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7 Unique Attractions to Explore While in Cambridge, MA

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One of my dreams is to visit all 50 states of the U.S. I think this would be an amazing adventure! Each state is unique, as if you’re visiting a new country when you enter a new state. You can go to Colorado and see the beautiful Rocky Mountains, head up to New York to experience the hustle and bustle of Wall Street, and then head down to Austin to taste some delicious tacos.

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5 Beautiful Attractions That Will Make You Fall in Love With Charlotte, NC

A foggy and colorful sunrise in Charlotte, North Carolina during the morning rush hour traffic.
Image via Flickr by cassdalessandro@gmail.com

I’m in love with North Carolina, even though I’ve never been there before. Thanks to Nicolas Sparks and his heart-tugging novels, North Carolina has become a destination that I dream about visiting. After reading one of his latest novels, “Two by Two,” Charlotte joined my list of cities I want to visit by the end of the year.

Charlotte is the largest city in the North Carolina. Its Uptown is vibrant and has many art and science attractions, such as Discovery Place and the Bechtler Museum of Art. It’s also known for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Charlotte is beautiful and has some amazing natural attractions. If you’re like me and love being outdoors, you’ll be amazed at the natural beauty you can find in and around the city. Add Charlotte to your bucket list and be sure to check out these five outdoor attractions that will make you fall in love with Charlotte.

Freedom Park
Spend one of your afternoons in Charlotte exploring Freedom Park. Only about 3 miles from the heart of Charlotte, the 98-acre park is filled with beautiful flowers, trees, and wildlife. You can take a relaxing stroll by the park’s 7-acre lake, peaceful creeks, or gorgeous duck ponds. Freedom Park also has basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts, as well as baseball and soccer fields. Freedom Park is the perfect destination for a picnic and fresh air.

Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve

Image via Flickr by cassdalessandro@gmail.com

If you are into hiking, you need to stop by the Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve. It protects over 900 acres of beautiful, untouched natural forest. It has 10 miles of hiking trails, which will leave you in awe as you explore the area and spot wildlife.

Romare Bearden Park
A gorgeous little spot right in the center of Charlotte, Romare Bearden Park is the perfect spot to eat and mingle with friends. It has a beautiful fountain and gives you a cool view of the heart of the city. Throughout the year, there are also many festivals and events that are held there. You must add this spot to your Charlotte itinerary.

U.S. National Whitewater Center

Image via Flickr by cassdalessandro@gmail.com

Whether you are looking to relax, play, or learn, you must stop by the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Based around the Catawba River, the center provides lessons and programs that involve hiking, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, and lots more. Throughout the year, the center also has nine unique festivals. Every summer, the center hosts The River Jam concert series and has bands play every Thursday and Saturday night. The U.S. National Whitewater Center is a great place to experience the beauty of Charlotte and have heaps of family-friendly fun.

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve
The McDowell Nature Center and Preserve protects about 21 species of mammals, 21 species of reptiles, 14 species of amphibians, and 119 species of birds. Enjoy a lovely hike in the preserve and learn more about the environment around you. Take a camping trip to the preserve and immerse yourself in Charlotte’s beauty.

These are only five out of a million reasons why I’m dreaming of Charlotte. Need a place to stay while you visit Charlotte? Don’t stress! Find the perfect place to stay with Hotel Planner. Start creating your Charlotte itinerary now!

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Travel Tips

15 Brilliant Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life

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Traveling is the best. But unless you’re an experienced traveler, you may experience some anxiety before going on a trip. Don’t worry, it’s normal to be anxious, even if you’re super excited. Before I left on a 6-month trip to Australia, I was beyond stoked and simultaneously incredibly nervous. I even cried my eyes out at the airport! (Check out my vlog, where I share the whole story). In the moment, I was super stressed, but now I find the event humorous. Now, with over five years of travel experience, I am a travel pro and I’m here to calm your nerves and help you have the best vacation ever. Check out these 15 life-changing travel tips:

1. Always have water with you. This is my number one travel (and life) tip. I bring my Nalgene water bottle everywhere I go. Trust me, nothing is worse than being dehydrated and sad while exploring this beautiful planet. Buy a reusable bottle and take it with you wherever you go. Whether you are tanning on the beaches of Costa Rica, taking the Harry Potter tour in London or trekking through the Himalayas, water should be your travel bestie.

