Win a prize package with the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association

I love giving away prize packages. I love travelling. And the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association has been kind enough to sponsor a giveaway on my site for a travel and luxurious treatment gift basket for a lucky reader (and a plus one).



The basket includes gift certificates for three nights’ accommodation in hotels in Kelowna, Osoyoos and Kamloops, credit towards a spa treatment at Beyond Wrapture in Kelowna, gift certificates for restaurants and spas, an Okanagan Wine Cheese Plate made from recycled VQA Wine Bottles, and a bottle of Okanagan-Similikameen wine.

Here’s the full list of what the prize pack includes:

-  Accent Inns: one nights’ accommodation for two.
-  Beyond Wrapture Spa: a Red and White Vinotherapy spa lotion and 20 “Spa Dollars”.
-  Best Western Kelowna: one nights’ accommodation for two.
-  Okanagan Wine Cheese Plate made from recycled VQA Wine bottles.
-  Okanagan Wine Festivals Society: one bottle of Okanagan-Similkameen Wine.
-  Sandman Group KelownaChop Restaurant: complementary upgrade to one bedroom executive suite for two people and a $25 Chop gift certificate.
-  Smudge: one body butter cream sample.
-  Summerhill Pyramid Winery: $10 coupon towards a wine purchase at their Wine Shop and a tasting and tour gift certificate.
-  Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association 2010 Vacation Guide.
-  Watermark Beach Resort: one nights’ accommodation in a complementary suite and a $50 credit at the Wine Bar.
-  Wineries Refined Fall/Winter 2010 Magazine.

To enter my giveaway, I want you to drop a comment on this blog entry telling me your best travel story. Maybe it was a romantic getaway with your loved one. Maybe it was a backpacking trip through Europe. You name it. My own personal best travel story has to do with (not surprisingly) an academic conference.

I had been having a fever for several days  and was terribly sick when I first travelled to give a talk at the Berlin Conference on Global Environmental Change. My first time in Berlin. I spoke no German. I was ready to give up and take a plane back to Vancouver (I flew Vancouver-London Heathrow-Berlin Tegel. And the next day, as I sat down to listen to the first talk, my body transfixed. I sat through 8 hours of non-stop global environmental governance talks, and I had enough energy to give my own talk. And it was amazingly well received.

That was the moment when I found out that, despite however challenging my life could be, or how damaged my health was, I was so passionate about environmental politics that my body would simply react and overcome my illness to enable me to succeed in my chosen academic field.  And of course, a good night rest and lots of NeoCitran allowed me to visit Berlin and enjoy it to the fullest. That’s one of my best travel experiences, ever.

You have until December 3rd, 2010 to enter my giveaway. You can gain an additional entry by posting the following on Twitter:

I want to win a prize pack from @hummingbird604 and @totamedia. Visit the Thompson-Okanagan region these holidays!

You can explore more ideas on food and activity pairings on their website: Or, for more Thompson Okanagan trip ideas and special offers, follow TOTA on Facebook or Twitter.

I will be drawing a random winner from all entries on December 3rd, 2010, at 5:30pm.

Related posts:

  1. Okanagan Crush Pad Wine Tasting at Boneta Restaurant
  2. Jenna Grant’s Concordia Retail gift package giveaway
  3. Vancouver Diversity Health Fair 2011 (win prize package)
  4. A lovely night with Tourism Victoria (@VictoriaVisitor) at the Fairmont Pacific Rim
  5. Win a prize package for @LIVEAtSquamish #HB604LAS (Live at Squamish)

Comments (63)

JeremyNovember 22nd, 2010 at 2:16 pm

One of my most fond travel stories is when I went with my family in a motor home from Vancouver to Mexico. It was an unforgettable trip and created some amazing memories for all of us! We took the long route there and took our time exploring small towns along the way. One of the towns we loved was Seaside Oregon, where the beaches are much like what we have here in Tofino. Taking the time to drive to Mexico allowed us to see places we would never have known about if we flew and allowed our family to create more memories that will last a lifetime!

NicolbNovember 22nd, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Honestly, my fondest travel story is not exciting to others, but it was to me. After a 21 hour plane ride, 5 hour layover and days of jet-lag, I finally arrived in Cairns, Australia. The moment I stepped out of the plane into 30 degree weather, was the definitive point of my vacation. It was at that point where I could admit to myself, “wow, I’m in Australia,” and all of the realities slowly hit me.

Of course, jumping into the waters by the Great Coral Reef helped too. :)

JackieNovember 22nd, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Family is what makes my travel experiences most meaningful and memorable. 5 years ago I left England for Canada and 2 years passed before I decided to make a surprise trip home. And what a surprise it was. It was Christmas Eve and I had a connecting flight from Vancouver to Chicago before landing at Gatwick airport. I phoned my parents when I was in Chicago to wish them a wonderful Christmas and to let them know I’d call them the next day. I knew if I’d phoned from Chicago with the time difference between the flight and arriving back in England, there would be no way my family would suspect I’d be making a visit home. So after a long conversation during my stop over and my mother in tears, convinced that I wouldn’t be home for yet another Christmas, I finally arrived in England in the evening, Christmas Eve. A friend picked me up at the airport and we made several stops before getting to my parents place. I first stopped where my sister was working as a waitress, dressed in a rather fetching Christmas present outfit! As soon as she saw me walk in the restaurant she dropped the 2 drinks she was carrying and burst in to excitement with a mix of screaming and crying! It definitely caught the restaurant by surprise. I then made my way to my family’s home and just walked in the door and sat down in living room. I saw my dad gland in from his office, but he thought it was one of my other sisters. So I waited there for what felt like forever, almost unable to control my excitement, and my mother walks in, looks at me, looks away, looks back again and almost faints! My dad then reacts to the hysteria and cannot believe that he didn’t recognise me walking in. So then my other sisters (2 more) come home and the surprise factor is amplified every time. We then continued to have an unforgettable Christmas. This was by far, one of my most memorable travel stories and one I will never forget!

victorNovember 22nd, 2010 at 4:05 pm

not exactly the best type of travel story, but it makes for interesting conversation. i went off to vegas a couple months back and was ready to party it up with three friends. the first night, i had a couple drinks, and the next morning i felt absolutely terrible with a pounding headache. i never get hangovers, so i had no idea what was going. my friend’s all told me it was just a hangover and i’d be fine. as the hangover got worse, and progressed into the second day, i realized my head was pounding because i had a 104 degree F fever and was deathly sick. i spent the remainder of our trip bedridden, and came back to canada about 7 pounds lighter since i hadn’t eaten much for almost the entire trip.

