going green

I am trying to be logical about this. It wouldn’t have worked out anyway. I’ve known for months it wasn’t going to happen. I’m super busy, and have a whole lot of things I need to take care of during this time. I just got back from London, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

But GODDAMNIT am I ever bursting with envy that we are not in Barcelona right now with half of the people we know and love.

I know that I am ridiculously lucky to do all the travel I do, and I’m super happy I got to spend two weeks in London in January. We just got back from a weekend in Victoria (which doesn’t count), I’m going to Orlando in a few weeks (this doesn’t really count either, it’s for work), and we leave for Japan in 37 days (in a row). Doing Barcelona again was always a long shot, and this year it didn’t happen .. but many of our friends are there and I’m seeing their posts and I am greenish with envy. Facebook’s helpful new “hey look at these memories” feature is not helping, because I was in Spain this time last year. Also complicating my endless jealousy is Steph’s pictures of London – I know I was just there, but I ALWAYS WANT TO BE THERE.

I grew up a practical sort of dreamer. I spent a lot of time inside my own head dreaming about amazing things (mostly robots), but there was never any sort of longing for what others had that I didn’t. I endured my mother moaning and whining about all the things she would do when she “hit the big one”, and it always seemed incredibly distasteful and a huge waste of time. I don’t spend time thinking what I would do with a lottery windfall, because the odds of that happening are so infinitesimally small. Plus, it just seems .. rude, like you’re not satisfied with the life you have and can only be happy when presented with MORE. I know that’s my broken childhood talking, but it still stands: I’ve never wasted time on jealousy for what others had/have that I don’t. If I want it badly enough, I can make it happen.

That’s all fine and good, until I discovered the one thing that makes me ache with longing: BEING SOMEWHERE ELSE. I am jealous of people who are SOMEWHERE ELSE. It is a weird and uncomfortable feeling complicated by the knowledge that I am frequently SOMEWHERE ELSE myself, and should focus on my own trips instead of being wistful about others. The logic isn’t really helping though; it’s just making me petulant and cabin fevery. Which is dumb. I best check myself, lest I wreck myself.

Victoria was half dutiful and half super fun. Our hotel room had ants. I am still hella torn on whether I want to move back to the island. I sometimes wish I had a more traditional relationship with my mother, who is apparently Catholic now. I got to spend some time in front of some crashing waves, and I could have happily stayed there all day edging ever closer to the water. Once again, we swore we’d ride our motorcycle/scooter to Victoria some time this summer. We found a new favourite breakfast joint, took my mother out for dinner twice, and met her Gentleman Friend. We drove past my old house and I creepily took pictures of it. It brought up a lot of weird conflicting feelings.

I am hungry.

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mrw i think about SOMEWHERE ELSE

in and out again

As is tradition, when you return from one trip you must immediately book the next. We’re going back to Ireland! More on that later, though – here’s all about London.

I had a great time, even though I was sick and had to work and was very cold and had many internet issues. Still, London. All of those things are minor annoyances when you’re in your favourite place in the world.

That being said, next time I think “hey I should go somewhere in January”, please remind me that most people would go someplace WARM, as opposed to some place colder than the place they left. London was surprisingly frosty, and in my delirium (I was so sick) I kinda forgot to bring a coat. I don’t wear a coat in Vancouver (mostly because I do not go outside), so I should be fiiiiiiine in London. And I wasn’t, at all! The first day I went outside (still sick), I had on 5 layers of cardigans (because that’s all I brought) and I froze my vagina right off. It was cold. Luckily, I had internet and money, so I bought a coat and arranged for it to be delivered the next day. It wasn’t the warmest thing I’d ever put on, but it did the trick and I spent the rest of my time in London delightfully warm-ish and also plaid.

The last time I did London solo, I was gone for over three weeks and found that to be too long a time to spend inside my own head. This time I was gone for just two weeks, and it was perfect – I missed Ed and the cats and general human contact, but I wasn’t despondent in my lonely despair. This is good information to have, because now I know I can be all “lol bored going to Germany now bye” yet retain the majority of my sanity.

So, what’d I do in my two weeks of me time?

