Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sunday's Special Spot - Credo of the Peaceful Traveller

This week's photo is not a literal place but more of a figurative one. My computer is on the verge of death and I am unable to log on. So I have picked a photo I have on my phone instead of one from the Internet. This photo is of a plaque I once saw that describes a way of travel...a place to be in a manner of speaking:

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Why I LOVE airports!

I love airports. Always have. When I was a child, during the summer months, my dad would pile the family into the car, buy dinner from an A & W Drive-In and head out to the airport for us to view the air traffic from the parking lot. I'd scarf down my hamburger and fries while staring at those big metal birds taking flight and touching down. 

When I am on the airport track of the Canada Line monorail in Vancouver (which overlaps with part of the downtown area) I smile inside at all those with their luggage. They are en route or returned from a journey full of stories. I wish it was me on that train, full of anticipation and wonder of what my next travel journey will bring. 

When I am the one traveling I have a sense of excitement and contentment. That this is where I should be, taking in the world while I wander. Airports represent part of the journey. Of getting to where you want to go. Yes, airports can be crowded, cold and expensive but I overlook that (unless I am dead tired) and look to what they mean to me in my quest to see the world. I sometimes arrive a bit earlier to just take it all in. I know it may sound crazy to some but I do really love airports. 

In honour of my dream-inducing love of airports, here are some tidbits of information:

Airport and City Codes: Have you ever wondered what those 3 letters on your luggage tag mean? They are airport codes determined by IATA (International Air Traffic Association). They are a location identifier for specific airports. Some codes are similar to the name of the city where the airport services: SFO for San Francisco/Oakland or SYD for Sydney. A city with more than one airport, the codes are often based on the airport name: CDG for Charles De Gaulle Airport and ORY for Orly Airport, both in Paris. Then you have Canada, where the majority of airport codes start with the letter "Y". For example: YVR for Vancouver International Airport and YYZ for Toronto's Lester B. Pearson Airport. Odd eh?  I don't know why either. For more info on how they are determined, click here for the Wikipedia link.

World's 5 Busiest Airports 2011 (based on passenger traffic):

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  2. Beijing Capital International Airport
  3. London Heathrow International Airport
  4. O'Hare International Airport (Chicago)
  5. Tokyo International Airport
World's Best Airports 2012 (as chosen by Skytraxx World Airport Awards):
  1. Incheon International Airport (South Korea)
  2. Singapore Changi Airport
  3. Hong Kong International Airport
  4. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
  5. Beijing Capital International Airport
Sleeping in Airports: No I don't mean the hotels that are located at airport terminals. I mean, literally, sleeping in airports. I have mentioned this before. You can sleep in airports and there is even a website to give you the lowdown. Kinda cool!

The next time you are headed to the airport, either to pick up/drop off someone or heading on an adventure yourself, think of me and how glad I am that we live in a time where we can easily experience the big blue marble we live on and how airports are a part of it.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Why do I do that??

Have you ever scratched your head at some of the things you've done? Say one thing and then do another? Hell, think you will do one thing and then do another. I have. And then I wonder "Why do I do that??". Case in point: I made a decision to save all my money, picked a date to start my RTW trip and then.........I went out a blew a whack of money (I really did not need all that new makeup, extra clothes, movie nights etc) Why??? I dunno. I think I had a momentary lapse and freaked out. It's still kinda weirding me out that I can actually do this. Perhaps having too tight of purse-strings made me feel I should "rebel" - though I only hurt myself. I'm not entirely certain why I made these decisions. Now, let me clarify. I did not go out and blow all my savings or anything like that but I did spend a nice chunk of change that I now wish I had in my savings account instead. I also know that there is not much I can do now (items are non-returnable) so I should not fret. I will just re-adjust my budget for a bit so I can, in a manner of speaking, re-coup those monies. What is at the heart of my concern is WHY I chose to impulsively make non-necessary purchases. I am learning to budget and have been very good lately. I even had a stash set aside for planned clothing purchases for work since many of my clothes were wearing out. Even saved for an out of town wedding I was invited to. I was doing so well. I was proud of myself. And then.....

Am I making a bigger deal of this than I should? Not sure, however, it is on my mind. I do know myself in that I do want to be able to enjoy some things while saving. I want to hang with my friends over a beer, have a lunch out occasionally, etc. Generally enjoy my time. So I allot for it. Not as much as before but some. I know that unexpected things happen as well (like 3 of your work pants having the zipper break - clothes and dieting is in the future). I get that.   I am prepared. So why do I use some my ear-marked savings for things I do not need when I have an amazing adventure to prepare for??? My guess is FEAR! Yes, the "F" word strikes again!! Stupid fear.  It sends me cowering to the dark recesses of the local mall or movie theatre or local pub (shots on me!). 

So this is really about fear. Fear has been something I have dealt with time and again in my life.  When I was younger I was afraid that if I did not behave the way others expected me to that I would not be liked or accepted. So for a long time I did as others expected me to (or what I thought they expected of me). This lead to a very unhappy time in my life. And a long road to becoming who I really am and want to be. In relationships I have been so afraid of being dumped and rejected that it silently took its toll on me. In the end, I learned that I would survive  breakups, as painful as they were. I have been afraid of change. Even when I wanted to make change I was afraid of failing. Or worse, being stuck and not being able to make the change. In the end the Universe stepped in, kicked me in the butt and gave me a door to walk through, should I want it. So I walked through the door, faced enough obstacles that when I was ready to make another life decision it went so smoothly that I did not question it at all.

