 2015
71 Austria Liechtenstein, Feldkirch to Vaduz (rental car) 2015
72 Liechtenstein Switzerland, Vaduz to Lugano (rental car) 2015
73 Switzerland Italy, Lugano to Como (rental car) 2015

Going from Chile (Puerto Arenas) to Argentina (Ushuaia)
Going from Chile (Puerto Arenas) to Argentina (Ushuaia)
I took a sneak photo at the Friendship Bridge crossing (even though we were not supposed to)
Almost got into big trouble when I took this photo at the Friendship Bridge crossing from China to Nepal (even though that were big signs not to do so)

Flight Statistics from 1967 – 2016

Our one-hour Druk Air flight from Kathmandu to Paro
Our one-hour Druk Air flight from Kathmandu, Nepal to Paro, Bhutan

Ever since I started traveling frequently as part of my engineering career, I have kept track of all my flights taken, including adding back the few flights I took before my career started.  Flying was quite special back then in the early 1980’s, with meals on china plates, silver cutlery, wine and liquor served, even on domestic flights.  Who can remember great airlines like Canadian Pacific, Wardair, and Pan American Airlines?

I use an online program called OpenFlights.org, where one can enter the to/from destinations, airline names and plane model numbers, flight numbers, and even seat numbers if one wants to.  The program will calculate the distance flown and the duration of the flights.  And it gives a great summary and one can export to an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis.

After lunch at the Village, took the Cessna plane back to Ciudad Bolivar
Our Cessna flight from Canaima National Park to Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela

So, here is the summary of all flights I have taken since coming to Canada from Hong Kong, with some interesting statistics at the bottom:

Year  /  Kilometers/ Duration/ Places Traveled To
2016 Total 14,264 20:48 UAE, Oman, Qatar
2015 Total 51,862 22:45 Wales, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland,                                                                     Northern Ireland, Yukon, Italy, Greece
2014 Total 58,213 29:00 Ecuador, Galapagos, Venezuela, Suriname,                   Trinidad, Guyana, Dominica, Barbados, Balkans (9 countries)
2013 Total 63,979 37:17 Iceland, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,                                                Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, UK, Spain, Portugal, Morocco
2012 Total 83,421 43:04 Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Norway, Sweden,                                                       Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Japan, Korea
2011 Total 90,256 48:59 Patagonia, Antarctica, Philippines, Borneo,                                 Brunei, Tibet, Bhutan, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar
2010 Total 60,979 32:03 South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia,                                                        Zimbabwe, Utah, Arizona, China, Hong Kong
2009 Total 61,958 34:19 Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy,                                                                       Germany, Poland, Turkey, India, Nepal
2008 Total 41,306 30:31 Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil,                                                                                                               Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan
2007 Total 45,243 32:59 London, Spain, New Zealand, Australia
2006 Total 20,406 26:30 Hong Kong, China
2004 Total 8,800 12:00 Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI
2003 Total 12,173 17:12 Toronto, Milwaukee
2002 Total 7,261 10:04 Montreal
2001 Total 8,157 11:10 Florida
2000 Total 1,363 2:42 Calgary
1999 Total 1,472 3:48 Seattle, Calgary
1998 Total 29,434 27:44 China, California
1997 Total 24,803 20:58 Hawaii, Cancun
1996 Total 8,771 12:56 Las Vegas, Dallas
1995 Total 14,688 20:20 Orlando, Bahamas
1994 Total 3,459 5:18 Los Angeles
1993 Total 6,298 8:52 Houston
1992 Total 16,539 20:07 Los Angeles, Tucson, Houston
1989 Total 6,896 9:36 Pittsburgh
1988 Total 5,827 9:16 Washington, Savannah
1986 Total 17,712 13:04 Winnipeg, Boston, Vancouver, Dallas
1985 Total 4,691 6:50 Charleston
1984 Total 15,187 19:58 London
1982 Total 8,650 11:48 Honolulu
1967 Total 10,187 13:14 Hong Kong to Vancouver

Grand Total 804,256 km traveled

Total flight air time duration of 47 days & 11:12

Total Distance Traveled = 20.19 times around the world

Total Distance Traveled = 2.104 times the distance to the moon

Total Flight Segments = 272

Busiest year of travel = 2011 with over 90,256 km traveled

Most Number of Flights in one year = 37 in 2014

Longest Flight = Vancouver to New Zealand at 11,354 km / 14:36

Number of Unique Airports = 50

Number of Unique Airlines = 63

Northernmost airport KEF (63.98°N 22.61°W) – Keflavik, Iceland

Southernmost USH (54.84°S 68.3°W) – Ushuaia, Argentina

Westernmost HNL (21.32°N 157.92°W) – Honolulu, USA

Easternmost AKL (37.01°S 174.79°E) – Auckland, New Zealand

Amazing Places: Ireland’s Scenic Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow, scenic mountain pass between MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain just outside Killarney National Park in Ireland’s County Kerry.  It is a spectacular 11 km serpentine road (paved), but the terrain that is passes through is more like a hiking trail (narrow and steep) than a road.   Every turn opens to another idyllic farm scene or dramatic mountain view.  One can travel through the Gap of Dunloe by car, bicycle, or horse & cart.P1100026_sm

