Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Vegas Baby! Vegas!

I am flying out to Vegas tomorrow morning, on the first flight out. The rest of the week will be filled with hotels, promotional products, cigarette smoke, slot machines and the dryest air around. You have to both hate and love Vegas all at once. But I can't say no to the opportunity to travel for work! It will be quite a nice change from the past week. I really do need a break, although this isn't one technically... I'll have to spend hours on hand smiling and being nice to Americans, and blah blah blah. But really! It's in Vegas!

The real downside: my flight back leaves Friday at midnight, which means that I'll get back home at 3 am...

Garth will be coming with me to keep me company, so stay posted for picture update! In that same line of tought, pictures of Garth's last trip will be posted as well. That is, as soon as I get a new computer. Meanwhile, you can view his last Vegas trip here.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Bettre Do This While I Still Can

So HP sent me the recovery CDs, that's all 7 of them. I decided to run the CDs myself and save ourselves the extra cash that it would cost if someone else was doing the repair. Well, I guess that this was a good idea since it took me 6 tries before I was able to fully restore and register my computer, and hence, be able to use it again. That's over 5h of fun, people! Then it was up to get the intrenet woking again, for which I had to wait on hold for 56 minutes for tech support at Shaw. When they got the internet running again, of course it stoped working right after I got off the phone with them... so, in all, this was not a good Thursday night. A great part of Friday and today was also spent on trying to get this computer working again. I solved the internet myself but got assaulted as soon as I connected to the internet with tons of adware and such... enough to let me know that my restore CD came loaded with adware (come on, we all know that nothing can be downloaded and installed that fast!). I downloaded Ad-Aware and have ran it about 10 times since, removing about 1350 adware files that got onto my drive within the past days. As well, McAfee detected about 12 or so viruses and trojans, so it was all fun and games. Lastly, a virus hidding in my system sound files kept crashing my system when I'd run my anti-virus... it just didn't want to go. Two system restore later, files gone missing and having re-installed McAfee, I think that I might just be getting somewhere.

This is why I thought that I should update now, while I still can, before this computer comes crashing down with more viruses and pop-ups adware.

On top of all of this, today has not been a good day. I am very sick with an awful cold, and so not feeling well. The medecine that I took last night kept me awake all night as well... I just hope that this doesn't turn out into something evil like a ear infection, which I am pretty convinced that I will be getting. I can't afford that right now though, because I am flying out to Las Vegas mid-week for a work-related tradeshow. Ear infections and flying don't go well together.

The only upside to the weekend so far is that I kept my comitment to myself and did the sea-wall walk. I also did the walk last week, but didn't post on it because of my computer issues. So, the first time I did the 11km (or 12, they don't count past 10) in 1 1/2 hours, which I hought was pretty good. But it was raining the whole time! I got home wet but on the upside, I learned that even out of shape, I walk 7km/h. And boy was I out of shape! I was used to walking all of the time but with the new job I started in August I just stoped walking. Doing the sea-wall was a painful chalenge, and almost every muscles in my body were aching the next day. But fitness comes back quickly, because this week, I felt no pain. I walked the first hour at the same rate as last week, but then I got hungry... I stopped to eat a fruit bar but didn't really wait before starting to walk again and felt horrible for the remainder of the walk. I'm not sure what happened, or how it happened, but it took me an extra 1h 1/2 to get home after my break! Granted I was doing an even longer walk, but nothing to justfify an extra full hour! Let's just say that I was glad to get home!

Next week I'll probably start practicing wearing a backpack, so that once I leave for my vacation, I will be a champ!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

HP Will Be The Death Of Me

My computer is still broken... and I have yet to receive the wonderful System Restore CD that I was obliged to buy from HP in order to get my computer working again. At least I was able to get the nice people at London Drugs to make backups of all of my files. It's just too bad that they were not able to do more for me without the proper CD. I will rant more about this later... hopefully this problem will get resolved this weekend!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Double Standard

David's gone to Chicago for a seminar to help him pass exam #6. After Chicago, he's going back to Quebec to visit his family. This means that I'll be all alone for about a week and 1/2, including Easter long weekend. I hate being alone! I get scared and lonely and bored and insecure. I'd like him to come back and be with me but that would be a) stupid, b) egocentric and c) very mean. When I think that I'll be leaving and he'll have to stay behind, somehow I think that it's ok. But being the one left behind is something that I really dislike, hence the double standard. I really need to work on this issue of mine....

On a quite different topic, my computer at home has officially died yesterday *sob* and has to be sent in for resurrection and hopefully a great job of file saving. This means that over the next week or so, it will be very difficult for me to update my blog frequently. I wish you all a great weekend and hopefully I will be able to update soon.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I Like Gold....

