Feeds:
Posts
Comments

First, a straightforward summary.

For the past year or so I’ve been slowly travelling around the South West Pacific and South East Asia.

Okay a bit more… From where I left off last time, I spent February to June, 2011 travelling around New Zealand with my sister Lindsey (L).  This was a time of high adventure and comfortable hoboism.  Much hiking was undertaken, and around 700 km of trail was trampled during those 5 months.  Most nights were spent in backcountry huts, camping, or couchsurfing, with the occasional splurge for a hostel.  Stories abound, but will have to wait for another time.

Dual wielding walking sticks and hobo-style shoe carrying technique.

At the end of June, L returned to North America and I decided to stay in Auckland with the aim of working for accommodation in a hostel while finishing my thesis. I convinced the fine folks at Ponsonby Backpackers to take me on, and got to show off my ability to accomplish cleaning and other simple tasks at an impressively slow rate.  During my time there I enjoyed much distraction from my fellow hostelites, mastered the art of eating from large bowls, and started making slow but steadily progress on my thesis. I also made many good friends in the Auckland couchsurfing community, attending as many weekly meetings as possible and trying (but never succeeding) to not meet any new people there.

In December I had arranged to go to Bali to meet up with the legendary David Katz, a fellow denizen of Hennings 100 and renowned for performing interpretive dances during group-meeting presentations. So, with much yet-unwritten thesis still in my head, and a mixture of feelings stewing in my liver, I left New Zealand.  I stopped by for a quick visit in Melbourne (to catch up with a hostel friend) before continuing to Indonesia.  There I spent my productive time working on my thesis, and my procrastination time going to the beach, scooting around traffic, and learning a bit of Bahasa Indonesia.  I also discovered the lovely CS Bali family, which provided respite in the form of sporadic (and sometimes spontaneous) trips around Bali, as well as frequent gatherings for food, karaoke, and other leisurely pursuits.

Chillin with some homeys in Jogjakarta.

After 3 months I flew to Singapore for a week (mainly for visa purposes), and then from there to crazy, crowded, traffic jammed, and yet consistently entertaining Jakarta.  For the next six weeks I travelled across Java, with many great couchsurfing experiences along the way. I passed through Bogor, Bandung, Jogjakarta, Surabaya, Bromo, and Ijen, and then finding myself so close, couldn’t resist the temptation of returning to Bali for a few days. From there I flew back to Jakarta, where I used up the last days of my visa before continuing on to Malaysia via Singapore. Here I’ve been for the past two weeks and a bit, mainly in Melaka and Kualu Lumpur. Currently (or, rather, at the time of writing the first draft of this post) I find myself in the outskirts of Georgetown, on the island of Penang in northern Malaysia, having spent the day folding t-shirts and debunking “quantum energy healing” devices at a lifestyle fair.

A couple of weeks ago I finally bought a ticket back to North America: Bangkok to New York on July 3rd.  From there I plan to make my way back to PEI.  At this point I would say I am ready for, and even looking forward to, the return home.  I wouldn’t describe myself as travel-weary, but I am definitely travelling in a different way now than I was a year ago. I have trekked through many forests, swum at many beaches, climbed many mountains, explored many caves, taken photos of many historical sites, and met more wonderful people than I can keep track of.  As expected, those people who I met along the way have been the most meaningful aspect of my trip. So far it seems that I usually spend around twice as long as originally intended in each place I visit, but I am happy to have the time to connect with my stopping points. I think I have fulfilled my goals and experienced what I set out to experience when I left home, and I am now (even more) content to base my plans on whim, circumstance, and the will of those around me.  Having found what I originally came looking for, I submit myself to the world and open myself to those unpredictable experiences that are inherently unseekable.

Oh, and just in case anyone didn’t hear the news, I did finally finish my thesis (despite the initial trend suggesting a completion time exceeding the end of the universe), and I will officially graduate at the end of May!  Hence the grand re-opening here.  Ah, and in case anyone uses twitter, I’ve started posting there too: @AndyReddin if you’d like to follow me.  I’m going to avoid commenting about more posts here, because I don’t want to create false expectations…

“The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved; it is reality to be experienced.”
-J. J. van der Leeuw

Sunset, beach, and palm silhouette: pretty normal.

 

Shraps and Togs

Well, it’s been a while, and not getting any less so, thence I will make a futile attempt to be brief.

