Safe Travels, Andrea

I’m not good at expressing how I feel about people. I love many people, and I hate when any are gone for a long period of time. That’s about as far as I go with expressing myself.

Imagine my dismay upon learning that one of my favourite people in the world, Andrea Liew, was going to be spending a year in Guyana. Seriously, a whole year.

I am not a patient man. A year is forever.

My own selfish feelings (and silly post intros) aside, Andrea is going away for a year to help indigenous women in Guyana improve their agriculture and craft-making businesses with accounting, finance, marketing and product development. In other words, she’s making the world a better place.

Andrea is going as a volunteer of Cuso International, and we should all show her our support: Donate to Andrea & Cuso International!

She’ll be gone for a while, and my blog will be counting the days that she has spent making the world a better place.

Safe travels, Andrea. I love you, I’ll miss you, and I am tremendously proud of what you are doing.

So long (for now), and thanks for all the fish.

Thanks for having me, New York City

I made a visit to New York City from September 28th to October 1st, and I had a blast. I had dozens of restaurants mapped out, some attractions lined up, and just a plan to enjoy myself and explore a city that I have never had the chance to explore.

We grabbed some tickets from Porter Airlines for 50% off, flew into Newark, and caught the NJ Transit train into New York Penn Station; that was the start of an amazing adventure.

I have compiled a list of things that I have noticed during my time in New York. Hope you find them useful!

  • Pedestrians are quick to jump the light or jaywalk; running yellows (as a car) is dangerous in New York because you never know if you might hit someone who has jumped the light early.
  • The subway system may seem complicated at first, but you can easily learn. I started by looking at the closest subway stations for my destination and looking at what train line it was on, then how would I get onto that train line. The real mistake we made was not realizing that some subway stations aren’t connected on both sides and you MUST use the proper entrance. Google Maps directions will be your friend here.
  • Airbnb is an awesome way to secure a decent apartment for much cheaper than any hotel room you will find in Manhattan. We were minutes away from Times Square, and we had plenty of food options around us as well as subway entrances!
  • Figure out where you want to eat and map them out so you can easily figure out places to eat as you plan your day. However, feel free to just walk down the streets and look for any restaurants that interest you. Walking down 9th street from 40th all the way to 60th, we ran into MANY restaurants that we could have eaten at!
  • Walking is FANTASTIC for discovery. It was a great way to explore the city, find interesting shops and restaurants, and get some much needed exercise. (Much needed because I was stuffing my face.)
  • Many New Yorkers are super kind and helpful people. A lost traveler on the subway asked me for directions, and I really didn’t know much aside from which subway stop he should get off at, but plenty of others jumped in and gave him good directions.
  • Listen to what the street solicitors yell at you; we managed to secure tickets to Avenue Q for almost half the price of retail ticket price, thanks to stopping and listening to what a guy off the street had to say.

New York was a blast to visit, and I definitely want to go back to experience more. Food, shops, shows, what else could you really want out of a city you are visiting?

Thanks for having me, New York.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the map we used for food: New York City Eats

My Gorillapod is Here!

As some of you know, I am heading to New York City at the end of the month to eat all the food I could possibly eat. However, stabilization while traveling is one of those luxuries that I really never had.

Until now.

Ordered the Joby Gorillapod SLR with bubble level from Amazon a couple weeks back and it finally came today!

Watch out New York, I’m going to do my best to use that sucker on every imaginable surface.

Best Flight Ever, Thanks Porter!

Last weekend, I flew down to Chicago to get some rest and relaxation under my belt, and of course, eat mountains of food while I was there.

One of the best decisions I had made was to fly with Porter Airlines. Now, I had never flown with Porter before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been told that they flew with prop jets and that they had great customer service.

Understatement of the year.

They had sent me an email the night before my flight to remind me of my flight and any steps I would be able to take to save time at the airport, as well as a warning to try to arrive 60 minutes prior to my flight in case of any customs snafus.

I left work at about 3:00pm, got to the Porter building at about 3:15pm and waited for the ferry. Had to correct something on my boarding pass, went through inspections, and I was sitting down in the lounge at about 3:45pm. Wait what? I got from the front door to waiting for my flight in 30 minutes? Keep in mind my flight was at 5:30pm, so I had plenty of time to hang out. When I looked around, I realized I really had no problems with that.

The Porter Lounge is amazing. It’s a huge space with a cafeteria area, seating area, and a business area full of iMacs in case you need a computer for something else. I went and got myself a coffee (or four), a couple of snacks, and a bottle of water, sat down and enjoyed the free wifi that they provided for everyone.

I thought the pleasantries had ended there, but when I boarded the rather small prop jet, I felt really odd… my legs weren’t squished up against the seat in front of me and I could comfortably sit down.

To top it off, every flight also gets you a free drink (wine, beer, coffee, juice) and a snack box.

We touched down in Chicago, and I spent another 15 minutes going through customs, and I went on my merry way.

In all honesty, that had to be the best flight experience I have ever had. To break it down, here’s what you get when you fly with Porter:

  • Speedy check-in procedure.
  • Great lounge with free wifi, drinks and snacks.
  • Ample leg room and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Snack box and free drink.

Cannot wait to take another flight with them. Going to fly with them when possible. Thanks Porter!