Satisfy your sweet tooth at the sugar shack

For most people in Eastern Canada (as well as in the Northeastern USA), there is no better way to chase away the winter blues and welcome spring than by following a long-standing tradition: visiting a sugar shack (a large wood cabin) to eat, drink and be merry. It’s Maple season and time to sweeten our palates!

The arrival of this time of the year is like a breath of fresh air! The world seems to come back to life! Excitement can be seen and felt everywhere. Days are getting longer, brighter and slightly warmer. Snow is melting, birds are chirping, buds break open! Life is good :)

To celebrate the beginning of the new season, my family and I decided to visit a Cabane à Sucre (sugar house) called Constantin Grégoire, which is located about 1 ½ hour north of my hometown, Montreal.

Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Getting there is quite an adventure and who doesn’t love a good road trip? I sure do and driving is certainly one of my passions in life ;)

At first we noticed this rustic house built in the middle of the woods.

Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Then we made it to the main entrance.

Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

We were among the first guests on the list but the large dining rooms were being set up. Hence we had to wait for a few minutes.

As everyone knows, I am quite restless! So instead of sitting and waiting (and do nothing), I went to explore the premises (and find photo ops of course).

Around the corner I found a counter with a great variety of home-made maple syrup products for sale like syrup, pies, maple flavored chocolates, candies, taffy and more. Oh I found liquid gold!

Maple products, produits à l'érable, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Maple products, produits à l'érable, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Maple products, produits à l'érable, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Maple products, produits à l'érable, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

I had to hold myself back from over spending, so I decided to come back later. I went into another room and stood in awe before the beautiful stone fireplace.

fire place, cheminée, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

It sure brought me back in time and could only imagine how people kept themselves warm during the winters a very long time ago!

fire place, cheminée, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Now I was starving so I headed back to the entrance and we were now ready to begin to feast!

Families, friends or groups come together under one roof and around long tables to enjoy traditional food. This is what is found on the table first: homemade tomato sauce (or ketchup), marinated vegetables such as pickles, beets and onions.

légumes marinés, marinated vegetables, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

The entrée is classic pea soup served in a large silver bowl for all to share and pass around.

soupe aux pois, pea soup, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

A light touch of maple syrup can be added and I did. Trust me it is so good! It definitely warms your heart and prepares you for what follows :)

soupe aux pois, pea soup, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Next, maple infused baked beans & range free egg omelets are brought in! You better be really hungry.

baked beans, omelet, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

More and more food keeps coming faster than you can say fast!

We needed make some room on the table for maple glazed ham, roasted potatoes, crusty bread, cretons, sausages.

maple glazed ham, boiled potatoes, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

As if it wasn’t enough to whet your appetite boiled potatoes and pork cracklings are added.

maple glazed ham, boiled potatoes, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

This is what my plate looked like and mind you it was only round 1. I forgot to tell you that here it the “all you can eat” formula prevails!

typical plate at Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

So we all helped ourselves to second servings of course. However we needed to leave a bit of room for the best part of the meal.

Donuts drizzled with syrup or maple sugar pie anyone?

maple glazed donuts, sugar pie, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

A close up for all of you who have a sweet tooth or sugar cravings was necessary :)

maple glazed donuts, sugar pie, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Oh did I even mention that unlimited servings of pancakes (with syrup bien sûr) tea, coffee, hot chocolate and milk just flow? Just saying!

That entire sugar intake is enough to make you bounce of the walls or go into a food coma. Luckily after everyone’s through eating, live traditional folk music is played and people start dancing like no one is watching. It is truly funny but the collective laughter is totally a great cure! It creates a great ambiance and everyone is happy.

We needed some fresh air so we went outside for a walk. We sure needed to burn off some calories after all!

I couldn’t believe what I found along the way. Remember this? :)

swing, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Wee! It made me feel like a kid all over again! It’s surprisingly strong and sturdy ;)

Now you may or may not know this but I am very curious by nature. So I asked if we could go see how sap (liquid that comes down from the maple tree) is transformed into syrup. Therefore we went on a small tour.

