Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lessons in Travel From Lexie

When I was young, I was a cautious girl.  Traveling seemed something far too big and scary to do-except to places fairly close by and familiar, such as Calgary or Victoria.  I never ventured too far from home, and never, ever by myself.

It's sad, really.  I did have the opportunity to go to San Diego and Hawaii, and I never took it.  I wish now that I had, if just for the experience.  I've passed these words on to my 16 year old, who is a cautious boy who sticks close to home as well.

Spread your wings and fly, Kevin.  You never know where it will take you. Don't be afraid to travel-in fact, do it while you are young and aren't encumbered by a family to support.  See all those places you've always wanted to.  The world is your oyster!

When I had the opportunity to go to Blissdom Canada 2010, it was the first time I had traveled so far by myself, EVER.  Still being the cautious girl I didn't really go far from the hotel, and never by myself-always being worried that I could end up in a bad part of town or encounter something unexpected.  Since then, I've been to Toronto twice more, and embarked on a road trip with friends to Blogher in San Diego.  This weekend as I arrived in Victoria, I realized something-I've picked up some tips from my friend Lexi.

Alexis blogs over at Wave the Stick and travels a lot more than I ever have-so much so that she has it down to a science.  In Toronto I followed her as we walked all over the downtown area, getting the lay of the land (and giving myself some great big blisters).  I'm not sure I would have ventured that far without Lexi with me, but eventually I figured that I have to stop hiding at the hotel and go SEE these places I'm going to.  Can you believe I've been to Toronto THREE times and never have gone up the CN Tower?  It's on my list for the next trip.

Now, granted that Victoria is a place I'm familiar with-but as I wandered the neighbourhood, I realized that I was putting into practise what Lexi had shown me!

Firstly, packing light has huge advantages.  Everything for my jaunt to Victoria fit neatly into a backpack, which made it much easier when I had to walk about 4 blocks through downtown Vancouver from my bus stop to the Helijet terminal.  The Helijet only allows people to bring 2 bags on board anyway, and having a small one meant less to worry about. Clothes can be hung up at the hotel, and who really needs a pile of full sized toiletries, anyway?  Yes, I will admit to giving Lexi a hard time about her little carry on bag for a ten day road trip (who can do that?! Not me!), but from now on I think I'll pack less too.

Parliament BuildingsDaffodils at the Empress

Secondly, a walk around the hotel neighbourhood is a great idea.  Exploring where I was in Victoria let me see what was just around the corner, like Sam's Deli, where I enjoyed toast and a hot latte every morning.  I found the Rebar restaurant-unfortunately I didn't get to eat there, but I know for next time.   It was great fun taking photos in the Inner Harbour and exploring the little shops along the way.  If I had more room in my suitcase I would have brought home some wine from the Artisan Wine store, and some tea from Murchies.


Lastly, good shoes are essential, and I've learned the hard way. Toes rubbed raw, heels that hurt, large blisters, I've had them ALL.  Let's be honest-I have feet that need something with good arch support and usually only runners do the trick.  What's a girl to do?  You can't wear runners and look fashionable!  This time I bought some cute black leather flats from Mark's Work Wearhouse.  I can say this honestly (and completely unsponsored) that I have owned 4 pairs of shoes from Marks, and they are the most comfortable, cute shoes I've owned.   I wore my new shoes all weekend, and my feet were happy!

As long as you have your passport and Visa, you are ready to go-which will come in handy when Lexi and I tackle our next trip together... (to be announced soon!)

PS..if you want to see more of my photos, check out my set over on Flickr.

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