BethNovember 22nd, 2010 at 11:02 pm

My best travel story is my 30th birthday surfing trip to Tofino. I rounded up whichever of my friends was willing and able to go (January birthdays suck, because everyone is both poor and partied-out from the Christmas holidays) and we rented a cabin in Tofino for the weekend. And we surfed. In Tofino. In freaking January. Despite it being coooooold – like there was snow on the beach cold – it was one of the funnest trips I’ve ever had.
Beth recently posted..WTF POF

JenNovember 23rd, 2010 at 12:40 am

One of my most fondest travel memories is camping in Green Point campground in Tofino as a child! The drive out there took most of the day, because we stopped in Coombs, saw the goats on the roof, took a walk in Cathedral Grove. I remember spending the days in Tofino running on the beach and going on nature walks through the forest and the bog. It was wonderful and I always love going back to Tofino as an adult!

Buddha GirlNovember 23rd, 2010 at 4:02 am

Our most memorable travel was back in 2007 to Taiwan. My father-in-law (let’s call him “DadE”) was diagnosed with cancer (later turned into secondary bone cancer). DadE never visited Taiwan before, however, he does have couple long-time friends living there. So, with the objections of close relatives and friends, my husband (Buddha Boy) and I, along with MomJ (mother-in-law), went on a family trip to Taiwan.

To us, it’s not the content of the trip that’s valued, instead, it’s the reminiscing happiness that this trip has created for us. Due to DadE’s physical conditions, we were very limited to where we could take him, so we mainly stayed indoors (either at the hotel, at his friends’, at my mom’s, or at restaurants). This was the first and last trip as a whole family.

Life is short, enjoy to the fullest when you can. You never know what will happen when you wake up tomorrow.

Ryan CousineauNovember 23rd, 2010 at 9:45 am

(I think TLO will want me to win this prize!)

I’ve had some great travel experiences, but I think I’ll tell one from my childhood: our family were avid campers.

1) We’re tent-trailering through the BC Interior, long before the Coquihalla Highway exists. My dad identifies a “shortcut” that uses a gravel road. What we don’t realize until too late is this isn’t just any gravel road, it’s a 4×4-recommended mess that isn’t even considered passable much of the year. We’re 2 adults and 3 young boys in a 1978 Oldsmobile, and towing a tent trailer.

A few miles into this adventure, my dad stops for no apparent reason, and picks up a roll of baling wire he sees on the road. Why? Well, we’re a family of frugal scavengers, and baling wire is useful stuff.

A few hours deeper into our “shortcut,” the trailer axle failed.

My dad jacked up the trailer, looked at the broken U-bolt (a very particular bit of hardware that attaches the axle to the leaf springs), assessed our situation, and then jury-rigged a replacement USING THE BALING WIRE!! It wasn’t pretty, but we made it to our destination.

That story, more than any of the beautiful vistas or wonderful nature hikes we had over the years, lives on as a family legend.

MichelleNovember 23rd, 2010 at 10:48 am

My favourite traveling experience just happened this past July/August/September. I planned a big trip because I had just graduated from University and wanted to see a bit of the world before work takes over :) So in July I went to Italy, where I took classes at a design school for the month but got to travel around Italy on the weekends. It was amazing. I met some great people, saw some breathtaking things, and learned a lot.

But I think the best part was in August/September when I went to Peru to volunteer. I was helping a non-profit fair trade organization, teaching their women artisans how to use computers so they could sell their things internationally. It was the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had to learn Spanish to do it because they didn’t speak English but I did it! And I got to see a beautiful country that’s filled with culture and help them as well. A lot of things happened in those 3 months that I probably can’t fit in here but that would be my best traveling experience to date :)

MarinaNovember 23rd, 2010 at 10:48 am

Three years ago I went to Spain and while in Seville I took my very first flamenco class. There was one man there that spoke a few words of English, but other than that it was all in Spanish. I didn’t understand a word, but managed to make it through the class. I’ve danced my whole life, but it wasn’t until then that the concept of dance being a language of its own was really solidified in my mind. Now back in Vancouver, I continue to take flamenco classes and dream of being back in Seville.

Michael KwanNovember 23rd, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I don’t know if it’s my best travel story, but my best travel experience had to be the couple of days I spent in Japan in 2007. I found myself in the middle of gadget heaven in Akihabara. I had some terrific ramen at a Japanese truck stop of all places. And I extended my life by eating some kuro tamago at Hakone. Amazing trip.
Michael Kwan recently posted..Understanding the Recipe for Success

Ching Yin LamNovember 23rd, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Sadly, I don’t have an awesome travel story.

Though, I am hoping if I win this package, I will have a great story about wine tours, wine and fruit tasting and spa going to talk about!

I have mostly travelled with family, so nothing insane and adventurous there! My mom and I did stay in a hotel in Vietnam and it was haunted (we didn’t know that). My mom and I heard foot steps, IN the room, next to the window all night (no one there). I asked her several times throughout the night if she heard anything.

