Planta Queen- Experience And Review

We were famished by the time we reached Toronto so we decided to head straight to Planta Queen- a vegan Asian restaurant we had been hearing so much about. Our reservation was for a little later but they were so sweet and said that we could we could sit down earlier.

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The restaurant itself was absolutely gorgeous with paintings of dragons and lots of trees and chandeliers. It was a really fancy place which honestly I felt a little under dressed for. I felt like I should be wearing a shiny dress or something… 😂

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Now on to the main stuff- the food! We had the General Lee’s Cauliflower, Kung Pao Eggplant and plain sticky rice.

What we loved:

It looked absolutely delicious and tasted even better. We ended up finishing everything and were super satisfied with the meal. It tasted very authentic like something you would have at an authentic Chinese restaurant which was really nice because sometimes when people try to create a vegan version of something it kind of loses that authentic flavour.

The staff were super nice and friendly and they let us sit down even though we were early which was super sweet of them. The server also kept checking up on us and making sure we didn’t need anything even though they were quite busy. The food was also cooked well and arrived quickly so we didn’t wait too long which is always nice.

What we didn’t love:

The portions were not the best compared to other Asian restaurants. They weren’t really less but it wasn’t a large amount like you would get at a regular Chinese restaurant. Since it was on the expensive side I expected the portions to be larger than they were. I usually get much larger portions for a lower price when I get takeout.

However, it was definitely worth it since it tasted really good and I think it was a fun experience to have.

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Overall, it was a fantastic experience- the food was great, the service was great and the restaurant itself was gorgeous.

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Travelling In Toronto- Day 2

If you haven’t read the first part of my travel posts check it out by clicking here.

First we decided to head to Starbucks to have a cup of coffee and kind of wake ourselves up which was honestly the best way to start the day.

Next we went to check out Thompson Hotel which had a gorgeous view of Toronto. It was such a gorgeous place and had an amazing view! It also had a really awesome huge bookshelf painting which I thought was super unique and cool.

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After that we walked around a little more and explored everything which is so fun to do in Toronto because there are so many unique stores everywhere with the most fascinating things. We then went for lunch to The Hogtown Vegan which had such a great and relaxing vibe.

Once we were done with lunch we headed to the bus station and headed home.

Overall it was such a fun trip and I mostly had lots of great experiences! The only thing I didn’t love was the traffic which was quite annoying sometimes but that’s to be expected in the city.

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Travelling To Toronto- Day 1

As some of you who have read my earlier post know I decided to do a little bit of exploring in Toronto a few weeks back. It was an absolutely amazing experience and we had so much fun there. We were also able to try a bunch of vegan restaurants but I’ll write about those on separate posts because we had so much fun at all of them I need to review them in detail!

So when we first arrived we decided to go for an early lunch and then do a little exploring. We pretty much walked around a little bit going into random shops and looking at everything- it was more fun then it sounds I promise! Then we checked into out room and freshened up a little before we headed out again.

Then we headed to Nathan Phillips Square to check out the Toronto sign and New City Hall. It was gorgeous and the weather was beautiful so we had so much fun looking around, taking pictures and getting some fresh air.

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Then we decided to go for desert and snacks at Cosmic Treats because we were kind of hungry from the early lunch and there was still a lot of time before dinner. The area that it was in was really cool and hipstery with lots of graffiti art and really cute little restaurants and stores. If you’re ever in Toronto I would highly recommend stopping by Cosmic Treats and then taking a walk around the neighbourhood. It just has such a cool vibe.

After finishing our snacks and taking a look around the neighbourhood we decided to head to Kmart since we were looking for some Korean food we couldn’t find where we live. It was a really cute little place and we got everything we were looking for and more!

After we finished our shopping we decided to head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We were both really excited because we were going to this South Indian Restaurant called Udupi Palace and we hadn’t had South Indian food in months!

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After dinner we were a little tired so we decided to head back to the hotel and look around since it had a historic vault and other cool historic areas. After that we decided to head to bed since we had an early morning the next day.

