Hit the Backroads – Cinque Terre & Tuscany

italy-cinqterre

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.

cinque-terre

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.

 

niche-christmas

Where there’s a will, there’s a way to Bora Bora

Over the years many people have asked me how I managed to visit 25 countries before I turned 30.  As travel was just part of my life plan it was a question I was never really sure how to answer, until now.  The simple answer is that I did it because I wanted to.

When I was little I used to stare into the sky looking for planes, wondering where the people inside were going.  At 19 my mom took me overseas for the first time.  We arrived in Paris, travelled through the fantastic labyrinth of trains in the Metro, stepped out onto bustling St. Michelle and I knew that I was hooked.  The people looked different, the buildings were beautiful, the food was fantastically strange and the new pulse of life gave me a feeling I’ve been chasing ever since.  I love the thrill of laying my eyes on something I’ve never seen before, eating food I’ve never tasted before, and meeting people I’ve never known before.  Yes, it’s unnerving and at times uncomfortable to leave home, but it’s always worth it.  To me my twenties could be spent no other way than seeing as much of the world as possible.

There are trade offs to every decision though, and there were a great number of years when I would long for a sock drawer.  Digging through a dirty old back pack for that last pair of clean socks can wear you down on a down day.  The simplicity of staying put would become incredibly enticing and the urge to pack it up and go ‘home’ would appear.  But life is full of urges, as the inevitable ebb and flow of life pulls us along.  It is the choices and the sacrifices we make to build the lives we want that really define us.

When people ask how I travelled so much, I tell them they too can get on a plane and go; it’s nothing more than a decision to make it happen.  Airlines don’t discriminate as long as you can pay, and even the most modest budget can find a small allowance for a travel fund.  If it takes you ten years to save up for that trip I say start NOW.  Saving $50 a month will add up to $1,800 in 3 years.  This will get you anywhere on earth you want to go and pay for at least some of your hotel too.  You can stay in $20 shacks on the beach in Thailand and have just as much fun as the folks in the $200 a night resort, I promise you that.  Or, save up for one more year then blow it out at the Ritz…it’s up to you.

To me, the bucket list includes a stay at one of the world’s most luxurious hotels….Le Moana Bora Bora.  It remains out of my current travel budget but I know that with a little sacrifice, and a few years of squirreling away dollars I would have otherwise spent on coffees and going out to movies, this dream will become reality.

Are you kidding me? la moana

So ask yourself where you really want to go, figure out what you’ll need to do to make it happen, then do it.  At the end of your days you’ll have a much better time remembering the things you did do than the things you didn’t.

http://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/bora-bora/bobpf/hoteldetail

https://www.facebook.com/DartmouthTravel?ref=hl  -Call Faith at Dartmouth Travel – she’ll save you time and money!

Take a break without losing momentum (and save $367)

We all know that a white sand beach vacation is the perfect way to let loose.  We say good-bye to hectic work weeks and busy schedules, stop cooking and cleaning or studying and stressing and we metaphorically massage our own tired backs….ahhh it’s glorious.  The best way to indulge in this type of decadence and relaxation is to book yourself a trip to an all-inclusive resort.  It’s a gift we Canadians give ourselves after months of scraping ice off our windshields and searching the closet for the endless accoutrements of cold weather apparel.  We board a plane, flip-flops and sunglasses neatly packed in our suitcases, and let go!

For many, the endless trips to the swim up bar and buffet can be the greatest thing on earth but a nightmare for the waistline.  Coming home with a camera full of pictures, a great tan and ten extra pounds can be bittersweet.  For those who want to enjoy a beach holiday without losing work out momentum there is a trip designed for you.

http://www.palladiumhotelgroup.com/en/riviera-maya/grand-palladium-colonial-resort-spa/ grand-palladium-colonial Salt water pool

Faith Sproule at Dartmouth travel has partnered with Beach Body Coach Danielle Melanson to offer a week of relaxation and fitness at the stunning Grand Palladium Colonial resort Mexico.  This beautiful 5 star Resort and Spa is one of the top spots on the Mayan Riviera.

  • 252 Standard Rooms, 132 Junior Suites, 24 Mayan Suites and 6 Suites
  • 9 A la carte theme restaurants with a great selection of cuisines
  • 5 Buffet-style restaurants and other open-air services
  • 25 Bars located around the complex
  • 8 Freshwater pools and 1 Seawater pool
  • First-class Spa & Wellness Center
  • Sunset Boulevard Discotheque for adults
  • Baby Club for children 1-3 years old, Mini Club “El Ranchito” for kids 4-12 years old and Black & White Junior’s Club for teenagers (13-19 years old).

Danielle Melanson will escort the group and offer two free optional “Beach Body” classes per day.  She has had her own personal weight loss and fitness transformation and would like to help you on your path.

“In September 2006 I became a non-smoker! I had quit smoking for my health but became depressed and was gaining weight on a daily basis. Four months later I had had enough and decided something had to be done.

Then my sisters told me about Turbo Jam DVD’s and I was hooked instantly! I found my ‘soul mate workout’! With proper eating habits and daily workouts the weight began to fall off.  I took things one step further and became a Certified Personal Trainer in September 2010. I have been working as a trainer ever since and am now also an official “Beach Body” Coach. I hear of pills and “quick diet” weight loss programs, but the only true method of getting healthy is clean eating and daily activity! It truly works.

I am able to help people every day become healthy, get fit, and lose weight with the tools that started me on my fitness journey years ago. I am so grateful for this opportunity . I love my job!!”   – Danielle Melanson

If you’ve always wanted to treat yourself to an all-inclusive luxury vacation this is the time to do it.  Faith has arranged an incredible deal and partnered with an energetic Personal Trainer to accompany the group.  You will return from this one feeling extremely well…..mind, body and spirit.

Trip Details:

April 27 to May 4, 2014

Grand Palladium Colonial    http://www.palladiumhotelgroup.com/en/riviera-maya/grand-palladium-colonial-resort-spa/

$1,295 per person taxes included!

(That’s a $367 discount per person if booked and paid for by October 31st.)

To book, call Faith at Dartmouth Travel at 902-407-4567  .  She is extremely knowledgeable and friendly and loves travel as much as I do.  She wants you to see the world and will do all she can to ensure you’re trip is all you’d hoped for.

https://www.facebook.com/DartmouthTravel?ref=hl

http://www.teambeachbody.com/home

Staring at the Sky….

When I was little I used to lay on my roof and stare at the sky waiting for airplanes to fly overhead.  When I spotted a silver bird I would wonder wistfully who was on that plane, where they were going and what kind of exciting adventure awaited them.  I could lie there for hours imagining trips to Rome or Paris or the Orient, dreaming up incredible trips for the passengers, anxious to join them one day.  The funny thing is that I grew up in Lethbridge Alberta – home to a tiny airport servicing mostly Calgary…so the truth was that most of those planes were business commuters heading home after a less than exotic day of office work.  Oh the beautiful unblemished mind of a child wonderer…is there anything more fun?

Yes, that's really me in all my seventh grade glory

Yes, that’s really me in all my seventh grade glory

Fast forward a few decades, I did grow up to be the kind of person who constantly imagines what other people’s lives are like, where they are headed and what lies ahead for them. I remain to this day a perpetual wonderer and all this wonder has produced a mind that thinks a lot of thoughts and loves to travel. I’ll share my thoughts and travel stories here…read them if you like.