I love travelling. Arriving in a new city I’ve never visited, eating all the local food (and the wine!), snapping pics of everything new and exciting – nothing beats it. The journey to get to said destination, however? Mmmmm, not so much.
Having worked in the travel industry, I’ve been on more planes than I care to remember, and over the years I’ve had good flights and downright AWFUL flights. And although many of the things are beyond your control (crying child beside you, rock-hard seats, a pilot who wants to talk to you over the speaker the entire flight), there are a few things you can pack to ease the pain of long-haul journeys.
Sure, there are plenty of practical things you should have in your carry-on, like pens and the address of where you’re staying and your passport, but I’m not here to talk about the ‘no-shit-Sherlock’ essentials. I’m here to talk to you about the items that will get you through that flight, stuffed in tiny seats (disclaimer: if you regularly fly buisness, this post is not for you. Go away. You don’t know the strife I speak of). The must-haves that will keep you entertained, feeling fresh and well-fed throughout a long flight.
1 Hot Sauce
Random? Totally. But hear me out – plane food is NOT GOOD. Unless you’re ridin’ high in business with your real-life cutlery and choice of 1,498 menu options, you’re stuck with either rubber chicken or cardboard pasta – neither of which resembles actual food. Toss a packet of hot sauce or sachet of your fave seasoning in your carry-on to spice things up a bit (and feel free to sing ‘Got hot sauce in my bag, swag’ a la Beyonce every time you pull it out).
2 Fully loaded iPad/laptop
There is nothing – and I repeat NOTHING – worse than getting on a long-haul flight only to realize you’re the chump who got the seat with a broken entertainment system. Uggggggggghhhhh. Been there, hated that. After a traumatic 8-hour experience with nothing to keep me occupied, I now know to fully load my own devices with more than enough movies/TV/magazines to get me from point A to point B without feeling the need to trip someone out of boredom.
This is a picture of me and my niece. Cute, right? Every time I see her, my heart swells. I can’t remember ever falling in love with someone so instantaneously and so unconditionally (except for my other niece). Her laugh makes me laugh, her smile makes me smile, and every time she says ‘Lala!’ when I show up at the door, I can’t imagine a better feeling. With all of these emotions, you would assume I’d want a kid of my own, right?
Uh….. Hell. To. The. No.
Truthfully, having a child is never something I pictured for myself. I babysat growing up. I was in a long-term relationship with my high-school sweetheart for nine years. I’m now three years into a loving relationship with ‘the one’ …. and through it all, have never felt the need to bear children. I can look at my two nieces and be completely overjoyed, but without ever feeling the pangs for motherhood. Instead, my long-term goals in life have always revolved around personal growth in my career, my community and my creative spirit. It’s not even something I question, really, nor does my family. They never prod Damien and I to give them grandchildren or hint at the idea of us procreating – they leave my life choices up to me. Damien doesn’t have a problem with it either – in fact, this is a decison we’re both very much on the same page about.
All is kosher when it comes to those closest to me… so why is it that the reactions of complete strangers make me feel like my choices about children are unnatural?
For those of you in Toronto (or Vancouver or New York for that matter), BrainStation is a haven for learning new skills in the digital sphere. From intensive courses on web development and digital marketing, to weekend sessions on UX and Lunch & Learns with local bawses, BrainStation has a lil’ something for everyone. I recently enrolled in the 10-week Intro to Web Development course so I would never have to pay someone to fix my site again. Hard? You bet your ass. Worth it? Hells yes. I can’t remember the last time I felt so confused. But that confusion was immediately followed by utter joy and satisfaction each time I figured out how to write a new piece of code. If you’re keen to know if BrainStation is right for you, head to one of their monthly Block Party nights to network and connect with other creatives in the community.
Learn a new Skill with Skillshare
Oh Skillshare – how I love you. One of my favourite sites on the entire interwebs, Skillshare is a video-course platform that allows experts to teach their skills to thirsty members. The site currently has over 900 classes, with experts teaching anything from How To Brew An Amazing Cup of Coffee to Getting Started with E-mail Marketing to The First Steps of Hand Lettering. They offer plenty of free courses, which are great to give you an idea of the quality and structure, but also to get you hooked – because I guarantee if you’re as knowledge hungry as me, you’ll be gettin’ dat Premium membership ASAP ($96 USD for the year, which I think is TOTALLY worth it because you get unlimited courses and can download them for offline viewing).
If there are three things I learned this past summer, it’s this:
1) There is such a thing as drinking too much wine in one night.
2) You’re never too old to go to camp.
The first lesson was one I’d actually learned many summers ago (and never seem to actually learn from), but the second happened as we crept into September and I headed up north to take part in Two Islands Weekend, an annual camp getaway for adults that included bunkbeds, booze and Beyonce dance classes. Yep, the spirit of Queen Bey was alive and well up north that weekend. Which brings me to my third lesson learned this summer:
3) There’s nothing less sexy than awkwardly dancing to Beyonce on stage in front of 250 strangers…
I was a camp veteran, having spent my summers getting dirty while building forts, telling ghost stories around campfires and diving into rivers to find clay. My friend Meghan, however, was a camp newbie, asking question after question on the ride up: ‘What are the cabins like?’ ‘Are the bathrooms outhouses?’ ‘Where do you eat meals?’ ‘What do people wear?’ ‘Is the water okay to drink?’ She was more curious than anything, never having spent summers bathing in the lake or trudging to the mess hall in PJs for breakfast.
As we pulled up to Camp Timberlane, the secluded property a few hours north of Toronto where we would spend the next two nights, all the nostaligia came flooding back. The energetic counsellors greeting us as we arrived, the fresh scent of cedar and pine, the campers lugging their sleeping gear in garbage bags – it was just like the old days. Only this time, we were welcomed with a stiff drink and a group of eager adults all ready to let loose. YAS.