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A Canada road trip, a guidebook giveaway and the chance to win a free hotel stay (up to $250 value)!

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Most of you know that I’ve had a rough couple of months and I thought it is time for an update on how I am doing and my upcoming travel plans!

Up next: A Canada Road Trip

As this article goes live, I am on my way to Vancouver, Canada, for a quick getaway to British Columbia! I haven’t been to Canada since 2011, and never made it to the West Coast, so I am excited to finally get to know that part of the country.

My friend Rease and were invited by Coast Hotels to road trip through Western Canada on the Great Coast Road Trip, exploring Vancouver and Whistler and some places in between. The road trip is part of a month long interactive road trip campaign hosted by Coast Hotels that takes travelers across Canada and down the U.S West Coast. In total, the car will visit 21 cities spanning 2,650 miles (but we are only driving a fraction of it).

If you have any recommendation for British Columbia, and Vancouver specifically, please share them in the comments below!

great coast road trip car
Look out for this car to win a road trip!

Win your own road trip!

If you happen to be in Western Canada or on the West Coast of the U.S. and spot the road trip car somewhere during the #greatcoastroadtrip, make sure to snap a picture of it and share it via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag and you could win your very own road trip along one of the legs of the road trip. This could be the leg we’re driving (Vancouver – Whistler – Tsawwassen), Seattle – Portland in the U.S., or from Yellowknife to Whitehorse in Canada’s beautiful Yukon Territory, to name just a few. You can find more details on the contest and the prizes here.

I am still undecided if I will head down to Seattle from Vancouver after the trip or fly straight back to New York City, and leave Seattle for a whole other trip which would include Portland and a few other places in the Pacific North West.

canada flowers

You can follow my Canadian adventure live on Instagram #GreatCoastRoadTrip!

The past few weeks…

The past few weeks have certainly not been easy, but I feel like I am making good progress. Coming to New York was the right decision. On my first morning I went for a long run along the East River and while I was soaking up the spring scents around me, I already felt a bit lighter emotionally. I just love this city and there’s at least one moment every day when I try to figure out how I’ll be able to spend more than just a couple of months here – every year! (I’ve got some ideas though…)

My daily runs have been helping me to clear my mind, to finally come to terms with the breakup and to come to some important realizations that help me in my healing process (that’s a whole post in itself though). I made a pact with myself to be social every day, even on those days when I feel like I don’t want to see anyone at all. No more hiding under the covers – I am in New York after all. Luckily it’s not difficult to find something to cheer me up here when I feel a wave of sadness coming over me. It is not always easy to go out and meet new people when you’re feeling like you’re not your best self, but I have never come home thinking ‘I wish I hadn’t gone out’… I am always glad I went.

I’ve also been taking a lot of time for myself, allowing me to figure out what I really want for the future. Life threw me not one, but two curve balls, and I haven’t struggled like this ever before. I promised myself to do at least one thing every day that makes me happy… and so far, I’ve been doing pretty well. I ran my first 10k (a shorter race that I had wanted to do, but the Brooklyn Half, the race of my choice, had been sold out already), I stuffed myself with my favorite NY pizza, I had too much overpriced coffee (but so worth it!), I explored Bushwick’s street art scene, I walked on a carpet of cherry blossoms, I had friends show me around their neighborhoods, danced the night away, went to see stand-up comedy, picnicked in the Botanical Gardens, visited my favorite markets, went to the movie theater, saw plenty of beautiful sunsets over the Hudson River (a perk of living on the Upper West Side!), and made plans to see a Broadway show next month.

New York City May 2014

As for the website, I am still getting used to running it by myself and am taking my time with it. I am slowly finding my way as a solo Globetrottergirl and am in the process of making concrete travel plans for rest of the year (stay tuned, I will reveal them soon!).

Win a free hotel stay!