2. Pack small toiletries in your carry-on. On numerous occasions, my checked bags ended up on the wrong flights and arrived hours after I did. Once I had to wait 48 hours before getting my checked bag. That wasn’t a big deal and I got my bag in the end, but I had to wear my contacts for 48 hours because I didn’t have toiletries in my carry on . That was not fun for my eyes. I suggest that you always at least have lip balm, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and hand cream in your carry on. If you wear contacts, have solution, a lens case and your glasses as well. Some other products to consider would be a hair brush, dry shampoo, and wipes. These products will help in the event your bags are lost and will also be useful if you have a layover.

3. Live in the moment. I am a huge fan of social media. I take photo’s of all my meals and take 15 selfies a day (on average). I’m a travel blogger, so I spend a huge chunk of my day documenting my life and sharing it online. Obviously, I think you should take photos and videos share them with your family and friends while traveling. Just make sure you aren’t missing the beautiful moments that are unfolding around you. Don’t feel like you have to capture every moment with a photo. Be selfish with your memories, keep some memories just for yourself. I learned this lesson from being a photographer. Sometimes you need to put your camera down and take in the moment with only your beautiful eyes.

4. Make copies of your documents. Always have an extra copy of your passport, visas and other travel documents. Print out the copies and them email to yourself just to be safe

5. Be flexible. One of the best things you can do while traveling is be flexible. If you are a type of person who needs to make a detailed schedule before your trip, that’s awesome! Do it! But be sure to leave room for spontaneous activities. You may have every day planned out with great activities, but after mingling with locals and other tourists, you might learn about an awesome concert or festival going on in the city. Don’t be afraid to change your plans. Each day you’re traveling is an adventure. Don’t get stressed about keeping to a schedule, just go with the flow.

6. Be friendly, make new friends and hang with the locals. While traveling you should be cautious and shouldn’t put yourself in a bad situation. But don’t let that stop you from making friends. Be nice to everyone. Say good morning to the hotel staff, smile at people on the streets and hold the door for strangers. Make friends! One of my goals is to make friends with everyone on the planet. Follow in my footsteps and make new friends everywhere you go. The planet is filled with cool, inspiring people. Be social and get to know them!  No matter where you are in the world, challenge yourself to meet at least one local person each day. Get to know them and see how they live. The people are the heart of a country. Get to know the people and you will get to know the country.

7. Don’t stress about lines at the airport. Fact: you will have to wait in line at the airport. It is going to happen and there is no way around it. It’s not the end of the world. Do not let it be a bigger issue than it is and don’t let it ruin your trip. You create your happiness, so even if you have to wait in line for two hours try to remain positive and excited for your trip

8. Learn at least “hello”, “goodbye” and “thank-you” in the native language of the country you are visiting. Even if you only learn these three phases, it will help you communicate with the locals. If you are staying in a country longer than two-weeks, you should definitely try to pick up more phrases like “how are you?”, “how much does that cost?”, “where is the restroom?”, “what time is it?” etc. Picking up new languages can be hard, but all you can do is try your best.

9. Leave the location better than you found it. Do your part in making our planet a nicer place. This could be as simple as cleaning up your hotel room, or picking up garbage on the streets while you explore. If you are looking for more of a challenge, volunteer or work with a nonprofit abroad. Giving back while exploring new places is a double adventure.

10. Eat street foods. Don’t be afraid to try some street food. The world is filled with some delicious street vendors and they are usually a lot cheaper than tourist filled restaurants. Street food will save you money and give you a cultural experience to Instagram about. Ask locals or your hotel staff where some of the best street vendors are and they will lead you in the right direction. Even if the cuisine looks a little odd, give it a try. Trying new things is good for your health and will make your trip even more memorable. 

