Montreal man nears end of 11-year walk around the world

After nearly 4,000 days, 53 pairs of shoes and over 46,600 miles across 64 countries on 6 continents, Jean Béliveau is nearing the end of an 11-year trek around the world.

What started as a journey of self-discovery during a mid-life crisis, eventually became a mission to call attention to peace & nonviolence, especially for children around the world.

Setting off with a three-wheeled stroller that carried a “few fundamentals”, Béliveau began by walking through America, Mexico, Latin America, before venturing to Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania and finishing by crossing Canada; from Vancouver to Montreal. Starting with just $4,000, he survived by receiving yearly installments of about the same sum from his wife and depended greatly on the kindness of strangers. The trip will officially come to a close when Béliveau is expected to arrive in Montreal on October 16th, where his wife & two grown sons will be awaiting his return.

Looking ahead, Béliveau says that he plans to write a book with the help of his wife although he will look back on this experience with nostalgia, is excited to have a bed forever. To learn more about his journey, visit Jean’s website.

Five things to do in (and around) Dublin, even in the rainy winter

things to do in dublin

Ah, Dublin. Home to Guinness, a Leprechaun museum, an absurdly tall spire and the famous / infamous Temple Bar quarter. It’s also home to around 300 days of cloudy or rainy weather, which begs the question: why are you fixing to fork out hundreds, possibly thousands more just to visit in the summer? There’s no question that the weather in Europe is far more palatable in the spring and summer months, but it’s also shockingly expensive. A flight to anywhere within the EU jumps up by orders of magnitude as soon as you select June, July or August as your departure date and in the case of Ireland, there’s really no need to hand over extra to an airline when you could be spending those dollars Euros on attractions, pub food and better hotels. I’ve always been a fan of visiting places in the off-season, and Dublin’s no different. Read on to learn of five slightly off-the-wall things to do in (and around) the Irish capital.

%Gallery-117267%Visiting U2’s former recording digs: Windmill Lane Studios

things to do in dublin

A good part of the entire world knows that U2 hails from Ireland, but if you’re a hardcore fan, you owe it to yourself to see where things began. The (now-defunct) Windmill Lane Studios is where the group recorded Joshua Tree, War and Boy, and while the studio itself has now relocated to a different section of Dublin, the prior building still stands as part of the Rock ‘N Stroll history trail. It’s covered in graffiti, and you’ll know you’re near the entrance when you start seeing loads of U2 shout-outs from tourists around the globe. Feel free to pack a Sharpie and leave your token of appreciation (and hometown) behind. Directions to the studio are here — this is one time where you’ll need to read up rather than trusting Google Maps.

A dainty stroll through Powerscourt Gardens and The River Walk

things to do in dublin

What’s a trip to Dublin without a trip out of Dublin? The Powerscourt Estate sits just 45 minutes south, within County Wicklow, and it’s a slice of age-old paradise. The House & Gardens are well worth exploring — it’s some of the most beautiful grounds these eyes have ever seen — and since it’ll tough to return after just a day, I’d recommend an overnight stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt. You’ll get free cycles to rent, a free pass to the absolutely stunning River Walk and pampering that you’ve always dreamed of. The only problem? It’ll make your city center digs seem downright plain. Read more on our visit here.

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Pub hop on O’Connell Street and the Temple Bar area

things to do in dublin

If you’re coming to Dublin for the first time, there are two names you really need to know within the city center: O’Connell and Temple. The former is dotted with a massive spire and includes a number of famed pubs and shops, while the Temple Bar area is just across the bridge (look for the giant Heiniken sign, and turn right). There, you’ll find budget accommodations (hostels galore), and more pubs than any lightweight could ever visit in a night. The Auld Dubliner is a personal favorite for grub and drinks, and the live musicians that show up there are tremendously talented. Oh, and make sure you order Guinness. Anything else just wouldn’t be Irish enough.

Venture west to the Cliffs of Moher, The Burren and Bunratty Castle

things to do in dublin

The east coast is gorgeous, but the west? Doubly so. Paddywagon Tours offers a 12 hour day trip to the west of Ireland, hitting County Galway (and the Bay), Corcomroe Abbey (a gorgeous church left in ruins), Poulnabrone Dolmen Portal Tomb (a standing monument from 4,000+ years ago), The Burren (a totally unique and mind-blowing rocky landscape), Doolin (Ireland’s unofficially official Irish music capital), the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher and finally, Bunratty Castle. At around $70 per person (admission to the Cliffs inclued), you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value when it comes to gawking at the highlights on the opposite side of the Republic. Try to peek the forecast ahead of time and lock down a day with a lesser chance of rain, but even if it pours, take a raincoat and soak it all in — Ireland wouldn’t be as green as it is without nature’s tears, you know!