She told me she didn’t hear anything that night to avoid freaking me out but told me a few years later, she totally heard the foot steps too!

LiliNovember 23rd, 2010 at 4:36 pm

As you probably already know, I met my guy online and that is what made me move to Vancouver. We met in person, for the very first time, in Rio and went together to Buzios, a beach resort 3 hours away by car. That was our honeymoon. The thrill of finally meeting him and living those first days in paradise made that the trip of a lifetime. Sunsets, walks on the beach, swimming pool under the moonlight… Very, very romantic!

taylor lorenNovember 24th, 2010 at 12:27 am

My favourite experience…wow, there’s been so many! On one of my familiy vacations to China (my mom does work there frequently and we get to tag along), it was SO hot and my little sister came with us. She was not amused with the sticky humidity and decided she was going to run away from my mom in Tiananmen Square. Needless to say, this did not go over well and a Chinese soldier ended up chasing her with us…wonder what the tourists thought!? My mom was mortified and we went home early, but my sister has yet to live her 6 year old self down….

MehnazNovember 24th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Mine was pretty tame, I think. I went through a terrible breakup and decided to spend 3 weeks in London that summer to get away from people and things and get to know myself again. The best moment for me was climbing to the second viewing balcony at St. Paul’s Cathedral. I should say I am dead afraid of heights (like, climbing on a chair used to give me the shakes). The view was spectacular! Talk about perspectives!

Miss JaneNovember 24th, 2010 at 5:54 pm

On my first day of cruiseship travels with a friend of mine, we rented mopeds in Barbados. We had split up with the rest of the group (of 9 girls) and ventured on our own. Her moped unexpected broke down so we had to leave it at a local gas station. I doubled her which was very difficult to do. We had arranged a lunch meeting with her friend on the island so her friend drove her while she was video taping me following behind them.

For those of you who’s never been to Barbados, they drive on the left hand side like the British does. So as I was going into one of the corners I was trying to speed up and pass a car, yet the oncoming traffic from the right hand side scared the be-jesus out of me. I grabbed my brakes too tight which resulted in the moped throwing me off in the middle of the street. Luckily, the car behind me didn’t run me over. I had some bad road rashes which is the equivalent of first degree burn. A local female cop escorted us to a near by hospital to quickly get me cleaned up. Since we have to return to the ship the same day they were unable to give me sleepy drugs and I was bandaged up like a mummy.

When we returned to the cruiseship a lot of seniors and older couples were wondering what had happened to me. My friend simply told them that I went swimming with the sharks and got bitten pretty badly. Throughout the rest of the trip, my friend took good care of me and we didn’t drink like we originally planned to. Yet we still managed to have a great time with me hopping around from port to port. It was very memorable and good to know there are good friends out there that can take care of you when shit hits the fan!

A few weeks later, when we came back from our trip my friend found out she was already pregnant during our cruiseship venture. She was very thankful that we didn’t drink during the trip otherwise it would have caused some pregnancy health issues for her baby. To this day, I will not forget about the winter getaway and her saying “Jane, you’ve saved my baby’s life!” Funny how karma works eh!

mariaNovember 24th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

My best travel story was in Vegas…but u know what they say, what happens in vegas… It was the last vacation i had a few years ago, a girls trip. Lots of fun, treated like royalty, didn’t pay for any drinks or cover at any of the clubs, got into them all. It felt great to get that kind of service in a different city, whereas here your hometown of Vancouver, the bouncers treat u like garbage, make u stand in their long cold line ups, pay their outrageous covers. We ended up seeing Nikki Sixx and Kat Von D, Kevin Federline (not major celebs lol) and we met a bunch of Vancouvervites….had hangovers for days!

CeciliaNovember 25th, 2010 at 7:16 am

For me, it’s a toss up between visiting Tunisia on an archeological tour and taking the train across Canada for an entire month. Tunisia had beautifully preserved buildings and reknown Carthage (nothing much is left), but I’ve got a soft spot for my own country. If you ever take Canadian VIA Rail for a touristy jaunt, though, two things to keep in mind…
1) The train is always late. Always.
2) Don’t ever sleep coach.

Jen LNovember 25th, 2010 at 8:33 am

My best travel experience was when I lived on the Gulf Coast and we drove to LA to go to New Orleans. It was a fast and furious, whirlwind weekend of feasting, imbibing, dancing and immersing ourselves in the culture that the French Quarter is so well known for.

It was an amazing experience with the many colorful people and personalities. The children who danced for us in the streets with the bottle caps on their shoes. The incredible architecture and music.

We were steps away from the mighty Mississippi River and of course we had to have a Beneigt from Cafe du Monde.

Truly a memorable experience.

ChrisNovember 25th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Having never traveled much, my first trip outside of Canada (yes – even before heading south of the border) was to France with a group from school and that is by far my most memorable trip.
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VanessaNovember 25th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

My best travel experience would be first time I remember going to across China and Hong Kong. I really loved to learn about my heritage… because you don’t really know where you’re going… until you know where you’ve come from.

