When it comes to travel, there are holidays, and there are life-changing adventures. For me, both are a good thing – because sometimes you want to discover new people, places and things, and then sometimes you want to just get some serious rest and relaxation. (And here’s to that – because like you, I could certainly use a bit of that in my life right now.) But there is something about those adventures – the ones that make us light up when we tell stories about them, even years later. The trips that perhaps changed a little bit about how we see the world, and in some cases, even alter the course of your life.
For me, there have been a few of these highly memorable trips – my first solo trip ever (a month roaming around in Great Britain when I was 19), my first trip to Asia when I visited Taiwan in 2012, but by far and away, my life-changer was my first trip to Spain in 2011.
My husband and I first met in 2009 through work, when I hosted and produced a TV show called Toronto Dining, and he co-owned a restaurant that I featured. We were both dating other people at the time and everything was strictly professional. But, we kept in touch. About a year and a half later, when I was newly single, I found myself contemplating a trip to either Barcelona or New York just to get away for a little while. I logged on to my Facebook account in the middle of my research one afternoon, and the first thing in my news feed was his status update asking the question “New York or Barcelona?” Hmmmm. Interesting. I sent him a message saying that I was literally sitting there contemplating those very same destinations. He suggested we meet up to chat about travel. During that dinner it became very apparent that it felt more like a date than a “meet up and chat” kind of thing. (I was charmed, what can I say?) We continued dating, and soon revisited the idea of travelling together. Barcelona was the destination we decided upon, as he had friends that lived there. We booked the trip just a few months into our relationship, and off we went to Spain.
I have been an Aeroplan member since 2007, and have always been quite serious about collecting Aeroplan Miles. I had used some of them to visit my brother in California, and to travel home from Calgary when I was living there for a year for work. I had a pretty nice reserve of miles in that summer of 2011 that I had been saving for that trip I was yearning for, so I used them to book our flight to Barcelona. We got to choose a flight that suited our schedule and the great adventure began with that flight. We spent an amazing week in Barcelona during which we explored the city, experienced great food and wine, went to the beach, spent time with friends old and new, and really realized that we were in love. It was truly memorable. That trip not only introduced me to one of my favourite places in the world, it solidified my relationship with the man that is now my husband. Fast forward eight years - we have since returned to Barcelona twice, once as part of our wedding celebration, and traveled a bit more around Spain. We dream about retiring there, and would love to bring our young son there soon to show him this place that is so special to us.
Of course, I still collect Aeroplan Miles. Aeroplan’s booking tool is pretty amazing, and is available to all members at aeroplan.com. It gives you the opportunity to book not just flights, but also hotels and car rentals – with either miles or cash. That is one seriously multifaceted travel resource right at your fingertips. It’s so simple to book, earn miles, and repeat.
Aeroplan has so many of the features you love – like value for miles, while offering you so much more. When you choose to pay with cash, you can earn four Aeroplan Miles for every dollar spent! Members have access to 250,000 hotels and more than 11,000 car rental locations around the world. I love the flexibility and convenience: the simple booking tool allows members to book multiple items within a single cart. Your hotel and car can be booked together simply and easily in one central location. Plus, you can pay your way! Members can choose to use either cash for payment or redeem miles.
Even better is that Aeroplan is now offering members the opportunity to double their mile earnings! From March 18th to April 14th, you can earn an additional four miles per dollar, meaning you earn eight miles per every dollar spent. That means your dream vacation is closer than ever!
Looking back, I’m not sure if my husband and I could have traveled so spontaneously for that very first trip together without those miles I had been saving, so Aeroplan really was a pivotal part of that trip, and of our story. I’m saving up for us to hopefully all take that trip back to Barcelona together, and explore even more of Spain. I’ve even registered our son for his very own Aeroplan card, so the little guy can get a jump start on saving up for his life-changing adventures.