We left LA on the 20th of January (more than a month ago, eep!), and skipped the 21st to arrive in Auckland, NZ on the 22nd.  We checked into a hostel for a couple of days to get ourselves sorted out, then stayed with a couchsurfer named Andy. We did a bit of sightseeing there, and also met up with our parents’ friends’ sister’s daughter-in-law Susannah, who among other things introduced us to a great Korean pancake spot on Lorne St.  Check it out if you want a cheap snack in Auckland.  We also went to a great CS (couchsurfing) meetup with about 80 people in attendance!  Everyone was getting organized for a big trip to the Tongariro crossing, a famous hike on the North Island.  It was a lot of new people to meet all at once, but a friendly crowd if ever there was one.

View of Auckland from Mt Eden

Local foliage in Mt Eden.

Nice palm trees in Auckland

Andy's funny house-sit cat.

Korean pancake spot in Auckland.

We had also signed up for the crossing, and left Auckland with our respective rides on Friday (the 28th).  We were all staying (mostly camping) at a hostel in Turangi, a small town a few hours drive south of Auckland.  There were something like 120 of us altogether to do the crossing and some other sight-seeing that had been lined up by the organizers.  The hostel (A+ Backpackers) was a nice spot, but the owner was some sort of weird demon spawn prone to strange outbursts of hostility and treating his guests like 10 year-olds.  I recommend you stay away if you don’t like being shouted at, racially discriminated against, and told that the bathrooms are closed during the night (yes he actually tried to tell us that, what exactly were we paying for if we couldn’t even use the bathrooms?).

Much more meeting of people was had throughout the weekend, including a healthy mix of locals and travellers from all over.  Saturday we toured some local sights including some really cool hot pools in Taupo, a big(ger) town on across the lake from Turangi.  The pools were formed where geothermal heated water flows into the Waikato river, which gave the great combination of very hot water and very cold water separated by everything in between.  They’re completely free, and located in the Spa Thermal Park off Spa Rd.  We also did a short hike around a small lake.  As a hike it wasn’t particularly interesting, but the forest we walked through was way much interesting.  Since being in New Zealand we have found the diversity of tree species here to be fascinating, and have been doing our best to try to learn a few of the names.

The Taupo hot pools.

A neat waterfall near Taupo.

Couchsurfers on the lake-beach.

Fern Tree. It's pretty much exactly what the name suggests.

After another evening of socializing and harassment from the management, we dragged ourselves out of bed at 6:00 for the big day.  Our big caravan of about 30 cars was surprising effective, and we left several cars at the end of the trail for shuttling.  With so many people involved, faffing inevitably happens, but we eventually made it onto the trail.  Len and I powered ahead, leaving slower hiking newbs behind. The crossing goes by Mt Ngauruhoe, a.k.a. “Mt Doom” from the recent Lord of the Rings films. A few of us had discussed climbing it, which seemed like a moderately easy scramble, however we were dissuaded by dire warnings from various organiser type people.  It was also supposed to be another 3 hours extra so it seemed like it might be too much extra time.  After testing that my super hiking powers were in order, I decided to head up.  Brian, another keen hiker from Ohio, joined me, but I was going fast to avoid falling behind the group so he said I should go ahead.  The climb was lots of fun, steep with some loose rocks that made think about my helmet left back home, but no close calls. Basically just a straight scramble up the side of the cone.  The views were great as well; on the way up clouds would roll in intermittently but eventually I got above them and from the top had a great view in all directions. I made it up in about 45 minutes, hung around taking pictures for 10, then back down in another 20.  The route down was a lot of fun; basically one long straight slide down a path of soft scree.  I jogged for a bit after rejoining the regular path, and caught up with the tail of our group not long after.  I stayed for a while with the main party, which was going pretty slow and taking lots of breaks, then Len and I continued ahead again.  When we arrived at the end there were a few others there ahead of us, and we relaxed and socialized for a few hours as people trickled in.

The convoy en route to Tongariro.

A small cone near the Tongariro car park.

Getting ready to start the crossing.

A random on the way up Ngauruhoe

Me at the top!

Misty crater crossing.

Ngauruhoe in the background.

Some CSers with a lake.

Emerald lakes.

A cool lava flow.

A big steam vent. There is still some volcanic activity in the area.

