Soaking up the West Coast.

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There is so much beauty on the Canadian West Coast. Tall mountains, turquoise lakes, rivers, streams, wildlife – it’s a dream for nature lovers and an escape for city fancy pants. The beauty is simple – endless rugged landscape, vast space, very little people and air so fresh you feel like you’re near a glacier.

I am trying to soak up as much of it as possible before I leave. When I’m away from Vancouver I rarely think of the city – I think of those lazy days eating sushi on the beach, biking around the seawall, hopping from rock to rock in Lynn Valley, swimming in Buntznen Lake, driving down the road with my feet stuck out of the window and music blaring, hiking through a forest, skiing in Whistler or just sitting in the park outside my house, starting at mountains. Every single favorite memory of this place for me is tied with nature. Every single time I have the chance to get out and see all this natural beauty around me, I feel awe.

I will miss this greenery, this freedom, this wild feeling of the west. So I’m trying to capture as much of it as possible and savour it. 🙂

Isn’t it beautiful?

Photo Credit: I.P.

Montreal. The Plateau

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I can barely put into words how in awe I am with the plateau Mont Royal in Montreal. Between the main streets bustling with cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and boutiques, and the quiet streets in between lined with unique plateau architecture of three story brick homes with winding iron cast french stairways, t is impossible not to feel inspired on the plateau.

You can feel culture in the air. Every little corner, every house painted in bright color, every french window, every beautiful flower pot, every bike leaning on a garden railing – it is as if someone put it all together to create this place. And yet, it is just a residential wonder. People from all over the world and different stages of life – students, families, couples – come here, all united in their desire to live in this one of a kind community. Every year I come back, and every year it makes me happy.

Can you tell I’m in love?

Photo Credit: J.L.

Evening Stroll in Vancouver

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When I got home to look at these pictures, I realized that we focused so much on outfits that we forgot to really take photos of any scenery 😀 Ooops, so much for the “travel” portion. Next time! But for now, it was so much fun to see one of my old friends (who happens to be gorgeous) and use Vancouver’s beautiful harbour as a backdrop for some impromptu photos together. 🙂

I also love our contrast – me being all color and her all black and white – unplanned but interesting!

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Vancouver – Deep Cove – Visual Diary

Deep Cove

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Deep Cove is a beautiful little community in North Vancouver. Quiet and quaint, it’s a perfect place for hiking, kayaking or just a leisurely day out of the city 🙂

It was so much fun to shoot photos here because the backdrop is stunning and the sun was just in the right place. I was going to wear a long summer dress, but last minute changed my mind to shorts – the first time since I got back from 30C in Asia just over a week ago. Vancouver weather can be really unpredictable, but I made the right bet. It stayed warm and glorious and the pictures turned out great! I’m already planning a return here for kayaking 🙂

A Week by the beach in Nha Trang – Visual Diary


Nha Trang was my rest stop after all the planes, buses and trains. I booked a lovely little room with a balcony, minutes away from the beach and settled in for a packed schedule of beaches, food and relaxing. The climate, prices,  and location made it a perfect choice.

I spent my time reading and  drawing, snapping photos and chasing authentic Vietnamese food and spending time on palm tree lined white sands with newfound friends. I also found my favorite cafe spots with fast wifi and delicious cold drinks where I escaped the hottest parts of the day. Since I was paying $9 a night for a big private room with a full private bath and a balcony, in the most convenient location and at maximum $10 a day on food (if I really went all out and bought cheese), I calculated that I could live, eat, drink and shop beachside and it would still cost less than just the price of accommodation in a Western city. How can you say no to that? 🙂

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Encyclopedia of Soup aka Eating in Vietnam


By the time I reached Nha Trang I knew two things: Vietnamese food is delicious and the variety of soups all around the country is infinite. I happen to love soup and Vietnam has taught me that it can be consumed at absolutely any hour of the day. During my stay in Nha Trang I made it my mission to eat at as many street kitchens as possible. The best part was the interaction with the locals. There is just no better way to meet people than being ignorant about their food – they will teach you how to eat it, what its made of, order something you would never dare, laugh watching you try to it and by the end you’ve got a meal, a new experience and a cultural exchange!

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Beach Heaven – best day on Bai Dai

Bai Dai Beach. The water is shallow, turquoise, unbelievably warm.

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I swam, I laid near the tide, I splashed in the waves, I got water and sand everywhere, it was perfect. Of course, I also got completely sunburnt as a result. No amount of sunscreen can save you from Vietnam’s sun at the hottest part of the day, especially when you’re in the water.

