this post is sponsored by Bayer. to make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

it’s no secret i love to travel. when the opportunity presents itself, i’ll be on a plane, train or bus headed to somewhere new. between five weeks in europe and a spontaneous week in mexico, i know the first step to a successful journey is a well-packed bag.

whether you are travelling to escape the cold or visiting family during the holidays, forgetting something important can put a damper on the fun. that’s why i have put together this handy list of items you may have forgotten to pack.

documents: keep your passport, itinerary, booking reference codes and insurance forms close! preferably in your purse or carry on, since a misplaced bag at the airport could leave you stranded. make sure to back up your documents with an online copy. use a secure place like Google Drive that can be accessed from anywhere in the world – and i give both digital and hard copies to my dad.

comfortable shoes: no matter what you’re travelling for, you can bet you will be doing lots of walking; in five weeks i covered over 310km across europe. make sure to pack a comfy pair of shoes that will keep you going all day. sometimes you have to put fashion aside, but your feet will thank you.

RestoraLAX: traveler’s constipation is very common because of the lack of physical movement while in transit, stress and change in diet. RestoraLAX is an easy way to restore your body’s natural rhythm. you can easily dissolve RestoraLAX into your favourite hot or cold drink – there’s no grit or taste!

insulated water bottle: not only will you save money by bringing your own water along, but it’s also a helpful reminder to stay hydrated. it’s always important, but this is especially important if you are going somewhere hot or will be doing lots of activities.

earphones: other people’s noise is one of my least favourite things. that’s why i always make sure to pack my favourite pair of earphones. you can zone-out and enjoy yourself on the journey, chill-out on the beach or even block out the commotion of other travelers during the holidays.

allergy meds: you’ve probably packed your vitamins, deodorant, glasses and toothbrush, but did you pack your allergy medication? going to a different climate or environment can expose you to potential allergens and make for an unpleasant trip. Claritin Rapid Dissolve gives you 24-hour, non-drowsy allergy symptom relief, so you can enjoy every second of your vacation. these dissolve instantly on your tongue so you don’t need water. from the ocean to the mountains, you can take it anywhere!

i hope you enjoy your next vacation and don’t forget to show me the photos!


this post is sponsored by Bayer. to make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

eating: schnitzel and strudel and croissants and cake. i’d like to say i’m missing healthy meals, but that just hasn’t caught up with me yet.

drinking: anything with elderflower in it.

wanting: time to stop so this trip doesn’t need to be over mid-month.

looking: out the windows at the Alps.

enjoying: absolutely everything.

crushing: on all the cute euro boys my grandma told me i wasn’t allowed to talk to.

waiting: on making future plans. i’m just living in the moment.

wondering: how i’ll survive without a pastry a day.

needing: a good recipe for apple strudel.

hoping: to continue this feeling of joy and happiness, bringing it into every part of life.

smelling: rain.

wearing: #allblackeverything and my cute new beret.

knowing: this is all temporary, and we need to enjoy it as much as we can when we can.

watching: German-dubbed television and all the sappy movies on netflix.

listening: to old Austrian couples speak.

noticing: love.

opening: myself up.

planning: the next great adventure. sister and i have already had the “hypothetically, where would you want to go to next?” talk.

giggling: over inside jokes with sister.

feeling: happy.

in april of 2017, i had to say goodbye to my little, beloved old car. she, Mabel to her close friends, treated me well. i had the option of buying a new vehicle, but knowing i needed to save for the incredible five-week trip i’m currently on in europe, i opted against shelling out a huge chunk of money on a car.

while i still think i made the right decision (this trip is what dreams are made of) it was no secret that i felt pretty lost without my own vehicle. while i navigated the public transit system in calgary like a pro, it’s no replacement for the freedom of being able to get behind the wheel any time to go any place. i was limited and on someone else’s schedule: two things i dislike.

thankfully, i’ve been friends with Ford Canada for years now. with an ever-changing lineup of new vehicles, i’ve slid behind the wheel of some of the newest cars and SUVs, loaded with all the bells and whistles. it’s an incredible luxury for me, knowing the bus and 17-year-old-car were what i was comparing it to.

in august, i got to take the 2018 Ford EcoSport for a week, and it allowed me to do a few of my favourite calgary and area things, on my own time.

inner-city fun

the first day i got the EcoSport, Jess and i took it for a spin in the city. our original plans were to go to Hayden Block for dinner – some of the best barbecue outside of the southern US – but when you have a new SUV crossover at your disposal, you need to make more plans that include driving.

after dinner, we drove to Made by Marcus for ice cream, then to the crescent heights lookout for a (very smoky) view, and finally to chinatown to stalk out some graffiti i had been trying to find for a while.

Jess played DJ since she has incredible taste in music, and having SiriusXM made it that much easier because we didn’t have to navigate around commercial breaks. we basically jammed to 90s R&B and hip-hop; is there anything better? the compact nature of the EcoSport made it so simple to park all over the city, and i never had to worry about parallel parking it, due to the backup camera and thinner body.

community-minded

having the EcoSport gave me the ability to donate clothing and home goods to a few charities around the city.

i had been wanting to donate to Making Changes Association for a few years now, but never seems to have enough to make a contribution i saw as worthy – now, i know even one thing helps. Making Changes is a vibrant organization that provides relevant programs and services to empower women in transition, giving them confidence as they establish themselves in their communities, among their peers, neighbours, and a new life. their Walk-In Closet provides women with a selection of work attire for their transition into the workplace and My Best Friend’s Closet provides teenage girls from low-income homes (ages 12-18) with a broad selection of fashionable and functional clothing to meet their school and recreational needs. my dresses, blouses, jeans, purses, lulus, heels, and accessories are now in much better homes, being used and appreciated by women across calgary.

the EcoSport’s trunk fit over six bags of clothing, and the unique swing gate with hideaway latch swings out like a regular car door for an added touch of style. it made the truck simple to open and close, too. my 5’5-self didn’t have to reach up on my tippy toes to try and close a back hatch.

miles of mountains

if i’m out on a joyride, you’ll find me in the mountains. in the week that i had the Ford Canada EcoSport, i was out in the rockies twice. the smoky haze of the wildfires and rain kept many tourists away, and gave Aaron and i the opportunity to search for the most picturesque backdrops. we pulled over a few times along the winding mountain roads to play in the rain and snap photos. the heated front seats took the chill out of us – enough so we could go get ice cream! let’s be honest, it would have never been too cold for ice cream.

i was sad to hand the keys back. small in size but big in capability, the Ford EcoSport was an SUV i could see myself driving longterm.

this post was written in partnership with Ford Canada.