Posted tagged ‘travel’

Settling Back in After a Wild Journey

June 22, 2011

Here’s a secret: it’s hard to get back into things after being gone for so long.

Ok, it’s not a secret, just one of those things I don’t consider until it happens to me.

I have lots of blog post ideas but no desire to sit still long enough to write. Instead, you should all just tap into my brain and absorb anything you wish. If there happens to be anything there you wish to absorb.

So I’m back from my epic backpacking trip. I wish I had more time to travel, but at the same time, I had my cross-country move on my mind, so toward the end I was having more trouble concentrating on having fun. I know, I’m a sad person. I need to work at having fun.

Needed to go all the way to Buffalo to get my wings fix


Greetings from Milwaukee!

June 14, 2011

Rumours of my abduction by scary Americans have been greatly exaggerated. Oestrus has been treating me quite well and she’s not scary at all.

We made cupcakes!

I *finally* got around to answering all the comments I received. I’m behind on a couple of emails, but I’m hoping to get those done today, before I get kicked out of this cute coffee shop.

My trip has been awesome so far. In Edmonton, Fannon was a wonderful host, actually his whole family was amazing. The dwarfling was just as adorable and sweet as she is in her photos and Fannon and Mrs Fannon really went out of their way to make me feel at home. Also, did you see the pictures Fannon took of me? I had no idea I could look like that in pictures! My mind is still blown!

I also got to meet up with Corath one night, which was tons of fun. Meeting up with other WoW players always has this magical feel: no matter how little we know about each other outside the game, we always seem to connect and it feels like I’ve known the person forever.

In Calgary I met up with Vidyala and Vosskah and had a blast. We gossiped about blog and twitter people (if you’re reading this, chances are we talked about YOU!), ate some delicious food and chitchatted about the game.

I hope to write some more words on the meetups in the future, but in short, I’m so glad that I have such wonderful future neighbours!

I didn’t meet up with anyone in Winnipeg, but I still really enjoyed myself. Winnipeg was the city that most caught me with my pants down – in a good way. I had always known the city as “lolWinnipeg” and “Winter-peg”, so saying I was impressed when I arrived in the gorgeous, sunny, friendly, clean, lively city, would be an understatement.

I also promised I’d give the hostel I stayed in, HI-Winnipeg, a plug. Fantastic hostel, and the Thursday night pub crawl was loads of fun! Had great drinks with great people, and made a few friends out the event (including another Albertan!).

I’m in Milwaukee, raiding Oestrus’ couch right now. It’s been another fantastic meetup, putting a face to the voice and to the person who’s been such a huge support to me over the past few months (and who always forgives me after being a victim of my crossfires). Milwaukee was another lovely discovery as well. Whenever I’d tell people I was heading to Milwaukee (it was a 3 day bus ride so I had to tell a lot of people), I was told again and again that there’s “nothing in Milwaukee”. It’s lie! There’s so much in Milwaukee! Lots of festivals, lots of cool coffee shops, lots of great food, lots of great art. Oh, and lots of breweries. As a matter of fact, I’m hoping to get in on a brewery tour this afternoon.

Then tonight I say my goodbyes and head off to Chicago!

Blizzcon Hype

April 13, 2011

The Blizzcon ticket sales were finally announced yesterday and, for those of you who live in boxes shut off from the world, I’ll let you know know that sales days are May 21 at 10am PST and May 25 at 7pm PST. They’re also 175$. Some find that scandalous. To me, though, after the price of plane tickets out of Canada, 175$ seems like nothing.

Figuring Out What To Do

I’m going to be in Anaheim for Blizzcon for sure. I’ll try for tickets, but I honestly don’t care whether I get any or not. Last year, I had so much fun exploring Orange County that I totally wouldn’t mind spending my days roaming again. But, my mind was effectively blown by the cinematics panel too, and I would enjoy having my mind blown again this year.

So regardless of the outcome of tickets day, I know I’ll be happy.

As for accommodations, I’m squirmy. Last year, a lot of the fun came from staying in an awesome (and awesomely located) hotel with guildies. This year, I have no idea what my guild situation will be like come October, so I’m on my own. While staying with Conquest again this year might have it perks, I’m not sure if I’ll be comfortable around everyone who might be there (I don’t even know who might be there), and I’m not even sure if I’d be welcome to stay with them.

But, as I remind myself, I’m a not-too-hideous-looking girl at a geek convention. Finding a bed can’t be that hard. (I’m joking of course.)

An Excuse for a Trip

I’m going to try to take 2 weeks of my vacation for Blizzcon. 3 would be better, but I only get 3 weeks of vacation and I’d like to save one week for something else, like visiting my family.

