Events, Travel, WordPress

Yesterday was my 8th WordCamp, the first one ever held in Atlantic Canada.

Dalhousie University was a great locacation, and the buildings are very modern but historic looking at the same time. As for Halifax the city, it was meh. I didn’t spend much time elsewhere as the traffic and confusing signs stressed me out.

I got to see some very interesting presentations my favourites in order were: Shelly Peacock’s The “No Badger” Zone, Sarah Rennick’s You Don’t Have To Sacrafice Your First Born To Make A Chilf Theme, Laura Hawkins’ Tips For Creating Effective Site And Blog Content, Kathryn Presner’s A CSS Adventure, Jean-Francois Arseneault’s Guardians of the Website, and Chris Van Patten’s It Dosen’t Have To Hurt: Beinging Modern Dev Practices to WordPress.

Living With GBS, Travel

In August 2015, it was like Christmas! The Summer 2016 flyer came out and I drooled over every page. Vacation planning is not something I do a lot of, it is more of a familiarization of options. As I reviewed my options, let’s face it, maximizing the number of new countries was the main option.

There resulted in one tour that became the only one that worked for dates to take my mother to Europe, and her need to user the Labour Day weekend to make it work, and the need to still hit Oktoberfest with Tony. That tour was the Trail to Rome starting September 9, 2016. It would leave London, then go to in order; Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, Ljubljana, Venice, and Rome. This was it or bust!I have always booked these trips through the tour group directly, as it was just easier. Since the past trips I took some cruises and booked them through a particular travel agent. As a few weeks passed, the trip date after the one I wanted went completely sold out and my trip was limited availability now. So I went online and booked the trip directly with Contiki. Since the rest of the trip dependent on others, I didn’t get the insurance (later in the story this was a very wise decision), or airfare.

Around the end of the year, some things came up and my mother was going to have to cancel. Then the trip sold out and Tony was only going to do the end week. Come April I needed to buy my airfare and the trip was not firmed up but I knew I was going to take book-end weeks before and after the trip so I planned to fly to London (so I could store my big bag and travel light), then after the trip give half a week to plan later and then fly Rome to Munich for Oktoberfest, spend 3 nights there, and fly home from there.

Now I researched my flights and tweeted the flights to perfection and timings to not be too early, too late, or wait times too long or too short. I also planned to try out Lufthansa to come home. Since this was 3 segments and multi-airline, I determined a travel agent would be my best bet, and I needed to get travel insurance still.

Now since I booked my trip my regular agent didn’t seem pleased that I booked the package directly with Contiki. In addition I am quite superstitious about things and the two cruises I booked through her using different airlines, both had my luggage delayed. I therefore decided to use a different location of the same company to book the flights. I showed up with a post it note that had dates, flight codes, and airport codes that would confuse most people as a pile of gibberish, but to her it made perfect sense and I had tickets in no time.

I also bought travel cancellation insurance through her. I thought the price was a little high and later found out it was the plus plan, and that was why. By the time I found that out it was too late to do anything about it.

Entertainment, Events, Living With GBS, Travel

Now to continue the story. The biggest point of fear is the moment before doing something. However,I have at this point completely learned my part and it is showtime for the final full rehearsal and there are a limited number of media and a few other people in the audience. It makes this effectively the first show. I’m standing behind the curtain waiting for my cue, which was in the second part of the first act, and am trembling because although I’m not on stage yet, I have no way to escape out of doing this. After two months of faking it, pretending to be an actor, I step out on stage. I don’t remember much of that show I was in character and pulled it off.

The next day, the first day of paying guests, I trip on my way to work, rip open my knee and elbow, but the most tragic event happened. My coffee cup exploded all over the sidewalk and I lost it. A world without coffee is not a great world. That night I was faking it again and really was focused and didn’t even notice the audience. Each night after the show I got to meet some of the audience.The reason why the story started here was that after the Friday show, I invited my mother to travel with me to see London and Paris in the fateful trip when the story gets interesting.

I did absolutely love the acting and had auditioned again the next year but have never gotten a chance to do it again yet hopefully as I heal, I will get a part in the future. The following April I did preform with my friend Tony in a Shakespeare open mic a bit from Coriolanus. Unfortunately, he messed up his line. (sarcastic supportive emoji 🙄)

It was also at this point that I convinced myself that it was time for Contiki trip number 4. My friend Tony also wanted to join me for the Contiki and to do a post tour trip to visit Pompeii and Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. (Do I even need to state it is in Germany. Doesn’t everyone know Munich is in Germany?)

Later, my mother sent me a list of things she would find interesting like the Tower of London, the English Moores, Normandy, and where in Paris that Princess Diana was killed. (Moan, not Paris again…)

So the plan is to bring my mother for a few days, send her home. Meet Tony and then go on Contiki, then a post week of exploration.

Entertainment, Events, Living With GBS

This is the third in my series on Life with GBS, if you haven’t read the first two then you should.

The next weekend, I got the call that I got a part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream if I wanted it. At this point I was terrified that A whim had gotten me way over my head. I had not done this, and it was completely foreign territory. However, without thinking I said yes anyways.

