28 Apr

Remember That Time…We Got Soaked Over 50 Cents?

Now that we’ve returned home and have settled back into our routine lives again we find it funny how our travel stories keep coming up. Invariably one of us will look at the other and say ‘Remember That Time…’ I thought it would make a good series; a way to tell these small stories that take us back in the blink of an eye.

My mother always told me that I shouldn’t cut off my nose to spite my face. I’m guessing that this is one of those times I should have heeded her advice…

We ran out of the expat bar in Amman, Jordan and jumped into the first cab we could see. With the rain coming down like it hadn’t since Noah built his Ark we didn’t stop to first inquire about the price as we normally would.

The cab set off down the road and then I asked how much to our hotel on the other side of town.

He quoted some ridiculous fee that was twice what I was expecting.

I acted suitably outraged and said that there was no way that it should cost that amount.

He explained that he worked for the bar and this was the fee that he was required to charge. I looked over and realized that he was very well dressed for a local taxi driver but I still thought we were being taken.

I countered again with a fee half his asking price. He wouldn’t budge.

Believing that if you’re in, you’re all in I demanded that he pull the cab over immediately and let us out.

This will usually do the trick and the stalled negotiation can continue.

He pulled over, let us out, and drove away.

And there we stood in the pissing down rain, in the middle of the night, with no other cabs in sight.

As we walked passed where we had started to a taxi stand another 2 blocks down to hail a cab, we realized that we had indeed cut off our noses to spite our faces…over 50 cents.



25 Apr

The Kindness Of Strangers

This is a guest post by Adam of WorldTravelForCouples. He reminds us that it is the small parts of travel that can be the most memorable; you tick the big things off your list, but it is the small things that stay in your heart.

One aspect of our RTW trip that continues to stick out now that we’re home was the kindness of random strangers we encountered in places all over the globe. Some of our most memorable moments from our travels happened in the most random places at the most random times by the most random people.

While I will always remember moments like walking through the Sun Gate and seeing Machu Picchu for the first time and getting my first glimpse of the Taj Mahal, it’s these little random moments that keep us traveling and coming back for more. These acts of kindness will forever be etched into our memories, and they are the stories we tell most often.

I will always remember Buenos Aires. When a friend of a friend, who we had never met before arriving in Argentina, invited us to spend New Year’s Eve with her and her family. New Year’s Eve in Argentina is traditionally a family holiday, so being invited to the outskirts of the city to someone’s home to celebrate with extended family was an honor and one that I will always remember.

I will always remember being in our hostel room in Bogota just relaxing. We then heard a knock on the door. The owner was there and asked to come in. He informed us that it was International Women’s Day, and that he had presents for all the women staying in the hostel. He then proceeded to give a little present to Megan as part of their celebration.

I will always remember arriving in hectic Cartegena in the middle of rush hour with no place to stay. Colombia was probably king of random acts of kindness because Colombians are just incredible people. We wandered around, and upon entering our fifth hostel and hearing that they were also booked, we looked at each other with that exhausted look. The worker told us to wait, picked up the phone, made a few calls, and told us to follow him. After walking a few blocks he brought us to a new (and nicer) guesthouse where we ended up staying for several days. Even though their rates were higher, we received the same price as the hostel we were originally checking out.

I will always remember our time in the quirky little town of Dalat, Vietnam, when the sweet girl working the front desk ran out after us as we left to go grab lunch. Dalat is in the highlands of Vietnam, so it gets a bit chilly compared to the rest of the country (chilly by Vietnamese standards means highs in the 70’s). She was extremely concerned that we were heading out without jackets and hats. “It’s very cold,” she exclaimed, “you should have a hat and jacket.”

I will always remember leaving that same guesthouse in Dalat and receiving a present. A clearly homemade craft that we still have to this day, sitting on my desk. They just wanted to thank us for our stay, and this was how they showed their appreciation.

I will always remember India. While India was easily the most difficult, maddening, and challenging places we traveled, we had perhaps one of the best experiences of our trip there. In the city of Jodhpur as we were traipsing through the labyrinth-like streets, we entered the studio of a man who taught art to youngsters. We looked at much of his art, and he was very nice, friendly, and not at all pushy (a rarity in India). Later that day we decided to return and purchase something. He was so excited that we did that he invited us to lunch the following day. We happily accepted and had a home-made Indian lunch with him, a student, and a friend of his while sitting on the floor of his studio. We spent the entire afternoon there chatting and hanging out, and it is something that I will forever remember.

