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CMH...MORE BODACIOUS THAN EVER

  
  
  

THE ULTIMATE GIRLFRIEND GETAWAY IN THE MOUNTAINS OF WESTERN CANADA

CMH Bodacious in the Bugaboos

Bodacious = audacious, gutsy, remarkable, sexy, outstanding -- the synonyms are numerous.  CMH Summer Adventures offers women nothing less with its aptly named Bodacious Trips.  These inspirational and awe-inspiring ladies-only trips, geared toward all fitness levels – from strolling amid wildflowers to invigorating hiking to challenging mountain adventures and everything in between -- are a celebration of all ages and stages and have become one of CMH’s most popular offerings.  Four trips are on offer in 2013 and all include thrilling helicopter flights to breathtaking mountaintop locations surrounded by glaciers, mountain lakes and meadows ablaze with wildflowers; guided alpine hiking; luxury lodge accommodation; and great food and wine (not to mention a healthy dose of laughter). 

As a bonus this year, CMH is offering an early booking incentive of a special Bodacious lululemon Run: Swiftly Tech ½ zip pullover (retail value CAD $88) to those who sign up before February 28. 

Travellers can choose from the following trips in 2013:

The Classic: This annual women’s retreat in the Bugaboos is a tried and true combination of Heli-Hiking with professional mountain guides and invigorating yoga.  Join host Ellen Slaughter and yoga instructor Angie Smith from August 17 – 20, or host Mimi Harris and yoga instructor Lindsey Anderson from August 20 – 23.  Come and see what started the Bodacious phenomenon.

Stretch ’n Stir: Yoga instructor Julie Sagan, owner of Bikram Yoga West Edmonton, and her sister Chef Sandra Davis, owner of The Saucy Gourmet catering business in Edmonton, are back to host this vivacious trip comprised of yoga and hands-on culinary fun in the Bobbie Burns mountain range from August 17 – 20.  The perfect trip for those who enjoy a little more “flexibility” – and even more food -- with their getaway.

Cork and Core:  This program, hosted by friends Margo Sutter and Cindy Pocza, who have worked in the fitness industry for more than 20 years and both participated in the 2007 Ironman Canada, offers opportunities to take on some of the adventure elements available at the Bobbie Burns, followed by core strength training and wine tasting each evening – another passion Margo and Cindy share and love to impart to others.  Taking place at the Bobbie Burns from August 23 – 26.

Speaking from CMH’s headquarters in Banff, Alberta, Ellen Slaughter, the vision behind the first Bodacious trip and still one of its leaders, said “Watching women come together with girlfriends or female relatives and experience fun, mountain adventures and camaraderie, while strengthening friendships and making meaningful connections, is inspirational. These women support and encourage one another, while forming bonds that last for year and years, and it never ceases to amaze me and speaks to the majesty – and perhaps magic – of these spectacular mountains.”

For a sneak preview of what to expect on a Bodacious trip, watch this Bodacious video. To learn more or secure your space, call 800-661-0252 or email sales@cmhinc.com to reserve a Bodacious Getaway for 2013!

Photo: Three Bodacious Babes in the Bugaboos by Topher Donahue.

Erik Weihenmayer auction features CMH Summer Adventure

  
  
  

Last weekend Erik Weihenmayer, the famous blind adventurer who has summited the highest peak on each of the seven continents, held a fund-raising “Dinner in the Dark” and auction at the Hotel Madeline at Telluride’s Mountain Village in Colorado. CMH Summer Adventures generously donated an auction item, a deluxe trip for two to either the Bobbie Burns or the Bugaboos in the wilds of Western Canada during the summer of 2013.

Proceeds from the event go to support No Barriers, a non-profit organization that helps handicapped individuals, including soldiers injured in recent conflict, get out and experience life-affirming adventures ranging from skiing, to climbing, to hiking and mountain biking.

telluride Erik Weihenmayr

I attended the event to present the CMH Summer Adventure; little did I know that Dinner in the Dark with Erik would be the most powerful dining experience I’ve ever had.