We started by learning the basics and that is observing an actual maple tree.

Maple tree, érablier, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

A hole is drilled into the trunk, then a metal tap is inserted and the sap slowly drips through the spile which is then collected in the bucket.

Maple tree, érablier, tap hole, bucket, collecting sap, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

The amount depends on many factors such as the weather, condition and health of the tree among many others.

Maple tree, érablier, tap hole, bucket, collecting sap, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Once filled, the buckets are emptied and brought to the boiling room where the sap will be processed.

boiler room, Maple tree, érablier, tap hole, bucket, collecting sap, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

Once inside, you can see that it is pretty hot!

boiler room, Maple tree, érablier, tap hole, bucket, collecting sap, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

It makes you truly appreciate the final product :)

After that much appreciated lesson and history, it is time to continue with the tour!

There are two options offered to visitors: a ride on a horse-drawn wooden cart which goes around the sugar bush at a very slow pace

traditional cart, Maple tree, érablier, tap hole, bucket, collecting sap, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

or a visit to the small farm which is located at the rear.

boiler room, fermette, small farm sign, Maple tree, érablier, tap hole, bucket, collecting sap, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

We opted for the latter.

Within a short distance and a few minutes later, I felt a pair of eyes staring directly at me :)

farm animal, Maple tree, érablier, tap hole, bucket, collecting sap, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

You looking at me?

I saw this colorful character running around

farm animal, chicken, Maple tree, érablier, tap hole, bucket, collecting sap, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

And this one wondering what I was up to

goat, farm animal, Maple tree, érablier, tap hole, bucket, collecting sap, Cabane à sucre, Constantin Grégoire, sugar shack, St-Esprit, Québec

After a short tour we went back inside for one last drink and slowly made our way back home to rest and prepare for the week ahead. No need to tell you that huge brunch lasted the entire afternoon and evening ;)

We were very happy to have spent quality time together and had lots of fun! It’s those unforgettable and precious moments that stay in your memory for a long time.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of the Sugar Shack, one of the traditions we follow here on my side of the planet that I wanted to share it with you!

Now it’s your turn…tell me,


How do you celebrate or welcome the arrival of spring?

Is there a special celebration or

tradition you follow where you live?


I want to know all about it and if you have links or evidence (a.k.a photos) please include them.

Until next time!

All the best

Kay :)

Posted in adventures, Canada, Culture, Food, galleries, North America, Photography, Quebec, Road Trip, Tradition, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blogger Spotlight On Noel Morata

Welcome to a new edition of Spotlight On!

We are very happy to introduce you to Noel Morata also known as @emorata a photographer, writer, artist and traveler.

According to his bio, he is obsessed with travel, food, wine, culture and lifestyle.

Let’s learn more about him!

Please tell us more about your background.

I’m currently living in East Hawaii on Hawaii Island and part-time in San Francisco. I am a freelance photographer, writer, and artist. I also maintain two web sites Travel Photo Discovery and A Big Island life.

sunrise, Mauna Kea, Volcano, Hawaii, Big Island, travel, photography, Noel Morata, Noel Morata Photography

Sunrise over Mauna Kea Volcano

Do you remember your first trip? Where was it?

Well yes, my first trip was gasp – almost 35 years ago travel with my high school French class visiting Paris, the Loire and Normandy areas. We had to speak French during most of the trip which was crazy fun.

Who inspired you while growing up?

My art teachers and creative people in general. I wanted more of these fun people in my life but there were not too many in my neighborhood so I resorted to reading books on art and travel, history and culture and enjoying reading about foreign places, foods and people.

What destinations did you dream of and which ones did visit?

I dreamed of traveling all over Europe and then Asia, most of the States in the USA and Canada.

Cornerstone Gardens, Sonoma, California, travel, photography, Noel Morata, Noel Morata Photography

Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, California

Eastern Europe when it most of the countries became democratic and Turkey/Greece. There are still many things to see in do in many countries if not continents that are on my bucket list.