“Jaunting cars” tours (horse and cart) is great way to step back in time to enjoy the trip for those who are not up to a longish walk or bicycling.  Killarney Horse and Carriage Tours has about 25 carts and operates seven days a week. They’re said to have the oldest jarvey (jaunting car operator) in Killarney, and the carts and horses are guided by men from local families, using a rotation system to determine who takes the next customers. They’ve used this “turn” system since the 1920s, passing it on through generations.P1100010_sm

After we drove through the Gap, we came up to “Ladies View”, which is the panoramic view that enchanted Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting in 1861.  One of the ladies was so taken with the sight of steep cliffs, ravines and clear lakes, she declared it “the finest view in all the realm.”  P1090998_sm

On the descent from the mountain pass, we pass through Black Valley, so named because the valley remained in the dark without electricity. It was not until 1976 that the homes in this valley were connected to the grid, making it the last outpost in Ireland!

Black Valley is a remote and untouched part of Ireland (even though it is only 22 km from Killarney).  It is so named because the valley remained in the dark so long without electricity.  It was not until 1976 that the homes in this valley were connected to the grid, making it the last outpost in Ireland!

 

 

Amazing Places: The Gates of Hell, Turkmenistan

I will start to post short write-ups about some of the amazing places that I have visited over my past trips.

This post is on the The Gates of Hell (also known as Darvaza Crater) located in the hot, expansive Karakum desert of central Turkmenistan.

The locals have dubbed the cavern "The Door to Hell"
The locals have dubbed the cavern “The Door to Hell”

The Gates of Hell were created in 1971 when a Soviet drilling rig accidentally punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern, causing the ground to collapse and the entire drilling rig to fall in.  Having punctured a pocket of methane gas, poisonous fumes began leaking at an alarming rate. To head off a potential environmental catastrophe, the Soviets set the hole alight. The crater hasn’t stopped burning since.

The diameter of the crater is 69 m, and its depth is 30 m.  Its glow can be seen for kilometers around.

I was here in June of 2013 on a 30-day Central Asia overland trip.  We camped overnight nearby.

View of the camp from the top of a small hill nearby
View of the camp from the top of a small hill nearby
To avoid poisonous gas discharge, they lit the gas and thought that the fire would burn all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas is still burning today, after 42 years of burning continuously.
We can walk all around the crater, as close as we wanted.  There are no guard rails.
This was as close as I wanted to get. Any closer was too hot (and unsafe).
This was as close as I wanted to get. Any closer was too hot (and unsafe).

 

A Fantastic trip to the Middle East

This Emirati woman was not shy to have her photo taken with us.
This Emirati woman was not shy to have her photo taken with us.

We’ve been back home for nearly two weeks now since our early new year trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and Qatar, and we are finally getting our routine back.  I usually like to get our trip photos sorted, edited, and put into trip albums with detailed captions right away so that I don’t forget the details of the trip.  I also like to do a bit of research on wikipedia on the background of a few photos that I find interesting looking back at home.  Some people may think of it as work, but I get pleasure in organizing the trip photos, learning more about what we experienced, and “writing a photo essay” about it.

The trip was quite amazing, as our itinerary worked out perfectly as planned, and we did not face any difficulty during our travels.  The international and 3 regional flights were great, we had no issues with any of the car rentals in all 3 countries, the infrastructure (metro, bus, highways, hotels) were excellent, and the people was really friendly.

We enjoyed the modern architecture and the opulent sights of the UAE and Qatar, and we enjoyed the wonderful mountain and desert scenery of Oman.  We did mostly sightseeing in big cities, with a bit of bike riding in Dubai, and we did quite a bit of hiking in Oman. What we liked the most about this trip was our freedom to explore these 3 countries at our own pace with absolutely no hassle from the locals and no large crowds.  And the weather was perfect!

As with our past trips, we will have to write detailed trip reports at a later date.  For now, here are a few more of our favorite photos:

They helped us take some photos
The Empty Quarter in Oman
Starting our 3-hour trek to Wadi Nakhr and the Balcony Walk
Starting our 3-hour trek to Wadi Nakhr and the Balcony Walk
The cluster of beautiful architectural buildings as seen from the road leaving the Presidential Palace
The cluster of beautiful architectural buildings iin Abu Dhabi
The Corniche, a long seaside promenade that curves around Doha Bay and affords pretty views of Palm Tree Island and the city's skyscrapers. Many locals and western expats stroll along the Corniche in the afternoon. We met an Australian who moved to Doha as a school teacher and is enjoying her lifestyle very much. She has no plans to move back.
The Corniche in Doha

 

 

2015 Year End Review

Asphalted road .Forward to the New Year 2015

We are just a few days away from a New Year, and one sleep away before we fly to the Middle East for a 15-day trip to explore 3 countries there.  2015 has been a huge transitional year for us.  Here are some of the major events for our family:

January – our daughter moved out to live on her own and with her boyfriend at Olympic Village.  It was nice to be able to help her set up the condo and visit her as an adult.  Our family house of over 23 years was put on the market, and within 7 days, it was sold for a very good price with competing offers.

