canada: vancouver

Packing For My Flashpacker Ways

Yes, it’s that time again and the sheer packing panic has started to set in. After a pit-stop in Toronto, I will be off to live in Ireland for the next year or so and thus, the challenge before me is that I have the next few days to figure out what to bring and how the hell to make the 23 kg or less weight requirement work. After checking out weather reports for Dublin like it was a religion – I need to mix up the items I can’t live without with layer-able pieces and all things waterproof.

Sitting and staring at a suitcase doesn’t help matters much either but atleast this time I’m not trying to pack the morning of…ahh, memories of when I was leaving for NZ. Since that fateful day, however, compression bags and I have become fast friends (after all, how many other girls do you know that can jam a duvet, duvet cover, towels, and a weekend worth of clothes into a carry on?) but what’s stumping me this time around is weight. I won’t be able to use my carry on to help out with this particular problem as it’s already full of all the gadgets, electronics, and assortment of chargers and such that are essential for my everyday life.

So after packing, weighing, and unpacking my bag for the millionth time, I’m no further along in finding the magical way to make it all work. Not sure what else I can eliminate as I’ve already limited myself to interchangeable pieces in the beautiful colour palate of black, grey, white, and all different shades of pink that would work for interviews, work, work functions, working out, travel, play, and nights out (yes, those legendary nights that I’m rather fond of…). My goal is not to waste money on baggage fees so it’s life or death to get everything packed in the 23 kg limit but getting down to that weight is like eliminating the freshman 15 that creeps up out of nowhere! All I can think of is to forgo comfort and wear the heaviest of all items despite the fact that I’ll most likely end up sweating like a rapist…OH JOY! Any packing tips? Please share as any advice is more than welcomed!

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Oh Vey…What A Headache!

This week, I received letters from both NZ Post and Canada Post asking what happened to my missing parcel that they’re both currently investigating and if I’ve talked to the other half of their dynamic duo.  From snail mail to email, I also received further information that they’re not responding to each other either.  So the question, I’m left with is whether or not I want to get involved in this gong show to explain to them how they screwed up.  After all, isn’t it just better to cut your losses and run in situations like this!

Sadly, this all started during my final week in New Zealand when I trusted NZ Post to ship my much-loved but essentially useless crap for a low fee of around $200 per box.  All in all, after a lot of calling, price comparing, and much contemplation about what’s a keeper, I decided I needed to ship 2 boxes back home.  The first box made it to my house in Vancouver in record time.  The second box, however, was nowhere to be seen.  POOF!  It’s like it vanished in thin air.  I waited and waited and nothing.  After much grief (I won’t bore you with the details but not only was my parcel lost, but my first request to open an investigation couldn’t be found in the system either), I was finally able to get NZ Post to start looking into what happened.

This investigation has been open for over a month now and still no answers.  They can’t seem to tell me why Canada Post attempted to deliver my parcel to the wrong address despite the fact that this address is nowhere on the forms I filled out or on the parcel itself or how it wound up at the wrong post office (not my local one but the one across town).  I’ve also learned that I’m not alone in this predicament as someone else I know had first delivery made to her return address and not the one listed as the delivery address.  This may just be the frustration talking but with anything that’s such a headache, the lesson learned this time around is that if I ever need to ship anything anywhere, I’ll know better than to use either NZ Post or Canada Post…EVER!

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Not Exactly As Promised

I made a promise to a dutch girl I met in Raro that I would get a decent photo of Vancouver from the plane.  Unfortunately, it was so overcast that the above was the best of everything I took and it’s far from the bright city lights she was hoping for.  EPIC FAIL for now but I’ll try again the next time I’m at YVR!

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Everyday I’m Shuffling

To put it mildly, I’m not a fan of LAX.  No offence to the airport itself but I just haven’t had much luck with connector flights at this particular airport for one reason or another.  Sadly, I found out that I’m still cursed as nothing much changed based on my last experience.  It all started when I got handed an orange express connection card upon disembarking the flight from Raro in hopes that rushing through customs would allow me to make my next flight (if I couldn’t get to the gate in time then I was advised that I would have to get myself booked on a later flight to Vancouver).

The deal this time around was that my flight from Rarotonga was so delayed that I had 30 minutes to get through customs, pick up my bags, recheck my bags, change terminals, go through LA airport security, and stroll to the gate before my flight to Vancouver started boarding.  I’m no fool as I know you usually need around an hour to do all of this so with orange pass in hand, I was going to put my superhero strengths to the test.  I could give you a play by play on the what it took to make that flight but I won’t.  What I will say is that with a lot of queue jumping (a big thank you to everyone who let me go ahead of them in the security line!), a little luck (I got my 2 checked pieces before most people got 1), and simply running around like a maniac, I made the flight.  There was no stopping at duty-free and collecting my 1.14 litres of liquor as planned but sod it!  I was going to get home as anticipated instead of being stuck at LAX until who knows when and that’s worth its price in gold.

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Restrictions

Packing and I are not friends on the best of days but when the airlines put in stricter rules about the luggage allowances, I’m totally screwed.  I’m heading to Toronto for just shy of 2 weeks prior to going back to Auckland.  I need to meet the baggage allowance for the flight to Toronto and then ensure that I still hit the different set for the long haul flight back to Auckland.

I’ve packed my bags and then weighed them only to have to dump everything out in an attempt to re-pack my bags and then repeat.  The thing that makes this even funnier is that I’m the girl who came to Vancouver with essentially an empty suitcase due to the housing drama in Auckland.   Who knew that I could get to 50 lbs with such ease.

After deciding what I could leave behind and must travel with items and several calls to the airlines about excess baggage – I was packed and travelling to Toronto with the maximum weight and with more clothes on that what was comfortable for a spring day.  Funny the sacrifices that I’m willing to make for the duration of a 4 hour flight in order to have what I want from back home…

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