Saturday, November 27, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Disappointed - Word of the day
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Spontaneous - Word of the Day
I'm starting a series of posts of travel related words, words that inspire me and even just words that entertain me, that I like and new ones that I might learn. I won't post every day, who knows if I'll even post one every week, but if a good one comes to me I'll write about it as it happens.
This week my word of the day is Spontaneous. Many travelers have the dream of someday going to the airport, looking at the departure screen, picking a destination and just going. That is the ultimate travelers spontaneous decision. This week I came as close to doing that as I ever have.
I knew for a couple of weeks that I would have Thursday off for Remembrance day and requested that following Friday as well, to make a long weekend out of it. I thought about taking off and going somewhere like Toronto, New York or London but as I looked at the flights it wasn't looking so good. The flight schedule changed for London so there was no longer a flight the day I wanted to make the most out of the trip, New York was way too expensive, but Toronto was looking promising for maybe just a quick one night trip.
While at work that Tuesday however things were going really slow and my boss suggested that I take Wednesday off as well. Immediately I checked to see if there was a flight to London that night and within 12 hours I was sitting on an airplane. I didn't even have a chance to tell my friends about it it happened that quick. It was spontaneous and felt exhilarating and many people didn't believe that I actually did it. To make it even more exciting, I decided not to tell all of my friends in London about me coming and was actually able to surprise Chris from the The Aussie Nomad at a party, whom I hadn't seen since Copenhagen in May. Even though he might defend it I swear he screamed like a little girl when he saw me.
Also on this trip I had one of the most extreme Small World Moments ever. To read more about it check it out over here at www.travelyourself.ca
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This Wednesday in a small town of 9,000 people called Buñol just a 45 minute train ride from Valencia, Spain is the famous La Tomatina festival. I was at this crazy festival last year and hope to go again in the future. From my trip I learned a few key tips for successfully enjoying this festival and have listed them below.
On the last August of every Wednesday 40,000+ people show up in the small town of Buñol for this festival. In the street there is a large lard and grease covered pole with a ham at the very top that the masses of people have one hour to climb to claim their prize of the ham and signal the tomato fight to begin. (often people can’t reach the ham) If the ham is not retrieved the tomato fight still begins at 11am. A loud speaker announces to the crowd in various languages that the fight has begun and many dump trucks full of tomatoes drive through the small streets dumping thousands of tomatos (spoils from the harvest) into the street and for an hour the biggest food fight you will ever take part in surrounds you.
The greased pole and ham go up around 10am and the tomato fight starts at 11am however people start gathering in the city and getting on trains from Valencia around 6am. The train I was on that morning was packed, with people in the aisles and on top of each other at 6:45am.
Unless you have a best friend with a house in Buñol there will be no place to put anything that you bring with you so bring the least amount of things as possible. (or leave it on your bus if you are on a tour) Avoid trying to bring a bag. On your person all you should have is some money and your hotel/hostel key and even that you should maybe leave at your accommodations and have the front desk hold on to it for you. I literally had my key tapped to the inside of my pocket with duct tape. (Also I luckily made a friend in an old man in the city who let me keep my bag at his house, use his washroom and fed my friends and I but this is not a common experience so don’t go expecting this.)
You will be covered head to toe in tomatoes and water, DO NOT wear flip flops or sandals of any kind unless they secure tightly with lots of straps or Velcro otherwise you will loose them within minutes and your feet will get stepped on. (Also be sure to wear something that you will be comfortable in as it could be a long day). If possible try to wear clothes and shoes that you might never wear again. I wore sneakers that immediately headed to the trash afterwards. If you are male you will most likely have your shirt ripped off of you if you don’t remove it yourself. If you are female sadly you may fall victim to this as well, so layer up if you can, I wore a t-shirt over a tank top over my bathing suit and gladly kept everything on. There are groups of people though that think its funny to rip other peoples shirts off, so be warned.
The crowd of people will be the tightest most claustrophobic crowd you have ever been in, way more extreme than any concert you have ever attended. If you see an opening in the crowd, do not head towards it as most likely that is where the people are ripping other peoples shirts off and there is an opening in the crowd because people are trying to avoid the area.
