Embracing the world: Upcoming travel plans

Nova Scotia, Canada, ocean, travel photography, Dave Bouskill, sea, coastline,

Nova Scotia as seen through the eyes of ThePlanetD

Travel plans for Nova Scotia, PEI, Britain, India & beyond

EVERY YEAR ABOUT this time, the middle of summer, I start to put together my travel plans for the fall and winter. This year, I’ve got a lot of exciting things lined up: exploring London’s diversity, looking for the Loch Ness monster, chasing after tigers in India and enjoying an 8-day journey on the world’s most luxurious train. And many more adventures, too, as outlined below.

But first, a trip to two of Canada’s beautiful Atlantic provinces. In summer, I like being home in Canada and I frankly can’t think of anywhere I would rather be. Canada is a paradise in summer.

The storytelling narrative I will weave around these journeys will have a responsible travel theme and an attitude of embracing cultural difference. I was thrilled to be nominated for a World Tourism Responsible Travel Award last year, and to be included on this list of Best Conscious Travel Bloggers. And I want to continue to explore, celebrate and show respect to the diverse cultures of this world; to showcase conservation and responsible tourism efforts; and to bring attention to the sacredness and beauty of the natural world.

Please follow my journeys from August 2016 through to March 2017.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, Explore, Visit, ocean, coast line, sea

Panaormic views of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.


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PEI, Canada, ocean, travel photography, sea, coastline,

The pastoral, maritime beauty and red cliffs of Prince Edward Island

Wild Canadian Atlantic Way: Nova Scotia and PEI

My first stop is Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, two of Canada’s Atlantic, or Maritime provinces. They’re both on the east coast of Canada, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.

I have been drawn to the Atlantic provinces since a childhood road trip indelibly printed the sights and sounds of the Maritimes on me. I went when I was four, just old enough to remember significant moments. The wonder at seeing a whale skull on an ocean pier. The sight of freshly cooked red lobsters, spread across a newspaper-covered picnic table. The smell of the salt air on the ocean breeze.

You can follow my travels in Nova Scotia, as well as the travels of a bunch of talented Canadian travel bloggers including ThePlanetD (whose photo is at the top of this post) by following #VisitNovaScotia. I’ll be looking for stories and images that showcase the natural beauty of these seaside provinces as well as their iconic charm. I am sure my followers in India and South Asia will enjoy the “exotic” Canadiana I’ll be highlighting — like a lobster boil on the beach and whale watching.

London, England, United Kingdom, Great Britain. skyline, London eye, Parliament Buildings, Big Ben

London’s skyline. Photo Courtesy London & Partners

London: The Global City

In September I’m headed to London, England with Visit Britain. I’m very excited about this trip for several reasons. My grandfather hails from London, so it’s in my blood, and I haven’t been there in many years. But I’m most excited about the theme of my trip, The Global City. I’m going to be celebrating London’s role as a robust, thriving multicultural city, at the crossroads of global trade, commerce and culture for many centuries.

London, England, United Kingdom, Great Britain. skyline, London eye, Parliament Buildings, Big Ben

Brick Lane is known for its South Asian community. Photo Courtesy London & Partners

Naturally, I’ll be including Brick Lane and eating curry on my itinerary. Brick Lane in East London is a hub for multicultural immigration, and known for a large Bangladeshi community and many fine curry houses, as a result. The history of this area, which includes Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green and White Chapel, goes back to the 15th century. Since then, waves of immigration have settled here including French Huguenots, Irish, and Ashkenazi Jews.

Brick Lane’s Bangladeshi character was immortalized in the Monica Ali book, Brick Lane, which was made into a film by the same name. This region, formerly a slum, was also immortalized as the scene of the Jack the Ripper murders in the late 19th century. But now it’s known as a microcosm of London’s ethnicity and a hub for trendy bars, edgy art and vibrant markets.

Inverness, Scotland

Inverness, Scotland. Photo courtesy Gordon Shukwit, Compfight.

