Travel blogging has been one of the best ways I’ve been able to make friends through travel, as it’s opened doors that weren’t previously there and put me in touch with others who have travel blogs. Sandy Allen of Canadian Blog House is one of those people, and we met while traveling together on a trip through the Adirondacks. Immediately, I gravitated towards Sandy and found myself wanted to spend time with her due to her huge smile and positive outlook on life.
While I haven’t seen Sandy in almost a year, our friendship continues online, and I’m hoping our paths will once again cross and we’ll be able to travel together. I learned a lot about Sandy through this interview, and I’m so excited to introduce you to her.
What was the first trip you remember?
A road trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario, when I was 8, was the highlight of my childhood! It was a 5 hour drive from where my family lived, but to me, it seemed like I was traveling to a whole other country. My siblings are older than me, so they did not get to go on this trip – so I had mum and dad all to myself. They took me to Marineland, up to the top of the Skylon Tower, and of course, to the see the falls. The great memories from that trip have stuck with me all these years!
What’s the scariest moment you’ve had while traveling?
I’ve had two scary moments while traveling. The first would be one of my trips to St. Pete Beach in the 1990’s. I was staying with my parents at a hotel on the beach when the area was hit with a tropical storm. It was fun at first – the wind was so strong that you could lean into it without falling over. Then the rain came, the waves got bigger, and the lobby of the hotel started to flood. When you look out and can see the ocean up close and personal with the hotel doors, that’s scary. My other scary moment was flying into Toronto during a bad wind storm. The storm had caused delays, so when we arrived at the airport, our plane was forced to circle Toronto. We passed the CN Tower a number of times, all while being jostled around inside the plane. We were all so happy to finally land that everyone started clapping for the captain the second we landed and came to a full stop.
What’s the best road trip you’ve ever been on?
Best road trip? That’s a tough question. I’ve been on some amazing road trips. Last fall I had the chance to drive the length of the Florida Keys. That was a fabulous trip. I’ve driven all around Prince Edward Island – there is so much to love about that province! The Sea-to- Sky drive from Vancouver to Whistler BC is stunning. I’ve been to Vegas a number of times. The road trips from there are stellar. I adore the desert and every road trip is unique – Death Valley, Southwest Utah, Valley of Fire, into Southern California, and of course, the Grand Canyon. Those are road trips everyone should get the chance to experience!
Do you have a funny story about a travel mishap that you’d like to share?
Oh for sure. I have a few! If I have to choose, it’s probably the mishap that included a trip to visit family in San Antonio, TX, my sister, a bathroom stall in a department store, no toilet paper, a lost cell phone, and a laxative. Let’s just say, it was my worst nightmare!
Why do you travel?
Why do I travel? My 88-year- old aunt. She did a lot of traveling when she was in her 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Her favourite Caribbean Island? Antigua. She’s a true inspiration to me. She always tells me that I should travel while I’m young, and not wait until I’m at retirement age. She always reminds me that you never know if you’ll actually make it to that age, and if you do, will you be healthy enough to be able to travel? Travel while you can!
If you could take one epic journey in the next year, what would it be, and why?
An epic journey for me would be a trip to Australia. I’ve always wanted to visit, but have never had the chance. I’m really not sure why I have such a desire to travel there. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Australia…or maybe it’s my fascination with all their wild and crazy critters and creatures they have down under. I want to cuddle a Koala Bear!
What’s one place you’re hoping to visit this year? Why?
I am really hoping to visit Turks and Caicos in the next year. I crave seeing that blue, blue water. I’ve only been to one other Caribbean island (Dominican Republic) where the water was not clear at all. I would also love to experience Cuba, specifically Havana, where my father was born, and where he lived as a child (my grandfather was a Canadian working in Cuba).
Share your best travel tip.
I’ve got two! My best travel tip actually comes from one of my close friends, travel blogger Vanessa, from Turnipseed Travel. Vanessa taught me about something called “throw-away packing.” This is where you pack clothing for your vacation that is on its “last legs.” So for example, those socks that have a hole in them, but are good for one or two more wearings, or that favourite sweater you have been wearing since 1999. The idea is to wear this “throw-away clothing” one last time and then dispose of it (or donate it, if it’s still wearable!) where you are vacationing, so you don’t have to haul it home. This opens up space in your luggage for mementos (or new clothing) you have purchased on your trip. I go one step further by bringing things like throw-away shoes that I’ve coveted for years, but really, they’ve seen better days.
Another tip is to always make sure you have travel insurance coverage when you travel. I wrote a post about travel insurance after finding out that some of my friends and family traveled without it!
What’s your favourite travel quote? Why?
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. We only get one chance at life. Seize every opportunity you get to see the world!
In your home country, what’s a destination that you think people should visit?
I’m going to be selfish and say Ottawa (where I live). There are so many great reasons to visit Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. First and foremost is Parliament Hill. It’s a beautiful location in downtown Ottawa, perched on a cliff overlooking the Ottawa River. We’ve also got world-class museums, Canada’s best theme water park, amazing shops and restaurants, so many green spaces and parks, and of course, poutine, and BeaverTails!
Want to continue to follow Sandy Allen of Canadian Blog House and see if she makes it to Turks and Caicos or Cuba this year? Give her a follow!