Girls should definitely have hair elastics. Goggles are a must because tomato juice hurts when it gets in your eyes! Also bring a water proof camera or a very good case. (You can’t go wrong with a ziplock bag). When I attended last year there were many people selling both goggles and waterproof film cameras (yes film) on the street. Along with those many places and people were selling beer and sangria right out of their house (awesome).
I hope these tips don’t scare you off, but just prepare you and allow you to have a wicked time!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
“Vill du sätta igång spat?”
“What? Oh sorry I don’t speak Swedish.”
“Ummm would you like zee bubles turned on?”
“Bubbles? Oh there are bubbles? I didn’t even realize! Yes please.”
(I swear he said "zee" I'm not making that up.)
I’m sitting in a hot bath at the Varberg Comwell Hotel in Varberg, Sweden. After a swim and a sit in the steam room then sauna I am now starring into space, soaking. An older Swedish man has...
To read more please visit my other site www.travelyourself.ca
Travel Yourself - New York from Cailin O'Neil on Vimeo.
- In August 2009 I was fairly new to the twitter scene and had been following @nomadicmatt. We had written back and forth to each other a few times but that was about it. At the end of the month I was heading to Spain for La Tomatina and I knew he was too but that was all.
- In February 2010 I traveled to Fiji where I met Hanna from Sweden who was also traveling around. Later that March Hanna traveled through Australia and finally returned home to Sweden in April. In May I visited her in Sweden and while visiting her she said to me “You said you were from Halifax right? I think I met a girl from there when I was in Australia.” I didn’t know her but we pulled her up on facebook and I had 10 friends in common with her.
- This one isn’t “as far” of a long shot but for it all to happen within a 10 hour period makes it crazy. In May I went to Newfoundland for the first time ever to party and hang out with @candicewalsh. Within my first hour there we were walking down the street in St. John’s headed to Signal Hill and we passed a guy sitting on the on the sidewalk with his head down reading a book. I did a double take as he looked familiar, I told Candice I thought I knew him but thought it couldn’t be him and kept walking.
Later that night Candice and her roommates held a keg party. One of Candice’s roommates had a friend who showed up with 11 guys from Halifax. I had actually met one of them before in Halifax and I had friends in common with at least 3 or 4 others.
- When I flew to Australia in February 2010 there was a guy I went to high school with on my flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Another time I was flying to London and a different guy that I went to high school with was on my flight.
- Whenever I visit Toronto I always run into someone from home, without fail. Every. Single. Time.
- July 2010 through twitter I met Celeste Brash of Lonely Planet and saw that she was visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia updating a guide book so we met up for dinner. While chatting I noticed she was wearing a pearl necklace and I asked if it was Tahitian as she lives in Tahiti. It reminded me of a Tahitian pearl necklace that I had bought an ex-boyfriend many years before. We got to talking about it and it turns out that I had bought the necklace from her husbands pearl farm in Tahiti in January of 2007.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I've been increasingly getting more and more hits over here on this site yet, I've been neglecting it big time and putting all my focus into www.travelyourself.ca and my new site (which isn't up yet) www.thetasteoftravel.com It is going to be glorious! and that is all i will tell you about it right now :)
I'm finishing up my current job today and then I will be posting here more, with stories of my travels in the past few months and more and as always there will be video video video!
To keep you entertained in the mean time check out my newest video shot in New York City last week while I was there attending the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference aka TBEX TBEX10 or what have you. I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more! Cailin
Friday, May 14, 2010
I have started taking the Matador U Travel Writing program. Here is a post I wrote that was one of my assignments! :)
Some of the main economic generators are the Canadian Navy and tourism. Many people who visit this city arrive on cruise ships (100+ a year) and they often have only a 24-hour time period to see it. For that reason I have decided to put together this list of things to do in Halifax in 24-hours.