To begin, we were led by our hosts, some of whom were blind themselves, into a dark room. And I mean dark. The kind of darkness where you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

Instantly, all of my trust landed squarely on the shoulder of the person in front of me. This woman, who a mintue earlier was was a total stranger, became my best friend. My hand on her shoulder became my eyes. I became aware of the texture of her shirt, of the sounds of other guests finding their tables around us, the sensation of man behind me gripping my shoulder harder as we walked slowly into the blackness of the dining room. Finding our seats went surprisingly smoothly, and soon we were all exploring the plate of savory food layed out in front of each of us.

Erik announced the menu, a selection of foods to stimulate both taste and touch. Sushi rolls, lamb chops, salad and scallops were arranged carefully on everyone’s plate. A glass of wine was within reach.

Fingers quickly became the utensil of choice and my napkin quickly became messier than my plate. I tried using my fork, but after three empty forks in a row, I went back to using my fingers.
    “I think I’m using my skirt as a napkin.” said one woman.
    “I think I’m using your skirt as a napkin too!” joked the man sitting next to her.

Dinner conversation proceeded happily, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.  After everyone had time to eat, the lights came on on slowly and we all looked around, blinking and enjoying our restored vision. A few glasses of wine had been spilled, but nobody was complaining. It was the kind of experience we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives.

“For you, that was Dinner in the Dark,” said Erik, “For me it was just dinner.”

Then he went on to give a riveting presentation of his experiences and insight into people breaking their own barriers.  Soldiers who had lost most of all their limbs exploring the wilderness, paraplegics climbing big walls, Erik climbing the Seven Summits and kayaking - all accompanied by Erik’s brilliant and humorous narration.

Perhaps it was the mood of the audience after Dinner in the Dark. Perhaps it was the spectacular setting of Telluride, Colorado. Or perhaps it was the promise of a CMH Summer Adventure giving people a chance to have a wilderness experience that is comfortable while being adventurous, remote while being accessible, and as thrilling or as relaxing as you want it to be. Whatever the reason, the CMH Summer Adventure raised more money for No Barriers than anything else on the auction list.

In the end I was struck by the feeling that mountain adventure gives each person just exactly the right experience. For Erik, it gave him a chance to live life to its fullest and help others to do the same. For guests of CMH Summer Adventures it gives them a chance to be in the heart of the wilderness without the commitment or fitness required for most remote mountain adventures.

bugaboos in the dark

Here at CMH Summer Adventures we're honored to have been invited to be a part of the No Barriers program, and excited to host the auction winners at the Bobbie Burns Lodge or the Bugaboo Lodge this coming summer.
   
Photos of Telluride, Colorado in the light, and the Bugaboos, British Columbia in the dark by Topher Donahue.

Reflections of a CMH Heli-Hiking Guide

  
  
  

My dream is to go to work.

It was early in the morning, and I had just filled my travel mug with fresh hot “Bugaboo” Kicking Horse coffee to get my day going. I walked down the stairs to the Heli-Hiking guide office and smiled as I opened the door. The sun was just beginning to come up and reflected a golden glow on the top of the Bugaboo Spires. Out the window, the glacier licked down like a tongue, inviting me to head up again into the alpine and give it a taste.licking spire resized 600

I took a seat at the CMH Bugaboos Guides desk. Large maps of what seamed like endless terrain in British Columbia spread out before me. Valleys, ravines, alpine meadows with ever changing perfect flowers, glaciers, rocks, lakes and tarns and more mountains than I could count thrilled me. I traced out new routes that I would like to go and explore, pretending as if I will be the first one to hike there, or you never know, maybe I would be.

It was time to pull out the books. Two large binders with pictures of known routes, interpretive discussions, flora and fauna to study. I had already spent days poring over these binders, thankful for the guides before me who had put it all together. It would still be another hour before the rest of the team would make it into the office. I was on my own to relish in the fact that this is my work and I could not imagine anything else better.

How did I get here? I first heard of CMH Summer Adventures from a friend and it did not take long to trade in the prairies for the Mountains. I had a lot to learn, but spending years out in the Canadian white shell, tromping my way through thick bush and enjoying the wilderness, I felt I was not too far behind. Heck, here, they even had mountains to navigate with!