It’s easy to pick out the really memorable moments from traveling. Those famous sites we visited, those festivals we attended, that food we ate. But what really fuels that love for travel is the people we meet along the way. The locals, the hostel and restaurant owners, the other travelers. They all contribute to what it is that we love to travel, and why it is that we’ll keep coming back for more, time and time again.

About The Author: Adam Seper is a lover of travel, bacon, sour candy, pizza, spicy food, beer, dogs, music, and sports, not necessarily in that order.  My wife, Megan, and I embarked on a year-long RTW trip two years ago, taking us to South America, New Zealand, SE Asia, and India.  To say it was life-changing would be an understatement.  I currently run World Travel for Couples and do freelance work for BootsnAll.  You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.


21 Apr

How Traveling The World Helped Me Find A Job


Photo Credit: Brenda Gottsabend


I have found some unintended consequences to traveling around the world for a year. I knew I would learn about other cultures and maybe pick up a word here and there from other languages; I figured I would learn about bus schedules and maybe would even get better at navigation (I didn’t…); but I hadn’t thought about the confidence that I would gain or the sense of power that would come to me or how these things would help me when it came time to find a new job.

Now, I was lucky and did not have to resign from my job in order to go traveling. I asked for, and was granted, a leave of absence for the year I was away and so returned to my original position once we got back to Canada. However, once Operation Responsibly Irresponsible got underway I started looking for a new job elsewhere in the country and really realized the benefits of long term travel in job hunting.


I have a confidence now that I didn’t have before. I was more tentative; wondering if I could do something, or if I wanted to. Now I know that I can try something new and trust that, whether I like it or not, I will be better for having tried. Most often we succeed at what we attempt and it is only the fear of failure that keeps us from moving forward (and sometimes it is the fear of success!). I seem to have less of that fear now and am more willing to try.


As confident as I am in my strengths I am also aware of my weaknesses; sometimes more acutely aware than I ever wish I was. Traveling definitely put a magnifying glass on all my behaviors and made me look at them honestly. I certainly don’t claim to have beaten them but an awareness can help me play to my strengths and lessen the impact of my weaknesses.


I feel, and understand, my power more acutely than I ever have. I have been more and more aware over recent years of the power that people have on me but it is only more recently that I realize the influence that I carry. Through telling people of my plans, writing OneGiantStep, and encouraging others to live their dream I have been fortunate enough to have people share with me how I have influenced them in doing the same. We all have an influence on those that we know, we just don’t often realize the power of that influence.

Goal Setting

Researching, planning, and executing a long term trip such as this is one huge project. Setting, and working towards, goals is the only way to get it done. I have never done anything as huge in my whole life and I certainly learned that I know how to set criteria and then work toward getting it done.


I now have an underlying belief that I can do anything I set my mind to. I always knew this and have never had any limitations set on me but now I really believe that I can do anything. In fact I now often think ‘If we were able to travel around the world, then surely we can…’

These realizations hugely affected my job search. I found myself willing to stretch farther to find a challenging position and not trying to cover up my downsides but rather working with them. I approached the whole exercise as a ‘fit session’ whereby I was interviewing organizations as much as they were interviewing me. It was about whether I would be a good fit and how would they help me be successful rather than trying hard to fit my square self into their round hole and having to prove that I could be successful.

I decided that I would just show up as myself and that they would have to fit me. And damned if it didn’t work! I would never have believed that the whole process could be so stress free. From start to finish, through a triple interview process, I just kept showing up and last week I started my new job. A step out from my last position; and a challenge for sure; but comfortable none-the-less and I feel stronger than ever before!!

18 Apr

End Of The Line

This is a guest post by Eric of  HelgothPhoto.  He gives us a glimpse into the anxiety he is feeling as he prepares for a year long trip through Africa. He tells me that he feels his ‘End Of The Line’ photo correctly identifies how he is feeling. I tell him that we all feel this way; that’s it’s normal; and that it’s supposed to be hard.

Photo Credit: Eric Helgoth

WTF am I doing? This thought and many more have been dodging through my mind lately, and with greater frequency, as months draw down to weeks, then days until I leave on my next adventure.

Outwardly I may appear calm, cool and collected but the reality is…I’m freaked out! I like to think of myself as the adventurous type but what makes me think I can do this….travel solo around the world’s second largest continent, for a year?

The whole notion of living life on the road and carrying everything I need to survive on my back for that long has me unnerved to say the least. What makes me think I’m qualified? Yes, it will be an awesome experience but I’ve read a lot of stories about other travelers mishaps and I’m a bit concerned. I don’t want to be one of those people. I don’t consider myself naive, by any means, but I only speak one language and have traveled very little outside the United States.

It’s unfamiliar land, language, and culture. A year is a long time. The last time I lived outside my home country for that long was South Korea and that was over twenty years ago with the military. I was stationary in one country and they took care of me!