We have been warned numerous times by the locals about the intensity of UV light here in New Zealand, and thankfully so.  In Canada the UV rating scale goes from 1 to 10, and here it goes up to 14!  During the crossing I diligently applied sunscreen whenever I though of it, and managed to get away with only some minor redness on my face and neck.  Getting a tan is certainly no struggle here!

That evening was spent playing cards and socializing around a camp fire, then the following day we left Turangi to go to Rotorua to see boiling mud pools and relax in a hot stream.  By the weekend my person and most of my clothes had a noticeable sulfur smell.  Gabriel, a couchsurfer from the hike who lives in Rotorua, graciously agreed to put up those of us with no urgent commitments nor a desire to end a wonderful weekend.  About 15 people ended up staying in his place, mostly packed like crayons into his living room.

Bubbly mud pools in Rotorua.

Kerosene creek, another hot stream.

Packed into Gabriel's place.

On Tuesday (the 1st) we took a bus down to Wellington for a brief stay with Ben, another contact from the weekend.  We had intended to stay for a couple of days, but upon investigating the cost of flights south decided to leave the next day.  We flew down to Christchurch, where we arranged to stay with another host named Anna.  She lived in a great big apartment in the city centre, that judging by the layout was formerly an office building.  Her and her roommates were wonderfully nerdy (although Anna herself was a bit reluctant to admit it) and we had a good time staying there for a few days.  We started to look into purchasing a vehicle, which we had been waiting to do because of rumours that it would be cheaper in Christchurch than in Auckland.  Looking up and testing cars took up a surprising amount of time and effort, but we also managed to meet some of Anna’s friends and check out a few bars.  We stopped for lunch a couple of times at the yummy Krishna Cafe on Colombo St, where you can get a plate of food for $5 (NZD) and a refill for only $2!  The server always seemed to be inexplicably sullen, but the food was quite good.

Getting some work done at a free concert in Chch.

Anna's place where in stayed in Christchurch.

On Friday (the 4th) I felt my first earthquake!  It was pretty small, reportedly a 4.6 about 20 kms away, but relatively shallow so I felt the whole building shake slightly.  Christchurch is still recovering from a big 7.1 quake in September and 5.something aftershock on boxing day that caused quite a bit of damage.  There were still quite a few fenced off buildings and gaps from demolitions, but things were showing signs of being rebuilt.

That evening we went to a party with some of Anna’s roommates and friends and there we met Rory, another friend of theirs, who said he’d be happy to put us up for a while.  We didn’t want to impose on Anna any longer so we went over to Rory’s the next day and ended up staying there for almost a week.  He seemed to enjoy having us around and we had a great time with him and his brother (who also lived there) and various friends that came by.  We continued our car hunting and after looking at about seven cars, and having two deemed not worth it by a mechanic, we finally found a keeper.  1400 NZD later we were the proud owners of an as-yet-unnamed silver 1990 VW Golf (photos coming later).  We were still a bit unsure, but it seemed like it would sell pretty quickly so we went ahead and bought it.  So far it’s worked out great!  It’s nice and small so it’s pretty good on gas despite the slightly big engine (1780cc) which does give it plenty of power for getting up hills and such things.  Not having to carry all of our things on our back meant we could get a bit better outfitted, so we bought a cooler (which they call a chilly-bin here), a tent, some camp chairs, and various other dishes and things.  We also bought an inverter (converts 12V cigarette lighter to a regular outlet) which has been great for keeping our electronics going.

Sitting down with Rory for a French toast breakfast.

On Wednesday (the 9th) I went out to the suburb of Sumner to visit Kathrin and Rainer, a pair of orienteers that live in Lions Bay (near Vancouver) for part of the year, and NZ for the other.  Kathrin took me out Boogie boarding (like body surfing on a small surf board) at a nearby beach called Taylor’s mistake.  It was a beautiful sunny day, the water was pleasantly warm, and the waves were just the right size for a beginner such as myself.  After the beach we went back to their house, which is up on a hill above the water and has great views of the coast and back toward the city.  We spent a while looking at maps and trail guides, and I came away with a wealth of knowledge of places to go and hikes to do (and a bag of maps to go along with it).  Afterwards they fed me a yummy dinner and Kathrin gave me a lift back in to town.  I realized that Kathrin and Rainer were the first people I had seen in New Zealand that I knew previously (other than of course my sister), and it was a lot of fun to catch up with them!

View of the hill that Kathrin and Rainer live on, with Christchurch in the background.