You traveled to numerous countries, do you have any favorites and why?

Ah well that is always a difficult thing to say, but my de-facto reply is always the place I visited last is my favorite and that was Turkey and Croatia

Split, Croatia, view, travel, photography, Noel Morata, Noel Morata Photography

Panoramic view of Split, Croatia

View, Adriatic Sea, Split, Croatia, travel, photography, Noel Morata, Noel Morata Photography

View of the Adriatic in Split

which was so different in landscape, food and people to where I live now. I love extreme opposite types of environments and lifestyle.

Your photographs are simply amazing! When did you start taking them? Did you take a class or it just came naturally?

I’ve started taking photography in High School and college but then put it aside to work a more mainstream business life when I lived in Silicon Valley and became a cog in the IT world.

I rediscovered Photography and art when I officially moved to Hawaii seven years ago to pursue my creative dreams.

It has been a wonderful thing to tap into that side of my past and connect again with the creative aspects of my life and bring them out through my writing and photography.

swans, Burano, Italy, italia, nature, outdoors, view, travel, photography, Noel Morata, Noel Morata Photography

2 swans in Burano, Italy

Tell us a funny event that happened during your travels.

I always have funny moments with taking pictures especially when we cannot communicate in a foreign language so for me it’s a matter of making contact, smiling and body language, let the eyes and smiles work for you.

Great opportunities always happen you try to engage or make your subject smile in the process :)         

What has been the best travel advice you were ever given?  

Go out and travel where you have never been and take the time to enjoy the place instead of rushing from one place to another. That’s why I am more of a slow traveler and can stay in an area for weeks at a time.

Golden Temple, Kyoto, Japan,  travel, photography, Noel Morata, Noel Morata Photography

Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan

Do you have any travel plans for 2014?  

I am planning on doing some traveling back in the US mostly the West Coast and hopefully the Southwest and later in the year will be traveling to Puglia in Italy and Greece and perhaps spend some time in England. End of the year, I hope to travel to the Philippines

What is your favorite travel quote?  

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”



How can we contact or follow you online?

You can follow me through the following social media accounts:









Thank you so much Noel for taking the time to talk to us at Traveller Soul.

We wish you all the best and many more Happy Travels :)

Posted in adventures, Around the world, Nature, Photography, Spotlight On, Travel, Travel Bloggers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Cultural Eccentricities That Should Put Belfast on Your Bucket List

The new Northern Ireland tourism ad has Liam Neeson saying that a place is made memorable by the people in it, and the stories they tell.

It is really true that the life stories of people make up the character of a place?  What are the stories of Belfast? Is it worth a spot in your bucket list?

The following experiences make up the unique Belfast culture that can only be had at Northern Ireland:


Voyage the Titanic

Titanic, Belfast, Northern Ireland, travel, attractions

Photo Credit:

No matter what your stand is about the movie of the same name, the Titanic is arguably the most famous ships in history.

The biggest and grandest in its time, the Titanic was first imagined and realised in the docks of Belfast. The maritime culture of the people of Belfast, as well as the story of how the Titanic and her sister ships were built is worth two ears. You can re-live this story today thru a tour of one of the Titanic’s sister ships –the SS Nomadic or by visiting the Titanic Exhibition in Belfast.


Escape from entrapment

6 mates. 60 minutes. A locked room. Escape.

Use these words together in one sentence and you have Escap3d, an experience unique that can only take place in the capital. With a couple of mates, figure your way out of a locked room using puzzles and clues. It’s like being zapped into a computer game, except that it is real.


Sleep in a castle

Be awestruck by the grand dwellings of royalties past. Take a tour of castle ruins from the 14th century.

Visit the Dunluce Castle, said to have inspired C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

Dunluce Castle, castle, Northern Ireland, travel, view,

Photo Credit: Osioni

Learn about the Earls of Antrim at the Glenarm Castle.