This is different. I know very little to nothing about where I am going, nor do I have a base I can retreat to. This is pushing me way outside my comfort zone, I will be exposed and vulnerable!

There is something both liberating and daunting about buying a one way ticket to anywhere. I would be unencumbered with having to be anywhere or returning to any place by a specific time. But, that is also the problem. Freedom without any restrictions.

I realized  a couple years ago how encumbered I was with restrictions as I was going “home” from an extended trip in Turkey. At the time, I bought a round trip ticket because I was fully expecting to come back to work and pick up where I left off. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I could have stayed in Europe longer if it weren’t for this round trip ticket. I felt tied, I couldn’t exchange it and was too stubborn to just let it go and get a new ticket later. Now I’m looking at a trip with no return ticket and I feel just as anxious.

I’m sitting in my office staring at piles of clutter, nothing is packed…I’m stalling.

I have just about everything I need for the trip, save one. Admittedly, I have not yet bought my ticket and I’m not sure why. Perhaps buying it will ultimately seal the deal and force me to own it instead of just talk about it, force me into my big unknown where there is no safety net! I’ve much to do and somehow I tell myself there’s still time so I put it off for another day.

Immunizations, international driver’s license, store cars, ask someone to pick up my mail, set up auto payment for bills and most importantly health insurance. I keep a written list of things I think need to be done and even though I might have everything in line, I still somehow feel completely unprepared.

Sometimes I secretly hope a job will fall into my lap so I can postpone or (gulp) cancel this trip altogether.

The big problem with not doing it now though is I may never take another chance and I’ll always wonder. Sooner or later I know I’ll buy the ticket because, I’ve talked it up so much I can’t not do it! My friends and family think it’s great and are excited for me but that isn’t helping ease my anxiety.

I’m not sure what is fueling these feelings: perhaps it’s because the infrastructure isn’t what I’m used to, so traveling from place to place will be more challenging and downright tough in some areas, or it’s because I’ll probably be traveling alone and could be considered an easy target to rob.

Maybe I’m trying to do too much before I leave, other than what really needs to be, and I’m afraid of not getting it all done. Perhaps I should quit reading and “just do it” as Nike says, knowing there may be some difficulties or challenges along the way and be prepared for them as best I can.

Ultimately everyone’s experience is each their own. The cultures will definitely be different than what I’m used to but then again, isn’t that why I’m going?

My life would be a whole lot simpler if I would just commit to doing something and get it done. Unfortunately I spend too much time contemplating and turning over “what if” scenarios in my mind until sooner or later I back myself into a corner. I will either break or move with such lightning speed I won’t believe I did it. But I’ll finally be free!

About The Author: Eric is an architect, a photographer, and a friend that I met while traveling in Turkey in 2009. He has started to document his travels through the lens at HelgothPhoto.com His photos are stunning and I, for one, can’t wait to see how he shows me Africa.





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11 Apr

Taking A Small Bite Out Of The Big Apple

This is a guest post by Glenda of PapersScissorsRocks. She and her partner, Karl, recently returned from a whirlwind trip to New York City. She takes us along and shows how, no matter what you do, you can have a great time!

New York City skyline

Photo Credit: Wilhemja


I am thrilled to be here doing some guest posts for my good friend Gillian. We have been friends for a several years and I love reading One Giant Step.

My name is Glenda and my regular blogging gig is PapersScissorsRocks for my paper crafting hobby. So what am I doing here? Well, I’ve also done a bit of travelling in my time (more than 20 countries over the last 8 years) so I’m here to share some of my travel stories with you. Most of my travelling has been done for business (frequently solo) so my perspectives and experiences may be a little different from what you are used to reading here. I hope my stories are enjoyable for you and maybe a little helpful too.

I’m going to start off by contradicting myself by talking about a vacation, instead of a business trip….

New York City has never been on my long list of “must see” places but when my partner Karl came home with a NYC travel guide that he had found on sale, I started thinking about it. I had been going a bit stir crazy at home and needed to get away but we are currently on a limited budget so going somewhere really exotic was out of the question. The wheels kept turning and the next thing I know, I’ve checked my frequent flyer mileage balance (no problem there) and emailed my girlfriend in New Jersey (could we stay with her for the weekend? No problem there either).

I decided to make the trip a belated birthday present for Karl but wanted to keep it a secret. Booking his time off work was easy. Snooping in his calendar (to anticipate any potential conflicts) and trying to keep it a secret for six weeks was not. In the end, the secret was kept until I met him at the door the night before our departure, welcoming him to his five day weekend and handing him a cocktail.