February – We were very busy getting rid of our stuff and preparing for our big move.  Our initial arrangement with my brother-in-law to rent their recently purchased condo fell through, but we were very fortunate to find a brand new townhouse across from Metrotown to rent for a reasonable price.  Our son got his work visa approved, and soon we saw him off to London, England, to start a new career in investment banking with a major bank.  We moved into the new townhouse on Feb 25, allowing a 5-day overlap before we hand over the keys to the new owners of our house.

March – 4 days after we moved out of our house and started to live in the townhouse, we flew to London to attend our son’s MBA convocation at Oxford University, and to visit his new home in a leased flat in central London.  Afterwards, we took a train to visit Belgium and Luxembourg for a few days before flying to Dublin to visit Ireland and Northern Ireland with a rental car for 2 weeks.

April – We settled down at our new townhouse and explored our new neighborhood.  I cycle 5 minutes to work, and my wife skytrain to work downtown.  We tried out some new restaurants nearby, and were happy to discover how convenient it is to live so close to all the amenities.  We hardly ever use the car to do chores.  We tried out the strata unit’s exercise gym, and jogged to Central Park for exercise whenever we had the time, in addition to playing badminton 3 times a week, which are the only times we drive our car.

May – My mother-in-law became ill and passed away quite suddenly. It was very sad for the whole family.  There were many family matters to attend to, including arranging for the funeral.  It reminded us of the frailty of life.

June – The weather got much better and days much longer.  Since I have so much more free time with zero home or yard maintenance, I signed up for several hiking Meetup groups and participated in many hikes on the weekend.  We also flew to Whitehorse, Yukon with a credit card 2-for-1 flight promotion, and traveled on the “Golden Circle” route with hiking in Kluane National Park and sightseeing in Skagway, Alaska for 6 days.

July – We started to ride our bikes every weekend to explore different neighborhoods around Greater Vancouver, just like what we had done 4 or 5 years ago.  We have a Greater Vancouver bicycle route map that we highlight each and every path we rode.  We also continued to sign up for more hikes via the Meetup groups, and we have met many interesting people through these activities.  Our sister’s partner treated us on a sailing excursion with his friend’s sailboat and had a wonderful bonding time.

August – We trained hard in July and August to prepare for the annual BC 55+ Games (a 24-sport event to encourage BC seniors to stay active in participation and in competition).  This year was my 3rd year participating in the sport of badminton (2nd year for my wife), and we both did very well, earning 2 medals each in our age category events.

September – We took a 3-week trip to the Italian Dolomites and the Greek Islands with another couple from Brampton, Ontario, that we met on previous trips.  It was a great trip with lots of fantastic hiking, sailing, activities, culture, food, and companionship.  Visiting world wonders of Santorini and Meteora were part of the highlights.

October – The weather was still very nice in Vancouver when we came back from our trip, so we filled our time with many more outdoor activities. I found time to sign up for more Meetup groups of different interests, such as Travel Hacking and Blogging.  We also entered a Masters level badminton tournament at the Vancouver Racquets Club where the best of the BC players play.

November – I decided to start a blog .  We brainstormed for a nice and appropriate domain name to buy.  Once I bought the domain name, along with a hosting plan, I was able to quickly get the site up and running within an hour.  It was fun to learn a new skill and put my creative hat on to create something from scratch.  I attended a Travelers Century Club meeting in Vancouver to hear great stories on exotic places of travel and enrolled in some weekly exercises for the core.

December – Between learning more features and tools with WordPress, playing badminton, and meeting new friends that arrived in Vancouver in their camper truck that we met in Yukon in June, and who are in the midst of traveling the world for the past 8 years, Christmas came quickly.  We had several get-together dinners with friends and families.  Our son did not come home for Christmas, but with technology like Skype, distance does not matter to our family bonds.  With the recent terrorist threats around the world, cheap air tickets were everywhere to be had. We bought return air tickets to Paris for $670 each for next May, and we were able to complete our detailed trip itinerary and booked all the hotels within a few evenings.  We tried to fit a trekking trip to Ladakh, India for next September with my sister-in-law and her partner, but the timing did not work, and we decided to visit Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion instead.  We have now 2 trips 85% planned for 2016, plus the one that we are leaving tomorrow afternoon to United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and Qatar!

We’ve had a busy and hectic 2015, and we are looking forward to potentially more positive changes next year!

Happy New Year!

2015-2016 change represents the new year 2016 three-dimensional rendering