Thursday, March 8, 2012

Author Guest Post : Why Canada Should Be Your Next Vacation Destination– Lisa de Nikolits(West of Wawa)

Why Canada Should Be Your Next Vacation Destination

When I was little, my sister and I used to play a game; we’d get out an atlas, turn to a country, close our eyes and stab the page. And then we’d pretend to go to that land, be transported to that city and we’d talk about what we imagined we’d find.

These days, I don’t so much as close my eyes as viscerally respond to the romantic notions that poetic place names bring to mind.

Moosejaw? I thought, a couple of days after my arrival in Canada. What a great name! I’m going to have to go there.

Not to mention Medicine Hat, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Iqaluit, Baffin Island, Nunavut and of course, Wawa.

I haven’t (yet) been to all the Canadian places of my dreams but I certainly have been privileged to see more than many people ever will.

And now, if you were to ask me why you should consider Canada for your next vacation, I wouldn’t even know where to begin — it’s that vast a treasure trove of holiday spots.

I went to the capital of Nunavut, Iqaluit, on whim, one weekend. Nunavut is on Baffin Island, situated just west of Greenland – and I do use the word ‘just’ very loosely you understand! Which also explains why I’ve travelled the great distances I have: I told my sister I’d ‘swing by’ Japan on my way to see her in Sydney, and I tried to ‘swing by’ Vietnam upon a recent return from Australia – which didn’t quite pan out. But I ended up going to Beijing instead and strolling along the Great Wall of China, so all told, it worked out fine!

But back to Canada… should you choose the utterly awesome desolate beauty of the arctic wilderness of the east, or the Parisian loveliness of Quebec City, or should you follow the call of the historic Gold Rush and drive along the Alaskan Highway from Dawson Creek, British Columbia all the way to Whitehorse in the Yukon? The towering majesty of the mountains is so jaw-droppingly gorgeous that your mind will soon start to spin.

Or you could pick any single province in the summer time and plan a road trip – Canada’s the best country in the world for a road trip! That’s a sweeping statement for sure but imagine clear blue skies, endless lakes, and wild unspoiled beauty as far as the eye can see. You can punctuate long drives with stops in the scenic little towns – every town has something unique to offer.

I think what I like most about travelling in Canada is the wonderful sense of innocence it brings; I feel like a kid again, where days of sunshine are endless, where the heaviest weight of responsibility lies in what flavor of ice cream to choose, or where to stop for lunch.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about Churchill, Manitoba. I wax lyrical in West of Wawa about Churchill and Benny’s love for this remote location definitely mirrors my own.

I was incredibly fortunate to be able to do Benny’s trip. Together she and I travel the entire way across Canada, right from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and we also sail the Inner passage down from Skagway Alaska to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Benny’s story along the way is also one of unique and crazy adventures and I invite you to climb aboard our bus and come with us on the ride – at the very least, you’ll get to see some great scenery and who know, as a result, Canada could be your next holiday destination!

West of Wawa is a coming-of-age backpacking travel story full of wacky, eye-opening and downright scary adventures. A new arrival in Canada from Australia, Benny is fleeing personal and professional disasters – not to mention her impending 30th birthday. With a history of running from her troubles, Benny escapes once more: abandoning her new job and life for a cross-Canada bus trip. But what begins as an escape plan transforms into a discovery. Benny discovers strength she didn’t even know she had as well as the artistic desires she’d thought were gone forever.

About the Author:

Originally from South Africa, Lisa has been a Canadian citizen since 2003 – although she stills retains a lilting voice that causes fellow Canadians to ask, “You aren’t from Canada, eh?” With a Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy, Lisa has also lived and worked in the United States, Australia, and Great Britain.

Lisa thought she was on her way to fame and fortune when the South African edition of Cosmopolitan bought two of her poems in 1986. Sadly, the road to being a published writer was not as easy as she had hoped! Throughout her writing career, Lisa has tried her hand at everything from children’s picture books to short stories to novellas to feature magazine articles. Her first novel The Hungry Mirror, which won an IPPY Gold Medal for Women’s Fiction in 2011, was inspired by her work as art director for magazines including Vogue and Marie Claire. Lisa is now working on her next novel Between the Cracks She Fell.

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