5 Sense Cities: Toronto

Toronto is a place that is so friendly you can feel it. – OP

Sandro Schuh

The atmosphere, the kind people, the cultures, and the sounds. So many senses make up the living breathing city of Toronto, Canada. To truly understand all these senses, look to this post for a deep dive into the essence of this impact city. We will explore the sights, the sounds, the smells, the feels, and of course the tastes that have brought tremendous happiness to Torontonians.

The Feel:

Toronto is a place that is so friendly you can feel it. Expect to hear ‘sorry’ very often and since we have just won the NBA championship, there is never any need for a frown. Torontonians are proud people and every time you walk down the streets of downtown you can feel that energy. If you have the opportunity to visit, make sure to see the many attractions, where you can really feel the pride, acceptance, and friendliness. 

The Smell: 

When it comes to the smell within the city be sure to brace yourself for some great smelling food from across the globe. Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. It houses families from across every continent and one walk through Kensington Market you will have the chance to smell all the flavours from across the globe. 

The Sights: 

If one has the chance to see some unique architectural buildings, the first stop wouldn’t be Toronto. Although this may be the case, Toronto has built some very beautiful buildings that have become such landmarks within the city. As far as nature is concern, Toronto has many sights for viewing including beaches, forest, mountain ranges, and rural areas that have added tremendously to the overall beauty of the city. 

The Sounds: 

As the seasons change so does the sounds within the city. Toronto is one of the most festive, busy, and active metropolitan cities. Sometimes you may hear the sounds of the Santa Clause parade, and other times you may hear the largest Caribbean festival, outside of the Caribbean, during Caribana weekend. So the sounds depend on the seasons so if one is planning a visit be sure to plan ahead or you could be in for a surprise. 

The Taste: 

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As we learned, Toronto is such a multicultural city, over 100 dialects are spoken in the city and with those cultures means a lot of food. In Toronto, there are areas of the city you could have Tortillas de Español por desayunar (Breakfast), Tibet Momo for lunch, Nigerian Jollof rice for dinner, and then some Greek Baklava for desert all within walking distance on the Danforth. So as you can see Torontonians are some of the most luckiest people when it comes to taste from across the globe. Make sure to visit!

The Types of Travelers

“Everyone you meet knows something you don’t know but need to know. Learn from them.” – C.G. Jung

Travelling can place you in some odd locations with strange people. These people soon become either a highlight or a low light within your travels. For those travelers seeking a little sneak peak into what to expect on your journey, look no further. We will supply you with some people to watch out for or some people that you should probably be aware of when travelling solo. 

The Saver

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This is the person that would rather eat from the local grocery store than a random restaurant. You usually see them at the hostel for the majority of the day and may pass up on a beer round for a good sleep. These people are usually available for a long hike, city walks or a free event within that location. 

Each of us have a little bit of that saver mentality.

 

 

 

The Greatest person on Earth

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This is your best mate. This person will buy you an entire paella in Spain, be genuinely funny, and usually have an Australian, New Zealand or Canadian accent(I’m biased). Few people reach this height and when you do come across these people, you are sure to have a great time. Truly these people will share a true connection with you and leave a lasting affect for the remainder of your trip.

We should all thrive to be this person!

The ‘Yes’

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This is the person that genially has the time and patience to do just about anything. Similar to the person above, this person wants to do everything including restaurants, always wants to make new experiences, and will probably say yes to swimming with crocodiles and eating snakes (only if you’ll come too). 

The ‘yes’ has the potential to make a strong impression on anyone!

The Experienced

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This person can become a little annoying. Although for some the person that has the most experience travelling usually has some advice that can truly reshape your entire trip. This person knows the ins and outs of everything from the right hostel, endless stories, and probably has a typical travel blog that he constantly wants you to check.

Your next tour guide may be the most experienced traveler in the cosmos.

The Leader

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This is the person that you will probably encounter on a walking, food, or temple tour. Once they know you’re following they will either lead you to something you will enjoy or something you hate. Make no mistake, if you choose to follow this person, don’t expect to have much control over your trip. Be cautious of those who seek to dictate where and when you explore.