  • Wandered Brick Lane for hours, taking pictures of graffiti and finding my favourite piece again to test my location memory
  • Visited Spitalfields Market
  • Watched the sunset from Sky Garden
  • Attended the Women’s March on London
  • Took a canal boat from Little Venice to Camden Lock, wandered the market, drank SO MUCH orange juice
  • Did nothing (was sick)
  • Went to the V&A (three times)
  • Visited the Saatchi Gallery
  • Explored the area around my flat, which included squares Sloane and Duke of York
  • Saw many Sloane Rangers (hah!)
  • Went to the Natural History Museum and spent a lot of time in the earthquake simulator as practice for Japan
  • Met up with Jen of Oxford and had Lobster Rolls!
  • Bought every damn pair of leggings from Primark – sorry, everyone else
  • Went to the waterfront by the Tower of London and took several thousand photos of Tower Bridge all lit up at night
  • The V&A is open late on Friday nights; discovered it turns into a bizarre nightclub with live acts and fancy people going WOOOOOOO
  • Got locked in the V&A courtyard and had to literally scratch at the door to be let back in (aka stand and wave at people until someone made eye contact, then played charades until they realized I was trapped) – luckily, that courtyard is one of my favourite places on the planet (albeit much more so when it’s warm and I’m not locked outside) so I didn’t mind all THAT much
  • Discovered that eating grilled pieces of halloumi cheese with a spicy-fruity sauce is fucking amazing and that’s all I’m going to eat from here on in
  • Had many adventures with the Travelling T-Rex
  • Portobello Market! Love this place. Wandered. Did not buy boots, but did buy pearls. I am so fance.
  • ASTRONAUTALIS SHOW WOOOOOO I’d been wanting to see Astronautalis in London for some time and it just so happened that he was playing London while I was there so I went to the show and remembered to stand on stage right and it was so awesome and YAY
  • Chinese New Year! Went to Chinatown and watched dragons and crowds and got totally soaked in the rain.
  • Seven Dials. Accidentally bought four boots.
  • Covent Garden! London Transport Museum is awesome! Also, Shake Shack. So good. Missed Ed.
  • Finally visited Tate Britain!
  • Waterfront, this time by the London Eye. Took many photos of Big Ben, the parliament buildings, and the Eye.
  • Science Museum! No cosmonauts this time, though. Still cool.
  • Ate fish and chips (but only once, on my last night there)
  • Had an amazing fucking time
  • Finally shook off my terrible flu/cold thing
  • Rekindled my need to live in London for a while

.. I did a lot of things. I walked a terrific amount, so much so that my watch and ring were both very proud of me. Had some fun shopping, which caused issues bringing stuff back even though I tried really very hard to be good. Honestly, I didn’t want to come home: I wanted home to come to me. I missed Ed and the cats and having hot water and water pressure and loads of internet, but dammit .. I want to be in London. Especially now that Vancouver is fucking covered in frozen white bullshit. Yes, the UK gets winter too, but some things are easier to manage when you’re where you need to be.

Half of my pictures can be viewed here. The other half will be uploaded shortly, but I experimented with not hauling a camera around with me and looking like a tourist, but using my phone instead. I have some extremely good iPhone lenses that extend the abilities of the already-amazing iPhone 7 Plus camera, and it was nice to be able to wander around with fewer things to carry. I don’t think I’m going to repeat this in Japan because I’m going to want to capture every damn thing ever, but for a place I know very well, it was nice to have options.

It was a really good trip, yo.

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i love this place.

lonely in advance

I’m going to London next week, for two weeks. I’ll be working for half the trip, and exploring the city/revisiting favourites the rest of the time. As you can probably imagine, I am excited. I may already be packed, even. I could leave now!

As excited as I am (don’t let the lack of exclamation points fool you), I am presently allowing myself to wallow in the sads. I figure if I can get the sads out of the way now, when I’m in London I’ll have nothing but happy excited silly times because frankly that is what I do best.

Here’s why the sads: I’m going to be lonely in London. I’ve realized that while I love exploring and seeing things and experiencing Diet Coke in different time zones, it’s a thousand times better to do those things (and more) with someone else. I asked Ed if he would come with me for even part of this trip, and he didn’t want to – rumour has it he wants the alone time so he can have affairs – so I’m going to be all by my lonesome and that is making me sad. I am a selfish creature: I want to have excellent adventures, but I want to have someone to share them with. I have the “someone” part down, but he’s not interested in accompanying me (for a variety of reasons). I reluctantly get it – not everyone is cut out to hop on a plane for 9 hours to go to a repeat destination just because they weren’t kidding when they said they didn’t want to be in North America on inauguration day – but I’m still sad about it.

Clearly I’m just going to have to save more money between trips, and pay someone to be my travel friend.

Okay, off to be sad for a bit. I’ve got a few more days to be sad, and then I will make a list of Things I want to Do while Adventuring.

happy place

happy place

 

2778 words about ireland

I KNEW there was something I was forgetting to do – write about the trip. I’ve been incredibly scattered (more so than usual) since we got home, for reasons I am vaguebooking about. All will become clear soon, but in the meantime: hey, we went to Ireland!

Our flight(s) there were long but uneventful, with the exception of some EXTREME TURBULENCE between Toronto and St. John’s. Seriously, I have never experienced turbulence like that. It was fucking terrifying. People screamed, like in movies! Me, I almost ripped the back off the seat in front of me because I was gripping it so hard. Scary stuff. F——, would not turbule again.

We arrived into the Dublin airport just after 7am local time on Friday morning, and made our way through customs. Because of the early hour it was easy to grab a cab – lucky for us, since there was a bus strike going on and options into the city were limited. We were at the door of our AirBnB around 8:20am, perfectly on time.

