Archive by Author
February 21, 2017

||| YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK |||

My heart warms like a bonfire when I see log cabins, dry pine forests, and moose wandering about.

YELLOWSTONE

There is an absolute bonfire in my heart for the rustic wooded forests of inner North America.  Banff, Montana, Yellowstone, Northern Saskatchewan (Waskesiu) were places I unleashed as a kid; places that I camped and skied, got dirty, lit fires and built tepees with friends.  My favourite things in these places are:  lodgepole pines, the huge smell of dry forest pine needles, moose, squirrels, thin barked trees, and mosquitos – ha ha….not.

When I was 2 years old, my parents took a trip from Saskatchewan all the way to Florida in a Ford Econoline Van.  In just 2 months we covered a lot of ground.  Recently Tim, Rocco and I’s mimicked a portion of this journey, and went to Yellowstone in our van, I was once again immersed in my warm memories surrounded by log houses, smoking chimneys, wool blankets, red and black plaid, pine smells and Smores roasting over the fire. Awesome indeed, but what was even more special was that I wanted to recreate some of the memories for him, and try to recreate the same photos that my parents took of me on that trip when I was 2.  Here’s the best I could do:

GRAND TETONS

 

TOP: ME 1978

BOTTOM: ROCCO 2016

 

I was blown away by this National Park, Yellowstone is huge, we drove for an hour in all directions, and we were still within it boundaries. Bison roamed freely, vegetation grew wildly, geysers pumped hourly…oh the geysers. This earth is unreal. The rustic hotels within the park, the campsites that were filled with people from all over to experience one thing, the gobsmacking beauty of this raw earth. What a place to take your kids.

 

A COOL LITTLE SELF DISCOVERY MADE IN THE PARK:

We walked down to the river one day and dipped our feet and took in the cool air coming off the water.  When I scrambled up to get back onto the path – it was rocky.  There I spotted a unique stone – one side of it stained with yellow.  I picked it up and smelled it to give me a clue to what it might be…it smelled a bit like sulphur.  Then it dawned on me! A yellow stone! Hence the name of the park!

A hidden lake that we found. A few other people were around, but it was pure serenity.

Rocco is taken paddle boarding by a Spanish professor from New York.

Mom doing a cartwheel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fond images of rustic-ness.

1990 “Why?” by Rudy Wendelin.
PR Image for “Celebrating Smokey Bear: Rudy Wendelin and the Creation of an Icon” exhibition, August 9, 2014 – February 1, 2015. Organized by the Virginia Department of Forestry, to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Image courtesy of the National Agricultural Library, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

If ever in this world – you wonder if travel is good for you or your kids – it is. It opens up the mind and paints a big picture where we are a mere speck of something – it can make problems disappear from mundane lifestyles.

February 17, 2017

||| David Suzuki |||

On Valentines Day, 2017

I had the utmost pleasure of meeting one of my all time hero’s.  Dr. David Suzuki.

I grew up watching The Nature of Things, it created a fire within me to respect the earth and treat it and us as a whole.  With this – I became an eco-warrior at a very young age…I haven’t changed. I try daily to avoid plastics, buy organics, and to reduce, reuse, and recycle.  I decorate my home with vintage, and when I buy plane tickets, I also buy a carbon option to plant trees. I care as much as I can daily.  Thank-you to people like Dr. Suzuki and the CBC who forged the path to bring the challenges of human’s and their impact on the earth to light.

What an ultimate day. I will never forget having coffee with David Suzuki and watching him do a voice over for a documentary live.  My heart still shines.

David Suzuki Quotes

 

My parents survived the Great Depression and brought me up to live within my means, save some for tomorrow, share and don’t be greedy, work hard for the necessities in life knowing that money does not make you better or more important than anyone else. So, extravagance has been bred out of my DNA.

The human brain now holds the key to our future. We have to recall the image of the planet from outer space: a single entity in which air, water, and continents are interconnected. That is our home.

If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us.

For the sake of our health, our children and grandchildren and even our economic well-being, we must make protecting the planet our top priority.

We need love, and to ensure love, we need to have full employment, and we need social justice. We need gender equity. We need freedom from hunger. These are our most fundamental needs as social creatures.

 

 

 

December 2, 2016

||| COSTA RICA & NICARAGUA |||

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.38.05 AM

DSC03162

The first thing my Mother said to  me before this trip was “how safe is it for babies (toddlers)?”  I replied that the worst case scenario would be dengue fever, or a scorpion bite. One of which did nearly happen.  Not to mention an unexpected scary surprise in the ocean….

