To look or to live….


I love to travel.  As I look back on my life I see my trips, be they months long or just a few days, as sign posts in a sea of time. I can easily recall the distinct smell of spring in the South of France in 1997 when I spent a semester studying in Nice.  The fall of 1998 is forever etched in my mind as the time I discovered the rugged beauty of Costa Rica.  I know exactly what I did in November of 1999 because I had just landed in South Africa. 2000 – 2003 is filled with sweet memories of Asia as I spent those years living in Taiwan and roaming around China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Mongolia and Australia.  While I have trouble recalling last Tuesday, these travel memories fill my past with incredibly vivid markers.  This is why I truly believe that travel is part of a life well lived.

Why Backroads some of you have asked?  It’s the lure of active travel that has me hooked on this incredible company.  A few family members have worked as Guides with Backroads and tell incredible stories of the way groups bond during the journey and how each individual brings something unique and special to a trip.  I’ve spoken with others who have been guests of Backroads and they universally exclaim that it was the best time and money they ever spent.  They felt alive and strong and came home exhilarated and eager to book the next one.  While it’s always wonderful to lay on a beach and rest, sometimes the body needs movement and exertion.  We need to feel connected and alive.

To get your hands dirty and walk  in the side streets and back roads of a new country is to have an intimate and personal experience with it.  Not simply observing the scenery, you become part of it.

If you are ready to plan an unforgettable trip with Backroads call Niche Travel Group at (902) – 407-4567 or email

Niche Travel Group


Hit the Backroads – Salzburg to Munich


It really does take your breath away.  Winding though sky scraping mountains, through dense forest and limitless natural beauty, suddenly this fairytale castle juts above the trees and drops your jaw.  It is in such an impossible location both in its beauty and remoteness that you have to ask yourself how it ever came to be.  Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen Germany is one of the places that just beg to be visited, quietly asking you to feel it for yourself.

Built by ‘shy’ King Ludwig II to recluse from the public, this majestic limestone castle is now visited by 1.4 million visitors per year.  It is a remnant of a way of life long gone; an opportunity to step back in time for a moment and experience history now.

“I could not be more satisfied with my first Backroads trip.  This is excellence worth paying for.”  Patricia Smith

Backroads has tailored an incredible 6 day journey from Salzburg to Munich through the Kaiser mountains.  See the stunning hills that inspired Maria to sing in the Sound of Music, boat across Germany’s deepest and cleanest lake and feel the spray of the country’s highest waterfall.  Walk quietly along the rocky ridge that borders Germany and Austria and take Gondolas straight from the valley floor to the upper reaches of the Tyrolean Alps where the air you breathe redefines crispness.  Savor a Michelin-starred German meal then explore the incredible grounds of Neuschwanstein Castle.  It will all feel like a dream capped perfectly with a visit to the festive biergartens in Munich.

Full trip details here:  Backroads Salzburg to Munich

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If this calls to you then call us and start dreaming. It’s common for our guests to book up to a year before departure so there’s plenty of time to read up and get ready for a vacation of a lifetime!

6 days / 5 nights.  Sunday to Friday, June to September.  Starting at US $4,998 per person *double occupancy.  All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 4 dinners included.

To book or discuss, call Niche Travel Group at (902)407-4567 or email  Niche Travel Group


Hit the Backroads – Cinque Terre & Tuscany


When I close my eyes I can feel the gentle breeze coming off the Mediterranean and hear the waves crashing against the rugged shoreline.  As I walk along the trail, between luscious vineyards, I can feel the ancient earth crush beneath my boots.   It’s a moment of pure beauty and peace and I take a moment to reflect upon the decisions that led me here. Travel is a choice.  It is a gift you give to yourself and those you love.  It is a way to steal time and create incredible memories and is part of a life well lived.

As a young backpacker I made my way to the Cinque Terre and fell deeply in love with this piece of Italy.  It is one of the places I have always recommended to anyone heading to Europe in search of something unique.  It is a place I will return to and when I do it will be with Backroads. I’ve done a lot of research and spoken with many people who have traveled and worked with Backroads and everyone raves about the experience.

“We’ve traveled with several other companies and Backroads has found the ideal combination: great place, options for how active you want to be, culinary experiences, local culture and outstanding guides”  – Jerry Schwartz

Backroads has a beautiful trip through the stunning villages of the Cinque Terre and into the rolling hills of Tuscany.

  • Explore two distinct regions of Italy in one amazing trip
  • Hike through the dramatic landscape to Protovenere, taking in sweeping vistas of the Golfo della Spezia
  • Pass elegant villas en route to pretty Portofino, playground of the rich and famous
  • Stroll through quintessential Tuscan villages, vineyards and cypress-flanked lanes
  • Sip regional wines at fun and informative tastings
  • Spend 2 nights at the Villa Le Barone in Chianti which has been owned by the same family since the 1500s.

Backroads Cinque Terre & Tuscany

Starting at US$3,498 per person (tax included) *dbl occupancy.

6 days/ 5 nights.  Sunday – Friday, April – October.


If you are interested in learning more about this exciting trip please call Niche Travel Group at (902) 407-4567.

Dedicated to Enrich lives one vacation at a time.



Day 10 – Cease to Exist

Despite phone interruptions and a busy day ahead of me I was able to slip into the abyss and experience a profound moment of stillness.  Again with Deepak’s help I meditated on the idea that “I am peace” with the mantra Shanti Hum.  I repeated the mantra over and over in my mind until the words lost their meaning and my brain became numb to thoughts.  That floating feeling resurfaced and surrounded me in calm.

