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Mia is a Canadian with a passion for hiking and exploring the world on foot. She currently lives abroad in Japan, where she works remotely as a freelance proofreader and runs the successful travel blog Walk a While with Me, where she shares her tips and guides for traveling and hiking around the world.

  • Local Of: Vancouver, Canada and Osaka, Japan
  • Expert of: Vancouver, Osaka, professional proofreading, and house sitting
  • Travel Style: Budget, City Lover, Backpacker, Wildlife, and Hiker
  • Traveling Since: 2017
  • Favorite Destinations: Osaka (Japan), the Isle of Skye (Scotland), and Meteora (Greece)
  • Backpack or Suitcase: Backpack
  • Window or Aisle: Window
  • Bus or Train: Train
  • Education: University of British Columbia

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Mia’s Expertise

While I visited a few different countries as a child, a pivotal moment in my travel journey was my first solo trip at the age of 19. Since then, I’ve backpacked around Europe, trekked around Vietnam, and embarked on a plethora of road trips around the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Regardless, my true travel expertise is Japan.

After graduating from university in 2020, I pursued my dream of living abroad in Japan. While I was there, I turned to both online proofreading and house sitting to sustain my travels. From spending a month and a half pet sitting a Frenchie in Tokyo to caring for two mischievous dogs in Osaka, I found ways to travel all over Japan without breaking the bank.

Mia Around The World

Mia travelling and hiking in the mountains mia hiking in snowy mountains mia hargrave rock climbing mia rock climbing

Mia’s #1 Travel Tip

My number one travel tip is to always try to learn a few basic words and phrases in the local language of my travel destination. “Hello,” “please,” “thank you,” “I’m sorry,” “goodbye,” “excuse me,” “where is the washroom,” “do you speak English,” and “how much is this” are the key words and phrases I like to learn in advance.

Not only does learning these phrases make your life easier (especially if you’re visiting a less popular hidden gem), but it makes the locals’ lives so much easier as well. And while I know my pronunciation and accent are absolutely atrocious, most locals definitely appreciate the effort.

Mia’s Favorite Food

One of my top comfort meals is specific to Japan, and it is tonkatsu (pork loin cutlet) at the chain restaurant Matsunoya. It’s a cheap but hearty meal consisting of tonkatsu, shredded cabbage, a large bowl of rice, and miso soup, and it comes with a wide variety of sauces. It is my absolute favorite place to go when I need something affordable, delicious, fast, and filling.

Favorite Travel Experience

One of my favorite travel experiences is definitely hiking the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. As I had to return to Glasgow by the end of the day, I took the first bus out of Portree to the hiking trail. Even though it was still pitch black when I embarked on my hike, I had the highlands all to myself.

While the hike wasn’t too strenuous, the sights were utterly breathtaking. From the towering, obsidian cliffs to the pale-gray sea, I had a plethora of views to admire.

By the time I returned to the trailhead, it was pouring rain. The bus driver and passengers were absolutely shocked to see how drenched I was when I got onto the bus (but luckily, the bus was pretty empty, so I didn’t get anyone else wet!). I even got recognized by one of the bus passengers later that day as that “poor girl who was soaking wet on the bus.”

But, it was totally worth it.

Where Have You Lived?

So far, I’ve lived in a total of three different cities: Vancouver, Osaka, and Tokyo.

I was born and raised in Vancouver, and I consider myself a Vancouverite through and through. Hit me up if you have any questions about the best hikes in Vancouver, I’ve pretty much tried them all.

I also spent a year living abroad in Japan, and during that year, I stayed in two major cities: Osaka and Tokyo. While I’m definitely better versed with Osaka (as my mother is Osakan and I’ve visited the city multiple times as a child), I spent a summer pet sitting in Tokyo and I got to explore some pretty awesome hidden gems.

Funny Travel Quirk

My biggest travel quirk is probably that I keep a few essentials on me at all times: Tylenol, napkins, and chopsticks.

Unfortunately, my habit of bringing Tylenol and napkins started after I had a few unpleasant experiences while backpacking Southeast Asia. This includes awkward washroom trips, and a very tumultuous journey to Angkor Wat when I suddenly got hit by travelers’ diarrhea 10 minutes after I cycled to the temple. Needless to say, it was a very uncomfortable ride back into town.

But, I also like to bring chopsticks with me for when I get some delicious street food or a meal from a grocery store, just-in-case they’re out of cutlery!

Posts By Mia