How to Travel Conflict-Free with your Besties

Before leaving for a six-week adventure around Europe with two of my best friends, many people asked how our dynamic was and if we’d fight. I always told everyone that we wouldn’t, but it’s hard to jump into spending 24/7 with someone and not have a single issue. For the most part, the trip was all smiles but I think that was because we all planned and communicated with each other. Heres how we survived 6 weeks issue-free!

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Each plan beforehand what is important to you to see

Each person is different and wants to see different things. Before you leave, express to your travel mates what it is you really want to see and accomplish in each city you travel to. Often times, many of those things you will have in common. Some; however, might not be on everyone’s priority list, so it is smart to make people aware and get them excited about the different things you want to see beforehand!

 

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But if you make them get up at 5:30 for a sunrise… they may still look like I did, regardless of the hype beforehand.

 

Prioritize everyone’s main goals in each city first

Pick the top things you all want to do or see and get them out of the way first, then start to rotate doing the things each individual person wants to do! It makes things fair and makes everyone happy! With good planning, everyone should complete their list.

Always ensure a constant flow of communication

This is KEY! Let your travel-mates know if you are nervous about something, homesick, physically sick or annoyed. You can either get the support you need or work out your problems before they overflow into a trip ruining argument.

Seriously though, my besties brought me Gatorade in bed and reenacted a walking tour for me when they knew I was sick and had to miss it!

When times get rocky bring in a new vibe

Funny enough, in one of the moments it felt like the tension was rising ever so slightly, we made friends with a new hostel buddy who brought new life to the trip and got us laughing and out of our funk! A new face can be just what you need!

Remember, to laugh! These are a once in a lifetime trips!

Rough patches many happen but keep laughing and exploring through it!

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Some Santorini wine helps too.

 

To see our fun trip, watch our video here:

Our Europe Adventure

5040 Peak

The 2018 summer has been nothing short of amazing. One of the most incredible trips so far was a day hike up to 5040 Peak on Vancouver Island. The 360-degree views at the top, Cobalt Lake and the STUNNING hut being built is nothing short of incredible.

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The Marion Main logging road that leads to the trail is easy to find, as it is 5km past Sutton Pass Summit on the left. However, after this, things got a bit tricky. We followed older directions that left us a bit confused. We managed to take an old trail up which was beautiful but missed the lake. Therefore, if you follow the logging road in approximately 10.4km you should find the trailhead on your left and have plenty of room for parking. The trailhead has a sign that reads 5040 Peak and is very distinct.

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This trail is steep and on a 30-degree day, it took a lot of energy… and WATER! I would recommend​ at least 2-3L of water, a first aid kit, snacks and a bug spray. We also brought a GPS, which came in handy on the old trail we took.

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BEWARE: Vancouver Island is incredibly fortunate​ to have spectacular​ wildlife. Running into wildlife on a trail like this is not rare. Respect any animal (or plant life) you come across and educate yourself on how to be safe in a situation like this. Our group saw a sweet black bear on the logging road.

First Date Tips & Ideas for Any Personality!

Hey Readers!

 

First dates can be awkward and nerve-racking! Believe me, I have had my fair share of the good and the bad. Over that time, I have noticed a couple of tips that have helped me or that I wish my date had followed!

 

You might be thinking “What qualifies you to give dating advice?”. Honestly, nothing. However, my boyfriend’s friends have started coming to me for first date ideas and tips in a new group chat called “Alexis’s Dating Service”. Super hilarious but so far, every first date has been rather successful. If that doesn’t qualify you to give advice, I don’t know what does!

 

Tip 1: Avoid any sort of scene that prevents conversation (i.e. the movies, a concert, a comedy show, etc.)

 

Tip 2: Don’t get too personal- avoid pictures, activities that expose too much (ex. swimming), & questions that are too prying or private.

 

Tip 3: Don’t willingly share too much (i.e. your past relationship details, your medical history, controversial views, etc).

 

Tip 4: Be open-minded- don’t start the date with the mindset that it won’t work out. If I did that, I wouldn’t be in the loving and incredible relationship I am in now.

 

Tip 5: Don’t get caught up in the details- First dates are nerve-racking and sometimes we fumble or slip up out of nerves. Give the person a chance!

 

Tip 6: Physical attraction matters but it’s not everything- He/she might not be love at first sight but as long as they are “relatively” attractive that is okay to start. A good personality can make someone a lot more physically attractive and a bad personality can reduce that physical attraction really quick.

 

Tip 7: Do an activity that keeps your hands busy! First dates can be awkward and the awkwardness will take over if you have free hands. If you opt for a coffee date, I swear just holding onto the mug helps!

 

Tip 8: Put the phone down! Unless the phone contains pictures or other material that can initiate or further conversation.

