Posts Tagged With: Vancouver

Back to Canada at Last

The next morning I woke up in my new dorm pretty disoriented, where was I?

Oh yea. In New Zealand, about to fly back to Canada after almost four months of travel!! Weeee!  I packed up all my stuff for the last time, after a long hot shower and met some other friends who were staying in the Jailhouse for a hot breakfast and coffee.  We had a great time just comparing stories and enjoying each others company before setting off to the airport together, since we all had flights around a similar time.  At the airport, I saw a few more friends who had been on the trip, disembarking back to all four corners of the world.  I was lucky enough to have my friend Tim on my flight back to Auckland, and we drank wine as we waited for our flight. yum!  I love NZ wine!

Back in Auckland I had a few hours to kill, and blogged some more while waiting for the EPIC thirteen hour flight that would bring me back to Canada.  In actuality, it didn’t turn out that bad, I had a seat next to me that was empty on the plane, so could stretch out a bit.  I watched a few movies and even managed to get some sleep with the help of two more glasses of delicious NZ red.

Vancouver was my last stop on the looong way back to Toronto, and I had two hours to kill in Vancity.  I didn’t leave the airport, I should have made one of my Vancouver friends come out and see me and go out somewhere for food in Richmond or something, but was pretty groggy and just wanted to get back to Tdot at that point.  Vancouver, I’m coming to see you another time, I promise!

My final flight wasn’t too bad either, I felt kind of rested, there was a seat free in the middle again, and I had bought a new book that was holding my attention.  At 12:30 am I finally landed in my hometown.  I was the only one with an entourage to greet me as I came out of the luggage area – my whole family was there to welcome me back! It felt so good to get all those hugs and kisses I’d been missing while I was travelling.  I even got some beautiful flowers as a welcome home present!

I’m HOME!!!!! Finally!  What an incredible journey this summer was.  I hope all of you can experience some kind of epic trip like I have. It’s been fantastic to be able to share it with you through this blog.

xoxo

D

Categories: In the Air, New Zealand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Melbourne Experience

Melbourne reminds me of Vancouver in a hundred little ways – although there are no mountains, there’s an ocean, the weather changes every five minutes, the people are hip and trendy, the coffee is delicious, there’s a hundred things to do and a great restaurant culture, and a hundred little communities that are worth exploring.  I was lucky enough to have a friend who lives in trendy St. Kilda, I went to film school with Torrance and she’s only been in Aus for three months, living the life in Melbourne.  She and her flatmates welcomed me into their home (and on their couch) for almost a whole week, I’m super thankful to them for letting me crash with them!