MarionNovember 25th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

I come back from an amazing trip, no doubt, one of my best travel experience… We left Vancouver in our Dodge caravan that we customized as a ‘camper-van’ for a 3 months road trip across North America. We spent the 2 first months in Canada, enjoyed the Okanagan sun and heat, hiked the Rockies, get stunned by the Saskatchewan prairies and sky , observe the Manitoba’s geese migrating to the south, sunbathed on the Ontario Great Lakes sand beaches, have been amazed by the Quebec fall’s colors, got the indian summer in New Brunswick and almost froze in an Atlantic bath in Nova Scotia! We’ve been living with the wildlife the whole time, between bears, moose, deer, elks, bison, wolves, coyotes, pelicans, eagles, geese, squirrels… So fun and sooo scary at the same time!! 17 000 km from Vancouver to Halifax (we didn’t take the short route!), and it was time to go back home… through the USA! Chicago (Go Bulls Go!), the Minnesota farms and wind turbines, The Mississipi river crossing, and our favourites, South Dakota and Wyoming, the Badlands and Yellowstone, but also the nights spent at the truck stops! We started feeling like wild cowboys as we reached Vancouver at the end of October. 3 months of travel with outside kitchen, outside bathroom, outside living room, huuuge outside playground and our amazing Dodge Caravan as a comfy bedroom…
Marion recently posted..North America Road Trip – CANADA &amp USA X-ing

Dianne ChowNovember 25th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

My favorite memory is going to a tapas bar in Barcelona and just literally ordering all the tapas I thought looked good without explanation. However, when it came to ordering the red wine I tried to ask for it in Spanish, but the bartender laughed and told me that was the wrong dialect but thought I was cute for trying and so proceeded to buy me a few glasses of wine. The Spanish people are so friendly and nice and will acknowledge tourists that actually try to speak their language and that is why Spain is one of my favorite destinations.

BonnieNovember 25th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

New York City is one of my favourite places to visit. There is so much to do and see there. It is simply amazing. The first time I went there was in 2005, and I loved it so much that I returned in 2006 for another visit.

During my second trip, I went to see the US Open Tennis tournament and I saw both the women’s and men’s finals. Loved seeing Maria Sharapova win the women’s title and also got to see a great match between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. New York rocks!

LeonaNovember 26th, 2010 at 12:01 am

hmmm… I would have to say the time my family went to Florida and got caught in Hurricane Andrew, were evacuated from the coast and spent the night sleeping on the concrete floor of a school-cum-shelter. But that wasn’t the fun part, oh no! The fun part was the day after, when we booked into the only hotel room we could find (the door blown off the hinges, water and debris strewn across the carpet and beds) and my sister and I washed our hair in a swimming pool that had a palm tree upended in it. Then we walked for miles to find a working phone, called a cab, drove through National Guard checkpoints to the airport, and caught the first flight out to Toronto. There was definitely some singing of the national anthem on that flight when it landed!

Runner-up would be the time I missed my Dublin-to-Toronto connection and had to spend 24 hours stranded in Heathrow with the worst hangover known to humanity.

Rick RakeNovember 27th, 2010 at 10:52 am

So many stories so little time: New York, Maui, France, England, Germany, Itlay, Grand Caymen. To see the smile on my wife’s face when we first landed in the Big Apple was one of those priceless moments. Broadway shows, fine dining, exquisite hotels and great friends all added to the experience.
We’ve travelled to the wineries in the Okanagan with the same degree of pleasure. We’ve dined at the Empress in Victoria, broke bread with foodies in Harrison and sipped wine in some of the most incredible places in Whistler (Cornucopia). We love travel.

Erica HargreaveNovember 28th, 2010 at 11:31 am

Hi Raul,

I think my best travel moment, was being at Sabi Sabi Game Resort in Kruger National Park with my Dad. Studying Biology at UVic at the time I made sure I was always in the front seat of our land rover on the game runs, asking our guide a thousand and one questions. One of which was why he’d gotten into guiding. His response, was that he wanted to make a difference and he saw sharing the stories of the animals in Kruger National Park, as the best way to do that. This was exactly why I was becoming a biologist.

This trip changed my life and career path. It was this trip that spurred me to move from research into working as a Naturalist, which eventually inspired me to get my teaching license and write my first television show, which in turn has brought me to where I am today, working as a storyteller. Not what I expected from the trip, but wow, I’m certainly thankful for it.

Erica Hargreave recently posted..Launch Party 10- A Vancouver Event Not to Miss and where to win tickets

AretaNovember 28th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

My favorite trip was when I traveled to China for the first time. I’m born in Canada so it was exciting for me to visit a lot of Chinese heritage places. I loved the Forbidden City, Great Wall and museums with artifacts from Imperial times. The food was great and overall it was a wonderful cultural experience.

Amy MoreauNovember 28th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

My BEST travelling memory is when we first went to visit my husbands family in Turkey!
We had a rocky journey there, almost missed two planes! When we arrived in Izmir, Turkey, we had to drive 2 and a half hours in a rainstorm!
When we arrived, it was all worth it! We saw my husbands mom and family crying and running to us. It has been years that she has not seen my husband or our children!
For the next few weeks we became part of a culture that was both welcoming and loving. We were surrounded by an amazing welcoming from neighbors, family and friends.
We swam everyday, seen ancient ruins, ate ice cream by the beach everynight, ate fresh produce from the local markets and embraced every moment with the family we rarely see (besides photos)
I think its so nice that my children got to experience the beauty of their father’s birth country. The simplicity of the way of life, the beauty of the sea, and so much beautiful family all around us!
We have albums full of pictures and hearts full of love and fond memories!

AlissaNovember 29th, 2010 at 11:27 am

My best traveling memory would have to be from traveling to Malaga, Spain this summer. Instead of staying in a hotel, my friend and I stayed with a friend who was living with some locals, so we got the real Malaga experience! We stayed away from the super touristy spots and really got to know the city well. I fell in love with Spain and will definitely be going back!

GregNovember 29th, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Best travelling memory. My combined 7 trips to Hawaii with my family. So many stories from them all.

JenNovember 29th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

It’s impossible to pick a “best” or “favourite” travel moment, but here’s one that stands out for me:

We had taken a trip to South Korea to visit my sister-in-law who was teaching English to military officer students at the time. It was nearing the end of their term, and we joined them for a BBQ/Bonfire one night. We’d tried learning some Korean, and fueled by Soju and shenanigans began trying to read the Korean labels on the cans, bottles and packages lying around.

