autumn in europe.

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

i love autumn! the cool breezes, cute accessories like scarves and hats, seeing the leaves change and celebrating my birthday are always my highlights of the season.

this fall is a very special one and one i will always remember. i’m on a five-week european vacation with my sister. we haven’t seen any leaves change colour yet, but the cool breezes have found us in Austria – a welcome change from Hungary’s 30+ degree days. i spent my birthday eating cake for breakfast and dessert, and i’m all about the cute accessories.

packing for six countries and two seasons of weather proved difficult, but so far our choices have been the right ones.

here are a few things that have made travelling a breeze so far:

back it up.

a wheelie suitcase seems like the easiest way to pack for any vacation because you can just roll it beside you. you’ll think again when you see someone else attempt to roll a suitcase down the beautiful cobblestone streets of Paris. packing in a backpack has been the best thing we’ve done. we found packs that open like a suitcase, so you don’t have to shove everything in from the top and maximized space with packing cubes.

never miss a step.

we love exploring on foot. you get to discover so many more things than you would if on transit or in a cab. to make sure i was prepared to pound the pavement, i packed a pair of my most comfortable running shoes – fashion be damned. increasing the milage can be uncomfortable as our feet get used to different footwear. to help ease any discomfort, i wear my Dr. Scholl’s Comfort & Energy Massaging Gel Insoles, especially on longer walks to make sure i can comfortably keep moving without having to turn back early. these insoles are great for foot and leg fatigue, with gel waves that massage the most sensitive areas of my feet. in two weeks, we’ve already covered over 150km by foot, and there is no end in sight. 

eyes wide shut.

i had to try out many eye masks to find one i liked, but wearing one has been so helpful to maintain my regular sleep pattern. sometimes i’m sleeping on a couch in a living room or trying to catch a few winks on the train between cities, being able to put on an eye mask and keep out any light lets me fall asleep faster. thankfully sister hasn’t needed to elbow me for snoring on the train yet!

the right side of the bed.

there is absolutely no way i’m going to let a headache, muscle ache from carrying my backpack, or poor night’s sleep sideline my sightseeing. i keep ALEVE Nighttime on my Airbnb nightstand so i don’t have to worry. ALEVE Nighttime relieves my muscle aches and pains for up to 12 hours, plus it has a sleep aid to help me fall asleep and stay asleep. the small, oval caplets are in a compact container, making them easy to throw in a makeup bag or purse, so i’m not losing important packing room.

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

home sweet airport.

hallo from vienna, austria!

if you’ve been following along on instagram, you know of the castles, palaces, and snacks sister and i have already discovered two and a half weeks into our five-week european getaway.

you would have also seen that pre-trip i gave up my condo in calgary. moving is always a stressful experience, but more so when you are moving your life across the country (again) and don’t have anywhere to settle. i’m using my dad’s place as a dumping ground home base and will be looking for a job and condo in toronto upon returning from overseas.

trying to figure out how to sell my furniture, pack up and ship my cherished belongings, and donate everything else got me anxious, but the most stress i felt was trying to figure out where i was going to live/sleep between giving up my condo, and leaving the city. i had friends so graciously offer, but i had an urge to be alone to process everything – plus, they didn’t live that close to the airport and my flight was leaving at 6 a.m. it would have made for an extra early morning, and a very expensive uber ride.

the day i sold my bed, i slept on the floor of my empty condo. it was uncomfortable and my body ached the whole day after. thankfully, i only had to do that for one night before checking into the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel at YYC.

i’ve stayed at the hotel a few times before and knew it would be the perfect home, full of luxury and comfort before i headed east.

my two-night stay was all about relaxing. i had been go-go-go with getting my place packed, emptied, and cleaned; visiting with friends; and finishing up work. while there were still last-minute errands, there were fewer and a king-size bed is worth a great deal of procrastination.

upon check-in, i dropped my bags then dropped my clothes in favour of the robe inside the closet. is there anything better than hotel robes? it’s always the first thing i search for. i opened the drapes on the floor-to-ceiling windows to let in all the glorious sunshine and crawled into bed with a newspaper.

when i was in grad school, we had to get a subscription to the globe & mail and were tested regularly on current events. i canceled the subscription immediately after i graduated, being poor and all, but still like to pursue one when i can. it’s much more enjoyable when you’re not tested on it.

before i knew it, aka mostly through the life section, i had to jump out of bed and into the shower to get ready for dinner with my girls. since my first visit to this Marriott, i have raved about this shower. it checks all the boxes:

  • it’s huge! you and a few friends could all fit – if you’re into that
  • it has the most fantastic shower head
  • there is incredible water pressure

i gave myself plenty of time to enjoy and double-condition.

the next day, i woke at my leisure and headed down the hall to the M Club for breakfast. the seventh-floor concierge lounge serves a hot buffet breakfast, afternoon hors-d’oeuvres, and has a variety of self-serve drinks and snacks to enjoy 24-hours a day.

after another day of errands, i headed back to the hotel to do a little work, have a nap, and enjoy a simple dinner in the airport before retiring for the night.

that’s when it sunk in. it was my last night in calgary.

i watched the planes take off from my room – staring out to my old home, the downtown core, with the rockies as their background. over the last seven years, the city provided me with many opportunities, friendships, heartbreaks, and loneliness. it taught me boundaries, and it taught me the importance of self-care. it allowed me to miss my family and the first place i called home. it built me up and watched me break again.

i crawled back into that glorious bed and i cried. i cried happy tears, and sad tears, scared tears and hopeful tears. i cried until i exhausted myself to sleep.

i was already awake when my alarm sounded at 4:00 a.m. i double checked my bags, made sure my passport was handy and wiped the sleep from my eyes. instead of calling a cab or waiting for a shuttle, all i had to do was ride the elevator down seven flights to arrive at airport departures. the ease of this is one of the main reasons i decided to stay at the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel before my flight, and the hospitality and luxury of the hotel is why i’ll always return!

and while i’m not going to wish away my time, i’m already looking forward to my next trip back to calgary, and my next stay at the Marriott.

but for now there is more europe to enjoy. we’re off to salzburg tomorrow – be sure to follow our travel instagram account.

auf wiedersehen!

this post was written in partnership with the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel.

oh hello, september.

making: a new instagram account for sister and i’s travel adventures: @youandmegoeverywhere.

eating: all the incredible food europe has to offer.

drinking: gassy water (as my grandma calls it) aka orange perrier.

wanting: my back to feel less achy.

looking: for all the suggestions to eat, drink (coffee), and play in europe.

enjoying: life.

crushing: on the one i left behind.

waiting: for september 5.

wondering: what happens now?

needing: one more pair of shoes.

hoping: i’ll be able to change my number to something i want. and that i don’t yell at Rogers in frustration.

smelling: campfires – and not in a sad, BC-is-burning type way.

wearing: hats.

knowing: these next few months are going to be a lot of fun.

watching: blue jays games with dad; yes, even if they suck.

listening: to dad’s older neighbours tell me about their travel adventures.

noticing: kindness.

planning: not too far in advance.

feeling: excited.