Mark & Mya (Photo submitted).

Australian dog and owner duo travels Okanagan, North America

“I just wanted to show people that having a pet isn’t a barrier to going off and living life.”

Australian owner and dog duo Mark and Mya have spent the last 18 months travelling around North America, blogging, sharing photos and videos, and raising awareness by showing people that it is possible to travel with a dog.

The pair has visited all the ski communities in the southern interior as well as Alberta and the United States. Last week, they made their way to SilverStar Mountain Resort in Vernon and stayed at the pet-friendly Vance Creek Hotel in the ski village.

Related: ‘Anonymous angel’ finds Kelowna dog stolen from Vancouver car

Related: Furry friends surprise Silver Star Skiers

Mark said that he decided to make the trip from Australia to Vancouver after his father died suddenly of a heart attack while celebrating Mark’s 30th birthday.

“My father had been planning on doing a trip around Australia and he had been planning it for about 15 years. He planned to do it when he was 65 and he was 63 so he never got to do it,” he said. “For me, prior to that, I had been all about building my career, saving, investing for the future and I had all these other excuses as to why I wasn’t going to travel and figured that I’d do it down the track. But, I’d always wanted to go to Canada and what happened with him was a real eye-opener for me, and I realized that I can’t just continually plan for the future and that really changed my outlook.”

His dog, Mya was about two-years-old at the time and he decided that, if he was to make the trip, he would have to take her with him. After some research, he realized it was possible.

“We were kind of really amazed at the start because there wasn’t a lot of information out there about travelling with a dog, and a lot of the information was quite old. So we started off posting some cute photos of what we were up to and then it kind of progressed and became a little bit more informative as we went on. And now everywhere we go, we try to share pet-friendly travel tips and show people that you can do this,” he said. “She adapts really well because she’s been to so many different environments and been exposed to various environments that nothing is overstimulating for her. I just wanted to show people that having a pet isn’t a barrier to going off and living life.”

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Yesterday Mya & I had busy day exploring Silver Star Mountain Resort. We were up early & rented some Nordic skis to explore Canada's largest network of Nordic ski trails. .. They have trails for first timers, all the way to serious athletes & we passed quite a few other people with dogs. One of the trails is multi use & allows people to use it for winter fat biking (we gave this a go last year & loved it), snow shoeing and trail running. .. After we finished Nordic Skiing, Mya still had a bit of energy in her, so we decided to go for a short snow shoe hike. I think Mya is getting better at leaping through the deep powder. .. Once we got back, Mya was absolutely exhausted & curled up on the couch at the Vance Creek Hotel for a big nap. .. I took the opportunity to go for an Alpine Ski & check out the brand new gondola that Silver Star had built last summer. Over the summer months it's actually pet friendly & provides great access for hikes. .. The gondola got me to the top in no time & I managed to get a few laps in before the sunset. .. I saw my first Canadian sunset in Silver Star back in 2017 & it still takes my breath away. .. The resort has a huge network of ski trails (Beginner all the way through to double black diamond expert trails) that caters for the whole family. .. If skiing isn't your thing, they also offer horse & sleigh rides (Mya & I plan to check this out this afternoon), ice skating, snow tubing & snowmobile tours. .. I believe Silver Star is a great family destination. It has such a friendly & welcoming community that understand that dogs are family too. .. Meetup If you'd like to meet Mya & I, we will be at The 1609 Restaurant inside The Vance Creek Hotel at Silver Star tonight at 7pm (Fri 1st Feb) 2019 for an hour. Mya tells me she would love to give away some doggy hugs & kisses to anyone in Silver Star missing their pups. I'll be happy to tell you about any of our adventures & share any pet friendly travel tips that you might be interested in. If you know anyone at Silver Star or in Vernon who has missed us in the past, please tell them about this. #NoPawGetsLeftBehind .. @SilverStarMtnResort @VanceCreekHotelandCC @1609SSM #SkiSilverStar

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This was Mark and Mya’s third trip to Vernon.

“Vernon was really our first destination that we really ticked off when we first got here from Australia, so it’s really nice to be able to come back now and do some more around the resort.”

He said that the first time he had been to SilverStar was in December 2017. He biked, snowshoed, and did some Alpine skiing. After travelling around the U.S. and Canada, Mark and Mya returned in the summer for a second time — though, Mark said that they didn’t spend much time at SilverStar because they had missed biking season by about a week. So, instead, they spent time biking the trails by Predator Ridge Resort.

This time, they returned to SilverStar to snowshoe, do some trail walks, alpine skiing and do a horse and carriage ride. They finished the trip with a meet-and-greet Friday night at the Vance Creek Hotel before moving on Saturday afternoon.

Mark said that initially, they were supposed to head back to Australia in August 2016, but with the help of some sponsors, were able to stay a bit longer and visit a few more locations — Vernon being one.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to have a few sponsors that said they love what we’re doing and they like that we’re able to inspire people and have a pet while you travel and they’ve helped support us and allowed up to keep travelling so that we can continue with sharing the information and getting the word out there for people as well.”

Mark said that he is hoping to spend more time in British Columbia and Alberta before hopefully making their way up to Alaska.

“That will take us until the end of May and then we’ll be heading back to Australia and maybe seeing some of our own country.”

Since beginning travels in November 2017, they’ve gained a large following on Facebook and Instagram. Between the two social media platforms, Mark has over 35,000 followers. To follow their trip and to read more, people can visit http://markandmyasadventures.com.au or follow the duo on Instagram or Facebook at @mark_and_myas_adventures.

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Over the past few days, we've shown you some of the reasons why you should visit Radium and the Columbia Valley. … There are plenty of activities to experience and even more opportunities to relax. Is it somewhere you would visit? … If you do make your way there, we highly recommend the Prestige Radium Hot Springs Resort. …. They are pet friendly and are more interested in your pets behaviour than in their size. We loved coming across the Bermese Mountain Dog that was in the room opposite ours. … Prestige Resorts will only charge a $20 pet fee per night, regardless of how many pets you have joining you. They will provide a bed, food and water bowl and toilet bags. There is also easy access down a stairwell, to a grass area by the side of the hotel for any toilet breaks. … The resort was only renovated a couple of years ago and still feels really new. It has all the facilities that you would expect from one of the Prestige Resorts. There is a well equiped fitness centre, pool, hot tub, day spa, restaurant and business centre. More importantly all the staff we met were really helpful. … It was a tough choice picking today's photos. Im curious do you have a favorite? … @PrestigeResorts @TravelColumbiaValley #NoPawGetsLeftBehind #PrestigeAdventures #Petfriendly

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Related: SilverStar sees successful holiday season

Related: Dog days: agility trials back this weekend

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Mark & Mya (Photo submitted).

Mark & Mya (Photo submitted).

Mark & Mya (Photo submitted).

Mark & Mya (Photo submitted).

Mark skies SilverStar. (Photo submitted).

Mark & Mya (Photo submitted).

Mark & Mya (Photo submitted).

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