Throughout the rest of the week we met up with some other couchsurfers, spent time with Rory, and I managed to get a decent amount of work done on a calculation I was running for the ol’ thesis.  I was trying find an analytical form for a distribution of residual couplings that would fit several different buildup curves, but didn’t have any luck.  Oh well, at least a null result is still a result right?

On Friday (the 11th) we said goodbye to Christchurch and headed south toward Dunedin.  We’re trying to get south before it gets too cold, and then we’ll make our way north.

The rest will have to wait!

Until next time…

In life, compassion

“Just don’t talk to anyone. People don’t really do that here.”
Peter, in response to my wondering if there’s anything I should know to keep out of trouble while in L.A.

After delivering the vehicle in Tampa, I flew to Los Angeles, to stay with a different Peter for a few days before flying to New Zealand.  This Peter is a friend from PEI that Len met very serendipitously over the holidays.  We were looking for a contact in L.A. at the time, and Len just happened to meet him at a party.  Turns out he’s a real swell fella too, and he graciously put me up for a few days while I was in town.

While the weather in Florida was an amazing change from the wintery weather up north, L.A. was positively fantastic!  The sun was shining and temperatures were around 25 degrees in the afternoon.  My brain was confused by the christmas trees being thrown out along the street; to me it felt like July, not January.  Peter’s flat had nice big windows that opened up above the street, with flowers, agave plants, and palm trees outside.

Peter's nice balcony windows.

I spent a good amount of time doing work while I was there, but couldn’t resist taking some time to see a bit of the city.  On the 18th I went to Hollywood and figured I should at least take a picture of the big sign while I was in the neighbourhood.  I felt like a silly tourist, but sometimes one just has to accept what one is.  I made my way generally toward it and got a mediocre picture of the sign, but the geography started to get interesting, with steep hills adorned with impressive houses. On the map I saw that I was close to a park, so I decided to check it out.  I ended up having to go around a fair distance to actually get in, and realized that I was at the bottom of the trail that goes all the way up to the Hollywood sign itself.  So, I ended up hiking/jogging all the way to the top.  The road circles around and ends up actually above the sign, so you can’t easily get right to the sign itself, but the view from the top was impressive (despite being rather hazy).

Some Hollywood stars.

The famous sign. I felt like a silly tourist. Which basically I was.

The hazy view of L.A. from the Hollywood sign.

Another hazy view with the back of the sign.

The Hollywood reservoir, with the sign in the background.

In the evening of the 18th I went to Caltech to see a public lecture by Stephen Hawking.  I showed up an hour before the start of the lecture, but the line was already kilometers long and contained thousands of people.  I didn’t make it into the auditorium, but they had TV screens set up outside and I sat with a large crowd on the grass to watch the presentation.  The lecture was primarily autobiographical, including some general-audience description of some of the physics he has worked on.  It was interesting enough, but certainly not one of the top public lectures I’ve attended.  The celebrity factor of seeing Stephen Hawking up close was fun though, as was the excitement of the crowds of people that came out for the event.

Sitting on the grass watching the Stephen Hawking lecture on the screen.

On the 19th I went down to Santa Monica to go to REI and to check out the beach, but the weather turned cloudy and cooled off so the beach was basically deserted.  It was interesting to see the different demographics of different parts of the city.  Westlake, where Peter lived  and not far from downtown, was a fairly poor neighbourhood, but despite the poverty had a certain sense of urban culture to it.  Santa Monica, on the other hand, was much more touristy and wealthy, with expensive boutiques and a primarily white population.  Although in a way it felt more comfortable and familiar to me, it was also much less interesting and much more overpriced.

A cloudy day at the beach in Santa Monica.

In the evening I went out on the town with Peter’s neighbour Javier, since Peter was working and then picking up Len from the airport later in the evening.  Our first stop was a modern, slightly chic spot called the Library.  There I had probably one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten, topped with blue cheese and bacon.  Next we made a quick stop at bar 107, a bit of a divy spot figuratively oozing with character.  The bar was dominated by a lifesize fiberglass model of a white horse, which towered up toward the high ceiling.  An eclectic and unpredictable mix of decorations covered the walls and hung from every other available spot.  After 107 we headed to Villains, another modern spot in the warehouse district with a bit of a pretentious attitude and overpriced drinks.  There was a neat band playing folky honkytonk music, including some good covers of pop songs.  We stuck around for a bit of music, then left to try to find a sketchy place on the east side, which is predominantly a poor immigrant demographic.  Unfortunately everything was closed and boarded up for the night, so we continued to a dancy spot that I forget the name of.  I did a bit of dancing, because I just can’t resist, and then we headed to one last unremarkable spot (that I also forget the name of) before stopping at a taco truck for food.  It was a fun night, and Javier was great company.  We made a bit of an odd pair, him a short, stocky mexican school teacher in his late thirties and me a gangly white country bumpkin physicist in my mid twenties.  He was very easy to get along with though, and we had some great conversation about life and urban culture and all sorts of other things.

