travel

Road Trip: Heading North

In my last post I told you about the change of events. How we ended doing a 180 and moved north instead of south. Yukon was traded in for Cayman Islands. Staying in Canada was more ideal than enjoying endless summer, but we might change our minds come winter 😉

After a rush packing our things in Ontario we flew back to Calgary and drove from there. Our things were in a moving van and it could take 3-4 weeks to arrive! Our things would crisscross across Canada picking up and dropping off other big movers. We would not have more than what we could fit into a suitcase, so it was easier to buy a bed and other necessities and drive them up until our other items could arrive. I couldn’t imagine sleeping on a floor for a few weeks.

The drive from Calgary wound across the foothills and mountains between Alberta and British Columbia. The scenery was stunning and we lucked out seeing wildlife along the way. Most people might catch a glimpse of one animal if they are lucky, but we saw Canada’s finest. We saw bears munching clover, uncaring that we drove by and a quick dash across the road of a mommy and baby moose. We also saw mountain goats, porcupine, deer, lynx and elk. The most amazing was the large bison who take over the road for a long stretch of highway close to the Yukon border.

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Willow was great for the 25 hour drive, which we spread over 2.5 days. She was quite surprised by the animals. She shivered at the sight of them. Once we arrived in the Yukon we made a fast trip to unload our things at our new house then drove the Whitehorse for my week of training.

Willow the traveling cat

Willow the traveling cat

Stay tuned as I fill you in on my of our new adventures. School life is not as busy as Shanghai, but with our new adventure comes more jobs and less free time.  I don’t have a chance to post weekly, or check daily, but I will get on-line whenever I have a chance.

Road less traveled... a new adventure awaits.

Road less traveled… a new adventure awaits.

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Categories: Canada, everyday occurances, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Long Lost CTB :D

Since we moved back from China I haven’t had the same connection to my blog. No time… not much is exciting… and I discovered Twitter. However, something exciting happened in late July and I am just now making time to share it with you.

As you know I am a teacher. I worked in Shanghai for 5 years and hoped that experience would help me get a job back home. No luck. No jobs! I applied outside of teaching and had some promising connections, but something would fall through at the last minute, plans would change, they found a better candidate or life happened. Hubby found a job in Cayman and finally we both had jobs lined up in Cayman, but he fell ill. With medical insurance so high and him now being classed as `at risk` and having a `pre-exisiting` condition (which is not true since it happened while working there; gotta love insurance) we decided to start to look for jobs at home. He found one quickly, but my joblessness continued. Bad Karma after having to bow out of the Cayman job? Then luck changed. I had applied to some jobs in early June for teaching. I got the usual email saying we have hired internally. At least I got an email, usually you never hear back due to large number of applicants. Then late July I got a call for a phone interview the next day. A few days later I was offered the job. Some glitches with HR kept us busy as I sorted things out, provided them with a ton of paper work, found housing, found movers, moved, had staff training, started a new job, unpacked (and still unpacking, well more organising and adding finishing touches). Phew! But here we are… in the Yukon! We are from Southern Ontario. To give you perspective, it takes 3-4 days to drive to Calgary, Alberta (depending on stops) and then 24-25 hours from Calgary to the Yukon.

Moving Day

Moving Day

We were in Calgary when this happened. So we flew to Cayman for 2 days to get the things we left, assuming in June we would be moving back in August. Then to Ontario for 4 days. We had most things in storage, so all that was packed onto a big moving van and driven across the country. We flew back to Calgary to get Willow and some necessities. It takes maybe 6-7 days to drive that distance, but 3 weeks to get our stuff! As it goes across the country they stop and pick up and drop off other people`s stuff. More efficient, but not convenient when you don`t have a bed! We bought a few necessities and a bed, packed up Willow and headed up.

Road Trip -Yukon or Bust!

Road Trip  – Yukon or Bust!

I went from a large city in China of around 26 million to a community with a general store, school and maybe 350 people! I thought it would be big culture shock, but I am loving it. It is so beautiful and quiet here. Some nights we see the aurora and so many stars. The closest city is 4-5 hours away, so that is hard to get used to, but other than that all is good. We are in Canada, an added bonus.

So I will start to blog about our new home. I might not get into the weekly routine just yet, but you can always check me out on Twitter. I post sometimes a few times a week, other times maybe every other week. I like it because it is quick and I use it to keep up with news and events, so I am more likely to be on it. You can find the link on my sidebar. You don`t have to have an account to view my posts.

Good to be back and `see`you again. Stay tuned….