1. Start the day in a “Titanic” way – literally.
When the Titanic sunk on April 15, 1912, one of the first boats to arrive on scene was from Halifax. This boat (the MacKay-Bennett) picked up roughly 300 bodies from the wreckage including that of the famous millionaire Jack Astor. Once the bodies were brought to Halifax, the few families that could afford it, had their loved ones shipped back overseas, including Jack Astor, however many could not. Due to this, Halifax has three different cemeteries where passengers of the Titanic are now buried, a great thing to see and visit in Halifax. There is even one tombstone which reads J. Dawson and it is believed that is where James Cameron got the inspiration for the name of the main character in his film “Titanic” played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
2. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Here you can find more information on the great ocean liner along with many artifacts including the only deck chair to survive the sinking. The museum is said to have the “world’s finest collection of artifacts” from the ship! http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mma/titanic/titanic.htm It also has tons of artifacts from Canada’s naval history, as well as information about the Halifax Explosion. In December of 1917 during a bustling war time, Halifax’s harbour was the last stop for many ships before going off to Europe for the war. One foggy fateful morning two ships (one carrying tons of ammunition ) collided in the harbour causing the largest man-made accidental explosion. (At the time, it was the largest man-made explosion in the world prior to the bombing of Hiroshima)
Halifax is commonly known as little San Francisco because of its many hills. Citadel Hill is an old fort in the middle of the city, sitting on the highest point. The fort was built in this location because of its great view of the whole harbour, specifically the mouth, so deffenders could look out for incoming attacks, however it was never actually attacked. The fort has now been turned into a museum where you can experience the 1800’s in Halifax. Also, every day since 1856 (except for Christmas day) at exactly noon they fire a cannon signalling the changing of the guard.
4.The Waterfront & Great food
At this point you are probably feeling pretty hungry, so it is a great idea to head back down to the waterfront and grab some famous fish and chips or fresh lobster with a delicious thirst quenching Alexander Keith’s beer. Halifax has the longest wooden waterfront boardwalk with restaurants along the way and great views of passing ships.
Head over to Alexander Keith’s Brewery, where you can go on a tour. The tour takes you back in time to the 1800’s. You are leadthrough by different characters from that era who worked in the brewery. The tour finishes off with a great sing-a-long and a stein of the freshly brewed good stuff.
6. Harbour Cruise
There is no better way to enjoy this harbour city than a boat ride. Halifax has the second largest natural harbour in the world. There are many boat tours to choose from, be it a sail boat, paddle boat or even an amphibious vehicle. Along the waterfront you will also find companies that have dinner cruises, booze cruises, whale watching and even deep sea fishing.
7. More great food
You are bound to be hungry again, so time to head a few blocks in from the water to enjoy one of the many fine restaurants. From Greek to Chinese, Italian to Indian you are sure to find something you like. Food is reasonably priced, however if you feel like something fancy there are higher end restaurants as well. You can look forward to spending as little as $2 for some street meat or as much as $52 for a steak.
8. Drinks & Dancing
Halifax is a College town with four universities. It also has the largest number of bars and pubs per capita in Canada, if not in all of North America. If you are not wiped out from your long day, hit one or two of the bars and dance the night away. A few places even stay open until 3:30 A.M.
1. Halifax has a great farmer’s market worth the visit every Saturday morning at Alexander Keith’s Brewery market. (Soon to be down the road and seven days a week!)
2. A 45-minute drive out of the city is the popular Peggy’s Cove, a quaint little fishing village with the most photographed lighthouse in the world. It is also possible to go there from the city by boat for a full day tour of the area.
3. On Saturday afternoons the oldest pub in the city “The Split Crow” has a happy hour from 3-4 P.M. where you can get three beers for $5 (this also happens Wednesday and Thursday nights from 9-10P.M.).
Halifax has tons of historical, fun, and tasty things to keep you busy and is definitely worth a visit.
** This is an article written for my first Assignment in my Matador U Travel Writing program. This is my second publishing of this article as I got some comments on it, took them into consideration and edited it a bit further.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I am finally writing to wrap up my wicked Fiji trip last February.
Wednesday and Thursday were my last two days in Fiji on the main island of Viti Levu. This trip was not long enough to really enjoy Fiji and do everything I wanted to do, but by taking a tour it was a great way to see as much as possible in the little amount of time that I did have.
Wednesday was an inspirational day. We started off with a short trip to a small town where we bought school supplies and candy for a school we were going to visit. You can see in the video in my previous post just how adorable these kids were. They were also so amazed, by my camera and video camera and could of played with them for days. They asked me if they were going to be on TV after I made a few videos of them!