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book it, danno

BOOK ALL THE THINGS IN ALL THE PLACES

So, we’re going to Japan in April. It’s gonna be awesome. I booked the trip this past weekend, and some accommodations. We’re going with a group, so there’s been a lot of back and forth about what we’re doing – but it looks like everything has been planned, and haha we’re going to Tokyo (and Kyoto and Takayaka and Miyajama). There’ve been a lot of discussion about what people want to see – Tokyo Disney, castles, temples, sake tours, cherry blossoms – but there are really only 3 things on my list:

We arrive on April 1st. The Penis Festival is on April 2nd. Gosh, I wonder how that happened.

Before I can truly get bat-shit excited about Japan though, I’ve got something a little closer to be excited about: we’re going to Dublin later this month. I’ve spent the evening booking adventures for us in Dublin: we’re gonna rent a car and go look at some creepy-ass statutes, drink some beer (if I have to drink an entire pint anywhere in the world, it might as well be a Guinness right from the teat), fondle the Oscar Wilde statue, then rent a car again and go roaming the Irish hinterlands armed with little more than a camera and Google Maps.

I AM EXCITED FOR ADVENTURE!

I am also incredibly amused that most of the internet says “If you can handle the long drive, the coast of Ireland is a sight to see” – the “long drive” they speak of is 3 hours. A 3-hour car ride must be a daunting trek to a European, but I’m from Canada – I’ve driven more than three hours to get to the good Denny’s, instead of going to the terrible one. A 3-hour drive is nothing. We should have ample time to stop a million times for a) ridiculous scenery and pictures, and b) peeing a lot.

This is all very awesome and I feel so lucky that we can do this, but I am sort of sticking my fingers in my ears and not looking at the credit card. Go away, reality. I have fantastic adventures to plan.

Besides, I just got a raise. That extra $1.25 an hour is gonna pay for SO MANY AIRPORT IMPROVEMENT FEES!

Oh, and I’m not doing the Remote Year. I have a Grand Plan that is pretty much just a fantasy at the moment, but once my near-future solidifies a little bit more, I will know what I am doing. In the meantime, I’m going to bask in planning and maybe just maybe have something else brewing up my voluminous sleeves for the fall.

Did I mention that I’m excited?

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fully expecting shibuya station to look exactly like this, graffiti soul and all.

 

horizontal at last

That was some long-ass travelin’.

Our trip to Barcelona took us through Amsterdam, on KLM. The flight was surprisingly efficient – we departed ten minutes early, and landed almost an hour early. Ed managed to snag a couple of seats across the row from me, so we each had a luxurious 42″ or so of room to wiggle around in. I probably only slept for an hour total throughout the 9-hour flight, but by the time we landed in Amsterdam I felt much more alive than usual (even when taking the Nokia-shaped bruise I have in my right ass thanks to an armrest that was bolted down).  Still, the layover in Amsterdam was difficult because:

  • The non-UK part of Europe has Coke Light instead of Diet Coke and it’s not the same
  • The chairs were hard as fuck
  • We were tired
  • So tired
  • Zzzzz

A 4-hour layover isn’t enough time to leave the airport and explore, so we had to stay put. Eventually our flight to Barcelona was called, and two hours later we were in the enormous shiny futuristic and apocalyptically deserted mega mall they call the Barcelona Airport. There were men with guns but no customs to go through, which was weird. We gathered our bags, Ed grabbed his conference badge (I am hella jealous that he’s attending the Mobile World Conference and I’m not – I’M the mobile nerd in the family, damnit), and by 5pm local time we were in our hotel room.

Okay, poll time – have any of you ever stayed at a hotel at which you needed to insert your room key into the wall to activate the light switches?

We collapsed into our (nice but only partially furnished) room. I had to pee, so I went looking for the bathroom .. but the lights weren’t working. I tried a few other switches, and nothing – our room had no power. This was disconcerting, because I really enjoy the luxury of electricity and sort of take it for granted. After Ed confirmed my wtf, he went downstairs and said we had no power. Front desk was confused, and said they’d send someone up. They did, and an unamused lady schooled Ed in the apparently-common-knowledge-to-everyone-but-us world of room key in wall slot equals power. The lady seemed to think Ed was somehow mentally deficient for not knowing this, but we both agreed that in all our travels (we so worldly) we’d NEVER encountered a system like this. And it’s not just us – Ed met a coworker on his way back from a water run who had the same issue with the not knowing. What gives? Is this a common thing that people know about but I somehow went like 85 years without ever encountering?

I need to sleep now. Tomorrow is my first full day in Spain, and I plan to figure out the deal with the bidet. Oh, and our flight sadly did NOT have USB available, so please enjoy this letter I wrote on parchment using my own blood as ink.

i have misgivings about this journey, but our george donner claims he knows a shortcut. what's the harm in trying?

i have misgivings about this journey, but george donner claims he knows a shortcut through the mountains