We had been thinking of making the switch to more natural products for a while. Learning about harmful chemicals and environmental toxins that seem to have infiltrated every bottle and jar of bath and beauty products we owned was certainly terrifying, but with the amount of travel we do it just never seemed to make sense nor did it appear to be feasible.

It wasn’t until a friend of ours came for a visit during while we were back at home and told us about the DIY deodorant and skincare workshop she went to. After telling us what she had made, she promptly pulled out her deodorant stick and showed us her own homemade deodorant. From that conversation we learned that not only was it simple to make, it was also travel-friendly. Thus began our foray into homemade products and our efforts to find ways to take all of them with us wherever we go.

Why Homemade Deodorant?

So why make homemade deodorant? This question gets a bit tricky when you delve into the scientific community and the hotly debated topic of cancer-causing agents. Deodorants and antiperspirants usually contain compounds such as parabens, aluminum chloralhydrate, aluminum zirconium, triclosan, talc, propylene glycol, and fragrances (just to name a few). While research results have been contradictory, there is a prevailing belief that many of these are irritants and toxic at best and cancer-causing at worst.

For us, the thought of simplifying the chemicals our bodies come into contact with, especially our skin which is our body’s largest organ, just makes sense. Whether those chemicals have been proven to be carcinogens or not. For the female half, it’s incredibly hard to find deodorant without antiperspirant and the idea of not letting your body sweat also seems strange. Isn’t that a part of the body’s natural functions? Add to that the environmental benefit of reducing the processing, use and disposal of those chemicals and we thought it was a no-brainer.

What we later learned was that homemade deodorant doesn’t just make sense because of the above, it is also cheaper costing only a fraction of what we would pay for deodorant, cleaner on our skin as well as our clothes, and works so much better. We actually found we needed to apply less and less frequently the longer we used our natural deodorant.

Our DIY Deodorant Recipe

Our go-to homemade deodorant recipe involves 3 ingredients. That’s it! Well, there are 4 ingredients if you also want to add a pretty smell, but either way it’s minimal time, effort and cost.

For the two of us, we use the following recipe and it lasts us a good month. During the summertime, we may go through it a bit faster.

  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 12 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Essential oil (optional and any scent preferred)


  1. Blend baking soda and arrowroot powder thoroughly in a bowl
  2. Mix in coconut oil and blend completely
  3. Add drops of an essential oil of your choice until the desired strength is reached. (We often use lemongrass as it is a pretty neutral smell for the both of us to use and will add drops until a mild smell is reached)
  4. Transfer to an old deodorant container or a small container with a lid for use.

Note: We find that the deodorant will be a bit more watery for the first day or so until it sets at room temperature. After that, it should be more creamy than solid but should not be liquid unless stored or transported in warm temperatures.


  • If you are unable to find arrowroot powder, you can substitute with cornstarch. We find this mix to be a bit more clumpy and can leave debris on clothing.
  • You can also adjust baking soda levels to suit your needs. If you find the mixture too abrasive, reduce the amount of baking soda or if you find it is just not doing the trick after a week or so of using it, add a little more baking soda for extra odour eating strength.

Best Ways To Travel With Homemade Deodorant

Especially when it is warm, we will keep the old deodorant containers in the fridge so that the deodorant remains solid. Otherwise, we can store the containers of homemade deodorant wherever we choose.

We’ll be honest. Travelling with homemade deodorant isn’t always as simple as buying a stick of antiperspirant at the drugstore and throwing it in your suitcase but we’re pretty sure that once you start making and using it, you’ll find it’s worth the little extra thought it takes to pack and carry it around.

For one, coconut oil melts easily so if you’re travelling to warmer climates, you’ll need a sealed container that will hold it well if it should turn to liquid for a time. We usually use a small tupperware container with a tight-sealed lid and keep it in our toiletry bag in our checked luggage. Since it doesn’t have the ease of use of an old deodorant container, we’ll just use our fingers to apply.

You’ll also want to make sure you’ve made enough for the duration of your trip. If you’re like us and travel for long periods of time, you may sometimes underestimate and end up running out. Because it takes your body some time to adjust to the natural deodorant, and thus reverting back to store-bought for a short time will restart this process, we have found ourselves buying the ingredients we need and making more deodorant.

This can get tricky when you’re in a hotel room with no mixing bowls, measuring cups or utensils but we’ve managed to use the tumbler we carry for water and a hotel coffee cup. Since the powders are 1:1 ratio, we can fairly accurately measure those out and then we add the coconut oil to an approximate consistency. If it’s too harsh on the skin, we’ll add more coconut oil later and if it doesn’t absorb odours enough we do the same but with baking soda. It’s really not as difficult as it sounds and is a great way to customize it to your own needs while keeping your body and skin healthy.

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By Veronika White

There is a big problem in society today… we are falling apart! It seems that we simply don’t have enough free time any more to actually bother to deal with even the most common ailments that impact us every day. Especially with our busy, 21st-century lifestyles, many people have just stopped taking the time to fix those little problems that can become bigger problems if not handled properly, which can be a bad idea in the long run if those little problems do decide to get bigger.

Luckily, there are quick, affordable, easy (and usually homemade) ways that you can deal with things like fatigue, headaches, sore muscles, depression and digestive distress.

**Please note, these remedies are not a substitution for medical attention or prescribed medications. Consulting a physician for any ailments or medical issues is always advised. Always confirm what is safe to be combined with any prescribed medication you are already taking**

Life’s Busy? Here Are Some On-the-Go Natural Remedies for Common Ailments


fatigue remedies


If you’re experiencing fatigue, here are some natural remedies that can help!

  • Try licorice root. Licorice root (in standardized form) is a commonly used natural remedy for fatigue, as well as adrenal fatigue. Look for standardized licorice root in extract or pill form. Speak to your physician if you take blood thinners, potassium, or blood pressure medications, as interactions can occur.
  • Get more maca. This is another great home remedy for chronic fatigue. This plant is part of the cruciferous family (like bok choy or Brussels sprouts) and is known for giving a caffeine-like energy boost without the jitters and shakes of coffee. Those seeking maca root as a remedy for exhaustion can find it in powders, liquid extracts and capsules. Anyone with thyroid issues should consult with their physician before taking maca.


When it comes to headaches, things get a little tricky. Head pain can be so diverse that it is sometimes hard to nail down one suggestion that works for every type of headache. However, there are a few things that seem to work consistently well for most headaches.

