One year ago I finally decided to go for it: start a blog. Truth be told, my contract in Laos stated mandatory blogging but I was set on starting a blog regardless. Blogging has been such a fun experience. I get to be creative and practice my written communication skills in a more personal setting. I can’t even count how many times I convinced myself “This is the year you will write in a journal everyday“. HA! Anyone else?! We all know that idea goes down the drain with every other New Years resolution. Red Wax Seals brings together words, stories and photographs in a way that is so effortless and fun. Looking forward to another year here.
Reading blogs has been something I’ve enjoyed for years now. Seeing creative people express themselves online and being able to embark on journeys with them is so unique and interesting to me.
A big thank you to friends, family and new readers for stopping by and supporting me in my adventures!
Being a citizen of Laos for 6 months was my environment wake-up call. The limited services and resources available at peoples’ disposal there makes it very difficult to have an environmental friendly lifestyle.
I believe small steps towards achieving a more sustainable lifestyle is the way to go. The subtle changes you make will eventually become a habit.
So, I threw myself into a little project: home-made reusable fruit and veggie bags. I had reusable bags for general groceries, why not go one step further?! Scrap fabric to the rescue.
Youtube tutorials were on repeat, the SINGER was on overdrive and the frustration was flowing. Let’s be real, I am no seamstress.
Looking back, I see how relatively easy this project was. Proof of this: I went on to make some for a friend!
What are small steps you are taking to reach a more sustainable lifestyle?
The dirty backpacker look and I have a love/hate relationship. Part of me loves being carefree in all aspects of my backpacking adventure, but there comes a time when a long hot shower, hair dryer and make-up sound pretty freaking fantastic.
The heat in Málaga didn’t stop us from taking out our prettiest skirts, lipsticks and mascaras. Oh, and I can’t forget the heels. We were walking back from the beach and saw a shoe store…the rest is history.
You might be wondering where we were heading all dressed up?! Well, we treated ourselves to an INCREDIBLE flamenco show. It was unbelievable. I felt so lucky to have seen such an authentic cultural dance in the region where it originated.
We had been warned about the inhumane temperatures of the South and luckily for us, got to witness them in full force. No air conditioning in the hostel you say? I guess I’ll just sleep here in my pool of sweat.
The last stop on our cousin adventure was in Seville. I’ve raved about Spanish architecture on here before, and I’m going to do it again. I love the colours, the fountains and the marble details. Gahhh!
Feeling very fortunate to have shared this experience with my sister and cousin.
Photos from our time in Málaga and Seville below!
That’s a wrap for the Spanish part of my trip. Where did I go next?
Our go with the flow travelling style sometimes bit us in the derrière. Booking tickets and hostels at the last-minute would get the blood pumping and the nerves ticking.
Wanting to head South, we struggled to find a way to get there. Finally, we found 3 seats on a bus towards Córdoba. Unsure about what that city had to offer, we planned on making it a one night pit stop on our way to Malaga. Airbnb proved to be the winner for accommodations that night- nothing like a break from smelly and noisy hostels.
Small cobble stone streets, dim romantic lights and Moroccan influenced architecture left us happily surprised with Córdoba. We explored a castle, got lost through winding roads and ate gelato. Fabulous.
One gelato stop has stuck with me. It was us three cousins around a table. We chatted and laughed and got lost in the direction of conversations. In that moment it felt like we were more sisters than cousins. I just remember thinking how lucky I was to be sitting in SPAIN with these two girls.
You can visit that place a thousand times and still love it. Mix in your sister and cousin- you’ve got yourself a dream vacation.
Ariane and I tackled the busy streets of Barcelona with new friends, and strode through picturesque churches in Zaragoza before meeting our cousin.
Then… MADRID! The three chicas together.
Apartments, shops and businesses adorned in bright colours with balconies housing drooping plants. Madrid has the kind of big city vibe that I love and could definitely get used to. Many are surprised when I choose Madrid over Barcelona; I stand by my choice.
Our hostel room was in the atic portion of the building and boy did it have that thick smell you imagine an attic would. Or was it the sweaty Australian who adamantly worked out there everyday?
A few pictures below and more about our time in Madrid!
I am happy to report that I remained a pescatarian throughout my entire trip. Two months and counting! Croissants, baguettes, cheese, wine, gelato and fries were at the forefront of our diet. Said an ‘hasta la vista’ to my healthy eating habits for a bit- treat yoself.
One last thing about food, I promise. Kyra and I wanted to grab some churros before leaving Madrid so we headed to the best bakery in town. Oh my goodness, we ate so many so fast. I don’t even know why, they weren’t even that great! So greasy. “Never” again.
The adventure continued in the South of Spain. More on that later.
ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ve created an Instagram account for this blog so go check it out and follow along! (@redwaxseals)
Bonne chance playing that game in Croatia- that place is green from head to toe. I loved all the outdoor activities and the scenery it offered. Next time I’m for sure packing a tent and going off the grid.
Plitvice National Park sure gives Lake Louise in Canada a run for it’s money. (see photos below) As we embarked on a 9km walk around the lakes, we tried to take in all the beauty around us. Though the dodging of selfie sticks and slow walkers gave our eyes a rolling workout, we focused our way into being “one with nature”.
And boy did we get “one with nature” the next day!!!!
So, it’s story time.
The hostel we were staying at offered hikes; one hike was about 9km, and the other a whopping 20km (which we chose). Now were talking 20km in Croatia…did we really know what we were getting ourselves into?
Ariane was reluctant to join but threw herself in with an optimistic smile. Six of us brave travelers from the hostel set out for this hike- scorching sun and all.
Our pace was steady, our breaths were heavy and our sweat came easy.
45 minutes in and Ariane miiiiiiiight be wondering what in the world she is doing there. I begin to worry, but with perseverance we continue.
Flash forward to 3 hours. We make it to the top of this monster, what was formerly a Yugoslavian military base. Bosnia on one side, Croatia on the other.
A well deserved lunch break is taken with o so typical mountain shots.
Our descent was met with shaky legs and a deep desire to simply stop and accept one’s fate. (*cough* Ariane)
As the last 4km were creeping up, the sun rays pushed the clouds away in a “A HA!” fashion and came streaming down on our glossy skin. Our hands and knees met the ground when our feet stepped on wobbly rocks- Ariane says she didn’t feel pain when falling, her legs were already long gone.
And just like that, our 8 hour hike was over. We rejoiced in our accomplishment- wait- Ariane what are you doing with your legs? *She was standing when all of a sudden her legs just gave out and she almost fell* (We both roared with laughter at this situation, and still do).
What a day to be (barely) alive! I’ll remember that day for a long time.
^FYI: Ariane’s consent was given to tell this story- as is.
A few pictures from our time in Zadar. We loved it there!
Croatia, we really liked you and everyone who made our time there so great!
We took a similar picture on our road trip back from Thunder Bay in July and figured; let’s do this more often.
With some apprehension, we decided to rent a car so that we could visit caves in the South-Western part of the country. Postojna cave was the only one we ended up seeing- it was spectacular! It was so different than the caves I’ve seen in Canada and Laos. Unfortunately it was very much developed into a tourist attraction- which took away from the natural beauty of it. I’m used to caves in Laos being completely untouched and being allowed to roam free inside- oh well!
We ended our day in Portoroz, a small town on the ocean side. It was a family destination after all (so not too much for us), but offered a good day of relaxation nonetheless.
Ariane had her first hostel experience that night, filled with big snoring papas and weirdos! She got thrown right in there for a nice treat.
After little sleep, lots of sun and not much food, we set out for Croatia. Little did we know it would take us about 40 hours to make it there, instead of 6.
Sweating under the hot sun and carrying our backpacks, we arrived to the bus stop that would be our home for the next long hours. We waited, waited and waited some more for a bus that never came. The heat was draining our energy and our positivity- it felt like we had been there FOREVER. We got a refund and booked another bus for the following morning. 9:30am sharp.
So, Koper it was for the night.
The next morning: Tired eyes and sore backs, we make our way to that beloved bus stop once again.
9:30am: “Bus should be here any second!”
9:45am: “Ok, I’m sure the bus is just a bit late.”
10:00am: “Maybe there’s traffic?”
10:30am: “You have GOT to be kidding me.”
11:00am: “The ticket lady just called the company and they said they’d be here in 30 minutes.”
11:45am: “Well, looks like Slovenia hates us.”
12:00pm: We purchase a train ticket.
Departure time: 4pm
4:00pm: THE TRAIN WAS ACTUALLY THERE, HALLELUJAH!!!!
Croatia was a must, so we we picked a country beside it- Slovenia was the lucky winner!
My sister and I knew relatively nothing about Slovenia so figured it would be lots of fun to be immersed in the unknown.
4 days in the capital of Ljubljana allowed us to get a good grasp on the country’s history and it’s general coming and goings. It was voted Europe’s 2016 Green Capital, and boy did it live up to that name! The streets were so clean and garbage disposal of all kinds were accessible throughout the city.
If you’ve ever seen the Slovenian flag, you know there is an image of a mountain on it. Some believe you can only be considered a “real Slovenian” if you’ve climbed it once in your life. Later in our travels we met two Dutch guys that climbed it- and without exaggerating, told us they thought they would die on multiple occasions. Ariane and I have our own interesting mountain climbing story- so stay tuned for that one, you won’t want to miss it.