David has just handed me a big fat envelope and in it I found my brand new, shinny, first ever MasterCard. The fact that they would give someone a credit card without checking their credit, having their SIN number or anything like that is very bold. Somehow they gave me an Air Miles West Jet card... at a fee of $70 a year. So, I'll have to call them and ask for a different card. I don't want all the fluff! I just want a credit card that's affiliated with a charity. That's all! It's the best way to help and donate for free. Everyone should do it!


I just can't believe how this turned out. The contrast between the colours turned out amazing!


You have to love Vancouver! I was looking at my pictures from last year and spring is clearly two weeks early this year. It's just so beautiful! And it's been so warm! This picture was taken on Sunday.

Cherry Blossoms


Here are some Frequently Asked Questions that I get when I bring up the subject of my vacation. This is pretty long, so grab a drink and enjoy! If by any chance there's a question that I've missed, please let me know and I will address it.

What's this World Tour that you talk about?
OK, I'll admit, it's not a "World Tour" for say. I'm not going on a round-the-world trip, but a Asian-Aussie tour. I just liked the way the World Tour sounded! I'm weird like that sometimes. The truth is that I've always dreamed of traveling to far away and exotic lands and being fascinated with everything Asian for many years now, I've decided to focus my travels to that region. Leaving home here in Vancouver on July 28, 2005, I'll travel through 9 or 10 different countries over the course of several months. I will experience beaches and temples, new languages and foods, and priceless amounts of cultural shock and bliss. Here's an rough idea of my travel itinerary:
- Japan, August 2005
- China, first half of September 2005
- Laos, remainder or September 2005
- Vietnam, October 2005
- Cambodia, November 2005
- Thailand, December 2005
- Peninsular Malaysia, January 2006
- Singapore, late January 2006
- Maybe one or two Indonesian islands reached from Singapore by ferry, late January 2006
- Australia, February 2006 and perhaps half of March 2006 as well

How long will you be away for?
I will be on the road for 8 or 8 ½ months, spending about a month in each country that I will be visiting. I will be back home early or mid-March 2006.

Why don't you have a fix itinerary?
I have decided roughly where I will go with regards of countries, main cities and general travel directions. Unlike all of my other trips I have taken, I don't want to plan too many things in advance. I want to be able to go where I please once I get there.

Who are you going with?
No one! This seems to be a very popular question every time that I mention my vacation plans. I am not traveling alone by choice, although in a certain way, you could say that I am. I would have loved to travel with a friend or my boyfriend but not everyone wants to or has the possibility to travel for that long, and not everyone can afford such an adventure. I decided not to wait until my travel dreams agreed with everyone else's life and to go ahead with my plan, even if that meant traveling alone. This makes me nervous but I know that I will meet many fellow travelers on the road and won't often be "alone".

Are you having problems with your relationship?
Now this has to be the one question that I get asked the most. Somehow, I find it really odd that people would think that you'd have to be in a troublesome relationship to travel without your partner. As I have stated above, I have decided to travel without David because he could not take the time off. Maybe this vacation will put our relationship in perspective and cause trouble, or cause good. We may grow apart or closer and more trusting. In the end, I will not live with the regret of having relinquished my dreams for him, and he will not be able to regret preventing me from leaving. I am really grateful that David trusts me enough to not object to this dream of mine.

Aren't you scared?
I'm terrified! I'm scared of just about everything regarding this trip, and maybe that's not so bad…

Are you running away from anything?
A lot of people seem to think that and I really don't think that I'm running from anything. Or perhaps I am, unconsciously. I like to think that I'm running towards self-discovery.

What do you plan to accomplish? Why are you doing this?
I guess that I do have goals for this journey. I've depended on other all of my life for food, money, shelter and self-worth. I believe that on this journey I will learn that I can take care of myself, regardless of the situation. I will discover that it is ok to be alone. I will have the opportunity to challenge myself and discover strengths that I did not even know that I have. I will learn to trust myself and become a better, more complete person. I strongly believe that this journey will be an empowering one that will bring me greater self-esteem.

I would also like to get an haircut in every country I visit if possible. To me, getting my hair cut is in the likes of going to the dentist. I hate it! Hopefully getting numerous haircuts I have no control on might just help me get over this!

What are some of the cool things that you plan to do out there?
I am really excited about all of the temples I will get to visit mainly in Japan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. I will be going to some of the oldest places in the world, as well as some of the most populated. I will visit beaches, island, inlands, deserts and mountains. I will climb Mt Fiji, walk part of the Great Wall, take a ride on the Mekong River, do a temple retreat and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. I will travel thousands of kilometres by bus, train, tuk-tuk, ferry and plane. As for everything else, we'll see when I get there!