Also, 20 years ago I remember my parents talking about buying a holiday place in Costa Rica.  They didn’t – but they should of.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Definite “gringo vibe” in this far off place. High quality food, service and shopping – usually a sign of steady American visitors, but still stood a nice local touch of coconut sellers, and Costa Rican kids playing soccer in the sand.  Plus the surf was all time! Soooo many beautiful and clean beaches to be seen here. Rent a car, be prepared for expensive insurance on it, but relish in the fact of freedom to come and go as you please.

Rocco drinking a not so fresh coconut…make sure they are kept cool before you buy! ; )

DSC02644

GET IN YOUR CAR and SEE:

Playa Grande – Possibly the most beautiful big beach ever?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

for Surfing and long runs/walks, it isn’t called Grande because it’s small. There were a few secret points for surf schools, and this was the place to be for sunset. I must say, this was a favourite on the entire trip!  You can rent a board right at the beach at a little shack run by Brittany.

Playa Flamingo 

for a stunning bay beach and a snorkel.  Just a place to unwind and read a book.  Seems to be the place to buy a really posh house.  25 min drive from Tamarindo.

DSC02598

MY RACE CAR DRIVE TO THE HOSPITAL »

Sting Rays hide under the sand soaking up cooler waters around the tropics,  including sands near shore…..where people like to wade, swim, surf, drink margarita’s….so when you go into the shallow deapths, please do the Sting Ray shuffle to avoid what happened to me.

It was a great beautiful day. So good! I was by myself taking a walk and a quick ocean dip and then the next sensation after feeling something spongey underfoot, was a sharp stab to my inner heal.  I came hobbling out of the ocean with a bloody pouring gash and a very strange pain unlike anything felt before. That was the poison. I ran to the nearest person and asked for help and ironically he too once, had been stung by a Raya – so he knew the deal and rest assured I would survive.  The venom slowly started to work it’s way up my thigh, I could feel it doing so and my foot was in a screeching ache!! On the very fast car ride to the doctor – I held my femoral artery in my hip as the venom started to seize there. It was crazy weird. It was oddly painful. Then at the walk in clinic 30 mins late the doctor looked at my gash with a still face and shrugged. Ha! And the Sting Ray probably went back to it’s sandy bed for a rest and I, well I had a new story to tell. That was it.

DSC02928

Mariachi

When I was a girl, I often visited my aunts hacienda en Mexico.  There we broke piñata’s, ate bbq corn and listened to the local bands. I’ll never get tired of the vibrant local colour of Central America.

DSC02500

JJ HACIENDA a great place to stay.  (AirBnB.)

DSC02511

Nicaragua

The quiet frontier. With a keen adventurous west coast vibe of good food, yoga retreats and surf. Bomber. A lot of local colour. What more do we need? Just better Spanish skills.

DSC02638 DSC02652 DSC02767

My first real wave. Caught in Nica at the sweetest beginner spot in the world on my 38th birthday. SICK

.

img_0168

I’m going to end it there. I could write a long novel on my trip here, but there’s no need. I can’t compete with these photo’s….I hope you can also enjoy this area of the world. Pack less, learn more and experience some earth.

January 5, 2015

||| BEST HANGING TOILETRY BAGS OF 2015 |||

Title

 I never knew how travel life would change with the help of a great bathroom bag.  When I finally splurged the big $40 on one, I thought ‘this better be worth it.’ 5 years later, I can’t believe I travelled for 15 years without….

 

Here are some of my finds on hanging toiletry kits.

 

LUG

vertical toiletry bag.

I’ve been using this for 5 years now. It has every little pocket for every little thing. Razor? Check. Lip Balm? Check. Shampoo? Check. Paddle Brush? Check. It holds a lot of stuff, and it’s made to take a spill with easy clean up, and has heavy duty construction. This is the ultimate bathroom travel bag that easily hangs up anywhere in the bathroom ready to use with ease and – which tends to be a complaint with hangers is that it does sit up perfectly when set on a counter. LOVE.

 

LuG Vertical Toiletry BAG

LUG

LUG

 

Buy the LUG toiletry bag here!

 

ASPINAL OF LONDON’S MEN’S HANGING WASH BAG

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 9.58.21 AM Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 9.58.35 AM Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 9.58.42 AM

When I lived in England, I would pass by this shop with the most beautiful leathered goods but particullarly I always had my eye on the bathroom bags – but only my eye. At a big price, you have to really like your bathroom bags.