Anyway, I’ve always wanted to go on a long train trip and explore the southern (as in geographically southern) US. I love, love, love Arizona and deserts and cacti and rocky sand. And, to my greatest surprise, the Amtrak is dirt cheap.

A 15 day (or 8 segment) pass is only a fraction of what Canada’s VIA Rail would cost. Since this wonderful discovery, the wheels in my head have been turning. There are a few cities I’d really like to see, just to say I’ve been there: Las Vegas, Phoenix (I’ve been before, but wanted to go back as an adult), Santa Fe, Texas (not a city, but still), Memphis, New Orleans, Atlanta.

Now, 2 weeks is a very short period of time if you want to cross the US and actually see a few cities. I’m also very restricted by how the different train routes are laid. Going through Chicago to get to New Orleans from LA? A bit much!

In the end, here’s the plan I’m toying with:
1- Fly into Las Vegas
2- Go to Blizzcon in Anaheim, then
3- Go to Flagstaff/Phoenix, then
4- To San Antonio
5- To New Orleans
6- To Atlanta, fly out of Atlanta.

That would be exactly 8 segments and fit snugly into 2 hectic weeks. I’d get to see the US Southern border, taste a sample of the cities and decide which ones I’d like to spend more time in for the future.

Of course, if anyone has suggestions and/or coffee offers, I’m all for it.


October 21, 2010

Well, I’m leaving for Blizzcon in about 4 hours. Over 12 hours of travel, 5 time zones… The Aussies and the Brits will mock me for being a lightweight.

It’s funny how I’ve been daydreaming about this week for so long that now that it’s almost time, it doesn’t feel real. It’s become a figment of my imagination, it’s not supposed to actually happen. But sure enough, I’m ready to take a quick nap then make my way to the airport.

I gave myself a challenge: I decided to travel carry-on only. I had to pull some tricks, but I manage to fit 2 pairs of shoes, a pair of jeans, 5 shirts, 2 dresses, all my socks and underwear, my makeup, my washing stuff (my hair refuses to tolerate hotel shampoo), my hair straightener and study material for 2 classes in a tiny carry-on bag. I have no idea how I’ll manage to fit it all back in for the trip home.

Of blog stuff, I’m not bringing my laptop with me. I didn’t find the time to update our spell coefficients, but Brangwen of Non-Elitist Raiding Diary offered to take on the challenge. I’ll do some experiments next week when I get back.

I also forgot to do the writeup for last week’s Shared Topic post at Twisted Nether. Oops. Looks like it’ll be a double writeup next week.

As for my schedule, in case any of you would be interested in having a drink and/or smoothie with me, my schedule is something like this:

Day- Arrive at LAX, meet up and hang out with guildies.
Supper- Probably go somewhere with guildies (and OMG I can’t WAIT to eat decent food again! I miss fresh vegetables!)
Evening- WoW Insider Meetup at the Annabella (I’ll probably be there early and leave when it gets too crowded. Crowds and me do NOT mix!)

Day- Since I didn’t get my midterm schedule until after the tickets went on sale, I didn’t bother buying a ticket. So I’m just going to hang around the city and play tourist.
Evening- Twisted Nether and Raid Warning meetups. Will probably go to the TNB meetup at Bubbagumps first, then meet up with my guildies at the Raid Warning’s once I’ve said hi/shaked hands/handed out hugs to everyone.

Day- Either hanging out with a guildie or two, or just playing tourist again.
Evening- Probably going to the Con After-Party for some time, then try to convince some of my guildies to go clubbing. I BOUGHT CLUB CLOTHES JUST FOR BLIZZCON.


Day- There was talk of a beach day among guildies, but it’ll depend on the weather…
Evening- Flying home and back to reality 😦

Shared Topic: Leave of WoW Absense

February 4, 2010

Eek! I’m doing a Shared Topic and it’s not Friday night/Saturday! What’s wrong with me? I’m never ahead of schedule like that!

So this week, Nim from Ankh = Life suggested the Shared Topic. He (I think it’s a he!) has recently recovered from a month without WoW (we are glad for his recovery and return) and, in true WoW blogger style, began reflecting on what he did with is time away from WoW, then asked what other WoW players do when they’re away from the game.

I recently wrote about how I deal (dealing badly is still dealing!) without the game, but perhaps I could talk a bit about some of the things I like to do when I’m not playing WoW. BECAUSE I DO LIKE TO DO NON WOW THINGS SOMETIMES OKAY!