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Leave the country… by car

things to do in dublin

If you’re brave enough to take the wheel while situated on the passenger’s side of the car (not to mention remembering to keep your motorcar on the left of the road), you can head straight to Northern Ireland via road. And you’ll be there in under two hours. Belfast and the surrounding areas offer some pretty extreme outdoor activities, and while it may be a bit chilly and rainy in the off-season, you’ll be fighting fewer crowds all the while. If you aren’t so adventurous, the lovely lads at Paddywagon offer another day trip to Belfast, and we can personally attest to their adeptness at handling reverse traffic.

[Images provided by Dana Jo Photography]

All of these activities were enjoyed during the height of the off-season in Ireland, and I’d obviously recommend ’em to anyone. Pack a few warm layers and a solid raincoat, and head out with a mind to enjoy yourself no matter what. If you have any other off-season Dublin must-dos, toss ’em into the comments section below!

Six ways for road warriors to stay in shape

Business travel can be brutal on your body. One night, you’re out with clients, sipping that extra cocktail and scarfing down dessert – you don’t want your client doing these things alone. The next day, you stuff fistfuls of French fries into your mouth between meetings and devour a fast food “snack” as midnight is closing in. The project needs to stay on track, so you eat what you can while you work, and sleep is out of the question. This happens over and over … making it close to impossible to take care of yourself while you’re on the road. Before you know it, you’ve gained (or lost) too much weight, dark circles are forming under your eyes and your complexion has gone to hell.

There has to be a better way …

All is not lost. There’s plenty you can do to take care of yourself while living the road warrior life. None takes too much time (important, since you don’t have any), and your bag won’t have to get much fuller. If you decide you want to recapture some vigor while traveling frequently, check out the six tips below.

1. Decide you need to make a change … and mean it
When I was a management consultant, I came across plenty of lists like this one. Occasionally, I’d give something a try, but the path of least resistance always won. None of those writers seemed to have any idea how hard it is to motivate yourself in the land of the 16-hour day, endless meetings and crushing workloads. For the first few weeks, you have to make the clear and difficult decision to knowingly turn your life for the worse. After that, it starts to get better.

2. Workout “lite” is your only option
Short workouts will probably be your only option. So, don’t plan to hit the weights for an hour or more. Instead, stick to cardio. If you run, use the treadmill in the hotel gym instead of turning to the streets. Cardio machines (e.g., treadmills and exercise bikes) have the added advantage of multi-tasking: you can read reports (or the newspaper), check your Blackberry or take notes on what you need to do that day.

3. Make time to walk
Short walks during the day give you a chance to clear your head. Step outside a few times and walk around the parking lot. Each jaunt shouldn’t last much longer than a leisurely trip to the bathroom. To recapture some productivity, bring something to read, or catch up on calls or e-mails. You’ll be moving your body, at least, and the change of pace will do you good.

4. Back to basic (training)
My drill sergeants always found a way to cram exercise into my life. While you probably don’t want to bust out a few sets of pushups during a conference call, their method for squeezing workouts into short periods of time can be helpful. When you can back to your hotel room, for example, do a few pushups and situps before you go to bed – maybe while you watch some television. Over time, you’ll find yourself doing more reps.

5. Watch the booze
When someone else is picking up the tab, it’s all too easy to have another glass of wine, especially if you’re accustomed to slurping vino from a box. All those team and client dinners add up, though, and you wind up paying for it in the end. At some point in the evening, switch to sparkling water or soda water with lime. It looks like liquor and feels different from the nonalcoholic stuff you normally drink. The best part: it’ll be easier to get up in the morning.

6. Roam when you call home
Having a family can make the road warrior’s life even harder. Any chance to call home becomes incredibly valuable, and just about anything else will be sacrificed when you want to dial those all-important digits. Instead of calling from your room, walk the hotel grounds while you talk. If you’re staying in your room, do some flutter kicks or toe-raises while you chat away. Don’t work out so hard that you can’t carry on a conversation, but do use more muscles than those in your jaw.

Shape’s Top 25 Stay-Fit Travel Tips

In addition to travel, I’m also passionate about healthy living and that’s why this article caught my eye. It’s a list of Shape Magazine’s Top 25 Healthy Travel Tips. There’s some good ones in there, including my favourites:

  • Be a picky eater: When I was in Australia recently, I took a lot of long bus trips, which included stopovers at greasy spoon-esque diners. Now, I’m not a food snob, and can usually find something I like. But I gave up after the ‘chicken’ I ate at Matilda’s Roadhouse in Kybong clearly wasn’t chicken — or edible, for that matter. Seriously, it’s better to go hungry than to end up sick on the bus.
  • Take a brisk walk around the airport before your flight: This is especially important if you’re going on a long flight. I usually do some yoga moves before a long flight. Yeah, I get funny looks, but so what!
  • Check with your gym: Chances are they have a deal with other gyms in other cities that will allow you to workout wherever you go.
  • Bring the workout with you: You don’t have to carry dumbbells around in your suitcase, but a few resistance bands will work wonders on the road — if you find the motivation to use them, that is.
  • Buy new workout clothes: If you plan on shopping at your destination, be sure to make an extra purchase: workout clothes. If you’re like me, you’ll want to try them on– and out — right away.