In my third year of university Heather and I packed up our suitcase and travelled to Japan, Hong Kong, Bali and Thailand. It was the first time I had left  North America and it was a big step for me in my travel life.

Thai Beach with new friend

A beach in Koh Samui circa 2000 with a new friend.

Over the years I have often used this experience as a motivator to remind myself that when I get the chance to try something new I should step out of my comfort zone and do it.

Travelling exposes you to the chance to meet different people but what that trip  also showed me is that it can also introduce you to the culture. 

While travelling on our around the world trip  we participated in various festivals in Canada and other countries.

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The one that most took my breath away is called Loy Krathong – Thailand’s Festival of Lights. This Buddhist festival runs in different cities on different days and is highly spiritual and based on the idea of clearing out bad luck.


Ethan watching as the monks chant

This year the festival started on November 17, 2013.  In November 2011 I had the good fortune to experience this unbelievable event with my family.

In the evening  we sat in on the meditation chants of  several Buddhist monks for about one hour.  We then went outside on a rainy evening  and sent lantern after lantern into the sky.

Shoulders Thailand

Two guys we met moments earlier from France. The boys quickly took advantage.

Later that same evening we made our way to the river where we set off a small raft with a floating candle alongside locals. The intention is to send your bad luck downstream therefore giving you a new start These rafts held lotus flowers , banana leaves, candles and incense. It was an incredible scene to watch unfold under a dark sky. It’s  an event I highly recommend that you try  to partake in at least once in your  life.

Two years have passed since that ceremony and the memories of it  are still fresh in my mind. That’s the real value of participating in something like this. The memories of an incredible night live on and on.

up up and away

Lantern #57847847. Lighting and sending these off never got old.