 

Tip 9: Ask the same amount of questions and talk about yourselves equally! There is nothing worse than someone who is all about them or who doesn’t share anything.

 

Tip 10: Choose a public place- Pick a place for the date that is public to avoid any discomfort.

 

Tip 11: Actively Listen- Put in the effort to be engaged in conversations and actively listen to what your date is saying.

 

Tip 12: Stay within comfort zones- It’s great to have things new and exciting during a first date but keep the surprises to a minimum if you don’t know each other well & never push your date beyond their comfort level.

 

Tip 13: Keep the affection to a minimum- Show interest with words, attentiveness and low-key affection like a goodbye hug. Call me old school, but a guy who isn’t pushy with moves right away scores major points.

 

Tip 14: Regardless of gender, if you are into someone, initiate the first date! Who cares if the societal norm is for a guy to ask out the girl? Just go for it!

 

Tip 15: Be yourself- If the dates continue, they will see the real you eventually, so you might as well be authentic right away!

 

First Date Ideas:
Of course, if there is any sort of known common interests that can be worked into a date, do that! If you don’t have any known common interests, I would recommend some of the following ideas for the following kinds of people:

 

For the Shy:
A group date in a low-key environment can be the way to go, such as:
-Bowling
-Games Night

 

For the Adventurous & Brave:
Something new and different will be for you! Some unique options are:
-Axe throwing
-Karaoke
-Cooking class
-Go to an Amusement Park

 

For the Givers:
Find a one-time volunteer opportunity at places such as:
-Food banks
-Soup kitchens
-Animal Shelters
-Community events
-Beach Clean-Ups

 

For the Artsy:
An activity that will help showcase your natural abilities like:
-Pottery class
-Painting class
-Galleries

 

For the Food & Drink Lovers:
An activity that is unique but food related like:
-Local Food Tours (Nanaimo’s Nanaimo Bar Tour)
-Local Tasting Locations (Little Qualicum CheeseWorks)
-Local Brewery/Wine Tasting

 

For the Active: 
Something that gets the heart pumping but watch for how much conversation time will be available:
-Rock Climbing
-Indoor Trampoline Park
-Workout class
-Roller skating
-Batting cage

 

For the Laid Back:
Something unique and fun but low-key:
-Playing Pool/ Game room
-Arcade
-Pub Trivia Night
-Attend a Street Fair

 

For the High Maintenance:
Honestly, I’d say stick to the basics:
-Dinner
-Local coffee shop date

 

What’s Trending?: Axe Throwing at VanIsle Axe

Okay, so maybe it’s not that popular yet, but once a bunch of social media savvy university students go axe throwing, you know it will be on people’s radar.

So, today I went with my Internship Prep class to go axe throwing at VanIsle Axe in Nanoose, BC.

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Result: I cannot recommend this activity enough!

At the start, I was very confused as to why this was our class activity; however, I left VanIsle Axe with a new insight. Axe throwing is not only fun and new, but stress relieving, empowering and energizing while creating a very supportive vibe amongst all participants. I left feeling a sense of strength and had developed a desire to push myself out of my comfort zone. Lastly, as a class, I left feeling like I had developed new friendships in just an hour.

Therefore, whether you are with a group of friends, a club, co-workers, or even by yourself, there is value in doing something new like axe throwing!

Not to mention, the owner and staff of VanIsle Axe were so welcoming, humorous and helpful, while creating a very safe environment.

VanIsle Axe has many ways in which you can participate in axe throwing, such as drop-ins, leagues, and bookings! Take advantage of this neat opportunity and support a great business!

Website link: VanIsle Axe

Sticking to My Truth

Wow… It has been a long time since I wrote on here.

Yes, I have been busy but my blogging absence has mainly been due to a realization that my words might travel farther and mean more than I had originally thought. When I first started this blog, I was doing it for myself. I never really expected for anyone to read it or for anyone to take anything from my words. Back in September one of my posts was shared on a weekly inspiration roundup targeted to women. Believe me, I was shocked but honoured. It meant people were obviously getting something out of my words. At 20 years old, when I am still trying to figure so much out, this seemed crazy to me. As time went on, anytime I tried to start writing I stopped because I wanted to make sure whatever I was writing had an impact. However, I originally “inspired” just writing from the heart and just letting my thoughts flow. After all… the name of this blog is Honestly Alexis.

Today, most people my age are looking for some form of media attention. We dress ourselves up just for a photo and go places just to tag the location on Instagram to gain followers and likes. That’s not ever what I wanted this blog to be. I wanted it to be real and honest and reflect my feelings and values. I don’t want to write what will get approval from others, I want to write what reflects my truth.