Glenarm Castle, castle, Northern Ireland, travel, photography

Photo credit: Man vyi

Eighteenth century Castle Ward in County Down, one of the locations for the shoot of the show ‘Game of Thrones’.

Castle Ward, Castle, Travel, Photography, Northern Ireland, view

Photo credit: Ardfern

Sleep in any number of hotel castles and be a prince or princess for a day. If it doesn’t appeal to you, let’s face it, it might be spooky at night, then try somewhere more conventional like the 4 star La Mon near Belfast city centre.


Pour a pint

What craic to be had in traditional Irish pubs definitely gets a spot on any list. Pour yourself a pint of Guinness and immerse in Irish music, food and drink.

Guinness, beer, draft beer, dark beer, beer, Belfast, Northern Ireland, drink

Photo credit: Sami Keinänen


In Belfast, not to be missed are the Crown Liquor Saloon Bar and the John Hewit.

If clubbing is more your thing, crawl thru the hippest bars and clubs in the UK club scene. Be sure to check out Lush in Portrush and Box in Belfast.


Take a walk

Not to be missed is a trip up Divis near Hannahstown. The Divis Ridge Trail offers smashing views over Belfast. Various walking tours are organised regularly by local walking clubs that welcome visitors.


Now that you know a bit more about Northern Ireland tell us...


Would YOU consider visiting it if you had a chance?

What activities would you go for?

Do you agree that people make a place extraordinary?

Let’s hear all about it in the comments :)

Posted in adventures, Around the world, Europe, European Capitals, Nature, Photography, Tourism, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Barcelona: A jewel on the Mediterranean

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Barcelona?

Architecture, culture, food, Gaudí, Picasso, Barça?

All of the above?

The dynamic capital of Catalunya truly is amazing any time of day or night and all year round. It has so much to offer that you need at least a few days to take it all in and enjoy it to the max.

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit during my first European tour many years ago and was simply smitten from the moment I arrived. It won me over. It was as if I had returned home, a place where my heart belonged.

I can simply close my eyes and am transported there immediately. Barcelona, the jewel on the Mediterranean, is absolutely one of my favorite cities in the world!

So what is there to see and do? So much! Opportunities abound :)

Let me show you some of my favorite places around.


Best view in town: El Tibidado

Whenever you are at a new location, always look for the highest point, mountain or building. In this case El Tibidado is where you can admire the city and the coastline from above. It will simply take your breath away!

Tibidado, El Tibidado, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Oliver Bonjoch


The symbol of the city and unfinished masterpiece: La Sagrada Familia

This temple of the Holy Family is an UNESCO world heritage site as well as architect Antonio Gaudí’s most ambitious project which was never completed.

However, a century later, work and restoration has resumed and according to estimates, it should be completed in a decade from now.

Sagrada Familia, Holy site, Unesco World Heritage site, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit:

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a stop at La Sagrada Familia, a sacred and stunning construction.

Make sure you reserve some time for it. It will leave you in awe and remain in your memory, forever!


A walk in an extraordinary park: Parc Güell

Go for an urban adventure and wander through spectacular Parc Güell, another of Gaudí’s fantastic works of art. It is a real feast for the eye. Feel like a kid again and escape from the hustle and bustle of the city even if only for a little while :)

Parc Güell, Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Futurezone


Barri Gòtic

The Gothic Quarter is located right in the center of the old city. Many buildings date back to the medieval ages and remnants of its past are still standing today including the Roman Wall.

The winding alleyways of Barri Gòtic open into squares where crowds gather or pass by.

There are many attractions found there among them are:

Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit:

Picasso Museum 

Museu Picasso, Picasso Museum, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Jaume Meneses

And beautiful architecture can be admired, such as the bridge on Carrer del Bisbe.

Carrer del Bisbe, Barri Gòtic, Gothic Quarter, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Llull


When in Barcelona, do as the locals: Walk down La Rambla

Start at Plaça de Catalunya at the north tip. Stroll through this pedestrian artery while browsing shops, smell fresh flowers, stop for coffee or drink at a local bar, have a bite at a restaurant and slowly make your way to the Port.

