TUSCANY

Hello! Welcome back to another travel post – I promise I do work and not just travel though ha! But, before I dive in to our little getaway to Tuscany I thought I would give a little blurb/update on me/my life here in Switzerland (you can scroll past my rambling if you like).

Things are good! Probably the best they have ever been. And this is largely due to my mental health being the best it has ever been in my whole life. Now that I feel like “myself” again after a few years of some serious struggling, I am able to realize just how far I have come and how much I have grown as a person. This isn’t to say I am perfect, or life is perfect, or that I don’t still struggle (FYI none of us are perfect, have perfect lives, or go through life without some hardships), but I can honestly say that I am content and at peace with all aspects of myself and with my life.

I believe that this contentment and peace is due to a shift in perspective. My perspective on life has really evolved. I have realized that the most important thing in life is your HEALTH (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual). If you are not well yourself, it is much harder to be the best version of yourself and to love and give the best version of yourself to others. You know how the old saying goes,

                            “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take are of yourself first.”

Next to taking care of you, family (and friends can be family too) are the absolute most important thing. Love and sharing life with others is truly what it is all about. If you have people in your life that you love and care about, you truly have everything.

I used to put a ton of pressure on myself in all aspects of life (and sometimes still do), but I have found that focussing on my health, spending time with those I love and giving the best version of myself whenever I can in everything that I do has brought a lot of peace to my life. With this contentment, I trust that things will fall into place and things will work out the way that they should (which in my opinion, they always do).

So, there is your little update on me. Life in Switzerland is more or less the same – I go to hockey games, work, go to the gym, and visit friends (especially Marianna and her beautiful baby girl Lena). I love our little life here in Switzerland and the opportunities that come with it – like travel for example!

Now, onto our trip to Tuscany. What can I say to sum up our trip?! Well, it was short and sweet, beautiful, and full of food and wine. We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast in Pisa (where we flew to with easyjet from Basel) and it was absolutely perfect. The couple that hosted us were so sweet, and the breakfast they provided was delicious. The B&B was within walking distance to the downtown area/major sites as well as the train station.

On our first day, we toured Pisa. On our second day, we took the train to Florence and spent the day doing the Hop-On, Hop-Off tour and taking in as much of the sights as we could. On the third day, we trained back to Florence (literally at the crack of dawn) to go on a vespa tour that started at 9 am. The vespa tour was amazing and was definitely the highlight of the trip as we were able to explore the Tuscan countryside and small Italian villages. Our tour also included a lunch at a beautiful little Italian restaurant in the Tuscan hills, and the food was seriously AMAZING. Creep some of the pics below!

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Paris

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Justin and I visited Paris. It was a quick, jam-packed trip, but so so worth it. We left Friday afternoon after Justin’s practice and left Sunday night after visiting the Catacombs. We ended up driving there – about 5 hours to get to Paris + 2 hours to get through Paris traffic. To say driving in Paris was stressful is an understatement (luckily Justin was the one driving). To sum up the driving in Paris: 1. chaos 2. no rules 3. constant traffic jams 4. excessive honking 5. again, no rules.

Despite the stressful driving experience, we made it to our cute little airbnb around 8:30 Friday night. We stayed in an apartment with a Parisian woman named Vera, near the St. Martin Canal. The location was perfect as it was right across from a metro station as well as a variety of local bars and restaurants. The district is an up and coming area, with a lot of immigrants, artists, and “hipsters.” I would describe it as being very artsy, and to quote Vera’s own words “very Parisian.”

Vera was a great host and took the time to explain the metro system (which was so easy and convenient) and recommended an amazing restaurant for Friday night. The restaurant is called, ‘L’Atmosphere’ and it serves organic and locally sourced food for super reasonable prices. The portions were HUGE and so delicious. I think our meals (including wine and an appetizer) came in around 60 euros.

On Saturday, we had a super busy, 16 hour day. We visited the neighbourhood of Montmarte (so cute!), went to the Arc de Triomphe, down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, visited the centre of Paris (i.e. the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and the love lock bridge). We then made our way to the Eiffel Tower, where we had a little wine picnic and then visited the second floor of the tower. Later that night we took a cruise down the Seine.

We ended up eating dinner in a district near our airbnb. It was a hidden French restaurant called ‘Flo’. I thought I would be brave and get oysters for an appetizer (yuck). Thankfully my main course made up for it!

On Sunday, we took it easy and strolled around our district looking for a French pharmacy – for those of you who do not know, France is famous for their French pharmacies as they have amazing skin care products that are often almost completely natural and free of a lot of the crap our skin products in North America are filled with (France, and Europe for that matter, have a lot more restrictions on chemicals in products then we do). We ended up finding one, and of course I had to get some goodies.

Later that day, we visited the Catacombs. Super interesting, but definitely eerie to be around 6 million dead Parisians. We bought tickets beforehand, so we were able to skip the huge lines and go right in. Definitely recommend for anyone visiting Paris!

To sum up our little weekend getaway, I would say it consisted of lots of food (i.e. croissants, crepes, wine, macarons, and cheese), beautiful buildings, history, and culture.I would love to go back again to spend some more time in the different districts and visit the museums, but for a weekend in Paris I couldn’t have asked for a better time!

Here are some pictures of the weekend below!

xo

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Inspired

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A few months ago, I finished the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) and it talks about creativity and the importance of creative living. It’s not a book I would normally feel compelled to read but I had heard some good reviews on it so I thought I would give it a go. Oddly enough, and to my surprise, I actually felt a bit inspired by it. Basically, Gilbert encourages readers to live a creative life without fear (meaning the fear of failure, judgement, disappointment, etc.). Furthermore, Gilbert urges readers to pursue their passions and creativity, not in the hope of success or achievement, but for the pure joy of doing them.

I felt inspired because I was reminded of why I started blogging in the first place – to be able to write, have a creative outlet, a space where I could organize my thoughts and connect with others. Writing has always been a part of my life and has always brought me joy. When I was a kid I used to write a lot of stories. As I got older I kept a diary and in high school I started to write again after being encouraged by an English teacher. I am not saying that I now feel inspired to be an author or anything, but I am reminded of the importance of putting time into my creativity. It also reminded me of why I want to practice photography and to get better at it. I think its important to do these types of things, in whatever form we choose.

So, here is me re-committing to posting more frequently on this blog. I am committing to putting time into my creativity, and I encourage all of you to do the same. Not for the approval of others or for achievement, but for the enjoyment and freedom that creativity adds to our lives.