Who was I kidding? I had tons to learn, and as I flipped through the binder’s pages, I felt the process was not even close to slowing down. My knowledge was increasing but not as fast as my thirst for it. Always more to understand about Grizzlies, Black Bears, Cougars, Moose, Goats, Eagles, Clarks Nutcrackers and Porcupines. Why are there so many colors of the flower Indian paint brush? How were the Bugaboo granite spires formed?

The other guides came into the office and we had our formal early morning meeting. We discussed our terrain choices for the day and wildlife concerns.  I sipped away at my second coffee, ready to fly.

Finally, we were up high on an expansive rolling ridge and out of the helicopter. The machine dipped and melted away down the side of the mountain. Instant silence.kat guiding

The guests stood in awe and listened to the fresh alpine breeze, the morning birds and pika’s saying hello. Their eyes gazed out over the ridges to the expansive horizon; peaks and blue sky as far as the eye could see. I explained our plan of where we were going to walk, pointing out some of my favorite mountains to use them as references. Smiles spread in radiance, and I took a moment to look around again myself. Seeing it through my guest’s eyes, their joy, it was like every day I was experiencing this incredible area for the first time. What a special place.

It was still early in the day and already memorable. I hike as if I am one of them, I can still not believe that this is my job.

Please join us next summer to experience for yourself why this is my dream. 

To learn more, visit www.cmhsummer.com or call our reservations office at 1.800.661.0252.

The 5 best apps for adventure travel

  
  
  

There are over a million apps out there now, but only a few are really helpful for travellers. I’ve come across a few apps - like one that strips down your smartphone to make it better to use while driving - that the world would probably be better off without.

Yet another app is for lonely travellers to get regular messages from a digital girlfriend named Mina.

There’s an app for sharing travel plans with others using social media. Another hmm, at least in my book. Travel is what I do to get away from all that - in fact, there should be an app for picking the perfect travel destinations without cellular coverage...

best travel destination

As far as travel apps that have real value, here are my top five:

Wikitude

They call this an augemented reality app. Wikitude lets you point your smart phone at things and it tells you what you’re seeing. Point it at a cityscape and Wikitude can tell you what restaurants and hotels are surrounding you. Switch to the language phrasebook in a bakery and you are presented with the words for choosing baked goods in your language of choice. Point it at your sofa and it tells you to go for a walk instead (just joking - kinda).

Pictranslator

Point your smartphone at a sign written in any of 16 different foreign languages, take a picture, and this app translates it into English. It also reads the words aloud so you can learn the language as well as understand the sign.
It appears there is not yet a version to translate London's signs into California English, Texan signs for travellers from Sidney, or any other of the many diverse English speaking regions...

Backcountry Navigator

While most smart phones have easy access to Googlemaps and other map tools, this app allows you to access the maps without a mobile data connection. Visit CMH Summer Adventures, where there is no cellular coverage, and this will tell you where you are - not that you’ll need it with an experienced guide to share more mountain secrets with you than any app will ever have.

Wine Pics and Pairings
This one allows you to scan a bar code on a bottle of wine and receive tasting notes, prices, recipes and food pairings. Probably a better app for impressing a date than responding to a text from your digital girlfriend named Mina.

Hotel Tonight
I don’t think the luxury hotel industry wants us to share this one, but this app gives you last minute deals on hotels, with discounts up to 70%. This sort of app is leading the trend towards more last minute travel planning. Why plan something expensive ahead of time when you could get the best for less at the last minute?

Anyone out there know of any other great ones? In a world with over a million apps, and counting, help out your fellow travellers and let us know your favourites...

Photo of CMH Bugaboos, a place where the only app you really need is your appetite, by Topher Donahue.

CMH Summer Adventures Welcomes Photography Enthusiasts

  
  
  

For photographers looking for spectacular locations,  CMH Summer Adventures offers access to some glorious hidden gems in Western Canada.  Pack your camera equipment, hop aboard the helicopter and our guides will take you to places alive with colour and texture where the only sound you’ll hear will be shutters snapping.

In 2013, CMH Summer Adventures offers two photography-themed trips to choose from.  Each trip is based from the luxurious Bugaboo Lodge in southeastern BC tucked into a corner of the Columbia Mountain Range.  The lodge is ideally situated to pair your stay with time spent exploring the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks (Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho) to get your camera, and eyes, attuned to the wonders and beauty of western Canada.