$275.00

Buy here.

SEA TO SUMMIT BACKCOUNTRY LIGHTWEIGHT BAG

 

If you are going out for a hike and will be staying over night in your tent or at a hut, you may want to consider the lightest option for a toiletry kit. Sea to Summit has come up with the solution. Superlight, strong and water resistant UltraSil®fabric made with Cordura® yarn.  This also has a mirror, and unless you’re really good at seeing your reflection in a lake, you may like this extra touch to this bag.

Sea to Sky

DAKINE for the Teen

Dakine is a great and inexpensive company that make reliable gear.  Geared for the young teenager, or just the young at heart  it’s fun prints, soft fabric and it’s removable clear vinyl interior bag to keep everything organized are a step in the right direction for that youngster.

 

Chickitas

Dakine

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 11.07.57 AM

 

 

Chicos

Dakine Male Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 11.13.52 AM

Look here for more info on the Dakine bag.

 

THE DOPP KIT

Simple and hardy with a kick of style.  Hand made in San Diego by ZB Savoy Bowtie Co.

 

Dopp Kit (Bathroom Bag)

 

ROYCE LEATHER KITS

A long standing company established in 1974, these leather toiletry bags are looking good and functional. The only thing is that it has velcro, were as the Lug has a magnet which won’t catch on clothes.

Deluxe Toiletry Bag is a bag for all the families needs. One bag = space saver.

A neat case that features 3 zippered compartments. The middle compartment opens like a flap. Inside you will find a hang hook, 2 mesh compartments with a small zippered pocket. Two lateral compartments for additional storage on the outstide make of this a well groomed case.

Royce

 

 

 

 

With this sweet design – the removable pouch kit lets you put your shower items into the shower for no hassle set up. I’m liking that idea!   It’s generously showered with great features, like a top grain Nappa leather exterior, waterproof lining and outside handle.  Inside you’ll find a hang hook, two zippered compartments, elastic loops and a removable net pouch.  Three travel size bottles included.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 10.44.20 AM

 

More info here

 

 

I hope you find a smart bag for yourself here, and here’s to many years of great and organized travel. Bon voyage!

Katie ; )

January 12, 2014

||| ENGLAND TO MOROCCO – ROAD TRIP |||

 

 

 

morocco from Katie Schaitel on Vimeo.

Tim and Katie Anchor apres session

chillies2tif

Tim surfing at Boilers

Tim surfing at Boilers

Map of Route

Tim and I  decided to buy a cheap van, and hit the road for a climbing and surf quest. With a few quick conversions to the van, we escaped with a surf rack, bikes, climbing gear, a kitchen, bed and motor to hit the highway with. Europe is a very easy place to drive.

Requirements: A Mercedes Sprinter Camper Van. £2500 used. Her name is ‘Goose’ – best wingman ever.

We took a ferry from Portsmouth, UK to Santander, Spain. An 18 hour journey. Complete with sleeping berths and nice showers, it’s like a hotel really. Good times.

 

Next stop – Portugal.

En Route we took the alternative route to get some up and down time in the mountains of Picos de Europa where I could get on my peddles and descend! 

Peniche. Great spot for every level of surfer, although slightly cold in October. ; )

 

Next stop: Sidi Kaouki, Morocco

Over to Spain to catch the ferry to Tangier, Morocco.

Fruit stands, shepherds, and beautiful simplicity as soon as you hit Morocco…just remember though, there is a tinge of corruption – but just smile, and drive the speed limits.

After a straight drive down with one overnighter by the sea, we land in Sidi Kaouki. A small village of 20 people outside of Essouria.

 

CAMPING~

Camping IMG_5128 IMG_5131 IMG_5272 IMG_5297 Tim changing wheel ! Van Love

v

The surfing was ok here – really good in one particular spot for advanced..the camping was great. We stayed at the blue and white campsite where men come to sell you fresh bread on donkeys and fresh vege’s daily.

Next stop: Taghazout. A couple of detours on the way. Like bag shopping. ; ) Watch out for STINKY CAMEL URINE TANNED LEATHER. The smell of those bags do never go away. ; ) You have to sniff your bag before you buy.

And Tagazout finally. Most amazing campsite to stay at with a million dollar view, (and a few retirees!) Complete with a great roof top for doing sunset yoga after surfing  with your laptop. Amazing.

