10 Road Trip Essentials

As you know, my husband and I are currently driving across Canada as we move out west from Prince Edward Island to Alberta.  We have spent five days in the car and have another three days to go.  We’ve compiled a list of some of the essentials we have been using while on this extended road trip and thought it’d be fun to share.  I just want to point out that I’m not sponsored by any of these products or services, and we purchased these ourselves and the reviews are our own.

  1. Google Maps. I know, I know, before we had smart phones, everyone including my parents had to use a real map.  And while I could figure one out if I really sat down and tried, the ease and convenience of using the GPS on my phone just can’t be beat.  We’ve been using Google Maps for our entire trip and have had no issues with it at all.
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  2. Our next essential is good music. Every road trip needs a good playlist.  Since our road trip is close to 5000 km, we needed a lot of good music.  Now, I’ve mentioned this app before, but our favourite way to play music is through Spotify.  We pay ten dollars a month, and have access to almost any song we fancy.  You can create your own playlists and – this is the best part – download the playlists to your device so that you can listen to your songs without using any data.
     

     

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  3. When we get sick of listening to music, Rick likes to put on an audio book. He has a subscription to Audible, which boasts a large collection of audio books.  Since I’m always the passenger, I can read to my heart’s content, and now Rick can listen to a book as well.  He’s currently making his way through Game of Thrones.  I’m currently reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  I can’t believe I haven’t read this classic, and neither could my friend Amanda, who gave me the book.  I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s fantastic so far.
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  4. This and the next one are related to the fact that we use our smartphones so much in the car. We bought a Magnetic phone holder that is extremely convenient. We have one from Spigen.  It comes with two adhesive thin metal plates which you can either stick to your phone or stick to your phone case.  The magnetic part attaches to your air vent in the car, and it’s strong enough to then hold your phone up.  Rick says that it is the best phone holder he’s had.

  5. We also purchased a SoundBot Bluetooth device. It enables you to play music from your phone via Bluetooth and also make and receive phone calls.  Our car doesn’t come with any of these features so it was nice to find a small device that works well.  Both this and the Spigen holder were purchased from Amazon.

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  6. Car Games. To be fair, we only ever play Twenty Questions.  When we’re not chatting, I’m usually reading or playing a game on my phone.  If you have a great car game that we can play, let me know!
  7. A cooler full of snacks. We have a big cooler at my feet but it’s not full of much.  The cooler is great because it keeps drinks cold for a long time.  Currently we have some seaweed snacks and a honeybun from breakfast.  Snacks are a road trip staple.  We also keep some candy on hand when we are feeling a little low on sugar 😉

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  8. A bag for trash, or rubbish, as my husband says. Very important.  We even have a little hook on the lower dashboard to hold the bag.
  9. Caffeine.  My choice is coffee or tea, but since hubby doesn’t drink either of those he tends to choose energy drinks.  It’s funny how driving can be so exhausting – all we’re doing is sitting in a car but I find myself yawning the day away!
  10. And finally, AirBNB.  Yes, we could choose a cheap motel when we need to stay overnight, but we can often find a room on AirBNB for less than a motel and we get a much better experience.  For instance, last night in Sault Ste. Marie, we stayed in a Howard Johnson motel.  We paid more than we have during our other nights through AirBNB, and the continental breakfast was pitiful.  In Quebec City we used AirBNB and paid thirty dollars less and received a wonderful breakfast.  Plus, we love chatting with and getting to know new people, which is something that you rarely get the chance to do at a motel.

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We are at our AirBNB in Thunder Bay, tomorrow we head to Winnipeg.  Hope you all have a wonderful night!  xx

To Ottawa and Beyond!

After two wonderful nights in Ottawa, we have left Canada’s capital city and driven eight and a half hours west to Sault Ste. Marie.  I didn’t blog yesterday, as we were staying with friends and I wanted to spend as much time as possible with them.  The weekend was a lot of fun and we were lucky to have our very own tour guide!

We stayed with my friend Amanda; we were roommates back in Saint John.  Amanda is one of the bubbliest, kindest people I know.  She’s hardworking, determined, and inspiring.  She’s lost over one hundred pounds and I’m in awe.  I’m so lucky to call her a friend!

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Amanda as Cinderella (she does Princess Parties, that’s not how she dresses haha)

We arrived in Ottawa Saturday night, and after settling in at Amanda’s apartment, we went out for supper.  We went to a restaurant called the Big Rig, and ordered a large pizza to share.  If you are looking for good pizza in Ottawa, this is the place.  I don’t have pictures but trust me when I say it was loaded with cheesy gooey goodness.

Sunday was when Amanda took us to downtown Ottawa.  We used an Uber (so cool – technology astounds me) to get to the centre of the city.  There’s a big market on the streets during the summer, and we wandered through some of the booths.  Amanda bought me a necklace as a belated birthday gift – it’s a grain of rice upon which the vendor wrote “Michelle ❤ Richard.”  He did it freehand and it was pretty impressive.

