Tag Archives: Canada

What is an Excellent Life?

The current summary tag line of this site is “Celebrating Global Citizens in Search of an Excellent Life.” The pursuit of a better life has been an important focus for me over the last few years, there is an important question which I haven’t really addressed to any great extent –  what is an excellent life? What does it take to be successful, fulfilled or personally satisfied in life?

On your deathbed, when you look back on your life, will you be happy with what you’ve accomplished? That is the ultimate question most of us will ask ourselves. The problem is that the question is too often asked when it is far too late to do anything about it.

The Good Life

I’m a Selfish Person

Travel and living abroad are fantastically enriching experiences on many levels, however, I don’t travel to make the world a better place. I do it entirely to satisfy my own interests.

I also enjoy playing guitar, reading, exercising, eating and other activities that are of no benefit to the outside world. I think that is okay, we all need to follow our own interests and do the things that bring us happiness, but I believe there is …

Can I Afford to Stop Being Location Independent?

Location Independent in CalgaryI have written previously about how my wife and I need routine in our lives. While it is great to live in new countries, constant travel is very time-consuming and stressful. We have been consider setting up roots again and having a more stable lifestyle.

The big problem with settling down is that it costs a lot of money. It actually costs a huge amount of money to have a normal western lifestyle.

Here is a rough breakdown of monthly expenses that we would expect to incur if we permanently relocated to my home city of Calgary.

  • Mortgage on an average starter home: $1800
  • Property taxes: $200
  • Utilities: $350
  • Telephone, Internet: $150
  • Cell Phones: $200
  • Car Payments: $300
  • Car Insurance: $100
  • Car Maintenance and Gas: $200
  • Furniture and Household Items: $500
  • Clothing: $200
  • Food: $500
  • Entertainment: $500

Total $5000

The North American Idea of a Normal Lifestyle

We don’t have to spend that much money of course, but it is hard not to when all of your peer group does. Expenses of $5,000 per month are normal for a professional couple in Calgary.  It doesn’t matter how independently minded you think you are, we are all influenced by society, …

Photos of Montreal, The Cultural Capital of Canada

Montreal Apartments

Montreal Apartments

Rental Bicycles in Montreal

Rental Bicycles in Montreal

Patio Dinner with CouchSurfing Host Extraordinairre

Patio Dinner with CouchSurfing Host Extraordinairre

Photos of the 2010 Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede midway early in the day before the crowds arrive.

The Calgary Stampede midway early in the day before the crowds arrive.

Lining up before the Heavy Horse Show.

Lining up before the Heavy Horse Show.

CouchSurfing.org is What Social Media is All About

Jet Setter in Montreal

Jet Setter in Montreal

Greetings from my favourite Canadian city, Montreal. This is our second time in the cultural capital of Canada but our first experience couchsurfing.  CouchSurfing has been fantastic so far, not only as a free place to stay and an introduction to an unknown city, but as the quintessential social media site. It’s very essence is about connecting people in real life.

What is CouchSurfing?

For those of you who don’t know, CouchSurfing.org is a network where travellers can connect and find a place to stay  with a local person in cities around the world. There is no cost for the website or for the couch (bed, room or floor) but it is expected that you are going for the social exchange and not just a free place to sleep.

This is how my wife explained it to her mother, “We are going to stay at a stranger’s house. We found the person on the Internet.” (Very rough English translation. :-))

Prior to our visit, I must admit we had some apprehensions about staying with someone we have never met. Other than the profile everyone writes about themselves on the CouchSurfing.org site and reviews from other travellers, …

Life is Good!

Biking in Calgary, Canada

Biking in Calgary, Canada

I have been back in my home country of Canada for about four months, now I have two more weeks to go before I leave again. It has been great to be back home, but I think I enjoyed it more because I know it is not permanent. My wife and I have not made any roots and have not anchored ourselves to a lifestyle we don’t want. The greatest insight I have discovered is that life is fantastic.

Sometimes it is easy to forget just how good we have it. Several friends and relatives have recently undergone major medical surgeries. I have heard many complaints about how far they had to drive to get to the hospital, how long the waiting lists were to get a hospital bed, how many times their surgeries had been postponed, how late the doctor was, etc.

I understand people under-going life threatening operations are under huge amounts of stress and want to get out the hospital as soon as possible, however I think they may be over-looking how lucky they are to be in a rich developed country with amazing technological advances and medical knowledge. Canadians in particular should …

Photos of Drumheller, The Dinosaur Capital of Canada

Drumheller, Alberta, Canada

Drumheller, Alberta, Canada

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Downtown Drumheller, Coffee on a rainy day.

Horseshoe Canyon near Drumheller

Horseshoe Canyon near Drumheller

Horseshoe Canyon near Drumheller

Horseshoe Canyon near Drumheller

The Hoodoos near Drumheller

The Hoodoos near Drumheller

The city Drumhelller is about 1.5 hours drive from my home city of Calgary in Alberta. It is home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum which houses one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur fossils.

The museum is a great place to get a feel for the variety and size of dinosaurs that once roamed the earth more than 65 million years ago. It really makes human existence on this planet pale in comparison.

The area around Drumheller also contains visible records of Earth’s history. Centuries of climate change are on display everywhere in the region in the layers of rock sediment. The valleys formed by retreating glaciers are spectacular.

Drumheller is a great visit if you are travelling through western Canada. It is beautiful country and it is a good …

20 Pictures of Rural Canada

Downtown Kamsack in Canada

Downtown Kamsack, Canada in the Middle of Rush Hour Traffic

Madge Lake near Kamsack

Madge Lake near Kamsack