Scotland and The Social Travel Summit

In late September, I’ll be attending the Social Travel Summit in Inverness, Scotland. I’ve never been to Scotland, so I’m excited to go to a new country. Inverness is called the capital of the Highlands, and is apparently a very beautiful region. The name Inverness is a Gaelic word meaning “mouth of the River Ness,” which flows out of Loch Ness into the Moray Firth. Loch Ness is of course home of the famous “monster” Nessie. You can read more about the myth of Nessie, first sighted in 565 AD, here. This is a legend that just won’t go away.

The Social Travel Summit, held annually, brings together leading travel industry professionals and bloggers / influencers for workshops and discussions around innovative ways of collaborating. After 11 years of travel blogging, I’m ready to evolve, and I’m sure this conference will help move me in the right direction. (In fact, there are already plans underway, which I’ll be announcing soon.)

Taj Mahal, Agra, IndiaTravel dreams in India

Since I started travelling to India in 2005, I’ve been completely bewitched. So far, I’ve been on eight trips, spending more than two years criss-crossing the country, visiting 17 states and most of the major tourist attractions and writing hundreds of blog posts and articles. Now, I’m getting ready for my ninth trip to the subcontinent and I’m just as enthralled as ever. The love affair continues. This year, I’ll be living some of my travel dreams and hoping to get to some new states, as I want to eventually visit all 28 29.

  • Mumbai. In October, I’ll be in Mumbai for about 10 days for the Mumbai Film Festival and, of course, to just enjoy India’s most electric city. I’ve often covered the films from Mumbai at the Toronto International Film Festival (and I will be again this year too!). So it will be fun to go to the source.
  • The Land of the Tiger. In December, I’m going on The Land of the Tiger safari with Exodus Travels. I’ll finally be visiting the great state of Madhya Pradesh and some of India’s top tiger parks, including Pench, Kanha, and Bandhavgarh. I’ve never seen a tiger in the wild, despite several safaris in Ranthambhore National Park. So though I will be hoping for a glimpse of rippling stripes in the jungle, I’ll be delighted just to be there, enjoying the flora and fauna and supporting conservation efforts whenever I can.
  • Jaipur Literature Festival. I’m addicted. I’ve been the last two years, and I’ll be back for the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2017. Last year, festival founder and author William Dalrymple remarked I was “part of the furniture.” I took it as a great compliment. I was also chuffed to win the JLF Twitter contest not once, but twice, during the 2016 festival. It’s a mad house of scintillating speakers, celebrity sightings, serious schmoozing and surging crowds. I can’t wait.
  • Maharajas’ Express. Along with my friend, photographer Andrew Adams, I’ve been invited to experience an eight-day journey aboard the Maharajas’ Express, the word’s most luxurious train. We’ll be giving you an inside glimpse of all the luxurious appointments on board, and of course all of the stops on the itinerary, which include some of the most colourful and historic cities in India. Andrew and I have worked together on several projects and posts in India, such as:
Andrew Adams photo of the Golden Temple, Amritsar, India. http://www.andrewadamsphotography.com/blog/

Photo by Andrew Adams Photography.

I’ll be in India from October through March, and there are many places I’d love to go depending on opportunities, including the following. Please contact me or leave a comment if you have any suggestion for these places, or if you would like to invite me or work with me:

  • Amritsar/Golden Temple, Chandigarh and Punjab
  • Hampi
  • Khajuraho
  • Coorg, Munnar and the Western Ghats
  • The North East, especially Cherrapungi
  • Rann of Kutch
  • Bikaner, Shekawati and more of Rajasthan
  • Yoga and spiritual centres; ecotourism resorts, lodges and tours
  • Food-themed walking tours
Photograph of Taktshang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, Paro, Bhutan

Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, Paro, Bhutan

South Asia: Bhutan and Nepal

Also on the travel horizon for this winter is one old favourite, Bhutan, and one new country, Nepal. I feel so drawn to the South Asian countries, more than anywhere else on earth, and want to spend as much time in this region as possible. Several years ago I spent a few fabulous days staying at the Uma Paro in Bhutan and have long wanted to explore more of the country.