 

We discovered on this trip that I was pregnant with our first baby.  My surfing (or trying to) – became somewhat limited as a result! Rocco was born in 2013 and his name is a tribute to the beautiful country and people that helped nest me as I planted the seed.

IMG_2864

Looking back on our trip to Morrocco- I see the absolute beauty of it all…. sometimes when I’m in it – I’m too close to get perspective.

October 2, 2012

||| BARCELONA & THE ROCKS |||

Barcelona from Katie Schaitel on Vimeo.

A man called Gaudi, a beach on the Mediterranean, thriving culture of design and a world of rock climbing near by…these are the admirable assets of Barcelona.

Barcelona Breakdown

1. Sweet design pops up here and there – chairs, restaurants, bars, streets, buildings, retail and food. However the godfather of design whom we know as Gaudi picked Barcelona to build some wild buildings – Lady Gaga would hire him – if he were alive – i’m sure, to design her house.

2.The surrounding crags of limestone for rock climbing, whereby there lies one of  the most beautiful sitting spots in the world at Sant Lorenc de Montgai.

3.There is a beach that lines the city lapping up the crystal clear Mediterranean- ahhh, yes please.

Sweet looking functional design is everywhere here.

 

Hello, yes, I will come and sit on you!

Antoni Gaudi is genius.

Gaudi building on Passig De Gracia

Park Guell-  Gaudi

 

Places to stay:

$$$ AirBnB apartment in the center of town

A cheaper option is to rent this GREAT GREAT WONDERFUL apartment in the heart of Barcelona – super peaceful at night, and sooo central to walk everywhere you want and need to :
Rent this apartment – https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/324383

$$$$ Beautiful hotel for a good price |||  The Market HOTEL |||

Looking for a suave room for a few nights: The Market Hotel is a hidden gem, with a SUPER BAR and even BETTER RESTAURANT!  A slight bit out of the way, but only 10 minutes to the center.
http://www.andilanahotels.com/en/hotels/hotel-market  ask for room 208 or if you want a little nicer room – go for 307 – or any of the suites down below. ; )

$ If your not rich ||| Equity Pointe Central |||

$$$$$ If you’re super rich ||| The W HOTEL |||

http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3183

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TApAS 24 $$$$ but incredible quality of tapas http://www.projectes24.com/

 

Restaurante

Barcelona  $$$$ http://www.rte-barceloneta.com/

There are lots of restaurants, you will not starve…;-)

Celebrate your day with a SUNSET DRINK

 a pequina bottella de Cava – on the top floor of Cortes Des Ingleses department store at Plaza Catalunya. OR head up to the ECLIPSE BAR on the 25th floor of the ocean front W Hotel for a mojito.

 

 

Two hour drive from Barcelona. World class sport climbing – a little more challenging grades though.

 

April 6, 2012

||| CHAMONIX, FRANCE ||| Feature Length ARTICLE

WHAT’S YOUR RUSH in Chamonix?

 

Charming yet fierce. Dramatic yet calm. Old yet modern. Extreme yet tranquil. Welcome to Chamonix, Rhone-Alpes – a dichotomy unto itself.

Chamonix’s bipolar nature  can be experienced in less than one day –  for example: by cliff dropping skiers who peak on adrenaline for four hours – then change the vibe entirely within forty minutes with a soothing hot tub for après le ski. Or by the relaxed sightseer, riding within the safe confinements of a cosy cable car enjoying the view,  who suddenly gasps while eyeing a mad, nutty skier flying by with a parachute canopy over head.

A mood swing from boring to excitement or vice versa is normal, and completely expected here, just given your physical geographical position of being in Chamonix.

It’s January, 2012 and they’ve had almost an ENTIRE seasons worth of snow fall already, completely different than last year’s shallow snow reports, which goes to show that Chamonix also has a split personality when deciding what to do with its weather. Now, with February, March and April left for the winter season, this means good vibes for everyone – as snow, and lots of it, equals a massive stoke in any ski town.

I arrive to this hyped-up-snow-happy-village via Geneva late evening. The quaint hotel room I check into doesn’t need cheap room spray, as the smell of burning pinewood subtly and most appropriately fills the air.  This coupled with the amber lighting, Norwegian Rosemaling style painted furniture,  and wood fittings make up for the coziest room of all time. Undoubtedly with this set-up, I know I’m going to sleep well. No wait, I’m in Chamonix – I’m going to sleep ‘extremely’ well. After all, it is the mountain extreme sports capital of the world.

