What to Get Your Road Warrior


From Heather Greenwood Davis

Travel people are notoriously hard to buy for. What do you get the person who has everything from a shrunken head (purchased in the very village where it was shrunk) to a painted Ostrich egg ( plucked from the dirt next to the Ostrich who laid it)? Let’s face it, nothing you get them is going to compare to the things and memories they brought back from their latest escapade. You can’t compete. Your only hope? Help them go .

These gifts are guaranteed to elevate you to hero status and may up your chances of getting an invitation to tag along on the next trip.


1. Things that keep your hands free: In 2011 I traveled the world with one bag. It was fabulous and light and worked well for my needs. Sure, we wanted to pack light but it was also about making sure we had a hand free to hold on to little ones in airports and crowded streets. Fast forward to 2014 when hands-free is still the way to go but people are coming up with really cool ways to do it. Two of my recent faves include the SholdIt scarf ( an infinity scarf with a hidden pocket to hold your passport, boarding pass, sunglasses and more!) and the classic leather tote from Beau & Ro that transforms into a backpack for when you’re on the go. Both are available online but expect customs fees on delivery. Better still ship them to a hotel the next time you’re across the border and pick them up instead.


2.Short Stay Fashion: I’ve always wanted to be that girl. The one who is standing to board the plane for a quick weekend get-away with some cute piece of luggage. Everything is stowed and tucked and perfect. Instead, I’m more often THAT mom – stuff falling out of pockets, wide-open zipper, bag stuffed beyond capacity. I can’t help but think this bag would help. The House of Marley overnighter bag is available in three colours and rings in at $169.99

house of marley

3. Keeping it Cute: You know what’s tough to keep up with when you’re on the road? Beauty. I’d only need to show you a few close-ups from my year off the grid for you to see what I mean. *cough* Unibrow *cough* . While you can’t fit your esthetician in the overnight bag, there is hope. This compact all in one set from Tweezerman is meant to keep you looking more travel cutie and less travel caveman.  The rescue kit includes mini slant tweezers, mini brow mousse, mini eye enhancing highlighter pencil and mini brow shaping brush (all small enough to keep in your clutch) for about $25.


4. Leave the chores behind: Ahhhh vacation: sun, sand, surf, ironing… Oh? What’s that? Prefer to not worry about your super crushed clothing on the road? Well, then you are in the right place my friend. The more I can scrunch a shirt, stick it into the corner of my bag, shake it out, put it on and look good, the happier I am. And that’s what clothing from Tilley Endurables gave me. They’ve got stylish duds with a no-iron promise including one of my faves. Stylish and wrinkle-free and it will run you about $69 and take you from jeans at the pub to corporate couture.


5. Just one camera:  I am not a photographer, I just play one on Facebook. So the big DSLR that I shelled out for a few years ago is really just an expensive piece of jewelry when I travel. The camera I’m more likely to throw in my purse and actually use? The one I use for calling home and texting friends as well, my iPhone. So I was thrilled when a Facebook friend recommended a lens I could pack in my bag, add to my camera and go from a great camera that only works when I’m close to something to one that gets me the shots I’m actually after. Perfect. The attachable lenses are available online in various spots including Amazon for under $30.

AGPtek®-3-in-1-Camera-Lens-Kit-for-Apple-iPhone-4-300x300Heather Greenwood Davis is a Toronto based freelance travel writer. She recently returned from a yearlong trip around the world with her husband Ish and their two sons Ethan (10) and Cameron (8). The family has been honoured by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as 2012 “Travelers of the year.” You can keep up with their travels and more at GlobetrottingMama.


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Virtually Going Nowhere

If the expression, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is true, then I am laying a slow, steady path to a warmer climate. Waaaay back in July my friend Heather left for a round the world trip with her family and I said I was going to follow her virtually, learning and experiencing along the way. We started out strong, we made a going away card, we ate catfish, we went for a river walk……and then it all fell apart. My intentions were good, my execution, not so much.

Earlier this week on Twitter, Heather mentioned that they were coming up on their 100th day away. One hundred! Where the heck did that go? I suddenly felt a little sheepish. I wanted to do more. I had BIG plans. When she landed in China in September, I was relieved to hear she was there for a month. “A whole month”, I thought, “I can certainly manage to do something related to China in that time.” I had it in my mind that we would have Dim Sum in Chinatown in Ottawa and then explore the Chinese community our own backyard. Four Sundays later, we’d barely made it out of our end of town. Gymnastics, skating, cheerleading, school, parties, events, homework, housework, yardwork, workwork and oh yeah, a little sleep in there and September was gone. Before I knew it the Davis family had moved on to Australia. It’s not that we can’t do Chinatown now, but now I have to fit Australia in there somehow. Outback anyone?

Clearly I didn’t think this through, which for the record is typical of me. Act first, think later is my modus operandi. I still have it in my mind that I’ll be able to catch up somehow and get some virtual travel in before they hit the 200 day mark. Maybe. I think it’s best I remain committed to being non-committed here. I’d hate to have to write another, “ It’s getting hot in here” blog in January.

Not a day goes by though that I don’t think of Heather and her family, out on the adventure of a lifetime. Reading her boys posts make me laugh, reading her blogs make me think, shudder, smile and reflect. One of the most beautiful things about technology today is that friends are never far and we remain connected through Twitter, Facebook, Skype and e-mail. Imagine if I had to write letters to Heather? I’d always be a continent behind.

Mostly though, Heather continues to inspire me as she lives her life on her terms, making her dreams a reality. I may not be eating different foods or practicing how to say “Hello” in thirty languages, but I am learning. All of us that are following Heather on this amazing adventure are.