I’ve also wanted to visit Nepal for many years, and don’t know why I haven’t, to be honest. Since the earthquake of 2015, I have also wanted to help the country to rebuild tourism by encouraging people to go, through stories and images. So I certainly hope I can make it to both of these countries over the next six or so months.

I hope you will follow my “embracing the world” journeys over the next nine months!

Photo Credit of Inverness: Gordon-Shukwit via Compfight cc
Mariellen Ward, Sirpur, Chhattisgarh, India, carving, Buddhist, Buddhism, Hinduism, Hindu

Feeling the sensuality of the gorgeous carvings at Sirpur, Chhattisgarh

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21 Responses to Embracing the world: Upcoming travel plans

  1. Sneha Sen July 28, 2016 at 3:53 am #

    Hey Mariellen!
    If you get a chance do try and visit the vibrant state of Gujarat as well. The food is to die for especially the thalis and their snacks such as dhokla,khandvi,fafda,handvo and the list goes on 😀

    • Mariellen Ward August 17, 2016 at 10:40 am #

      I’ve been in Gujarat and love the food! I keep dreaming about the thalis on the rooftop of House of MG in Ahmedabad 🙂
      Mariellen Ward recently posted..Nova Scotia, part 1: Journey to the OceanMy Profile

    • Thomas Vettikode February 7, 2017 at 12:26 am #

      Hi Sneha.
      You are right.
      I live in Gujarat for the 2nd innings of my life & is a lovely place.
      There is so much to Gujarat than food !!!
      My wife & L live in Ahmedabad and you are welcome for meet up if so desired as we too are adventurous.

  2. William July 28, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    Ladakh’s Pangong Lake is also a must-see in India! Do you know the movie “Three Idiots”.. the last scene was taken there. That scene made me and my friends visit India without any concrete plans. We just wanted to go there. 🙂
    William recently posted..Things to Consider When Choosing a Camping CoolerMy Profile

  3. Milan August 1, 2016 at 1:58 am #

    Cool. For India category you have used Ganesha photo. Lol

  4. Linda Aksomitis August 5, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    Lots of great destinations! London is a fascinating city — one of my favorite. Your itinerary looks awesome.

  5. Iris Holidays August 7, 2016 at 1:56 am #

    Hello Mariellen! If you require any help for your trip to Munnar or anywhere in Kerala, be in touch

  6. Mousumi Tarafder August 12, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    Such splendid photos ! India is indeed a place where you can find all kind of geographical curves with people from various cultural backgrounds.

  7. travelwithrohit August 15, 2016 at 2:01 am #

    Thanks for writing such a good article, I like your style of writing and knowledge. I also want to introduce one more travel blog know as travelwithrohit, a personal collection of my best experiences, favourite places in India and around the world, along with random thoughts and opinions.. Kindly give us your valuable feedback & Idea

  8. eM August 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    Super! Can’t wait to read the stories from London!

  9. Sanjeet Veen September 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    India is super for destination travel people. I like this blog. thanks for the blog. it was very informative and the pictures are captured very beautifully.

  10. neha September 17, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    Wow Mariellen…thats quiet a list! I see you have Hampi & Coorg as well on your list. If you happen to cross through Bangalore…we would definitely like to meet you..you are such an inspiration
    – Neha from revolvingcompass

  11. Madhavi October 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Hello…Through the web I came across your name and information. We are planning to travel to Odisha/Orissa in January 2017. Can you direct me to your writings regarding this? We plan to fly to in Bhubhaneshwar and travel around there. All recommendations, suggestions, and tips would be helpful! Thanks

  12. Ambuj Saxena October 13, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    Mariellen.. you have explored India more than many Indians have. I’m a bit jealous of you right now since you’ll be riding Maharaja Express which has been my dream till now.
    But you should consider coming to Delhi for a week or so and stay in a Bed and breakfast accommodation and see the following (if you haven’t done it before):

    1. Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon
    2. Heritage walk of Old delhi
    3. Hop on Hop Off bus service to various places of attraction
    4. Dilli Haat in Pitampura (on the lines of Dilli Haat, INA)

    You can also plan a week scuba diving in Andaman and Nicobar islands.
    Let me know if you need some help..

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