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.
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Wild Canadian Atlantic Way: Nova Scotia and PEI
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: 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.
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.
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.)
Travel 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
- 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:
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
- 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
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
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