Therefore, I learned how important it is to stay true to yourself when the world is constantly morphing to fit the mold of perfection. Now, if that’s not a little inspiring, I don’t know what is.

I see a lot more posts in my future; maybe inspiring ones, maybe lame ones, but ones that I am proud of.

Adjusting Into A Long Distance Relationship

When I started connecting with my boyfriend he lived away in Burnaby. Only a two-hour ferry ride and a bit of driving separated us. For the longest time, we were only accustomed to the long-distance ways. However, he then came back home for the Summer. We took advantage of that time and spent every second possible together. Although you make tons of memories, the downfall is when they have to leave again. This time, he was not only leaving off the island to the mainland, he was moving a whole province away. Now, this might not seem like a big deal because only a quick flight and an uber separates us now. This is true… but many other factors make seeing each other much more difficult. Our schedules are a complete mess. We are both full-time students and I work on top of it. Not to mention the financial constraints of being students. When flights are $400 round trip, a quick weekend visit makes you rethink things.

The adjustment to him leaving has been anything but easy. I’ve felt lonely, spent sleepless night and no matter how much long distance love I was getting, it just wasn’t filling the void of having him here.

I overall wasn’t feeling like myself. For a while, I wished that he had never come home at all because I wouldn’t be feeling this way if he hadn’t. It wasn’t until I started going through all my photos,  remembering all the memories we made and how much closer we became in those three months of being together full time, that I accepted the new distance between us.

Here is a couple of the little tricks we use to make the time apart easier:

Communication: We live in a lucky world where we have so many resources to bridge the geographical gaps between our loved ones. All I can say is use these resources to KEEP THE COMMUNICATION GOING! Even something as simple as a good morning text message can make all the difference. We like to use FaceTime, even if we study while on it together, or having nightly talks.

Know your phone plan. Don’t get stuck with hefty phone bills. Know what your plan includes and work with it. Many plans, like mine, have unlimited calling after 6pm and weekends, which can be a huge saviour for those long chats.

The Future: As scary as it may seem at first, talking about the future makes long distance easier. It lets you know that the distance is temporary and gives you both goals to work towards. Stay within your comfort zone of what kind of topics to touch on that relate to the future but don’t feel like you shouldn’t talk about it at all.

Time Gap: We are lucky because we only have a one-hour time gap. That being said, scheduling things can sometimes be a pain. “Did he want to FaceTime at 9 my time or his?”. Remember to clarify this and set aside reasonable amounts of time that work for both of you to chat.

Be Sensitive: Just because you are feeling secure and happy with how the long distance relationship is working, doesn’t mean your partner is. Check in with them and be there if they aren’t feeling great. Highs and lows happen and they are going to need your help along the way.

When it’s you feeling a little off, don’t be afraid to say something. Voice how you feel and if the relationship is strong and mature enough, you will be able to talk through it and solve any issues.

Trust: People constantly ask about how trust plays into long distance. My answer has always been if you don’t trust them you shouldn’t be with them. If you find yourself social media stalking them or keeping yourself up at night thinking about what they may be doing and who they are doing it with, that relationship needs some work. Be with someone who you are confident in and who you trust will do the right thing.

Remember The Little Things: Those “how was your day?”, “I love you” and “I appreciate you” statements go so far. They are small but meaningful.

 

 

Knocking Out Back To School Nerves!

“Are you ready for back to school?” said every one of my customers and co-workers.

Good question.

As some may know, I have anxiety. It is anxiety that is very livable, but this is because I really focus on what I need in order to be the most successful version of myself. Going back to school is one of those times that is a little more challenging. Lots of expenses accumulate, your schedule does a complete 360, and it means more brainwork rather than physical work. Now, going into my third year of university, I think I have a smooth transition almost figured out.

Here are a couple of my little tricks:

-Get prepared well in advance. After August long weekend, start thinking about what you need to get done and write yourself a list. I try to knock one thing off this list every day.

-Set yourself a realistic budget for how much back to school will cost you.

-Start looking for textbooks for sale well in advance, you can get great deals on used books and save loads of money.

-Start posting about your used textbooks to receive some money back.

-Get yourself an agenda and consistently update it. Seriously, put your life into this book.

-Cut the liquor, cut the bad foods, increase the water intake and get thinking about your exercise routine and how it can be improved.

-Clean up your life! Clean the house, car, purse, and anything else you frequently use or spend time in.

-Try giving meal prepping a go. The more prepared you are in the morning, the more time you’ll have to sleep in.

-Speaking of sleep, strive to get at least an 8-hour sleep. It makes a world of difference when you are well rested.

-Find a solid support system to help push you through the hard times.

Getting back to school is a hectic time. Learn what works for you in terms of beating the stress! Everyone is different, but I guarantee that getting a head start will lead to greater success.

