Hi loves! I am so excited to introduce you all to one of my honorary big sisters, the amazing Alexis Rivard! Alexis is so kindhearted, open-minded, and supportive, and I hope you have just as much fun getting to know her as I did!
Name: Alexis Rivard
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Current Location: Ottawa, Canada
Sum up your adventures in four words.
Exciting, trying, life-changing and eye-opening.
What are the top five places you have visited?
I'm going to cheat, sorry Nish! I've lived in two of these five and so I know them a little bit more intimately than your average traveller.
In no particular order:
1. London, England. This is quite ironic, really, considering the first time I visited I absolutely hated the city. It's all about experiences though. Now it's one of my favourite cities in the world.
2. Tha Ton, Thailand. This small village is outside of Chiang Mai and has a river running through it that leads you to Chiang Rai and is worth a stay for at least a few days strictly for the calibre of the locals and how charming and lovely they are. Of course, the scenery helps too.
3. Amsterdam, Netherlands. Some of us might think it's all drugs and sex but there is so much more to the city than that. I definitely recommend visiting with a clear mind.
4. Tuscany, Italy. In 2013 I travelled through some small villages by car and stayed at peoples homes through AirBNB. I'll never forget looking over a field of sunflowers and eating figs off the tree for breakfast.
5. New York City, America. It's pretty cliche but I adored NYC. I'd go back in a heartbeat if it wasn't for the cost of it. There is so much going on at all times of the day that it's hard not to love.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A journalist. Radio to be exact. I had my entire life planned out by the time I was five, actually. It hasn't really gone to plan at all and for the best reasons!
Tell me a little-known fact about yourself!
I'm a martial artist - or at least I was. I want to pick it back up one day to get my black belt because I got pretty close but travel is my main focus now and it's hard to get into dojos (karate studios) when you're on the road although I did attend a Tae Kwan Do class in Stuttgart, Germany to counteract all the kebab I was eating there.
Tell me about one of your most memorable adventures!
It's hard to choose but in Chiang Mai I spent two weeks volunteering at Elephant Nature Park. During my time there I not only got to see elephants up close and take care of them I actually knew that I had helped. I did something good for these beautiful creatures that had been hurt so badly because of tourism.
What’s your guilty pleasure or "luxury item" while abroad?
I bring my laptop with me, not because I like the extra weight. For photos or writing, and with my upcoming trip, so I can edit and upload video. It's a luxury but it's necessary for me.
If you could go ANYWHERE, RIGHT NOW, where would you go and why?
Cape Town in South Africa. Well aside from the endless beauty in Cape Town there is just so much to do! Especially for an adventure traveller. I'd really like to do the Cape Camino at the start of my trip then try abseiling and finish off with a huge variety of water sports that are there. I've always wanted to try wind surfing and I've read it's a good spot for it. Plus South African wine is always a big plus for me!
What are your top three items on your bucket list?
Visit every UN country in the world, sky dive and meet Ellen DeGeneres. A girl can dream about the last one, hey?
So you've found yourself in some pretty crazy circumstances-- like being in Thailand without any money (check out her blog to read all about this!). What advice do you have for travelers to handle scary situations?
Allow yourself to freak out at first after that you have to realize that it's solvable. Everything is always solvable. Once you know that you can figure out a solution and you will be perfectly fine. It doesn't hurt as well to ask for help from people too.
I've noticed a theme on your blog is looking past stereotypes (which is really really cool). How do you keep an open mind and why do you think this is important while traveling?
I hadn't actually realized that but it's nice to hear, thank you. I'm able to keep an open mind in part because of the way I was raised and also because I force myself to be educated about the plight of others. As I'm a fairly privileged person, it would be so easy for me to ignore it but I'm also a minority and have faced a lot of closed doors as a result, which never gets easier. I would hardly want to contribute to this in any way. In short, it's about being an active person - being aware isn't enough anymore. As far as travel is concerned, I believe that if you want to see more than what you know you have to be open to more whether it's food, people or experiences. At the end of the day, you are a foreigner in their country and it's only right to be open to the way they live because that country was made for them and you are there to learn about it. Unless you're willing to do these things, you might as well stay in your home forever.
If you could give a new traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Plan your travels as best you can but allow for spontaneity too.
rapid fire questions!
Sand or snow? Sand.
Sky dive or SCUBA dive? Sky dive!
Spend the night in a tree house in the Amazon or a European castle? Tree house!
Hostel or hotel? Hostel. Definitely hostel.
Oktoberfest in Germany or Carnival in Brazil? Carnival! I've already been to Oktoberfest, actually.
Don't forget to check out Alexis' blog over at www.adventurousalexis.com to read all about her adventures!