Travel bug

3 Jan

Yeah, I kinda miss travelling in a way.  Every year between 2005 and 2010, I went somewhere rather far for vacation.  I liked that a lot about my job – you could take as much time off (within reason) as you liked.  Unpaid of course but at the time I was making a decent wage so it was fine.

In 2009, I went to Europe for three weeks.  It was a crazy busy trip but the Glenda suggested since I was going to be over there anyway, why didn’t I do a few things.  And a few things I did.  I started at at the Hay-on-Wye Festival .(

Bill Clinton once described this festival as the ‘Woodstock of book festivals’ and he is right.  It’s very, very cool.  Hay is a small town in Wales, near the English border.  So I flew into London, and trained, bused, trained, bused my way over to Hay the next day.  Hay-on-Wye is known as the town of books and has over 30 book shops I think, some specializing, some more general.  The festival is about a mile from the town but they have a shuttle.  I booked six months in advance and still had to stay at a B&B five miles away because of how popular the whole thing is.  There was a once an hour or so shuttle to each of the little towns so I got around that way.  Wales is beautiful of course and green, green, green.  Sheep too.  The B&B owner also took people on walks, so one day he, two other guests and I walked a few miles through the greenness of it all.  Lovely.  Oddly, the UK uses miles but not kilometres although in general they are metric.  Perhaps reader Janis can enlighten us.

I went to the festival every day for almost a week (it is a 2 week festival) and saw a great variety of writers – one of my favourites being the BBC correspondent and war reporter, Kate Adie.  I also paid a fair sum to see Desmond Tutu, not realizing that if I simply had stood outside of the tent, I could have heard him for free.  Uh well, live and learn.  Except for the first day when the rains came, the sun shone every day and it was hot.  An amazing festival. 

After Hay, I took bus/train/tube/train/cab (long day that) to a B&B near Gatwick airport and within walking distance of a TESCO,, which made me absurdly happy.  The Guardian and crisps and I’m happy happy.  The next morning I flew to Istanbul – a four hour flight on the discount airline Easyjet.  A  fifty euro buy at the airport visa required for Canadians (much much less for Americans for some reason) and a long cab ride and I was there.  Maggie May was living in Ankara at the time, just pregnant with her first child (the one who thinks I am going to kidnap her little sister).  I spent the first few days alone in Istanbul (uh, yeah, I facebooked Maggie a few times and said I AM LEAVING) but stuck it out till she got there.  Then it got fun and infinitely more relaxing – Maggie May speaks some Turkish and we went many places.  Fun, fun, fun.  Oh and before she got there I had taken a one day tour of the part of the Black Sea and environs and that was also excellent.

Phew, Istanbul for 10 days, back to London for a night and then home.  That was a whole lot to do in three weeks but awesome in retrospect.

I find as I get older, that I tolerate well a flight that is one hour long (say to Portland).  After that, I”m not so happy happy.  I’ve always flown charter flights to Europe and that is getting squishy squishy indeed.

I think I’m allergic to my laundry detergent.

I’ve also been to New York City, other parts of Europe, Cuba and etc.  I’d still love to go to Spain and back to Prague.  We shall see.

It’s of course a cliche to say that travel broadens the mind but it really, really does.  Helped me to realize I’m a rather tough old bird too – I’ve generally travelled alone.  Not really by choice so much but I’ve alwaays met fellow travellers and that is fun fun.

Tomorrow I have the vaguely interesting but mysterious thing in the morning, followed by I am not sure.  My job searching tactics are revving their engines.  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Sigh, the smoker in the building seems to wait until evening to smoke.  Good of him, I suppose.

2 Responses to “Travel bug”

  1. Thomas January 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Speaking of travels my layoff last year allowed me to extend my trip to China by a couple of weeks. I had a friend who was teaching there at an English Private School so accomodation was not a worry.

    I spent a month in China with Beijing as the home base. It was actually my second trip there. Along with my friend we travelled to Shanghai, Taipei, and a “small town” by bullet train near Beijing called Tianjin. Tianjin has a population of about 10 million people so compared to Beijing it’s small. A beautiful place I must say also compared to Beijing. It has a beautiful downtown core with a canal running through it, sort of reminded me of Europe in many ways.

    My trip to China was the start of the weight gain last year. Cheap meals and beer can be found at many places. Huge meals of dumplings, noodles, chicken, tons of fat and grease and oh so good for around five bucks or less Canadian. Also big bottles of beer for around two bucks Canadian. To say the least I took full advantage.

    I knew I had gained weight last year but didn’t realize it was as much as I discovered stepping on the scale New Years Day. It was my first time near that scale in months. You could actually hear it groan when I stepped on the thing. I am not proud to say that I gained almost twenty five pounds in the year of the layoff.

    Plenty of time sitting around at the computer. Surfing job sites, applying for jobs, doing nothing. I virtually gave up my exercise routine and my eating habits went from pretty good to atrocious.

    Needless to say it’s a new year and hopefully a new me, with a job 🙂
    My diet plan kicked into gear yesterday. I plan to eat healthy or at least healthier and get plenty of exercise. No real crazy diet like the grapefruit diet, atkins, no-carb, no fun sort of diet just eating healthy and exercise. I plan a big walk shortly after I wrap up my post and another look on Workopolis and Indeed job search sites.
    I plan to walk everyday and will sign up Monday at a gym close to me, at thirty dollars a month you can’t go wrong. I have a feeling the gym will be busy for the next three weeks or so.

    Job wise I applied for two more jobs on-line last night. One of them I really want but I have stopped trying to figure out bus routes, etc. to these places before even getting so much as an interview because like in the past it may just be another disappointment with a “non-response”.

    I also plan to head to the employment centre later today or tomorrow for sure. Like you not sure how that three week course will help me but I guess it can’t hurt. Get out there and meet some people in the same boat I guess. I shall investigate it further.

    Grey and wet out there, sort of depressing actually but time to lace up the running shoes. Take care.

    • jobsearchinginvancouver January 4, 2012 at 4:19 am #

      Wow, so interesting about China. Cheap, fattening food is right up my alley, ha. Although shamefully I seem to prefer the fake Chinese food with the red sauce to the real stuff in Chinatown.
      Good on you about exercising – I try to keep it up as well but trickier when the weather is like this as my preferred form of exercise is riding my bike. Uh well.
      Keep me posted on the job search course and how it goes. And good luck with those jobs – you are (or have been) on EI – have you looked into the Targeted Wage Subsidy? You can ask your case manager about it and I’d hurry – after March 31st it will be harder to get, me thinks.

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