Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


24 Wild Hours in Vancouver

I cheated last week.

On Quebec City, my favorite Canadian city with Vancouver, its anglo rival. French has multiple words for the type of affair you’re having. What Vancouver and I had would be called an aventure– a brief affair. Ours lasted 24 hours. A liason is a longer, more involved indiscretion.

I headed to Vancouver to give my best friend, who I have known for over 15 years a good time before her impending marriage. Note, I did not write “one last” good time because we’ll be having good times well into our 80s. Maybe even our 90s.

Whenever I head out on the road (often), I pretend I am Hunter S. Thompson or Jack Kerouac. Don’t worry. It’s less about peyote; more about legal, goofy fun with sunglasses and loud music. Continue reading



If You Were Tiny and Trapped in a Blender…

You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?**

This is the kind of conversation I love to speculate about, the kind that occurs after midnight with a gaggle of friends and a few bottles of wine. The kind that veers left then spins around so we can’t remember where it started. The kind that ends with a demonstration. It always like fireworks, one person’s words bursting forth and then another’s, the conversation rapidly intensifying until the subject has been exhausted.

Am I wearing high heels?

Is someone on the other side of the blender?

Does a blender’s blades go all the way to the top?

Is there water on the bottom?

If a single person took out their smartphone and looked it up, the fun would be over. Smartphones and search engines have destroyed our ability not only to reason, but to banter for long periods of time.

I am not a modern-day luddite. I don’t want to destroy technology. I just want screens to be locked in cages at dinner or in art museums or when I am with a group of people and we’re experiencing a moment together.

Why I gave up my phone

smartphones, google interview questions, travel cellphones

The burner is the way of the future. Excuse the hideousness of this photo. Neon green isn’t my color.

When I moved back and forth from Canada, I disposed of a lot of stuff: bags of clothes, old laptops, etc. La vie of the nomad. Continue reading


Leaf-Peeping Tips

Maine leaves, leaf peeping, travel blog

New tagline for Maine: Our state looks like a water-color painting.

I lived in Quebec City last fall and during a magical two weeks, it was like living inside a flame: a swirl of reds, golds, and oranges.

I went back recently to work on a few articles and to knock four more states off my list: Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. My follow-up post will be a leaf-peeping log of the things we did, ate and argued about. Continue reading

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Job Woes & the Search for my Mr. Miyagi

travel blog expat quebec expat blog

What Elwood does when I look for jobs

I am two parts commercial writer, one part travel writer and one part creative writer. I have six years experience, including two managing other writers. I moved to Canada and back. Now it’s like I am on the other end of an electric fence and I can’t get back into the job market.

Maybe they could sense that I was in Quebec, like a baby bird rejected from its mother because a human touched it.

I have been looking for work since April, when I moved back here. I have had countless job interviews. I am not desperate, not complaining, but I am frustrated. I need work and although I currently freelance write for multiple travel publications, there are long stretches of time spent in PJs writing a humorous inner monologues from vampires and bizarre stories about old folks’ homes.

I need to make money. Continue reading

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Quebec Language War Caught on Tape

This video makes me laugh. I like that the francophone is wearing a duster and a fedora. Total villan garb.

I don’t think people should ever get in someone’s face and scream at them for not speaking their language. If that happened here to an immigrant, I would punch someone. Learning a language takes years so be patient with those who are learning.

If you’re traveling to the Belle Province, don’t worry about running into a gang of fedora-duster-clad francophones. Unless you’re hanging out in bars at 3:00 am. The most that has ever happened to me was a dismissive wave in a bar.

My husband, however, was yelled at in the street by a tough-as-nails 8-year-old girl who demanded “Pourquoi Anglais?” He laughed it off. Quebec City isn’t like Montreal in that it’s very francophone, by very I mean 98%.

Yes, language is an issue. Most Quebeckers welcomed me when they realized I was American, not Western Canadian. I had an excuse for my horrible French.

And by the way, I immediately enrolled in a language school upon my arrival. I tried and am still trying. They like it when you try, so don’t go there thinking you’re the SH$T and demanding they speak English to you. Learn a few phrases if you’re visiting, learn the language if you’re living there.

I think this could have been solved if the guy spoke a little French. Bonjour?! C’est facile. I think he tried further infuriating the francophone once he realized he was being recorded. Duster guy is kind of an asshole, but by no means represents the rest of the province.

He also has a point, however agressive it’s portrayed. You live in Montreal, you should probably learn a little bit of French.


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Leaps and Bounds

In January, 2011 my husband and I stored or sold our worldly possessions, crammed six stuffed plastic tubs into our CRV, and drove over 3, 000 miles from Seattle to Quebec City, Canada.


The open road. Somewhere in Wyoming

Not to go all ‘Oprah’ on you but…

I started this blog to inspire everyone to take giant leaps of faith or small, sure steps into the unknown. Whether it’s moving to a far-away land or starting your own business or writing the very first pages of a novel, I’m hoping you do it. I say that swaddled in a blanket, my dog curled on my lap, the weather a balmy negative 20-something outside.

It’s days like this, when the wind is too fierce to leave the couch, when the language barrier makes a simple thing like ordering a cup of coffee or buying a phone seem really difficult that I wonder what the hell I’m doing here.

And then I remind myself: uncomfortable moments make you grow.

tim burton trees

Scenes from a car window: Tim Burton trees.

I can’t live the “linear life.” I’ve never once believed in a straight route from A to B to C. I believe in taking chances, jumping off cliffs (literally and figuratively), listening to the little voice inside my head that wants more than the old work-home-kids-work-home-kids-work-home routine.

When we’re little, we believe that we could be anything: butterflies, mountain climbers, professional equestrians, painters, poets, scientists. Year by year, that confidence washes away and we’re stuck imagining what life could’ve been.

I always longed to live abroad.  I just turned thirty and it was still lingering on the crumpled bucket list I wrote in college. The one my husband found and read to me when the packing, the goodbyes, and the to-dos left me in a sobbing, exhausted pile on the living room floor.

Actual items from an old bucket list:

“Get paid to write.” Oh how I loved the moment when he read this back to me. I’ve been a copywriter for years now. When I scrawled that on paper, probably while lying in my dorm-room bunk bed, it seemed like such a distant dream.

Learn to hanglide,” I think that one is going to stay put.

Live in a city.” Seattle counts!

Learn another language.” French classes start on Monday

Live in another country.” Done and done.

When the opportunity came to live abroad, we took it. I have a clear vision of myself kicking my own butt years from now, gray-haired and unhappy because I was the girl who could’ve lived in Quebec, who could’ve learned French, who could’ve….and didn’t.

So I did.