Mia goes M.I.A. Ancient Rome

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 3.37.17 PMWhen I walked down the streets of Rome, I couldn’t help but imagine the history of the ancient world that once called these roads home. More than 2,000 years ago Ancient Rome was one of the most powerful cities in the world. A city controlled by emperors, watched over by gods, protected by gladiators. Taking a walk through the streets of modern day Rome is almost like taking a walk back in time.

In a city with so much history there is a lesson to learn at every turn and so I decided to join a City Wonders tour to discover as much of these ancient wonders as possible.

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The tour took me through the walls of the Vatican, where the art of Michelangelo truly takes your breath away. Shivers were sent down my spine as I looked up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The colours and detail that were painted thousands of years ago remain intact and vibrant to this day.

I then walked from the Vatican to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world and another true masterpiece. The floors covered in beautiful marble, the walls decorated with priceless sculptures, and there in the centre the most astounding chapel. The ceiling here is so high it can actual fit the entire Statue of Liberty. It is a sacred place, where only the Pope himself is allowed to pray because below these floors lies the burial site of Peter himself.

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I then traveled even further back in time as I stepped into the Colosseum walls. The massive stadium which housed 65,000 Romans took only eight years to build. While most of the building has been lost in time, it was once a grand stadium decorated with life size statues and covered in marble seats. Where gladiators would fight beasts and crowds would watch in amazement. As a sports journalist trying to picture this time was interesting for me, since this is where my industry technically started although I do not believe they had any sideline reporters back then.

The tour finished in the Roman Forum. I walked through what was left of the grand palace, past the homes of gods, and even laid eyes upon what was left of the memorial marking the spot where Julius Caesar was cremated. It was during this part of the tour that my guide mentioned something truly amazing, that this is just the part of the ancient world left on the surface.

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“Rome is like a lasagna”. Those were his exact words. Instead of tearing down the old, they would just build the new on top, meaning that the majority of ancient Rome is still hidden below the surface. In fact, only 6% of Rome has been excavated and a whole world still waiting to be discovered.

With new homes and buildings on the surface, excavating the area has become a lot harder, but with archaeological advancements there is hope that more of the past will be uncovered.

As I walked back to my hotel I couldn’t help but wonder what was laying underneath me. Was it beautiful sculptures? Was it pieces of the ancient palaces? Was it stunning marble floors from old homes? The truth is, these questions may never be answered. The truth is the ancient past of Rome may remain in the past forever.

 

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Mia Goes M.I.A: How to survive a trip with your significant other

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You hear it a million times over; “traveling with your significant other will make or break your relationship.” Well I know I heard it a million times, hence why I was petrified when my partners and I recently took our first trip together to Mexico earlier this year. Was this trip going to break us? Were we going to fall apart traveling together? Would this be the end to our lovey dovey romance?

Sure, traveling together can be a challenge especially in newer relationships. I mean a recent study showed that almost 23% of Canadians are willing to throw in the towel if they aren’t on the same page as their partner when it comes to travel habits. How crazy is that??? Poor planning can lead to arguments, disagreeing on excursions can lead to arguments, basically there are so many things that can lead to a darn argument.

However, somehow, not only did we survive our first trip together as a couple but we grew stronger from it. We communicated and connected in a way I never thought possible. Since our trip we moved in together and are planning our next big vacation. Our trip did effect our relationship, but only in the sense it made me confident in it.

This trip topped all expectations. We swam with Whale Sharks, Paddle boarded in the Ocean, road ATV’s into the sunset. It was truly unforgettable, and now I am here to help you make sure your trip with your partner doesn’t break but rather strengthens the relationship.

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Choose a Destination you are both interested in

When we were looking at places to visit, we both thought Mexico for New Year’s would be an easy destination, the only problem, we had both been to Mexico so many times. He wasn’t interested in going back to the Mayan Rivera while I couldn’t handle another trip to Cancun. We decided to try somewhere neither one of us had been before, Los Cabos.

It was amazing to be able to experience this brand new location together. We had a chance to make this trip our own and explore new adventures, beaches, and restaurants as a couple.

It is important to pick a destination that both partners want to see so that neither one of you feel you are making a compromise from the get go, and that you can be excited to cross something off the bucket list together.

Plan to avoid Misunderstandings

If both you and your partner are on the same page, then you can easily avoid arguments. For example, I like a lot of adventure, while my boyfriend likes quiet down time. Before even leaving for our trip we came up with some excursions we wanted to do together, but also made sure there was time for us to lay by the pool.