 

Curtains open. Early morning. Rise to mountain peaks – the most dramatic ridge lines I’ve ever seen.  Spectacular….

Booooofffff!

Avalanche bomb.

Slowly, pink hues illuminate the horsehair clouds behind the mountains. Glorious alpine glow.  This is the floodlight on the mountain stage, cueing the skiers to get up and start acting their roles.

Quick. No time to waist.

Get “French” and skip the muesli, instead reach for the pain au chocolat and espresso breakfast,  then get to the hill.

Go!

First bin means fresh tracks and remember, no friends on a powder day.

Outside now, waiting for my ride. Hey, look, there’s infamous American skier – Glen Plake with ski’s over the shoulder – tips in front – headed for the L’Aguille du Midi –  one of the highest cable cars in the world- taking you to the extreme, like Glen himself…. hmmm, makes sense. Should I follow him? No. It’s my first day of the season, I’ll take it easy.

Time? It’s 7:30. That’s late in the world of alpine starts. Better get going…

 

The Grand Montet ski area will be the choice for me today (and many other skiers and boarders) as it poured 30 cm of sweet snow the afternoon before.  Out of the five choices of places to shred in the Chamonix valley, the Grand Montet offers wide open, and relatively steep slopes that remain in the shade for most of the day, keeping the snow cold and light.

 

 

Sardine cans is the best way to describe the commute up the mountain, fifty people with gear pack into the cable car. The freedom to follow though, is worth the 8 minutes of confined restriction.  Upon exit I look up to the virgin white slope to see only 30 tracks, I rush to the next lift to take me higher, then get the snowboard on, and gone! 9:50 am. Fresh turns all the way down, my excitement is summarized by my “whoo hoo’s” all the way to the bottom. I get back on lift and repeat, my coffee-filled-bladder can wait.

A day of shredding is never complete without après. A free bus shuttle winds me back through the mountain valley to Chamonix village where people are starting to rendezvous; ferreting around for pubs, coffee houses or restaurants. Charming walkways display sandwich boards enticing you with Vin Chaud (mulled wine) Chocolat Chaud and specialty coffee.Warm drinks are the selling point on a crisp winters day. Old hotels here and there, speak history and culture with their quaint looks. One reminds me of a Swiss hotel I remember as a kid, and takes me to an imaginary place where old mountaineers might stop to dry their ropes and get a warm meal.

With advice from a local I stop at the small cafe – ‘Le Lapin Agile’ for the best hot chocolate ever known.  It’s decadence so divine – it requires a spoon and supreme resistance to not order two more.

Winter comfort foods like cheese, dried meats, potatoes and bread are a common sight on menus and in shops.  These foods accompanied by wine, equal a typical Alpes picnic.  Many of the restaurants in the village of Chamonix have Raclette, a typical dish in the area which contains potatoes, bits of jambon, girkins, and strong Raclette cheese, served baked. Balance this warm meal with a chilled glass of Fendant, a local Swiss white wine from down the road and you’ve got a local experience to add to your cultured bag.

 

Sound calorific? Well, not to worry!  You can “ski du fond” tomorrow. In English that would be a “cross country skiing” and unlike most other activities to do here, this one is free. (Minus the equipment rental at 13 euros for 4 hours.)The track that starts just steps from the village proper, meanders through trees, over rivers and under bridges, and flows in one direction looping the valley floor back to the start.

Three different lengths, 3, 6, and 12 kilometers allow for a short go, or give you a challenge if you want to break a serious sweat.

 Too boring for you? Ok adrenaline junkie, let’s swing the mood over to heart-pumping excitement and talk extreme. How about speed riding? This will be good if your comfort zone is the size of China, and

you’ve got some skiing and canopy skills that you want to put to the test. This new hybrid sport of speed-riding is dangerous, so learning here could be advantageous if you’re keen.  Not quite your bag? Maybe you would like to ice climb then? Or B.A.S.E. jump or snowboard down a fifty degree slope?

Cool, no prob man, you’ve come to the right place.

 

About to have an anxiety attack?

Well, in the same ball park of excitement, but requiring no skill set, is a helicopter ride with Pascal. All I can say is this will show you what a helicopter really can do…. kind of like a roller coaster but better. Oh… and the glacier laden scenery and unbelievable peaks are not too shabby either..

 

Right, none of this sound like a good plan to you? Don’t worry, because Besides the go, go, go  in Chamonix, try to remember, there’s always the swing to the other side. So what’s the relaxing part?