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Because I am a Girl

Last year, I heard about Plan Canada’s new campaign called Because I am a Girl and it immediately struck a chord. Probably because I have two girls who are blessed to have such wonderful lives and I want them to know that they can help other girls who were not born into the same circumstances. I want them to know they can make a difference, now.

So, at first, they were selling these really cool t-shirts and I was all over it!

Morgan loves her shirt!

Then, we followed along on the Because I am a Girl website learning about girls issues worldwide. Next, my friend Heather, who we’re virtually stalking, I mean following around the globe teamed up with Because I am a Girl to raise awareness on her journey. Coincidence? I think not. This is fate! Fate I tell you. So, the girls and I are on it.

The beauty of Because I am a Girl, is that is aims to mobilize our youth by giving them ways to empower themselves and others through easy to run fundraisers. The girls have decided they are going to run a Pink LemonAid Stand on August 13th, the weekend our local fair is in town and our streets are lined with cars. Mwahahahaha, I may have guided them with the timing just a bit. I’ve also ordered t-shirts for myself and Ava and adorable little necklaces. Go Team! My husband has been put on notice that he needs to build a lemonade stand and we’ve ordered our promotional material from Plan Canada. We are totally going to rock this.

We’ve also set up a fundraising page, so that anyone can help contribute. *Ahem* Hint, hint.

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River Walk

So, Heather and her family went for a river walk yesterday. I thought, “Well, I can do that!” We have a river. We can walk. Easy peasy.

I take this news to the girls. “Girls,” I say with tons of enthusiasm, “we’re going for a river walk today!” This is what I get:

“But Mommmm, whine, whine, whine, it’s too hot”
“Whine, whine, whine, the pool”
“Borrring, whine, whine, whine, whine”

It’s at this point, I’m just a teensy bit grateful that I’m only making this trip virtually and not actually taking them around the globe. Ahhhh, Heather, you are my hero.

“Tough”, I declare. “You’re not going to spend your summer lazing in our backyard. We’re going to get out and do things. See things. Explore. Besides I’ve made a commitment to myself and to Heather that I would do this and I am not giving up on Day 5. Do you understand me? So, put on your happy face and running shoes and let’s get going. When we get back here and we’re all hot and sweaty from our hike you can run in the backyard and jump in the pool with your clothes on.”

For some reason, the thought of jumping in the pool with their clothes on motivates them. Honestly, there is just no telling what will move your children.

We’re pretty lucky to have the Ottawa River so close by and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never taken the time to walk along it.

Heading towards the Ottawa River

I decide to park the car along the Aviation Parkway and start our trek there. The land along here is NCC land and it impeccably maintained and scenic beyond words. I’m feeling more than embarrassed that I’ve never done this now, I’m feeling guilty. I remind myself we need to take advantage of this more often. I promise the girls we’ll bring the bikes next time and take advantage of the incredible bike trails.

The breeze off the water was a nice relief in the heat

We find lots of beautiful little flowers and walking sticks. We search for skipping stones. We pick up garbage to dispose of later, a sad reminder of the damage we do to our planet. We sit and have a snack and talk about silly things.

Anything under those rocks?

Despite the whining and resistance in the beginning the girls had a great time. My six year old grabbed my hand on the way back to the car and said “Thank you Mommy, that was so fun”. I can’t help but grin. In the end our river walk was a huge success. I’m just glad it wasn’t a river dance, because rhythm and I were never tight. If you have a river near you, go take a walk by it and see what you can find. No river? Creeks, tributaries, lakes, oceans, seas, ponds, marshes, and streams are lovely substitutes. Get out today and enjoy it!

As promised.....

...jumping into pool with clothes on

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Meet the Davis Family

A little over a year ago I had the pleasure of meeting Heather Greenwood Davis through Twitter and mutual friends. It felt like finding a long lost friend. Heather is smart, funny, sweet, part of my running gang, did I say smart? She is also leaving…..for a year…to travel the globe. What? But I just found Heather and now she’s leaving? Noooooooooo. It’s simply too much to cope with, so I’ve decided I’m going with her. Surprise Heather! I’ll see you in Winnipeg, our first stop.

Kidding. Sort of. As it happens I’m a chronic over packer so I couldn’t actually get it down to one suitcase per person to join them as much as I tried. There was also the small matter of *ahem* finances. So, in the interest of simplicity and my hurting credit card, I’ve decided the Derickx family will join the Davis family….virtually. Woo hoo!!!

Saying Goodbye

We’re going to miss Heather, Ish, Ethan and Cameron, but we’re really looking forward to following them. We’ve printed off a picture of the Davis Clan and placed it on cardboard. On the back we’ve placed sticky tack. As they move around the world we’ll move their picture on our map. At each stop they make, we’re going to learn about the destination. We’re going to try different foods, dabble in a little language and get educated with some great history and current events. We’re also going to focus on children’s issues in each country. I encourage you to please have your kids join us on this journey and to help us find ways to experience a round the world trip…virtually. It’s a great way to learn about our great big neighbourhood. Heather’s two fabulous boys, Ethan and Cameron, will be sharing their journey with us on Heather’s website and will be able to keep in touch with my kids and yours via the world wide web. How cool is that?

Join the Journey

First and foremost, make sure you bookmark Heather’s fabulous site, Globetrotting Mama. Go there daily to read about the trip of a lifetime and live vicariously through Heather. Next, check out my new website, Life in Pleasantville. From there you’ll be able to see how we circle the globe, dressed in our pajamas a good portion of the time. I’ll be posting recipes from around the world, and blogging about our journey. Join us both please. The doer and the dreamer.

Ok, I have to go book a spa appointment now because I know Heather has a spa day coming up soon. The things I do for my friends.

See you in Pleasantville.

(originally published June 30, 2011 under See Mummy Juggle at Yummy Mummy Club)

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