  • People who suffer with frequent headaches often have low levels of magnesium in their system, so increasing your levels of magnesium can bring all-natural headache relief. You can get the extra magnesium that you need simply by consuming healthy foods like whole grains, beans, broccoli, nuts and seeds.
  • Doctors recommend consuming 200 to 600 milligrams of magnesium per day for most people to help prevent headaches.
    • FOR PEOPLE ON THE GO: taking magnesium in supplemental capsules is an easy and super quick way to make sure that you are meeting that nutritional requirement. Simply grab the capsules and some water on your way out the door in the morning.
  • Try consuming more foods rich in vitamin B12. Another nutrient that provides natural headache relief is vitamin B12. A lot of people do not get enough of this vitamin in their diets, so sometimes supplementing may be beneficial. Healthy foods that contain this vitamin include most types of fish, nutritional yeast, almonds and sesame seeds.
    • FOR PEOPLE ON THE GO: it may be easier to just take a solid multivitamin to ensure that you are getting enough B12 (this would cover your magnesium needs as well).

nuts and health promotion

Sore Muscles

Nobody likes to have sore muscles. They may be linked to a variety of causes, including blood flow problems, dehydration, certain medications, lack of certain minerals (such as calcium, potassium and magnesium), exercise, injury or overuse.

  • Magnesium oil can help stop leg cramps. Magnesium is a fantastic muscle relaxant. An added benefit is that it can be applied via spray pump bottle very quickly and easily.
    • FOR PEOPLE ON THE GO: magnesium oil is great because it can usually be applied in less than five minutes on your way out the door in the morning.
  • Another effective treatment for sore muscles is applying heat. A warm shower or bath is a natural muscle relaxer, which can be great for tension-knotted shoulders or tight muscles.


Depression is a tough thing for anyone to deal with. It hits hard and can last a long time. Too often, doctors will prescribe medications to treat depression. However, there are a few natural treatments that do not involve chemicals which are proving to be very effective for a lot of people.

  • Try using saffron. Saffron extract may improve symptoms of depression, but more study is needed. Just be aware that high doses can cause significant side effects – Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
  • John’s wort would be very helpful. However, use with caution. St. John’s wort can interfere with many medications, including blood-thinning drugs, birth control pills, chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS medications and drugs to prevent organ rejection after a transplant. Also, avoid taking St. John’s wort while taking antidepressants — the combination can cause serious side effects.
  • Add fish oil to your diet: according to the Mayo Clinic, researchers have found that people who have low levels of two brain chemicals found in fish oil supplements may be at an increased risk of depression. Therefore, supplementing with these oils may help ease or even prevent depression.

Digestive Distress

Digestive issues have so many causes that sometimes it may be difficult to determine exactly what is causing your unique set of issues. There are certain steps that you can take to help ease the discomfort:

  • Exercise more. Always exercise more. This solves a lot of problems
  • Avoid foods that cause gas
  • Certain sweeteners can cause gas (such as fructose and sorbitol). They are often found in candies, chewing gum, energy bars, and low-carb foods, so these foods should be avoided
  • Avoid carbonated drinks
  • Start focusing and try to eat and drink more slowly. Eat mindfully
  • Stop smoking
  • Try not to chew gum
  • Try to eat less fatty foods

It’s easier than people think to live and be completely comfortable in your body and not suffer like the majority of people seem to. There are natural remedies everywhere for just about any ailment, and many of them are extremely effective. Try these, or research some to find what’s best for you… good luck!

**Please note, these remedies are not a substitution for medical attention or prescribed medications. Consulting a physician for any ailments or medical issues is always advised. Always confirm what is safe to be combined with any prescribed medication you are already taking**


ABOUT THE AUTHOR                                                             

Veronika is a student of Holistic Nutrition, with plans of opening a grassroots nutrition business after graduation that will help to educate people about how to live a healthier life through how they eat. She designs recipes that are nutritious as well as delicious, using real, whole ingredients and using foods that people might not normally choose (with the hope of teaching people more about them so that they will eat them!). In her spare time, Veronika enjoys working in her garden, yoga/tai-chi, writing, hiking and cooking. Stay tuned, as she is releasing a cookbook (based on helping redefine what healthy actually is) next year!

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On The Go Natural Remedies For Common Ailments



While this article was sponsored in partnership with ChromaDex, all opinions are, as always, our own. Remember to always consult a physician before making drastic changes to diet or exercise or before taking any new supplement or vitamin.

While we travel a lot and try to keep up with 20-somethings, we know our bodies aren’t what they used to be—getting older affects the way we think, feel and look. That’s mostly because we put a lot of strain on our bodies when we travel. We change diets, lose sleep, and are regularly exposed to the sun and other pollutants around us.

Even if our lifestyle wasn’t full of frequent changes and unpredictable schedules, we’d still be subjected to the day-to-day stressors that add up and take a toll on our energy and overall health.

That’s why we’re always looking for innovative, scientifically-proven ways of staying healthy. We don’t really do fads, so we wanted to find something that was preventative and worked on a cellular level, not just on the surface. Our research got us interested in some new and extensive studies surrounding a molecule called NAD+.

What is NAD+ & Why Do We Need It?

NAD+ is actually found in every living cell in our bodies. But its levels decline as we age or expose ourselves to stressors like:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Poor diet and overeating
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor sleep and changes to your body’s natural rhythms and cycles
  • Sun exposure

Which means, the lower our NAD+ levels are, the harder it is for our cells to break down food and turn it into energy. The higher our NAD+ levels are, the easier our cells can perform their crucial functions and processes.

Right now, studies are being designed to show that higher NAD+ levels may be connected to everything from energy levels, sleep quality, mental clarity and skin health.

Ways to Boost Levels of NAD+

Since we’re travelling so much and lead a busy lifestyle, it’s not easy to avoid these stressors. We want to be less fatigued and have more energy. We want to have a better quality of sleep and a better sense of well-being. Even if we have a healthy lifestyle, our NAD+ levels will inevitably decline either from aging or just making other choices that stress our cells out… but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it.

So we researched and found a clinically-proven way to increase NAD+ levels.

This NAD+ Booster is Backed by Science

We love our active lifestyle and want to keep up this pace for as long as we can, even as we age. So as soon as we heard the buzz about increasing NAD+ levels, we decided we wanted to add TRU NIAGEN™ to our morning routine.

The key ingredient in TRU NIAGEN™ is an incredibly effective form of vitamin B3 known as nicotinamide riboside that is clinically proven to increase NAD+ levels. And because NAD+ levels are essential to our cells staying strong and healthy, this kind of research has the potential to improve every organ in our bodies.

We may not be able to reverse the aging process, but we can redefine the way we age—and increasing NAD+ levels may be one of the best ways to do it.

Join us on our TRU NIAGEN™ journey today!       (Canadians click here)

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staying healthy whie travelling

There are so many reasons to travel as a couple and we keep finding new ones as we go. After spending pretty much 24/7 together for roughly two and a half years, most of it while travelling together, we’ve learned quite a bit about each other and about travel and relationships.

The major thing we’ve learned is that travel offers to couples a whole list of things that can’t be found elsewhere. It provides a variety of opportunities to learn about each other, grow, develop skills and make relationship decisions.

Travel doesn’t always have to be about the destination. Sure, you may have always wanted to go to a particular place, but even if one of you has no desire to see new places, travel itself can be an important tool for a relationship and worth it in the end.

We’ve Created A Video on “5 Things Travel Does For Couples”

Watch the video if you don’t feel like reading.