 

Categories: Canada, travel | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Our Future: WP Photo Challenge

No one can know what the future will bring, but hopes, dreams and aspirations will drive us forever forward.                                                                                      CTB:D 2016

Where to next? As the sign points in all directions our future choices are endless.

Where to next? As the sign points in all directions our future choices are endless.

For this WP challenge on FUTURE I knew right away I needed to post a photo of the Cayman Islands, soon to be my new home and hubby’s current home. Soon as I saw this photo I knew it was it. When I took this snap I didn’t think of the future, only the beautiful sunset and pointing to places all over the world. However, when I was going through my photos today I thought it was a perfect example of future.

The sun is setting on my vacation time here, but my next trip in the future will be to live. Pointing to all the cities shows me where I come from and where I may go in the next in the future… for vacation, or who knows maybe to live. In my wildest dreams China wasn’t on my travel bucket list, nor Cayman and here we are. You never know where the future will lead to next, but it always starts with one step.

Change on the horizon

Change on the horizon

Stay tuned…

Categories: Expat Life, Holidays, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Cayman Landscapes -Photo Challenge

I promised I would post more and get back to my weekly schedule, but then I came to the Cayman Islands. Aaaahhhh… My day is filled with sunshine, blue skies and swimming in the pool.

Hubby is at work, but somehow my days are still full. Weekends we head out and explore the island that will soon be my home too. The island is flat and most buildings are not more than 3-4 stories. Talk about culture shock from home and Shanghai. However, the beach landscape is something not to be missed. Crystal turquoise seas, soft powdery white sands and endless blue skies. I couldn’t pass up on the weekly photo challenge from WP – Landscape.

 

7 Mile Beach -sunset with a view

7 Mile Beach -sunset with a view

Palms fill the skyline vs the skyscrapers of Shanghai

Palms fill the skyline vs the skyscrapers of Shanghai

My days are numbered and soon I will be heading back to Ontario to spend a few days with family before returning out west. BUT… Only 3 short months before I return and start a new expat life.

Enjoy and stay tuned.

Categories: Expat Life, Holidays, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Travel Bug Bites Again!

There is a reason why we picked Travel Bugs as our blog name. My husband and I both love to travel, have a quest for adventure and a lure to wander about. Sure we love home, and home will always have a special place in our hearts and a place we will return. In July, we hung up our passports and decided to settle back into the life at home. We planned on getting jobs, buying a house and setting down roots. We looked forward to reconnecting with family, friends and Canada. The transition for me was easy at first, although I missed friends and the adventure of life abroad. The reaction when people find out you lived in China never got old. I had just started to pick up some of the language and had a better understanding of those difficult tones. I found myself drawn to Chinese tourists and their joy as we spoke a word or two in Mandarin. My health was suffering there, so the move back to Canada was a little bitter-sweet. My husband also got a job back on this side of the world, so it was time to come home.

As you know we moved out to Calgary. Originally it was meant to be a few short weeks for me to come out. Hubby had a type of job where he could live anywhere and fly in and out, as he had before China. Many turns of events lead me to staying here. I looked forward to a new home, the mountains a short drive away and experiencing a new part of the country I call home. It wasn’t always easy though. Settling into a new city it is hard to find your way around, make friends and just feel connected. Living abroad we had the same issues, but in an international expat community where we all were experiencing the same things, so it bonds people and creates friendships. Here people have their circles of friends, and lives. Why let someone new in? It was lonely especially when hubby was working away from home and only had 1-2 days off a month. Another reason why I stayed here alone. If I was in Ontario I would have friends and family close, but how would I ever have time to see my husband? It was hard, but over time it has gotten easier.

Then the economy had started taking a down turn and the price of oil has dropped drastically. It is easy to fill up at the pumps, but in Alberta a province driven by oil it hurts. Many people lost their jobs and more cuts to come. Hubby’s hours started to get reduced. Then plans for future work put on hold as the oil industry tries to save money and skate through the unknown crisis. The uncertainty of steady work sent him searching jobs. No one was responding as they were overwhelmed with applicants. However, one company soon responded and a Skype interview ensued on my birthday weekend. Hubby got a new job. Full time. Paid overtime hours. Benefits. Awesome right? Well just wait for it. You will never believe where it is. The job just happens to be in the Cayman Islands! Where it is summer all year long. We thought one day we would move abroad again, but not this soon! It is away from home, but much closer than China. Only a 4 hour flight which, happens to be about the same distance from Calgary to home.

