Tag Archives: travel agents

Travel IQ

Funny because I actually did watch the Silver Linings Playbook (Loved it!) while in Auckland…but I’m not even just saying it to convince my self to be less bitter when I say I’m glad I scuffed up. Ask me when my flight lands safely in Bali though, because part of me is still having a ‘maybe you were meant to be on a different plane for a reason and [shit] the other one didn’t crash’ moment….BUT a touch on the personal side of lately.

For the first time in a while I realized everyone I was meeting was just starting their travels, and were travelling for weeks or a month, maybe two…to everyone I met in my hostel (Nomads Auckland—Beauty!! Rooftop hot tub HELLO!) I was some sort of travel legend. They wanted all my tips from Australia and New Zealand, taking my every word like gold. That’s all fine and dandy, I’m happy to help out…especially because I know that I researched everything (Except my flight dates) to death and actually felt confident I was giving everyone the best possible advice. As I sat on the balcony drinking my last flat white this morning it dawned on me that this wealth of information I have been sharing is all knowledge I’ve acquired in the last 4 months. In 4 months I have arguably learned more than I did in any given semester of my undergraduate degree, personal and tangible.

I didn’t think much of the people in my room at the beginning of the week but they all made me feel just a little more confident about going to asia and a little more proud of myself for getting as far as I have.

The boys from Minnesota: Both who pointed out how ‘fit’ I still was…even though I feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon. Also, they both couldn’t stop about how impressed they were that I had enough money to travel right after undergrad…which, I guess is pretty cool. I often forget what an accomplishment it is that I worked full time for the last 3 years of my undergrad. What this gave me more confidence in was actually my ability to support myself upon arriving home. This whole time I’ve been terrified about not finding a job, but I realized that I’ve never had an issue with employability in the past, and never have I had a year of solo travel or a completed degree on my resume.

Daniel from Toronto: An investment banker…money, not an object. Seemingly life sorted, visiting New Zealand for a month before going off to a new job…and yet asking me how to turn on outlets, what water is safe to drink, what hostel faux—paws are in NZ, what a good rate for something is, what activities there are to do…and I realized how much about travelling in general I have learned. From hand washing/drying on a bunk bed, to actually doing my dishes, to how to get the most out of a city in 2 days and everything else in between. I realized how resourceful I’ve become…and how I actually know where to find answers sans-wifi….and if not at least 5 walkable places to get wifi. Maybe not the most practical of knowledge…but knowledge learned none the less.

The Frenchman: So full of life! So excited, the guy that makes it happen….NOW. Perhaps impatient….but that’s not the point. The point is that he was eccentric, a bit intimidating, and yet just wanted everyone to have the best time ever. He drove a lot of people nuts for reasons I couldn’t really grasp until I realized how accepting I’ve become of different personalities, and how I’ve actually embraced the concept of ‘yeah but they’re a nice person’…not just using it as a mask to hide behind and bitch later. In the past that’s been a phrase to burry my judgements hoping to hide them from karma…but since travelling and meeting so many great, different people, I’ve actually come to believe it.

The Brazilian: Taught me a great deal of patience. Probably one of the worst English speakers I’ve met…but…BUT…perhaps the thing I needed as I head into Asia. To avoid being that middle aged woman in Italy yelling at the 80 year old man “WHY DON’T YOU SPEAK AMERICAN”…it was humbling, as I said to him, don’t worry, I don’t know your language. Really I’ve been so lucky to be in an English speaking country of Christian dominance. Not because I am Christian, but because growing up in the same culture I know what is and isn’t acceptable…I know how to act around the religious, the atheists, and the religious parents of the deviants… In asia I have no clue what to do…I’m attempting to learn please, thank you, and sorry and hope for the best…

The Danish guy: Not as creepy as Denmark in cairns…thank god… Who was like “FOUR months? How have you done it?!” I keep looking at my trip from the perspective of a 1 or 2 year trip and feel like I’ve done nothing, or that I’m being a cop out if I were to go home earlier…it’s always good to run into people travelling for less long, who are on what is, for them, a long trip. Not to say it isn’t…but to put my own in perspective…4 months, a third of a year, a semester, the difference between Canadian thanksgiving and Valentines day….A lot can happen in 4 months, and it isn’t a year yet but it is longer than lots of people travel for. I have been in constantly new and uncomfortable situations of learning, mistakes, and being totally alone across the world for 4 months…that’s not too shabby.

So, that is me tooting my own horn to pump up my confidence before I head off to Asia where shit’s about to get real. But it’s also my way of looking back and thinking of where my head would be at had I not met each of these people..The fun thing about travelling …and life, is that you’ll never know. I’ll never know how my trip would have been different had I not missed my flight. But worse things have happened, and for me, it was probably just the slap in the face I needed to be a bit smarter in Asia, and also realize who was there to support me an ocean away .

