This is where I start my Round the World Adventure Travel
This is where I start my Round the World Adventure Travel
Travel in the last two weeks of my life has included 8 flights, 7 different beds, and 3 countries!
I’m finally getting out of Canada to travel and where do I go? Back to the US to visit with friends before leaving for Auckland, NZ. In this post I’m going to cover some of the high and low points so far. There will be a few photos included so if you want to see a gallery of all the photos in this article please go directly to the Album.
Before I get into the details of my trip I want to let everyone know I also have another blog. At Pixelbip.com I post one photo per day, every day. Once I get into the rhythm of travel and blogging I’m going to start posting additional articles and videos covering travel photography and photography in general.
I have now posted my very first review on Pixelbip. If you are interested in HDR photography head on over to Pixelbip.com and read my article where I give my first impressions of the new software by Macphun called Aurora HDR Pro. The more I use this software to create HDR images (like the one above) the more I am liking it. Another great thing is that Macphun has been awesome with getting me sorted with the technical hiccups that have cropped up. I am an affiliate with Macphun so if you want to buy any of their products use my link and I will get paid a little bit of money for referring you!
Getting rid of Stuff
The final couple of weeks in Victoria went so smooth that I started to feel that my good luck could not last. Everything just seemed to fall into place. I was able to put most of my stuff into storage or sell everything I no longer wanted. I was super stressed about making sure all my loose ends were tied up. I guess in the end I did a good job with my planning because everything got done. As the final days before my flight approached I started to relax instead of totally freak out.
There is one thing I am sad that I had to get rid of. For the last 26 years of my life I have hauled around an antique Columbia phonograph cabinet. This has been my one constant piece of furniture no matter where I moved in my life. It was also the hardest thing to give up. In the end I left it with a friend to sell so I don’t even know who bought it.
I have always had trouble giving up the physical things in my life. Part of the planning for this trip required me to get rid of pretty much everything. This last item was the final piece that let me know how far I have come.
Another thing I was super worried about was selling my mother’s condo. Looking back it was on the market for just over a month but it felt much longer. There were about 9 viewings and not one offer. Time was running out and I was at the point where if the condo sold I would have to deal with the paperwork while travelling and using couriers and notaries, not something I was looking forward to. Then at the last minute a couple made an unconditional offer. Apparently this is a very rare thing. The offer was really close to the appraised value of the condo so I decided to accept. I went from feeling despair over the condo not selling to having papers signed and a deposit within just a few hours. It was a great feeling to have things turn around so quickly and it motivated me to focus on getting packed for travel and having the condo cleaned out and ready for the new owners.
The first stop on the US trip was Chicago. I was only there for three days but in that time I was able to squeeze in three of my favourite Chicago activities. I visited the Christkindl market in Daley Plaza, spend a night out dancing at Bluetopia, and had an amazing sushi dinner with my absolute favourite chef Stefano, at Fuji Grill.
This year the Christkindl market was was warm and we didn’t even get rained on. Another bonus is that we went early enough that the crowds were still light. The great thing about that is there are no waits for Gluehwein or food. Also it’s easy to view all the cool things for sale without having to crowd around. Alison bought a cool cockroach christmas tree ornament to commemorate her time with the bugs in India.
Normally at Bluetopia I would take literally over a thousand photos. Usually I would post less than a hundred on Facebook. I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures at this Bluetopia event. Instead I did a whole lot of socializing. Also, I would normally be shooting with my old Canon 5DM3 with a flash. At this event I had my new Sony camera and it has no flash. Here are a few photos from that night. To see the rest of the photos please click over to my Facebook Photography page.
After 6 months of waiting I was finally able to visit Stefano at Fuji Grill again. Stefano is my favourite sushi chef in the entire world. When I was living in Chicago I would literally eat here at least once a week. Sometimes more. If you like sushi I totally recommend going to Fuji Grill. Sit at the bar. Sometimes its super crowded and Stefano gets in the”zone”. But if it’s a light evening totally talk to him.
By the time the shrimp heads showed up I was so stuffed. I let Alison eat the face off my shrimp head because that is her favorite part.
I was only in Baltimore once before and that was on the US road trip I did in March/April of 2015. On my original visit to Baltimore it was the first place I was able to experience warm days and sunshine after dealing with the Chicago winter and all the snow in Boston. Ug. So Baltimore literally has a warm spot in my heart.
