SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA

After boarding the Megabus at 2 a.m. I left the Harrisburg mall headed for the border. Uncomfortably seated in the back row between a mom and her two children, I watched the sunrise as we approached customs. The bus arrived in Toronto at the last minute, and I rushed off to hail a cab. In one of the most exhilarating moments of my life I yelled to the cabbie, “Get me to the airport as fast as you can!”

[**Travel tip: the cheapest way for me to get from Harrisburg, PA to Saskatoon ended up being a bus from Harrisburg to Toronto, then a flight from Toronto to Saskatoon.**]

Mid afternoon, I landed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the land of the living skies. I was immediately greeted by my closest friend, Hayley, who had graciously invited me to stay for the week. Together we adventured in the Canadian college town (inhabited by the students of the University of Saskatchewan) which was surprisingly busy. Separated by the large river, on the east is college town, on the west is the business side.

First stop was the Western Development Museum, a fun and interactive way to learn more about the area. The people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. They are happy to answer questions and make the historical exhibits more interesting.

During the day, we toured the Saskatoon Zoo. The outdoor facility was beautiful and a great way to enjoy the weather. If you’re looking for night life, two-step on over to the Long Branch for a fun country western atmosphere with a packed dance floor! Located behind the Ramada Inn.

Right downtown, you’ll find Hudson’s. A great place to try my first taste of poutine (poo-teen). Poutine: a well loved Canadian dish of gravy and french fries. Delicious! The campfire poutine especially was very yummy.

Over the weekend we drove an hour and a half north to the beautiful town of North Battleford for some incredible views. Fields of canola create gorgeous bursts of yellow under the endless blue skies. Cows (and buffalo) roam the farm lands, porcupines casually stroll across the roads. I was graciously welcomed into a Canadian home. We spent our time jet-skiing, kayaking, and boating.

We also climbed the Cochin lighthouse (153 steps!),  then enjoyed the beach at Battlefords Provincial Park, great for sunbathing and frisbee throwing. On our way home through Cochin, we stopped for an ice cream cone. If you are lucky enough to be there for Canada day (July 1), you can watch fireworks over the lake. Ask nicely and maybe you will treated to an authentic rendition of their national anthem, Oh Canada!

Warning: the mosquitoes will eat you alive. Apply lots of bug spray before leaving the house!
As my week long adventure concluded, I left Canada sunburnt and happy. My visit would not have been the same without the wonderful people. Special thanks to Hayley and her family, who welcomed me into their homes! I look forward to many more visits in the future.

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Crossing the country with no car and little cash

Over the years I have become a pro at traveling across the country with no car and little money. This summer is the last summer before I have to grow up and get a real job, therefore I’m spending my time seeing as many people and places as possible.

How do I do it all as a poor college kid?

FLIGHTS Most important: SAVE! Save your money now so when you decide to take that trip, you have resources to work with. Second most important: shop around. Take a little extra time to check those travel sites like Kayak.com or Expedia. Sites like those usually have calendars to help you pick the cheapest dates to travel. (Then I go directly to the airline’s website to avoid any extra fees.)

GROUND TRAVEL If you don’t need to fly, there are many more options! Buses and trains are my favorite modes of transportation. And in today’s world, these options are much cleaner and more comfortable. Again, all you need to do is shop around. The cheapest might not be the most direct. For example, to get from Syracuse, NY to Harrisburg, PA, the best route for me was taking a $20 bus from Syracuse to Philadelphia, then a $10 train from Philly to Harrisburg. If you mix companies, you can cut down on time and price.

My favorite traveling resources:

LODGING When I travel, I am usually traveling to visit friends or family. As a result, I always have a place to stay. I am also lucky enough to have a vast network of people to visit. In Europe, hostels were a great (and dirt cheap) place to stay. Some big cities in the states have hostels, but it’s not common. You could also give CouchSurfing a try. I have yet to try it, so I cannot vouch for it’s success (or safety) but I’d love to give it a chance.

Important to remember! Always be gracious and appreciative of your host. They are opening their home to you, show some respect. If you’ve got the money, offering to buy dinner or drinks can be a nice gesture. Thank you cards also say a lot. As you travel, you build a reputation. Making yourself known as a pleasant house guest will lead to more invitations.

Another favorite resource of mine is StumbleUpon. Stumbling the travel category can give you numerous ideas and suggestions.

It’s also important to remember, if you’re looking for the cheapest option, you might have to skimp on comfort.

**Feel free to send me your travel tips, stories, and/or questions!

Good luck my fellow travelers!

Goodbye Syracuse

May 2012 I said goodbye to yet another city. This makes my…. 9th move? As I graduated from St. Joseph’s College of Nursing, I also graduated from my dorm room home. Family arrived, we celebrated, and I drove away from Syracuse, NY for possibly the last time. Moving has become a compulsive habit.  I like change.

The week surrounding graduation was an emotional time (for my mom more than me). Syracuse was my home for two years. I worked, I went to school, and socialized in the cold central New York city. Now it’s time again to pack it all up and move on. Some may call me a gypsy. I call myself an adventurer.

We packed up the truck. Two years worth of my life packed away into boxes, piled into the back of a pickup truck. (On the drive home the entire bed of the truck was soaked with pouring rain. Many boxes were ruined.) Now my life lies in a storage shed, ready for the next move. Hopefully, the next move will be for my first apartment!

So thank you Syracuse! Thank you for the good food (Dino’s, Mom’s Diner, Empire and more!). Thank you for the miserably cold weather which kept me indoors (and as a result, kept me studying). Thank you to the many new friends who supported me. Thank you to the people of Syracuse for filling my life with way too much orange. Cheers!

Don’t call it a blog

I have never liked the word blog.

This is my website. These pages are here for friends and family, so I may stay connected as I continue to travel around the world. This is my niche in the ever-expanding world of technology. Life moves fast, I’m just trying to keep up.

In May, I graduated nursing school. Today, I am a registered nurse, and currently unemployed. In the next few weeks I will be leaving to spend a semester in Paris, France. In September, I will study at the American University of Paris. In January, everything will change. Again.

Welcome to my world.