Traveling Does Not Come Easy

I learnt something about myself the other day.  I really don’t enjoy flying. I’ve always tolerated it- because its kind of necessary, but there isn’t anything about it that I find enjoyable. The destination far outweighs the journey when it comes to traveling, for me.

In order for me to arrive in Vienna (at a reasonable cost), I took a flight from Vancouver to Montreal (relatively painless), a flight from Montreal to Brussels (horrendous), and a flight from Brussels to Vienna (ok once we got off the ground).

Before I started this journey, I was overcome by a real sense of dread.  I don’t usually feel this way, when I’m traveling – but this had me sit up and take notice. The dread came true soon after we left Montreal.  Now I have taken some rough flights (turbulent) before. After all, I have flown Bearskin Airlines from Winnipeg to Brandon back in the 90s (the one time I kissed the ground, when the plane landed) – but Bearskin had nothing on this Air Canada flight.  For starters, it was turbulent from the start.  Not one, but 2 people collapsed, one of whom fell on top of me, when he was walking back to his seat (turns out he just miscalculated how much he had to drink – and hasn’t that happened to all of us at one time or another?)  But at the time, it was a bit scary, and we were all concerned. However just laughed it off, when he came to.  As for the woman who collapsed, it was a serious panic attack that caused her ailment.  I can’t report on what happened, except to report that she recovered, and was fine a while after her attack.  For a routine flight, there was a lot of excitement. And then as we approached Brussels it was so windy, that the descent made me never want to fly again.  Never have I been so sick on a flight from being jostled around by the elements. Honestly its a tribute to the flight crew that we made it in one piece. Once we landed, I had made up my mind to live in Brussels forever – as I was determined to never get on another plane again. From here on in, I will stick to traveling by rail or by sea.

Here lies the problem, I know no one in Brussels.  and other than the Musée Hergé, I haven’t seen much of the city. I am not quite wily enough to enter into a new city and set up camp immediately, without any contacts or planning, and I’m fairly certain that you can’t camp out with Tintin and Hergé (at least not long term, but it would be fantastic if you could).  So I decided to take a chance and take one more flight to Vienna.

And after sitting on the runway for 90 minutes due to excessive winds – a fairly unremarkable flight with Austrian airlines happened.  I do love that the women on the flight crew, where head to toe red – even their tights are red.

So now I am in Vienna, a bit jet lagged – but my friend is taking great care of me. We did a bit of exploring and I got to experience my first viennese coffee and apple strudel at Cafe Demel -which was incredible. And while I think there are reasons for places like Stabucks, a little ambiance goes a long way, when it comes to having a coffee experience.

I got a chance to say a bit of a “how do you do” to this fellow (through the glass).


Doesn’t he look interesting and delicious?

This leg of the journey ended well- Im happy to be here. The dread is still with me – but now its changed its form a bit, and is about returning to Canada.


I Deal Through Escape


My friends for the weekend

I read a lot.  Almost 2.5 books a week (depending on the page count – but averaging around 350 pages per book). At least so far this year.

I am plenty busy doing other things, I don’t have to read this much.  I work full time, I teach a few lessons a week, I volunteer, and I see friends occasionally.  I even go outside, when I remember that fresh air is good for me.

But I choose to read because it gives me a chance to escape from my life- something that television or friends doesn’t do. Reading engages my brain in a way that I am unable to think about things other than what I am reading. In other words, I am unable to have an anxiety or panic attack when I am absorbed in someone else’s story. I suffer from a form of PTSD (from childhood trauma) that triggers easily.  The colour green will set me off – as will the number 11, black dogs, springtime, and the jerseys of the Green Bay Packers. Also children who are in pain.  This one is a big one – and something I encountered a few weeks ago. And its made me retreat back into myself.

I met a 7 year old girl recently who told me some secrets about her life – and they were very similar to ones that I had experienced, and I have been unable to concentrate on much else since then.  I reported the incident(s) to the people who needed to know, but I have a need to do more.  But my hands are tied. I am unable to help any more than I have.  I can only hope that what I did will not cause further pain. I hope what I did will keep her safe.  For her sake, I am optimistic that everything will work out for the best. I have to think this way – because I am heartbroken that someone has hurt her.  I am heartbroken that someone(s) have hurt me. Mirrors – I hate them. They show way more than we need to know.

So back to the books.  I read to forget my own experience. I use books to create a new reality. I use them for other things too, like get ideas, and fall in love with fictional characters, and to understand new and old ideas.  But mostly I read so I can trust.  I can trust words (even if its for a short time – and I am aware that you cant believe everything you read). But its a different kind of trust. Fictional characters can’t hurt you like real people can. I choose to invest in this medium, because I am unable to trust anyone else in real life.

And I will never be alone, as long as I have a book in my hand.


The No Good Horrible Very Terrible Baddest Day


Im having a day where I need to hide out from the world. Life has gotten fairly difficult lately – and I have been reliving my past a great deal. My past is peppered with some fairly difficult vignettes- and the most terrible of those, have come to visit today.

I am currently under a pile of blankets, and have no intentions of getting out from under them any time soon.  Blankets are calming.  I am a mess. I need calm.  And blankets. And pyjamas. And someone to like me best.

Photo via flickr- amazing_podgirl