Wear your poppy


I was downtown Seattle yesterday, near the Pike Place Market. Things were starting to feel a little sketchy even though it was just mid afternoon.

I got called out for being Canadian by a couple panhandlers and a guy who wanted to sell me a CD. “Hey Canadian…. ” they said. “Give us your loonies or coloured money. I’ll take whatever.”

Later I was at the market and I was I stopped to look at some stuff and I am the guy asking what part Canada I was from.  So I asked him “what’s the dead giveaway why does everybody know I’m Canadian?” He said because that poppy you’re wearing on your jacket.”

Ah… my lapel poppy. Frankly I didn’t see it as a “Canadian thing” until that moment.  I saw it as a universal sign of respect for our veterans and soldiers.  I couldn’t imagine not wearing the poppy at the beginning of November.

I asked the friendly clerk. “Should I take it off? Does it make me stick out like a target, a tourist?”

“No! No!” He says, “we like Canadians. You all are good.”

I will admit that there were a few minutes on my walk back to the hotel where I thought about taking off the poppy because I was feeling a little uncomfortable.  But I surely didn’t take it off! War isn’t comfortable either. Our veterans and soldiers endured unspeakable horrors in defence of our country and freedoms. And therefore, I wear a poppy, because it’s November and I am Canadian. I frankly don’t see it as optional.





Beach Day in Estoril

I had my reluctant moments. Travel fatigue was setting in. Did I really want to spend 2 more hours on a bus?  No. No I did not. 

But, would this moment ever come again?  Perhaps not. So we gathered our wits and headed for the bus.

It was worth it!

We spent the afternoon at a public beach in Estoril Portugal. Crashing waves and the roar of the Atlantic Ocean was ideal therapy.

The ocean was icy cold, though the day was a moderate 25 Celsius. A nice October day in Portugal.

The bus ride to & from Lisbon was easy. Beautiful scenery & nice music on the headset. For 10 euros a person, I felt I got good value.

A beautiful day at the beach with my son, of course…. priceless.

Instagram Un-envy

Ever look at someone’s Instagram photo and think “I can’t compete.” 

Yeah, me too. All the time, in fact.

My category is travel, but we could be talking about anything. I mean, who are these people & their ball gowns spinning in front of 500 year old monuments in foreign lands? And why? They don’t inspire me, they just leave me puzzled.

I can tell you that my travel realities are far from perfect. Hardly ever photogenic. I pack very light. I don’t want to be schlepping an oversized suitcase on public transit. And the one pair of shoes I tote around the world better be comfy & better be  on my feet. There’s no room for spares.

I bring a toque to cover up bad hair days and rushed mornings. I hardly wear anything but lipgloss and since I am taking my own photos, I’m hardly ever in them.

But all this doesn’t matter because I don’t travel to impress anyone. I travel to enrich my own time on this earth. The more I learn and experience the better human I am. And the more I appreciate and understand my teeny-tiny place in the universe.

Take for example, Dublin Ireland. That’s a city with a lot going on. I really don’t need to get involved with that. I just want to take a casual look around. A bus tour was all I needed. See the high points, avoid the low and just barely get acquainted.

Here, I got the impression “tourist” is an abrasive word. I also got the impression I was getting the “tourist price” on a couple occasions.  However, I will say that one of the nicest conversations I had was with a duty manager at the grocery store. My son and I walked a mile or so to a neighbourhood grocery store to pick up a few supplies for our stay and the manager we encountered was more than lovely when I posed a question. I felt like a neighbour, not an annoying parasite “tourist.” She was the polar opposite of the bus driver I encountered earlier in the day. Mister “wrong stop, get off!”

My point…..? My experience in Dublin will make me a better host in Canada. It also reminds me that what might be daily routine to you might be completely foreign to someone else.

A smile is universal and whether you wear a ball gown or not, your experience is personal and can not (nor should be) replicated. And really one of the best things I can advise, is to walk a mile in YOUR OWN shoes.

Travel to celebrate but also to cope with grief

Grief can be heavy at times. Like today.  It’s weighing me down. I slept til 11am on a day I intended to rise at 7. I seemingly slept through 2 alarms to achieve this.

I’m going to try not to beat myself up over this.  I must have needed the sleep. My body out weighing my mind’s desire.

Today is one year since my mom passed away. She was young. 65 years old. Her heart just stopped.

Even writing those 3 sentences makes tears well up.

In any case, people deal with things differently. My brother intends to visit the gravesite. I on the other hand carry her in my heart and plan a somber day. But a day, half way around the world.

I’m in Portugal today.

I tend to cope by traveling. And for this, the first year remembrance I wanted to be alone with my thoughts.

If ever possible I disappear on my birthday too. I’d do the same at Christmas if I had my way… though that’s not always the case. It’s how I choose to cope. Travel allows me to breathe. I find comfort in open spaces and unfamiliar surroundings.

And I write. Alone with my thoughts, but never far from those I carry in my heart. ❤️

10 Great things about travelling with teens

I travel with my kids every chance I get. And yes, I absolutely prefer to travel with them separately. I’m not shy about saying that. I don’t like the bickering and I don’t enjoy “vacations” when I feel like an on duty referee. Choosing to vacation with them individually allows me to let them take the reins, let them make choices and help them develop independence.

I infact LOVE travelling with my teen son. Here’s just a few reasons why:

  1. He packs & carries his own luggage.
  2. He takes care of all our electronics needs. He’s always got a power cord or charger handy.
  3. I can wander into a store, or washroom & leave him alone for a few minutes without fear that he’ll get lost or stolen.
  4. He’s got an appetite and will eat almost anywhere. (Ever travelled with a toddler who’s a fussy eater? It’s hell.)
  5. He has his own money and doesn’t ask for much. Pays for his own souvenirs & snacks.
  6. He’s at that stage in life where he’s connecting his education to real life. Observing & absorbing everything.
  7. We have intelligent, interesting conversations. A real bonus in a travel companion.
  8. He understands my need to write & Instagram things. I understand his need to Snapchat and source wifi.
  9. I believe the more places he sees as a teen, means the further he will go as an adult.
  10. It might just be the once-in-a-lifetime chance to create shared memories. Will we get the chance to travel when he’s 25 or 35? Probably not. So I’m sure going to enjoy this opportunity while I have it.


It won’t seem like a big deal to many, but still, I’m celebrating!

I hit 1000 followers on Instagram! 🎉 Genuine, organic, one-at-a-time travel fans.

Thank you, from @SheTalksTravel

It was almost 2 years ago I chose the name & started building my “brand.” No sales, no gimmicks,  just a hobby documented in print. I purchased the domain name and built a basic WordPress website back in 2015.

Mostly for fun, but at times,  it fed my need for purpose. It’s given me an outlet to express myself. At heart, I’m just a writer  and this has given me a chance to empty my brain when it gets cluttered with travel noise. I sleep better when I share the travel bargains I spy.

I think travel should be for everyone. There’s something at every price point & once in a while a true gem of a deal comes along.

I believe that unlike new shoes or a purse, travel does make you richer. I sure hope you’ve found something worthwhile in these posts.

Thank you for following along & offering feedback & input when you can. I appreciate it.

xo Cathie, @SheTalksTravel