(Hello blog, it’s been forever.)

Hello, 2019. 

I’m not into resolutions, as we’ve probably discussed before. Or maybe we haven’t, because I haven’t written anything here since March, apparently. Either way, I’ve written a lot about goal-setting elsewhere, so while I know how to set goals, I’m not into planning to tackle things which I’ll never accomplish just because of a truly arbitrary date known as January 1. Let’s be honest, I’ll spend the first 4 months of the year turning the 8 into a 9 when writing 2019. 

That doesn’t mean I’m going into 2019 unfocused though. (Well, I mean, I presume I will remain unfocused.) After ringing in the new year with The Trews (preceded by The Treble and Attica Riots, which happened after a Moose hockey game—so yes, an overall kickass New Year’s Eve), at 1:21 AM I threw a note down in my phone.

Bullet points for 2019:

  • Blog more (personally)
  • See more live bands
  • Travel for fun
  • Read interesting shit
  • Embrace awesome moments.

That’s it. And that’s enough of a plan; I can make the rest later. Because “Who says it has to be the new year to start a new year?” 

As such, I hope my next post here doesn’t start with “Hello blog, it’s been forever”. That I keep up my excellent start to this year seeing more bands play live. That I do as I did last year and travel more for fun, not “just” for conferences (though hopefully I do that too!)—last year was Montreal with Dia, Orlando with my parents, the Holiday From Real Roadtrip from Palo Alto to LA with Ryan, and to Penticton, BC to see Bryan and David (thanks to Air Canada for stranding me in Toronto and then giving me a flight credit for that last one!). Hopefully I tell those stories here, in keeping with point number one. The last two are easier: I feel my reading materials diversified somewhat last year, thanks to Bookshare mostly—I mean, that doesn’t mean I didn’t just start reading a lot of true crime, but hey, that’s a departure from mainly pure YA. And finally, embracing awesome moments—whether that’s just in my head, via mindfulness, or chronicling them somewhere, too.

We’re off to a strong start 2019. Let’s keep it going. Stories, music, friends, family… and all the other good things.

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.

Airports are places that—like airplanes—probably instil panic rather than calm in most people—I mean, those TSA announcements about the current threat level isn’t really all that calming. Myself? I love airports. (I don’t love that they’ll charge you $3+ for a bottled drink, but honestly, I went to the University of Winnipeg for a film shoot on Friday and paid, I am not lying, $3.38 for a bottle of Minute Maid Lemonade. A single serving bottle, not a 2 litre. Madness. I’ve gotten that item cheaper in an airport.)

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Swarm informed me awhile back that I had 5 consecutive weeks that I checked in at airports. Then I broke the streak. I love airports, and I will—I hope—break that record one day. I thought I was going to break it after four weeks, and then I went for my Nexus interview. (By the way, I’m super safe, all—Trusted Traveller status right here.)

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The moment I fell in love with airports was probably in Minneapolis, on a 3 hour layover to Orlando—this was years ago, and I remember watching this little girl with her roller bag and a pillow, lining up to board the plane. I remember this girl in a “hugs not drugs” hoodie. I remember writing down these observations somewhere (which is probably why I remember this.)

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I remember my first solo trek through security in 2012, en route to Quebec City. My first solo flight followed shortly after, by about 5 weeks, to San Francisco. On the Quebec City trip I met Cathy, another NAPA member, at the gate, so the flight wasn’t exactly solo. My first solo connection—and international connection at that, in YVR. The conversations I’ve had in airports, only really happen when you’re flying solo (but are easily avoidable, for the most part). Finding super overpriced snacks and refusing to buy them ($7 for a bag of chocolate snack mix? No way.)

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I’ve napped on airport floors (or attempted to), done a nebulizer treatment in the YVR bathroom (when Cali made my lungs hate me), sat in obscure places for a power outlet, gotten lost (and gotten lost with my friends who may be blind but know where they’re going 300 times better than I). I’ve bought over priced snacks, and mock-Lego WestJet planes (thanks, YOW!), surrendered a bottle of iced tea to a TSA agent at LAX (I still haven’t really been to LA), walked in an entire huge circle unnecessarily through security at MSP (and wandered out of security by accident at YYZ). I know airport codes better than phone numbers. I’ve tweeted WestJet en route to YVR at YYC asking what the heck the alarm was that was going off. I’ve confused CATSA security officials coming back inside with Guide Dog Murray, Gerry, and Guide Dog Brody, trying to assure them that no I was fine guiding, and no, we did not need a guide after going outside to relieve the dogs (…I guess being a sighted person with a guide dog in harness is a bit confusing?). I’ve sat on airport floors and reorganized my bag, and arrived too darn early and waited impatiently for flights, or for friends to arrive (a la finding Steve at YVR in 2013). I try to keep my “Inhalers I’ve taken in airports” and “Starbucks drinks I’ve purchased in airports” tally pretty even.