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We were also able to get a really good deal on the room thanks to booking.com which I would definitely recommend checking out if you are looking to book a room anywhere.

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How To Travel When You Suffer From Social Anxiety (Guest Post)

Objective: Travelling with Social Anxiety

You scroll down your Instagram feed and watch people travelling to every corner of the world. Looking anxiously at your screen you might think “Damn If it wasn’t for my anxiety, I’d travel all the time”.

Well, today is your lucky day. I will tell you how to travel the world from the comfort of your social anxiety.

Should I travel alone?

Short Answer, yes. Long Answer depends on the situation. There are certain places that travelling alone might not work. These would be places that are crowded such as Cancun Mexico, London UK, Las Vegas USA.

In these places you might feel like you stand out like a sore thumb. Because they’re centered around public events like: concerts, sports stadiums, nightclub raves. Which most people that have social anxiety would not be too fond about anyways.

Many people with social anxiety tend to realize that travelling alone is the best way to travel. What does this mean? It means that when they’re in large groups, they tend to get overloaded.

What if I don’t want to go alone?

More people? No problem, this is the safest way to go travelling. A major bonus to go with a few people means that you don’t need to do most of the talking.

Some people feel social in spurts, but always do not feel like talking. Travelling with outgoing friends, works well for when you just want to go along for the ride.

The best strategy is to go with 2-4 friends. This means you have enough people to entertain each other; yet, not enough to get left-out/ignored the whole trip.

Who should I go with then?

Outgoing socially active friends.

Life-long friends

Friends that share your same interests: Hiking, nature etc.

People that are not exhausting for you to be around

Choosing a Country to Vacation to?

I can’t choose a specific country you should go to. What I can do is telling you specific ideas.

Go to Countries That are From Different Cultures

Being in a foreign country makes it easier to interact with locals. This is because you’re not as worried about following the norms. Why? because you don’t even know they exist.

When I visited Ghana, Africa. Greeting people was easy as 1-2-3!

I did not mind just saying what’s up to different people or sounding weird. Why? Because I had no idea how normal people acted in their culture.

On top of that locals are more lenient and receptive to tourists. Firstly, because its always refreshing to meet new people. We always want to make a great first impression to visitors.

Secondly, the stereotypes of all tourists being loaded with cash might not hurt either

Countries Where People Don’t Speak Your Language

Many claims that being in a foreign country and not speaking the language is awesome. This is because the focus of your conversation is more on communicating your point.

Compared to being in a country where they speak the exact same language. Now your worried about how they think of what you said, and if they found your jokes funny etc.

Find Object/Event Focused Activity

Social anxiety gives people the “don’t know what to say syndrome“. Sometimes you feel like you know what to say, other times you don’t to learn more about speaking publicly with anxiety, check out my guide on public speaking with social anxiety.

Event Focused Activities

Museum
Opera
Napping on the beach
Take Pictures
Explore Nature: Hiking, scuba diving etc.

Pick a Tour Guide:
A tour guide makes travelling with social anxiety a breeze. Their job is to guide you through fun experiences and do the talking and schmoozing for you. You can learn more about choosing the perfect tour guide here.

What if I can’t find a professional tour guide?

No problem. You can always choose activities at a resort with instructors. Having an instructor is the simplest way to enjoy a new place without knowing the ins-n-outs. Plus, I’m sure they would not mind giving you some tips on local places to explore. Especially if you ask nicely (give a nice tip!).

What If I don’t want to give a tip?

Never enough for you huh? Alright then, why not catch up with an old friend? The best tour guides are people that have been living in that city for years, and that you know personally. Not only will they know the city well, they will know what you prefer!

Conclusion

Just take your travelling plans one wave at a time. Remember, your “job” as a tourist is to have fun. The standards are set low for you, to be honest. Being respectful and polite already puts you ahead of the pack. Safe travels, … and wait. Don’t forget to bring me a souvenir.