How Travel Helps Relationships

Though the list could be a lot longer, we’ve put together 5 major reasons to travel as a couple. These are things that travel does for couples and their relationship, that many other things can’t offer all at the same time.

travel as a couple in nevada

1. Creates Bonding Moments

Travelling as a couple offers opportunities to make so many memories together. These become bonding moments, not only as those memories are being created, but also as you look back on them and remember. Each time that memory arises, each time you retell the story, or each time something comes up to trigger that memory, you are both thrust back to that moment and that time together.

These experiences and memories are things that only the two of you share and that in itself makes it a bonding moment, time and time again as you reflect back on it.

Over the years, whether we’ve travelled or not, we’ve created memories that are shared just between the two of us. It’s during travel however, that we’ve found ourselves bonding the most. While travelling you’re together 24/7 for the most part, sharing every waking moment and every experience together. There’s boundless opportunities to make significant, humourous, interesting and, sometimes, private memories.

These are pieces of your relationship that come together to form a timeline of events and experiences that shape your relationship. They are pieces in time that no one else can understand.

For example, no one really understands our 150cc scooter ride from Chiang Mai to Pai, around 762 turns, up and down mountains with our backpacks on. The excitement, the adventure, the worry when the scooter just wouldn’t seem to make it up one particularly steep hill… all of it, every breathtaking landscape we saw, every stop we made where we communicated with locals in broken english and hand-gestures, is ours. Plain and simple. It was created by us, for us, and when we bring the story up, when we look at each other as we retell the experience, we know that there’s something intangible about that scooter ride that only we share.

lovelock in Germany

2. Teaches You About Each Other

When you are with someone 24/7, as you are while travelling, you become quite exposed. There’s really very little you can hide from the other person.

Think of all the moments, both private and public, you have in a day. Now think of having someone else beside you for virtually all of them. And if they aren’t beside you, they know where you are or what you’re doing. That’s what travel does with a couple – it exposes them to every aspect of the other person’s day and life and it has you learning fast about the nitty-gritty of the person you’re in a relationship with.

There will be a great many things you learn that will bring you closer and have you knowing the other person on a deeper level. There will also be a great many things you learn that you may not have thought you needed to know… especially around personal habits and bodily functions. But in the end, you’ll be learning about each other, and that’s an important thing. Travel is a just a tool to speed up that process and help you delve into every aspect of each other and the relationship.

There will also be things that you never would have thought of that may, or may not, cause some tension and require thought and conversation to work out together. Things about each other that may test the relationship.

We’ve spent an inordinate amount of time together and though we still manage to learn a few thing here and there, we’re pretty confident in our knowledge of each other. There’s really nothing we don’t know, don’t speak about or don’t share because when you’re on the road, you often don’t have a choice!

3. Teaches You Survival Skills

Learning so much about each other is also a part of surviving as a couple and travel helps you discover how best to do that.

Together, you’ll face the best and worst of times while you navigate new destinations and situations. How you work through the good times and the bad, is part of learning to survive as a couple. It’s not easy to spend 24/7 with someone, faced with the brutal honesties of who you and the other person are, thrown into different situations you both need to work through together but in doing so you’ll find how the two of you can best cope and manage.

You’ll discover whether you can live with what you’ve learned about each other and you’ll find out whether or not you can work together, and how you both do so best.

You’ll also discover whether the relationship is even something you want to survive, whether you even want to work together. This may be a hard pill to swallow but travel can thrust your relationship into the light and have you seeing exactly what it is and what you want… even if that may be no relationship at all.

relationships and travel

4. Strengthens Relationships Through Common Goals

Sharing common goals is one of the important hallmarks of a strong relationship. Having something you work towards together, and going through the steps to get there, is a powerful connecting force.

You’ll be motivating and supporting each other through the process, feeling good about achieving those goals and hitting milestones along the way, and finding a sense of purpose as individuals, and a partnership, that fosters happiness and a closeness with one another.

Travel, and all the steps while travelling, sets up common and mutual goals that you can work towards as a couple. There’s the planning and booking, the actually transit and travel and the execution of the plans that were made. It can sometimes take the both of you, working together, to accomplish the many parts of travel and in doing so, you’re brought closer together.

When unexpected situations arise, you’ll have to work together towards a common goal to sort through the problems or changes at hand.

As a whole, travel becomes a tool not only as a goal itself, but as a creator of smaller ones you can both work to achieve and strengthen the relationship as you do.

5. Develops Relationship Skills

As all of this suggests, relationships take work and developing relationship skills is an ongoing process. While travelling, you’re able to develop and improve on skills you can use in other situations as a couple and for life in general.

For instance, problem solving is a skill that is definitely honed as you travel. You’ll be able to see how you work together to deal with the unexpected and improve on how you do so. You’ll also see how to best work through problems that arise and solving them as you go. How do the two of you fare when the going gets tough? What are each of your strengths and weaknesses in those situations and how can you combine them in a way that works best at solving problems together?

Another major skill is compromise. What happens if you have differences in what you like or don’t like, where you want to go, what you want to do or how you want to do it? Being able to compromise in a relationship is huge and travel is a great way to practice and improve on that skill.

In large part, travel together is also about communication and that’s an important relationship skill that many people need to work on. Not only is it important to be able to express how you feel, it is also important to be able to receive that information from your partner and process it appropriately.

Sure, we get hangry and can find ourselves becoming short with each other, but we also know that, at the end of the day, we are able to explain ourselves effectively, tell each other whatever we need, and discuss any issues we have openly and with a positive reception.

Overall Importance Of Travel As A Couple

Obviously there’s a lot more to each of these points. Relationships take hard work. Travel is merely one way that a couple can grow together and because it is able to help in so many ways – by creating bonding moments, teaching you about each other, showing you survival skills, providing common goals and developing relationship skills – it is an invaluable tool to do so.

Whether you want to stay local or travel far, take a road trip or jump on a plane, simply getting away as a couple, facing the challenges and joys of travel together, will have you growing stronger together, learning more about each other than you thought possible and even making very real decisions on the future of your relationship.

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Why you should travel as a couple pin

Valentine’s Day is the one day a year dedicated purely to love and romance. It is, first and foremost, a couple’s holiday celebrated excitedly by new couples and often begrudgingly by veteran couples. For those who find themselves single when the 14th of February comes around, it can be a day that is despised and dreaded. For us, it is pretty much a day like any other. Though we do acknowledge its significance in society, we don’t go out of our way to elaborately celebrate it, although we wouldn’t pass up a romantic trip as a couple if one arose! We like to think we celebrate our love for each other in small ways throughout the year.

Having said that, we also don’t want to be that grumpy couple that loudly criticizes the commercial-nature of holidays and refuses to have anything to do with celebrating Valentine’s day and so we usually spend the evening at home, together, and find ways to inject some romance into that time. If we can find unique romantic Valentine’s Day plans then you can be sure we’ll be doing that!

