Saturday, November 27, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Disappointed - Word of the day
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Spontaneous - Word of the Day
I'm starting a series of posts of travel related words, words that inspire me and even just words that entertain me, that I like and new ones that I might learn. I won't post every day, who knows if I'll even post one every week, but if a good one comes to me I'll write about it as it happens.
This week my word of the day is Spontaneous. Many travelers have the dream of someday going to the airport, looking at the departure screen, picking a destination and just going. That is the ultimate travelers spontaneous decision. This week I came as close to doing that as I ever have.
I knew for a couple of weeks that I would have Thursday off for Remembrance day and requested that following Friday as well, to make a long weekend out of it. I thought about taking off and going somewhere like Toronto, New York or London but as I looked at the flights it wasn't looking so good. The flight schedule changed for London so there was no longer a flight the day I wanted to make the most out of the trip, New York was way too expensive, but Toronto was looking promising for maybe just a quick one night trip.
While at work that Tuesday however things were going really slow and my boss suggested that I take Wednesday off as well. Immediately I checked to see if there was a flight to London that night and within 12 hours I was sitting on an airplane. I didn't even have a chance to tell my friends about it it happened that quick. It was spontaneous and felt exhilarating and many people didn't believe that I actually did it. To make it even more exciting, I decided not to tell all of my friends in London about me coming and was actually able to surprise Chris from the The Aussie Nomad at a party, whom I hadn't seen since Copenhagen in May. Even though he might defend it I swear he screamed like a little girl when he saw me.
Also on this trip I had one of the most extreme Small World Moments ever. To read more about it check it out over here at www.travelyourself.ca
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This Wednesday in a small town of 9,000 people called Buñol just a 45 minute train ride from Valencia, Spain is the famous La Tomatina festival. I was at this crazy festival last year and hope to go again in the future. From my trip I learned a few key tips for successfully enjoying this festival and have listed them below.
On the last August of every Wednesday 40,000+ people show up in the small town of Buñol for this festival. In the street there is a large lard and grease covered pole with a ham at the very top that the masses of people have one hour to climb to claim their prize of the ham and signal the tomato fight to begin. (often people can’t reach the ham) If the ham is not retrieved the tomato fight still begins at 11am. A loud speaker announces to the crowd in various languages that the fight has begun and many dump trucks full of tomatoes drive through the small streets dumping thousands of tomatos (spoils from the harvest) into the street and for an hour the biggest food fight you will ever take part in surrounds you.
The greased pole and ham go up around 10am and the tomato fight starts at 11am however people start gathering in the city and getting on trains from Valencia around 6am. The train I was on that morning was packed, with people in the aisles and on top of each other at 6:45am.
Unless you have a best friend with a house in Buñol there will be no place to put anything that you bring with you so bring the least amount of things as possible. (or leave it on your bus if you are on a tour) Avoid trying to bring a bag. On your person all you should have is some money and your hotel/hostel key and even that you should maybe leave at your accommodations and have the front desk hold on to it for you. I literally had my key tapped to the inside of my pocket with duct tape. (Also I luckily made a friend in an old man in the city who let me keep my bag at his house, use his washroom and fed my friends and I but this is not a common experience so don’t go expecting this.)
You will be covered head to toe in tomatoes and water, DO NOT wear flip flops or sandals of any kind unless they secure tightly with lots of straps or Velcro otherwise you will loose them within minutes and your feet will get stepped on. (Also be sure to wear something that you will be comfortable in as it could be a long day). If possible try to wear clothes and shoes that you might never wear again. I wore sneakers that immediately headed to the trash afterwards. If you are male you will most likely have your shirt ripped off of you if you don’t remove it yourself. If you are female sadly you may fall victim to this as well, so layer up if you can, I wore a t-shirt over a tank top over my bathing suit and gladly kept everything on. There are groups of people though that think its funny to rip other peoples shirts off, so be warned.
The crowd of people will be the tightest most claustrophobic crowd you have ever been in, way more extreme than any concert you have ever attended. If you see an opening in the crowd, do not head towards it as most likely that is where the people are ripping other peoples shirts off and there is an opening in the crowd because people are trying to avoid the area.
Girls should definitely have hair elastics. Goggles are a must because tomato juice hurts when it gets in your eyes! Also bring a water proof camera or a very good case. (You can’t go wrong with a ziplock bag). When I attended last year there were many people selling both goggles and waterproof film cameras (yes film) on the street. Along with those many places and people were selling beer and sangria right out of their house (awesome).
I hope these tips don’t scare you off, but just prepare you and allow you to have a wicked time!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
“Vill du sätta igång spat?”
“What? Oh sorry I don’t speak Swedish.”
“Ummm would you like zee bubles turned on?”
“Bubbles? Oh there are bubbles? I didn’t even realize! Yes please.”
(I swear he said "zee" I'm not making that up.)
I’m sitting in a hot bath at the Varberg Comwell Hotel in Varberg, Sweden. After a swim and a sit in the steam room then sauna I am now starring into space, soaking. An older Swedish man has...
To read more please visit my other site www.travelyourself.ca
Travel Yourself - New York from Cailin O'Neil on Vimeo.
- In August 2009 I was fairly new to the twitter scene and had been following @nomadicmatt. We had written back and forth to each other a few times but that was about it. At the end of the month I was heading to Spain for La Tomatina and I knew he was too but that was all.
- In February 2010 I traveled to Fiji where I met Hanna from Sweden who was also traveling around. Later that March Hanna traveled through Australia and finally returned home to Sweden in April. In May I visited her in Sweden and while visiting her she said to me “You said you were from Halifax right? I think I met a girl from there when I was in Australia.” I didn’t know her but we pulled her up on facebook and I had 10 friends in common with her.
- This one isn’t “as far” of a long shot but for it all to happen within a 10 hour period makes it crazy. In May I went to Newfoundland for the first time ever to party and hang out with @candicewalsh. Within my first hour there we were walking down the street in St. John’s headed to Signal Hill and we passed a guy sitting on the on the sidewalk with his head down reading a book. I did a double take as he looked familiar, I told Candice I thought I knew him but thought it couldn’t be him and kept walking.
Later that night Candice and her roommates held a keg party. One of Candice’s roommates had a friend who showed up with 11 guys from Halifax. I had actually met one of them before in Halifax and I had friends in common with at least 3 or 4 others.
- When I flew to Australia in February 2010 there was a guy I went to high school with on my flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Another time I was flying to London and a different guy that I went to high school with was on my flight.
- Whenever I visit Toronto I always run into someone from home, without fail. Every. Single. Time.
- July 2010 through twitter I met Celeste Brash of Lonely Planet and saw that she was visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia updating a guide book so we met up for dinner. While chatting I noticed she was wearing a pearl necklace and I asked if it was Tahitian as she lives in Tahiti. It reminded me of a Tahitian pearl necklace that I had bought an ex-boyfriend many years before. We got to talking about it and it turns out that I had bought the necklace from her husbands pearl farm in Tahiti in January of 2007.