La Rambla ends at Columbus Monument facing the Mediterranean. Sit down at a bench to recharge batteries!

La Rambla, pedestrian street, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit:

*A Word of caution* It is very important to mention that you should take necessary precautions and watch out for pickpockets as it is always crowded. Bring only what you need and leave valuables where you are staying. It is quite enjoyable to travel light! If you love people watching, then this is THE best place to go to!


Hungry? Feed your senses and eat your way through La Boquería

Its official name is Mercat de Sant Josep; however a local knows it as La Boquería and really is a foodie’s paradise.

La Boqueria, Mercat de Sant Josep, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Dungodung

La Boqueria, Mercat de Sant Josep, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Forbfruit

All your senses will come alive and your taste buds will be tantalized once you enter this legendary and highly internationally acclaimed market.

There you will find anything under the sun, from fresh fruits and vegetables to succulent delicacies, specialties from and around the area such as meats, cheeses and more, so much more!


Travel back in time and reach the top of Montjuïc Park

Perched high above the city, Montjuïc Park can be easily reached via cable car or tourist bus. The pleasant ride offers visitors unforgettable views of Barcelona and the sea.

Montjuïc, Cable Car, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Ivan Mlinaric


History and art lovers have to visit Montjuïc Castle

Built in the 17th century, Montjuïc Castle is an old military fortress which played an important role in Catalan history. It guarded the city from invasions and attacks from troops sent by the King of Spain.

Ultimately, it resulted in the loss of the Spanish Forces before the proud Catalans who put an end to the Battle of Montjuïc. It makes you appreciate the city’s roots and what it stands for!

Castillo de Montjuïc, Montjuïc Castle, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Andy UK


Palau Nacional

Palau Nacional, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Sergi Larripa 

The Palau Nacional is a spectacular building which houses the Museu Nacional D’Art De Catalunya

Museu Nacional D'art de Catalunya, National Museum of Art of Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Jvhertum

One of Europe’s most extensive and amazing collections of paintings and sculptures from several time periods and also Catalan art are found here. Art and culture lovers will be delighted, inspired and impressed!


Poble Espanyol

Is an open air museum where recreations of full-scale, typical Spanish village buildings, houses and shops were built in 1929 just in time for the Barcelona International Exposition. Go back in time and wander through its narrow streets.

Poble Espanyol, Spanish Village, streets, architecture, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit:

All are located within Montjuïc Park and definitely worth visiting! At least half a day is needed to explore this area.


Get your game on! Football and FCB Barcelona aficionados meet at one address: Camp Nou

The largest Football Stadium in Europe is home to one of the best and most loved teams in the world (as well as my favorite team): Football Club Barcelona or FCB or simply Barça.

Camp Nou, soccer, stadium, Football Club Barcelona, FCB, Barça, Barcelona, Spain, Catalunya, view, travel

Photo credit: Erminameraz

Being inside this sports temple is just unbelievable. Being present during a match is even more exhilarating!

You can feel the energy, excitement and electricity in the air. A goal and triumph makes every single cell of your body vibrate along with those of nearly 100 000 other fans on location and around the world!


After a long day of sightseeing, there is no better place to relax and reenergize body and mind than the sea: La Barceloneta

When the sun goes down, the city comes alive and the place to be is definitely at the beach side, more specifically at La Barceloneta.

Get ready to live up and experience the legendary Catalan nightlife at some of the best seaside bars and restaurants :)

La Barceloneta, beachside, beach, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain, view, travel

Dip your toes in golden sand. Photo credit: Doyler79


How to travel around town?

The Barcelona Card is the best option to travel to, from and around the city. It is available for 2 to 5 days which gives you access to unlimited rides on buses, subway and offers many discounts.

For more information and rates check out:


Where to stay?

Stay at a private property and experience Barcelona like a local! You can pick a GowithOh apartment in the district you like the most: in Barri Gòtic, close to Montjuïc or neighboring La Sagrada Familia.