Photography Workshops with CMH Summer Adventures

Bugaboo Photography Workshop with John E. Marriott, Wilderness Photographer

Join acclaimed Canadian photographer John E. Marriott for an intensive three-day workshop in the Bugaboos.  John will provide instruction on how best to capture trophy shots and intimate detail of the dramatic landscape in the Bugaboos.  Photo locations will range from ridgelines to the shores of alpine lakes.

Limited to 10 photographers.          August 8-11, 2013            $3,140 Cdn

Canadian Geographic PhotoClub Bugaboo Heli-Hiking Adventure

Open to all photo enthusiasts, this three-day trip in the Bugaboos will focus on providing hikers and walkers access to spectacular landscapes for photography. No formal instruction will be provided, but time and space will be allowed in a variety of locations for photographers.  Each evening at the lodge, informal discussions will take place amongst the photographers to share tips, ask questions and show their photos from the day.  This trip is hosted by Canadian Geographic magazine’s PhotoClub, but is open to all photographers.        

Limited to 20 guests.      September 7-10, 2013                $2,640 Cdn

Each photography group will share the lodge with other Heli-Hikers, Walkers and High Flying Adventurers so travel companions who are not photographers are welcome to join these groups and spend the days hiking and walking, while the photographers focus on their art.

For more information on these or other trips with CMH Summer Adventures, contact reservations at 1.800.661.0252.

Photo: Bugaboo Group, Best Trophy Shot, John Marriott Bugaboo Photography Workshop 2012.  Photographer: Cynthia Hummel.  To see more photos from the 2012 workshop visit our online photo gallery.

Harnessing up for another, even wilder high adventure at CMH

  
  
  

This is a guest post by Mark Sissons

I never dreamed I’d be back.  Yet here I am, slipping into my climbing harness again, three summers after scaling CMH’s original “sphincter-tightening” Mount Nimbus Via Ferrata. That’s how I described reaching the needlelike summit in my original story for the Toronto Star.  Now I’m eager to be among the first to try their latest groundbreaking creation. Dubbed the wildest new adventure in North America, the Conrad Glacier Experience promises to be a thrilling, adrenaline filled day of high alpine hiking and climbing.

Conrad Glacier Extreme would be closer to the truth.

Conrad Glacier Adventure HikeAccording to Bobbie Burns area manager Bruce Howatt, his team’s latest creation isn’t a via ferrata, nor is it anything remotely like a traditional hike. It’s eight exhilarating hours of hiking, navigating wild canyons using bridges and rungs, ascending colourful rock slabs alongside serious waterfalls, ziplining over whitewater streams, traversing rock walls next to a massive glacier, and scaling dizzying patches of near vertical rock. By the time my companions and I reach our waiting chopper and set off  back to the lodge for cocktails and conversation in the hot tub, we’re grinning from sweat soaked ear to ear.

“This course certainly challenges you and takes you to places you never thought you could go,” says Bill Nevill, a dentist from the outskirts of Toronto here with his teenage son, Andrew. “There were plenty of times where I thought ‘crap, I didn’t think I could do that’. But you just focus on the next rung and where you’re going.”

Conrad Glacier Adventure Hike (2)Of course it can be hard to focus on that next rung when you’re constantly distracted by some of the most scenic wild mountain scenery imaginable.  Blue glaciers, burnt orange rock and emerald ponds are everywhere, like the one I plunged into for a bracing lunchtime dip.

“This experience is far beyond my imagination,” says Simon Gan Teow Hooi, an interior designer from Malaysia. “It’s one of those things that you just have to do at least once in your lifetime. It wasn’t easy but I always felt safe. As long as there is a clip and wire, you can take me as high as you want and it feels damn good.”

Conrad Kain, the legendary mountain guide who shares a name with the crevasse strewn glacier at the centre of today’s adventure, would have undoubtedly echoed Simon’s sentiment. In the spirit of this fearless innovator who injected such passion and imagination into the sport of mountaineering, the Bobbie Burns team has created a unique, intense and inspiring alpine experience. Some might even call it extreme.

