Posts Tagged ‘emotional rollercoaster’

So I’m finally back in my home country. Yes, my REAL trip will be officially done April 1st, 2009 (or does it?! Maybe it’s all a joke!) when I land in Toronto and begin my life anew.

It’s been a great trip and I still have SO much to catch up on in this blog (seriously, I am still in New Zealand in my head on this blog, soooo about 2 months behind). But in the meantime I thought I would update with my Favourite Travel Picture of the week, which is definitely going to rank up there as my all-time favourite picture, due to pure sappiness. You have been warned.

Coming home

D’awwwwww. I arrived in Vancouver Airport (GREAT airport by the way, liked it just as much as the San Francisco airport!) to my Aunt and Grandma holding this sign up for me. Probably the best way ever to come home. It was super cute and put a smile on my face. Thanks you two! ❤

More updates coming soon, I promise…


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So it’s our last day in Australia! TEAR! In true backpacker fashion, I’ve had far too little sleep, may still be a little drunk and I’m heading to the airport in about 3 hours.

Yesterday I spent most of the day hanging out with my good (Australian!) friend, Ben. It was great to see him again but very sad. Hopefully he and I will cross paths in Europe in 2010 when I hopefully head out to Amsterdam and either Dublin, Norway, or London. Already planning the next trip, ay? Sounds like a traveler has been born.

Here is a video we made while waiting for my train to take me back into the city from Bondi Junction.

Next stop: Fiji! We will be staying there for 5 days, then heading to San Francisco (via LA). I’m looking forward to both! From there, Kelly and I split up! I head off to Vancouver to visit some friends and family while she heads to Calgary to go skiing in Fernie.

Our grand adventure is coming to an end however, I am most likely going to continue to update this blog for some time with pictures and the mass amount of videos I have. I can’t decide if that makes me pathetic or just normal? Readers?

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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.


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Posted by: Emma (I think Kelly is dead)

So we’ve made it almost 3 weeks since we landed in Australia! And how does it feel? I’d say… it’s complicated. Sometimes I feel so happy to be here and can’t believe I AM IN AUSTRALIA(!!!) and sometimes I just wish I could shove it all and go home and curl up in MY bed with MY boyfriend and MY (his) kitten. Push and pull.

Today, on the way home from my first day of work (! which we will get to in a minute), I was passing over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and to my left was the Sydney Opera House. Now, I know it’s a little silly of me, but every time I see it, all I can’t help but think about Finding Nemo. And that’s when I think to myself, “Oh my God. I’m in SYDNEY!” Going over that bridge affords such a lovely view of the harbour on both sides and it is so fantastic to know I will get to see it twice a day for 3 months (at least). I feel blessed, in a way.

On that other hand, I have had one of the most frustrating weeks. There’s been major issues with the internet in our household which had made it difficult to get online, I have yet to find a chocolate bar that ACTUALLY tastes like chocolate, I miss my extra creamy peanut butter, I miss my friends, family, Eric. I was really homesick a couple nights ago and it was really hard to avoid thinking about whether or not I wanted to come home early (which I did). I miss the routine, the familiarity of Toronto. And I think normally I would suck it up, put on a brave face, and go out and TRY to make a life for myself here, like I did in Toronto for the first few months, but the thing is? Unlike Toronto, I know this is very temporary. And after more than a year of building up my life in Toronto, I am tired of it. I am tired of having to work hard to have a social life, of finding things to do, clubs to join and more. I really don’t care that I’m not trying to make friends here in Sydney because what’s the point? And maybe that’s just going to become a self-fulfilling prophecy – in that it’ll make me want to go home early because I don’t have friends or things to do here – but I just. so. tired of it.

But to be honest? With Kelly here, I haven’t really felt lacking in friendship. It also helps to stay in touch with friends at home because they make me feel loved and they make me laugh. So maybe it isn’t something I really need. There’s still some guys we met at the hostel that we might hang out with this week and I made some friends at Surf Camp this weekend so that was also good. So, like I said, push and pull.

Onto other things: Surf Camp and my new job. To celebrate the art of getting hired, I went to surf camp this weekend. It was absolutely wonderful. The beaches were GORGEOUS. I am still SO sore from camp. My whole body ached so much afterwards. Arms sore, back, legs, ribs hurting, skin tender and raw on the palms. But it was definitely worth it. I also managed to get up quite a few times by myself so I was pretty proud.

Some pictures:

Crescent Head Beach - Where We Surfed

Crescent Head Beach - Where we surfed

Me and My Board

Me and my board

This is what happens when you surf all day. Duck tape SAVES LIVES

This is what happens when you surf all day. Duck tape SAVES LIVES, PEOPLE!

The waves

The waves

As well, I started my new job today. I am still unsure about how I am doing as I was pretty much ignored the whole day by my boss but I asked for a meeting tomorrow morning to discuss the work I did today so hopefully I’ll have a better idea of the expectations this job holds and whether I am in over my head or not. Here’s to hoping I don’t get fired two days in!

To those who are unaware, my job is a 3 month contract with a large international business directory. I am a Web Analyst and it will be my job to analyze the online traffic data this company has accumulated in the last two years and come up with recommendations, suggestions and ideas for future growth plans. So should be interesting.

And finally, a picture of how I feel about the current state of peanut butter in this country:

The scary KRAFT bear

The scary KRAFT bear

Highlight of My Week: When Kelly asked the store clerk if Australians had a nickname for the 2 dollar coins and he gave her the WEIRDEST look and said, “Uh, two bucks?” No toonie for us! Sad face.

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