Need more information to plan your visit, need more ideas for your itinerary?

Download a Barcelona free guide here.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact the friendly people at Go With Oh :)

You can reach them on the following Social Media accounts:





Google +:




Now over to you!

Tell me,

Have you ever been to Barcelona?

If so, what are YOUR favorite places?


Which ones would you like to visit?


If you have any fun stories to share I want to read all about it.

Just leave it in the comments section and include any links to photos. I’m really curious!

Fins aviat! (See you soon)

Love always,

Kay :)


I teamed up with Go With Oh, wrote and edited the entire article.

As always, opinions are and always will be my own.

By the way, Barcelona is very deep in my heart. I could talk hours upon hours nonstop about it and maybe even share a few hilarious stories, trust me I do have some. Please remind me to tell you the details :)


Posted in adventures, Architecture, Bucketlist, Europe, European Capitals, Inspiration, Photography, Spain, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

6 inspiring and admirable female travelers

A few weeks ago I reached an important milestone, my blog turned 3 and during that period I had the opportunity of meeting wonderful persons, both online and in real life, specifically fellow world travelers.

Not only did they help me become a better blogger, photographer, writer and networker, they have shown me how to be a better and stronger woman! I am truly happy and quite grateful to have met them.

Since we celebrated International Women’s Day earlier this month, I decided to pay tribute to 6 inspiring and admirable female travelers whom I truly admire and respect.

Without further ado, let me introduce them to you and tell you why they shine! They simply ROCK!

I also would like to invite you to follow them on their Social Media Accounts. Tell them I sent you :)


Andi Perullo from My Beautiful Adventures

Andi Perullo, My Beautiful Adventures, Photo Journalist, Travel Blogger

Andi has been one of my favorite travel photojournalists and bloggers in the travel community. She makes me daydream thanks to her breathtaking photos and incredible adventures around the globe.

Unlike other luxury travel bloggers, she has been and is always such a sweet and kind soul to me. She is always available to offer help or advice whether it is professional or personal. She has always been supportive from day one!

When I think of her I think “gentle, generous, humble, loving, fun” Life does indeed give back in kind!

Andi also encouraged me to share some of my most personal and heartfelt posts I’ve ever had the guts to write such as How Travel Healed Me Part 1 and Part 2.  Both were a relief and transformative. For that I will always be very thankful to her. She brings out the best in everyone!

Now we have not yet met in person but I can’t wait to meet her and listen to some of her beautiful adventures :)


Eira Morgan-Jones from Blue Fairy Pipe-Dreams

Eira Morgan-Jones, Eira Abroad, Travel Blogger, ESL teacher, Artist

Eira was one of my first blog followers and one NEVER forgets who was there to cheer you on and support you right at the beginning of an adventure :)

She is such a talented artist and also an adventurous soul or has the travel bug as we call it.

I remember living and working in South Korea and all of a sudden I received a message asking for advice on Teaching English as a Second Language abroad. So that was the start of our many conversations.

Eventually Eira landed a teaching job in Thailand where she taught really young kids, 4 year olds and that made me respect her even more!

Now I’m catching up with her adventures that led her from Thailand back to England overland. Those are head spinning and incredible stories :)

You know that there are friends who are always there even if you don’t talk often but once you contact them it’s as if time has not changed things…

I am looking forward to going back to England and meet up with her over a nice cup of coffee or a cold drink!


Dania Santana from La Familia Cool

Dania Santana, Mommy Blogger, La Familia Cool, Latism, Latinos in Social Media

They say that some people come into your life for a reason right? Well that’s how I would describe my meeting with this energetic, driven and overall awesome Dominican!

Dania and I met through a common friend and little did I know that she would show me how the blogging/twitter parties work within the community of Latin Americans in Social Media  #Latism in the USA and worldwide.

