A Christmas Gift & The Rules

This year my sister got me possibly the coolest gift that I have recieved in a long time. Those who know me understand how important maps are to my life. Along with a good photo, they are in my opinion a fanstistic form of art. So this past season my sister got me a map that allows you to scratch off the places you have been to.

Scratch Map gift from my sister! Best Gift Ever!

Now the question is, What determines where I have been? Some countries are small enough that visiting one or two major cities would be enough to say you have been there but in the large countries such as Canada this just is not the case. So in order to know where I should scratch there needs to be some rules.

In order to determine if I have visited a place I need to have spent a night there or have traveled through it via some land based transportation (on my motorbike trip to Alaska I rode across Manitoba twice without staying the night…. I think I can still count Manitoba on my list of visited places though!). For countries large enough to show up on a world map with separate provinces or states entire countries can not be crossed off. This means that while I have been to the USA many times there are still some states I need to go to still as well as some provinces and territories in Canada. The final rule in this process is that there is no time frame that restricts this, in other words my travels as a kid with my parents count.

And so, today I have spent an amazing time scratching off the places I have been. Each place has a story based on fond memories. And what have I learnt? Well beating my sister in our race to get to all 7 continents first will be a challenge and second is that for a person that some think travels a lot there is way too little of the world that I have been.

If you are interested in your own map check them out at


Merry Christmas

In about 2 or 3 hours I will be heading out to my parents place. Christmas is the one time of year that my parents, sister and I make sure that we spend more than just a few hours together. I only live about 30 minutes drive from my parents house but none the less I will spend the next three days over at their house.

Christmas day is a very quiet affair for my family. My parents moved independantly away from their parents in England which means that our family time consisted of just the 4 of us. In the morning there is a special breakfast followed by opening of presents and at around noon the Queen’s speach comes on and no matter what stage of the day we pause to hear what she has to say. Finally at mid afternoon we sit down to turkey dinner after which we struggle to stay awake by watching movies.

I have never spent a Christmas away from my parents and sister. It is a time of very consistent routine and tradition for us and the idea that this will change during my trip is something that may throw me a curve when it happens. Maybe I will just have to plan a flight home mid trip when the time comes.

Anyways, I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas celebrating with friends and family full of the routines, traditions and fun that comes with this time of year.