Montreal might be the city where young people go to retire but there was a much needed atmosphere of chillin’ in Barcelona and Valencia. I have travelled to a lot of places in my short time here on earth and I can say that the Barcelonians and Valencians were one of the most friendliest and helpful people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Whether that was being so accepting of barely passable comprehension of spanish to going out of their way to find us on the beach to bring us to the party (thanks Victor!), Myriam and I really felt welcomed in our short stay there.
Aww writing about it makes me miss it even more. Crud.
Our daily routine there was as follows: Wake up. Espresso, orange juice, tostada con tomate. Go to the beach. Sleep on the beach. Wake up eight hours later and eat some calamari. Find out where dancing is. Repeat.
This year I vow to be prepared for the Montréal winter. Last year sucked because I thought I could get by just with my “usual” winter clothing which is really just “Vancouver” winter clothing. I know, I know – horrible. But let me explain. Most activities that I spend my time on is indoors – dancing, computerrrizzingg, photography. Heck even most of the public transportation here in Montréal is underground so you are actually sweating from your layered clothing when on the metro. Before bunkering down for the inevitable however, I took a week trip to the west coast with Myriam to get away from the daily grind and drink all the sweet caffeine nectar as our bellies could handle.
While I occasionally enjoy traveling to see new sights every now and then, on the whole I’m not a big outdoors fan. I’m a lot more comfortable being in front of a computer screen or in a studio than trekking up an hour or two up a mountain with the idea that I have to eventually trek back down. Actually now that I think about it even more, I think I just don’t like walking up inclines, probably because I have short legs.
One of my favourite photospreads that I have seen in the past year has been the instagram set of a photographer being led by his girlfriend around the world. It really did change the way I looked at my own photography because it was really about the idea rather than the execution. As I was walking through the tree bridges of Capilino in Northern Vancouver, I suddenly remembered that photoshoot and snuck it in quickly and didn’t think much about it. I was pleasantly surprised how it turned out.
The more I do photography the more I stop worrying about f-stops and lens selection but lately I have been feeling like I’m a bit stuck in my creative process. I think I need to get back to drawing board and come up with some new ideas instead of taking on the usual projects/gigs.
This trip wasn’t about that though. It was about climbing up and down mountains and just recharging my body and mind. I have a hard time getting away from it all sometimes but if there is a place in the world that I can always count on for that – it’s the pacific north west.
Spent 48 hours in Lyon, France last week and ate my weight in meat, baguette, and cheese. Did you know that Lyon is the “gastronomy” capital of the world? Did you also know that’s a very fancy word for “amazinggggggggg dishes”??? Nomnomnomnom!
One of the things I always look forward to when traveling is experiencing the local cafés. It’s always interesting how different countries and even cities not only drink their coffee but how they interact at cafes. In Lyon, I did not see a single laptop out and most people preferred to sit outside with their espressos and americanos (you can’t get a mocha/frapaccino/chai lattes that’s for sure). Cafés there seems to be more about socializing and catching up with friends (orrrrr dates???) rather than a place to score free wi-fi for Facebook surfing. Is the north american cafe setting doomed to just be library/co-working space alternative (but with coffee)? This will be my new mission – to find the best cafes in Canada and the US that are wi-fi and laptop free!
One of the current conversation topics among my dance friends is how would you actually go about making a living while dancing and travelling as much as possible. Obviously making dancing your career is one way to go about it and I always try to encourage my friends to pursue that path if that is where their passion is. Like sports however, not everybody can be Kobe or a Messi, and that’s okay! An aspiring dance career doesn’t even necessarily mean being the top ranked international dance instructor flying around the world and winning all the competitions. There is money to be made from just doing things that you like doing and working really hard.
For me however, just like most people I know, making money through dance is not really the goal. We do it because we love it not because it’s the path to easy money. Yet, to continue to fuel our addiction, there has always been this little voice inside my head reminding us that I should probably start being an adult and make a living (also to go to the bank, clean, and such).
I read an article on Wired last week that stated something along the line of trying to plan a trip is a descent into chaos. I couldn’t agree more. When I was younger and full of hope and all things good in the world, I used to enjoy the ritual of flying – putting on my sunday best, saying my pleasantries to the airline workers, and reading all the magazines in the back pouch of the seat ahead of me. Now I’m one of those disgruntled fat TIES praying each moment of the way that a) my flight leaves on time b) there won’t be any babies/loud snorer/bob the talking hair piece on the plane or c) the in-flight announcements are kept at a minimum so I can do some work or get some shut eyes.
Yes, I’ve become one of those people who requests a window seat then promptly closes the window covers and falls asleep (or at least try to fall asleep). I’m not proud of it (but yes I do know that the world looks different when you are looking at it from above).
I did however, come up with some insights from my latest whirl-wind tour of Toronto >> New York >> Toronto >> Montreal >> Las Vegas >> Toronto >> Montreal the past two weeks:
It might be tempting, but never take the offer that the airline gives you when they overbook a flight. It’s a trap.
There’s nothing better than an overpriced martini at the airport lounge. It makes you feel like a baller and off to some sort of secret mission.
When the USA Customs Officers ask you why you are traveling to one of their fair cities, don’t actually say, “to go dancing at an exchange/workshop weekend/jazz event”. They won’t get it and more than likely you’ll be detained for more questioning. Instead, say you are going to a “convention” and if they probe even more, “an arts convention”. Not only will you breeze through the twenty questions game, you’ll actually get a friendlier send off as the Officers think you are going to spend lots of money in their country.
Being able to sleep while sitting is the most useful skill I have acquired in my life.
My bucket list goal in life is to only ever fly with carry-on luggages. How much can you stuff in two 23cm x 40cm x 55cm bags?
iPhones + fat fingers + electronic boarding pass + carrying two heavy luggages while waiting in line to board the plane = INCREASED RISK OF DELETING YOUR BOARDING PASS!!!
Don’t joke around with the ladies at the airline terminal counter. They ain’t having any of that and you won’t get an upgrade/seat change/flight change for free no matter how funny your jokes about dungeons and dragons are.
Suggested check-in times are not really “suggested” than more so “required”.
If you sit in the back 25% of the plane, there is a high chance that they won’t have a chicken sandwich left for you when the meal/food cart comes. And if you’re a vegetarian, chances are they’ll only have chicken sandwiches left.
You have approximately 0.000005 seconds when going through the bag check point to put ALL YOUR SHIT AND SHOES in the plastic treys before the rest of the line gets disgruntled. That’s just how it is.
Being really high in the sky makes people really gassy for some strange reason. I have no idea why, but just be weary of people who look like they might fart a lot.
Even though summer is already half way done, I’m still on a mission to grab a beer with all my Ontario friends by cajoling you all to come to Montréal. Of course this mission is a bit self-serving (I like beer, I like wine..) but I believe you would enjoy yourself once you get here. I know my food baby loves Montréal (I’m definitely on my second trimester).
Here’s an easy and quick guide on how to get to the land of the French using public transportation. Read More…