Let me know the things you do to kick stress and anxiety’s butt by commenting below!

 

 

What’s Trending?: Hammocking

On Vancouver Island, the trend of hammocking has exploded. People come in large groups and will hang hammocks off anything, anywhere, at any time​. These hammocks are very reasonably priced and easy to find. The best part about it, you get to hang with friends, relax and get outdoors. What could be better?

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I recently got a hammock for my birthday and had to go try it out. A friend and I set our hammocks up over top of one another at Nanaimo’s Neck Point​ Park. The area overlooking​ the bay in the back of the park is a hot spot for hammockers. Within half an hour of being there, we had three other people join us in their hammocks.

Most trends are not all they are cracked up to be… but let me tell ya… after about five minutes I was so relaxed I was about to fall asleep (as you can see, I was ready to fall asleep in that picture).

I loved this evening activity so much that I bought a double hammock for my boyfriend’s birthday. This hammock was large enough that we could hang in it together, and this time, we really did nap. We chose an afternoon on Parksville’s Little Mountain to hang. If you bring a few snacks and a drink, it is the perfect little date. Not to mention, these hammocks are super light transportable and can be brought along on any adventure, whether it’s camping, hiking or a road trip.

Our Double Hammock: Amazon Double Hammock

Tip: Spend the extra money and get a hammock with the loop tree straps. This makes set up much faster and convenient.

VI’s Century Sam Lake

By far, one of the most memorable moments of the 2017 Summer, was my hike up to Century Sam Lake.

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Yes… the water really is THAT blue!

This gem is located in Strathcona Provincial Park, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Although it is completely worth it to attempt this hike, it is not the easiest hike to get to. The trailhead is located on the Comox Main logging road, which is owned by Timberwest Forest Corporation. The area is open to the public on weekends only; however, with the rising fire hazards in British Columbia, the gate can be closed at any time. I recommend visiting the Timberwest Facebook page to check on the status of gates before attempting the trip.

Once you pass the gate hurdle, you go down the logging road until you hit a bridge which will be followed by signage for Cruickshank Main. Turn right onto this main. Follow the road until you come to a fork in the road. Then turn left onto the road that is signed “East Fork Main”. After about 5 minutes of driving, there will be small signs for the Comox Glacier trailhead. Comox Glacier and Century Sam Lake have the same trailhead so continue to follow these signs. Our truck began to struggle about 2km from the trailhead, as the logging road is full of deactivation ditches. We parked 2km away from the trailhead and walked the road. The trailhead is very noticeable and well marked. You will cross the river and come across 2 signs. One sign points to the Century Sam Lake Trail and one points to the Comox Glacier Trail. Once on the trail, the path is beaten and easy to follow. The trail is not maintained like the rest of Strathcona Provincial Park.  The trail is full of roots and requires some bushwhacking. Watch your step on the trail and be prepared.

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The hike is about 8km from the trailhead and took about 2 hours each way. Leave lots of time to spend at the Lake!

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If you can manage to find a way to cross the river flowing from the lake, go check out the rock cairn and snow caves on the other side.

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The water was still high in mid-July, so in order to cross the river, we removed our hiking boots and walked through the water. The water is so cold that my water obsessed Spring Spaniel didn’t even go for a swim.

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Just look at her unimpressed face…

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REMINDER: Please be respectful of the wildlife and ecosystems. Pack out everything you packed in and take nothing but memories!

Strathcona Provincial Park: Kwai Lake

Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is jaw-droppingly beautiful. This Summer I have done two trips out to the park, one to Forbidden Plateau and one out to the Battle Lake Area. The Kwai Lake Loop is located in  Forbidden Plateau and is moderate day hike spanning approximately 15-16km. The hike takes roughly 5 hours depending on speed and the number of breaks taken. The lake has a number of campsites surrounding it that give incredible views to mountains like Mount Albert Edward.

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The hike starts from the Mount Washington Access of Strathcona Provincial Park and trails through Paradise Meadows, a very touristy section of the park, which consists of flat and boarded walkways.

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Moving past paradise meadows, the Battleship Lake Loop will take you up to Lake Helen Mackenzie. Instead of following the rest of the Battle Lake Loop, continue onto Kwai Lake.

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This is the Forbidden Plateau Ranger Station ft. my little springer spaniel, Gypsy. The Ranger Station is a neat place to stop for a quick snack.

fullsizeoutput_1170The Forbidden Plateau Ranger station from the trail.

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Parts of the trail in early July still had snow on the ground. I was not prepared to go up to Kwai Lake as I thought I was only doing the Battleship Lake Loop. Runners were not the best choice of footwear, my feet were very wet and muddy by the end. Be prepared!

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Taa-Daa! Kwai Lake! Look at that backdrop!

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