Posts tagged ‘couchsurfing’

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.

 

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June 29, 2011

Meeting people on the road

by Robyn

I love talking to travellers, like-minded individuals, who I can really connect with. None of my friends can really connect with that aspect of who I am, nor  do they share similar travel passions to the degree that I do. Several of my friends have never travelled. Or if they have, it’s one of two extremes.

They’re either the luxury travel type staying at all-inclusive or nice hotels. Not the type who are even willing to stay in a hostel, let alone camp. Or they are the polar opposite. Friends who have been in various bands for years and travelled all over the country on tour, living in a van. Too bad everyone I know who’s done the latter has pretty much retired from living that life. My current boyfriend is paying his way out of debt from having lived that life in his early 20’s.

While I was in Toronto I met a really adorable couple at my hostel over breakfast. We made the usual casual travel chat “where are you from?” “where are you travelling?” etc, etc.

On my way out of the hostel that day, I left them, (Charlie and Mark), my phone number and email address, and told them to hit me up if and when they came through Winnipeg. I would give them a place to shower and if necessary, somewhere warm to crash for the night.

I was pleasantly surprised to open up my email on Monday evening to see an email from Charlie letting me know they were going to be arriving in the city on Tuesday and were hoping I could lend my shower. So of course I said yes, and email them back immediately.

They were at my place last night for about 3 hours. They showered and we chatted about our travelling experiences, and shared movies from our hard drives. I’ve been unable or for the most part, unwilling (aka: scared) to live and travel the way I want to, so it’s always gives me a little boost to talk to people who are currently on the road.

Charlie and Mark, I envy them. Charlie herself has lived, worked and travelled all over the world. Originally from England, she’s lived and worked in France, Denmark, Greece, Australia and Canada. She’s travelled to South East Asia and has done the coast to coast Canada tour thing once already. And now she and her fiance are doing it again.

When I met them, they had just landed in Toronto and were looking to purchase a van with which to travel the country. They have since purchased a van, converted into their home and have travelled from Toronto to the far east coast, then back across Canada en route to Vancouver to cherry pick for the summer. Then they are going down the west coast where Mark is meeting family in Las Vegas while Charlie will be joining up with two other travellers and continuing south for the Burning Man festival.

Talking to these two was invigorating. I am so excited to put more money into savings so that one day I’ll get on the road and pursue my dreams of long-term travel. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I’ll befriend an amazing travel companion, but if not, I’ll be just fine on my own. For the present time I can revel in the fact that I have new travel friends and connections in far off places.

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.