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The 5 Essentials I Can’t Travel Without!

Travelling can be super fun but it can also turn into a nightmare really fast if you don’t do it right. These are somethings I’ve picked up that are sure to put a positive spin on your travels!

Reading material- Always carry something to read while travelling because it can get super boring. If you want to see the scenery or something that’s fine but if you’re flying or aren’t super interested in the scenery I would suggest definitely bringing along something to read.

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Makeup- To see the full list of makeup items I travel with click here. I usually travel with at least some makeup items because travelling can really take it out of you and you might end up looking exhausted so having a couple of makeup items can help you look fresh and awake even after a long journey.

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An extra pair of clothing- Just in case you get stuck somewhere remember to carry along a fresh pair of clothes and if you’re able to, a towel. It really saved me when I missed my flight!

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Snacks- Let’s be honest- plan food is usually the worst. Getting good food can be difficult when you’re travelling and ironically you need good food when you’re travelling because it can be very tiring and exhausting. Make sure to carry some filling snacks so that you can stay energized during your travels.

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Medicine- It’s always a good idea to keep some stomach/flu medicine with you just in case. If you’re a anxious flyer some anti-anxiety/sleep medication would also be a good idea. It’s hard and sometimes not possible to find medicine while travelling and that’s why you should always carry some with you.

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5 Makeup Products I Can’t Travel Without

Moisturizer- This is my number one must have for travelling. It’s really easy to get dry skin or even damage your skin when you’re travelling since it’s not always something you think about when travelling but it’s important. Plus, just putting on a little moisturizer especially on your face can make you look brighter and more awake even when you’re not feeling that way after a long trip!

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BB Cream- It’s like foundation but lighter and looks more natural. I always prefer using a BB Cream when travelling instead of a foundation because foundations are really heavy and after a while my face starts feeling like it’s painted on if the journey is too long. BB creams are much more comfortable to wear when travelling and they cover up your blemishes while giving you a more natural look.

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Lip Balm- When you’re travelling it’s easy to get dehydrated and your lips might end up looking like you came back from the dead by the end of the journey. Lip balm will keep your lips looking and feeling soft and hydrated and I that’s why I always prefer to use lip balm instead of lipstick or lip gloss.

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Highlighter- This is one of those makeup items that I need with me at all times. I love how hydrated and awake adding just a little bit of highlighter makes you look even if you don’t have any other makeup on. It is definitely an essential makeup product when travelling!

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Eyebrow Pencil- Waking up and realizing your eyebrows are no longer on fleek or even worse have been smudged off completely is horrible. Always carry an eyebrow pencil (or whatever product/products you use for your eyebrows) with you at all times when travelling!

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Addis Ababa Part 2- Food

If you haven’t read the first blog post about my time in Ethiopia you can check it out here.

I felt like I needed to do an entire post just dedicated to all the amazing food we ate because there were so many things and it was just so delicious. I was really surprised to begin with because they had so many vegan and vegetarian dishes.

Our meals included their traditional Injera bread which is naturally vegan and gluten free. The rice was also really flavourful and delicious- usually mixed with some stir fried vegetables.

The buns were also absolutely amazing. They were super soft and chewy and so delicious. The darker bun was a traditional Ethiopian one that was salted at the bottom and they told us they usually make it in a pan rather then bake it. It was sort of crispy on the outside and very soft on the inside- the taste kind of reminded me of a pretzel.

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Addis Ababa Part 1- Travels And Sightseeing

Since we were in Ethiopia for 2 days we decided to do a little exploring. We asked at the hotel what places we should visit and he gave us a map with the most popular tourist destinations and so we decided to check them out.

First we decided to head to Entoto Hill which has the most beautiful view of Addis Ababa. It was absolutely gorgeous!!

 

Also around that area was a cathedral and a smaller museum that we absolutely loved!

