Montreal, adventure stuff in Mexico, and lots of things starting with “S”

Newsletter on Montreal adventures in Mexico and lots of things starting with "S"

June 6, 2017

Greetings from Montreal!

The “S” in the title refers to all the stuff going on:
– I’ve Sold my Montreal condo and will be Signing off on it tomorrow
– I’ve Shipped all our belongings from our Storage unit in Montreal to our new home in Croatia. As I write this, a 20ft container with all our Stuff is on a Ship crossing the Atlantic to Split.

(ok, I promise I won’t highlight anymore S’s)

Lissette and I have both lived 20+ years in Montreal. 3 years ago we rented out our condo and put all our stuff in storage not knowing if full-time travel would be for us. During that time we’ve realized that we love our new lives and that there is a 99% probability that we will never live in this city again. Maybe I’ll write about that one day. So I came here (by myself) and have spent the last 2 weeks taking care of divesting ourselves of the last of our physical assets in Montreal.


I leave on Saturday (June 10) but not for Croatia. On Saturday I’m going to Mexico where I’ll have my 1st solo trip since meeting Lissette 12 years ago: I’ll be spending 9 days crossing the Copper Canyon by train and doing some hiking and other adventure activities (including the longest zipline in the world). I’ll then meet up with my mom (who lives in San Miguel de Allende) and together we’ll go to Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas where I’ll have another week of mountain adventures. Altogether, I’ll be 3 weeks in Mexico.

copper-canyon-chepe-XLAbove: Copper Canyon, Northern Mexico (Photo Credit to Matt, the Expert Vagabond)


Split, Croatia

Meanwhile, Lissette is in Split waiting for that container to arrive. That should happen the last week of June. When it gets delivered she’ll be setting up our place in Split. The idea is to rent it out on Airbnb for the beginning of August. It’ll look fantastic.

The above will culminate 7 months of administrative things. We’ve had an incredible 1st half of the year finding an apartment in Split, getting our 1 year temporary Stay, and now selling the condo and bringing all our stuff to Split.


The 2nd half of the year should be back to the usual: travelling.

In August/September we plan on visiting Prague (our usual stopover for dental work and medical checkups) before going on to Moravia, the eastern part of the Czech Republic (or Czechia as people are calling it these days), southern Poland, and the Ukraine. Nothing’s been booked yet but that’s the plan.

We’ll come back to Split sometime in late September – but we’re planning an Autumn road trip (renting a car) that will take us through the Balkans. We’d like to see more of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia (where we had a great experience last December), MacedoniaAlbania (one of the few countries in the region we haven’t been) and Montenegro.

We don’t know exactly how all the above will fall (too many things up in the air right now) but as you can see we have a lot of travel plans for the 2nd half of the year.

I have a couple of posts coming up in the next little while:

– A guest post on the 5 Best Hikes in South Africa. I never have guest posts on the blog but you’ll see why I’m accepting this one.
The absolute worst thing about being a full time traveller. I’ll leave you guessing for now.
–  I’m going to write about shipping stuff overseas. Our experience having our belongings shipped from Canada to Croatia has been really educational and anyone considering doing something similar might learn something.
– I have a couple of posts on some really interesting spots we recently visited in Croatia.
– I’ll have a whole bunch of posts (and video) on my upcoming adventures in Mexico including that famous El Chepe train ride through the Copper Canyon.
– I think I’ll write a post about travelling solo. I miss Spanky a lot, in all we’ll be separated for almost 7 weeks while I’m in Canada and Mexico (I’m back in Croatia early July).  But I think couples also have to travel solo sometimes. I’ll explain why.

Most of my posts are spur-of-the-moment but that’s what’s on the agenda for the next little while. A few things could change.


A few things about being back in Montreal

In the meantime, I have a few more days in Montreal. I was going to write a few words about what it’s like being back to a city that I lived in 20+ years but I went back to a post I wrote 2 years ago (the last time we came back) and realized that I wrote then exactly what I’m feeling now. Certain things are worse like traffic and construction. Coming in from the airport I kept thinking to myself “when did Montreal become such a shithole?”. I’ve never seen Montreal look so bad. On the other hand, Montreal is a very international city and has lots of life. And this trip was especially special because I got to spend time with my son. As I wrote, it’s always bittersweet coming home.

Below: Me and my son Benjamin, and my dad and his wife Louise. Lots of catching up on this trip.

bbqboy and family


That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!