11. Explore the city you are in. Explore, explore and explore some more. Rent a car, take the subway or use your feet and take in as much of the city as you can. One of my favourite things to do is to just walk around, take the bus and/or subway and explore. You get to see the city and make your own opinions on it without having a tour guide or other tourist influence your thoughts. Even if you are staying at a resort for a week, take at least one day to leave the resort and check out the nearest town.

12. Do things that scare you. You shouldn’t let fear hold you back in life. While you are on a trip exploring a new culture, break the chains of fear by doing something that scares you (within reason, of course.) Don’t get into a creepy van with a stranger or anything like that – safety first, people. But do something that pushes your limits.  If you are afraid of heights, go skydiving or bungy jumping or take a tour of the tallest building in that city. If you are afraid of the ocean, take a guided snorkeling tour. No matter what you are afraid of, conquering any fear is going to improve your mental health and help you love life. Traveling usually puts people out of their comfort zones, so tackling a fear while traveling will be a double victory, no matter what fear you tackle. Even if you conquer a small fear, like trying a local coffee shop instead of choosing Starbucks, you should be proud of yourself.

13. Ask questions: Whether you want to see if you can get a free upgrade on your flight, or you don’t know how to get to the other side of the airport, just ask someone. People are usually really nice and will help you out. Even if you think the question is super silly, don’t worry what people think and ask.

14. Learn the history of the city and country. Before you arrive to a new city or country, do some research. Look up the restaurants and attractions you want to visit but also look up some facts and a brief history about the country. Researching the places you visit will help you understand some of the cultural practices and you will develop a healthy respect for the country. The last thing you want to do is be like Alan in the Hangover when they arrive at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and he asks the hotel receptionist “Did Caesar live here?”  Although this scene is absolutely hilarious, you don’t want to be that guy. Trust me.

15. Don’t leave the city with regrets. The worst thing you can do in life is have regrets. Make sure you end your trip completing everything you wanted to do in the city. You never know when you are going to be back there, so when you leave you should be completely satisfied with your trip.

These tips will help you have the greatest time traveling. Have some great travel tips that I missed? Awesome! Write your tips in the comments below.

If you have any great travel tips share them on social media and use hashtag #DITravelTips between May 15th -19th, 2017 for a chance to win a free night’s stay at the Days Inn Canada location of your choice. Full contest details, including rules and regulations, click here. Get sharing and good luck!

 

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The Versatile Blogger Award!

pretty woman using laptop in cafe

Hey y’all, guess what! Loving Life With Cass was nominated for its second award! (Pops bottle and sprays champagne everywhere!) I feel so honoured to receive The Versatile Blogger Award. This award is given by bloggers to bloggers who create quality content. Huge thank you to Urška and Matic from Silva for the nomination. Check out their blog they have a lot of inspiring, interesting and helpful posts about adventuring in the outdoors.

When a blogger is nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award they must share seven facts about themselves and then nominated blogs that they think are producing AHmazing content. So without further to do here are my facts and my nominees.

7 fun facts about Cass:

I am a huge fan of Winter. This is probably the most Canadian thing about me. There is something about the cold air that makes me come alive. It is so beautiful when everything is covered in white, sparkly snow, it is magical. Warm fires, cute scarves, and baggy sweaters make the season super cozy. Another reason I love winter is because of CHRISTMAS! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

I laugh all the time. Fo real though, I spend about 90% of my life laughing. I have a great sense of humour and I can make a joke out of any situation. I laugh after I cry, when I get mad, and when I feel awkward. I also tend to laugh for no reason at all.

I wish my life was a musical. Not only do I love every musical I have ever seen, (The Book of Mormon is my favourite, closely followed by Newsies) I also always have a song in my head and I tend to bless those around me with my AHmazing (Jk) singing abilities and killer dance move. I wish that a band would follow me around all day and I could sing and dance to all my favourite songs.

I am a Feminist. No, I do not hate men. I love men. For the most part, I think they are great, smart, funny, and attractive. When I say I am a feminist I simply mean that I believe every human should be treated equally, no matter their gender, race, religion, etc.