Next we hurried to the National Museum which was going to close soon. It was absolutely fascinating. Different floors had different exhibitions. The first floor had archeological artifacts, the second floor had paintings and art and the ground floor had paleontological replicas and bones.

Then we did a little shopping and got a few beautiful souvenirs to remember this wonderful trip by. We even explored the hotel which was filled with amazing art and culture.

Also I really have to say that one of the reasons we had such a great time was because the people there were so great! They were super friendly and helpful and inviting. Plus, they were so proud of the culture they had managed to preserve for all these years and they were just happy to share it with us as we were to learn about it!

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5 Things To Always Have In Your Carry-On

I’ve been travelling a lot lately and I’ve noticed that there are some things that you just absolutely need to carry with you- and no I learned the hard way that these do not include all 7 Harry Potter books…

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1. Hand sanitizer and tissues- Let’s be honest, travelling isn’t the most hygienic thing ever and it’s a really good idea to have some sanitizer and tissues with you because you never know when you’ll need them. Plus, it’s always a good idea to sanitize your hands before eating something even if you are using cutlery.

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2. An extra pair of clothes- In case, and this is the worst case scenario, you end up losing your luggage or exchanging it by mistake or it comes later on it’s good to have a fresh pair of clothes with you because you will want to freshen up after your journey.

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3. Your cellphone– Our lives revolve around technology these days and your cellphone is probably the most important one of all. It has all your information, contacts etc and you do not want to end up losing it so always keep it with you. Plus, you never know when you might need it!

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4. Headphones- This is just in case you end up sitting next to someone a little too friendly. Also listening to music is a good distraction if you get travel anxiety.

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5. Makeup- You are at some point going to need a touch up so remember to carry some makeup products with you. Not all your makeup of course but just the 5/6 items you are likely to use that day. If you don’t wear makeup carry some moisturizer because your skin can really dry out during a long journey!

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How To Ease Your Travel Anxiety

As an international student, travelling has become a part of my life and as much as I actually do love travelling my anxiety does tend to mess with me sometimes. However, over the last few months I have learnt a few things that help ease my anxiety before and during my travels. I really hope it helps you guys too because travelling should be a good experience not an anxiety ridden one.

  1. Be prepared in advance– I usually try to finish all of my packing at least one day in advance so on the actual day I’m travelling I know I’m done with everything and I can relax. This gives you a chance to kind of relax your brain because once it’s all anxious it’s hard to calm it back down. I just have to go through everything and make sure I’m not forgetting anything and I’m done!
  2. Lots of chamomile tea- studies have shown that drinking chamomile tea helps calm you down and reduces stress levels so if you’re packed in advance you have a few minutes to sit down and have a nice cup of chamomile tea to really calm you down. You can also take some along with you or buy them at the nearest coffee shop to help keep you calm during your journey  Chamomile tea doesn’t help everyone but it has helped me so give it a try and see if it works for you!
  3. Meditation and yoga- like I said before if you’re packed in advance you have more time to do relaxing things and it really helps to do some yoga and breathing exercises. There are a lot of special yoga positions and meditations that are specifically for relieving anxiety and stress and I wasn’t a huge believer in either but they really do wonders for you especially if you do them long term! You can also do the breathing exercises while travelling to help you stay calm in anxiety inducing situations.
  4. Your carryon is important– This is crucial to your travel. In my experience what you carry with you on the plane/bus/train is very important to how your journey will go. Firstly, make sure to double check that you have your passport and any other documents you may need during your journey. Secondly, make sure you have a book or headphones or something to distract you in case you do end up getting really anxious or having a panic attack. I also make sure to carry food and drinks with me because I tend to get more anxious when I’m hungry or dehydrated and you can do this too.
  5. Don’t forget to breathe– at the end of the day you have to remind yourself that it’s just travelling and it’s really no big deal. Most of the time when anxiety takes over it’s hard to think rationally but you need to train your mind and make sure it doesn’t control you with irrational thoughts. Keep thinking calming things and just try to relax and enjoy the moment!

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