View from a park near Peter's place.

On the 20th we would leave for New Zealand, our true destination, after a couple of weeks in transit. I’m about a week behind now in writing but I’ll post again soon.  Spoiler alert: we made it to New Zealand, and it’s been very nice so far!

In travel, a companion.

Jan 14, 2011:

I find myself in a strip-mall parking lot in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Len and I are sitting in the minivan that we’re delivering from Collingwood, Ontario to Tampa, Florida.  It’s cold and crisp outside, with lingering snow on the ground, but the sun is shining with a tangible warmth that evinces our increasingly southern latitude. We’re eating open-faced peanut butter and banana sandwiches for breakfast.  Moments like these make one realize how pleasantly unpredictable the minor details of life can be, despite the fact that these define most of our experiences.  It’s great to be spending time with my sister, and I look forward to our ongoing journey together.

On the 12th we took the bus to Collingwood to pick up the van.  We then drove to Waterloo to stay with my aunt  and uncle Pauline and Gunter.  We were hoping to visit my grandmother as well (it was here 88th birthday) but unfortunately we were too late arriving.  Pauline has two very nice kitties and we got a good cat fix, which was missing over the holidays since the parents’ last cat Chester went missing in the fall.

Taco, a very friendly and sedate feline friend

Sophie, a slightly deranged kitty

The 13th was a long drive, all the way from Waterloo to Knoxville.  We started listening to an audiobook of Anne of Green Gables, since I had never read it and my sister had only done so many years ago.  I must say it was quite charming, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for some light reading.  In Knoxville we stayed with a friendly couchsurfing host named Jennie.  She had a very interesting place and also had a bunch of guys (a band from Amsterdam) staying with her that night.  They went out for a friend’s birthday but we were tired and boring from driving all day so we just went to bed.  My first couchsurfing experience was an atypically short one, but I’m sure I’ll have more substantial opportunities along the way.

Our guest room at Jennie's in Knoxville

Back to the 14th, and the parking lot breakfast.  After leaving Knoxville we headed to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It’s a UNESCO world heritage site, noted for having a high degree of temperate zone biodiversity and untouched wilderness (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/259).  It’s also a UNESCO biosphere reserve.  We stopped by the visitor centre to find the UNESCO plaque for a picture.  It took them a while to figure out where the plaque was and they were only vaguely aware that the park was, in fact, a world heritage site.  In Len’s experience this seems to be a trend for US national parks that are also UNESCO sites.  She got a great book of all the world heritage sites as a gift and has made it a life goal to visit as many as possible (unfortunately the book didn’t make the baggage cut, but the list is available online).  She also wants to fold a paper crane for each one; there aren’t 100o yet, but probably will be within her lifetime.  We had to wade through a foot of snow to get to the plaque itself, but it was fun to have one last wintry experience before continuing south.

-waterfall, plaque, snow

Len at "Cataract Falls"

Len with the UNESCO plaque

The drive through the park was quite amazing; there had recently been fresh snow which covered the forest floor and coated the branches of the trees all along the road.  The air was cool but the sun was shining and the day was very clear.  We had a lot of driving to do, but took the time to check out a small waterfall which was full of neat ice formations.  We also decided to take a route south across the park, which was a very scenic drive up winding roads with beautiful vistas.

A snowy tree

A view of the "Smoky Mountains"

We made it out of the park and continued south.  Unfortunately we got caught in traffic around Atlanta, and took a less than optimal route around the bypass.  This set us further behind schedule, and it was around 2 AM by the time we arrived at our destination.  We were to stay with Len’s former massage therapy teacher Paula, in Palm Harbor, just outside Tampa.  I had napped a little earlier, so I drove and Len slept.  We finished listening to Anne earlier, and started listening to Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami.  It was a neat experience: listening to a surreal story, driving through the night, for many miles of increasingly deserted highways.  The climate and the amount of foliage changed drastically as we went south; even at 2 AM it was noticeably warm outside when we arrived, and the verdant smell of growing, living plants was unmistakable.