1- Getting Involved at School

Yes, even when I’m not playing video games, I’m a nerd. What started off as a ploy to keep busy during my four extra years of school and maybe help with my excessive shyness (HAHAHAHA) backfired. I fell in love with my national student association and found myself dedicating increasing amounts of time to it. While I still get nauseous and shakey at the thought of making phone calls, I discovered that I really enjoy the administrative side of running a local chapter of a national association. Among other things, I’ve had the opportunity to plan a Career Fair, to travel around Canada to meet incredible, inspirational people and to be involved in the writing of an official position statement.

I never thought in a million years that I’d enjoy it this much. I have the lingering feeling that once I graduate, I’ll find myself screwing up election speeches for the grown up version of our national student association.

2- Gastronomy

I’ll admit it, I love delicious food, all sorts of delicious food. I read cookbooks before I go to sleep at night. I spend tons of money on groceries and restaurants. Upon making friends with people from other cultures, the first thing I ask them is about their ethnic food and could they share some recipes, please, please, please. When I travel, I judge cities by their restaurants. I’m not big on loud gatherings with lots of people, but food parties and potlucks are the exception.

Typically, when I tell people about my food obsession, I get the following response: “OMG! How can you love food and stay thin?

It’s actually quite simple. Good food is either:
1) Freaking expensive
2) A lot of effort to make
3) All of the above

Considering that I’m both a poor starving student and really busy all the time, calories are never an issue. I live in an area where uncommon ingredients aren’t easy to find either, which is another limit to my indulgence.

3- Traveling

Typical scene in my life:

Guildie X: Guildie Y is coming to visit me this weekend!
Me: OMG! I’m so jealous! I really want to hang out with you guys. Um…would you mind if I come too?
Guildie X: Sure, if you want.

They never believe that I’ll actually do it and get all shocked when I call them from the airport a few days later. I’m the queen of discount plane tickets and last minute plans. Yes, I have financial constraints like everyone else, but I’m pretty good at working a budget and traveling cheap.

I love youth hostels!

I also have a killer sense of direction in real life (unfortunately, this gift does not extend to video games…um…which side is Festergut’s right again?), a more or less photographic memory when it comes to maps (I find myself giving directions to locals all the time) and knack for getting myself (and others) out of trouble. I’m fearless and I get this crazy rush whenever I’m on a trip, so I have quite the extensive repertoire of freaky travel stories.

4- Reading

When I travel, I always keep a book in my purse. I don’t get the chance to read much in my regular life but, since I can’t stand pesky people cramping my style, when I’m on the go, I spend a lot of time on my own. Airports, public transit, meal times, evenings are made much more enjoyable with a trusty pocketbook on hand.

I’m absolutely crazy about Nick Hornby. I’ve even come to refer to various trips by the name of the Hornby book I was reading at the time. Also, High Fidelity is my breakup book. Whenever I’m bummed about a breakup, I pull out my (very used) copy of High Fidelity, tear through it in a few hours and automatically feel better.

A series by a different author that I enjoy as well is the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey. I have to admit that I wasn’t able to get into her other works (I am dying to get my hands on her Namah series, though!) but her graceful narration in Kushiel is such a treat. Even if the story wasn’t amazing (and it is amazing), the characters not likable (and they are very likable), Kushiel is worth reading for the narration alone.

5- Drinking coffee

Coffee and I have an interesting relationship. For one, I’m most likely allergic to something in most types of coffee. I’ve become good at knowing which coffees will be gentle on my lymph nodes, but I’ve spent many painful days experimenting! I’m also pretty sensitive to caffeine. I get the shakes, the sweats, the palpitations when I drink coffee.

You would think that someone with an anxious personality like me would hate that, but I don’t. I love it! It makes me feel sooo happy, like I’m excited about something. Beyond the physical boost, I love the act of drinking coffee. Coffee drinking is a very social experience and, unlike social experiences like bars or rowdy parties, it encourages conversation and (this is probably just me being weird) creates a feeling of intimacy. I’m not the most social person in the world, but I love discussion.

Furthermore, I do love to mix business and pleasure. Since I associate coffee shops and coffee drinking with happiness, friendship and thinking, I find myself doing most of my work from my favorite shop. And it helps. When I graduate, I’m considering sharing my diploma with Hava Java as this degree is definitely a team effort!

See! I do other things than play Wow!

If you now think I’m even more of a nerd that you suspected, well, you’re probably right. But it’s ok, I’m a happy nerd. I had to pick my five favorite things to do outside the game because I’m so wordy, but no worries, I don’t limit myself to 5 non WoW activities!

To see how others spend their non WoW time, be sure to check out the thread at Blog Azeroth!

The gastronomy pictures was taken from
The youth hostel picture is from my personal collection and was taken in the Hostelling International Hostel in Santa Monica, California.
The Coffee picture was taken from