Spas.

 

Spas represent part of the calm side. But, I’m going to have to throw some effort into this spa mix. After all it is Chamonix, so even the relaxed is a little more effort. The effort requires some travel over to Italy, (36 minutes away) and is well worth the drive to get there. The Pré-Saint-Didier spa awaits past the Italian ski village of Coymeyeur through the lengthy 11 km Mount Blanc tunnel.  The lighting design is top notch here (never underestimate the lighting,) and the colourful tiling in the steam room speaks labour intensive. Aromatic saunas situated outside allow you to take a hot seat and watch the stars emerge over a chilly Mount Blanc. Keep your face cold and sit in the warm thermal waters of Pré-Saint-Didier which cascade out from the mountain at a temperature of around 37° C. This god-sent relaxes those skiing muscles while the refreshing cold plunge pool improves your circulation. Explore further to find the cloud themed room enabling you to relax, or you may shuffle in your white robe down to the cafe area for a refuel of juices and healthy snacks.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Speaking of food.

Healthy snacks or hefty meals.  No matter what your food mood in Chamonix, there’s something for everyone’s palette. Play spin the bottle on a European map and let the outcome choose your cuisine. Bottle head points at Sweden? Head to the Swedish owned Munchies, for a modern mixed menu like teriyaki duck or sushi. Italy?  Casa Valerio for an award winning pizza or a tasty white truffle ravioli. Don’t miss the famed Albert 1er, for a French experience in Michelin 2 star dining accompanied by the graceful sounds of an in-house pianist. The kids will like Poco Loco on the main walkway for a quick fix – where the American style burgers are a favorite of Mount Everest guide Kenton Cool. Bon appétit.

Night life.

 

Every night is Saturday night here.  Stroll the town and find live music, open mic, DJs, and cocktail bars. You’ll often rub elbows with multi-lingual speaking folk from all over the world sipping on cloudy Pastis- a local french liquor, or passing around the potent and strange tasting Ferna Blanca shots.  Certainly, getting to learn about Norway’s fjords, or Russia’s best vodkas with tourists here, isn’t an odd thing. You may even spot the rare local dance of ski-boot-clogging. These dancers are the true lovers of skiing, so much so, that their ski boots never come off.

Strip the mad or mundane human activity, relic or modern buildings and plethora of food choice, and what you have left in Chamonix is pure and natural beauty. Growing up in Canada, I’ve seen a lot of mountains, stretching from the Coastal Range to the Rockies.  Some of my favourites are Mount Currie, just north of Whistler, and Castle Mountain, west of Banff.    Chamonix however, is the Kate Moss of the mountain tribe, dressed lavishly in Versace. The ridge lines cutting the sky are dramatic and spectacular, the glaciers adorn her creases like sparkling diamonds and white pearls. Chalky white, fickle snow decorates the dark massive granite mountains creating picture perfect contrasts. The bustle of our eating, dancing, skiing or spa-ing amongst – is a celebration of it’s beauty at the end of the day.

Thanks to Chamonix we may come and start living our lives at the end of our comfort zones or in turn, relax and soak in it’s beauty from our all too busy lives already.  It’s a special place where you can always find a spectrum of  highs, lows and in-betweens – physically, literally and metaphorically.

 

Tim’s commercial shoot for Sportlife done in and around Chamonix featuring his ice climbing:

 

March 29, 2012

||| FLY ME TO THE MOON…with COMFORT AND NICE LUGGAGE |||

This black, sleek and sexy Dakine Jetsetter Roller Bag has the look of a rockstar for a dirt-cheap price. Do you hear a Joan Jett song coming on?

I’ve owned Dakine products in the past. They are durable and solid; worthy of every penny you’ve spent.

This bag rocks out the cow-hide and nylon – mooovalous!

Features

  • Embroidery details
  • Custom metal hardware
  • Exterior zippered pockets
  • Retractable handle
  • Legal carry on size for most airlines
  • Replaceable urethane wheels
  • Printed nylon lining
  • Clear window ID holder on back panel

This is a bag that will be perfect for ice axes, ski boots, helmets, tents,

 bear hides, moose antlers…

Durable and water resistant – not only can it be rolled and lifted with ease, it will find a happy home

tied up

 on the top of any jeep .

We took a few of these on our trip through Norway all the way from Britain. They strapped down nicely on the top of the Audi.

