I got an e-mail Monday about a secret flu shot clinic for employees of my health region, including Disability Support Providers (me). It was a ten minute walk from my house (where I got led into an Authorized Personnel Only room), convenient as I am also high risk because of my asthma. Also it is basically next door to 7-Eleven. And a lovely morning for a walk.
Today was one of those reflecting on logistics of travel sorts of days. I spent the day sifting through and uploading video for an upcoming Healthline project on travel and asthma. I received some further information on my first ever overseas trip (Zurich, Switzerland in November. Disclosures etc to come once things are finalized there.) I got a reimbursement/stipend cheque in the mail for my upcoming trip to Toronto for the Asthma Canada conference in 2 weeks.
In the beginning of the Incubus Look Alive DVD, Brandon Boyd reflects on these logistical aspects of travel—and I am not even planning a tour (although with asthma and ADHD it sometimes feels like it!).
Anais Nin wrote,
“In the world of the dreamer there was solitude: all the exaltations and joys came in the moment of preparation for living. They took place in solitude. But with action came anxiety, and the sense of insuperable effort made to match the dream, and with it came weariness, discouragement, and the flight into solitude again. And then in solitude, in the opium den of remembrance, the possibility of pleasure again”.
Her sentiment is frighteningly in tune with our plight at the moment. We’re in the plotting stage of the game. I’m looking at pages and pages of potential tour dates, and travel arrangements logistics, et cetera, et cetera. And if I wasn’t completely ecstatic about everything at present, all these moments of preparation would be quite daunting. […]
Brandon Boyd, Look Alive
The thing is, I love/hate this part. The pouring over Hotels.com, even after I’ve booked a hotel, the forays to Airbnb, finding that home base, however off the beaten path it may be at times (so long as off the beaten path is not so much so that is in a seedy area!). The ridiculous amounts of time spent looking at flights, weeks before booking will even take place. The e-mails saying that my reservations have been added to TripIt. The preparations for whatever events I will be attending. The juggling of multiple schedules as I try to schedule coffees, lunches, dinners with friends in Toronto.
Yes, it is work before the wheels even lift off, but it is all so worth it. Even for the moments in airports when I want to throw dollar store earphones at people who seem to not understand that there is a 3.5 mm jack on their device for a reason (unless they have a dumb iPhone 7). Even when my 1:30 AM arrival flight gets in at 3:30 AM. Even when I spend 5 hours too long at SFO. Even when every damn time I fly through YVR I get delayed (just about, although my last delay out of YVR saved my butt because it allowed me to make my connection from SFO which was 2 hours late, and I even got to eat.).
The preparation for travel part might not be about rolling with it, but the travel part sure is. I’ve learned that over the years. Like the time Steve and I were in Toronto in the middle of friggen nowhere (AKA outside the Don Valley Hotel) and my Google Maps refused to acknowledge I was no longer in Winnipeg, and would not even tell us what food was nearby. Which turned out to only be a Tim Hortons unless we wanted to take public transit. Like finding a magical drink machine in YVR that sells drinks for $1 less than the news stands—and remembering its existence. Like when Union Station was deserted and under construction and I got lost wandering around “The Path” and stuck in some weird triangle under the CN tower/Ripley’s Aquarium, etc… Which was I got to Toronto from Philly and my bag had to be tracked down at Pearson since I was no longer connecting to Winnipeg, and that took like two hours. All I can say is, for once, thank God for Leafs fans because there was a game going on and I somehow found myself in Maple Leafs Square where a cab driver flagged me over and asked if I wanted a cab and I was like “You know what, yeah.” Even though I was close to my hotel.
That was also the day when a baggage handler at YYZ preached to me about Jesus. As my friend (Reverend) Jessica said, “Only you would get preached at by airport staff in Toronto.”
And the cab driver talked a lot about staying positive. I needed that dude after the day I had.
And then I got amazing macaroni and cheese from Uber EATS to my hotel because, also, that day I had to call Air Canada after the Philly woman would not tag my bag to YYZ instead of YWG, and also, I lost my Team Toba jacket in PHL, which I am convinced was destroyed by airport police because it was in its pillow form and possibly a suspicious unaccompanied package and also because I called them and it was not in their Lost & Found.
That was all in about 8 hours, people.
That is the stuff that makes travel what it is. The stuff you can’t prepare for.
Like Torontonians not stopping to give you directions even if you are CLEARLY tourist looking and downtown and wandering with a suitcase. I enjoy you Toronto, but you people stick to yourselves too much. Which I usually like but not when I am confused and the elevator to Front Street goes up but the door at the top is locked and I can’t get there. (Jess and my mom were watching me wander lost on Friend Find. Jess was being helpful, whereas my mom was just not texting me and watching.)
There is adventure to be had. Prepare well (but not too well ;))… and go have it.
It is the first day of Fall, the people of the internet (aka my friends on Facebook) are telling me. It’s kind of hard to believe given I got back from beautiful California less than a week ago where it feels like summer and is generally pretty. Alas, my favourite season—Fall—is upon us, and I engaged in an (iced) pumpkin spice chai at Vancouver airport at probably ten-something PM on Monday night. (Pumpkin spice chai is amazing. I was getting ehhh about normal pumpkin spice lattes, honestly, and I am thrilled by pumpkin spice chai lattes.)
And is obligatory on the first day of Fall, listening to Come Winter by Daphne Loves Derby (on repeat), as has been my general habit since about 2014, if not earlier.
If you’ve got Apple Music, here’s a link to a slightly different EP version that I’m enjoying.