I love being outdoors. If I could spend all day outside I would. I love being in nature. The beach is great, the mountains are great, the forests are great, nature is great. Haha! I am into pretty much all outdoor activities, hiking, camping etc. and if I ever won the lottery I would spend most of my time doing them.

Art is my true love. Photography is my favourite, but I dabble in every art form. Drawing, painting, cooking, graphic design, acting, writing, I love it all. Getting to unleash my creative side in any way makes me happy.

I am an adrenaline junkie. I laugh at the face of danger, hahahha!

 

Some awesome blogs that I want to nominate for a Versatile Blogger Award are:

Abromigo – Dive into Nick’s world and read all about his adventures traveling. Be captivated by his stories and follow him on his current adventure Down Under. 

Mrs. A to B – If you are interested in travel and beauty, you must check out Mrs. A to B. Rose has some great and helpful post for any woman who is into travel. Make sure to read her blog Beauty Wonders of the World.

Rose Passport – This is one of the cutest travel blogs out there. I love Danielle’s blog. The simple, yet elegant design is perfect. I came across the Rose Passport a month ago, and I am so glad I did. It has some inspiring and captivating blog posts that will keep you come back for more.

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AdventuresDestinationshawaiiNorth AmericaU.S.A.

Oahu: The Perfect Representation of Paradise

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The sand is warm and soft between my toes as I sit on the beach watching surfers catch waves. I relax on the beach and a feeling of pure bliss washes over me. The fresh, ocean air fills my lungs as my skin absorbs Vitamin D from the sun’s rays. Perfect isn’t a strong enough word to describe this moment. Then, I hear the phone ring and I am pulled out of my daydream and back to the wretched reality of my 9-5 job.   

     Being a travel addict, my days are often filled with daydreams of places I have been and new destinations I want to explore. When I close my eyes, I picture beautiful beaches, lush rainforests and mountain ranges. I imagine myself sitting in a coffee shop in Paris drinking a cappuccino, eating a croissant and reading a good book. Then “nek” minute I am admiring the beauty of South Africa as I hike up Table Mountain. The world has endless adventures and I want to experience them all.

   Thanks to awesome photos and videos from adventuring brothers Joshua and Caleb Buchanan, I can’t get Oahu, Hawaii off my mind. Oahu is the perfect representation of paradise. You can take it easy and enjoy the relaxing vibes of the island life while you sip Mai Tai’s on the beach all day. Once you are done relaxing, you can go on some incredible adventures. If you’re like me and understand the art of hiking, Oahu has some amazing trails that you should definitely trek, like The Crouching Lion Trail, Koko Crater Trail and Diamond Head Trail. If surfing is something you need to cross off your bucket list, Oahu is the place you need to be. Learn to surf where surfing was born! (It doesn’t get better than that, folks.) Cool off in the ocean with some snorkeling and swimming with marine life, just remember don’t touch the turtles, it’s illegal.

Here is what Joshua had to say about Oahu,

“I would recommend Oahu to someone who has never been because of the different culture and vibe, even though it is an American State, when you get there it feels like something totally new and different from the mainland. Everyone is way more relaxed and laid back and everyone seems to be happy. Also if you have never been to a tropical place it’s awesome to experience the jungle, with the vines and banana trees and coconut trees, along with the warm blue oceans and sea life such as turtles, dolphins, and Manta rays. Plus the fruit and Kalua Pig and Shrimp! Such awesome food! I would recommend using one morning at least to catch a Hawaiian sunrise and try snorkeling and surfing! Just really dive into the culture and island life there and you will not regret it!”

    Watch Joshua and Caleb’s video of the island and fall in love with Oahu. Get glimpses of (deep breath in) North Shore, Spitting Caves, Waimanalo Beach, Electric Beach, Lanikai Beach, China Walls, Waimea Bay, White Plains Bay, Makapuu Tide Pools, Koko Head Trail, Diamond Head Trail, Crouching Lion Trail, Pillbox Trail, Hanauma Bay, and Waikiki.  If Oahu is not already on your travel bucket list after watching, it will be. If you need help planning your trip to Oahu (or anywhere) contact me and I’ll be your travel buddy.

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