The Conrad Glacier Adventure Hike is available each summer as a part of the Bobbie Burns High Flying Adventure.  To learn more, visit the online Conrad Glacier Adventure Hike photo gallery, contact CMH Reservations at 1.800.6610252 or visit CMH online at www.cmhsummer.com.

Photos by Bruce Howatt

5 Christmas gifts for the savvy adventure traveller

  
  
  

There are two kinds of holiday wish lists. The gifts people think you want, and the gifts you’d like to get. I learned sometime around kindergarten that those two lists do not always include the same items.

On this year’s wish list, I’ve included the kinds of gifts that my family might think an adventure traveller like myself would want - and then the harsh truth of whether or not the item would make my own wish list.

#5 Ever wish you had a little more comfortable way to work while in the airport? I sure do. The Traveler 101 from Tripad attaches to the extended arms of your suitcase or roller bag to make a handy workstation, or just sit it on your lap to support the computer.tripad

Would I include the Tripad on my wish list? Probably not. I’m a freak about travelling with the least amount of stuff necessary, to the point of making my life miserable sometimes.  I’d rather buy a coffee and sit at a table in a chair to take care of business.

#4 As a photographer, I’m a sucker for photo tools. These futuristic video sunglasses from Zion Eyez are equipped with a 720p HD video camera and three hours of memory. They can be equipped with prescription lenses, and look like just another pair of Ray Bans.video glasses

Would I include them on my wish list? Reluctantly not. The way I treat sunglasses, I’d drop them in a lake on my first day using them, but I’d sure give them a try if somebody left them under the tree with my name on them.

#3 Photo storage is an issue for every photographer, regardless of skill level. Being able to remove photos from a camera and then store and edit them without using a computer sounds pretty sweet.  Epson’s P2000 and P4000 are appealing storage devices for just such a purpose.

Photo viewer P 4000Would I include a P4000 on my wish list? Absolutely - if I wasn’t a professional photographer.  The last thing I want as a gift is something for work. Ugh. If I want one, I’ll buy my own with a tax write-off.

#2 The endless quest for the perfect cup of coffee, in all conditions, is a worthy mission. While camping, the REI French Press Mug will deliver a tasty brew anywhere beans and hot water can be found.

REI coffee press

Would I include this on my wish list? Definitely - if it came with a cute barista. But as is? Hmm. I love coffee, but usually just take black tea on adventures for the ease and simplicity.

#1 What about a gift that isn’t a material good? A slice of precious time away from the rush of life? A trip to a dream destination with an award-winning program and without too many other people? A daily experience that includes lots of fun, relaxation time, great food, just the right amount of exercise and moments I’ll never forget?

gift of experience

Would I want this dream trip to the Canadian Rockies left for me under the Christmas tree?  Without a doubt! Experiences don’t break, lose value, or clutter our lives.  Sure, nice things are, well, nice, but experiences are the ultimate gift.
 

Brian Keating adds extra fun to CMH Family Adventures

  
  
  

The mountain setting of the CMH Bobbie Burns will be the host once again for a Family Adventure with Brian Keating. Brian is a world traveller, adventurer, naturalist and anthropologist. But more importantly, he makes already amazing trips like CMH's Heli-Hiking trips become beyond what a family could imagine. Even the kids love it! Keating was incredibly popular as a presenter in the CMH Speaker Series in 2012 that we just had to invite him back.

BBluff Charge L resized 600rian inspires CMH guests in a hilarious and engaging manner. He uses a unique style of teaching that is extremely entertaining; those being taught hardly know it is happening! His presentations are made fun by using a combination of videos, pictures, media streams, and his dramatic voice. He totally captures the audience. With his story telling, Brian encourages people to be more aware of their surroundings and helps them to understand the importance of ecological integrity. His talks may range from pika's and bears to porcupines and goats to his explorations of over 50 countries on earth. Everyone will leave with fresh knowledge on how important the Columbia Mountains are to this integrity and to understand that there still are places on this earth worth preserving.

“It was contagious - to look around the room and see people being educated on nature and loving it!” Guest Robin W. commented after her tour last year at the Bobbie Burns lodge.