Stay-At-Home Romantic Valentine’s Day Plans

Here are some of our unique Valentine’s Day ideas for couples who want to stay at home, skip the lines and reservations, avoid the paired-off crowds and higher price tags, and spend a night solely in the company of each other.

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romantic Valentine's Date ideas at home pin  Valentine's Day iDeas for couples at home pin



Choose to do one, two or all of the below suggestions but whatever you choose, always make sure to make it about what both of you want!

Camping… Indoors!

We’ve mentioned this idea briefly before when we listed some of our New Year’s Eve date night ideas for couples as an alternative to camping outdoors. While it does make a great plan B, camping indoors is also a fantastic plan A for those who want to have a little fun while still at home and because of that, it makes a perfect Valentine’s Day date idea.

It’s simple too. Pop up a tent in the living room or anywhere you have enough space, include pillows and sleeping bags (or just one for an even more intimate Valentine’s evening) and an indoor campground is created! The key is to really get the camping atmosphere going. Turn down the lights, turn off phones and other electronics, use flashlights and radios and find ways to enjoy each other’s company without all the amenities you’d typically have.

There is one household item that does serve a purpose to enhance the experience, rather than diminish it – the oven. Since a campfire is probably not likely, and since not everyone has a wood fireplace, using the oven to make camping treats like s’mores is handy. Simply place graham crackers on a baking sheet, top each one with a square of chocolate followed by a marshmallow and place in the oven (at 350 degrees F) until the marshmallows turn golden. Take out the tray and place a second graham cracker on top of each one, pushing down to crush the marshmallow and chocolate together. It may not have the taste of campfire but it does taste good!

If you’re feeling adventurous, feeding each other will prove to be a fun and sticky activity!

Take A Vacation… In Your Living Room

Perhaps camping isn’t your thing – indoors or outdoors – but that doesn’t mean you can’t take another type of trip in your very own living room. Is there a destination you both love? Someplace you’ve been and want to go again or maybe a destination you have always wanted to go? Just because you aren’t physically travelling there for Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t travel there in spirit.

Find movies that take place in that country or city and have a marathon. If France is your goal, try Moulin Rouge, Midnight in Paris, French Kiss, The DaVinci Code. Looking to be transported somewhere tropical? Go with Pirates of the Caribbean, Once Upon A Time In Mexico and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Or maybe you’d rather spend some time in the Big Apple with 25th Hour, Coming To America and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A trip around the world is easy too, depending on which movies you choose.

Once you’ve got your movie playlist decided and you know your destination of choice, the next step is the atmosphere. Decide on a dinner (take-out or homemade) that fits with the theme. Find wine, beer or non-alcoholic beverages that fit too. Have music playing while you eat that sets the tone as well. Add any little touches to the room that will bring you closer to feeling like you’ve stepped out of your home and into a completely different city or country.

Imagine a night in Italy. Spaghetti and meat sauce, a Chianti open to breathe on the table, some quiet opera playing in the background as you enjoy the meal before snuggling up on the couch to watch Midnight in Paris with some zeppole and cannoli.

You’ve just spent a romantic Valentine’s Day in Italy without ever stepping foot out of your house.

Fine Dining… At Homeromantic table setting

Maybe you want to lose yourself in another destination or maybe you just want to lose yourself in each other. Whether you decide to go with a theme or are just aiming for romance, preparing for some fine dining is a great way to have a romantic Valentine’s Day at home.

We’ve written about the fact that cooking as a couple is one of our favourite date night activities, but turning it into a romantic evening with an added element of fine dining takes it to another level that is perfect for a Valentine’s Day celebration. Whether you cook the meal yourself, order in or take-out there are tons of ways to make the dinner special.

For one thing, ditch the couch and use a real table. Opt for a real tablecloth and cloth napkins, put out some flowers and light some candles. If there’s a special restaurant the two of you always go to when you’re looking to celebrate something special or amp up the romantic vibes, channel that atmosphere and bring it right into your own home. Lower the lights, turn on some soft background music and set the table. It’s all about setting the mood and embracing the elements of a meal that make it a romantic fine dining experience.

Once you’ve created the fine dining setting, make sure you both dress the part. Just because you don’t go out, wait in Valentine’s Day lineups and pay Valentine’s Day prices, doesn’t mean you can’t make the same effort for a quiet evening at home.

If you’ve cooked the meal together, you’ve had a chance to chat and work together and the evening has already begun. If not, crack open those takeout containers and start preparing your plates – it’s time for a romantic meal together!

Get Competitive… And Have Some Fun!

Looking for something a little more laidback? Maybe you’d rather have some Valentine’s Day fun either instead of, or after, some more formal celebrations (like some fine dining at home)? Having some fun with each other while playing board or card games can be a great way to spend the evening and remove yourselves from the stress of the day, the distractions of technology and television and the outside world in general.

You can get as competitive and as serious as you want or just keep it light but either way, tallying scores and predetermining prizes can increase the fun – especially if you make the prize something the loser has to do for the winner! Prizes like a home cooked dinner, cleaning the dishes, or something more risque will add a great competitive edge to the evening.

Pull out some of your favourite games or a deck of cards and enjoy eachother’s company. Trivia games are also great for having fun, learning something new and racking up those points!

Go Back To The Beginning…Focus On Intimacy

strawberries and wine glasses

Regardless of how you spend your evening a focus on intimacy is, at the end of the day, what most people think of when they think about Valentine’s Day. And there’s no better place to focus on the intimacy in a relationship than right at home.

With the privacy your own home affords you, you can rekindle the passion between, build intimacy and make the other person your primary focus. Light some candles, share a bubble bath with some quiet conversation and spend some time rekindling the passion – in bed, on the couch, wherever really.

Make the night about your relationship and the two of you and getting back to the beginning when it was about stolen kisses, a soft touch as the other person walked by and moments spent just being together.

Make Valentine’s Day At Home Special

It doesn’t take a lot to make a Valentine’s Day special with the one you love. It’s not so much about where you go or what you do that speaks to the romance and love a couple shares. And what makes staying at home for this romantic holiday isn’t the money or time saved. Instead, the day is about simply spending time together and truly being present and there’s no place better to make that happen than at home where you can pretend, at least for one night, that no one and nothing else exists except the one you love.

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New Years is a time of hope. A day filled with the promise of new opportunities and experiences, of plans and dreams and goals. It is also a time best spent with the one you love, enjoying eachother’s company as you ring in the New Year together with thoughts of the two of you and times to come. But with all the hype surrounding New Year’s Eve and the plans to be made, it can be tricky figuring out exactly what to do when you just want to spend a romantic evening together. We’ve put together a list of some great ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve as a couple that will help take the stress of planning out of the equation and give you some amazing new memories to start off the new year right!

Romantic Ideas For Celebrating New Year’s Eve

Whether you want the intimacy of a night with just the two of you or want to get out and celebrate together with the crowds, we’ve got some great ideas that will have you enjoying yourself well after the clock strikes midnight

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Enjoy A Unique Airbnb Experience

Imagine it: a romantic evening in a luxury treehouse, curling up in front of the warmth of the fireplace and enjoying each other and the calm and quiet of the surrounding nature in South Carolina.