It was dusk on St. Patrick’s Day as we descended into the greater New York area. As soon as we could see the city out of the airplane window, we started to try to pick out landmarks in the enormous expanse of city. We managed to see the Statue of Liberty, which we both thought looked rather diminutive! My friend Cheiron picked us up at the airport and, after a quick and delicious home cooked meal, we headed out to the local watering hole. It was St. Patty’s Day after all! The evening was spent in a Jersey pub, enjoying a few pints of Guinness and observing the locals. Couldn’t think of a better way to start the trip.

There was no specific plan for the weekend other than to see the city. You might call us ‘foodies’ (although I really don’t like that word – in addition to the words peeps, deets, sched…) so we were looking forward to sampling some great food.

Friday was an amazing 18 Celsius with glorious sunshine so it was a perfect day to wander around and explore, with our expert tour guide along to make some suggestions. We started off with a wander through the fabulous Chelsea market to do a bit of shopping and get a bite to eat.

We ended up at Bar Suzette for some amazing savory crepes. Mine had goat cheese, Parmesan, prosciutto and fresh greens – absolutely divine. After a bit of shopping (we were in New York after all), we grabbed a coffee and settled down to people watch in Central Park (Karl’s ‘must see’). It was a perfect day to get a flavor of the park as everyone and their dog (literally) seemed to be out enjoying the beautiful weather – running, walking, cycling, skate boarding. We could have stayed there all afternoon but thought we should continue on.

We walked down 5th Avenue passed the huge Apple store (didn’t go in, too much temptation), Armani, Prada, Tiffany’s (did go in, couldn’t help myself), and dozens of other stores where I couldn’t even afford to breathe the air.

Photo Credit: Glenda Wyatt

We caught a glimpse of the Empire State building but didn’t think we needed to go up. My only absolute ‘must see’ for the city was the Chrysler building and I was not disappointed. It is a stunning piece of architecture and was absolutely perfect that day, glistening in the sunshine.

We also wandered through Grand Central Station which lived up to it’s name – grand size, grand design and probably several ‘grand’ worth of people buzzing around inside.

Cheiron is also a crafty gal so we did a bit of crafty shopping in Greenwich Village and then went back to Jersey for supper with Cheiron’s hubby.

If Friday was our day to sight see then Saturday was our day to eat, and eat, and eat some more. Before the feasting began, we started the morning at the Teardrop Memorial in Bayonne, NJ. Karl had seen a story about it and it was close by where we were staying. It’s a bit out of the way but definitely worth seeing. An amazing and touching piece of art.

We then headed into the city on the train (a side note here is that I love being able to get all over the city using subway or light rapid transit…when we weren’t walking, we were on the train or subway) and started in Greenwich Village with some amazing traditional Italian pizza at No. 28. A long, narrow, thin crust pizza with green pepper and sausage … oh so delicious.

Right around the corner from there is an amazing place called Sweet Revenge which pairs up sweets with beer and wine. Booze and sweets… it was fabulous! We all had very different pairings and they were all amazing!

Photo Credit: Glenda Wyatt

Photo Credit: Glenda Wyatt

The remainder of the afternoon was spent just wandering through Soho, China Town and Little Italy, taking photos and people watching. We stopped in Little Italy for some coffee and canoli (crack-your-teeth sweet but Karl quite enjoyed it).

After a bit more wandering, shopping (I did have to buy a pair of shoes in NYC, even though I’m not a big shoe shopper), and browsing we settled in for an amazing meal at Ed’s Lobster Bar. The menu isn’t huge but what is served is absolutely amazing. This funky little place does everything right. We all had different things – lobster roll, pasta, pot pie – and they were all spectacular. Karl and Cheiron had a great IPA (Harpoon from Boston) and I had the best gin martini I’ve ever had.

We down shifted on Sunday and spent the afternoon watching Bayonne’s St. Patrick’s day parade and eating some amazing home made food courtesy of Cheiron’s Irish/Italian sister-in-law. It was great to spend time with a big family and be welcomed so warmly. I always feel so fortunate when I am invited into someone’s home when traveling. It gives me a true sense of the local culture. A few more pints of Guinness finished off our second St. Patrick’s celebration.

Gillian always extols some words of wisdom on her posts so I would like to do the same. I guess my bit of wisdom here is that you don’t have to see all the ‘main attractions’ to enjoy traveling. We didn’t get up close to the Empire State Building, see the Statue of Liberty or go to a Broadway show and we still had an amazing time. Wander around, pop into nooks and crannies, and discover your own main attractions – you may just enjoy them more…

I also wanted to leave you with a memorable photo. One the great things about staying in Jersey was the views of Manhattan. This one is from Saturday March 19th and has the Perigee moon in it….


