• Visiting with Myself

    There are times I come back here and re-read the various posts and things I wrote back when I was a completely different person. There are things that make me cringe, opinions I would never have now, and experiences now-me would definitely label as mistakes. But life is funny that way. It has a habit of propelling us forward, no matter what plans we may have for ourselves. There are things in my life now I never saw coming, both good and bad. But would I change it?

  • Homemade Herbal Simple Syrups

    Sometimes you just want to liven up your morning coffee with something different! In Jordan, coffee is often flavoured with cardamom pods, usually ground right along with the beans. There’s a really satisfying balance between the two flavours, with the cardamom adding just a hint of an herbal caramel flavour. Not too long ago, Starbucks offered a drink called the Vanilla Spice Latte. I tried it on a whim and there it was, that beautiful cardamom flavour. They quickly discontinued it, so I figured FINE, I’ll just make my own!

  • Homemade Cherry Liqueur

    Every summer, I keep a close eye on my mother’s Nanking cherry trees. When the bright red berries have finally soaked up enough sun, I pick the trees clean and either eat them all or force my mother confect them into Nanking jelly. This year, there weren’t many cherries on offer. The trees had been struggling to grow and when I had picked what was suitable, there was only about a cup of cherries in a bowl. The local magpies nattered at me the whole time, clearly claiming ownership of the tree’s fruits, but I’m a people and I wanted them, even if there were only a few. After listening…

  • Defining “Home”

    Several weeks ago, I was at a market selling my photographs. I was talking with a woman from another table, and we were happy to find out that we both hailed from Montreal. “We’re practically neighbours!” she exclaimed. She told me she moved to Calgary to be with her children, who had been living here for several years. She’s only been here for two years, herself. And then she asked me, “Does it ever start to feel like home?”

  • Cold Brew Coffee

    It’s been really hot in Calgary and as a caffeine addict, this really puts a damper on my morning latte. Of course, brewing a latte and then adding ice is an option, but I always find this ends up tasting so watered down. Recently, Starbucks has been offering cold-brewed coffee in its shops, but I really don’t feel like paying $5 a cup when I know it’s something I can make myself. A friend of Stephen’s had been making his own, so I asked for the recipe. Fellow Calgarian blog Dinner with Julie has a great recipe for cold-brewed coffee that I’ve really been enjoying, so I thought I’d share…

  • Fear of Travel

    As I sat on the bus heading downtown, something about the way the “Stop Requested” lights shone made me feel like I was somewhere else. Like I was travelling somewhere foreign. And I thought about how some people will never travel. They either don’t have the resources or the desire to leave their home cities. It must feel just too scary to leave, to venture somewhere where people do things differently. It’s a survival instinct. Our brains are wired to ask, “How will I find what I need to feel comfortable when I get there?”

  • Traditional Bedouin Medicine

    It was early in the morning, the light from the sun was just starting to crest over the hill. I was standing on some burlap bags, which had been carefully placed along the edges of the squares to keep the balks from caving in. Below me, a mix of students and veterans were digging away, hauling guffah1 after guffah out to the sift. Watching others work in the early morning isn’t exactly conducive to staying awake, especially when it comes with a pang of jealousy. I really love to dig and sitting on the sidelines due to a wrist injury doesn’t exactly sit well with me. I’m sure this thought…

  • Looking for Lille

    In my quest to photograph as many ghost towns as I can find, I kept coming across notes about a little gem called Lille, Alberta. Things looked great for Lille when it was first established in 1901. Within a few years, there were about 20 residences on the townsite, along with all the amenities like a hotel, doctor’s office, and a school. The coal mining industry in the area led to the construction of an expansive system of coke ovens, specially made in Belgium. Each brick was stamped with a unique number, shipped, and the ovens were reconstructed brick-by-brick in Lille sometime in 1903-1904.

  • The End of Solo Travel

    As I’m about to leave Bulgaria and head back home, I have something to confess: I’m done with solo travel. It’s not that it hasn’t been fun or that I haven’t learned a lot from it, it’s just that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. If you spend any time reading some of the popular travel blogs, you’ll find articles about how solo travel is great and that really, it’s the only way to travel. Many of these articles will tell you you’re missing out on a new culture by going with a friend, since you don’t get to completely immerse yourself in a culture.