On this trip I got to meet a bunch of new friends (and cats) and hang out with some old ones as well.
I helped Jamison pack a U-haul as he was moving back to Illinois. A bonus is that I also got to see Will too. AND, I also got to hang out with five cats! Thats right, five of them. Much cats, very meow. I don’t have photos of all of them but here are a couple.
After helping Jamison get packed up I had the opportunity to listen to my new friend, Frances, practice Cello. I asked to record her and she let me. So here is a short clip of her practicing. Please excuse the voices in the background, the rules for Settlers of Catan were being explained to me.
To hear more of the awesome Frances head over to Soundcloud.com and check out her CD.
My last night in Baltimore I got to hang out with Christi. Unfortunately I didn’t think to get a photo of us together that I could post here. However, I do have a photo from the last time I saw her in March. We both look exactly the same now… except now we both have blond hair.
I’ve now been to Chattanooga so many times it really feels like home. Every time I come here I am more impressed with how much there is to do and how much development there is. I spent Saturday walking along 4th avenue. The area is being revitalized and is full of restaurants, galleries, and new housing developments. I got to eat at Niedlove’s which is a great little bakery that has amazing sandwiches. There was Sumo wrestling and many other things to enjoy.
I also watched drunk adults race big wheel tricycles, while other drunk adults cheered them on. This event took place at the old train station which is now a hotel. In back of the hotel they have a super cool steam locomotive and many train cars that have been converted into hotel rooms and restaurants.
Another great surprise in Chattanooga was a restaurant that serves an amazing bowl of Ramen! After not being able to find any decent Ramen in Victoria for 6 months I have been on the lookout for any hope of a nice bowl. Chattanooga provided with a restaurant called Two Ten Jack. I had the tori paitan shoyu ramen with an extra piece of pork. So delicious. I got to enjoy my meal there with Varinia and Tiffany. Varinia is friend I have known for a long time and Tiffany is another awesome new friend.
Of course #RoadtripNick wanted to get out of hiding for a little hang out time. He is so good with children.
And I can’t forget my good friends Larry and Broski.
Without a doubt the Vancouver International Airport has one of the most amazing entry points when arriving on an international flight. This is the view I was greeted with as I walked towards the baggage claim area. Not only does it look amazing there are actual sounds of birds and nature as I walked along the path.
Vancouver was wet and rainy as expected. At least it was relatively warm and no snow. As this is the last northerly city before I fly south of the equator I have successfully avoided a cold snowy winter for the first time in my life.
The best part about Vancouver is that I got to spend a couple days with my friend Zhara. I have known her since Grade 11. She has an apartment with a great view in the West End. The image at the beginning of this article was taken from her balcony.
The day started with me introducing Zhara to #RoadtripNick.
While in Vancouver I completed the final business in the sale of my mother’s condo. I guess now I am officially homeless. Then I went for a short walk along False Creek near Yaletown. Fortunately the weather cooperated and the rainy/misty/wetness falling from the sky stopped long enough for me to get a few photos.
For lunch we went for Ramen at Motomachi Shokudo on Denman. I had the Charcoal Miso Ramen. I usually opt for the Spicy Miso but I was really intrigued with the concept of adding charcoal. I give it two thumbs up. Along with the great health benefits of Miso I also got some of the detox benefits of charcoal. So while Victoria is a total wasteland when it comes to Ramen Vancouver definitely makes up for it.
Favourite part of the US portion of my trip.
This one is so hard to define. I was able to see so many of the people that are important to me in such a short time. I guess the best part of the trip is that everything has fallen into place so well. From selling my stuff and putting some in storage, to selling my mother’s condo. I have spent a lot of time and energy stressing about something going drastically wrong, and when I look back things could not have been any smoother. I’m sure there is a lesson in there.
Least favourite part.
The only thing I can complain about was the flight from Houston to Vancouver. I got the middle seat and the large guy to my right really had issues with the minor shoulder contact that was a result of two big guys in two small airplane seats. I ended up keeping my body tensed to avoid contact which resulted in some muscle cramps. It probably didn’t help that my muscles are messed up to begin with, but the end result was a my right tricep was having spasms worse than ever.
Biggest regret on the trip?
That I was not able to visit with more of my friends during the 11 short days I have had to cruise around the US.
I got to do so many things and visit with so many people on this trip. What is your dream US tour? Let me know in the comments below!