Cityline Featured Blogger: Leigh from Hike Bike Travel

Leigh's blog allows us to join her as she explores amazing far-off destinations and discovers the stunning beauty in our very own country.

There are so many fabulous bloggers out there, and we want to highlight them on Cityline.ca. We’ll be profiling different lifestyle bloggers from month to month — they might write about food, fashion, beauty, décor, parenting, entertaining, gardening, you get the idea! For August 2015, we’re putting the spotlight on adventure travel blog Hike Bike Travel. Run by Leigh McAdam, her blog allows us to join her as she explores amazing far-off destinations and discovers the stunning beauty in our very own country. Here’s our Q&A with Leigh:

When did you start Hike Bike Travel and what was your inspiration behind starting the blog?

After my husband and I had sold a company in 2008, I spent a lot of time thinking about what the next stage of my life could look like. Travel had been a passion since I was a teenager so in the end I fell into blogging some time in 2009. I knew nothing about social media, photography, SEO, marketing, blogging relationships – really anything that today I would consider basic requirements to be successful. But I have persevered and made it a point to keep learning.

We know you’ve gone on so many amazing travel experiences, but can you tell us about your most amazing, most memorable, once-in-a-lifetime travel experience?

At 15 I went to England and Wales on a month-long bike trip with 20 other high school students from Ottawa. It was memorable on so many fronts. Actually stepping on English soil – which until that time was the stuff of history books – was a powerful feeling. Learning to get along with a group, fix my bike, be accountable for my decisions, manage spending money – all of those things as well as seeing castles, drinking in pubs, eating baked beans and fried tomatoes for breakfast have stuck with me. The big takeaway from the trip was how much independence I had compared to students today – and how that sense of wonder and responsibility has actually shaped me for life.

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Ronda, Spain

And, on the flip side, could you share with us your most disastrous travel experience? And did you learn any lessons from your trip-gone-wrong?

Right after university I traveled to Fiji, New Zealand and Australia for five months. In Sydney I met up with a friend and we both agreed, in the interests of saving money, we would hitchhike to Melbourne – almost 900 kilometres away. We were offered a ride by a couple of truckers but had to split up to do it. This was way before cellphones or the internet – and when we decided to do this my friend had my bag with my passport and all my money. We got in the trucks in the evening, saw each other in the wee hours at some dodgy rest stop and then nothing for hours. Neither of us had any idea where the other was. At one point my trucker thought he should be joining me in the back of the cab. By this time I’m scared and must have said something to put him off because he got back to driving. Around 6 the next morning my friend and I were unceremoniously dumped off on some back street in Melbourne, as the truckers must have been in radio contact. Big lessons: never get separated from your passport or money; never split up in the interests of safety; never accept a ride from a trucker at night. I’d say never hitchhike but I still believe there are extenuating circumstances when it is safe to do so, but NEVER ALONE.

We particularly love reading about how much exploring you’ve done in our very own country. What Canadian destination do you think more people should discover?

Canada’s North. The Northwest Territories and the Yukon are surprisingly accessible, Nunavut less so. The landscapes are empty, big and awe-inspiring. There is a lifetime of adventures to do, and by no means are they all wild and difficult. The wildlife in places is spectacular too.

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Banff National Park

Tell us about a few posts that you’re particularly proud of and want to share with Cityline.ca readers.

I did a 3-day backpacking trip in Banff National Park when the wildflowers were at their peak. It was a mind blowing, world-class display and also accessible as a day hike from Sunshine Village.

Last summer I did a canoe trip in the Northwest Territories that didn’t break the bank. People think of the north and then the cost. This trip excluding airfare cost $450 for 5 days. The canoeing was glorious, the scenery was beautiful, with some of it reminiscent of the Georgian Bay.

What do you hope readers get from visiting your blog?

I truly hope I inspire people to go somewhere that would never have crossed their mind before reading a post. My other big wish is that I get people off the couch and outside to see the beauty and nature that can be theirs with a little physical effort.

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Namibia

What are some other blogs you love reading?

Mike’s Bloggity Blog for entertainment and the male perspective. Hecktic Travels for photography and travel inspiration. Monkeys and Mountains for the Canadian adventure perspective abroad. Travels with Baggage for her crisp, edgy writing style.

What’s your top advice for other bloggers?

Do what it takes to become a good photographer with so much emphasis on the visual these days. Align yourself with a group of bloggers you like and trust for advice and sharing. Be generous on social media.

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Algonquin Park

We want to hear from you! Do you know a blogger we should feature on Cityline.ca? Maybe it’s you! Email us at submissions@cityline.ca and include “Cityline Featured Blogger” in the subject line. And don’t forget to include a link to the blog! Look forward to hearing from you!

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