Leave it to your leader to get you out of some of the worst positions.

Which types of people have you witnessed on your travels and what type of people would you say you most align with from this list? If you encounter other personas, how would you describe them? Happy Travels!

– OP

 

10 Tips for Solo Travelers

 

In The End, We Only Regret The Chances We Didn’t Take. – Lewis Carroll

Travelling is a unique ability that many people are blessed to experience. Some people even have experiences that last a life time but few people have the courage to do it alone.

1. Choose a hostel beforehand

For me, this meant that I at least had somewhere to sleep if everything else went horrible. When you travel alone you won’t be able to plan for the unexpected but you can plan where you sleep.

2. Turn your phone off & Socialize

I lost my phone in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. This experience turned into a blessing and a curse because I had no way to contact anyone but I was also forced to socialize. In order to have a truly personal experience, one must be able to give up the phone.

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Searching for socialization….

3. Be the Leader

I was able to meet a few friends and we were able to see Budapest in a truly unique way. It’s fun to follow a group but, making your own decisions can really be a difference maker, when you’re solo travelling.

4. Check Airbnb Experiences

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Airbnb can really open your eyes to experiences that can cost you only 5 euros. For me, one of the experiences I had was in Rome in my previous post.

5. Wake up Early and Walk

Waking up early, going for a walk and seeing the city before everyone else. I remember walking for miles in Budapest and seeing all the castles just before the tourists came in and took over.

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7 am in Budapest never felt better!

6. Speak to your Roommates

I found that the best way to truly get out of my shell was literally saying ‘Hi’ to someone. Seems simple but I think several people would rather just go to bed. I’d suggest to build up the courage to meet your roommates instead. You may be surprised by that persons culture and may become friends.

7. Do Walking tours & Food tours

The main thing a solo traveler would have to do would be to take part in these activities. You’re going to have such a great experience on either a Walking tour or a Food tour. Above all else this is a great place to meet others while having a experience that can lead to some great food and a free meet up.

8. Don’t be afraid to indulge

I found I was constantly saying no to these restaurants suggested by my roommates because of my lack of funds. You should be able to budget yourself so you can have a random restaurant experience with people who are curious enough to meet you.

9. Participate in Hostel games

Again, Hostels have so many experiences. I would suggest to really be a part of the games throughout the hostel or even social nights. One of my best social events happened in Granada when I met some of the greatest friends of my entire trip. Be there to socialize and not a fly on the wall.

10. Have your own experience

Whenever you travel solo you are going to encounter people who may not want to follow you or may not want to socialize with you. Do not… I repeat…. do not let this get to you because in the future when you look back at this experience you want to be able to say you did your own thing. You will truly see how beautiful life can be when you just have the courage to have your own solo experience.

 

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The world is waiting for you!

My Rome Experience!

Rome holds my psyche in balance. Whenever I’m there, it’s like a holiday. – Giambattista Valli

One of the two places that I really felt that I could not leave Europe without seeing was Rome and the Vatican City. These two places are such a stable of Europe. The city of Rome has really given me such positive vibes and enough tourist mania for a lifetime!

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Bienvenido a Roma!

Something that makes Rome so special is that it can be a place that gives every visitor a experience. For me, my experience brought me to hidden restaurants, 430 am runs to the top of a mountain, Vatican City visits, and So. Much. Architecture!

The Run

When I first arrived in Rome I knew I wanted to do something very unorthodox and something that would be a lot fun! I found someone who would run with you but you would have to wake up at 430 am and get ready to run.

I ended up meeting at the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II at 5 am in the morning. Nobody was around until someone ran up to me. I said something along the lines of lets do it and we began the long run. As we started running we were able to see a side of Rome that few people get to live.

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Smiling through the pain

As the run was happening I was able to take pictures and reach the highest point of Rome before the sun. We saw the Olympic stadium and finally reached Monte Mario to see one of the greatest views of the city. I was happy to have the opportunity to meet my tour guide and for an awesome tour.