Beautiful kids and I told them I would send them the photos later. I hope they like them!
I will add more photos on my main www.travelyourself.ca site. One little boy even asked me for my autograph. He was so cute!
Also on that Wednesday we also visited yet another village and met with a chief who was not only Chief of his own village but was also the Chief of the whole province that we were in. Of course, a lot more Kava was had. The Chiefs wife and sister also taught us how to make our own bracelets out of grass.
After the Kava ceremony we requested permission from the Chief to go bamboo rafting on a river that crossed through his land and had a great relaxing lazy river time. After we headed to our resort for the night.
The resort on Wednesday was my favorite resort of all the places I've stayed on this trip. It was only 5 years old and was owned by a New Zealander. The prices were really cheap if you were staying in a dorm room, and they had everything you could want. It was very secluded on a piece of land that jutted out into the ocean with a nice sandbar. You can see some video footage of it as well in the video in the previous post. This resort was called Voli Voli and I wish I could of stayed longer!The next morning I actually got to sleep in a bit and lay out in the sun before we continued on our way back to Nadi to complete our full circle tour of the main Island of Viti Levu. On our way to Nadi we stopped at a tradional Indian restaurant and learned how to make our own roti (flatbread). The food was delicious, and I was surprised to learn that Fiji has quite an Indian influence and actually has a 40% Indo-Fijian population. The British brought many contract workers from India to Fiji in the nineteenth century to work at the Sugar factories and the population now is made up of their descendants.Our last stop before finishing our trip was to some natural hot springs and mud baths.
I had never been in a natural mud bath before, but it had to have been one of the must disgusting things I had ever felt! It was very lovely though after you got use to it! Creepy though because you can't see what is touching you in the mud and water. It was very warm and the mud came up to my waist, then it was all muddy water. It was almost impossible to walk around in and felt like I was in a pot of running mashed potatoes!
The hot springs and mud baths sat at the bottom of a mountain, in the middle of no where of course. There were no showers for you to get washed off in later or, houses to get changed in. One of the two outhouses that were there had its toilet sitting outside of it (obviously broken). The idea was for people to jump in the mud bath first, then head for the hot spring to wash off. At this point on the bus there was about 7 of us and I believe Hanna and I (my new Swedish friend) were the only ones to get into the hot spring to wash off.
To me the hot spring made me feel the exact thing Lobsters must feel when we stick them in a pot of water. It was extremely hot, it hurt to touch. It took me a good 10 minutes to get in, rare for a hot spring! The temperature was 45+ but other people were in it, enduring it so I thought I must be able to do it. A french lady next to me commented that since Fijians use to be Cannibals this must be where they take the dumb tourists to boil them before they eat them.....
I definitely didn't stay in the hot spring long, but I survived.
Following the mud baths and hot springs I was dropped off at my last hotel near the airport where I would stay until I flew back to Australia the next day.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
The first thing we did this day was go on a trek through a rain forest to a few waterfalls. Typically on this trip you would also visit a village however the village at this time was currently in mourning because of their chief who had just passed away. We were trekking with a particular guide company and they always trek with 2 guys, one for the front of the group and one for the back of the group, however since we were a group of only 3 and our tour guide came with us as well there were 3 people to 3 guides, you normally have to pay alot more money than we had to get that kind of service. It was a great trek, very muddy and slippery in parts but it was worth it to get to the waterfalls which were unbelievable, and the trek ended with a boat ride through mangroves. I did get a bit scratched up on the walk but part of it was due to the sensitive grass, a weed that grows in Fiji and the leaves on it are sensitive to touch.
Following the trek we headed to our resort for the night called Uprising Resort. It had to of been one of my favorite places that we stayed, the staff were very friendly, it was right on the beach, great dorms and a beautiful place all around. At the uprising resort we were shown how to make our own hats out of coconut palm leaves, taught how to open a coconut with a rock and then I had a full body massage for $30 Fijian, that is around $15 Canadian definitely worth it!
Aside from having more problems with my VISA card it was a very fun & productive day.
#5 New & Different thing that I did today was, jump off a waterfall, see sensitive grass, and made my own coconut palm hat!
