Travel Blogs to Inspire Your First Post-COVID Vacation!

Travelling has always been something that was really important to me. Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to see the world, experience new cultures, and explore new places. I’m pretty fortunate — I’ve already gotten the chance to see so many different countries in my lifetime — and yet, I still can’t wait to see more.

Then, of course, 2020 happened. While I didn’t have any solid plans to travel anywhere at the time that lockdowns hit, I certainly had a trip or two in mind to celebrate graduating and enjoying my time between finishing university and setting out into the “real world”. However, the last year of being at home has given me plenty of time to reflect on the places I have been lucky enough to visit, and all the places I hope to go as soon as COVID and lockdowns have become a distant memory.

Below are all the travel blogs I’ve posted since beginning my blog nearly two years ago now — during which time I was fortunate enough to visit everywhere from my own hometown to South East Asia. Hopefully for all of you who’ve been feeling impatient to break out of your routine and go experience new things after this last year of being at home, you’ll be able to find plenty of inspiration, recommendations and ideas from my little collection of blogs in this post!

SPEND A WEEK WITH ME IN PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO!

This was the last vacation I went on pre-COVID, but it was a great one to have experienced as my last trip for a while. Puerto Vallarta makes for a great relaxing beach holiday, while also having plenty of adventurous places to visit and local areas to explore the culture.

SPEND A DAY WITH ME IN BANGKOK!

Bangkok was both the first and last stop on my trip to South East Asia, so while we didn’t see that much of Bangkok during our first few days there per se, you can get a good sense from this post of what it was like acclimating to travelling to the opposite side of the world on my first trip without my family!

THINGS TO DO (PART TWO!): BANGKOK EDITION!

The title here may be a little confusing, since I didn’t actually make a “Things To Do in Bangkok: Part One”. However, this post shares what I did in Bangkok the second time around, and how I spent the last few days of my travels in South East Asia.

THINGS TO DO: KOH PHI PHI EDITION!

Koh Phi Phi is, hands down, one of my absolute favourite places on earth. Not only is it an absolutely stunning landscape, but it’s full of great little cafes, restaurants and shops AND every single shop owner on the island owns a cat. No joke, I’ve never seen so many cats in one place in my life (which was fantastic for me, as I really love cats). I really couldn’t recommend visiting Koh Phi Phi more, I’d probably live here if I could.

SPEND A DAY WITH ME ON A BOAT CRUISE IN KOH PHI PHI!

Koh Phi Phi is a great adventure spot, and has loads of snorkelling, hiking, and all sorts of other exploring options for those of you who enjoy a little hands-on adventure. There’s SO many adventure options for all types of different comfort zones, as well — so don’t worry if you’re not looking for anything too extreme. If this sounds like your thing, check out this post to get a better sense of what it’s like to take a day trip boat tour of the island!

THINGS TO DO: CHIANG MAI EDITION!

Chiang Mai is a city in northern Thailand, and a great place to visit to be able to see some really stunning architecture and buddhist temples. It’s a really beautiful place, and visiting the Old City is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever visited.

PLACES TO EAT: CHIANG MAI EDITION!

For my foodies — there was some really great food in this city. Maybe I’m just biased, though, because Thai food is one of my all-time faves.

THINGS TO DO: SIEM REAP EDITION!

My time in Cambodia was short, but I did manage to fit in a lot of things while I was there. I really didn’t know what to expect of Siem Reap, but it really took me by surprise and ended up being one of my favourite places I’ve ever travelled to.

SPEND A DAY WITH ME AT ANGKOR WAT!

Perhaps the best-known travel destination in Cambodia, Angkor Was and the surrounding temples are really one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever experienced — they’re really different from any other temples in South East Asia as well. It’s usually packed with people, but if you go in the summer (as I did) it ends up being a lot emptier, which really made the experience more special.

THINGS TO DO: HO CHI MINH CITY EDITION!

Vietnam was one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited, and if it isn’t already on your bucket list I’d definitely recommend adding it right now. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is absolutely full of all kinds of amazing food, history, and culture — the city itself, and the entire country of Vietnam, was really one of the most unique and interesting places I ever visited.

THINGS TO DO: NINH BINH EDITION!

Ninh Binh was a real stand out for me in terms of places I’ve visited in my life. I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone in a whole lot of ways, but it was all really rewarding at the end of the day. The town is absolutely beautiful, and there’s no shortage of beautiful places to see in the Vietnamese countryside.

SPEND A WEEKEND WITH ME IN HOI AN!

To be honest, Hoi An is definitely more of a “party” location in terms of places I visited in Vietnam — at least for me. It was crazy fun, though, and I met all kinds of people from around the world while I was staying here.

PLACES TO EAT: HANOI EDITION!

