Kathleen O'Hagan

12 Posts Back Home

Kathleen is a travel lover, a foodie, and most recently, a mom. After her baby boy was diagnosed with several food allergies, it suddenly became a lot more challenging to do some of her favourite things, like eating out and travelling. Now she’s on a mission to find safe eating spots in the city.

Travel Insurance & Food Allergies: Make Sure You’re Protected During Your Travels

When my baby boy was first diagnosed with a number of severe food allergies, I was devastated. All I could think about was all the delicious food he—and we—would miss out on. Peanut butter, once a staple in our home, was now banned. Much-loved bakeries were now off limits. If my husband and I wanted Asian takeout, we’d do so guiltily, after the baby was in bed, and then disinfect our table, countertops and anything else our food may have come into contact with. As time passed, I realized that his food allergies would make it challenging, if not impossible, to take part in other much-loved experiences, like travel. Not only would we need to contend with eye rolls and exasperated sighs on airplanes (not to mention seating areas covered in crumbs that could kill from previous passengers), we’d need to research where it is safe to eat out, and…

Roya’s Story—Revisited

Many Canadians might remember the story of Roya, the young Afghan girl whose dream to go to school, and eventually join the world of politics, put her life at risk every day. We recently had the chance to catch up with this courageous young woman…

Don’t Let Homesickness Send You Home Early

You’ve taken the leap and have moved overseas. You knew life would be different, but still, little things every day surprise you: The deep blue of the ocean that greets you on your drive to work. Those wonderful whiffs of your neighbour’s home-cooked meals. The chatter of shoppers speaking a language you don’t understand. And, a not-so-pleasant surprise—that first bout of homesickness…

11 Days and 9 Lives in Thailand

In 2003, I travelled to Thailand for an 11-day whirlwind of stunning views, coconut curries, and near-death adventures. I think I almost used up all of my nine lives during that one short trip. Sure, I was young and healthy, but when it came to travelling, I was naïve and inexperienced. My travelling companion, Rachelle, and I did silly things like trek—ankles exposed—through jungles that were home to poisonous snakes. We blindly trusted a taxi driver who took us (far) off the beaten track to watch his daughter perform at her school event. (I’m still not sure how we got ourselves into that one!) And to save a few bucks, we opted for the rickety old ferry rather than the shiny new one. We did this and much, much more sans travel insurance—I didn’t realize just how silly that was until I lived to tell about it. Of my several…

Save Money While Living Overseas

Go abroad and save money? While it may sound like an oxymoron, it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. You don’t have to choose between your dream of studying abroad and all of your life savings! We all know that going on vacation requires a bit of a budget. But one of the greatest parts of life overseas is getting the chance to experience a new society. In other words: You are no longer a tourist. You’re a resident. So you don’t have to spend your time—or your money—hopping from one tourist spot to the next. Taking a more relaxed approach to discovering your new home will be rewarding for you and your bank account. How, you ask? Keep reading for some tips on how to have fun and save big! Learn how to cook Restaurants aren’t the only place to get a taste of authentic Canadian cuisine. Ask…

This Month: Snowbird Photography Exhibition in Toronto

One of this year’s featured exhibitions, Snowbirds, is a glimpse at a community of retired Quebec residents who spend their winters in the Florida sun. The good news is you don’t need to claim Quebec as your birthplace to enjoy this social documentary of life in a trailer park in the “sunshine state.” Snowbirds from all over the country can enjoy seeing themselves reflected in these photos of winter escape. The artist, Mika Goodfriend, was born in Montreal, yet always felt somewhat distanced from the Quebecois identity. His works are unique in that they explore what “being a Quebecois means to him.” Goodfriend is currently completing a Masters in Fine Arts at Concordia University. For more information about Snowbirds, visit: http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com/featured-exhibitions/1492 Or drop by College Boreal, Wednesday to Saturday, 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm. You have until Saturday, May 24 to catch the exhibit. Don’t miss it!