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I spent the rest of the time sitting at the local “Beach Shack” – a place you see in movies that actually exists. Lounges right by the water, lazy locals sleeping in hammocks, groups drinking into the sun and sea breeze. I got a coconut and enjoyed the scenery. It hit me that I was actually there, on that beach that was only a photo just weeks ago. So cool!

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The other cool thing about this place is the drive here.

I rented a motorbike and did it myself – 20 km of hills on one side and azure waters on the other. As the road winds and turns around the bends, you catch glimpses of sun reflected in the water and a breeze cools your face from the sun – I can’t put it into words – it’s just the best feeling of freedom and exploring and beauty of nature. Here are some photos I snapped on the way back since I was too caught up in the moment the first time to even remember that I had a camera.

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 I ended the day by sitting on the balcony of my room, cooling my sunburnt skin with lotion and enjoying the cool night air while the city buzzed with lights, voices and bustle. Perfect.

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Hoi An Outtakes – How I got here, where I stayed and what I bought

A little behind the scenes of all the photos:

I got to Hoi an by an overnight train – a sleeper cabin with 4 beds that I shared with two Austrian girls and a young Vietnamese man. The journey was almost 20 hours long but I managed to sleep well and awoke to some stunning views of the coastline between Hue and Da Nang. There is something romantic about train travel.

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I stayed in a lovely hotel – the priciest of all my accommodations in Vietnam – but for the cleanliness, location, breakfast buffet and charm it was utterly worth it.

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I succumbed to the hundreds of tailor shops lining the streets and got a dress made of 100% pink burgundy silk.


First Beach day in Asia – near Hoi An, Vietnam

The moment I’ve been waiting for! My first real beach day in Asia.


This is why Hoi An rocks the socks off anybody. If you’re not into culture, food, clothes or history – you can get lost along 10 km of wide white sand beaches. I loved this day. I hired a bicycle for $1 and set off on the 2o minute ride along Hoi An suburbs, fields and bridges over the river. Once at the beach, I settled at a quirky beach bar run by a Frenchman that had the best views and the most comfortable seats. I ordered fresh mango juice, stretched my feet and closed my eyes to the breeze. I made it!

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I walked the entire length of the beach in the afternoon, dreaming and listening to music. Sometimes, a day like this is just what you need. 🙂

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Fishing Village near Hoi An – Photo Tour – Favorite Day – Visual Diary

This was one of my absolute favorite days of the entire trip and an activity I would recommend to anyone who is an aspiring/amateur/hobby photographer and wants to see the side of Vietnam that is yet to be ruined by tourism.


It was a sunrise tour arranged by “Hoi An Photo Tours”. I awoke at 4am and was picked up at 4:30 from my hotel. It was dark and even a little chilly as the van gathered travellers from all around Hoi An. Just before dawn break we got dropped off by the dock, from where, after a brief but necessary coffee stop, the boat took us to a fishing village on an island nearby.


The village was alive and bustling with activity. The shore was cluttered with multicolored boats, the fishermen yelling, gesturing and unloading their catch and the women of the village, matching the fishermen in their shouts, bargaining for the lowest price. Color, noise and life filled everything and made for the best photos.

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After observing this busy scene that completely ignored my gawking, I strode into the village market and with smiles and “xin chaos” asked the locals if I could take their photos. While some shied away from the camera, others posed and smiled, held up their children and offered me food and drinks.

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I can’t explain what a magical experience this was. It is a well-known cliche that tourists transform certain places in a country into unrecognizable selling machines devoid of culture. I am not a tourist but a traveller and I duck into undiscovered corners at every opportunity. But this was truly off the beaten path, though a mere forty minutes from Hoi An.

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The magic was in the people themselves. After weeks in Vietnam being touted by anything that walks for anything that can be carried (cigarettes, bracelets, books, gum, clothes, grenade keychains, etc), the sight of a Vietnamese person, smiling, welcoming and offering me a piece of their culture was heart melting. The village was small and poor but the people were kind. Not all of them unrolled the welcome mat. Some gave me suspicious glances, others were uninterested, still others expressed obvious disdain for a tourist interfering with their daily routine – and all these reactions made them all the more real and interesting.

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I have to conclude that the ability to observe the lives of people from another culture – feeding their children, making their living, sharing jokes – is one of the most precious and wonderful things about traveling. And if you get to participate, as I did, if only briefly, the memory becomes imprinted in your mind as a true experience and almost makes you feel home in a foreign place. Doesn’t get better than that.