Cayman Islands from above as the plane comes in for a landing

Cayman Islands from above as the plane comes in for a landing

Hubby has been there just over a month and getting settled in. I would have loved to have gone with him straight away, but his work discouraged family to come until later. I also had just started working in November and hated to quit only a few short weeks later. It is better for me to look for work from home also, another reason to stay behind. Over the Easter break I will go and visit John and our new home. It will break up the time before he will come home and help move me down there. I can’t wait!

Who would have thought this could be my backyard?

Who would have thought this could be my backyard?

So soon the Canadian Travel Bugs will be expats once again and exploring a new part of the world. Stay tuned for our new travel adventures!

Categories: Canada, Expat Life, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Great Wall -Boundary Post #2

This week’s theme is boundaries and as I said in the last post I feel boundaries can be physical, political or emotional. My first post showed something very political with pictures of the DMZ between North and South Korea.

In this post I want to show something that can be emotional as well as physical.

The Great Wall - a boundary physical as well as emotional

The Great Wall – a boundary physical as well as emotional

The Great Wall of China was an easy link to boundaries that are physical and even political. The wall was built to keep out the invaders from long ago. It divided the boundaries between the Chinese civilization and the Huns and Mongolians. However, for me it is also emotional as I think about our time in China. It was a place I never thought I would see in real life. I was lucky enough to visit it twice. We have many fond memories of trips and friends in China. Sometimes it feels a little emotional as we move on across boundaries. The challenges we faced while there and how it changed us crossed cultural boundaries within. I wish there was a photo to show that emotional journey, but this was the best I could do. Feelings cannot always be put into words, or displayed in a photo. It is personal about my experiences then and now, so you will just have to trust me. 😉

There are more interpretations of boundaries here.

 

 

Categories: China, History, teaching overseas, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Boundaries -The DMZ

Boundaries can be physical, political or emotional… or so I think. My first thought for this week’s Word Press theme was the DMZ (De -Militarized Zone) in between North and South Korea. This is a very political boundary. We visited the area while in Seoul, Korea on a short trip in the Fall of 2012. Organised and guided daily tours leave Seoul; picking you right up at your hotel. The ‘waiting’ area in the DMZ has souvenir shops, food stalls and viewing areas. A place to pass the time as your group awaits their timed entrance. You can read more about that trip and the DMZ here.

A bridge to nowhere

A bridge to nowhere

This photo is showing a part of the above bridge which ends in a large chain link fence. Many people and families have tied ribbons on the chain link and posed for photos.

Messages and ribbons along the Southern side of the DMZ

Messages and ribbons along the Southern side of the DMZ

Can you show a boundary in a photo? Do you want to see other interpretations? Then check it out here.

 

Categories: Culture, History, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canadian Crazy -Giant Marshmallows

Now back in Canada I cannot see the “Shanghai Sillies”, but driving the other day I saw a “Canadian Crazy”. From a distance it looked like a field of giant marshmallows.

Field of Giant Marshmallows

Field of Giant Marshmallows

Currently I am in Alberta, Canada a 3 day drive across country, from Southern Ontario. Stay tuned for some of our driving adventures.

 

Categories: Canada, Tourist in My Own Town, travel | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Forces of Canadian Nature -Photo Challenge

I was lucky enough to escape the big city and head to Canada for a few days in search of a job. My contract is about to end and we have decided it is time to head home. Instead of heading back to Ontario we headed to Western Canada where the skies are so blue and mountains so big.

The snow-covered peaks are a force of Canadian nature.

Snow covered peaks year round

Snow covered peaks year round – just off the Trans Canada HWY

From Mt. Norquay the view back over Banff was stunning. More mountains in the distance, fragrant green pines and big horn sheep quietly grazing and enjoying the sun.

 

breath taking views and vistas

breath taking views and vistas

 

When people think of Canada they often think of nature. What image of Canada do you have?

Head over to WP and see other places around the world and what other bloggers feel shows their homes force of nature.

Stay tuned

Categories: Canada, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Exchange of Views: Breathtaking

I came to Alberta for a few days to explore options once we leave Shanghai in a few short months. Sunday we went to Banff to enjoy the crisp mountain air and enjoy the view. The pines, snow-covered peaks and wildlife were all in front of our eyes.

A short drive up Norquay gave us a view of the river and Banff below. Canada  Parks has provided 2 large chairs to sit, relax and take it all in. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, the cool wind giving me the occasional shiver and a some Big Horn Sheep putting on a show I felt like this is home. I am ready to return after 5 years away. The Shanghai Skyline is spectacular, but could never compete with a view like this.

Banff OIL Effect

I played with an oil photo effect using ACDSeePro4 to create this image.

 

Here is the original….

Banff Orginal

Breathtaking Banff

 

 

What view will you never tire of?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Canada, Photography, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments