The Aloha Spirit


This weekend a new Bradley Cooper (and a whole host of other stars) movie opens, called Aloha. It is a Cameron Crowe film that like so many movies, is opening to criticism regarding the word Aloha and the integrity of the word and its meaning to the Hawaiian people.

The article in EW (Entertainment Weekly on line) talks about the new Rom-Com and how it appears to portray Hawaii in a very ‘white’ way. That “Caucasians only make up 30 percent of the population [of Hawaii], but from watching this film, you’d think they made up 99 percent.” They went on to say that they would bastardize the word “Aloha”.

After travelling to Hawaii for work in 2012 I can tell you that I understand what the article means when it refers to the word Aloha. If you have ever been you will understand what I mean by that.

When we landed in Honolulu airport we got off the plane and started to walk through the aloha3terminal. There was an incredible floral smell in the air. I thought of course it is the Hawaiian air, but I was quickly shown that it was in fact, our group receiving our beautiful lei arrival greeting.

Aloha4We wore our leis to our hotels and the next day we were told how special and sacred the leis actually were. The are regarded highly and with a lot of respect. It is customary to return the lei to the ‘earth’ either by hanging in on a tree or plant, or what has become a ‘hollywood’ tradition, bringing it to the water and letting it go into the water.

It was an educational trip that did not disappoint.We learned about the meaning of the “Aloha Spirit”, and how as I mentioned above, it is much more than saying hello.

“Aloha” was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii.

“Aloha” is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation.

“Aloha” means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return.

“Aloha” is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.

“Aloha” means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.

Our tour guide, said to us that when people go on vacation their body is usually depleted. Depleted and in need for renewal, which makes sense. We need vitamin D from the sunshine, we need to get away from the daily routine of life with alarm clocks, working, scheduling, traffic. He said that when you come to Hawaii, you are depleted and in need of the Spirit of Aloha to lift you up and give you what you need to return home. After being to Hawaii twice, I totally agree with that way of thinking.


I think it would be strange if we started walking around Toronto saying Aloha to people instead of Hello, but perhaps we can find meaning in the word hello and care when you are saying it to someone.

Think about that today,





What’s for dinner? – South Florida Edition


I think by now we can all agree that the new “Social” world we live in today connects us all in ways that we never thought about before. Whether you promote your business for potential new clients, or you share photos of your children, home renovations and of course the ever popular #foodporn.

Yes, food photos are like a double edge sword. Some love them and some love to hate them. I am one who loves them. As a “foodie” I enjoy eating great looking food, as well as looking at where (and what) my friends are enjoying.

This holds true from a travelling perspective. I love when people who are travelling post photos of the food they are eating and the places that they are eating it. That is what this post is about.

A friend spent the month of March in Florida. She is very active on Facebook with her 10671274_10155375174420192_2528062615852755452_n#foodporn and after a week or so, I actually started to make a list of the places that she was eating it. Every day, a new food photo from a new restaurant. It was like watching a Food Network show, waiting for her to post from her next spot on what I started to call the “food tour of South Florida”.

You will want to keep this post handy, either bookmarked or printed, for all the restaurant options.

Just to re-cap this is a portion of my friend’s restaurant list from her extended March vacation to Florida:

DiSalvos Pizza – (Hollywood)

Il Gabbiano – (Miami)

The Rustic Inn – (Ft. Lauderdale)

Osteria Del Teatro – (Miami)

Serendipity 3 – Lincoln Road, Miami

Mo’s Bagels and Deli – (Miami)

Mario the Baker – (Miami)

Bagel Cove Restaurant and Deli –

Flashback Diner – (Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, Davie)

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza – (Ft. Lauderdale)

Sushi Room –

Tom Jenkins BBQ – (Ft. Lauderdale)

Nexxt Café – (Lincoln Road, South Beach)

Chill ‘n’ Ice Cream (Nitrogen Ice Cream)  – (Aventura)

Jaxon’s Ice Cream Parlour – (Dania Beach)

I think there are only two things left to say:

Are you hungry yet?

When are we leaving?

I would love to hear your South Florida food spots, please comment at the end of this blog.






Booking online

Up until recently I worked in retail sector of the travel industry. As a retail travel professional when we were asked to book flights for clients, we had special tour operators, which are called consolidators to book the flights with. There would never be a reason to use one of the online sites that are available to use, like Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz, for example.

As an agent that worked for a company that had a website with an on line booking engine, it was quite common to field customer service calls from clients that booked on line and either made a mistake, or something with the booking was not correct. We were responsible to field the customer service calls and assist when needed.

Working for a tour operator, is part of wholesale part of the travel industry. I no longer have access to the same consolidators as I did when I was an agent. So, I had to make my first booking on line.

Once I figured out what flights I wanted, which airline, etc, I was able to narrow down the costs, as they did fluctuate depending on the time of the day for departure and return. All the same criteria that I used when I was an agent. This time it was for my personal travel.

I shopped Expedia, Travelocity, Cheapo air and Orbitz. Orbitz was the lowest price by quite a big margin. Of course, being the customer, I am looking for the lowest price. Entered in all my information, payment details and submit.

Once I received the booking confirmation, I saw at the bottom of the total price – All prices listed are in USD! WHAT?! USD? How did I make that mistake? I guess I was so excited about the price, I didn’t notice the prices were not in CDN.

Now the price that was the lowest, would actually come to be higher with the exchange rate.

Thankfully you could cancel for a full refund on the same day, so I cancelled it right away and proceeded to make my booking with Expedia.

It was stressful being the customer, and making a mistake. It is buyer beware. Read the fine print before putting your payment in. Not all purchases are fully refundable. Thankfully for me, this one was.

I am now booked and confirmed in Canadian dollars.

What an interesting experience being on the other side of the buying experience.