Settling vs Accepting

Lately I have been debating the differences between settling for something vs accepting your situation.  There is a difference I believe.

Settling for a situation means that you have not tried to change your predicament.  Accepting a situation at least shows that you have to tried change something and after much effort, you still have not been successful.  Does this mean though that you have given up.  Perhaps, but hard to put this as a blanket statement as each situation is different.

What kind of person do you want to be  What inspires you to not settle

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Dublin – a City of Contrasts

Dublin – a city that can surprise even the most difficult tourist with overcoming stereotypes by provoking curiousity and imagination. Take this picture for example, it is the first picture I took in Dublin but is it my favourite.

Most people take a few seconds to look at the photo, taking it all in.  Personally, the picture illustrates the contrasting sides of the city – the stereotypical one of a blue collar, hard drinking, and rough city streets.  I purposely took the picture in black and white to make the scene seem colder and gloomier.  The fact that the Guinness truck was there was pure coincendental but serves as a nice representation of the hard drinking outings for the locals.  Secondly, the person in the foreground serves as the opposing contrast as she is looking at something or waiting for something, but all the same, it is curious as to why she is there.  This person represents the curiousity that Dublin offers to its visitors, its history, culture, people, and the city itself is a warm, vibrant, creative metropolis that only makes you want to explore further.

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Surprising Dublin

It is difficult to capture the spirit of Dublin with the written word – it is more of a feeling that you have when in the city but let me try and capture some of this energy.  People have assumptions that the Irish drink a lot which is true and I am sure people have assumptions that the city has a rough blue collar feel to it which mirrors the personality of the locals.  Even my own mother told me as I was leaving to not drink too much – the Irish are crazy!  Mothers will be mothers.   Don’t let this seemingly drunk infested culture deter you from visiting – you will regret it.  Let me break down Dublin in a few easy to read sections:

The People:

The Irish locals may be one of the more friendly people I have ever met – there is no attitude, no arrogance, simply sincerity and genuine curiousity to learn more about you and why you are in Dublin.  If you ever need a lending hand – ask the Irish – they will be first on scene.

Attractions:  If you ever get tired of drinking the Guinness (and let’s be honest, this won’t happen) – there are many things to go and see to keep you busy:

1> Trinity College

Where you will find the oldest book in the world – the “Book of Kells”.  Also the library itself is stunning and filled with thousands of books with the greatest minds.  Great spot or taking interesting photos.

2> Grafton Street

Where you can shop to your heart’s content.

3> Walking the River Liffey

The River Liffey divides the city into North and South areas – the South being the more tourist area while the North more geared towards the locals.  Both areas are worth checking out.  Walking along the river (while also great exercise after eating and drinking) provides another great spot for photos along with finding your way though Dublin streets and the various interesting stores.

4> St. Stephen’s Green

This is a miniature version of London’s Hyde Park or New York’s Central Park – but somewhere to people watch while sipping a coffee.

5> Guinness Storehouse

Enough said – there is an excellent viewing area at the top to have a free pint (included in your admission ticket).

6> Street Shops

While there is Starbucks and McDonald’s at every corner – you will find that there are many interesting shops to wander you way into.  Walking the streets of Dublin you will find the creativity of the locals and if you walk in – experience their hospitality.

Day Trips:

1> Cliffs of Moher

Situated on the Western side of the country – this is a must do when in Dublin.  Don’t let the 3 hour ride deter you – you need to do this.

2> Newgrange and Hill of Tara

This attraction seems to be on the low profile and I can’t understand why as it is a truly amazing experience.  Only 40 minutes out of Dublin City Centre – you also need to do this.  When going – consider booking this trip through Mary Gibbons Tours, she won’t steer you wrong.

Tbex 2013 Toronto – Why we are more than just bloggers

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I am looking forward to the posts, tweets, and facebook likes about Tbex and more specifically the city of Toronto.  It is safe to assume that there will nothing but rave reviews about the host city.  being a local Torontonian, this makes me proud.  This will only do wonders for Toronto and its tourism industry and will help distract locals and tourists from the daily news of our mayor allededgely smoking crack.

This conference and its attendees and sponsors keep growning each year putting more pressure on the host city.  Think of it like the Olympics only on a bigger scale.  From 700+ attendeess to now 1300+ attendees, I can only imagine how many will attend in Ireland in October.

After this past weekend, I’m not sure if I like the term “blogger” – I’m not sure if it demeans the work that we all do.  If this conference taught me anything, we are content creators, our own brands, that have immediate power over the travel industry though social media.  This state of being connected to a large audience is forcing large companies and brands to look to “bloggers” to tell their story and reinforce it.  Now may be a good time as any to be a travel blogger (content creator).  Companies and brands may need us “bloggers” more than ever.

Personally speaking, what did Tbex teach me:

  • that the travel blogging industry is bigger than I thought it would be
  • companies are taking travel bloggers seriously and forming relationships
  • you might actually be able to create a sustainable businessravel bloggers may be the friendliest people on Earth (apart form Aussies).
  • travel bloggers can drink!

I am planning to attend Tbex 2013 in Dublin and hope to see some familiar faces around the  “charge my device” table.

Safe travels everyone,

Paul

Local Travels

Oakville, Ontario, Canada is the place I call home.  It is a middle class suburb of Toronto, approximately 30 minutes west of Toronto.  It is the place I grew up and the best place to live in the world.  That is, until I started travelling which broadened my horizons and I wasn’t satisfied with living in my own bubble – I needed to get out there and explore.  Don’t get me wrong, home is home and nothing can change that and each time I return, I am thankful for what I have.  Yes, to travel is apart of my DNA at the same time.

So, I do one or two big trips a year, each time coming home, even though I just wanted to stay out on the road and keep travelling.  My struggle was reality was calling me, the work grind, the 9-5 hustle, ws unfortuntaely just that, reality.  Yet, the travel bug had infected me and I was doing eveything I can to scratch the itch.

One day, I had the idea of writing a traveler’s review of my hometown, maybe I was thinking I could trick myself into being on a trip.  So just as I do on my voyages, I started taking pictures of downtown, of the lake, of churches, and the funny thing, is that it worked for a few minutes – I tricked myself.

Probably the one thing that makes my hometown great is the downtown area.  It is full of shops, coffee shops, right off the lake – just a great place to relax and people watch or to meet up with friends.

See below a few snapshots of my hometown,  I took them during the fall/winter and just got to upload them now.

Who knows, maybe it will make you come and visit!

Oakville Harbour – this picture was taken during the fall – look at all the pretty colours!

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Lakeside Park – great place in the summer to relax and stare out to the lake but still nice during the winter!

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St. Paul’s Church near the lake – had to take this picture as it is my church!

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The Green Bean in the town square is a great place to grab a coffee and people watch – also has great food and desserts!

Love the trees – fall season

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Love the red door..mysterious!

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Winter Wonderland

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Beautiful church at the corner.

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The downtown strip during a shop local event.

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Wellington, New Zealand

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Probably my proudest country I’ve visited – New Zealand! Home of Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth. I know I said I could live in Australia but New Zealand takes the cake here. Cleaner, fresher, and more vibrant!

Wellington is a small city but the views are breaktaking!

Melbourne, Australia

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I found Melbourne to be a little bit grungier compared to Sydney (maybe people disagree with me?.) I took my first tour of a Cricket stadium here which was pretty cool. I didn’t end up going to a game but maybe next time?

For great views of the city, you defintey need to go up 88 floors up the Eureka tower. You will get awesome shots, especially at night!