Sarawak and the Annah Rais Longhouse Village

Sarawak, Malaysia

The landscape that lays before you as you drive inland through Sarawak.

The island of Borneo is made up of three different countries, Indonesia, Brunei, and Eastern Malaysia. It’s the third largest island in the world and home to thick jungle forests, tribal community groups, and some of the rarest plant and animal species in the world.

Many people often overlook Eastern Malaysia, instead focusing on the peninsular side of the country where skyscrapers, modern transportation and density reign supreme. But a trip over to Borneo will give you a different perspective of the country, one that is a little more rugged, chalk-full of nature and adventure, and steeped in rich cultural history.

Eastern Malaysia is split between two states, Sabah in the north and Sarawak in the south, and is the same size as Peninsular Malaysia. Locals joke that there are 4 seasons here; wet, very wet, hot, and very hot. After my recent trip to Kuching in Sarawak, I’d have to agree. Read more »

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Video: Spirit of Malaysia

Malaysia

It was only a month ago that I was back in one of my favourite countries, Malaysia. Before I left, I wrote about how I was excited to be returning but a bit anxious about how my return visit would be – if my previous notions would change in some way.

After a long 30-hour travel day, I arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Maybe it was the jetlag, but I was overcome with this surreal feeling as our bus made its way to our hotel. As we drove through the city, my memory was jogged by familiar buildings and street names. And once we arrived at our hotel, all of my senses were on overdrive. The noise of the traffic, the humidity that made everything stick together, and that familiar smell in the air; an earthy, smoky, burning aroma that still to this day I’m not sure what it is. Incense?

Those first few moments in the city were like an out-of-body experience. I was so far away from home yet there was a feeling of comfortableness and familiarity with my surroundings. Read more »

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The Black and White Photo Challenge

Black-and-White-Challenge

Every few months or so, one of those internet chain-mail-like challenges gets passed around. You know the ones I’m talking about. Someone posts something on a particular topic, they in turn nominate someone to do the same, and it gets passed on and on and on. About a week ago I was nominated for one of these challenges but this time it was on Instagram and I got really excited. Read more »

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Photo Essay: Fall in Toronto’s High Park

Autumn

The setting sun peaks through the trees and illuminates a carpet of leaves.

One of the best things about living in Toronto is that the city gets to experience all 4 seasons. They’re fairly even in length, though most Torontonians will likely complain that our winters are too long and our summers are too short. There may be some truth in that.

While I love summer and could easily get used to 20+ degree weather year-round, my favourite season is actually fall. I love the crispness in the air, throwing on a light jacket and scarf, preparing more soups and stews in the kitchen, cocooning myself under my duvet, and going apple picking. But what I look forward to most about fall is the performance mother nature puts on as the trees begin to loose their leaves.

Fall is the most photogenic season. Read more »

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October Travel Plans

Up-in-the-Air

For the past few weeks I’ve been sitting on some incredibly exciting news. At first I tried not to think much of it. When I was first contacted, it was actually 1 week away from my wedding and I had too many other things on the go. But I also didn’t want to get too attached to something that wasn’t a sure bet.

As each day passed, I would think about it for a brief moment inducing a flurry of butterflies taking flight in my stomach. My mind would start playing out future, potential scenarios and I couldn’t help but smile and do a little happy dance at the prospect of this possibility taking shape.

And now it has… Read more »

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Photo Essay: London’s Street Art

Street Art London

Along Sclater Street is an array of street art on an old brick wall, including this piece by the Broken Fingaz Crew.

In my first post about my trip to London, I talked about the pubs, parks and plaques around the city and how they play a prominent role in the everyday lives of Londoners. But there’s another side of the city that has contributed to shaping its cultural and artistic qualities and that’s the street art scene. Noted as one of the best cities around the world for street art, I couldn’t wait to explore it. Read more »

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NeighBEERhood Crawl With Amsterdam Brewery, Kensington Market

Craft Beer

The Natural Blonde by Amsterdam Brewery.

Over the past few years, the craft beer scene in Toronto has exploded. Just take a walk through the beer aisles at the LCBO and you’ll see how much shelf-space is dedicated to craft beer. As more and more beer lovers actively seek out unique brews for their individual palates, the industry is responding. And responding in amazing fashion.

One of the first truly craft breweries in Toronto is Amsterdam Brewery. Since 1986, they’ve been part of the revolution we see in the beer scene today. Using only traditional brewing methods, their beers are brewed fresh daily and include 6 year-round brews and a variety of seasonal offerings. In 2013, Amsterdam Brewery opened a new brew house right on the water’s edge of Lake Ontario. Merging the food and beer experience under one roof, it’s one of the best spots in the city to sit back with some friends on a hot summer’s day.

This summer, Amsterdam Brewery has partnered up with Toronto’s premier walking tour experience company, Tour Guys, for a series of “Neighbeerhood Crawls”. Part pub-crawl, part walking-tour, it’s an immersive experience for guests that incorporates Amsterdam beers, great local bars, delicious local food, graffiti sightseeing and historical revelations. Read more »

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Understanding British Slang

British Slang

We may speak the same language, have the same woman on our currency, and both include ‘u’ in our spellings of colour, flavour and neighbour. But when it comes to slang and idioms, Canadians and Brits might as well be speaking foreign languages.

Before my trip to London, my understanding of British slang was quite minimal. It consisted of “bloody hell”, “bollocks”, and “wanker”, all the classiest of terms for this girl. I even started to use the phrase “havin a laff aint’cha?” after watching Ricky Gervais’ short-lived but highly entertaining television series ‘Extras’. But I was curious to learn more (and maybe ones that would make my mother proud) so one afternoon I was hanging out with my friends Alison, Mitch, and Hayley who schooled me in the art of British slang and idioms. Read more »

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Parks, Pubs and Plaques: A First-Timer’s Visit to London

London, England

My favourite spot in London was walking up Regent Street from Piccadilly Circus.

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to visit London. I mean it has everything I love in a big city; great public transportation, multiculturalism, interesting architecture, street art, distinct neighbourhoods, green spaces, and an array of food choices.

I was really excited to visit London. Hunky British accents aside, England is the country that brought us The Beatles and The Spice Girls, popularized fish and chips and perfected the true ‘pub experience’, where the Royal Family plays a prominent role in the country, and literary legends such as Sherlock Holmes and James Bond still appear in pop culture today. Oh, and I almost forgot Harry Potter and those iconic red double-decker buses!

Now I can finally say I’ve jumped the ‘pond’! Read more »

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Henry’s Camera Giveaway!

HenrysCamera

It’s no secret that I love photography and videography. Just take a quick peak around the site or check out my Instagram feed and you’ll see what I mean. I’m always looking for ways to improve my craft and push the creativity levels.

Every year for my birthday I always treat myself to a new ‘toy’ and my go-to place is Henry’s, Canada’s largest photographic and digital retailer. The staff are extremely knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.

Last fall I was eyeing the 50mm 1.4f Canon lens to add to my kit. I wasn’t sure how I would like it, so I decided to rent it from Henry’s for a photoshoot I was doing with some friends. That’s right, Henry’s rents out a lot of their photography equipment, including lenses, DLSR and Video cameras, lighting, backgrounds, and even scanners and projectors. For a weekend rental it only set me back $22.50, a small investment to see whether or not it was worth purchasing the lens. Playing around with the lens for the weekend was exactly what I needed and later that week I ended up purchasing the lens.

Read more »

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