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We visited the Tulip Festival, Parliament, and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier.  And yes, we have the obligatory touristy photos to prove it 😉  We also spent some time at the Rideau Centre, an expansive mall with some great stores.  My poor hubby had to follow around us girls as we shopped!

We left this morning shortly after nine.  Not much to say about today, it was a long drive, and due to the lack of choices on AirBNB we are staying at a Howard Johnson motel tonight.  Our only plan is to catch up on Game of Thrones tonight and then get a good night’s sleep!

A few pictures from the drive:


Tomorrow we have another longish day, we will be driving to Thunder Bay.  I’m looking forward to the scenery, I hear it’s gorgeous around there.

To be honest, we didn’t listen to a lot of music today.  Rick uses audiobooks, and we’ve been listening to Game of Thrones.  If I had to choose a song of the day, it would have to be another one from Noah and the Whale, called Life Goes On.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Bye for now!
xx

 

Au revoir, Montreal!

Okay, so I officially love this city.  Montreal just has this vibe about it.  Rick and I were both in agreement that this place is awesome.  It’s just too bad neither of us speak French.

Once again, we  had a great experience with our AirBNB in Montreal.  Our host was so friendly, welcoming, and helpful.  He’s been hosting with the site for a couple of years, and has had nothing but good things to say about it.  Our room had it’s own entrance, ensuite, and the bed turned out to be super comfortable.  We had toast, coffee, and orange juice in the morning, and then we drove to the nearest metro station.  We left our car parked in a residential neighbourhood and used the subway to go back into the city.

We first went to visit Old Montreal.

Lunch was at this cute little creperie, we both ordered a crepe that came with swiss cheese, ham, and béchamel sauce.  It was so good!

After lunch we wandered over to the Basilica, but were disappointed to find out you had to pay to go in.  We decided we were too cheap for that, so we hopped back on to the metro and went to visit the Montreal BioDome.  We didn’t really know what it is we were going to see, but it turned out to be awesome!  The BioDome has four different ecosystems, complete with the animals that inhabit them.

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It took us a while to find the entrance!

It was a lot of fun, I loved the otters and the beavers!

Now we’ve made it to Ottawa, and we’re hanging out at my friend’s apartment while she is at work.  I’m so glad we have some time to spend here and catch up.  We will be here tonight and tomorrow night, and head out to Sault. Ste. Marie on Monday morning.  It feels as though we have been on the road forever, and we still have a ton more driving to do!  My husband is a trooper, that’s for sure.

Today’s song is Lush Life by Zara Larsson.  It’s not a new song, but it’s fun and makes me want to dance 🙂

xx

 

From Quebec City to Montreal

What a fantastic day!

We woke up to a bright blue sky and the sun streaming in through the windows of our little room.  Our AirBNB hosts, John and Charlie, were cooking breakfast and we had the chance to talk to them a bit.  I love AirBNB because of the opportunity to get to know people you otherwise would not meet if staying in a motel.  I would love to be a host if we get a place big enough to have a spare room or two.

Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, toast, and a yogurt parfait made with granola, bananas, and maple syrup.  They introduced me to a stovetop Italian coffee maker, which made delicious coffee.  I’m so going to look into getting one when we get settled.

After packing our things and bidding adieu to our hosts, we set off to explore more of the area.  On John’s recommendation, we drove up to Chute-Montmorency, a large waterfall with spectacular views.

After Montmorency falls, we took a quick drive around the Ile D’Orleans.  We didn’t go all the way around (it would have taken too long) but just did a little loop.  It was very quaint island and I managed to snap a few photos of the cute stone cottages!  Rick and I love playing tourist 🙂

We had a few hours to kill before heading out to Montreal so we decided to explore Old Quebec a little more.  This time I tried to take more pictures.  I know I need to work on my photography skills, but hopefully these will suffice!  We walked around by the Chateau and up towards the Citadel.  It was gorgeous out, I’m so glad to finally enjoy some warmer weather, but Rick burns fairly easily so we ducked out of the heat and had a quick bite to eat at a cute little café.

We left for Montreal and arrived at our next AirBNB around 3:30 pm.

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Our lovely room comes with an ensuite!

 

We took the Metro to the centre of the city and had supper and walked around.  Tomorrow we plan to explore a bit more of Montreal, and then we are going to travel to Ottawa and stay a couple of nights with one of my dear friends.  I’m looking forward to seeing her!

 

We created a Road Trip playlist on Spotify that we downloaded to my phone, so that we can listen to music without using up all of our data.  I’m going to share some of the songs we are enjoy with each post.  Today’s favourite song is by Noah and the Whale and it’s called Five Years Time.  I’m all about the happy tunes!  Rick and I tend to have very different musical tastes, but hey, marriage is all about compromise, right?

I’ll update tomorrow, hope you are all having a fabulous Friday!

Our Grand Adventure

Today is officially the beginning of our grand, Cross-Canada adventure.  The only perk that I can find about sitting in a car for ten hours is that it allows one time to type detailed accounts of said adventure.  I know some people will be interested in following our journey, so I thought I’d post about each day as I can.