The students completely burst into laughter, and one said “I FINALLY understand why Hannah (my SIL) laughs at us sometimes when we’re trying to pronounce English words – if they sound as silly as your Korean words, that must be HILARIOUS!”

It was a lot of fun, and a cool reminder that no matter where in the world you go, we’re all mostly the same :)

(And incidentally, MAN would this ever make a nice getaway next year – as new parents I’m sure we’ll need it!)

XingNovember 29th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

My favorite trip was a road trip with my girlfriend along the Oregon coast and down to California. We really the beauty of the coastal cities in Oregon. We drove along the California coast all the way the San Francisco. It was amazing to drive over the Golden Gate bridge. Afterwards, we went to Napa Valley where we visited wineries. It was fun doing the wine tasting! We then drove on I-5 back to Vancouver! This was our 7 day trip.

KanNovember 29th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I really enjoyed visiting New York City last year. My family and I went to Ground Zero and it was amazing to see this place in person. We also got to see Time Square and its beauty is truly at night with all the lights. Central Park was great, but not as nice as Vancouver’s Stanley Park in my opinion. We also got to go to Washington DC and see the White House! I think that the White House is much bigger on tv than in person. We also got to see Washington Monument and went to see the Hope Diamond in the Smithsonian. We also went to Niagara Falls. The thunderous sound of the falls still resonate in my mind!

ChrisNovember 29th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

When I was 12 I did an unaccompanied minor flight across Canada (from BC to Newfoundland) to hang out with my family for a while. The highlight wasn’t actually the trip itself – it was spending 3 hours in Toronto airport in the middle of the night in the “kids only” room playing Super Mario Brothers. I beat it 3 times!

PaulineNovember 29th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Three weeks ago, I returned to my hometown in Hong Kong for the first time in 30 years. I was so amazed by the changes that have happened over this period of time. There are so many tall buildings – no wonder it is called a concrete jungle! I was most emotional when I visited my father’s gravesite since I had not been there for so long. Also, I got to visit my old schoolmates and we had some good laughs over dinner. I am grateful for my husband who took me on this trip and my daughter who contributed to the cost!

MarcNovember 29th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

My best travel experience has been 4 yrs in a row in the old town of PV Mexico. I love the city the ppl and best of all its beach with the full cocktail service plus after beach spa services :)

KarinNovember 29th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I will never forget a moment in Corfu, in the fall of 1997.

My friend Jim had lost his wife of 30 years to bone cancer. It was the year after she died. She had been an elementary school teacher, an environmental educator, and a birder. She loved hummingbirds.

The last trip they ever made together was to Crete. The only place I’ve ever wanted to visit in my life was Crete. So, we both had this soulful connection to the Mediterranean. However, for emotional reasons, Jim couldn’t return there, so we decided to journey to Corfu, each for our own reasons.

So the moment …. we are on this deserted beach, in the middle of October, post tourist season and not a soul around. There is literally no one. I am sitting by myself on the sand, taking in the peaceful view. Jim is standing farther out in the water, maybe 50 feet away, looking out to the horizon.

Suddenly he turns around and waves, with this great big grin, and excitedly calls out: “I just saw a hummingbird! It flew right past me!” And then puts his hand on his chest, and from the shore, I can see him exhale, like a giant weight had lifted.

I felt very privileged to witness this, and silently thanked nature for sending the spirit of his wife, in the form of a hummingbird.

… I must say, all of these stories by your readers are so lovely! So many deserving folks. I don’t know how you would pick (random draw perhaps?) Thank you for the opportunity to share. I’ve never told anyone this story before.

Cadi JordanNovember 29th, 2010 at 10:55 pm

My best travel story was 8 yrs ago when I travelled to Costa Rica to work with a Team just outside of Limon. In the jungle. I’ll be honest and say that I did not expect the poverty that I saw in a country so lush and rich with vegetation and wildlife… Inclusive of spiders, snakes, lizards and frogs!

Our team had medical and dental professionals and we travelled to a few small villages to work with the children and families to provide medical and dental care.

These people were a good reminder of how to be despite our circumstances and how rich we truly are here in Canada! That trip lit a little fire under me to do more… And hopefully one day make trips like this as a family! I hope at an already young age, my kids are learning about the joy that comes from giving!

MarkNovember 29th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Last year, I took a 6000 mile, one-month long driving road trip from Austin, Texas to Nova Scotia and back. I had never done a long road trip like that before and was concerned about all the driving by myself (at least until I got to Nova Scotia) but was really excited to give it a go. It was a great trip for me – I am from the east coast of the US with family and friends scattered from NC to NY so I was able to reconnect with many old friends I had not seen in many, many years which was only one of many great reasons for a trip like this.

I also got to meet new people and make new friends in Maine and had a wonderful time photographing Acadia NP and throughout Nova Scotia. Two friends from Austin flew up and I met them in Halifax and we spent 10 days enjoying the fishing villages, Cape Breton Trail, NS Wineries and all that the area had to offer.

Was a great experience and I recommend anyone to take a slower trip and just enjoy the time with friends and family (and no airports!)

Jessica AdamsonNovember 30th, 2010 at 11:40 am

It was backpacking through Europe. I was the first of my family on either side to be able to do it. It was amazing. I went with two of my best friends for 3 months and it was one of the best times of my life.

I loved being on trains, I learned to love the delays and problems we got into because they made good stories later. AND I got to meet two heroes of mine while over there. I met Kenneth Branagh (who I have adored for years) and Mads Mikkelsen. <3

Sean MilesNovember 30th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I had just gotten my first car and my friends and I decided to go on an impromptu road trip. We traveled to Merritt and camped near there and then returned by way of the Fraser Canyon. It was an amazing trip full of pitfalls (lost all 4 hubcaps and blew a tire) and great times.