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, and very different from Ho Chi Minh City. It was really interesting being able to visit both in my time in Vietnam — I loved them both so much, and for very different reasons. There’s all kinds of cool things to do and see in Hanoi, but the food in particular is to die for.

SPEND A DAY WITH ME ON A BOAT CRUISE IN HA LONG BAY!

Ha Long Bay is by far the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen in my life. Honestly, I’d give anything to go back right now. There’s all sorts of ways to see and experience it, but one of the most popular is spending time on an overnight cruise — which I have to say, I’d highly recommend.

THINGS TO DO: LUANG PRABANG EDITION!

Okay, I know I’ve pretty much said that everything on this list was my favourite thing in one way or another, but Laos was really one of the best places I’ve ever visited — and you should probably consider adding it to your bucket list, TBH.

SPEND A DAY WITH ME IN LUANG PRABANG!

A little in-depth look at one of my best days from my whole trip to South East Asia. Seriously, I couldn’t recommend Laos more.

SPEND A WEEKEND WITH ME IN TORONTO!

Does it really count as travelling to visit my own hometown? Probably not, but I’m still counting it. Plus, for those of you who’ve never been to Toronto and want to experience it as a local would — then my guide will definitely help you do that!

PLACES TO EAT: TORONTO EDITION!

For all my fellow foodies, Toronto is a must-visit. There’s just so many great options. It has a little bit of everything — as it is the most multi-cultural city in the world, after all — so no matter what you love, there’s something here for you.

SPEND A WEEKEND WITH ME IN DISNEY WORLD!

Okay…I won’t lie, I’d be pretty hesitant to be going somewhere as crowded as a theme park anytime soon. That might just be me, though. So for everyone who’s been looking forward to a Disney vacation when this is all over, feel free to check out how I spent my weekend there and all my fave things to do and see at Disney World!

SPEND THE HOLIDAYS WITH ME IN WEST PALM BEACH, USA!

This was more of a trip to visit with my family, but we still managed to squeeze in a little sight-seeing of the local area surrounding our AirBnB while we were visiting West Palm — and we spent a lot of time at the beach, too!

Do you guys have any plans in place to go travelling post-COVID? If so, I’d love to hear where you’re planning on visiting! I, personally, am not making any solid plans until I have my vaccine and the end is “officially” in sight, but in the meantime it’s fun to imagine everywhere I’ll go when we’re free to travel again. I’d love to be able to visit either Japan, Singapore, Italy or Greece (or all of the above!) but honestly I’m not even picky — I’d be happy to go on a trip anywhere at this point. I’d love to hear all of your dream travel locations, so drop a comment below and let me know where in the world you would go right now if you could choose from absolutely anywhere!

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you all have an amazing week ahead to look forward to.

Much love,

Meredith

Spend A Weekend With Me In Toronto!

Toronto, Canada

Hey everyone!

As some of you may already know, I spent this weekend travelling back to Toronto to spend with my family. While it was only a short trip, we still managed to pack a lot into the two and a half days I spent there. When I arrived, it seemed winter was already in full swing — not only was the weather super dry and chilly, there was already snow on the ground (which isn’t very common for Toronto Novembers). However, I still managed to make the best of the situation, with a lot of food-based restaurants and activities I have to share — for those of you looking for somewhere to plan your next weekend getaway, living in Toronto and looking for new suggestions — or just those of you curious about how my weekend went!

Meet Dmitry!

My baby, Dmitry

First of all, and most importantly — I wanted to introduce you all to my cat, Dmitry! He’s a one-year old Siberian Forest Cat, and he’s my little baby. Admittedly, I do spend a lot (if not most) of my trips home hanging out with Dmitry rather than exploring the city. (Can you blame me though? Look at that face!).

As a little introduction, Dmitry is very sweet and loving, but also a little high strung — very fond of our family and quite weary of strangers. He loves treats, whipped cream, and surprisingly enough — anything “cheese” flavoured (but not cheese itself). He’s an indoor cat, but he loves to sit on the window sill and watch squirrels. And — most importantly — he loves belly rubs.

But without further ado — lets get into the rest of the weekend!

Dinner At Montecito

Lobster Spaghetti at Montecito

This restaurant was absolutely fantastic. From start to finish — the atmosphere, the drinks, the food — just overall, it was a great experience. I had some lobster pasta that was literally just a delight — and the cocktails (while strong) were both inventive and delicious. If you need a downtown restaurant in Toronto to try out — be sure to add this place to the list.

Girl From the North Country

Set of Girl From The North Country

My mom and I spent Friday night going to see the production Girl From The North Country. It’s been an awfully long while since I’ve been to the theatre, but I used to go all the time. The storyline and production of this play was heartbreakingly beautiful — however, the best part by far was the music numbers and simply INCREDIBLE vocal talent of all the actors. The play is based on the music of Bob Dylan, so all the music was already incredible — but the singing was just next level. If you’re in Toronto and have the chance to see this production, give it a shot — I know theatre may not be your first thought on how to spend a Friday night out, but give it a shot (you won’t regret it, I promise).