I have never been in contact with less people in my life and I have never felt like I have had even close to as much love and support from my friends as I do now. Even if realizing how amazing some of my friends are and how temporary others were was all I got from this (which it isn’t) it would be worth it. I have found a flight with AirTransat from London to Calgary for 500 bucks which will probably be my flight of choice home sometime in October of this year which is creeping up just a little too quickly. Also, I’ve been through a revolving door of travel agents, and I’m back at square one… My initial agent in Edmonton is actually the only agent that had travelled, was honest with cost/value, and on top of things. If you want details comment or message me on the “Anika” tab. He is honestly more help from Canada than any of the quacks here who can’t book flights or do proper currency conversions.

Yes, lots of writing….but I chose to get to the airport 9 hours before my flight instead of leaving my hostel at 3am…so deal with it.
I’m also getting ultra nostalgic about my time in Aus and NZ…so don’t be surprised if you see a post pop up about that too..

goodnight. xx

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Half way to Asia

..is basically what Auckland is… Sushi everywhere, storefronts also in Japanese, the works…The fact that there’s currently a Lantern Festival on doesn’t help the cause. Additionally they’re celebrating the Chinese New Year on the wrong date which is driving me a bit mental…

Anyway, now that I’ve had Jaffa cookies, Scrumpy, Alcoholic Ginger beer, venison, mussels, rosemary mint lamb pies, and copious amounts of coffee and micro brewed cider…I think I’m okay with parting ways with the ‘Canada of the Southern Hemisphere’.

On a side [exciting] note…I got mistaken for being Australian twice and English once last night…my hodgepodge accent lives on! Otherwise the last night in Auckland was pretty sweet… went to heaps of pubs, had a Maori man buy way too many shots then get ragingly angry when I wouldn’t let him cuddle me, swayed to a live cover of Bob marley, Danced shopping cart styles with 40 year olds at some irish pub, found English boys to buy me drinks (the usual), fist pumped pauly-D styles at the 18 year old bar, and had a walk on the wharf with a guy from Ingercarvill (southern most point of south island)…PS I think (as everything else that is forever behind) fist pumping JUSt arrived in Nz…people were a littttttle to jacked up…and my arms are a litttttle too sore today. Ooooh also, we found a great little Mexican place…I think it’s just called Mexican Cafe? in Auckland CBD…west of Queen Street, a few blocks up from the Warf? Anyway, 7 dollar happy hour tacos with rice and salad…WAY better than a take away!

I’ve just booked my flight leaving Bali to Singapore for mid March, so HOPEFULLY I won’t have any troubles getting into the country. Also I got it on Air Asia for 70 dollars including bags/taxes/fees…the travel agent found “a GREAT fare’ for 140. Definitely do your research flying within Asia!

I’m in the process of booking a hotel for the night I arrive, as I get in around 10 pm…then possibly booking (to avoid homelessness) for the Balinese New Year (or something of that nature) on the 10th of March. I might point out that I think I have the best travel itinerary ever…I am chasing both summer and new years celebrations (also in Cambodia for their New Year).

If you have room in your thoughts, think happy NON malaria/denghi getting vibes my way…as much as some good travelleres diarrhea to lose a few lbs could be good, I’d really rather not acquire a relapsing ‘bone jarring flu’.

travellerproblems #5

The travel agents that could. I’ve been in a bit of a shit mood the past couple days because I feel totally ripped off by the travel agent in Cairns. Somehow, when we went in looking for a bus down the coast and a cheap Fraser Island tour we ended up booking 2 nights in Magnetic Island, a Whitsundays tour, and Fraser Island. That’s her job…but here pushing for time and ‘okay I’m booking’ rather than ‘is this what you would like to do?’ really drove me crazy. We didn’t even get what she said we paid for, and she mislead us on the busses. ALSO, she didn’t send me any of my vouchers so I couldn’t get into our hostel until 4 hours after we arrived. What a gem.

Further elaboration on the buses:
There are 2 options to bus down the east coast of Australia. Premier and Greyhound. If you don’t want to read this whole blurb, just pick Greyhound.
Our travel agent simply said Premier is $50 cheaper than Greyhound, which one do you want to use? The obvious backpacker answer is: Premier…obviously. What she failed to mention was that it runs only once per day not 5 times. Had we picked greyhound we could have done day trips along the coast (arrived in the morning, departed at night), and we could have done night buses which would have saved a night accommodation. You get your money back from being able to do night buses to save on hostel, and you get to see more places, and not arrive in places at really weird times. Additionally…based on the drop off point in Townsville, Greyhound has better p/u locations as well.

Long story short, I’ve returned to hating travel agents for their sneaky ways and only trusting myself to book my tours and travel arrangements.