So hear I am again. I put it out to the Universe (and the blog-o-sphere) that I will leave on my adventure on July 1, 2013. Wouldn't ya know it...stuff starts happening!! I expected it, just not so quickly. Within a month I had to put my cat to sleep. I could not have left on my trip with my cat still alive. He had been with me too long for anybody else to care for him. In his old age he was not good with change and leaving him with someone else would have been too hard on me. Very unexpectedly he became ill and I had to put him down in July. He had a good long, life though (19+ years). Then, my landlady asked if I was still interested in moving into a bachelor suite in the building. I had asked her over a year ago to let me know when one opened. That way I could save more money. Not only will I save money in rent ($143/month) I will not have to fork over money to movers if I left the building. MORE SAVINGS!! I also get a jump start on downsizing my belongings. After all, I am getting rid of my stuff. So now I have no excuse. All this in one month of declaring my intentions. Not to mention that 2 months ago I started my dream schedule at work, which in the end allows me to work more and save money. Yes, I am happy. At the same time I am freaking out inside!! THINGS ARE HAPPENING!! This is real. This is exciting. This is scary.  I panic and think I can not handle the change so I sabotage myself. I've done it often enough. I've begun my usual dance with I an going to change the dance moves. Fear will still be dancing with me, but this time courage, confidence and excitement are my partners as well. I want them to be leading me. I want fear to only dance when there is real danger, to help me avert it and make the smartest choices. Courage, confidence and excitement will lead the way. They have to. They will.  I will still stumble and freak out. Now I am more aware of the why and can make better choices. If I don't, you will know about it. I will ask for input. So here goes...bring on the world!!

Let's BElieve in Our Dreams's post was timely yet again!

Sunday, 19 August 2012


I just returned from an extended weekend trip to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. I stopped in Kelowna and Penticton, 2 cities in the heart of the Okanagan Valley. An area known for it's wineries, fruit orchards and hot, dry summers it's easy to see how one can be taken in by the natural beauty that surrounds it.

View of Okanagan Lake from Therapy Vineyards. It is located on the Naramata Bench in Penticton, BC, Canada

I took this picture at Therapy Vineyards, which was one of 7 vineyards that I visited with friends. This was the 4th one on our "tour". We visited 3 in Kelowna area and 4 on the Naramata Bench in Penticton, BC. Well worth it!

Sunday, 12 August 2012



Banyan trees, Oahu, Hawaii

I love the flora and vegetation on Oahu, Hawaii. I was especially mesmorized by the banyan trees that were in every place. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012


After reading an article in my most recent copy of Outpost Magazine, I decided that  when I visit this country, this is one area I can not miss. It's limestone cliffs tower majestically above the boats that  dot it's bay. Boats float by full of locals selling their wares to tourists and travelers coming to see the beauty before their eyes. This week we're in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

The stunning beauty of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay is located off northeastern Vietnam, near the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea. One can see these amazing karsts (cliffs) by water on popular Junk boats or kayak tours.

This photo is from the Travel to Vietnam webpage and belongs to them.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Visiting Family and Friends

When I was enrolled in the Travel and Tourism Administration program at Confederation College many, many years ago I learned that VFF travel (Visiting Family and Friends) is one of the main reasons people take to the skies (or the road). And that is what I recently did - I visited my big sis up in Terrace, BC. It was also a timely visit.

Some of you know that I recently had to put my beloved cat of over 19 years to sleep. I have had him since he was a kitten and he was my "fur baby" - a constant, loving companion all those years. It was his time - he was old and he had stopped eating and drinking and was in pain. It was a sad day for me and those who knew and loved his zany yet sweet personality. So I was grateful that I had a getaway and be away from my apartment where I still expect to find Cairo. It was not only great to see my sister and her friends but also the 5 pets that inhabit her home. Yep 5!! 2 dogs (Takla and Copper, both Labs) and 3 cats (1 timid black/white cat named Echo and 2 long-haired orange tabbies named Coho and Trout). So I saw friendly faces, both in people and animals and it helped me to deal with my loss.

Found in Northern British Columbia, Terrace is located approximately 1.5 hours east of Prince Rupert by car and 45 min north of Kitimat, BC (final spot of the proposed controversial Enbridge Pipeline). It is nestled in the snow-capped Coast Mountains with the Skeena River running nearby. For a northern city, it actually has some great summer weather. This year was no exception. It was sunny and around 25 - 27C with little humidity. My sister had told me to expect to get my heart pumping and my muscles moving. No lie there. We hiked Terrace Mountain twice, walked the dogs at Ferry Island and out behind the airport. We also did some shopping and had her friends over for a BBQ and bonfire. That kept me busy. I also got some sun onto my shoulders, which, thankfully evened out my golfers/farmers tan! In addition to walking the dogs I also groomed them and the cats, gave them treats and basically got some good pet love! All in all, it was a great trip seeing my sister, being active, eating good food and getting that unconditional affection that pets give without reservation. 

Below are some pictures from my trip...mainly of the pets. I did not bring my camera with on the hikes. Even if I had I was too busy looking at the winding, rocky, root-lined trail and wiping the sweat off my face to even bother with pictures!! LOL!

Walking the dogs, behind the airport
View of the mountains (airport behind me)

Takla & Copper sniffing everything!

Trout a.k.a "Trouble"

Ferry Island trail
One of many carvings on Ferry Island trail