Or how about staying on a 70 foot luxury yacht in Vancouver, walking to the seafront restaurants for dinner before returning and spending the evening on the water. You may also want to try the night in a ’71 VW Bus in Toronto for an extra cozy, extremely intimate and totally fun evening as you turn up the radio and join in on the countdown to midnight.

Whether you go for something crazy and unique or something more sedate, whether you stay local or venture further away, renting an Airbnb for New Year’s Eve is a great way to spice things up, make the evening romantic and have time for just the two of you.

Don’t have an Airbnb account yet? Sign up with our link here and get $40 CAD ($30 USD) credit!

Dance The Night Away

One of the the most popular ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve is at a party, either at a friend’s house or at a venue such as a club. Perhaps this doesn’t sound romantic. After all, we’re talking about spending the evening surrounded by others, with loud music pumping and more movement than conversation.

But finding a local restaurant or club that offers a New Year’s Eve dinner and dance can turn a party from a social event, to an intimate date night. Don’t go with friends. Don’t find a group to purchase tickets with. Grab two tickets, or make a reservation for two, and head out for a special night spent making eye contact across the dinner table and in each other’s arms on the dance floor. You’ll have all the fun of a social event but with the romance of an evening alone.outdoor ice skating as a couple

Ice Skate Your Way In To The New Year

Though it’s a common pastime in colder destinations during the winter, going ice skating is an exceptionally romantic activity on a special evening like New Year’s Eve.

Many cities with outdoor skating rinks are open on New Year’s and some even have music and other entertainment leading up to the countdown. What better way to spend time with the one you love as you start a new year than holding hands and chatting as you glide around the ice, under the lights and the night sky?

Grab a meal before, some hot chocolate in-between and, of course, warm up under the sheets after!

Camp Out Under The Stars

If you’re not from colder climes, an outdoor skating rink may not be an option. Instead, spend New Year’s Eve under the stars by camping. Whether it’s in your backyard or a campsite of your choice, this is a great way to enjoy each other’s company and put a spark into the evening’s festivities.

If you do decide to camp, make sure to keep the focus on the two of you and all the potential the new year brings. This means detaching from the rest of the world, putting technology away and finding ways to make it quality time spent together: listen to a radio and chat, play cards or a board game, roast marshmallows and cook other food if a campfire is possible but most importantly, just be together in the moment.

If a camp out is exactly what you want to do together but the weather is just not right, consider popping up a tent indoors, roasting marshmallows in the oven and making it a whole different kind of experience. You can even have fun building a fort together instead of a tent and don’t forget: pillow fights are always allowed… you never know what romantic activities may result!

Cook Together & Have Movie Marathon

If you’re looking for something more laidback and relaxing, one of the best ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve is taking time together to create a romantic date night at home. Cook together and make a special meal for two. Put away the phones, work together to make the meal, set the table and the atmosphere and dig in.

After dinner, cozy up on the couch and spend the time until midnight watching movies (favourites and new ones), talking and enjoying your time together. It’s a great way to work together to create something special and make the evening one of romance. It’s also a great time to talk about your hopes for the new year, the future and your goals as individuals and as a couple.

Ring in The New Year in Bed

Nothing says a romantic New Year like hours of undivided attention under the covers. If you really want to start the year off with a bang (excuse the pun) then an evening in bed is the way to go. Whether it’s some hanky-panky or conversation, watching TV or playing cards, there’s a lot to do in bed to countdown the hours until midnight.

You’ll want to have everything ready before hand so you don’t have to leave the bed other than for bathroom breaks – have drinks and food ready and on hand, cards or games nearby, remotes and other necessary gadgets within reach and settle in for the night. You can even plan for a breakfast in bed and extend the romantic celebrations well into the morning.


No matter how you choose to spend your New Year’s Eve together, finding ways to concentrate on each other is key. It’s hard to disconnect from all that goes on in the world around us but what better day to try to do so, and focus on romance, than the day that celebrates all the possibilities the future may bring.


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By Dana Hughes

Travelling is always tiring and time consuming. Running through airports or train stations, checking maps and making sure we stop at gas stations for a refill, sucks up almost all our energy.  So we usually like to dress as comfortable as possible in order to reduce stress. But most of the time, comfortable means boring and it really doesn’t have to be like that when it comes to your outfits. Here is a list of 10 amazingly easy ways of jazzing up your travelling clothes.

Tips For Creating A Stylish Travel Wardrobe

1. Jewelry

jewelry for travel

One of the easiest ways to really bring to life a bland travelling outfit is jewelry. This means that you can basically wear whatever you want, even jeans and hoodies as long as you sport the right amount and type of bling. For example: are you wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a cardigan?

Then throw on a multilayered necklace that includes pearls, beads, chains and crosses. Embellish your wrists with heavy bracelets and nobody will even notice you’re wearing jeans. Or, are you wearing a simple cream colored top with pants? No problem. Gold is the answer. A big chain necklace will take you out of the boring zone and into the fun and luxury one.

2. Sunglasses

sunglasses for travel up style travel fashion

If you’re travelling by car, let’s say and you have a long drive ahead of you, you will definitely need sunglasses. But, as a trick of embellishing your outfit for that journey, leave your classic Ray Bans to rest at home this time and go for a big, dazzling pair instead. You cannot go wrong or unobserved with a pair of Lolita sunglasses from LoLoBu. They have a thick white frame which is why, if you pair them off with a red hot lip, the effect is guaranteed.

You can’t go wrong with a pair of round ones, the Harry Potter type, especially if you get them in a crazy neon color from, let’s say, Dior. But 2015’s star were definitely the cat eyes sunglasses. So rock a pair of golden ones, like Quay proudly introduced this year with a completely black outfit and a hat and watch as all eyes turn on you in the crowded airport.

3. High-heels

high heels for travel fashion

I know you’re going to wrinkle your nose at the idea of going on a trip in high heels, but hear me out first. High heeled shoes are empowering, luxurious and make a statement, especially when you’re travelling. They really say: “Wow, this girl is about to go on an eight hour flight to Rome wearing sky high heels. She must really have it together. Why can’t I do that?”

Watch as you become an example and an inspiration to women around you, because, indeed, attempting an eight hour flight in high heels is a feat of strengths and if you can do it, it must really mean you’re a strong, independent woman, who does have it all together.

4. Luggage

stylish luggage for travel

Another obvious point in order to style up your travelling ensemble is the luggage. Instead of carrying your stuff around in a plain, black bag, make sure to buy an interesting, colorful and stylish one. Go romantic, for example and buy a retro one, especially if you’re travelling light, or go diva with… Chanel.