Photo Credit: Glenda Wyatt

About The Author: Glenda loves to travel and is suffering a bit of withdrawal lately since not being able to travel for work as much as she used to. She regularly blogs about crafting at PapersScissorsRocks but every once in a while a travel story will sneak in there too!

06 Apr

The Great Eastward Migration

There have been many Great Migrations throughout history. Both Canada and the United States were built on the backs of those who came from elsewhere and immigration continues to be a significant contributor to population growth.

My family (and yours, most likely) originally came from somewhere else; maybe not in your remembered history, but definitely within your history somewhere. I often wonder if the love of travel has its roots in this mass movement of people over time. Are we hard wired to want to see somewhere else?

Our Great Eastward Migration sees us moving from Victoria BC to Calgary Alberta. Not the usual direction for migration in Canada; most people move westward toward the balmy west coast. In fact, this move sees me reversing the migration route of my parents almost 40 years ago. They (and I, along with my sister) immigrated from England to Alberta and then onward to BC. I find it more than a tad ironic that I am now moving to Alberta with a possibility of England in our European plans.

Come along as we take the first OneGiantStep of our Responsibly Irresponsible plan…

We ‘exported’ as much fabulous BC beer as we could fit. I’m sure that Alberta has some good beer but this will hold us until we find it.Hopefully the last BC Ferries ride in a very, very long time.Our first nights stop in Hope at the Windsor Motel.It started to get a little snowy the next day as we headed to the first mountain pass of the trip.Some of my favorite country. I love the wide open spaces and the ability to see so far. Makes me think I am going to love living on the prairies.A quick road side stop for a picnic lunch.And we’re in Revelstoke for the second night.The third day saw even more snow.And ultimately a one hour delay for avalanche control.I wondered if we’d see any mountain sheep and then there they were on the side of the road!The mountains peeked out of the clouds for just a little while to remind us of just exactly we were missing out on during this cloudy, snowy drive. Bummer.And a warm welcome into our new home province.The first glimpse of our new home town of Calgary, Alberta.


If you are looking to save some extra money for your well deserved holiday, it’s definitely worth pre-booking your airport parking online through companies like HolidayExtras.co.uk. You can save up to 60% by pre-booking online and companies like this offer Gatwick Parking, Heathrow airport parking, Manchester airport parking and services at all of the major airports in the UK- especially handy if you have kids want the convenience of your own car. If you are flying from Heathrow or any of the major airports you should look into booking one of the Heathrow hotels available so you get a good nights sleep and don’t have to get up at stupid o’clock to catch your flight.

04 Apr

Twitter Travel Tips: Wrapping It Up

When we left for our trip in June2009 Twitter had been around for a little while but it hadn’t really taken off…or at least I didn’t realize the value of it at the time. Since returning I’ve learned much more about how Twitter works and how it can be used as a traveler. I’m no expert by any means but I do think that knowing how Twitter worked would have changed how we traveled. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share what I’ve learned so that you can put it to use in your own travels!!

Wow, this turned out to be a bigger series than I was expecting! I know more about Twitter than I thought I did…and now you do too!

And of course this is just a travelers dip-of-the-toe into the whole tweeting thing. You can be sure that there are folks who use it in far more sophisticated manners than this but, for me, this is enough.

I think the biggest take-away is to remember that Twitter is about people. People just like you sharing their thoughts, ideas and stories in small bites. People who want to hear your thoughts, ideas and stories and who want to help you find what you need.

Don’t over do it though. It can be easy to get caught up in it all and forget that travel is primarily about discovery. Use Twitter to help you and to connect but don’t forget to get out there and keep discovering.

I hope you liked the series and found it somewhat helpful. I ask that you share it with all you know who might also find it helpful by posting on Facebook, tweeting about it or Stumbling it. What? You don’t know about Stumbling? Hmmm…maybe I see another series in my future….

Please let me know if you have any questions and don’t forget to stop by and say hello on Twitter. You can find me at @OneGiantStep.



You can access the whole series with this link: Twitter Travel Tips

Or each individual post by clicking on the links below:

Twitter Travel Tips: What The Heck Is Twitter?

Twitter Travel Tips: Setting Up Your Twitter Account

Twitter Travel Tips: Simple Syntax

Twitter Travel Tips: Building Community

Twitter Travel Tips: Bringing A Third Party To The Party

Twitter Travel Tips: Twitter Events

Twitter Travel Tips: It’s Social

Twitter Travel Tips: Get Recommendations

Twitter Travel Tips: Information Please