CMH family adventure trips allow an easy way for adults and children to come together and have the trip of a lifetime. Families often hike together on the first afternoon enjoying each others company and the sense of wonder that surrounds them in the western Canadian mountains. Over the next couple of  days, there is the option for the kids to be with CMH’s family adventure leaders. Also known as “facilitators of fun”, they will hike and play with professional guides, bringing the most of out of the environment.

Fascilatator of fun

Brian speaks about a great family memory of his own.

"I remember vividly my very first wild outdoor experience with my father, when I was just a young boy. It was such a powerful time we spent together, and yet, even though it was only a weekend, the memory has stayed with me all my life.  In my experience, watching families at the CMH lodges make such a positive impact, and bond each other like none other.  In this age of focused attention on our electronic tools, it's very exciting to see families totally involved in the 'moment', with each other, without anything but the big sky, mountain ridges, and a summer wind in their faces."

Once back at the lodge, there are many activities keeping youth busy like games and crafts, swimming or rock climbing. Parents may take part, or instead choose to relax in the spa or chat with new friends beside the fireplace.

Brian just brings another element to an already fantastic trip. He speaks with such eagerness, fully committing himself to a fantastic presentation in the evenings for all ages.

Brian comments on last seasons trip “I had an enthusiastic kids group every night on the couches right in front of me for each of my presentations, and quite honestly, the kids didn't detract but rather added to the evening by being a great 'cheering' crowd.  As usual, I kept my talks to 30 minutes, and they were fun, fast and entertaining....easy for the kids to slot into. My talks were goofy & entertaining enough for them but still entertaining for the adults. They had enough serious nature discussion to have 'substance' for everyone.”

I asked Brian how he liked the setting for his discussions. "The living room at the Bobbie Burns Lodge is the perfect setting for an after dinner presentation.  It's a classic mountain lodge setting, with the fireplace to the left of the movie screen, mountain views through the big windows, and the comfortable couches for the guests.  All this seems to open peoples minds and hearts to my stories about world travel and wildlife wonder.  It's simply the best."


bum sliding resized 600
Brian will also be joined by his adventurous partner and wife Dee, and they let me know that they are looking forward to going back to the Bobbie Burns lodge. "We so enjoy the thought of being lifted on what I call "the magic carpet"..... up into paradise.  And all this with like-minded people who simply love life.  The time we have spent at the various CMH lodges has introduced us to a select group of travellers and explorers, people who are looking to get the most out of life: people who love to laugh and learn.  Simply put, it's the 'place' and the people that we look forward to the most."      

Brian Keating and wife Dee Heli Hiking in the Bugaboos resized 600Share Brian and Dee's passion and enthusiasm for nature as you hike together in the glorious alpine throughout your holiday in July 2013. They invite you to bond with your family, question the beauty that will surround you, but again, importantly...Have fun!!  But act fast, this particular CMH Summer Adventure sold out early in 2011!

Four winter dream travel destinations for summer lovers

  
  
  

Last summer you joined us in British Columbia for a deluxe mountain vacation with great food, spectacular accommodations, and unforgettable days with reliable and comfortable helicopter access to the heart of some of the world’s most beautiful and unique scenery. Now winter is upon us, so where can you go for more summertime beauty?

The Southern Hemisphere, of course!

Sure, there are places in the Northern Hemisphere where warm temperatures will give you a break from winter weather, but the days are still short and you won’t really get complete  immersion in summer like a winter visit to the southern latitudes.

The southernmost piece of continental land on earth is one of the most legendary travel destinations in the Southern Hemisphere: Patagonia. Like the mountains CMH Summer Adventures calls home, there is nowhere else like it on earth. Also like CMH, there are great mountain lodges known for warm hospitality and unbeatable views.

trekking torres del paine

The two gold medal destinations in Patagonia are the Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile (photo above) and Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina (photo below).  Some have called the Bugaboos the Patagonia of North America, but we prefer to think of Patagonia as the Bugaboos of South America.

best photo of patagonia

For Los Glaciares, stay at Los Cerros in El Chalten, visit the glaciers of Perito Moreno where a boat ride takes you up close (but not too close) and personal with huge walls of ice hanging over - and sometimes falling into - the lake.