The next day, Jan 15th, was very relaxed.  We went to the beach to walk the dog, and Len and Paula got caught up.  The weather, although considered cold for the time of year in this area, was amazingly warm to us at around 18 degrees and sunny.  I took Len to the airport in the afternoon; she will be spending the next few days in Arizona visiting a friend, while I will be staying in Florida an extra day to deliver the vehicle before continuing to LA.  In the evening we had a nice dinner and then I retreated to seclusion to get some work done.

The beach!

Today (the 16th), I catch a flight to LA where I will be spending the next few days.  The weather in LA should be even warmer than here, with daytime highs around 25.  I’m hoping my motivation will last and that I can get lots of work done, but I also look forward to seeing a bit of the city while I’m there.

“Chance encounters are what keep us going” -Kafka Tamura (Kafka on the Shore)

TLDR

As promised, some information about my travels:

I am currently heading on a somewhat roundabout route across the continent to the eventual destination of New Zealand.  The Big Trip officially began on January 6th with a drive from PEI to Moncton to catch the train toward Montreal.  I am travelling with my wonderful sister Lindsey (aka Len), and the plan is to have a good brother-sister bonding experience after having lived in separate provinces/countries for most of the past 1o years.

We got a great deal on a cabin for the train from Moncton to Montreal, and it was a wonderful riding-in-style experience. The coziness of the cabin, the gentle rocking and swaying of the train, and the hectic preparations of the previous few days led to an irresistible restfulness, and so the first night of our trip was a rather tame but well deserved early-to-bed.

Our cozy cabin on the train.

In Montreal we stayed with our very gracious friend and host Brodie MacRae. We stayed in Montreal for two days, and I had two great visits with old friends.  The first was Bryan Labchuk, a swell dude from PEI who of my friends is probably the one that I’ve known the longest. I got to meet his charming lady-friend Alice, ate some splendid home-cooked food, and did lots of catching up.  We also did a few “kenken” puzzles (http://www.kenken.com), which is sort of a sudoku-like puzzle that’s quite a bit more interesting.  If you’re still doing sudokus for some reason, I recommend you give these a try instead!

The second friend I met up with was Marc-André Fournelle, who was one of my group-mates when I did Katimavik back in 2003-2004.  He treated me to a very nice restaurant and then we had went out for some beer at Dieu du ciel, a very good craft brewery not far from where I was staying.  If you’re in Montreal and appreciate good beer, check it out!

As always I was enchanted by the urban culture of Montreal.  There is a certain sense of community culture there that seems to be lacking in many parts of Vancouver.  I’ve officially added Montreal to the list of places I would like, at some point, to call home.

Andy eating a delicious Montreal bagel

After Montreal we took another train to Toronto.  There we were put up by my sister’s friend Peter, who lives in a great big house in Rosedale.  I spent much of the following day in the library at U of T working on my thesis (more on that one later).  I was quite impressed by the U of T  campus; lots of nice stone buildings and a great central location in the city.  The next day we went for a great cross-country ski around part of the Toronto Belt Line, a former commuter rail line that is now a nice trail network.  It was great fun to get out on skis one last time before heading south!  In the evening I met up with Kelly Larkin Conway, another old friend from PEI.  We wandered around for a bit, she treated me to a nice sushi spot, and then we rounded out the evening with some very stimulating (at least for me) conversation, that touched a bit on science, ethics, racism, feminism, and the nature of reality, among other things.

Pete on the skis

View of Toronto and the old brick factory

People from all over like to hate on Toronto, but what I saw of it didn’t seem too bad.  Of the major cities in Canada, it is one of those in which I’ve spent the least amount of time.  I didn’t get to see very much of the city, but it was nice to get to know it a bit better.

Len and I with all our stuff

Next we’re off to Collingwood to pick up a minivan to drive down to Tampa, Florida.  My sister’s friend Dave runs a business of driving people’s cars places for them.  It can be a great way to get from place to place for minimal cost if you don’t mind driving, and he’s always looking for drivers. Check it out at hittheroad.ca!

Remember: “Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.” – Anne of Green Gables

First Post!

This blog will probably contain some information about my travels and adventures at some point. But first, a catchy song with a catchy video, which I deem to be the official theme song of the 2010/2011 holiday season in PEI.