If you are both on the same page before you even step foot on the plane, train, or automobile, then you know what each other expects and have a game plan to make sure the trip is smooth sailing.

Budget

This one can always be a little tricky, especially for your first trip together, but budgeting is important. My boyfriend makes more money than I do therefore it was important to set a budget that I was comfortable with. We didn’t fly direct to save some money on getting there, and we left the whale shark excursion out because it would be too much for me (he later surprised me for my birthday and it was magical). At no point did I feel any pressure to live outside of my means which was really important to make sure I could have a relaxing and fun getaway.

It is important that you set a budget so that you are both comfortable during the vacation. If one partner earns a lot more than the other, and insists on staying in a fancier hotel, or doing an activity the other cannot afford, then it should be their responsibility to cover those extra costs. Whether we like it or not money is always going to be a concern in any relationship so it is important to address this ahead of your vacation together.

Going beyond just an overall trip budget, try and set a daily budget that both parties are comfortable with so that money doesn’t have to be a concern on the trip.

Try it first

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Our first trip together was a 5 day all-inclusive to Mexico. It was the perfect amount of time to spend on our first trip without going crazy spending every second together. Basically what I am saying is dip your toes in before you jump. Let your first trip together be a weekend or a week, not a 2-week getaway. That was you can get used to each other’s travel patterns.

Try New Things

A first trip together is exciting as is, but if you get to try something neither one of you have done before, that is a true memory you can hold on to forever. My partner and I actually tried a few new things together, like RZR tours and swimming with whale sharks. We have these incredible memories that we get to share with friends and family, but also with ourselves.

Trying new things together helps strengthen the relationship. If you are scared, at least you have your partners by your side. If you don’t think you can do it, you have encouragement of someone else. You get to be each other’s rock, and that will only help your relationship long after the trip ends.

Plan some alone time

I know that my partner likes some quiet time, while I can be a little loud. It was important for us to make sure we each had some time to unwind without the other breathing down our neck. I wasn’t offended when he asked if he could take a nap alone, I just worked on my tan by the pool.

If you aren’t used to a lot of time together, you need to ease into this process or else it can be overwhelming. Also if you have interests that you don’t share, don’t be afraid to do an activity on your own. You may regret it and actually resent your partner if you miss out on an opportunity.

Compromise

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I know I just said make sure you do everything you want to do, but the truth is, this trip is about the two of you. If one partner loves water activities and the other loves hiking, make sure you are coming to a compromise to make sure both of you get to do something you enjoy.

For example, my partner really wanted to visit the Arch in Cabo and I really wanted to try an outdoor activity, instead of taking a boat like he had wanted, we went by paddle boards. We both made slight compromises but at the end of the day we both got to see what we wanted and we got to do it together.

I am excited to say not only did we survive our first trip together, but we have endless adventures coming up this summer including a 2- week vacation to Greece. If you are willing to work together as a team, be there for one another, but also listen and understand when a partner needs space I know you can survive your fist trip together.

I promise traveling together isn’t the doom and gloom some people make it out to be. For us it was sunshine and butterflies (cheesy I know).

I would love for you to share some travel tips of your own when it comes to traveling with your partner for the first time! Make sure to leave a comment below,

xo

Mia

Mia goes M.I.A: Why you should visit Canada this Summer Part 1

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Because Canada is so large, it was hard to write just one blog on it, and so I have broken it down into two parts. Today I am going to share with you why you should visit Canada this summer, and tomorrow I will tell you where you should visit ( since this blog will convince you that you have to visit). Full disclosure I am also stealing (kindly using) a lot of my dad’s photography in this blog since he just knows how to capture the beauty of this country a lot better than me.

Why should you visit Canada this summer?

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With summer right around the corner, it is time to start planning those summer vacations and there is plenty of reason why Canada should be making your summer to do list. From the country’s natural beauty and outdoor activities, to cosmopolitan cities the Country has something for everyone. This year is actually the perfect year to make your way down to Canada because the country will be celebrating it’s 150th birthday meaning plenty of events and celebrations country wide.

Affordability

Especially right now the Canadian dollar is struggling making it a much more affordable destination spot than the US. Even Toronto which is considered the priciest Canadian city only sits at number 82 out of 100 most expensive cities. You won’t blow your budget on this trip.