How much money do you have to save? What will this cost?
Obviously, this trip doesn't come cheap. On the upside, most of Asia is dirt cheap compared to the West. In order to be safe in case anything happen, or in case one country ends up costing more than expected (i.e., Japan, Australia), I have the ideal goal of having a $1000 budget per month. This includes all of the travel, food, accommodation and so forth. Many of you reading this may think that this is way too much money for some of the countries that I will be visiting, which is true. I do not plan to spend that much, but I'd like to have the extra money just in case.

On top of the money that I will need on the trip, I need to purchase plane tickets, visas, vaccination, equipment and so forth. This could very much end up costing me over $2500.

Frankly I will not be able to save all of the money that I will need for this trip before I leave. So, I will be relying on my credit line for part of my trip.

Where will you be staying? How will you be traveling?
I will try to stay in guesthouses and anything relatively quite cheap when possible and when safe. I will do most of my travels around and to other countries by bus, train or ferry. Basically, if it's cheap, I'm there!

How are you getting ready for this?
I have been reading a few guide books that have been very helpful in giving me an idea of what I'm getting myself into. First-Time Asia and First-Time Around The World by Rough Guides are pretty good books. And since I'm a visual person, I have purchased a few DK guidebooks (Japan, Thailand, Australia) to give me a better idea of where I want to go. I've also been reading a lot of the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree posts and doing bunch of research. I want to plan, but not too much!

As for the physical aspect of all of this, I will practice walking for a long time with a heavy pack by hiking around beautiful Vancouver and by walking the 10 km seawall loop once a week.

Where have you traveled to before?
My travels have brought me to the USA on numerous occasions, as well as Mexico (2 times), Panama, Bermuda, San Juan, St-Kitts, St-Lucia, Barbados, Dominican Republic and Aruba.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Ever since I placed that countdown script on my blog I get stressed out each time that I get to look at it. I cannot believe that as of today, there's only 140 days left of planning. Left of working. Left to save money. It's insane! Late July seems so far away in my head but to see the actual number of days left really brings it home. I'm not ready for this! All that I have so far is my backpack, a Canadian flag patch and a Nalgene bottle. I have so many things to buy! And I'll never be able to save all of the money that I'll need in order to avoid going into my credit line. But I won't back down because of stress and fear. I just need to get myself into action mode. Buy stuff, plan stuff, learn stuff.

And I need to get this blog really started. I need to finish the design add-ons and finish the texts. I have all of these "text goes here" reminders and I need to get around to that. That's the one good thing about starting the blog early. I get to do all of this stuff well in advance and save myself headaches weeks before leaving or while on the road. For once, I'm not procrastinating!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Vacation Waiting

I realise now that what I posted on the first of March about my having to wait another month to try to book my plane ticket just made no sense. Now I'm pretty sure that she told me to wait until March 15, which is next week, and not such a big deal. I must have been very distracted at that time, lost as to what day of the month and what month it was... At this point, there's no reason as to why I wouldn't wait for that. I really hope that she can help me then and find me an amazing deal that was worth the wait. And if not, I'm crossing my fingers that my American Airline ticket will not have gone up in price.

I've also been waiting for my credit card. Last month I applied for my first credit card, a Master Card, and I've yet to hear any news. Some of the information was missing on the application form and I figured that they'd call me to sort that out, but I guess not... I just really do not want to have my application rejected, especially since there's no reason as to why it would be. I'd like to have my own card to buy my ticket, that way I could get some of the insurance covered at the same time... Hopefully I'll hear from them soon.

Hopefully I'll be able to stop waiting to start making my dream a reality.


Yesterday walking home after work I was following this girl and she smelled deeply of cedar, a scent that I just adore. She was carrying a bag in her arms and when I passed her at the street corner, I took a peak at what she was carrying. It was a bag of biodegradable, organic cat litter. Who would have guessed?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Life And Such

David brought up a very interesting question earlier today and I thought that I should address it. He asked why I'd write about my personal life on a blog that's supposed to be about my multi-country vacation. While I could just focus about the vacation planning aspect and the vacation itself, it seems to me like this would ignore a big part of going away on such a long vacation.

1. In reality, there's more to this vacation than purchasing a plane ticket and enough stuff to fill my backpack. I'm leaving everything behind; I'm leaving my job and everything that brings me comfort and security. I get to question everything and unfortunately risk messing up my relationship with David. Everyday things may seem unrelated, and they might be sometimes. But I truly feel that everything that comes between now and the moment I get on that plane has some relevance. Almost all travel logs are about current travels. Some discuss briefly the planning/purchasing part. But it seems that almost all disregard the life changes that come before, and during, all of this. I hope that this travel blog can change this a bit, and bring another perspective to traveling. I promise, things will get to be more focused on my trip and its impacts as soon as I can get started with my trip planning.

