Volunteering With All Hands and Hearts

We just finished two weeks volunteering with All Hands and Hearts in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico and it was an incredible experience. We met so many amazing people and helped make close to a dozen homes safer and more resilient to future threats from hurricanes. We even  got to help clear away rubble for a new community garden! People often ask us what we have been doing since we arrived here, so let us walk you through a day in the life of an All Hands volunteer.

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Why Start an RTW Trip with Volunteering?

Travellers are blessed in so many ways and paid in experience, so what better way to give back than to volunteer while travelling? As we planned our 14 month round the world adventure, Mr. Zen and I pondered ways we could give back to the world that has given us so many incredible experiences. My previous time spent volunteering with All Hands and Hearts (All Hands) in post-earthquake Haiti was easily one of the most profound experiences that I have ever had while travelling and I was eager to volunteer with the organisation again, because their commitment to responsible volunteering is commendable.

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Zen Travellers’ Trip Around the World!

We have been a little light on posts lately for good reason; we have been making arrangements to take just over a year off for a trip around the world!

We were hesitant to put it out there on the blog until all things were finalised with our work, landlord, etc, but we have been planning this for some time now. Announcing it is both unbelievably thrilling, and a little nerve-wracking at the same time.  Telling you all now just makes it so much more real!

Something we’ve noticed as we’ve told our friends, families, and colleagues about this adventure is that many people seem to respond with similar lines of questioning and comments, which we will share with you here.

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Why You Should Try Cross-Country Skiing

If cross-country skiing  on the beautiful trails of Banff or Kananaskis, isn’t on your list of things to try, it should be now.  A quintessential winter activity in northern climes, spending some time cross-country skiing is a wonderful way to enjoy a winter’s day. With all the snow we’ve been getting in the Rockies this year, now is as good a time as any to try a new and fun winter sport. Here are just a few reasons why we love cross-country skiing:

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Zen in the Wolf Den: the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

With their fiercely staring eyes, pointed razor sharp fangs, and sleek powerful bodies, wolves have captured people’s imaginations throughout the ages. This popularity is perhaps to their detriment since people have begun breeding them with dogs and then swiftly learning that wolfdogs make rather terrible pets. Given how many are surrendered to shelters, who tend to have a kill-on-the-spot policy for animals that are suspected to have any wolf in them, sanctuaries for wolfdogs like the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary are extremely important.

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Skiing at Nozawa Onsen

The skiing at Nozawa Onsen is not as well known as other areas in Japan. For instance, when people think of skiing in Japan, their thoughts often turn to the massive ski fields of Hakuba Valley, where the powder is deep and the vistas of the Japanese Alps are amazing.  Or they might consider Niseko on the North Island that is so popular with tourists, it has been said that you could close your eyes and think that you’re in Australia. These resorts are definitely popular for a reason. With exhilarating terrain, panoramic mountain vistas, and world-famous Japanese powder, the skiing will not disappoint. But for those looking to surf japow with a side of local culture, consider visiting the underappreciated gem of Nozawa Onsen for your next Japanese ski adventure.

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Cycling in Cozumel

When you think of things to do in a  paradise like the dreamy island of Cozumel, lounging on white sand beaches may come to mind, as would sunset strolls along the seashore. Also, as we learned in our recent trip to the Island, cycling in Cozumel can be the perfect way to soak up the tropical sunshine.

Cozumel is a small island off Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula known for its white sand beaches, lush forests, world class diving and overall relaxed vibe. In addition to all those wonderful things which we can personally vouch for, it is increasingly becoming a cycling destination too.

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