She has encouraged and reminded me to never forget our native language, Spanish and that I should feel the fear and write in that language! So I will follow her sound advice and reach a wider audience :)

I simply could not have asked for any one better than her! I had the pleasure of meeting her in person in Manhattan. We had so much to talk about (travel, translation, blogging) that it was as if we’d never spoken before! Talk about a great brainstorming/biz consulting session in one afternoon!

I really admire how strong, courageous, a great mother, wife, daughter and friend she is!

Hope to visit her one day in North Carolina and meet the new member of the family ;)


Lisa Egle from Chicky Bus

Lisa E, Chicky Bus, travel blogger, author, Magic Carpet Seduction, world traveler

Lisa is that great friend anyone should have; she is your sidekick, your partner in crime!

It as if I found a lost friend or someone I had known for years even though we didn’t!

She is also an ESL teacher and a fantastic writer. You should totally really read her awesome book Magic Carpet Seduction: Travel Tales Off The Beaten Path. It is a travel memoir off her endless adventures and epic (sometimes scary) bus rides around the world.

It is so funny that it made me cry of laughter! I really could not put the book down. I am sure it will win you over as well ;)

Besides inspiring me to write more, better and longer, Lisa is a great motivator and she comes up with incredible ideas whether it is for a story, blog post or else.

When a brainstorming session happens, you are impressed with the results.

I’ve yet to go on an adventure with her but I am sure our paths will cross soon!


Lucia Hannau from Turin Educational

Lucia Hannau, Turin Educationa, Turin, Italy, Piemonte, Teacher, world traveler

Lucia has been such a great yet unexpected surprise!

She took over the Social Media Accounts for Turin Educational, an academic organization in the city of the same name.

Lu’s personality simply shines through and she makes you feel like you’re not only the most welcome guest, but also a long-lost friend!

We share the love of teaching but also coffee, chocolate, gelato, Nutella (we’ve formed team Nutella ;) and obviously a passion for foreign languages, Italy (ma certo!) and travel.

What I really like about Lucia is how she puts her region, Piedmont, in the spotlight and she makes us daydream with all those gorgeous photos of the many attractions in different parts of the city and also the surrounding areas.

I certainly am counting the days till I make it back to il bel paese and go on a foodie/photography tour in a Fiat 500! Now THAT is an adventure I truly look forward to, Si :)


Marian Krueger from Travel Shop Girl

Marian, Marian Krueger, Travel Shop Girl, writer, travel blogger, world traveler

I definitely saved the best for last and had to include her in this list.

Honestly, and for the life of me, I simply can’t recall how and when I met Marian but right after I got back from South Korea I traveled to Boston to met her in person. Again I felt like I saw a long-lost relative or a sister from another mister :)

I had fun touring around the city and even going to places I missed in previous visits.

Marian is such a dynamo, go getter and pretty funny! That woman can make you roll or cry of laughter!

She is a passionate vegetarian and an incredible storyteller/writer. You should read her blog posts; they are quite detailed and entertaining. She tells it as it is!

If she is not at home working, she is traveling somewhere around this planet of ours or on a cruise ship. Does she travel or what, she’s a true jetsetter.

Now last time I saw her was last year in Toronto before TBEX but things did not go right and she suffered that injury that made her fly back home as an emergency measure. I was very sad about what happened and was really looking forward to spending time with her to catch up and enjoy the conference but life had other plans.

I sure was impressed at how strong she became after this episode. Now that is resilience and determination.

I can’t wait to see her again and go on an adventure this year; it’s our time to shine!

Her kindness, generosity and strong will is what I truly admire about her, Marian is one of a kind!


So there you have the 6 most inspiring and admirable female travelers
 I ever had the privilege of meeting. This serves to prove that you can form true friendships in spite of time and distance.

They say that you are deeply influenced by the people you are surrounded with and become the company you keep right?

Well all these exceptional, talented, brilliant and phenomenal women have taught me and keep teaching me a great deal on a regular basis. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you all, gracias, merci!

I hope to be an even better person and professional in the process.

Now over to you,

Who do you admire?

Who inspires you to be the best you can be?

Let us know in the comments and send links or photos if you have any!


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