My blog is called Fearless Endeavours, because I spend a lot of time being afraid of trying new things, or worrying daily about what others are thinking of me.  I started the blog because I want to start living fearlessly, as opposed to the fearful way I go about life now.  My husband and I are taking a big leap and moving across Canada, from the Maritimes back to Alberta, where I was born and raised.  I was born in Calgary, but moved to New Brunswick nearly ten years ago.  To be honest, I didn’t think I’d ever go back.  But there aren’t many opportunities for teachers on the east coast, so we’re going to try our luck back out west.

We left PEI yesterday.  We had planned to commence our move across the country on Monday, May, 16; but then my husband received an email a few weeks ago stating he had an immigration interview in Halifax on Wednesday, May 18th.  For those who weren’t aware, he moved here a year and a half ago from England, shortly before we got married.  And finally, after 18 long months, he received his Permanent Resident status yesterday in Halifax!  It was a great way to start our trip, and a fantastic early birthday present for me.

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Our car is jam packed!

We left Halifax around 8am this morning, and drove the ten hours or so to Quebec City.  Hubby was surprised at how French Quebec was – I think he was expecting to see at least some English on the road signs!  It’s times like these that I wish I had more than my insignificant high school French to get by.  We are staying at an AirBnb (we’re big fans!) and we found our host with no problems.  After checking in, we went out for a nice birthday supper, wandered around old Quebec for a bit, and then back to the house for an early night.

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Pistachio gelato – my new favourite!

Tomorrow we plan to tour around Quebec City for a bit than make the easy drive over to Montreal.  We don’t know if we will ever do this drive across the country again, so we’re taking the time to visit all the major cities.

I’ll make sure to post more tomorrow, but now it’s time to get a good night’s sleep!  I’m posting about our trip on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, all with the username michsax14.  Check it out if you’re interested 🙂

Xx

Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there, and especially to my own mom.  She’s been there for me through everything, she’s believed in me even when I didn’t, supported me, and made me into the person I am today. I am forever grateful for everything she has done throughout the years.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful mothers.  I have a wonderful mother in law, and friends who are mothers, and wonderful aunts, cousins, grandmothers, all examples of fantastic mothers.  Someday I hope to be a mom myself, and when that day comes, I can only hope to be as amazing a mom as those around me are to their children.

Praying for Fort McMurray

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the devastating wildfire that has forced thousands of people from their homes up in northern Alberta.  It’s all over the news, and it’s tragic.  I can’t imagine the sense of loss these people are feeling, I feel sick just thinking about the devastation.

This isn’t the post I had planned for today, but I think it’s important.  Keep these people in your prayers, and consider making a donation if you’re able.

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What I Ate Wednesday

 

So, I had today’s blog all planned out, it was going to be a What I Ate Wednesday post, but than I forgot and ate all the food without taking any of the pictures.

Oops.

Ah well, maybe next week, right?  I can still tell you what I ate, if you’re interested.  I find that since I’ve moved in with my parents, I’ve been eating waaay healthier than I typically do, which is fantastic!  It’s like easy-peasy weightloss (or I think it is – I’m not weighing myself this month so I can’t tell).

Anyways, on to what I ate today.  I’m not claiming this is super healthy or anything, but it’s definitely smaller portions than what I’m used to eating.

Breakfast: Tea (with milk, no sugar!) and a bowl of Life cereal with milk.  Not loving this breakfast as it doesn’t keep me full for very long.

Snack: Single serving of Oikos greek yogurt with honey.  Another tea.

Lunch: Leftover Pad Thai from last night’s supper.  Also had an apple.

Snack: I was starving so I purchased an iced cappuccino on the way home.  I haven’t been eating much sugar as of late, and I was surprised at how sweet this drink was.  I used to drink these like crazy, but now it’s too sweet for me.  It did the trick, though, and filled me up till suppertime.

Supper: It was just mom and I for this meal, and we ended up having a thin crust veggie pizza and caesar salad.  Pretty good.

It’s 10pm now, and I’m feeling a little hungry, but I’ll be okay if I head to bed soon.

Today was my last day of practicum in my grade 3 class, and it was a bittersweet day.  I’ll share some of the letters and artwork from my students in tomorrow’s post.  Stay tuned 😀

Anxiety

Up until a few years ago, I would have never called myself an anxious person.  I still wouldn’t, for that matter.  But I have been experiencing more and more bouts of anxiety. When I reflect upon it, I have come to realize that often my anxiety stems from feelings of incapability.  Driving makes me feel anxious, because I doubt my skills as a driver.

My supervisor came in today to observe me for the last time as a practice teacher.  I woke up feeling so nervous, you know, like that unsettled feeling in the pit of your stomach?  My observation went well, I had nothing to worry about, but still, I worry.  I think one way of helping to combat this is to prepare more, so that every day is fully planned.

Sometimes I think feeling anxious is a good thing, it’s a sign that I still care.