I think the feeling of the freedom of being able to do what we wanted was what made it such a memorable trip. Oh to be young again!

Bill TaylorNovember 30th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

When I was in Skopje, Macedonia in 2002, as a guest for a film festival. I, very stupidly, made the mistake of giving a gypsy kid a dollar. Next thing I knew, 5, and then 10, and then 15 kids were at my feet wanting money! Soon, they were rifling through my pockets, and soon, I was running away, 15 gypsy kids running after me. Luckily, they had a bouncer at my hotel where I was staying, and he chased them all off.

DarkoNovember 30th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

One of my favorite travel moments happened few years ago in Egypt. We met a guide who took us for a tour of the desert on his horses and we arranged to meet with him again the following morning. We started off from Giza at 5 am and reached the pyramids while it was still dark. He got our horses to gallop through the sand (apparently they have a great night vision) and we rode past the Great Pyramids while million stars shone above us. Magical and solitary moment that is rare in such a touristy place

DoritaNovember 30th, 2010 at 6:38 pm

All my trips have been memorable, for different reasons.
But the one I will always cherish will be the trip I shared with my daughter to Italy.
It wasn’t a long trip but we really enjoyed every minute of it, right from the airport to the hotel to walking down the streets of Rome.
But we forgot about time difference,jetlag and after a few hours my walking and talking started to slow down, my mind was blurred…T run for a bottle of water, we sat down for a bit and walked back to the hotel to take a nap that ended up being a loooooong one.
The next day we were all rested and the fun began.
Italy is beautiful,the people, the food, their music, everything…but what I enjoyed the most was my daughter sharing it with me, it was her idea to come to celebrate together a “BIG B’day” of mine.
Loved it and I am ready for another one with, maybe the Thompson- Okanagan Region could be our next place to visit?? We would love to try some wines ;)

JustinneNovember 30th, 2010 at 8:29 pm

My best travel story is going alone to a city where everything was unknown to me.

When I was 17 (Gr. 12), I joined Encounters with Canada ( It’s a program that invites Canadian youth to Ottawa, ON where we get to learn more about the country, meet Canadian leaders, experience the bi-lingual lifestyle. This was my first time going on a trip alone, and I was seated in the front row of my West Jet flight. I cried because I was so scared and didn’t know what to expect. I was excited for sure, but it was just something new to me. In the end, I was able to prove my independence to myself and to my parents, that I can actually get my toes wet and still be okay at the end of it. I was able to visit the Parliament, gained a lot of friends (Facebook requests skyrocketed!), practiced my French, and explored the city with the rest of the group (200+)!

Now, I cannot wait to explore more of the world, because I know I can, and experience definitely is the best teacher.

Thanks, Raul.
Justinne recently posted..Agency or In-House

Celeste WoodmanDecember 1st, 2010 at 11:20 am

My best trip was my last trip with my grandmother she flew us to Maui and our family spend an amazing week with her before she past away not long after.

MaryDecember 1st, 2010 at 1:51 pm

My best trip is usually the last one I’ve been on. This September I spent three weeks in Europe – Munich, Germany, Bolzano, Italy and Venice. I knew I was going to love Venice and Bolzano, which is in the Italian Alps. The big surprise was Munich. I only went there because of a great flight but I was totally amazed by what a vibrant and liveable city Munich is – a fabulous old city centre, lots of great food (and beer), lots of green space and easy access to Austria, Italy and the rest of Germany.

Ryan MooneyDecember 2nd, 2010 at 10:04 am

Theresa and I are going to the Mayan Riviera for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks. We’ve never been on a vacation alone together, so it’s very exciting for both of us. I assume it will be my best vacation of all time! :) We’re staying at a five star, all inclusive resort and it will be a welcome relief to let other people take care for us for a while :)

AllisonDecember 2nd, 2010 at 11:28 am

My best and worst travel story is LIVING in JFK airport for nearly three days in early July, after getting stuck flying standby from Miami to Halifax (due to visa permits). An airline check-in person scolded me for not having sufficient funds to go and spend a few nights in NYC at $300 a night as I pleaded for her to send me back to Miami (where I was living).

In the end, we made it to Halifax (flying on a 40 seater) and were received with a lobster dinner party – it was my husband’s first time eating lobster. He couldn’t believe he had a whole one to himself!

LisaDecember 2nd, 2010 at 11:36 am

I hopped on the public bus outside the Victoria Airport. I don’t know if it was my nerves or the huge hockey bag containing my entire life I was struggling to carry on board, but a dreadlock dude in the back smile at me, “first year?” he asked. I nodded. It was not only my first time on Vancouver Island, it was my first time in BC, and the first time travelling solo. Victoria would be my home for the next four years. He shoved my bag on the rack. “Hi, I’m Tom, fith year,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s my victory lap!” He asked why I decided to go across the country to attend UVic. “The brochure had surfers on the cover,” I said. He laughed and told me you can’t surf in Victoria but told me about his stories Tofino. Before I knew it the shiny UVic sign was passing by the window.

In all the adventures I have been on and all the places in the world I have been, this is my favourite travel moment. Because this is when I needed a friend the most.

JoseDecember 2nd, 2010 at 12:27 pm

My best travel story has to be when I went to France w/ my family, wife and 9 month old son. First stop was Paris. We were in awe of how beautiful Paris was from the buildings, art, people, culture. And the food was to die for.

Our favourite day was when we went to the Louvre. We toured the museum, rode the ferris wheel then bought some bread and wine and ended the day with a picnic at the garden.

Then we headed to Nice. Touring small towns and walking the beach was a fun experience. It was a lot more laid back compared to Paris but it was nice to have that mix during our vacation.