Check out the video below to see a quick recap of my whole trip to Fiji.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Soon the bus arrived and we headed to Nadi one of the main cities on Viti Levu to shop for some food and buy sarongs/skirts to be worn in the village we would be visiting later that day. After Nadi we traveled to Natadola beach for a swim and BBQ lunch and I also purchased a fabulous pearl necklace from the ladies cooking lunch and scored a wicked deal!
After that came my #4 New and Different thing that I have done on this trip. I visited a real Fijian village, normally on this tour they show you around and take you inside the Chiefs house/hut to show you what it is like. However we happened to stumble upon a few locals inside having some Kava and they quickly invited us in to have some with them. (stay tuned for the video) Kava is the name of a plant and the name of the drink made from the plant. To make the drink the root and stem of the Kava plant are picked, dried and pounded into a powder. The powder is then put onto cheese cloth and water is poured through it with the runoff creating the drink. Kava numbs your mouth and stomach and is said to be good for treating nausea also its a relaxant, causes you to become quite mellow but allows you to keep a constant state of normal alertness and mental clarity. We ended up having 4 coconuts full of Kava each! A lot for your first time, I think they kept feeding it to us in hopes that we would leave quicker!
After putting all that Kava into our bellies we headed to some large sand dunes on the coast for some sand boarding! Of course the dune we were going to ride down was the tallest and steepest and hardest to climb! I was so afraid but at least I tried it! (stay tuned for the video of this as well)
Following the sand boarding we headed to our first resort for the night where we had a great dinner, participated in a crab race (my crab lost :( sadly) and drank more Kava. I had to be up early the next morning to catch the FeeJee bus so had some Kava and went to sleep, boy Kava knocks you right out! I slept through the 13 other people on tour with me returning to the dorm room that night, not a single thing could wake me up!
So #4 N&D thing was a few things.... Going to a Fijian Village, sand boarding, drinking Kava and betting on a crab race!
Friday, February 12, 2010
enjoy and stay tuned!! check out my twitter for updates on my travels and the other website for more updates!! Vinaka!
(first time using blooger video uploader bc it was quicker than youtube, not the greatest vid but it will do! )
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I stupidly forgot my camera cords at home and this computer does not have a card reader so I can't upload any videos or photos right now so this post will just be a quick tease of what I've been doing and I will put up better posts when I am back in Australia.
A quick recap since Sunday: I flew to Fiji, got my first Shell Lei, joined a great FeeJee experience tour with 14 other people, drank lots of kava in a village, went sand boarding, ate fried coconut, made a hat from coconut leaves, trekked to 3 waterfalls, got bitten by a million bugs, got a wicked sun burn on my shoulders, traveled half of the main island (to this point), bet on a crab and put it in a crab race, drank more kava, bought some great pearls and it goes on.
However at the moment I am too itchy from these bug bites to sit still at a computer any more! Tomorrow I am visiting another Fijian Village, visiting a school, going bamboo rafting and possibly mud pools? Back to Sydney on Friday!
Will write more soon, good night!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
I am in Nadi, Fiji now about to start a FeeJee Experience tour tomorrow morning then back to Sydney, Australia on Friday. Hopefully it will be awesome and hopefully the sun will come out!!
#3 New and Different thing that I did today was...... I went to Fiji!!! too easy?? Well I also got my first Lei ever! a shell lei!!!
thinking of things to do tomorrow :)
Friday, February 5, 2010
Update: here is the video of me eating vegemite!
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Some people might be saying (and actually have said to me) "Australia again? I thought you wanted to travel the whole world?" This is true, I do and I will, but all in due time. I just finished work on Friday after working since mid-Septmeber (being freelance and working in the film/TV industry that is quite a long time!) I'm tired and the winter is getting on my nerves, I just need a get away vacation right now and not a travel vacation. Instead of going to an all inclusive for a week I decided why not go back to a place 1) that I'm familiar with 2) where many of my friends live & 3) that is in the middle of summer! So that is exactly what I'm doing, my plan is to hang out & soak up some rays. (fingers crossed the rain goes away) Australia is so, so very close to Fiji however... so who knows I might make a quick hop over to there as well just to cross another one off the list!
Stay tuned, more updates to come & possibly some vlogs! ooohh aaahhh (we'll see haha)
Don't forget to check out the site! www.travelyourself.ca