With burly fabrics, welded alloy frames, large in-line skate wheels and a steel axle that runs all way through the frame, these bags roll over anything in their path. Made using our PVC-free HardWear Tarp and tough, durable 1000D high tenacity nylon. Dimensions: 32″Lx16″Wx14″H Features

  • TIG welded alloy frame is lightweight and super strong
  • 100mm diameter urethane skate wheels with ABEC 5 sealed bearings for a smooth, quiet roll on almost any surface
  • 16” steel thru-axle holds wheels securely to frame – won’t break like common molded-plastic designs with independent axles for each wheel
  • Pull-out handle with molded grip
  • Dual side daisy chains for lashing to jeeps, buses and various beasts of burden
  • HardWear Tarp top panel sheds weather and protects contents
  • Two removable accessory pouches and two zippered depth pockets under top lid
  • Removable inner pocket/laundry bag can be used to check overweight goods at airporInternal compression straps help close the bag when fully loaded, reducing strain on zipper

Are you a green Eco-warrior? Did the bag that you tried to salvage of 20 years finally loose all of it’s buckles and wheels? Well, practice your good karma and consider this — Dakine’s Wheeled Duffle – LG.

This comes in 90 litres and 58.

Features

  • U-shaped opening for easy access
  • Zippered end pockets
  • Retractable handle
  • Replaceable urethane wheels
  • Locking zipper cars

This set just simply makes travel a lot more convenient. Oh, and fashionable.

Features

  • 3 Piece Collection
  • ROLLER:
  • Exterior zippered pocket
  • Retractable handle
  • Legal carry on size for most airlines
  • Replaceable urethane wheels
  • Clear window ID holder on back panel
  • DUFFLE:
  • Zippered closure
  • Interior zippered pocket
  • Open back panel to slide over travel bag handle
  • BEAUTY KIT:
  • Zippered closure
  • Interior hanging hook
  • Interior removable clear vinyl bag
  • Multiple interior zippered mesh pockets

Patagonia’s Mlc Wheelie

Water resistant roller bag that turns into a back pack is just what the adventure traveller ordered.

Many times Tim and I find ourselves waiting for boats on docks or dragging bags up the beach.

This is the perfect pack for those moments and a reason for a trip to Indonesia.

More deets here: http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/patagonia-mlc-wheelie-wheeled-gear-bag?p=49112-0-920&pcc=1128

Boarder inspired clothing company Volcom out of California has always caught my eye with their styles. I’ve never used their luggage, but I would buy this just because it’s so great to look at.

Dayhikes to go skiing or boarding? Look no further than the Mountain Hardwear Wayback backpack. LOVE this!

Rugged, stable, and roomy. A tough and highly functional winter pack for day tours in the backcountry.
Features
  • Ski-friendly feature set and front pocket, which can be accessed from top zip
  • Rear panel zipper into main compartment for maximum access and convenient use in the snow
  • Versatile strap system carries skis, snowboards and snowshoes with equal ease
  • Skis can be carried A-frame for long distance or diagonaled either direction for shorter hikes
  • Multiple pockets inside main compartment keeps gear organized
  • Fleece-lined goggle/sunglass easy-access pocket
  • Hydration sleeve with port in main compartment
  • Multiple options for carrying ice axe
  • Zippered pockets on padded waistbelt

1. Travel Pillows.

 11″ x 20″ sized pillow is da bomb for planes. (Er… should never say “bomb” and “plane” in the same sentence! ; ) …especially around the security.

Always book that window seat if you like to sleep, and grab one of these amazing and necessary pillows to make dozing whilst seated — somewhat bearable.

These are handmade pillows from Canada. You can find them here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NicoleTarasick?ref=top_trail

Or if you prefer the aisle seats to get up and walk at your own free will  – then this Organic Buckwheat Neck Pillow will most certainly put the sound in your sleep.  (Search Organic Buckwheat neck pillow in Google to see where you can get one.)

In Canada and North America it can be purchased here: http://www.dreamdesigns.ca/bed_and_bath.php?section=1&category=4&page=12

Essential Snacking

I always pack snacks – in case I feel dissatisfied with the food – or have to wait in a massive cue, or the plane gets delayed, or stuck on the tarmac…

While on the topic, if you order a ‘special meal’ while arranging your flight details you can order really great stuff like Asian Vegetarian and get fed first – before anyone else!

What I take:

Dried Mango’s

Tamari Almonds

The best clothes for a long haul flight

I’ve been travelling for so long now, that over time, I’ve put together a system to make 11 hours on a plane comfortable.

