Archive for ‘Destinations’

April 20, 2012

So what am I getting up to this summer?

by Robyn

With summer upon us, I’ve been busy making plans. Beyond my love for travel, I’m usually a real homebody. I like tv, internet and air conditioning. I really like my bed and sleeping in until the middle of the afternoon. When I go out to my cottage, I sit in the shade reading a book. I don’t really get up to much. Hopefully, this summer things will change.

Ever since joining the gym, and for a few months taking a twice weekly class, I’ve seen drastic improvements in my physical abilities and overall stamina. I can run for almost 20 minutes staight! I couldn’t do that 6 months ago. I was lucky if I could go 5 minutes without huffing and puffing. This summer I’m going to get off my ass, get out of the house and enjoy the weather.

Starting in July, I’m taking weekends off. Working full-time and serving on the side during the winter months, I’m lucky if I get 2 days off in the span of a month. It’s unheard of if I get two days off in a row. It’s the nature of working two jobs, and I accept that. It’s the sacrafic I make to save as much money as I do and still live comfortably. That being said, my summers are for me enjoy.

Starting on June 30th, I’m flying out to Vancouver for just over a week. I’ll be visiting my friend Scot in New West Minster (just south of Vancouver) for approximately 4 days. During that time I’ll be painting the town red (and white) celebrating Canada Day in style, challenging myself to do the Grouse Grind, and eating copious amounts of sushi. Then I’ll be taking the ferry to Vancouver Island to visit my friend Robin in Victoria. While there I’ll be taking in the sights of a new city I’ve yet to explore, hiking Mt. Finlayson and hanging out with her kick ass dog.

 

On August 18th, I’ll be competing in the Dirty Donkey 5K Mud run. I’ve never done anything competative in my life and attempting to run a marathon just doesn’t appeal to me in the least. This on the otherhand, I know that even if I do suck ass and quit, I’ll still have had a lot of fun. Plus, unlike boring marathons, at the end of the race I get to be hosed down followed by gorging myself on beer and food.

I’ll be capping off my summer by participating in the Terry Fox Run on September 16th. Again, this is something that I’ve never done, and for years I have wanted to do it, but for whatever lame excuse it just never happened. This year, it’s going to happen, no excuses.

As for the rest of the summer and all those weekends I’ll have off. I’m going to be at my cottage. Sometime in the next few months I’m getting my boating license. I plan on doing a lot of boating, a lot of swiming, and a hell of a lot more hiking. Up until last year it had probably been well over 5 years since I’d done a decent hike of anykind through the bushes at my cottage. I loved it and it made me realize how much I miss my cottage. I plan on catching up on a lot of lost time this summer, revisiting the old stomping grounds of my childhood and discovering new ones.

 

October 26, 2011

Was Alberta Bound

by Robyn

A few weeks ago a recieved a facebook message from my tattoo artist in Toronto letting me know that he would be at the Alberta Bound Tattoo and Arts Festival in Calgary. If I wanted to come, he would save a spot for me.

After checking my overall finances and the balance of my tattoo fund, it only took me about a week to decide. I was going. It would cost me about the same to fly to Calgary as it would to get to Toronto, except there was a good likelihood I would get to see the mountains.

I booked my flight to depart the evening of October 13th, and I flew back home at the end of the weekend on October 16th.   I stayed in the HI Calgary City Center, located 2 blocks east of City Hall. Perfectly located for getting around the city.

This was my first time staying in Calgary. I normally drive right through or stop over at the airport enroute to somewhere. Usually when I visit a city, I push myself to the limits. I try to see as much as possible, to the point that near the end of the day, I’m totally burnt out.

I avoided that this time around. I slept in until at least 10am every day and I was back at the hostel no later than 7pm. Then I would relax and watch tv. I spent a day shopping. I checked out the Millenium Skate Park. Took a drive into the mountains. Got tattooed.