My Quick Trip to Vatican City

I had a job interview but I needed Wi-Fi for the call which I thought I could receive in the Sistine Chapel. So I waited in line as the interview drew. I finally get in and I find no Wi-Fi. I have a strange idea to try and see the Sistine Chapel in about 10 mins and then leave to do my job interview.

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So I end up racing through the chapel by pushing tourist away and taking hurried pictures. I end up missing my phone interview. From what I did see, the Sistine Chapel is such a nice place.

As I was running through the Chapel I was able to take pictures of the ceilings and I was hypnotized by the art and beauty of it all. I will refrain from positing a picture of the “do not take photos” ceiling but yes I did take a photo…

 

 

Hidden Restaurant

My trip was coming to an end but I wanted to check out at least one restaurant. I found a few people outside a whole in the wall and decided that I would try and find a seat. I ended up sitting with two random people from Barcelona. The restaurant had a very modern feel to it and for those who would like to visit the name of the restaurant was Sora Margherita.

So Rome has really shown me some of the most wonderful sights in the world and I feel few places can compete with Roma. These places have been captured on film and have made some of  the most breathtaking experiences. For anyone who is looking to witness one of the greatest historical cities in the entire planet, one should look no further then the mother of all cities… ROME.

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Here is my first photo in Rome, looking forward to my next visit!

 

What happened in Sapa, Vietnam?!

So much of who we are is where we have been – William Langewiesche

Let me start off by explaining that I have traveled for about 7 months of 2019. When I write that, it gives me goosebumps remembering all the stories, food, and cultures I have experienced over this period. I have been a lucky person and one of the most special places I have traveled to has been…… Vietnam.

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Vietnam has grown in popularity over the years and for good reason. I visited this South East Asian country with my school mate and we spent 2 and half weeks understanding the food and having the best moments of our lives. We were fortunate enough to go from Hanoi to Sapa – Back to Hanoi – to Nha Trang and then Siagon.

Let the games begin

It all begins in Hanoi, we get to Hanoi find our hotel and organize ourselves for the long trip ahead. We end up planning a trip to Sapa to see awesome views and some of the coldest climates. We slept next to about 20 different people on a ride that lasted close to 8 hours!

Our “This isn’t Kansas anymore” Moment.

So we get off the bus at 530 am in the morning and we are both so tired. Our hostel wasn’t ready so we could either go on a 10 km hike into the mountains of Sapa or sleep in the lobby. This decision would be one of the best decisions of our trip.

The Hike

Vietnam has such a diverse landscape that is so underrated. One of the best parts was, the ability to see the views and be able to interact with some of the many locals. We were constantly bombarded with tangerines, souvenirs, and a tour guide that I still regret not tipping.

Views of Sapa
Look closely to see the fear in his eyes.

Our hike brought us to views of some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Vietnam. If you have the opportunity, I would take the chance to visit.

Near Death Experience

Vietnam was one of those places I felt the safest during my travels. So with that said, we had to do something that would put us in danger.

Motorbiking is one of the best things to do in Sapa,Vietnam but it is also one of the dangerous. We ended up heading on a motorbike ride to one of the waterfalls near the hostel.

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My face as I fell from my motorcycle.

We were turning a corner and a truck was driving on the road while we were turning the corner. Since I suck at riding a motor bike I was at the back of the pack and as the truck was coming I tried to stop when….. I fell. It was a major error but we were still able to make it to the waterfall and back to our hostel, it became one of the greatest experiences of our trip!

Recovery

When the dust settled on our time in Sapa, Vietnam. Me and my mate where able to see the beauty of this great city. From the mountains, to the views and everything in between, we loved the ability to see the nature and the once in a lifetime experience. Although this was only the second city of our time in Vietnam, this turned out to be one of the most memorable. At the end of our trip we would look back at our time in Sapa as one of the biggest highlights of our trip.

Nos Vemos a proximo post!

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They left me out of Fast & The Furious for good reasons.