NicholasPRDecember 2nd, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I have had many memorable travel stories, but one similar to yours.

After graduating college for the first time I went on a trip to Peru. One highlight was hiking the Inca trail and seeing Machu-Pichu. The night before we began the hike My Crohns condition flaired up. I was hopeful that it might just be a mild reaction to some food I had eaten that night.

The next morning I decided that the flair-up might pass, so I decided to start the multi-day hike. That night the Crohns flair-up got a bit worse, but It wasn’t bad enough I could not hike, I thought. I did not turn back to base camp with one of the tour leaders on my trip. I decided to push on. Which might not have been a great decision because that day my flair-up got considerablly worse. I was lagging behind the rest of the people on the tour as we hiked high into higher elevations.

Eventually I got so sick that I asked the local tour guide to see if I could be trasported out from the trail and mountains. The only way outwas was by helicopter. She dispatched the parks first aid attendants, who came to see how bad I was. They again said the only way out was by helicopter. I would have to hike to the launch pad, a few hours away. I slowly put one foot in front of another and walked on till I reached the launch pad. All the way the medical team members accompanying me found natural plants alongside the trail for me to ingest.

Eventually we reached the launch pad. It was very cloudy and raining with a low fog line. I was told I would have to wait until the sun came out for the helicopter to land. The local tour guide and I waited by the pad for a few hours as I quietly groaned as th pain i felt in my abdominal region got worse.

After a few hours, I knew that I would be unlikely that I was going to be medicated out anytime soon, And the thought of going to a Peruvian hospital (not knowing what they are like) terrified me.

The local tour guide informed me that it was only a few hours hike to our nights camping spot and the next day was only a few hours or half day hike to Matchu-Pichu and then the Hike was over and soon I would be in a large city with medical and pharmaceutical care.

I had a crucial decision to make. Hike on or stay and wait, possibly many hours, for the helicopter to arrive. I thought long and hard and decided to hike the rest of the days trail. My choose was slowly hike while in excruciating pain, along with other side effects I will not go into as they are kind of gross, or wait an undetermined amount of time for the medi-helicopter.

I decided to move on to the nights base camp. I could not see how things could get worse. For many reasons This was a great decision. I got to see machu-pichu at sunrise, which is one of the most beautiful site in the world. I also came to realize that I can overcome anything. No obstacle too great. I also know how that I can push though any physical limitations I might have because of my Crohns and arthritis conditions.

The story gets even more interesting as the last leg of my trip, or hike, the medical personal that were accompanying me disappeared suddenly and in their place were two armed soldiers. They were quite polite, but said that if I died or got really sick its not the states fault and if i kicked up a fuss, they would make sure to eliminate that fuss quickly. This made me kind of worried. and rightly so. But tensions were quickly eased as unknowing lee to me I was wearing a T-shirt I had got when I was enrolled in the Canadian Armed forces basic training. So when I took of the sweater I was wearing, The t-sity underneath displayed an silhouette of an army soldier with a rifle and other militaristic pictures and emblems. The two Peruvian soldier just started to laugh. A big tough soldier like me (hardly) reduced to nothing from a little (not really little, more like HUGE) hike in the Andes Mountains. Tensions eased.

Now that is my most memorable holiday story.

Kye GraceDecember 2nd, 2010 at 12:36 pm

2001. Myself and 3 other guys travelled to New Zealand to race in their National Mountain Bike series in the downhill category. Suffice to day having only 5 races in 9 weeks, there was plenty of other shenanigans.

Most importantly though are the people we met and spent time with. Of all the travelling I have done over the years for both cycling and skiing I never came across people who made you feel the way others are supposed to make each other feel.

Often Canadians are noted for being laid back and welcoming…and we are. But I will tell you that those 9 weeks assured there is a country that takes to a notch higher.

As I was 25 and all kinds of wild there are some amazing and hilarious stories…alas I am now 36 and in a position where those days may not reflect well upon me! ;-)

But catch me over a beer and hour to kill and I’ll share the best ones for sure!

NicholasPRDecember 2nd, 2010 at 1:11 pm

That should have been t-shirt, not t-sity. OH MY!

MaryAnneDecember 2nd, 2010 at 5:37 pm

I think it was probably getting caught on a beach in Mexico with a boy, when I was 18. We were being naughty and got caugh by the Mexican polce! We had to give him all our money not to be arrested. It was a long walk back to the hotel that night, let me tell ya.

SusanDecember 2nd, 2010 at 6:11 pm

My best travel memory, coincidentally, was Christmas dinner during a vacation to Thailand many years ago when I was only 16 years old. Though not by any means wealthy, my grandmother is very generous and treated all of her children, their spouses and her grandchildren (12 of us in total!), to this very memorable trip. Christmas dinner was held in a meeting room of a small, Thai run hotel were were at that also happened to be the only Jewish hotel in all of Bangkok. (Long story how we ended up there; nobody in my family is Jewish – Grandma though is a practicing Catholic). A few days before Christmas day, Grandma placed her order for the meal, and, with her gift for gab, cheerfully embarked on a long explanation of the significance of Christmas to the good-natured Thai staff. They (the staff) ended up preparing the best Christmas dinner I have ever had; a fully authentic Thai spread with noodles, fresh fish and wonderfully fragrant and spicy sauces. The decorations however, were the most memorable. You can imagine our shock and amusement when first walking into the room and experiencing the “Christmas decor” which consisted of numerous lively and very colourful, “Happy Birthday to Jesus Christ” signs and decorations spanning the table and hanging off the ceiling and walls! It was by far the best (and funniest) Christmas dinner I’ve ever had!

neal yonsonDecember 2nd, 2010 at 6:16 pm

My girlfriend surprised me with a trip to the Thompson-Okanagan after she won it on Hummingbird604′s blog! WOO!

