Category Archives: Travel

A Long Overdue Update

Ahem. Is this thing on?

So I’ve been on a little hiatus. Truth be told, my life has been a (mostly awesome!) mess of Unbloggable Things for the last couple of months, and it’s all I can think about it, so it’s all I felt capable of writing about, except… see: Unbloggable Things. So I couldn’t write about the only things I could write about. So things went dead over here. But allow me to try to separate the wheat from the chaff and blog the bloggable parts of the Unbloggable Things.

Thing #1:

I have a new boyfriend.

Laura and Jurjen

His name is Jurjen (that’s pronounced like “Yurien”) and he’s Dutch, but he grew up mostly in Canada. This is us about a month ago at Shannon Falls on the way up to Whistler for a quick lil’ day trip.

He’s also my old boyfriend! I’ve known him for 14 years and he’s pretty much the best guy I’ve ever met. This, as you might imagine, is quite a long story that I will tell one day. For now, I will leave it at this: I’m just so content. This relationship feels at once comfortably familiar but also exciting & new, and it’s a really lovely combination.

Thing #2:

So many of my plans for the future have changed in the last couple of months and some are quite uncertain right now (UNBLOGGABLE THINGS!), and my planny little brain is having a hard time with the uncertainty. I am finding that in the absence of knowing how the chips are going to fall, my inspiration to work on any big life goals has basically gone up in a puff of smoke until I get some details nailed down. I am a girl who needs to know where my foundation is before I can attempt to soar. So the next few months will be dedicated to sorting out those details.

Thing #3:

I’m going on vacation on Friday.

Monday

I’m headed to Ontario, where I went to university. It’s the most glorious time of year there. Summers out there can be stifling with heat & humidity, and winters are freezing and snowy and drag on forever. But October? Gorgeous. I can’t wait for a break from work, visits to my old haunts, and seeing people I haven’t seen for a decade.

I can’t say when I’ll be back on a more regular schedule, but I will be back. Eventually!

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Bloggers in Sin City

A few months ago, I signed up to attend Bloggers in Sin City, and it finally happened this past weekend in Las Vegas. It was the best. And to illustrate just how great it was, this is going to be a photo-heavy post!

Honestly, the impetus for attending was not to meet or hang out with the bloggers, though I was certainly anticipating that to be an awesome side perk. I’ve been to Vegas twice before. I thought once was enough for a lifetime, and I had already doubled that quota. But, seeing Shania Twain perform live has been a big life dream for me ever since discovering her music as a teenager, and she hasn’t been performing for years – over a decade, I believe. I’ve said for ages that I would spend my last penny to attend her concert, and then she got a show in Vegas. I knew I *had* to get there to see it, but who to go with? Enter BiSC.

I had so many fun experiences! Stayed at the Flamingo in a baller room, and would stay with them again in a heartbeat. I went on a rollercoaster. I played Cards Against Humanity to break the ice.

Best Cards Against Humanity haiku: "A defective condom; Leaving an awkward voicemail; A disappointing birthday party."

Best Cards Against Humanity haiku: “A defective condom; Leaving an awkward voicemail; A disappointing birthday party.”

Cocktail mixers and brunch buffets.

Welcome mixer at Serendipity3. Source: Karlyn Williams

Welcome mixer at Serendipity3. Source: Karlyn Williams

Cheated and wore grey to the white party!

Cheated and wore grey to the white party!

Reading in the VIP section at the pool. Day drinking Bloody Marys. BLOWN AWAY by Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic show “O”.

No photos allowed during the show, but this was the opening montage before the curtain rose at Cirque du Soleil's "O"

No photos allowed during the show, but this was the opening montage before the curtain rose at Cirque du Soleil’s “O”

Danced half the night away with my fellow BiSC-uits. Partied on the rooftop of PURE nightclub at Caesar’s. Did a tasting of nine whiskies at the Whisky Attic.

The knight in shining armour, guarding the largest collection of whisky in North America!

The knight in shining armor, guarding the largest collection of whisky in North America!

Flight of 9 whisky taster shots

Flight of 9 whisky taster shots

All of us also enjoyed a great swag bag. Check out the table full of them waiting for us at registration, with bonus snacks!

Gift Bags

Gift Bags

My favourite two sponsored items in the gift bags were the Stackwines and the Firmoo sunglasses. Stackwines have a brilliant concept: A stack of four disposable wine glasses, pre-filled with wine, stacked together in a package. You can have a glass of wine (to go! All the better, as this is allowed in Vegas!) and leave the rest unopened & fresh. Karlyn and I enjoyed a glass each evening while getting ready for festivities. I hope they sell it in Canada. And we were able to select our own sunglasses ahead of time from Firmoo and received them in our gift bags. I am in love with mine and highly recommend ordering from them if you’re in need of some shades.

We were all sporting our Firmoo sunnies at the pool. Source: Karlyn Williams

We were all sporting our Firmoo sunnies at the pool. Source: Karlyn Williams

It was all incredibly well-organized and great value created for all of us by the inimitable Nicole and Doniree. But in the end, the sponsors and the events added up to something greater than the sum of their parts. BiSC became more to me than some fun stuff to do and fun people to do them with.

I’m a fairly low-key, introverted person. I can be a lot of fun, but primarily in one-on-one or small group settings. I do not shine at group events of this nature; others usually form stronger bonds than I do. For the most part, this was no different. I haven’t spent a lot of time in conversation with a lot of the BiSCuits reading this. In some cases, I was too intimidated by their big Internet presence to approach them and say much. I listened to everyone cry at our farewell brunch and talk about having all the feelings; there were genuine crushed hearts at the thought of saying goodbye to each other. I had a hard time with this, and wondered if I missed out. The truth is, I just can’t connect with 65 people in one weekend well enough to feel crushed at seeing them go. But I did make a few great new friends. My roommate Karlyn was the best roomie and Shania accomplice I could have possibly asked for. I felt genuine kinship with the lovely bloggers and excellent humans with whom I did share deeper conversations.

But I’m not one to dwell on goodbyes and I couldn’t deal with the sadness, because I just know that we’ll continue the friendships and if we really connected, we’ll see each other again. I cannot wait to road trip down to Portland with Dominique and Simone to visit Larissa. I am ecstatic that Megan is coming to Vancouver soon and I’ll be able to see her again. I was delighted to make a new friend in Chicago because I want to travel there, and to hear stories of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! And my fellow Canadians, you have my heart. All my BiSCuits, you’ve been special to me.

Instead of sadness, what I felt at the end were the stirrings of inspiration. This is an amazing group of people who have collectively achieved so much and revealed such raw honesty, and the result was a real lightbulb moment for me. So many seemed to have experienced – or are still experiencing! – very real struggles and obstacles along the way to their goals. These struggles are usually hidden from public view. I have run up against obstacle after obstacle over the last several years and have noticed myself shrinking my goals and settling for less, because I started to believe that’s all I was capable of… that successful people don’t repeatedly fail and struggle as I have, and that I’m simply not destined to fulfill my bigger dreams. What I learned – something that wasn’t an intellectual shock but I had never really internalized before – was that everyone wades through shit to get where they want to go, and that the only way to reach big dreams is to keep wading through. I’d started thinking that the continual struggle meant failure, but it just means I’m alive. And it made me realize all that I want is possible.

That was the real value of this weekend to me. It was exhilarating and invigorating not for the break from work or the drunken shenanigans or even Shania, but because my BiSCuit tribe gave me permission to dream big again. Thank you to you all for that incredible gift.

All images are my own unless otherwise indicated.