In Torres del Paine, the Hotel Salto Chico is undoubtedly on the short list of the world's most incredible mountain lodges. With well-established tourist infrastructure, arranging horseback rides in the area or fishing tours of the spectacular lakes is about as easy as ordering room service.

Worried about the legendary winds and ferocious weather in Patagonia? Across the Southern Ocean from the wind-whipped steppes of Patagonia lies an often overlooked wonder of natural beauty. The southeastern part of Australia, the state of Victoria, is home to plants, animals and geography that every adventure traveller should see at least once.

12 Apostles Australia

The Great Ocean Road is perhaps Victoria’s most famous destination, with the otherworldly 12 Apostles standing proud as the region’s most enduring landmark. Further inland, the Grampians Mountains and nearby “outback”, where kangaroos and koalas are more common than people, are an easy road trip from the more popular tourist destinations on the Great Ocean Road.

beach in tasmania

If you want to go off the map, so to speak, catch a catamaran ferry to the island state of Tasmania. Besides wild beaches and exotic hiking, the island’s bed and breakfasts are as friendly as visiting your mother’s house. While you're there, don't miss the seafood dining at Hobart's charismatic harbor restaurants.

Then, when you return home from a trip halfway around the world, you can appreciate North America’s most spectacular travel destinations that much more. If the Southern Hemisphere is not in the cards for this season - too far away, too expensive, too much time - winter is the ideal time of year to plan for next summer, and nothing is more comfortable than world-class adventure travel that can be experienced in a long weekend, right here in the Canadian Rockies.

Photos by Topher Donahue.

How to inspire your partner to take YOUR dream vacation

  
  
  

It’s pretty easy to score an average holiday and hardly worth stressing your relationship over. But how do you convince your partner to take a really spectacular holiday, the kind you’ll remember for the rest of your lives as the best vacation ever?

It seems like it should be easy, if the vacation is really that good, but quite often something gets in the way. You’re not on the same page. It's just not their cup of tea. You’re having a bit of power struggle. One of you has ulterior motives that you’re not sharing. There are a million little reasons why it’s difficult to agree on a destination.

western canada vacations

So here are 10 tips to help you get your partner inspired for YOUR dream vacation:

  1. Take the trip they want to do first. If you're in a long-term relationship, there’s probably nothing more powerful than simply agreeing to do exactly what your partner wants to do this year, and do it with enthusiasm. Sacrifice this year, and next year you’ll find it a lot easier to get them on board with your dream trip.
  2. Do all the research before pitching the idea. If you have all the answers, it’s a lot easier to field your partner’s questions in a way that will be accurate and supportive of their concerns. Let them know you really want to do it by learning as much as you can, not by trying to argue them into it.
  3. Buy them a gift that is suitable or inspiring for the trip you have in mind. A camera. A book on the area you want to visit. New specialized clothing in their favourite colour.
  4. Have dinner with friends who have done the trip you want to do. Steer the conversation towards the trip, then let your friends convince your partner - not you.
  5. Forgo a few luxuries and then let your partner know you’d rather spend the money on your dream trip. Even if you have unlimited funds, showing that your dream trip ranks higher than other material possessions and experiences is a great way to demonstrate how important it is to you.
  6. Hang some photos of your dream destination on the wall in your study and office. They say a photo is worth a thousand words, but in this case, a photo might be worth a thousand arguments.
  7. Make it easy for your partner to say yes. Set up the logistics so they have as few excuses as possible by researching travel plans to fit their schedule and sleep habits, renewing their passport for them and taking care of all the details.
  8. Befriend their colleagues and friends so you can get them on your team to help convince your partner to take your dream trip.
  9. Research arrangements for kids and pets before even talking to your partner about it. These kinds of things can be the most difficult, and if you already take care of the things your partner cares most about, it makes it much easier for them to go for it.
  10. Don’t just buy the airline ticket. There’s nothing more stressful than suddenly being faced with a trip you have to take. There may be exceptions to this if your relationship thrives on big surprises, or if it is your partner’s dream trip too,but in most cases this is not a good start to a dream trip.

Any other good suggestions for getting your partner inspired for your dream trip?

Photos of a dream trip to Western Canada by Topher Donahue.

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