Here’s my list of clothing items:

ALPACA SOCKS

Best thing I’ve ever put on my feet, so thick that they feel like a cushy slipper…and so warm. Can be expensive, but they will last for a long time if you buy good quality ones.

HOODIE

Always have a hoodie to pull over your head = cozy and private when snoozing. This Women’s Pyxis™ Hoody  is like a teddy bear. If you don’t ooze with comfort in this, then you’re mad.

 COMFY PANTS

I think jeans suck on long haul flights, they’re stiff, have seams that start to imprint on your skin and they aren’t cozy. The only thing I wear on planes are either:

  • Mountain Hardwear Powerstretch tights (warm fleece amazingness, I actually can’t live without these in the winter…they don’t pill either. Simply the best leggings for cold weather.)

  • Or long leggings of some sort if you want a thinner pair for warmer temps.

 TOP

Long body shape, so it covers the butt, and light weight.

Like this one from Batwing.

SHOES

You can put on some nice shoes to make up for the lack of sheik style, like a pair of Naturalisa boots like these –

Or for warmer weather areas try these super comfortable, and height inducing Yoda Fly London shoes.

Other bits and bobs

Most planes have blankets and masks – so there’s no real need to pack your own. But if you have room, and need a blanket for travel plus an eye mask — this is fab.

4. Headphones.

The amount of waist involved in flying is maxed out enough. Down size the enviro-footprint by always carrying your own set of headphones. Any kind will do these days.

5. Cards

6. Toothbrush and small toothpaste

October 3, 2011

||| GREECE |||

(more…)

May 31, 2011

||| ST. JAMES’S PALACE ||| LONDON |||

The Duke of Edinburgh Award Ceremony

This is the second year that Tim has been honored the privilege to hand out England’s most prestigious outdoor achievement award for the youth of the country – The Duke of Edinburgh award. – A select number of young outdoor achievers from around the country get awarded for their pursuits.

My timing allowed me to join him this year in attending the ceremony, and what an amazing adventure it was. Only weeks before the “wedding of the century” of Kate Middelton and the Prince – I found myself standing in the same space that the bride-to-be was for her media shots of their late engagement announcement. After taking the VIP tour of the residence, we were escorted to our designated area where Tim was to give the awards. It was quite surreal to be sitting in a room with murals the size of my house adorning the walls. As the palace host talked about these murals the words “are priceless – you can’t put a value on them” rang through my ears for a while. I couldn’t fathom the values surrounding me.

Tim was presenting in one of the four red and gold themed rooms of the palace known as the “boardroom.” Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth holds dinners and meetings for world leaders here. Kinda a big deal. However, as I looked around, I couldn’t help but wonder why the cracks in the ceiling and it’s discolorations hadn’t been tended to! This is the Palace after all?  My thoughts however, quickly swung into the other direction and concluded: that’s nice- those cracks…shows that these Royals aren’t too materialistic – which is good! The host continued on to also let us know that we are of a select few of the public that will ever be within these walls – as the only event to be held here is the D of E award ceremony. Wow I thought – how did this small town Canadian prairie gal end up here!? Yee-haw!

Enter Prince after Tim speaks for 10 minutes. Now, Prince Edward only shakes the hand, within the room full of people, of someone with a special badge on – which Tim had one of. So after Prince was finished talking to the youth from a distance he stopped, extended his hand to Tim and Tim then opened up with his first prepared question.

“So when you’re flying fighter jets do you ever get high enough to see the curvature of the earth?”

Edward responds: “Well, I don’t know because I don’t fly fighter jets..” Prince continues “However, I have seen the curvature from the concord…the atmosphere looks very blue from up there.” ( Slightly starstruck, I say “yes” here, in knowing what he’s talking about through looking at Nat Geo photos in the past -then freeze again, as I don’t know what else to say…)

I give Tim all the credit for just having the gusto to ask the Prince questions – as I, tongue tied- just stood there having no clue what to say to Mr. Royal Man.  But next time, i’ll have some ammo I’ve decided. I’m going to ask him about his impeccable posture – and see if it’s owed to a Personal Royal Pilates trainer or perhaps years of ballet or possibly some afternoons of polo playing or something! After all it was the first thing I noticed about him when he walked into the room.

Until the next time when we shall be invited to the Queen’s house again, it was very special to feel like a real-life princess, as you do when standing in a real-life palace…. with a real-life prince.

A ROOM FULL OF PRICELESS MURALS AND GOLD