Dim Sum at The Rol-San

The Rol-San, Chinatown, Toronto

Okay, if you’re ever in Toronto, the Rol-San is a must-eat. Famous for its All-Day Dim Sum and strange but efficient plastic tablecloths, you’ll seldom see the Rol-San without a line — but trust me, it’s worth the wait. This place has some of, if not THE, best Dim Sum in the entire city. If you go, be sure to get the Deep Fried Shrimp Wontons and the Shiu Mai — SO good.

Brunch At The House On Parliament

Brunch at The House

Okay, I won’t lie, I’m writing all this up for you on the plane home — and this meal is really all I can think about. All the food was absolutely next level — I’d never been here before, but I already can’t wait to go back on my next trip home. The deep-fried cheese curds were like little bites of heaven, and the soup and breakfast poutine I ordered was the most elaborate and incredible meals I’ve ever had. Seriously — you really can’t go wrong with potatoes, poached eggs, melted cheese, double smoked bacon and Hollandaise sauce, but I swear it tastes even better than you’re imagining. Absolutely 10/10, if you need a brunch place to check out in Toronto this is it. Added bonus: the Caesars were pretty fantastic too.

Shopping on Bloor Street

My Lil Sephora Haul

Last but not least, we snuck in a little last-minute shopping before heading to the airport. Shopping on Bloor Street is just a wonderful, uber-classy experience, even if you’re just hitting Sephora like always (we get it, I’m predictable). However, I did treat myself to my first ever Pat Mcgrath Labs eyeshadow palette — which I am SO excited to test out and report back with ALL the results.

And that’s it for my little weekend getaway! Now it’s back to real life for me, unfortunately. I hope you guys enjoyed reading, and if you’re from Toronto or travelling there soon — hopefully you’ve found some good recommendations from this post! If any of you guys are ever heading to Toronto for a visit, feel free to message me for any kinds of suggestions, I’d be more than happy to help.

In the mean time, I hope you’re all having a great week and you’re Novembers have been off to a great start. I have some VERY exciting holiday-themed posts coming up in the next couple weeks for you guys, so stay tuned for that! And in the meantime, have a fantastic week!

Xo,

Meredith

Bonus Pics!!!

Places To Eat: Toronto Edition!

Toronto, Ontario

Hey y’all!

This past week I’ve been back in my hometown — Toronto, Ontario! Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto is somewhat of a cultural hub and has a HUGE foodie culture. So I figured I’d share some of the places I hit up this week that have been my favourites to visit whenever I go home!

For When You’re Craving Chinese

If you’re looking for a bit of an upscale meal, Kwan is a great place to check out. Not only is it’s Chinese food to DIE for, but it has a lovely, cozy atmosphere and a great vibe overall. If you go, don’t miss out on the truffle fried rice, sesame chicken or chilli garlic shrimp — I literally order these every time I go and they’re outstanding every time.

For When You’re In The Mood For Sweets
Booyah Ice Cream

Booyah Ice cream is straight up one of my favourite places to go for cool treats in the summer. Not only do they have their own store-made ice cream, they also offer Kawartha Dairy and soft serve! Their homemade flavours are to DIE for, just the other day I got these two scoops of Earl Gray and Honey Lavander and I was in love. On top of all that, you have the option to get it in an ice cream sandwich (featuring homemade cookies) or even ice cream tacos! This place really is one of my favourites to visit in the hot Toronto summers.

For When You’re Feeling Fancy

Buca Yorkville

If you’re feeling up for something bougie and love Italian food as much as I do, Buca is a must-try. It’s a little on the pricier side, but oh man is it ever worth it. Everything here is amazing, from the appetizers to the desserts (their pine panna cotta is unreal). On top of that, the environment is amazing and the service was next level. 100% recommend for a classy night out.

For When You’re Craving Mexican
La Playa Hacienda

This place seriously has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. For years, it’s been a go-to every time I go home–I’ve been sure to introduce everyone I know and they all fell in love. The tacos are outstanding, the drinks are incredible, and if you go be sure to try the Elote–it’s a personal favourite of mine. On top of all that, the vibe here is so cool, there really isn’t anything not to love.

For When You Need Your Bubble Tea Fix
Labothéry

There’s so many amazing places to get bubble tea in Toronto, but this one is just SO fun. You get to choose for yourself from so many flavours (complete with the ability to mix and match) plus so many tapioca and jelly add-ins that are so different from other places I’ve been to. This stuff was so amazing, seriously, even if it’s not nearby it’s worth the trek.

And that’s it for this time! Stay tuned for more Toronto hot spots when I go visit again this fall. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you have any suggestions for where to hit up on my next trip home I’d love to hear it!

Love you all,

Meredith