Jill KenneyDecember 2nd, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Best Travel Story:
I had been living in Kuching on the island of Borneo, with my boyfriend, when we got invited to our first social event. It was an expat event called a Hash. A Hash is where you run through the jungle following a trail of toilet paper, yelling ‘on on’ with a bunch of Brits, and then chug beer afterwards. The Hash was actually quite fun, we were stoked to have met some friends, so when we got invited to the ‘after party’, we quickly agreed. We had the address…ish…so when we got to the right neighbourhood and saw a guy hauling flats of beer into a house, we just assumed that was the party. I was wearing running shorts and t-shirt and absolutely covered in mud. I didn’t bring a change of clothes, but the crowd at the Hash didn’t seem too picky so I wasn’t concerned with my attire. My boyfriend did have a change of clothes so he changed in the car, while I chased into the party after the beer.
I entered the house and it was awesome! Grand piano, white leather couches, and a really nice butler at the door. He saw me, smiled and then directed me to the outdoor patio where he said there was food. Excellent, I was hungry from the run so I eagerly followed his directions to the patio. As soon as I got onto the patio I began to realize that something is off. But living in a totally different country I chalked it up to just being in a different place, and having a different experience.
Once I got onto the patio, I thought to myself: ‘I didn’t realize how many Malay men were at the Hash …and WOW do they ever dress up for Hash after party.’ Before I could think, I was ushered to an empty seat and offered peanuts and a Sprite. Everyone was staring at me smiling and nodding their heads politely, so I sipped my Sprite and ate a handful of peanuts. I was about to grad another handful of peanuts when all of a sudden all 20+ men at the table jumped onto their feet and this VERY decorated man in uniform came through the patio doors, while everyone applauded. That is when ‘WRONG EVENT’ rang out loud and clear and I slowly stood up and walked out off the patio, and then ran back to the car. My boyfriend was doubled over laughing trying to say that he saw the Diplomatic Entourage pull up and thought I would realize and come out…might be one reason he is not my husband now!
Anyways lots of laughs over that one.

KatherineDecember 3rd, 2010 at 8:25 am

My best travel story actually spans about six months. In my third year of Uni, I was given the opportunity to do a semester abroad .. in Helsinki, Finland!

Those six months there made me who I am today, as cheesy as that sounds. It opened my eyes up to life outside of Vancouver and I met international people with whom I remain friends today. I was fortunate to live with a Polish girl, a Belgian girl and an Icelandic girl. I can proudly say that I’ve now been to all 3 of those countries and experienced them from a local perspective. I am so lucky to have this!

I not only learned another aspect of my craft while in Finland, I made some memories and friends. That was five years ago and without those six months, I may have never gotten the travel bug and may have never learned how to let go and live :)

JewelsDecember 3rd, 2010 at 8:35 am

I haven’t done a lot of travelling, but the small journeys I have taken include a four day work trip to San Juan, Argentina; 7 days in St. John’s, NFLD; constant mini trips to Reno, Nevada; 6 months living at Copper Point, Yukon; family visits to Arizona and California; being a tourist through Egypt and London, but my best travel story is the first time I went travelling by myself, for myself.

I booked my ticket to Waikiki, Ohau, Hawaii, in January 2007 and was on a plane 4 weeks later for a 10 day romantic vacation for one. I stayed 6 nights in a hostel and 3 nights in a hotel.

On the plane I literally had a moment where I thought I was going to burst with excitement. I had finally to take care of me and go on my own adventure. I spent my time wisely, reading a book on the beach, visiting the farmer’s market, seeing the memorial at Pearl Harbour and climbing Diamond Head. I met interesting people staying in the hostel and some whom I keep in contact to this day.

It was the first trip by myself. A romantic trip for one. I realized, while standing at the top of Diamond Head looking out into the never ending Pacific Ocean, that I wanted to see the world. And even though by myself I can have all the great adventures I could want. Nothing beats sharing it with someone. Three years later I have found someone to love and who loves me. I am now looking forward to creating a “best travel story” adventure with them.

JackieDecember 3rd, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Anyone who is an identical twin can relate to the ‘twintimacy’ of having someone know what you’re thinking, how you are feeling, and such, without even having to talk to them. My sister and I share that special bond and had spent all 22 years of our life together. Summer camps and trips with family to Osoyoos, Hawaii and California were all experienced together. So, when the time came for us to spread our wings at the age of 22, we both decided to go on a trip that included bible school and a mission trip. I headed to Hawaii, New Zealand, and Fiji, and my sister headed to Australia and East Timor. We were apart for 6 months, the longest ever seperation. While we were apart, we made friends that only knew each of us as individuals, not as a pair, which was exhilerating. We were never confused for one another. However, we also missed each other a lot and when I found out my sister was ill in Australia, I was sad I could not be there. She eventually came home to Vancouver and was in the hospital. I flew home from Hawaii, quite concerned. By the time I got home she was home from the hospital and seemed to be doing better. As I took out the gift that I had given her from my travels, a colourful tank top which said ‘Sistah’, she began to cry. At first I kind of wondered what that was about, but I soon knew right away. She went upstairs to retrieve her bag, and pulled out the exact same tank top, bought from a surf shop in Australia. In both cases, they were the only shirt left on the rack! I guess while we both experienced a lot of wonderful things while travelling, we both realized that we were never far from each other’s hearts. We are both 32 now, and I would love to travel together with my sister to the Okanagan, a place we enjoyed so much as children. Together!

RaulDecember 4th, 2010 at 9:19 am

UPDATE – I wish I had had 62 packages to give away, unfortunately I only had one. And the lucky winner of this package is (randomly drawn winner from all entries into the contest) Amy Moureau, in Edmonton (AB). Congratulations!

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