5. Scarves

scarves and travel fashion

The accessory we all love and cherish is, probably, your best friend on a trip. It’s very versatile and can serve for many other purposes, not just to hang around your neck. Therefore, when travelling, don’t think only about the comfort and warmth a scarf comes with, but design and style as well. Therefore, instead of choosing a bland one, try a plaited blanket scarf, for example, a huge shawl-like one or, why not, a head scarf.

6. Maxi Dress

travel style maxi dress

The maxi dress or skirt may seem another odd choice for travelling. That’s because when we think about going on trips, we mainly think of pants, but, actually, maxi skirts and dresses are very comfortable. More comfortable that pants even, in hot weather. So, you can choose a simple, mono chrome maxi skirt, pair it off with a crop top and you have an amazing outfit for the airplane or train, no one else will have.

7. Casual Chic

casual chic travel fashion

Probably the most eye catching and, at the same time, most comfortable style you can adopt while travelling is the boyfriend style. Grab a pair of low-waist, baggy, tattered boyfriend jeans, a white tank top, a hoodie and a baseball cap and you’ve got yourself a head-turner outfit straight out of the hood fashion, as well as one you could probably climb a mountain in.

8. Stylish Boots

travel fashion stylish travel boots

Boots are another great way of combining stylish attires with being nice and comfortable while you travel those long miles. They are clearly the way to go, almost always. We don’t recommend you travel in, let’s say, sandals. Your toes will get dirty and crushed in no time through the airport or train station. However, with boots you run no risk of that and if you can find a dazzling pair, your success is guaranteed.

9. Oversized Sweaters

travel fashion and oversized sweaters

Oversized sweaters can save you a lot of trouble. They will keep you warm and you won’t need a supplementary piece of clothing, like a cardigan or a jacket. Just the sweater will do. The world has fallen back in love with them as they re-entered the trend this year. They are highly fashionable right now and the best part – you cannot go wrong with them, no matter what pattern or color you choose.

10. Hats

stylish hats for travel

And last, but not least, hats. Either you’re travelling during summer to some hot holiday location or in winter time to a snowy one, you will still require a hat. So why not make it a jazzy one and the main attraction of your outfit? If you’re feeling bold enough, you can try a funny one, with cat ears on it, for example, because they have been in trend this year.


So take these ten tips and go crazy and creative with them. The purpose here is to make travelling as pleasant as possible for you, and a well put together, sparkling outfit will certainly do that.



Dana K. Hughes is a travel enthusiast and a photography student, who loves to plan unforgettable trips. She is also a dedicated writer, who loves long walks through unknown cities and spying on people’s outfits. Dana is currently doing an internship at http://serbags.com, where she writes original articles that inspire readers to showcase their individuality and bring out their personal style. You can also find her on Twitter.


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365 days. 9 countries. Countless experiences. Our life over the past year has been a dream fulfilled for both of us.

We can hardly believe how fast time has flown! It seems like just yesterday we were finding ways to save money, packing up and selling off our things, and getting ready to leave! If you’ve been following you know that this past year has brought us some incredibly exciting moments.

We’ve also been pretty honest about the difficulties of the travel lifestyle. It hasn’t been twelve months of sunsets, smiles and beautiful beaches, although we love posting those to our social media channels! It’s been hard work, at times stressful and uncertain, and we’ve had to learn how to navigate a completely different culture every few months while learning the ins and outs of being a digital nomad.

But would we change one second of the last year? Absolutely not! We’ve followed our dreams and are living life to the fullest and we’ve learned a heck of a lot along the way.

1 Major Lesson We’ve Learned After 1 Year of Travel

one modern couple riding a motorbike - 1 life lesson - 1 major l


We’ve also done and seen so much in just one year. We’ve learned to Scuba Dive in Koh Tao, fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing elephants in Thailand up close, climbed the Great Wall, tried a boatload of amazing food, watched amazing sunsets in Thailand, spent Chinese New Year with a family in Taiwan, visited one of the world’s newest “Smart Cities”, and so many more moments we haven’t written about, during each day of the past year of travel.

And throughout it all we’ve sure learned a lot. We’ve learned about ourselves, each other, and other cultures. But there’s one major life lesson learned through travel. Something that we hope everyone learns, no matter what their life goals are or what dreams they have. It is one simple, three-word concept…ready?

The Major Life Lesson Learned Through Travel



And we don’t just mean travel or what we do, though that is also possible: If we do it, so can you. What we mean is that however you envision your dream life, chances are there are choices and steps you can make to get closer to, and even achieve, that life.

For every person we talk to who says they wish they could do something different, who wish they had a different job or lifestyle, had more vacation time or time with family or who wish they had different opportunities, we’ve met at least one other person who has made changes or choices that have led them closer to fulfilling their dreams and living a life that makes them happy.

We’re not saying everyone has equal opportunities. They don’t. But the majority of time the people who are telling us we are lucky or that they wish they could do what we do or make changes in their own life, are people who have similar opportunities as us. They’ve had a similar upbringing, similar socio-economic status, similar choices to make and are in similar places in life as we were just a short year or so ago.

We’re not trying to preach here. Instead we’re trying to inspire and motivate others, especially those who continually tell us they wish they could do what we did and follow their dreams. It. Is. Possible.

The How of It All



This is also a simple three-word concept: Make. The. Choice.

It’s really very simple when you boil it all down to the fact that it is a choice. It’s a choice between continuing on the path you’re currently following and making the choice to step off of it. It’s not always easy, you often have to work hard for the other path and it often means sacrifice and change but if you really want what that alternate path has to offer, if you’re really not happy with the road you’re walking now and believe happiness lies down another trail… Make. The. Choice.

We sacrificed, and are still sacrificing. We made huge changes to who we were, how we lived and what we had. We work harder than we’ve ever worked before but oddly enough, we are also the happiest we’ve ever been. This is the life we dreamed of and it’s the life we’re still working hard to make for ourselves. All it took was for us to make the decision to just do it and to just do it now. We had to just Make. The. Choice.

A Motto To Live By


Through all of the decision-making and life-changing, we found a motto to live our lives by and stuck to it. This time, it’s just a simple four-word concept:

Live. Life. Without. Limits.

To us this means not putting restrictions on the dreams we have, not limiting ourselves to what we feel we “should” be doing or what society dictates as the standard and norm for our age and demographic: a 9-to-5 job, a house and mortgage, 2 weeks vacation a year, a dog and kids. Perhaps this is your dream. If it is, that’s great! But for us, it’s not the future we look to build and so we’ve chosen to seek out our own path in order to follow our dreams. We’ve decided it is possible and made the choice and now we live our lives without limits.


Yep, it’s been one heck of a year and we can’t wait to see what the next one has in store for us: more lessons, more memories and more dreams fulfilled.

Staring at each other across the candlelit table, goofy smiles on our faces and the feeling of the entire future opening up before you… that’s what it’s like during the first few months of a relationship.  Stumbling into a cement room, a hard bed the only piece of furniture, both of us sweaty, disheveled and cranky, looking at each other and knowing that if we don’t get something to eat, soon, we are going to start taking our misery out on each other… that’s being together after travelling 24/7 for months on end. No pretenses, no secrets, certainly no privacy, but an absolute bone-deep knowledge of who that other person is and a love for them despite, or maybe because, of it all.

