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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Here comes the rain again

It’s raining again, which is, sadly, becoming more normal than snow during the winters in these parts. I see all these rom-coms and sob-fests of US Thanksgiving homecomings, yada yada, and there’s always this white fluffy blanket of snow. And I think, where do these people live? I’m in Canada and the marigolds and roses still have their blooms.

But rain’s got me thinking about a particular travel challenge. Everyone feels more enthusiastic and adventurous when the sun is shining, or the weather’s co-operating. But how do you cope with the rain? Let’s face it, walking, using public transportation, and especially any outdoor sightseeing, just suck in the rain.

I saw a Samantha Brown travel video a while ago, she was in Munich IIRC, and she mentioned remembering to bring along her umbrella. It was just your basic, collapsible, telescoping umbrella. Folded down to a size where she could fit it in her shoulder bag. I was surprised by how insubstantial it looked.

And there’s the problem. I purchased an umbrella this year that I’m happy with, as a public transit user. It’s lovely, black with red polka dots, makes a bit of a statement, and most importantly, keeps me relatively dry. But it’s not telescoping- folded, it’s still two feet long, and there’s no strap on the handle for hanging, so it’s a bit of a pain to put it somewhere when I arrive, wherever somewhere happens to be.

But those little collapsible “travel” umbrellas, the ones like Samantha Brown had in the video? I don’t get it. I’ve never had one last more than two rainfalls before it breaks – the wind gets under it, the flimsy little hinge on the rib breaks, you name it. It becomes useless faster than you can say “It’s supposed to clear after lunch.”

So, give me some hints here. How do you cope with the rain when you’re wandering the world? Imagine you aren’t driving, and your budget will only withstand so many taxi rides. And do you believe Samantha Brown really gets by with such a flimsy umbrella?

Can airport x-rays damage your Kindle or other e-reader? | Sync™ Blog

Can airport x-rays damage your Kindle or other e-reader? | Sync™ Blog.

Yikes! Having had both the girls’ Kindles experience this problem of the screen blacking out – although it seemed to happen spontaneously several  months after they’d flown – it makes me wonder. Guess I’ll be investigating silicone Kindle covers for Christmas gifts.

‘Cause really, one of the main points of having a Kindle, IMHO, is how it allows you to travel with lots of reading material.


It happens every year, right on time – the temperature drops, and all of a sudden I’m dreaming of blue skies, sandy beaches and palm trees. And I don’t even like beaches.

But wanting a winter getaway is just one of the burdens of living in Northern climes. Florida would be lovely; or somewhere in the Caribbean, definitely. Heck, at this point, I’ll take a nice 60-degree day in Kentucky. I don’t mind wearing a sweater – what I mind is wearing a sweater and still being cold.

A warm weather adventure is not in the cards for me this winter, but it is for many of those I know. Where will you find the warm this winter?

Words to Go

Well, I’m still not quite ready with that conference report; for one thing, I have a Destinations test tomorrow that I’m studying for, and you would not believe how difficult it is to keep all of these attractions straight – the Scandinavian countries just might be my downfall.

I did want to report in on a travel aid that I brought with me for the first time, though. Anyone who knows me, knows – I’m a reader. At any given time, we’re housing hundreds of books. So just think about what a challenge that presents when it’s time to hit the road! I mean, what’s a road trip, flight, train ride or stay-away without reading material?

So this time, I brought the Kindle. It’s borrowed, but oh, what a lovely little treat it has turned out to be! It fit neatly in the side pocket of my briefcase/bag and weighs almost nothing. On the subway and bus, I could just pop it out, read for a while, and pop it back into the bag without even worrying about turning it off, thanks to the automatic sleep mode. No losing my page, no trying to turn pages with my mittens on, I could even read one-handed!

So, instead of choosing my travel reads by weight, as I’ve been known to do, I was able to get a third of the way through Stephen King’s new novel – 840 pages in hardback, light as a feather on Kindle.

Two of the daughters have Kindles (who did you think I borrowed from?) and they’ve both used them while travelling. Middle daughter said it was especially nice to have access to her travel guides while moving around Europe. And Older daughter even figured out how to email from hers.

I’d never suggest that ereaders should replace books entirely. But if you’re on the move a lot, and also read a lot, they may just be the perfect way to mesh those two past-times.

Do you use an eReader? How has it changed your travel experience?

Homeward bound

Interesting day at the Students in Travel conference – lots to think about and consider. Now I’m enjoying the wifi on the train and the fact that I’m off my feet after  long day with lots of walking and standing. Via Rail is having a special this month on their travel mug – buy it for $8 and get free refills all of November. So that’s what I did on the way up yesterday.

Promise to expound on the conference once I’ve processed it all. For now, it’s just nice to be going home.

Travelling light

When I was a little girl, I used to spend two weeks at camp every summer. My mother would let me pack my own suitcase; then, the night before departure, I’d have to drag it out into the dining room for inspection. Whereupon, my mother would add all the things I hadn’t thought of, and any extras she believed I would need. (she was usually right) The end result was that my suitcase always seemed to contain far more than I would need for 13 nights away, and it was full full full.

You would think that after years of cramming a family of five – and their luggage – into a minivan for vacations, that I’d be an expert reducing my luggage to its essentials.

You would think, but you’d be wrong. All those folks that were so upset about airlines charging for checked bags? Yeah, I was one of them. This, in spite of the fact that I usually get where I’m going, use only half of what I brought, and always swear that NEXT TIME it’ll be different.

I’m off to Toronto for the Students in Travel Conference tomorrow; I’ll be away from home a total of 39 hours. Theoretically, I need what I’m wearing tomorrow, something to sleep in, what I’m wearing for the conference on Tuesday, and that’s about it. Sounds easy, right?


First, what am I wearing on the train? The train is often cold; I’ll need layers. Plus, things to entertain me, like the laptop, Kindle, etc. And train snacks. At the other end, I’ll be staying with a friend, but I need to use the TTC to get there; hence, I will need my coat, mittens, and possibly a hat. And my umbrella.

I have to decide now what I’m wearing to the conference on Tuesday. Not too big a deal, but what if I change my mind? What if I spill something on my shirt, or something rips? Will the convention centre be blazing hot, or freezing cold? And then there’s the fact that everything I’m not wearing will have to go to the conference with me – on the bus – because I’m leaving on the train again right after. Plus, I’ll want to make sure that whatever I’m wearing will also be comfortable train attire. And the train is often cold, etc.

The inability to travel light isn’t the only thing that’s stopped me from being a world traveller yet, but I have the feeling it’s something I’m going to need to get a handle on.

What are your favourite tips for travelling light?

Wonder-full places

The Bay of Fundy has not made the short list for the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

It’s too bad; as I’ve been learning this year in Cultural Heritage Tourism, it would have been good for the region – and the country – if we were able to lay claim to a Wonder of the World.

However, Canada is home to 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites – that’s pretty impressive! Looking at the list, I’m sorry to say I’ve only had the privilege of visiting two of them; I’ve seen the Rideau Canal a couple of times, and drove through the Rockies several years ago. It was a lovely afternoon spent wandering in Banff, Alberta. I even got to horseback ride!

Note: If you go to Banff, bring money. Lots of money. Buying a sweatshirt to cope with the unseasonably cold August days that year would have cost more than my entire souvenir budget.

Here are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Canada can lay claim to:

I’ll have to make it my mission – or one of my goals -to get to more on the list. How many have you visited, and what did you think of them?