I was sad to be leaving and I wish I had had more time in the city. I wish even more that I could have spent more time in the mountains. But alas, I will have to save that for another time. 

When I arrived home, for the last time I passed through what will become the old Winnipeg International Airport terminal. At the end of the month, the terminal will be closed, and in all likelyhood, demolished shortly after. Following it’s closure, the long awaited, $585 million new Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport will open. It’s exciting. The next time I fly will likely be in February to attend a wedding for a family friend in Ottawa.

May 16, 2011

Toronto Breakdown

by Robyn

I’m home from my little jaunt in Toronto. Feeling fantastic considering having just had 80% of my back tattooed less than 3 days ago. I am feeling far better than expected, with my back feeling slightly stiff and not the least bit swollen or tender to the touch.

Here is a general breakdown of my trip costs. It’s not penny for penny, but thats just because I’m really lazy and I hate keeping track on paper of every dollar I spend. I’m better off with just a general average that I can calculate in my head.

RT Flight Winnipeg – Toronto: $378.00

The Only Backpacker Inn Hostel (1 night): $24.00

JacoB22 Bed & Breakfast (2 nights): $124.30

Seven Crowns Tattoo: $800 + $100 tip

Friday’s Lunch (soup-to-go + snack): $5.00

Friday’s Dinner (PizzaPizza): $5.50

Saturday’s Lunch (Sushi @ Ho Su Bistro on Queen): $12.00

Ice Cream & pop Saturday night: $6.00

TTC Fares/tokens (have one token remaining): $15.50

Give or take a few dollars, my total came to $1470.30 total spent for a RT flight to Toronto, with a 3 night stay in the city, steps away from public transportation and downtown and a $900 tattoo I now have permanently etched onto my body. That’s fantastic, considering the $900 spent on the tattoo came in under budget by $100 and the “tattoo money” has been sitting in my bank account well for over a year, so it doesn’t feel like an expense at all.

Not counting the cost of the tattoo, my long weekend in the city cost me less than $600. One evening was spent in a hostel 6 bed mixed dorm and included a full, hot, waffle breakfast with fresh fruit and coffee in the morning. The following two nights I was in a fantastic B&B, and an upgraded room from what I had originally booked, with a private balcony, ensuite and continental breakfast in the morning.

Aside from the time spent at the tattoo shop, I spent the remainder of my weekend perched in bed watching tv. I had general plans to wander the city a bit on Saturday afternoon but only lasted about 4 hours before getting bored and coming home for a nap. My weekend probably would have been much more exciting had it not been overcast and raining, but what can you do? I would have been nice to venture out to High Park (I’ve never been and would have liked to have seen the cherry blossoms) but I figured I would pass due to the threat of rain and lack of decent lighting for any good pictures.

I’ll admit, when I should have been out and about, doing more, I acted like quite a bit of a hermit this weekend. Keeping to myself when I should have been meeting up with friends and acquaintances in Toronto. But sometimes it better to take a vacation from everything, even people you haven’y seen in over  year. With the 70+ hour work week I had leading up this trip, I think my loner weekend was worth it for the rest and relaxation. Plus, the bed was really comfortable.

 

May 13, 2011

Six and a half hours

by Robyn

I worked over 70 hours last week. I was a nervous wreck and spent all of my free time either eating or sleeping. My rest and nourishment was vital with my upcoming trip to Toronto. This trip, this appointment, so long in the making, I had to make sure that I was in the best of health upon my arrival. Being sick would mean losing hundreds of dollars.

Thankfully, luck was on my side this week.  After leaving work early yesterday, my girlfriend dropped me off at the airport and I boarded my Westjet flight. I got to Toronto without incident and checked into my hostel shortly after.

This morning I was a ball of nerves, but Matt gave me little time to let it get to me. Within 20 minutes of arrival at the shop, we started on my tattoo.

The first 2/3rds, starting from the bottom up were manageable. My upper shoulders were absolutely horrible, I spent that vast majority of my time concentrating on my breathing to take away from the pain. It took just over 4 hours to get this first piece completed.