Fall is my favourite season not just because of pumpkin spice. I enjoy the cooler weather, the jeans-and-hoodies combo, the foray into toque-season (without the brutal cold associated with toque season), the fact that Goalball starts soon (and archery!), the fact that my lungs generally like Fall, and the fact that I get back to a bit more solid of a routine—for the lack of routine I generally have, even in the non-Summer months. Despite some of the worst moments of my life happening in the beginning portion of Fall (looking at you, 2013 and 2014, and even 2016), these have all come with resolution attached—“part of a change for better” (I Swear This Place is Haunted, A Skylit Drive)—or at least a piece of resolution that produced a change I can, at least now, feel positively about.
This year, again, fresh off a return from Stanford Medicine X, and subsequent #MedXHangover and ongoing recovery, I feel that sense of renewal, that sense of recharged passion and purpose for creating change, both in myself and in the world. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve got some other advocacy-related travel opportunities in the works (travel may exhaust people but it energizes me), or that I met so many amazing people last weekend at MedX. It doesn’t hurt that the people I met and the experience I had at IDEO for the Medicine X – IDEO Design Challenge re-inspired me to think differently, creatively, in terms of “How Might We”s and innovation and possibility and better. No, spending a glorious two days with one of my favourite people on earth, Stephen, in Santa Cruz to relax and recharge even prior to embarking on the Medicine X whirlwind of inspiration, that didn’t hurt either. Meeting a dozen Canadians at MedX reminded me that things are possible, change is possible, even in our slow-moving, lack-of-progress medical system (although I maintain Toronto is more receptive to change than Winnipeg/Manitoba/our ridiculous healthcare-killing Conservative Government is). I am ready to do more. Batteries recharged.
I am re-energized. Re-inspired. Thanks both to California, to the MedX Family, to friends, and to the crispness of Fall.
Well, I’m sure another pumpkin spice chai latte wouldn’t hurt, either.
It’s been months, literally months since I’ve written here. Probably because I’m writing other places on the internet. So here I am, wrapping up May after I haven’t written since January 30th. I have half written posts around on adventures since then, and words that have been published elsewhere (aka asthma.net). And some things that’ll never see the internet, shitty circumstances where I was somewhat stabbed in the back where I’d trusted someone and then had to clean up a mess they made–which was even more mentally time consuming than physically time consuming (if that’s even a way to explain time, in a physical sense).
March, April, May even have involved airplanes and time invested and spent and wasted and given.
I’ve gotten really sucked into podcasts which take more time than I realize–and I am smarter if not necessarily better for it. I’m thinking of going back to school and taking, no word of a lie, political science, even though prior to six or so months ago I had no interest in politics although I’ve been strong on voting since I could vote. At the start of May I was in Ottawa for World Asthma Day, in April, I was in Palo Alto to present at Stanford Medicine X | ED, and in March, I was in St Louis, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Toronto on a whirlwind adventure that happened t settle around two conferences.
Here are some (a lot, but only a sample) pictures.
[Also I can’t figure out what I’m doing so to see the flickr album if it doesn’t load, click here.]
Not to say there wasn’t more.
There surely was.
But without writing everything down–whether here or in a journal–I’m living through Facebook and instagram and Twitter and a camera, and being in the moment, but maybe not translating that into reconstructable memories as readily. And maybe that’s okay but I think maybe I want that to change too.
So here I am again.
Hopefully more intentionally. (Therapy.)
Because I’m getting closer–checking my Fitbit, logging nutrition with myfitnesspal (for five days now), and I actually rode the stationary bike the other day.
Now I’m writing.
Next is meditation.
Getting back to who I really am. And some (small bit of) routine.
Hello, 2017. Hello, blog.
I want to blog more this year. And read 50 books and watch 17 movies and write more things and learn Braille and also find more work (yay!). So I don’t know where the time for the blogging will come, but I’d like to post weekly. We’ll see how that goes.
January 1. As usual (except because I was sick last year and we delayed New Years Eve partying) I started 2017 at the Epp’s. Trish gave us pie before they went out, which we ate after midnight. We played Say Anything and Cards Against Humanity and Tom and I read parts of books that he got for Christmas. Because we are nerds?
As usual we also went to Jack Pott’s on New Year’s Day. Sadly, Dean won the annual air hockey game.
January 2. My mom and I went to bingo but apparently Share the Wealth bingo is weird. Anyways, we played penny slots after so of course I spent some quality time with Groovy Louie. I only ended up spending $19 of the $25 I put in so I consider that a win for like an hour and a half of entertainment.
January 3. Well, that’s a good mail day (after a fun day with Dean and Jackie at Kawaii Crepe and wandering the Village.)
I got a 3Doodler for Christmas but it jammed and was super terrible to get the maintenance cover back on so I took it back and got a Scribbler.
So I made Dean and Jackie things. Yay!
I also got a package from the National Foundation for Transplant regarding Steve’s lung transplant fundraising. (More to come!)
January 4. Dean and Jackie and I went for lunch with my mom, aunt and cousin Alyssa. Dean and Jackie and I went to visit my grandma. Here are pretty trees down her street that Jackie and I stopped to take a picture of.
Then that evening I used my new donut pans from Lindee to make chai donuts. They were delicious.
January 5. I did some work (what is work?!) and then went to get Dean’s oil changed with him and Jackie (exciting details, I know). Lindee made dinner including some of the best mac and cheese ever. EVAH.
These darn kids are going back to Minneapolis and I think they should just stay here.
After a bunch of really cold days, -16 feels like a heatwave where I just about like, melted in the mall en route to work. I was tempted to take my jacket off but I settled for unzipping it and my hoodie. After work, we went to the light show which, like last year, was rad.
Miguel also threw a surprise party for my cousin Jenn’s birthday tonight, and while I was too busy eating that cake (Jeanne cake = best), but the cupcake really symbolizes that pretty well, too.
See ya next week! (Maybe even tomorrow, but… maybe.)