Travel As A Couple

It’s Not All Sunshine & Roses… But It’s Worth It

Travelling as we do, we see each other at our best and at our absolute worst. We tell each other everything, no thought is spared – whether it’s expressing how happy we are to be sharing a particular moment together, revealing a previously untold thought or secret, or taking out our fatigue and hunger on the other person in a bout of temporary grumpiness.

Yup, we run the gamut of emotions while travelling and we often use each other as the means to release them. But even when we show up to less than impressive accommodations, after walking with our bags for hours, hunger gnawing at our stomachs and exhaustion draining us completely, we know that no matter what we say or how we act, we can be genuine to how we feel at the moment and the other won’t hold it against us.


You enter into a relationship with a host of questions about who the other person is and expect to find those answers over time. Travelling together becomes an expedited version of that process and no matter how long you’ve been together, there’s always more to learn.

It’s been almost 9 months of full-time travel for us where almost every minute is spent with the other person and very few personal details remain private. We’ve learned a heck of a lot about each other during that time and while it hasn’t always been a piece of cake, our relationship has become stronger and deeper than either of us could have imagined.

What We’ve Learned As A Couple Through Travel


Although travel isn’t the only way to grow as a couple, our relationship has grown in several main ways over the past 9 months, much of it owed to our travel experiences:


While we never had problems with trust before we ventured out on full-time travel, we’ve learned to trust each other on a deeper level than we thought possible. While travelling, the other person becomes the one thing you can count on in an ever-changing environment that is unfamiliar and often unsteady. We rely on each other and trust each other completely, with every thought, feeling, decision, and action.


We’ve learned that there is always room for improvement when it comes to communication skills, whether it is expressing how you feel or learning to listen to what the other person is saying. While travelling a number of situations and circumstances arise and communication is key to having as stress-free and enjoyable time as possible. We try and communicate openly and honestly (something that ties into trust) and try and receive what the other person is saying with equal openness. It’s not always easy, it’s not always perfect, but we’ve learned a lot about each other and can often understand what the other person is thinking or feeling without any words needed. We’ve become “tuned-in” to the other person so much so that even while scuba diving in Koh Tao, Thailand, we were able to communicate our thoughts through random hand movements not at all like the standard ones used to convey messages to your dive partner.


Many times compromise is thought of as finding a middle-ground between two opposite choices and sometimes it is, but more often than not it’s about making small sacrifices for the other person. For the most part we are pretty much in harmony with what we want to do and where we want to go but there have been times when one of us wanted to go somewhere that the other person was not especially thrilled about going. Compromise then becomes a matter of one person deciding to forgo their momentary desires to make the other happy. We’ve learned to balance between these decisions, communicating our feelings on a subject and making compromises along the way.


Closeness & Familiarity

Think about everything you do in a day, week or month. From daily routines, both public and private, to illness, moods and the like. Now, think about spending almost all your waking (and sleeping) moments with another person during these times. It is impossible not to begin to know pretty much EVERYTHING about the other person and this sets the tone for honesty and familiarity. A different sense of closeness and familiarity starts developing.

Ties That Bond

We have shared some incredible moments together and developed memories that have little meaning or comprehension outside of our relationship. We’ve developed a bond through each country we’ve travelled and each memory that has been formed. Sure, this happens in any relationship and even before we started full-time travel, but while we’ve been at it there has been a non-stop barrage of experiences and memories that we share together.

How We Make It Work

Mark Twain once wrote, in Tom Sawyer Abroad, “There ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”

Whether short- or long- term, travelling as a couple can be a time of huge growth and bonding. During our full-time travels together, we have come to completely depend on, and utterly trust, each other. We share amazing experiences, help each other through the hardships and grow, closer together, with each day.


But as we mentioned, it isn’t always easy. We’ve gotten to be pretty in-sync with each other’s thoughts and feelings while travelling and we are, in our opinion, pretty compatible travel partners. Many people told us that this was the ultimate test of our relationship, and in some ways perhaps it was.

We like to think of it as less of a test and more of an opportunity to challenge ourselves as individuals and as partners, to work on our personal development and the growth of our relationship. It forced us to be vulnerable around each other and to see if we were able to work together through both good times and bad times.

How do we make it work?

Well, like any relationship, it takes work and effort. In addition to the aforementioned skills we’ve improved upon, here are some more things we try to do that help us while travelling together:

Take Time out

Since the work we do now is pretty much 24/7, we try and make time for each other by putting down the camera, the phone, the computer and just enjoying each others’ company. We even try to make sure we make time to have date nights and celebrate milestones in our work and life.

Let Go of the small things

When things go wrong, or not as expected – especially when you are travel weary, tired and hungry – it’s hard not to get frustrated. We’ve learned to deal better with these situations by trying to go with the flow and worrying less about planning and having those plans play out seamlessly. Things aren’t always going to work perfectly, but we are doing what we love and we are doing it together.



It’s very easy to become isolated when you are travelling as a couple. Really, there’s no need to seek out social interaction or meet new people when you already have someone with you. We try not to get accustomed to only spending time with each other and seek out people to meet – whether it’s fellow travel bloggers in the same area, people on Couchsurfing willing to meet and show you around local areas, or various websites and apps that bring people together in various “meet ups”. It’s a great way to share different experiences and, let’s face it, to find new things to talk about!

Understand Your Moods

We’ve learned, quickly, that we are generally in a bad mood when we are over-hungry (hangry as we call it) and that if you add sleepy to the mix, foul moods are guaranteed. We try and eat when our hunger first hits, or keep some snacks on hand, and we definitely have become more understanding of each other and the reason behind the moods we are in while on the road.

scuba underwater

Respecting Differences

We work to build on our skills as individuals, and as a couple, and find ways to balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as our likes and dislikes. For instance, Carolann usually lets Macrae do all the navigating while on the road. He seems to be able to find his way anywhere and know exactly where he is at any given moment. Similarly, Macrae usually lets Carolann navigate the metro systems. Once we’re in those subway tunnels, or train stations, it’s her show and she seems to be able to easily remember station names, directions and stops. We also try to appreciate and respect those differences.

Inspire Each Other

We try and motivate each other to try new things, whether it is new food, new activities or learning new skills. In this way, we have new experiences together and also help each other to grow. It’s a great way to bond but we always make sure to respect the boundaries the other person has when it comes to trying new things.


Common Goals

We also work towards common goals. We’ve built a business together and we both strive to be successful in what we do and the goals we have set for ourselves. We’ve established something that we both want to work hard for, and work hard for, together. By working hand-in-hand, we’re able to accomplish more than just one of us would.