For phase two, we mapped out the images and I held my breath. I was pretty rough by this point, so everything hurt. Again, I concentrated a lot on my breathing and noting where the tips of Matt’s fingers where so that I could anticipate the spot he would go to next. Although Matt congratulated me at the end of our marathon session for not jumping off the table, there were a few times where I wanted to.

This is just the start of a piece that will take countless hours and years to complete. I have one more full session of outlines and finishing details. We opted out of doing some of the detailed texturing on the lower pieces due to my growing discomfort as well as Matt’s time contraints.

At the end of the day, I was in the shop from 10:30 until 5:30, being tattooed for approximately 6.5 hours of that time. I’m happy to report that I came in $200 under budget for what I had predicted that the tattoo was going to cost. So that’s extra money that I can put back into the bank for future travel or tattoo sessions.

Today I kept my meal costs to less than $10.00 for the whole day. That’s including my delicious waffle with fresh fruit, whip cream, maple syrup and hot coffee this morning at my hostel, The Only Backpackers Inn. I had a simple lunch of chicken noodle soup while at the shop, and then pizza this evening on the ecclectic Church St.

I’ve been making plans to get together with a friend tomorrow afternoon. Trying to keeps things as relaxing and low stress as possible. Sushi perhaps? or a movie.

I’ll give a general breakdown of how much I spent on this trip when I get home at the end of the weekend. I also got my MPI rebate in the mail the other day. So once I take a look at my upcoming bills and incoming paycheques, we’ll see if I’ll reach my goal of being debt free by the end of May.

April 27, 2011

Drowning in Accommodations

by Robyn

Who knew that planning a trip to get tattooed would be so much work? And I haven’t even gotten to the details yet of the actual tattoo. For the past 2 days I’ve been mulling over my options for where to stay on my upcoming trip to Toronto. With my slim budget and my few odd accommodation specifications, it’s been a tiring process and I’ve been repeatedly looking over my top choices again and again, trying to weigh out the pros and the cons.

Do they have 24 hr reception? is breakfast included? is the bathroom private or at least semi-private? are they downtown or have easy access to transit?

I’ve set my budget at under $200 for 3 nights. A reasonable budget and one I can see myself staying within. Now it’s just a matter is deciding where I want to stay. I’ve been looking at hostels, bed & breakfasts, couchsurfing and airbnb (which is a cross between a B&B and couchsurfing), not sure if I’m entirely sold on this idea yet.

Clearly I’m obsessing over this a little and I should probably just phone somewhere and book a room already. But when it comes to the potential discomfort I’ll be experiencing with having my entire back tattooed, I think I have a right to be a little bit anal. It’s unlikely that I’ll couchsurf given that I’ll be sore and tired from having been tattooed for several hours. I know I’ll really want some privacy.

I have sent out one couch request to someone I hosted in the past but I’m not expecting anything, other than maybe an invitation for coffee.

Anyways, these are my top choices thus far, the first 3 places I will only be staying in for the night of my arrival, then I will be moving into cozier accommodations for Friday and Saturday night.

Global Village Backpackers – ($22.00 – 24.50) Breakfast included, 24hr reception

The Only Backpackers Inn – ($23.00 – 24.00) Breakfast included, can negotiate a late check-in

Neill-Wycik Summer Hostel – ($24.00 – 38.00) Breakfast included, 24 hr reception

Cozy Toronto BnB – ($55.00 – 70.00) Continental Breakfast included, 24hr hot showers, tv in room

Downtown Home Inn BnB – ($71.00 – 85.00) Open Buffet Breakfast, tv in room

I’ll probably sit on these options for a few days before I book anything. In the mean time, I’ll finish mapping out my routes to/from the airport and scouting for cheap eats, and something relaxing that I can do on Saturday afternoon to keep me occupied if I’m not able to meet up with anyone.