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    1. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it Tom. It’s what I always wanted to do, I think I’d get bored if I didn’t travel…

  1. I can only begin to imagine the logistics of packing up and shipping your life abroad (even though I know your lives haven’t been in Montreal for some time now), very final, but very exciting! Hope it all goes smoothly. We’re in the midst of moving house too (albeit only 40 miles away!) but I’m already frazzled by the mounds and mounds of STUFF that seem to have materialised from nowhere, and now needs to go in boxes. Although I’m puzzled why Hubbie seems to think we can whittle down the crates of old wedding stuff (apparently it’s been 10 years after all), and the camping gear that hasn’t been touched in a decade (you just never know). I’m really excited to hear about your Copper Canyon experience, I’ve always quite fancied visiting and should we ever make it to Mexico it will be on the list. Hope you have fun with the zip wire, very brave, I’m rather impressed! But will you scream like a girl? Good luck with the unpacking Lissette, enjoy the peace whilst it lasts 🙂

    1. Actually my job was easy Heather because we packed all the stuff 3 years ago and it’s been sitting in the storage unit. Not much to do except throw out a few things we knew we couldn’t use. Lissette’s going to be the one with the big job.
      Heather, I’ll scream like a girl for you ok? 🙂
      I’m with Mr Toilet with a view – who needs all that old wedding stuff? Get rid of it unless you’re planning to get married again 😉

  2. Congrats on selling your condo and officially moving your life to Croatia! Sounds like you’ve got a lot of great adventures coming up. Our second half of 2017 sounds quite similar to yours at the moment! We are leaving Budapest on Monday for a short visit home in Florida before heading to Mexico for 2 months. We are staying in Puerto Vallarta but hoping to do some side trips while there. That train ride through Copper Canyon sounds really amazing. Can’t wait to hear about that. We are then looking to do a couple months in Croatia in September and road tripping the Balkans. Hopefully we will cross paths at some point!

  3. Wow – that are big changes. I am looking forward to your posts about the Copper Canyon and the hiking there. Are you planning to go on your own? And will it be day trips or a mulit-day hike?

    1. Hi Natascha. They would be day trips and I’m hoping to go on a tour. One of the places I’d like to visit is Basaseachic Falls, the 2nd highest waterfall in Mexico. The only difficulty I’ve encountered so far is that the bigger tour agencies (that have websites) want to sell private tours for 1-4 people at a fixed price. I’ll be doing this solo so there’s no way I want to pay $200 all by myself. But I’m told by my hotel that there are smaller operators that do tours so that’s the first thing I’ll be looking into.

  4. So it is the end of an era for you and Spanky in Montreal. Good idea to leave Spanky to do all the unpacking hahaha. Many adventures ahead, love the idea of the longest zip line in Mexico. I am looking forward to all your future posts…exciting times ahead 🙂

    1. Thanks Gilda.
      Actually, it’s the longest zip line in the world! Found a cool video of it here.

      I think Spanky is happy that I’m not there to get in her way or give decorating advice. She’s good at that stuff and I think she’ll probably enjoy doing it. And since I had doing that stuff it’s good for me too 🙂

  5. Dear Frank,

    Just a quick correction, Albania was never part of the former Yugoslavia…

    Love your blog, thank you for writing it & sharing it with us!

    Enjoy your travels!

    1. Yes, you are totally correct. I was thinking Balkans, then remembered we haven’t been to Bulgaria either, so switched it to ex-Yugoslavia forgetting that detail…
      Thanks for the correction and kind words 🙂

  6. Woww so cool you are moving to Croatia and congratulations on selling your condo. Mexico sounds exciting, I’ve heard about that zipline from some people that have done it and they loved it!

    I will be interested to read your post on shipping stuff overseas. I’ve had to use shipping twice before, from London to Toronto, and from Toronto to Vienna, we’ve used two companies the first one was awful and the second one (UPakWeShip) was really good.

    Have a wondeful couple of months ahead! 🙂

    1. That;s interesting about the shipping Mike. It was between 2 choices: Europack (based in Montreal) and AGS (who have a branch in Zagreb serving Croatia and Slovenia). We chose AGS for reasons I’ll discuss in the post. Once the goods are delivered safe and sound (or not) I’ll write that post.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Mike. Everything I’ve read about Copper Canyon excellent and I look forward to seeing it. Maybe it’ll inspire you to go as well 😉

  7. Crikey, it’s all happening for you both. congratulations on the apartment in Split. We might just swing by, one day, and visit or rent it on Air BnB!
    The Mexico plans brought back great memories of traveling down that way in an old Subaru from Oregon is 2000… and trying to drive down into the Copper Canyon…aborted! The train is a far better idea. It’ll be fun to keep up to date on your travels.

    1. Thanks so much Jane.
      Yes, I remember you mentioning your driving adventures through the US and Mexico, must have been quite the adventure. Are the roads that bad going through Copper Canyon? I know you can take buses between the towns but I’ll bet it’s the white knuckle experience turning sharp corners looking down at sheer drops…they’ve got a lot of that in Mexico.

      1. Hi Frank, Yes, the roads were rough, which I expected, but as they were steep and my poor old Subaru was already lacking in power I had to retreat of risk not getting back out. Mind you, that didn’t stop me from taking off up some insanely remote back roads for days on end!

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