Allison Dunnings

Allison Dunnings


Allison’s love for travel started at a young age. Being a rebellious teen in a small rural town, the idea of  escape was always on her mind. At 17, she made her first move, relocating to Toronto and exploring the city. Her first big trip was a girl’s week in Mexico where she fell in love with the ocean and marveled at the Mayan ruins. Her ideal travel itinerary involves her first love – music. She’s traveled across North America for shows and music festivals including Coachella (Indio), Lolapalooza (Chicago), Osheaga (Montreal), Summertfest (Milwaukee), All Points West (New Jersey), and CMJ (New York City). Next year she hopes to add several European festivals to that list.

Favorite place you’ve visited so far: I’d have to say London, which I’m excited to say I will be calling home by the end of the year! It’s just so stunningly beautiful and rich with history and culture. Plus, my family is English so I’m extremely biased!

Place you’re dying to see: Ahhhh! Where to begin? Berlin has always been intriguing to me – the music that came out of there in the late 70’s has always inspired me and had me wondering what it is about that city…

Must have travel accessory: Anything that plays music. I love to travel with a good soundtrack.

Worst travel moment: I almost ran out of gas in the middle of Arizona en route to Los Angeles. I was driving alone and had been told not to let my gas tank get below half while driving across that stretch and was just over half when I had passed my last gas station. I’d figured I’d pass another one before long… I was wrong. The sun was setting and the needle got lower and lower until finally the light went on, accompanied by that panic inducing ding ding ding! I couldn’t see anything but red rocks and the occasional 18-wheeler. My phone had no service so I had no way to call for help or to figure out where I was. My heart was racing and my chest was tight. After about the third ding ding ding! I finally saw a BP sign as I rounded a bend and exhaled for what felt like the first time in ages. I got very lucky – but that was definitely one of the worst/scariest experiences I’ve had while traveling!

Best travel moment: Ironically, just before that terrifying incident I had one of the most awe-inspiring moments I’ve experienced thus far. I had driven to the Grand Canyon by myself all the way from Austin, Texas, having stopped for the night in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was headed to California with my belongings packed up in my old Buick, ready to start fresh in a new city. As the unbelievable world wonder came into view my breath caught in my throat. It is truly a sight to behold. Even when you’re there and see it in front of you, it’s hard to believe it’s real. I was surrounded by families and friends and couples but I was alone, embarking on this crazy new chapter of life, staring into this insanely beautiful piece of the world. It was truly beautiful.

Favorite quote: This one is a tie. I have two tattooed on me…

“Nothing is serious except passion.” – Oscar Wilde

“The trick is to keep breathing.” – Garbage

Rachael Matheson-Dagonas

Rachael Matheson-Dagonas

Executive Editor

Rachael is a communications, outreach and political operations professional with a passion for new people and places. Her travel style is focused on local specialties rather than touristy attractions, and always incorporates an element of adventure.

Favorite place you’ve visited so far: I’m going to go with Thailand. I absolutely loved the adventure aspect of going all alone and meeting people along the way. From the beaches of Phuket and Koh Phi Phi to treks in Chiang Mai and the hustle and bustle of Bangkok it was a wild ride from start to finish.

Place you’re dying to see: Everywhere. The shortest list I can think of is 5 – Hungary, South Africa, Jordan, Slovenia and Vietnam.

Must have travel accessory: A smartphone is key because you have access to GPS/wi-fi/music/games/guides/books/language tools/photos/videos, but a scarf is also a MUST for a female traveler – they are so useful. Stay warm on a plane, use to cover your shoulders or hair in a place of worship, use as a beach cover up in a pinch, wrap delicate items, dress up a travel outfit, use as a pillow or blanket if necessary (I’ve used a scarf for all of these things!) You’ll thank me later.

Worst travel moment: I had my passport, wallet, ID, credit cards… essentially everything of value – stolen my second day in Sydney, Australia. After a long and exhausting day of sightseeing with some girls in my hostel room – you know, the opera house, circular quay, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, Darling Harbour, etc. – I decided to break off from the group to investigate an internet café. Being a naïve small-town Ontario country girl, I was absolutely unaware that the girls fidgeting with the computer beside my computer station had actually made off with my wristlet that contained all of my important documents. I essentially had $40 in my pocket at the time (thank goodness) and had to call home to have my parents wire cash to keep me going. Oh! And my credit card company wouldn’t send me a new card where I was in Sydney, so I was very much stuck for weeks. Finally, the missing passport was a pain when trying to leave the country. At midnight, I was stuck all alone in the Darwin airport being interrogated by Immigration because my replacement passport didn’t mention the student visa that I had entered the country with. Learning moment: photocopy (2 copies!) all of your important documents – one to take, one to leave at home. Keep a third copy in your phone.

Best travel moment: Watching the sun come up with 5 of my favourite people in the Mediterranean Sea the morning after my wedding. I took one look at the beautiful, tiny Greek church perched on the edge of the sea on my first visit to Loutsa (also called Artemida, Greece) and knew that if Mat and I were going to tie the knot, it would be here. Months of planning (including my conversion to Greek Orthodoxy!) led to a spectacular day, and the celebration lasted well into the night. When the hotel shut down our reception around 2 am, my new husband and I got changed quickly and took 4 of our closest friends who were not ready to end the night downtown to spend the remainder of the evening at a beach bar. Greeks are famous for their hospitality, and when the owner of the bar found out we had just been married, drinks were on the house. We spent the wee hours of the evening dancing the night away like carefree teens and ran into the sea as the sun was rising. It was the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen, and one of the best moments of my entire life.

Favorite quote: I love so many quotes, but this one really speaks to me. To me, there is nothing better than the feeling of overcoming your fears.

“The things that we’re afraid of are going to show us what we’re made of in the end” – Collective Soul

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