There is a new hotel booking website on my radar – Travelpony.com. I’ve been using them quite a few times now and am impressed with their ability to offer absolutely mind blowing hotel rates! I used the site to find cheap rooms in Berlin in March and when I planned my trip to New York, when I realized that I hadn’t booked a place to stay just six days before my departure date – of course all the good rates and best places to stay were gone by then. Travelpony.com, however, managed to score a deal at a Marriott that HALF the price of what all the other booking websites were quoting! I double checked all the major booking websites and every single one showed me the price per night that Travelpony.com showed me for two nights. All you have to do to get these superb rates is mention Travelpony.com in your social media network, i.e. on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Since I am so blown away by the prices the site finds, I am happy to mention them on social media – who doesn’t like to brag about an amazing bargain?!

travelpony tell your networksI don’t know how they get these crazy cheap rates, but I used Travelpony again for my Canada trip and because I love the site so much, I am excited to share the chance to win a hotel stay worth up to $250 through Travelpony.com! They are not giving away just one hotel stay, but one winner is drawn every Friday throughout June! So make sure to enter several times to increase your chances to win 🙂

Here are the details for this awesome contest:

 

Where in the World is TravelPony
Enter to win a free hotel stay by guessing where in the world the TravelPony is!
While The Big Travel Sites spend Billions on TV commercials and traditional advertising, TravelPony offers way better prices on hotels when you share them with your friends. Just tell one of your social networks about TravelPony.com and save hundreds on your next trip!

TravelPony will be drawing a winner for a free hotel stay (up to $250 in value) every Friday in June 2014! Just guess where TravelPony is in the photo below to enter. Plus – tell us where you heard about this contest and you’ll receive an extra entry!

Where is TravelPony?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Guidebook giveaway!

I also teamed up with DK’s Eyewitness Travel Guides again – I was already raving about their guidebooks last year when we used their Santiago guidebook to explore Chile’s capital and am currently using their updated New York City guidebook to find some spots I haven’t been to yet. I will write more about the hidden gems I found through the book shortly (hint: there are quite a few!), but for now, I’d like to give away a package of four of their updated guidebooks:  

Italy • Paris • London • New York City

DK Eyewitness Guides 2014 I am tempted to enter the giveaway myself since all four are places I know I will visit over and over again and I would love to explore them with an DK’s Eyewitness Travel Guide in my pocket, knowing that it will add to the experience. What I loved about their Santiago Guide was how visual it was, with color photography and beautiful 3D maps, ideas for walks and generally just a much more attractive and shiny design than your average guidebook. When I read somewhere that I should check out Church So-and-so, I am usually just bored, but seeing a stunning photo of said church in a DK’s Eyewitness Travel Guide will definitely get me interested. The revised versions of the guidebooks also include city guides with day trip itineraries as well as itineraries based on the length of stay or a certain theme, updated restaurant and hotel listings, detailed street maps (even pointing out the best viewing points!). The only thing you have to do is leave a comment and tell me which one of those places you’d really like to visit – a winner will be randomly chosen via Random.org and he or she will receive all four guidebooks! DK Eyewitness New York City If you’d like to enter the giveaway, leave a comment with the guidebook of your choice by 15 June 2014 (note: the winner will receive all four guidebooks).

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31 Comments

  1. Great giveaway! I’d use the London guidebook because I’m moving there in August, very excited about it!!

    1. Pauline – didn’t make it to Seattle this time around but still had a great time 🙂 Thanks so much for all your recommendations!

  2. I’d really love to visit Italy, especially Rome–and luckily after my study abroad program this summer I’ll get the opportunity to do just that!

    1. It was awesome that I got to meet you, even for such a short time 🙂 Hope your road trip was as cool as ours, and that I’ll bump into you again soon!

  3. Dani, I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing well. Looking forward to hearing about your Vancouver adventures and beyond. Thank you for sharing your honest feelings about everything you’ve been through. You’re brave to put it all out there.