Going Away on Vacation? 5 Things NOT to Post on Social Media

With over one billion people around the world actively using Facebook, it’s no surprise that this particular platform is popular with all demographics—and those aged 45 and up now make up 33 per cent of Facebook users. While it’s an easy way to share good news and great photos, collect tips and ideas, and catch up on the latest gossip, we tend to forget one important thing: The majority of our Facebook “friends” aren’t really our friends at all. (Would you invite them over for tea?) So do you ever worry you are sharing too much? You just might be! When it comes to announcing travel dates or posting pics from far-off lands, that is. Read on to find out which status updates you should keep to yourself—and save for your real friends. “10 more sleeps until we board the plane” Announcing how many days are left until your home…

You Ate What?! April Fool’s… Right?

I’ll never forget that time when I ate a living, breathing fish. I was well into my third year of life in Japan. And it was a special occasion, so my dining companion and I decided to order the most expensive dish on the menu. We shelled out 5,000 yen (over $50) for our favourite type of raw fish: hamachi. Although I had never seen hamachi alive until that night, I always thought it made for a stunning piece of colourful sashimi. The white meat always seemed to shimmer and sparkle, and the multi-hued red meat would create a rainbow of colour along the ultra-enticing edge. But on this particular evening, its beauty was magnified. The whole fish was resting on a platter decorated with yellow flowers, hills of green wasabi, and petals of pink ginger. Mouth-watering sashimi squares were artfully displayed along its body, like a patchwork quilt to…

Papua New Guinea Expedition: Ingle International Supports the Young and Adventurous

If you had the chance to travel to a part of the world so remote that locals had little to no contact with western civilization… a place where more than 799 dialects are spoken (but English ain’t one)… where cannibalism is rumoured to have once been a thing… would you do it? If your answer is no, I don’t blame you. But still, you may want to live vicariously through these two guys from the safety of your armchair. If your answer is yes, you’d better read on to find out how these two are tackling the challenge… and get inspired for your future adventures! This month, twenty-somethings Patrick Hutton and Richard Johnson will attempt to make possible the previously impossible: Completing a “human-powered” crossing of Papua New Guinea in 24 short weeks. When asked what they mean by human-powered, they explained: “We will not be using any motorised transportation…

Infographic: 6 Steps to Buying the Right Travel Insurance

Snowbird, business traveller, or backpacker? Whatever your travel style, you’ll need travel insurance before your trip. But it’s no secret that choosing the right coverage can be confusing. So we designed this infographic to help make your decision a little easier. Make sure to follow our six recommended steps the next time you need travel insurance. Think you’re the only one who finds travel insurance complicated? You’re not! Give our Concerned Snowbird Series a look to see what we mean…

Spring Break Bliss: Make It All You Want It to Be… and More!

Good news for international students: Spring Break is just around the corner! And you know what that means? More time to explore everything Canada has to offer. But with all of those things to do on your list, how do you make sure your Spring Break is everything you want it to be… and more? The tips below might help get you started, so read on! Leave anything you can put off ‘til next week until… next week When it comes to all that stuff you can do year round, this is the perfect time to procrastinate. You can experience everyday things like buying a new pair of jeans or catching the latest movie anytime—so why not leave the ordinary for later? Spring Break is your chance to go anywhere, do anything, or visit anyone for seven whole days! Consider the time of year March is a tricky…

Why Your ‘Invincible’ Kids Aren’t All That Invincible

This Spring Break, Consider My Story before Your Kids Drive Off into the Sunset I’ll never forget the car crash I was in so many years ago. I was just 17, and it had been barely a year since I had passed my driver’s test. It was a summer’s evening, the sun had already set, and a soft rain was hitting my windshield. A mix of hot and cool had produced a foggy mist that didn’t seem to be affecting my visibility. I realized how wrong I was when something I couldn’t make out suddenly appeared on the road a few car lengths ahead of me. I slammed on the brakes before I even had time to process what the object was, but still, I hit it—a car, without its hazard lights on, unmoving in the middle of my lane. I wouldn’t hold it against you if you assumed that,…