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I love the chaos, the hustle—I love when I can enjoy this without being in a rush (and, when I screw up my gate, I love the rush, too, because it means I’m going places. I don’t, however, love disorganized people in security. Look, if I can seamlessly get through with medical aerosols and a laptop with no delay, people should figure it out, no you cannot take all that cologne through.)

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Thanks, YYZ, for the construction barrier to lean against?

Next to being in the sky, being in an airport is a pretty close second in the list of places I love. The preparation for takeoff, the departure from the arrival…

Whichever way that’s being spun. 

she said planes made her feel like she could get away
[…] i wish i had an airport…

airports, something corporate 

Seriously. Where did May go?

I told myself I’d write a blog post today. Well, here we are, 11:55 pm, so I’ve got four minutes to make that happen. Technically, I wrote two blog posts today, for Asthma.Net. But that’s not what I meant.

Toronto. Minneapolis. Ten days of the month on the road, and it was awesome. Then the storm—in a good way—of catching up. I turned twenty-five. I hit all my goals (actually exceeding one of them) for work. Assisting with getting the research protocol off the ground for the U of A project. All kinds of mostly awesome nonsense filling my head, and trying to return to my commitment of quelling all that nonsense a bit with meditation—it’s all good.

So, here we are, May.

Over.

Except with pictures to come tomorrow, because there are a lot of them and they’re still uploading.

Untitled

On the 12th of the month, I take 12 pictures throughout the day and blog them. This month, I started off a trip in Toronto, and then flew from YYZ to MSP to spend nearly a week in Minneapolis.

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11:36 am | noodles & company. I had some ambitious food goals on this trip (there’s lots of stuff on the University of Minnesota campus, where I was spending my time). Lunch #1, Noodles & Co.

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1:12 pm | East Bank train platform. I wandered around for quite awhile after lunch, hitting up the UMN Bookstore, CVS (my favourite), Walgreens (to use the Coke Freestyle machine, because how could I not?) and stop in a few other places. Here’s the East Bank train platform, on my way back from the bookstore.

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1:29 pm | University of Minnesota. Not only do the crosswalks talk, they have very detailed signage of how to cross safely.

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1:30 pm | Washington Street (?). We’re not really super school spirited in Canada, so I’m not sure if I love or hate all the spirit around university (COLLEGE) campuses in the US. Either way, here’s a logo’ed bike rack of an M, and in the distance you will see a Golden Gopher bike rack. 
Really.

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1:35 pm | Mesa Pizza. Well, two hours since Noodles means it’s time for second lunch… Today, penne marinara pizza. I also had mac & cheese pizza here on this trip… Twice.

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 2:10 pm | University Avenue. On the sidewalk near the Days Hotel, there’s this poor mom graffiti… It’s amusing and confusing, and the cursive is quite good given the medium (at least it’s better than mine on any medium…)

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2:23 pm | Days Hotel. I’d been living at my cousin Dean’s apartment for the past couple days. My aunt and grandma arrived on the 12th, and my aunt added me to the hotel reservation—and they let me check in early (two for two on this trip!).

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3:35 pm – Days Hotel. I took about 5 trips between the hotel and Dean’s apartment (basically parallel but a few blocks away) with my 10+ days worth of crap (and things I’d purchased). I then re-set-up my bed, aka air mattress, in this corner… It’s quite the bedroom, even if I did have to move the fridge and clear an armchair to the other side of the room.

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8:14 pm | Jax Cafe. We went out for dinner with Dean’s girlfriend, Jackie, and her family for dinner to celebrate Dean and Jackie becoming real engineers with pinkie rings the next day.

Yeah, pinkie rings. Read about that here if you’re confused.

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8:58 pm | Jax Cafe. “You call that a knife? This is a knife.

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9:13 pm | cvs. There you go again CVS, takin’ all my money. I dropped another $31 USD (so like, $50 CAD) in CVS with my grandma after returning from dinner. Here are some NOT BIRTHDAY cards.

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10:44 pm | hotel. Emptying out my pockets at the end of the day. I friggen hate pennies, and America needs to follow our lead and get rid of them. I don’t know how I still have a TTC transfer at this point, and I heart cvs (and love the extra care keytag that is not on any keys.)