  4. Italy!! I used to have these reoccurring dreams, where I was flying over small villages and cities in Italy. I was amazed to see photos later on of certain cities and realize I had seen them before!! Something draws him there, the history, the beauty, the food, the love of the land..the wine..I hope to go there next year so this book would be the beginning of a dream come true!! (I’m also hoping to go to Paris and parts of France and Scotland in the same trip!!)- Irene

  5. So sorry to hear about your struggles and heartbreak. Geepers! More power to you! British Columbia…I’ve lived there and have visited many, many times…I have family there and my very best friend.
    Needless to say…the Gulf Islands are spectacular…I frequent the only island “off the grid” Lasqueti Island..a real slice of alternative and artistic lives are found there. If you want to go, let me know..I can hook you up with my pal.
    Also a MUST is the west coast of Vancouver Island…Long Beach and north of Tofino. I know artists there too. Otherwise, Sunshine Coast, Grouse Mountain, Kitsilano for great dining and shopping..Granville Market, Stanely Park if you are staying city bound. Great running spots there too!
    More power to you dear!! xo

    1. Hi Irene, so great to hear from you. I didn’t make it to Vancouver Island, but I am already planning a return trip to the area. Everybody’s raving about Tofino. Can’t wait to go back and explore more – the places I’ve seen were so beautiful. Hope you’re doing well and you’ll have to keep me updated on your Europe travel plans – might be there next summer, too!

  6. Love Vancouver. Haven’t been there in a few years, but definitely check out Granville Island Market and check out the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. If you’re going to Victoria (on Vancouver Island) there’s a nice raw vegan restaurant downtown called Cafe Bliss.

    1. Hi Alouise, made it to Granville Island Market – such a cool place! No time for the Chinese Garden though 🙁 I guess next time – everybody’s raving about Vancouver Island.. that alone is a reason to return 🙂

  7. I would love to have the Italy guidebook. I ve been to all these places, but I feel that I haven’t explored Italy properly, mostly its villages and historic towns.

    Great Dani that you are going to west Canada ! I also would love to get there. I have been to East Canada and I it leave wanting to see more of the country.
    Cheers.

  8. I’m thinking of planning a surprise trip to Paris for my husband’s 40th birthday, so I would love a guidebook for there.

  9. Dani, I’m so sorry about your grandma. Just read all about her story. Can’t imagine feeling all that loss in such a short period of time. Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Sending you rainbow thoughts. Your Canada trip sounds fantastic. I also like your NW adventure Plan B. You must see Seattle and Portland. Both lovely cities. So is the Oregon coast. Not to mention, we are here and will show you all the sites. Well, we look forward to reading about your adventures. Take care.

    1. Christine – thanks so much. I am still struggling with the loss of my grandma every day. The rainbow thoughts helped 🙂 I decided to skip Seattle on this trip because I really wanted to combine it with seeing more of the region, esp Oregon and Portland, it it was just not the right time. I’ll be back in the PNW soon! Loved the little taste I got for it 🙂

  10. Hey if you end up in Portland, let me know! I’m happy to show you around…I know a few bloggers who can vouch I am not crazy…some would say I am a good tour guide, even. 🙂

    As for Vancouver, there are too many cool things to recommend, but my favorites are Granville Island and Stanley Park.

    1. Heather – I was hoping to make it there but I just didn’t have enough time.. I hate only being able to spend a few days in a city and get a taste of it instead a good idea of how the city works – so I decided to save it for another trip. I’ll definitely be in touch! Would love to have you show me around. Thanks so much again for the offer! I might also pick your brains about the Camino Portuguese at some point 😉

      1. Happy to chat about the Camino anytime! If you’re looking for a long term stay, I recommend August and September in Portland. The weather is the best and there’s lots of stuff going on. Dave from What’s Dave Doing has spent a bit of time here and could offer some suggestions as well.

        Either way, consider this an open offer to show you around and talk all things Camino whenever you get to town. 🙂 I’m working for Airbnb now, so I can also assist with awesome listings if you’re looking for a place to stay too….

  11. Cool giveaway. I’d really like to visit Italy because I haven’t been there yet! It sounds like there’s a wide variety of great places to explore.

  12. ITALY! Of the places I’ve travelled to thus far, Rome has to be my favourite city. I’m planning another trip to explore more of what Italy has to offer outside of this fabulous city & can’t even decide where to start!?!?! 🙂

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