2. In this blog I will also be writing about other vacations that may come up before the big trip, as well as numerous hikes that David and I will do in order for a) me to get ready for my trip and b) us to get ready for the mother of all Canadian hikes: The West Coast Trail. Thus, intertwined with writings about my "world tour", there will be writings about other vacations or hike plannings. And life gets to be relevant in that as well!

Weekend Update

Our weekend in Whistler was very nice. We got to eat some amazing food at two wonderful restaurants, ate (well, tried to eat) the biggest half plate of nachos ever, drank one of the best margaritas so far and had a superb breakfast on Sunday. We also got to sleep in, hang out in the hotel's Jacuzzis and pool, drink champagne and just hang out together. It could have been more romantic had we not spent the most part of Saturday shopping, but overall it was a great time. We managed to score some great deals on outdoors stuff, like on "tuques", jackets and snowboarding pants and other stuff like cap and tees. The only thing though was that the weather was not all that great, as it was windy and raining a lot of the time. It's too bad because of all of the warm weather we've been having, there was no snow in and around Whistler, except on the ski trails, and even those were surrounded by grass.


We left Whistler early on Sunday, and decided to go check out the Brandywine Falls which are located between Whistler and Squamish. David had not seen the falls before, so it was a first for him. At 70 meters tall, they're bound to impress! I also remembered that there was a hiking trail in the park so we had set up to do that as well even if we were not dressed for the occasion. The sign said that it was 3.5 km to the Cal-Cheak Suspension Bridge but it seemed to be much longer than that. The trail was unmarked except for a few ribbons tied to the trees, and the trail was wet and rocky. There were some pretty lakes along the way, and a lot of moss everywhere, but the bridge was not worth the hike. We came back following the railway track because we figured that it would be much faster that way. Not only was it faster, but it was also about half the km as well. In all, we did about a 5.6 km hike.

Brandywine Fall

Cal-Cheak Suspension Bridge

Overall I'm quite happy about our anniversary getaway weekend. I'm a bit disappointed in myself for letting other people's idea of the weekend become mine as well, leading me to believe that a proposal was possible, but that's not a big deal. I knew that it was not going to happen, and it didn't. Maybe our 6 year anniversary will be the charm! We'll be in Australia then, somewhere along the Gold Coast / Queensland. If that's not romantic enough, I don't know what will ever be!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Even Better Than I Expected

David told me last night at dinner that the plans have changed for our stay in Whistler. As I said before, we were supposed to stay only one night. Due to a big conference there over the week, there wasn't any room for Friday night. Furthermore, the only rooms left for Saturday were big, fancy ones, which he booked regardless. I thought that it was a tad disappointing that we couldn't stay two nights. At the cost of the night, you really want to at least have 24h of use of the room to make it worth it! Well, last night David told me that he managed to book us for Friday night as well, so we're off to Whistler tonight after work and are spending 2 nights in this lovely, super fancy hotel! He got to downgrade the one room for a two-night stay, for just about the same price. Talk about expensive stuff! I'm very excited and nervous, and I'm not sure why... but it will be great to have a very romantic weekend, just the both of us.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

My My!

So no news yet from travel agency girl... I guess that I won't have a quote to base my decision anytime soon, as always. Honestly, I'm really not surprised. If I ever get an answer, then I'll be surprised.

In order to cheer myself up, I've changed my focus to this weekend. Tomorrow is my boyfriend and I 5 year anniversary! 5 years just sound like a long time when you say it out loud or write it down. It's very scary, although day to day, it really doesn't feel like that much time has passed. We're spending Saturday night at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, which should be incredible and magical. I have never stayed in such a fancy hotel before! It will be quite the affair, with real champagne and everything. Quite the fairytale I tell you! In that line of thought, today I ran into people I used to work with, and they got really excited when they heard of the plan and asked if I thought that he was going to propose. That's crazy! I know that it's a big date and a fancy hotel and etc, but in all honesty, I know that it won't happen, not now. I sure don't want to get my hopes up! But if it does happen, I think that I'll fall off my chair in disbelief.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Of course!

On last Friday evening I sent an email to the lady that helps my mom plan & book almost all of her vacations, hoping that she could help me out. Today, she replied, and of course, it wasn't really of any help... or in fact, of no help at all. That's just my luck! She strongly recommend that I wait another month and see what comes up then, so that I can book a flight with a set return date. So, she pretty much said that I should call her back March 15 and see if she can help me then. That she'd think about it then. To me, that's just ridiculous! How is waiting a month and 1/2 just to see if she can beat any prices/flights that I was already quoted any good? I'm sure that if I end up waiting, I'll end up being quoted something ridiculous... Arg!

So I asked her to quote me something, anything, to give me a hint as to whether it's worth waiting or not... but one month and a half! That's so long... I just want a ticket in my hands! Now!