I felt as though we are born to be calm and free but we build a cloak of worry and stress around us that we think is who and what we are.  I’m a huge fan of Wayne Dyer and he famously spoke of the orange.  He said that when you squeeze an orange you can only get orange juice from it – meaning that you can only get out what you have inside.  If we can tap into our inner sense of peace and know that it is our true nature then we’ll be able to emit peace when life gives us the squeeze.  To BE peace sounds like a dream come true to me.

Meditation is such a gift to me now.  Spending time without my cloak feels so liberating and joyful.  Ahhh…Shanti Hum.

Day 9 – Cease to Exist

I had a really busy day and didn’t think I’d manage to meditate at all.  Just as I was about to flick on the television I decided instead to light a candle, burn some incense and slap on some headphones for a twenty minute romp with Deepak and Oprah.  It was incredible how quickly I was able to tap into my breathing and let the buttery tone of Chopra’s deep east indian voice wash over me.  Shreem…he said…shreem….shreem….shreem….

The blackness of the void surrounded me and I though no thoughts.  There were no words, no shapes, no colours, no feelings….just floating in the nothingness.  It hung there for awhile until I though “oh I feel like I’m floating” and it was gone.  Identifying with words had brought my mind into the picture.  Breathing in and out, feeling my lungs fill and drain, my chest rise and fall….and again I was floating in the abyss.  Longer this time, I avoided naming the experience and just let it happen.  I rose and fell on the surface of an invisible pool of water in the deep darkness without end.  It was beautiful.

Day 8 -Cease to Exist

Why Cease to Exist?  It is a play on Kyle Cease’s 100 day journey into 2 hours of daily meditation.  I have been so inspired by his revelations that I decided to take the leap myself.  In Ceasing, or stopping, for a while each day I am hoping to tap into my existence…to dig deep and uncover the hidden truth about my life and shed my limiting beliefs.  I don’t know if it is divine timing or bad luck but the start of my 100 day journey coincided perfectly with my decline back into post concussion syndrome hell.  The sages of the world, Cease included, say there are no coincidences so I am trying to see the hidden beauty in the wobbliness of my broken brain and silently allow it to be there.

I’ve had to cancel my medical appointments today as I feel rather strongly that I should not be driving.  My eyes are ‘off’ and even walking around the house is too much for me to bear.  I had a beautiful offer from a friend to come over and be my ‘personal assistant’ and was surprised by my resistance to that offer.  Why is it so hard to accept help when it is offered?  I’m not only in deep resistance to the medical condition that prevents me from doing things I need to do, but I’m also against getting help.  Where does that put me?  In misery.  Why would I want to be there?  Do I subconsciously believe that there has to be a level of misery in my life?

As I sat in meditation this morning I thought about this blog.  Why am I writing it?  Who is it for?  What does it mean?  Does it mean anything?  As I floated these ideas around in stillness I realized that I write because I am a writer.  Just as a hockey player needs a puck to play hockey, I need words to be a writer.  Writers write…they use words like a golfer uses golf balls…. I want to play.  That’s all.  Doing this makes me a writer and that’s what I want.  Thank you for playing with me.

Day 7 – Cease to Exist

It was meant to be a powerful way to connect to myself.  In the spirit of Kyle Cease’s brave sharing of his 100 days of deep 2 hour meditation I would schedule a daily meditation practice of my own.  I am at a point in my life where I am searching for meaning beyond accumulation and gratification.  As much as those things can be pleasurable it is doubtful that they account for the purpose of the human life.  Not begin able to work and having a limited capacity to be wife, mother and friend to those I love, I find myself swirling into a routine just to keep going.  I feel like I can almost touch something just a hair away and when I’m in meditation, free from thoughts and to do lists, I can feel peace and know calm.

These past few days have seen the return of my debilitating neurological condition that I call the ‘wobbles’.  Over the past year I have tried in vain to describe this conditions to every type of health care practitioner imaginable.  I’ve seen one neurologist,  two osteopaths, four chiropractors, two Chinese doctors, three massage therapists, one physiologist and countless medical doctors and after more than five thousand dollars worth of treatment I am not sure I’m any further ahead in healing.   Today, during a 20 minute meditation I got away from it for just a while.


Before going in to meditation I pulled two cards from my Liza Hindmarch card set.  They read “trust the process of life” and “I aim not to be perfect – but to be perfectly myself”.  What can any of that mean?  As I entered the stillness I tried to imagine what it would feel like to totally surrender to the process of life and be perfectly myself.  This idea seemed counter to the pushing I’ve been doing – the relentless search for a miracle cure – the trying so hard to be someone who doesn’t feel awful half of the time.  To surrender feels like defeat.  I don’t know how to be ok with this.  I want so badly to get out from under it so that I can be a mom to my boys and a parter to my husband.

Day 6 – Cease to Exist

It’s Saturday so the kids are home from school for the weekend.  This makes it hard to carve out the time and silence I need to meditate for an hour so I had to make do with just 20 minutes.  With earbuds and a quick ‘youtbue’ search of meditation I was amazed by how far away I was able to drift while still listening to the boys laughter.  I felt my mind slow down and stop the blathering long enough to feel present.  It is incredible to let go and just be.  I imagined myself sitting beside a waterfall and watched the water pool and then flow downstream.  I could feel the cool spray on my face and pulled in a long, fresh breath of the misty air.  My heart rate dropped, my shoulders released and I heard the word Bhavathi being spoken to me.  It said “you are bhavathi…you are bhavathi”.  I looked right and saw a wooded area and imagined myself running through the trees.  I looked left and saw the water falling endlessly.  I looked forward and saw nothing but felt the sun on my face.

I came out of the  meditation more calm and feeling peaceful.  Perhaps that is the lesson here.

Check it out..Meditation