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I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while but I just haven’t had time. Darn you traveling, darn you!

There’s no two ways about it: Long distance relationships are hard. It takes a lot of dedication, time, effort, money to make it work and then even when you have all those factors, it still doesn’t guarantee success. Putting anywhere from 200 km to 20,000 km between you and your boy/girl can really strain a relationship – and is it no wonder? Not being able to talk to face-to-face, to touch, to kiss – all vital things in a relationship can really drain a relationship down to its barest of forms.

I left for Australia with a boyfriend and a bag of hopes slung over my shoulder. I knew it would be tough. I had been in a LDR before – though 300km was nothing to the 15,000km I would soon be facing. But I had faith that given the right person, the right timing, it might make it. It didn’t and that’s ok. C’est la vie! As with all life experiences, I feel I’ve learned a lot from it. And so I’m glad it happened, even if the outcome was not what I would have wanted.

Had I taken the cowardly route – avoided trying to make it work while I was away – I know I would have been plagued with “what if’s” for a long time. I like to take chances and give something a shot. If I fail, I can console myself that I at least tried.

So my advice to any youngin’ trying to find love in this luckless world is this: Give it a shot. Have fun with it. Be inventive. Be realistic about expectations but try. Try hard. Try often. Communicate!! Have faith. Don’t give up easily. But give up when it’s not worth it any longer.

And the most important advice I can say is: Don’t give up travel dreams for ANYONE – go out and explore but check in and let them know you miss them terribly. You will regret it if you sit around, pining for your loved one in a distant land, lamenting the fact that you left them. No! Resist the urge. Get out there – see what you want to see. Heck, see what you don’t want to see! Talk to other travelers, share, learn, grow from them and their experiences. Do as much as you can with your time and budget. You will NEVER regret doing that. Trust.

And if it doesn’t work out… Dude(tte)! Look around you. You’re in a foreign country and you’re freakin’ single! Make the most of it!!

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So yesterday Kelly and I met up to go buy our tickets to Thailand. I’m not sure if I’ve said it before but I’m not terribly interested in going to that part of the world. I don’t know why. However, while waiting at Student Flights for Kelly I was staring at all the brochures and the ones for Thailand looked unbelievably gorgeous! So now I’m all excited. Ah ha ha. I am lame.

So before our meet-up, I loaded up my pre-pay credit card that I bought online (called the Canvas Pre-Paid Visa – it looked legit so I paid the $20 for this card) with $1200 AUD. I realize now I probably could have just paid debit but… I’m dumb, clearly. I’ve used this credit card for online purchases before with no problems. I got it because I figured it would be cheaper in the long-run to use this for all my ticket purchases from Australia instead of emailing myself money from my Australia to my Canadian bank account and then using my Canadian Visa card. I’d get doubly charged for conversion rates if I did it that way.

So we get there and lo! and behold! my Visa will not work on their credit card machine. And the problem with this is? You can’t take your money off that card once you load it. So I had $1200 on that Visa. There’s no way I will be able to spend that much money in my remaining time in Australia. I call the number on the back of the card.

So it costs $1 to access my information. I grumble but accept only to get a list of options I don’t want. No option of talking to a representative. I press 0 just in case. Ah, suddenly I’m in line to talk to someone. I wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, they tell me it is $3 to talk to a representative. Do I want to do so? Yes. By this point I’m already unimpressed with the service.

So I get some woman. She tells me there’s nothing wrong with my card. I insist there is. She tells me I’m wrong. She tells me she can’t help me. She tells me to go buy somewhere else. Uh, no. I have a deposit on this flight. I’m not going anywhere else.

During this exchange, the lovely travel agent, Lenka, was calling up their bank and found out their terminals wouldn’t accept these kinds of cards, as they aren’t as secure as regular credit cards. So I tell the woman on the phone, “Oh, she says their terminals doesn’t accept this credit card.”

“That’s what I told you before! It is the terminal’s fault.” So. Rude.

“So can I get my money back then? I want my money refunded.”

“I am not sure if we can help you, m’am. I will put an enquiry into the concerns desk but you will have to call back in 2-3 business days to see if the request will be approved.” Another $4 phone call. Great.

“So what are the chances I will get my money back?” There is no way in hell I am paying for this ticket without knowing for sure that I will get this money back.

“I cannot comment on this situation at present, m’am. You will have to call back in 2-3 business days to find out if you will receive a refund. I cannot help you at this point.”

At this point, I hang up on her. I don’t know if I’ve ever had someone so rude on the phone before. It wasn’t just what she said but the tone of her voice. I am so frustrated. It hasn’t been the best week and I am tired and emotionally exhausted. I start crying outside the travel office. How embarrassing. I cry more because I don’t want to cry and this is awkward. There are people walking around me as I stand there trying to get my act together. Kelly comes out. She’s being sweet but I feel even more embarrassed that she’s trying to calm me down.

A man in the take-out restaurant next door sees me and insists I get some free gelato. I refuse and try to wipe away my tears. He insists and Kelly pushes me over. I get mango and chocolate. Well, that’s nice. At least Australians are nice.

I go back into the travel office, feeling awkward and embarrassed. The agents at Student Flights are super nice to me. They ask if my card has a pin number and I realize that I can treat my pre-pay Visa card like an ATM card. I had forgotten about that. So I whip out my tried and true Scotiabank Visa, charge it and pay for my trip. I’ll have to send myself the money in Canada but at least I get Money-Back Rewards on my Canadian Visa.

I’m withdrawing all my money from that stupid Canvas card and CUTTING IT UP into a tiny million little pieces. I get bad service, bad service I PAID FOR, and you will never get my business again. And I will tell whomever I can that Canvas pre-pay credit card is so not worth their time or money!

The funny thing is, I had Googled “canvas prepaid visa card scam” before to see if it was a legit card and wish I had come across a blog post like this before I bought it. I hope I save someone from this mistake by publishing it here.

Ugh!

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