Work Through Disagreements

It would be great to say we never disagree and that we always look at each other with hearts in our eyes and smiles on our faces… that would be a terrible lie. There are times when we’re too tired, too stressed, or too frustrated to keep up a cheerful disposition. It’s during these times that we’ve learned not to go on the defensive. More and more we try and understand the motivation behind the other person’s mood and we’ve gotten better and better at helping the other person out of a slump. Sometimes, we just have to joke or laugh it off when the other person’s habits or behaviours get us frustrated because, to be honest, it’s those same behaviours that we also find endearing.

It’s Not Just About Travel As A Couple

scorpion tail river cruise, chiang mai river cruise, ping river cruise, wagoners abroad, wagonersabroad.com

While travelling together has strengthened our relationship, it’s not always for everyone, nor is it always possible. We’ve been fortunate to meet so many people on the road travelling in their own way: solo travel, family travel, friends, couples, long-term, short-term, and the list goes on.

Want to travel as a family? We met one of the most incredible families in Thailand, the Wagoners (of Wagoners Abroad). Read what they have to say about how travel has changed them as individuals and as a family.

Want to travel solo? We’ve crossed paths with so many solo travellers and, while it may be a scary thought at first, seems to be one of the most liberating and incredible experiences. While we haven’t met Michael of Bemused Backpacker but we hope to one day! He wrote a great post on “Why Solo Travel is Awesome” and we happen to agree with all of his points!

Emily of Home Behind The World Ahead and Annemarie of Travel On The Brain were two inspiring female solo travellers we were fortunate enough to meet.

Want to read what other people have to say about travel as a couple? We recently contributed to a post about travelling as a couple for another travel blogging duo, Megan and Andrew of Hearts Around the Globe.


What do you think the biggest challenge is when travelling with another person? Comment below and let us know!





 A Hidden Gem in Koh Samui’s Backyard

Koh Madsum Beach

For our anniversary on Koh Tao, we chose to celebrate in two ways. The first, was to get our scuba certification and the second was to have a nice romantic dinner. Unfortunately, the first got in the way of the second in the form of a killer migraine. Carolann was struck by a severe migraine shortly after our first two dives and our romantic dinner turned into a very quick meal where all she could stomach was toast. It wasn’t until we got to Koh Samui that we had the opportunity to make up for it and have a romantic outing together.

Our romantic outing came by way of Island Gem Picnic Tours and a day excursion snorkeling followed by a picnic lunch on a secluded area of a small gorgeous island nearby. As soon as the booking was finalized we were rife with anticipation for the tour and for finally having a romantic day together.

A romantic day on our own piece of paradise

Island Gem Picnic OneModernCouple

We weren’t too sure what to expect. We knew that we would be picked up by Gavin, the owner and operator of the tour, at 10am and that we would be going snorkeling followed by a picnic. Gavin was early and so we had time to sit with him, have a coffee and chat. It had been a while since we had an opportunity to really relax and since we weren’t being rushed for the day’s activities we were both able to start doing so.

ISland Gem Picnic Koh Samui Driver

We were driven to the other side of the island to where a long tail boat was waiting for us. Although Island Gem Picnic has the option of either a long tail boat or a speed boat, we definitely wanted to ride in the more traditional means of transportation. Long tail boats, as we’ve brought up before, are popular wooden boats in Southern Thailand powered by automobile engines attached to a long drive shaft with a propeller at the end. Our tour boat was called the Island Hopper and had an Isuzu engine and a captain named Chud. Friendly and efficient, Chud helped Gavin load the picnic baskets quickly before we all hopped on board and set off.

One of the best spots for snorkeling in Thailand

Island Gem Picnic Snorkeling

Although it was a slightly overcast morning (Chud assured us it wasn’t going to rain) the water was calm and we were at our snorkeling location off the small island of Koh Tan in about 10 minutes. Although there was another boat nearby, we anchored far enough away so as not to be interrupted by their relatively large group.

While talking to Gavin on the boat ride we found out that he was a certified diving instructor so we asked him to join in on the snorkeling and the three of us jumped in the warm, calm water. Having Gavin with us was great as he found and pointed out creatures we would have missed had we been on our own. He found two blue-spotted stingrays, one of our favourites to see, a black and white nudibranch and he was able to name the other fish we saw for us. The water is very shallow so at many points you are incredibly close to the coral and able to see so much up close and in the full colour, that would not typically be seen in deeper waters. The area is pretty large and very much alive with fish and sea creatures and is now one of our favourite places to snorkel. If you aren’t able, or don’t want to, scuba dive in Thailand, this spot will allow you to see a vast array of underwater life.

Island Gem Picnic Gavin

After about an hour of snorkeling we headed back to the boat. We had noticed that another tour group had anchored after we had gotten in the water and had already left before we climbed aboard and asked Gavin how long the snorkeling usually lasts on his tours. We found out that he completely tailors his tour so that the guests basically decide the ratio of time split between the snorkeling and the picnic. If you only want to spend a half hour snorkeling, you can do so and spend the rest at the picnic. There is no rush and no pressure and we were extremely grateful for that.

Once aboard, the anchor was lifted and we were on our way to the small island of Madsum for our picnic.

A secluded picnic under a banyan tree

Long Tail Boat THailand

Another couple minutes boat ride and we were anchoring again – this time on the shores of a small, secluded beach on Koh Madsum. While we could see several boats and sunbathers in the distance, anchored at another beach on the island, our area was left empty and unspoiled. The clouds were gone by this point and the sun had come out so we were left with a beautiful view on a private beach on a gorgeous day.

Koh Madsum Thailand

Gavin and Chud set up a wonderfully laid picnic under a large banyan tree complete with a mat, triangular pillows to lean and rest against, and two place settings for us. Offering us beer and wine, Gavin left us to relax comfortably and enjoy our drinks while he heated up the food (he had brought a table, an element and several cooking instruments in order to serve the food hot). The spot was perfect and the banyan tree provided shade and a little added privacy.

Koh Madsum Picnic

We were served Thai fare (although there were other options to choose from) and there was quite the spread. We were served papaya salad and a lettuce salad, fried chicken, pork skewers, rice with chicken and squid, and larb gai. The food was delicious and plentiful. After taking our time on the main course, Gavin then served us dessert – Watermelon, kiwi and pear slices and some coconut jellies and a dessert of sticky rice and taro. We learned that there was such a thing as yellow watermelon which tastes pretty much like the red kind. From start to finish, the entire meal was so filling and tasty and we took our time enjoying the food, the wine and the beer.

Koh Samui Picnic

Koh Madsum Picnic

Romantic Things to do in Thailand

While the dishes were being put away, we went for a quick swim in the water and a stroll along the beach before returning and getting in the boat. When Gavin dropped us back off at our hotel, we noticed that it was not too late in the afternoon which allowed us the rest of our evening to ourselves. It turned out to be a one-of-a-kind day and we were finally able to spend some relaxing, romantic time together.

If you’re in Koh Samui, don’t forget to check out Island Gem Picnic for groups, couples, families, wedding parties and even individuals looking to meet new people!

Have you ever been snorkeling? If so, comment below and let us know where your favourite place to snorkel is! If not, where would you want to start?


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