The Natural Beauty

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To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in style, all of the national parks are offering free entry. That means you can explore the countries natural wonders without dropping a penny. In fact did you know Canada has more coastlines than any other country. It is also full of mountain ranges, lakes, forests, arctic, and even small deserts. Canada’s diverse landscapes are full of surprise that are waiting to be discovered.

Cool Cities

Nature isn’t your thing? Don’t worry, Canada has some of the biggest cities in the world to visit and each one has plenty of cool and unique spots to check out. Like the business of New York? Take a trip to Toronto. A fan of french cuisine and culture? Make a stop in Montreal. Want to find out why Vancouver was named the best city to live in the world? Now is your chance. Each city has its own diverse cuisine, culture, and atmosphere perfect to discover this summer.

Celebration

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As I have already mentioned, Canada will be celebrating a big milestone this year, its 150th birthday. With the big birthday comes big celebrations nation-wide. Get ready for incredible firework displays, parties, and entertainment across the country this summer.

Canada is Safe

Canadians are considered some of the nicest people in the world ( I am not just saying that because I am Canadian it is a fact) and along with a really nice population, it is also considered very safe. Canada is considered one of the safest countries in the world, and police crime has been on the decline for more than two decades

Now that you know why you should visit Canada, the next question is where. With so much to offer it could be difficult to pin point the exact location to put on the list. So I am here to help with a few ideas of what each province has to offer, plus must check out parks since they are free and all, but like I mentioned, that is just going to have to wait until tomorrow.

Until then, happy exploring my friends,

xo

Mia

 

Mia Goes M.I.A: Swimming with Whale Sharks

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Background 

It had always been a dream of mine to swim with sharks. I had always been addicted to shark week and fascinated by these amazing creatures. Never in a million years however did I think I would get an opportunity as unique as the one I got for my birthday this year.

I had a chance to celebrate the big 2-8 I got the surprise of a life time while in Cabo San Lucas. I was told I was going to go swimming with sharks, but not just any sharks, whale sharks.

The whale shark is a slow moving filter feeding carpet shark and basically the largest known fish species in the world. So large that the largest confirmed whale shark is a whooping 41.5ft long.

From early winter until late spring a large number of teenage whale sharks can be found feeding in the rich waters of the Sea of Cortez in the Bay of La Paz. It was the perfect time of year to have a date with these gentle sea giants.

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The Experience 

The full day excursion started with a two-hour bus ride from Las Cabos to La Paz. Once there, our group was split into a smaller size and headed out to see. You travel in a small group because too many people in the water at once can scare the whale sharks and force them to disappear into the depths of the water.

Because of the murky water conditions, we were told it would be a little tough to spot the sharks, but to keep our eyes peeled for brown spots in the water.

About 30 minutes into our boat ride, we saw divers in the water. My heart was pounding; the whale sharks had been spotted.

We were told that the boat would get ahead of the whale sharks and then we would be told when to dive underwater. We were also told to swim as fast as we can because despite their size, they can sure move.

I literally thought my heart was going to pound right through my chest when the told me to get into position. Nerves, excitement, anticipation, all of the emotions were going through my head. “1,2,3… go” our tour guide counted down. I froze for a minute before he yelled go again.

The murky water made it hard to see anything, but all of a sudden this giant spotted fish swims right underneath me. I was so mesmerized by it’s size and beauty that I completely forgot the swimming aspect. I just waited there, frozen, amazed.

I got back on the boat and we all just sat there talking about the experience together until our tour guide told us we would get another chance to get in the water with these creatures. This time I was determined to stay with them as long as possible.

I went down as soon as I was told to and kept my eyes peeled. Out of nowhere I saw his face coming right at me, as if he was going to hit me head on. I was so close I could reach out and touch him!  I tried to keep up, but swimming at top speed I was able to catch the end of his tale flying past me. Our tour guide didn’t lie when he said they were fast.

What I Learned 

Swimming with whale sharks was truly the most amazing experience of my life. I got to be so close to these incredible animals. I got to see them in their natural habitat. I got to appreciate their size and their way of life. I got to appreciate the world that is beneath us.  and I highly recommend it for anyone who has an adventure side in them.

We went with Cabo Adventure and the entire experience was unforgettable. They guarantee a sighting or a free trip. The tour guys were knowledgable and fun. I would highly recommend them

What are some of your favourite adventures? I would love to hear them and maybe add them to my own bucket lis! Share them below.

Until we go M.I.A again

Xo

Mia