 I got the roles of Snug the Joiner that is a very shy and insecure person that is part of a group of mechanicals that are putting together a play at the palace. And in the play, portrayed a Loin that is probably the origin of the Cowardly Lion. The second role I got was the fairy Cobweb. At first I was really worried that the second role was going to be too much since I never even tried to memorize lines before.
As the following weekend came and we were supposed to have the first read through the cast list was published. As I read through it I noticed, I was not on it. At this moment I was overcome with relief that I was not over my head with having to pull off the biggest performance of leaving my comfort zone in years. On the other hand my anxiety that everyone hates me kicked in and I was devistated. So, I messaged the director and asked if there was a typo not giving an indication how I felt. To my relief it was and the list got reposted.

For the following two months I had rehursed and memorized my lines. To my relief, the cast was very friendly and welcoming. The first mistake I made memorizing the lines was not learning the cue lines that came before it. Then learning the acting and where to be and where to move that was not in the script helped a lot with the lines I learned to go with their placement.

As we approached show time there was a night after rehearsal that most of the cast met at Pepper’s Pub and we had a great conversation and meal, and then went to hit up the dance floor at Callahan’s. One thing I learned that night is that performers are a different breed and that even though I had been working on improving my fitness keeping up with them was really hard.

Entertainment, Living With GBS

Note– This is the second of multiple posts in the series of my coping with GBS.

This journey can begin in many places, so I will start where things started to change, the trip began, and I was shit on. Before this event every week was just like the week before and there was very little interesting going on. Somewhat crippled by my anxiety.

I had posted on Facebook that I was going to audition for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on a whim. I had at this point never really auditioned for anything like this. So as the day came, I was dreading doing the audition, but felt deep inside it was something I had to do. I even took the preparation of actually listening to the audiobook of the play, or just part of the first act actually. To be honest I had never read a work of Shakespeare in it’s entirety before this. Reading a complete book has rarely ever happened in my life.

As I entered the room there were several others there that reading the material and debating their take on the characters and knew them all like they were best friends. It was rather intimidating being a first interview but I knew I wanted one of the small roles and was going to try for it anyway. I went upstairs and read the closing part just to read something, which was followed with a short discussion why this piece was so important to the whole play. In reality I could have cared less about the interpretation and was trembling to just get out of there. I then left to grab a coffee, and ran into so friends and we’re standing around talking.

It was while having this conversation that my fate changed. I was shit on! There was a gull that was flying over-head and right on my head it got me and dripped a bit. Newfoundlanders say that being shit on by a bird is good luck, but for me it was the beginning of my fate with luck.

Living With GBS, Travel

Let the saga begin…

Over the past few years I have not posted as much lately here. Let’s face it FaceBook is where it is at these days to share things. But the main reason has been that I had been in a slump where almost nothing felt interesting to me let alone share.

Back in 2009 when I left university for the last time and decided to leave university and start travelling, I was really in a search to try and find meaning. Then in 2010 when I first set foot on British soil and took my first Contiki it was amazing. Then came 2011 and I tried to duplicate the experience and it was more disappointing and less amazing (just a little). Then when my Great Aunt passed away in 2012, I tried again to travel Europe and it just wasn’t quite the same as that first time either. I wasn’t having any luck at finding meaning in anything, or a relationship.

Then in 2014 I took a cruise and it was impressive. So, I did it again in 2015 and it was very much less so than the first time although it was still special like each of the trips before by the people I meet on the journey.

Although this has now changed and I’m not sure where this will end or how long it will take to catch up to no but boy do I have a story to share, and I will start to post it here.

Shopping

imageI love when I get a parcel in the mail and that day happened yesterday.

My order came in from Harry’s. I ordered a new Truman handle for travelling, the stand for my Winston handle, and most exciting of all 16 of the new style blades.

Even though I still have 2 of the old style blades left, I tried out a new one last night. The improved flexibility in the blade was the most noticing everyone improvement and gives a great 5 blade shave. There is now an extra precision blade on the edge. Although, I personally don’t understand the need for a precision blade but it is a perk.

I’ve now been using Harry’s for about 2 years and the savings and ease of having really good blades sent in the mail is a big perk. The only downside is that the purchase is in US Dollars even though it is shipped from Toronto, and they don’t have the free shipping in Canada like they do in the USA.

Travel

There are somethings in life that VR will just not replace. One such thing is the experience of a Contiki tour. Or can it? I just read an article on Travel Week where with $149 for 3 hours you can experience a 3D VR experience of world wonders like Oktoberfest in Germany.

I’m sorry but there is nothing close to Oktoberfest in Germany then…

Oktoberfest in Munich
Oktoberfest in Munich

Not Even…

Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo
Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo

I have been on 3 and soon to be 4 Contiki Europe trips, and the experiences you get from days with people from all over the globe just cannot be virtually obtained. Especially the smells of cities like London, Paris, Rome, Venice are also part of the experience. Travelling is to me about the experience more so then just seeing the sites.

Check it out here http://www.contiki.com/virtually-unlimited

Note: I wrote this post before visiting the actual Contiki site about this.