Hello, Welcome! I am so happy you are joining us on this adventure.
I am Donna, and I’d like to take you on a little journey of how we got here, to this blog, to this time. Don’t worry it’s the Coles Notes version, so pack your bag and let’s go!
At Packed for Life we will be sharing our experiences in travel and family life, as well as planning, budgeting and travel tips and resources to help you and your family make the most of your time, whether in your own home town, or to places unknown.
My hope is to inspire other families to explore the world around them at home and abroad, one extra-ordinary adventure at a time.
WHO? Our Cast of Characters
I’d like to introduce the cast of characters you will be sharing your time with on this blog.
ME aka Donna, aka Mama
Donna is a 40 something west coast girl at heart, transplanted in the north. She is a nature lover, intrepid explorer (in her own mind) and the family vacation logistical planner. You will find her researching the best places to stay for a more authentic experience, where the closest market is and do you really need to bring your own TP. TIP – The answer is YES, and always bring wet wipes! It never hurts to be prepared.
Donna is mama to one little and a step mom to two amazing human beans who are heading into adulthood and off on adventures of their own. She is most in her bliss exploring nature, hugging trees, connecting with people and spending time adventuring near and far with her family.
Her mottos are “Always be Prepared” (see above) and “Safety First”, much to the dismay of her other family members.
DEREK, aka Dad
Derek is the techy of the bunch. He can be seen viewing the latest YouTube video researching gadgets and gizmos a plenty to make our lives easier at home and abroad. Derek is lead researcher for the best places to eat; city addition. He can be found taking food photos and good-naturedly carrying all the items Donna insists are needed, “just in case.”
Miss S, aka our Littlest Mermaid
Miss S is the youngest of the bunch. She is our sanity check, and helps us stay in the moment and take time to have FUN! You can find her trying on multiple outfits, playing in the sand and getting away with watching endless movies on plane rides. She is also most likely to be voted for the “Can we have ice cream now?…..How about now?” award.
How it all began (aka Why should I listen to your travel advice?)
Travelling has been a life long adventure and path of mine. From the time I was 9, I spent many hours of my youth backpacking, camping and travelling around the West Coast of Canada and the US with my best friends family. I jumped on opportunities to travel to Hawaii, and Disneyland with my school band, and a trip to an International Girl Guide Camp in Saskatchewan as a teenager. I was to content to leave my family behind and explore the world.
I’ve travelled to over 20 countries on 5 continents, and many many towns and cities in between. One of my favourite parts of travel is the dreaming and researching, so each article is extensively researched and/or based on personal experience. Finding hidden gems, that are accesible to families is my goal.
The seed that planted the idea to travel
I’ve had an insatiable curiosity about the world around me, and an adventurous spirit from a young age.
I have a vivid memory of being around twelve years old, sitting on the floor of my bedroom, flipping through a box of old National Geographic magazines someone had donated to our family. The magazine pictures, colours, shapes, animals, people and articles, while often problematic to today’s standards, drew me in and opened my eyes to the possibility of worlds outside my own west coast Canadian window.
I wanted to study gorillas in the mist, like Dian Fossey. I wanted to traipse barefoot and by canoe through rain forests and Amazonian jungles, avoiding leeches and giant snakes preferably.
I wanted to explore ancient Mayan ruins and discover lost civilizations. I wanted to swim with sea turtles and dolphins in clear tropical water. I wanted to meet and befriend people who lived differently than I did and learn 5 new languages.
I wanted to be an intrepid explorer.
Then life happens.
I tried university, but it wasn’t right for me at the time. My insatiable curiosity to move, see, grab hold of new things took hold. I spent my 20’s and early 30’s travelling a few places for a month or two or three at a time. Europe, India, Central America, South America, Africa, Israel.
I spent time living in various communities in Canada and tried my hand at a mix of career choices. I have been a grocery clerk, tree planter, organic herb farmer, trail builder, landscaper, massage therapist, a government worker, and now a family travel blogger.
I reconnected with a childhood friend; we fell in love and created a blended family. In my late 30’s we had a child. Travel outside my home town slowed down as other priorities and financial worries took over. So I made the best of things and embraced adventuring in our own home town and places close by.
Then we moved to a small town in northern Canada (400km, or 250 miles to the Arctic Circle as the raven flies) for work, and slowly more ideas, dreams and travel plans started filtering into our daily lives. As a family we are now in a place to embrace a lifestyle that includes more travel, and we are excited to be able to share this with you.
Thanks so much for stopping by. Any questions, feel free to reach out: Donna@packedforlife.com