My first evening in Melbourne was pretty laid back, it was super easy to get from the airport to downtown on the SKybus, and then onwards to St.Kilda on the tram, a rail network that links the whole city and makes it super easy to get around.  I got into St Kilda with a few hours to spare, so I went down to the beach and put my toes in the water while getting acquainted with this lovely suburb.  It comes complete with its own kitschy beachside amusement park, cool cafes and delicious bakeshops.  I gorged myself on sushi and grabbed some maps from the local hostel, checking out what to see and do while I am in town.  There was so much free stuff to check out!! A plus for me cause I am on a super budget at this point in my trip – three months of travel can really do a number on your bank account!
I met up with Torrance after she was done work and we had a great meal together, catching up on several years of news and stories, we both have had some major moves and good stuff happen to us, along with a couple dozen friends in common, so we needed mucho catch up time!  The next day I was off to explore the city, first taking a walk with Torrance through Saint Kilda to an animal sanctuary she is considering volunteering at (complete with cute lil piggy in the yard!) and then boarding the tram for downtown.  Now, Torrance had said I could take my chances on not paying for the tram with a little refillable card, since the transit cops hardly ever checked, so i got on the tram without paying.  Luck would have it the MY tram on THAT day would get checked as we went downtown, I was almost fined an outrageous $200!! NOOOOOOO!!!!
Luckily I was able to play dumb and prove that I had just gotten there yesterday and played up my Canadian accent (i just got here, eh?) and I got away with it!! The transit cop was NOT happy about letting me go, but he knew and I knew I was NOT going to be paying any ticket, so I was able to get off.  Yes!! I was a bit shaken after that, and walked around the CBD aimlessly for a while, gawping at the buildings and the architecture, modern mixed with Victorian. I loved it! I wandered through the pedestrian only Bourke St Mall at all the shopping I couldn’t do (probably for the best as I still have to carry all my stuff on my back) and stumbled upon the Parliament Buildngs and the Cathedral of Saint Paul.  I ate lunch in Chinatown (can’t get away from those!) and went up to the Queen Victoria Markets to see the action there (there was none, market was closed. damn.) The downtown of Melbourne is actually pretty small, so I thought I would conquer the ultimate downtown walk and attempt to walk back to St. Kilda via the beach!  It took me a while – about two hours – but I needed the exercise and love exploring new places so it was worth it – I only got lost once!
I also saw the Southbank – which is the entertainment area on the bank of the Yarra river across from the city, and the State Library, which impressed me with its bohemian historic feel. I wandered around in there for a while, there were some really good free museum-like floors where the history of Melbourne was laid out and the history of the library as well.  I walked and walked and WALKED along the shore, there’s TONS of beachfront and the day was warm, so I didn’t even mind when my feet started hurting as the sun went down!!  That night we had a chill dinner at home and hung out with Torrance`s roomie over a bottle of wine.  I knew the weekend was going to be messy on account of the Auusie Football League Grand Final, so I wanted to save some energy for that!!
My second day in Melbourne was full of more free adventures.  I visited the National Gallery of Victoria (free) and marveled at their Picasso, Matisse and large collection of Southeast Asian Art.  I also loved the large-scale art project in the lobby of the gallery with a hundred bowls floating in a shallow pond, making music as they clinked together.  I walked up to Federation square, which was packed with footy festivities and revelers, but it started to rain and I ducked into the Cinema museum (my fav!) for an hour while it rained outside.  Fed Square is an interesting `main hub`of activity in the CBD, right by the central station and a very vibrant part of downtown.  Even though the architecture doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the historic surroundings, it’s an interesting place to visit.  I spent all afternoon typing and catching up on emails in a super cute hipstery cafe called Thousand Pound Bend, which is off a little alleyway in Melbourne’s downtown.  There’s quite a few little laneways sprinkled throughout the downtown, that hold unmarked bars and cool shops and places to eat,  I loved exploring this city!
That night I got a text from Torrance – she would be late cause she found a stray dog and was waiting for animal services to come and pick her up!  The dog was extremely cute, large and malnourished so after I paid her a visit I bought us a bottle of wine and headed home to make us some dinner.  Torrance and I also found time to redecorate her room and she made me some delicious vegan meals as well! Yum!  After some active days, I was ready for a sleep and wanted to me rested up for my awesome weekend!!

 

Categories: Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

I’ve survived the first two parts of my journey, including the longest flight I’ve ever taken in my life.  Whew.  I’m almost there!  I said goodbye to Canada and my family yesterday (at least I think it was yesterday, I’m between time zones right now). We had a teary goodbye at the airport and I had deja-vu from my trip last year, feeling nervous and excited all at the same time – anxious to go but apprehensive about my capability to pull this trip off.  I didnt cry this year, I was too wound up to realize how long its going to be before I see my wonderful family and my amazing friends!  I cried a little on the plane but I followed my best friend Holly’s advice about crying in public: put your damn sunglasses on, hold a tissue and pretend its allergies. Thanks babe.
The view from YVR

The view from YVR

The first flight was uneventful, I’ve done the YYZ-YVR trip so many times it seems pretty natural. It was sad to only be able to stay in Vancity for a few hours, I lived there for fouryears and wish I could have hopped off and seen all my friends!  Next year!  The second flight was 13 hours long. Euuugh. I popped two heavy duty motion sickness pills and drank a beer which was my patented sleep remedy for long hauls in T-land last year. It worked like a charm!  I awoke to find that I only had five hours left until touchdown in Manila. Yay!
It never hits me until I get on the plane. What am I doing this for? Why do I feel the need to go halfway across the world just to see whats out there? How will it change me?
The secret that I’m learning is this: life and people are the same all over the world – you go to see something new and all you see are skyscrapers, bland airports and fast food restaurants just like you have at home. Globalization at its finest, people.  The challenge lies in the journey, of pushing yourself off the cliff and WAY out of your comfort zone.  The places I visit may very well be breathtaking and unusual, or maybe boring and uninspiring, but the experiences I have along the path will change me either way.  Adventure awaits!
But for now im sitting in an ugly transfer lounge in Manilla’s Ninoy Aquino airport, waiting for something (anything!) to happen so I can get on my next and second last flight. THERES NO WIFI! FOR THE LOVE OF GODDDDD!!
Plus I read my whole damn book on the way from Toronto to Vancouver. Curse my magical speed reading capabilities.
Categories: In the Air | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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