COM0014 – Blog #1: What I Did On My Vacation

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If you think this is bad, you should see the other side! ©2016, Brad Whitehorn

My last vacation was quite unconventional to say the least, but I did spend an extended period of time out of town, went on some crazy adventures, met some great people, and didn’t have to cook, so I’m going to count it as a vacation.  It all started on a warm, sunny day in October 2016 when I went out for a ride on my motorcycle.  Something I had been doing for over 15 years, when a driver of a pickup truck ran through a stop sign, sending me on a flight through the intersection beginning my “vacation.”

It was probably the shortest flight I have ever been on, but it was definitely the roughest landing.  Thankfully I was in full protective riding gear, and surprisingly wasn’t bleeding much at all; my ankle, leg, arm, wrist, and a couple of fingers were a different story though.  From there I got to continue my sightseeing tour of the greater New Tecumseth in Southern Ontario… this time staring up at the ceiling of an ambulance while strapped to a board!  After spending some time in the local hospital, I was told that I would be going on a helicopter tour of Toronto courtesy of Ornge Air Ambulance.  While it was a nice clear night, my view was pretty much limited to the ceiling inside the helicopter.

After landing at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, things started to get a little fuzzy.  I don’t remember much of what happened over the next couple of days, so I must have had a really good time then!  I spent six days and seven nights there, while the staff was amazing, and there was free WiFi, the food was a little underwhelming; their specialty was a steamed English muffin and plain cream of wheat for breakfast every morning.  At the end of my week-long stay, I was informed that I would be taking another sightseeing tour; this time on Toronto’s Queen Street.

The tour was pretty short, maybe only ten minutes down the street to The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, but the driver and “guide” were super nice.  I have nothing but good things to say about this place; the staff were amazing, the “recreation” was challenging and engaging, the WiFi was free, and the food wasn’t half-bad either… even though they dished out pasta primavera like it was going out of style.  While there I participated in some great activities like “learning how to walk again,” “lifting a 3lbs weight with my left arm,” and I got to play with the St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog.  But after my month long stay, it was time to go home.

While I had some interesting experiences, and got to meet some truly amazing people, I don’t think I would repeat this vacation again.  It was so amazing that I still haven’t returned to full-time work yet, but hopefully I will be over it soon so I can get ready for my next trip.

COMM 0014 – Post 1 – What I Did on My Vacation

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I, like most people, love the anticipation of an upcoming vacation. Spending some quality time with the family. A warm climate. Removed from all the demands of a work environment. Sounds perfect, right?

Well, in theory it does. And I’ll admit that most of my vacations have been close to perfect, ridiculously good. Most of them have included picturesque settings, sensational accommodations, great friends, fantastic entertainment, and an overindulgence of great food and alcoholic beverages. Can’t forget the alcoholic beverages. (Maybe that’s why I remember my vacations to be so good?)

Yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced almost perfect vacations. However, my most recent vacation happened to be my worst vacation yet. I’m hopeful it was an anomaly and not the beginning of a series of terrible vacations, God’s way of balancing the good with the bad.

Following is a short list of my tribulations from last summer.

1. Planning. Statistics support the notion that the planning stage of a family vacation can be very stressful. I concur. At least that’s the case with my family. After several months of trying to find a destination that all four members agreed upon, I was more than ready for a vacation – alone. The kids are older now and provide input; with disparate interests, they couldn’t seem to agree on a destination. What should have been an exciting process turned out to be extremely exhausting.

2. Myrtle Beach. That’s what we eventually decided on. That’s not really where I wanted to go. And it certainly isn’t where I wanted to DRIVE to. I have no interest in spending my vacation anywhere that’s remotely commercial. That’s what I want to get away from. I don’t want to shop. And I especially don’t want to shop for t-shirts, coffee mugs and ball caps. I know I may come across as supercilious, but I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with it – it’s just not me. But I also don’t like Disneyland. When I’m on vacation, I want to relax or engage in sports.

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3. The drive there. Driving was not my idea. The kids wanted to recreate experiences from earlier trips to Florida. They wanted to watch movies in the car, and stay at a couple of hotels along the way to enjoy the indoor pools. It turns out the kids somehow forgot about their significant growth spurts since the last road trip. The drive isn’t nearly as tolerable when your body is a couple of feet longer. The pools they remembered as large now seemed the size of bathtubs, and held their attention for all of about ten minutes. I thought I had forever left behind car trips punctuated with frequent stops to eat, pee or stretch. Apparently not. Oh, and crying. Yes, it had all returned.

4. Room mix-up. The large suite we booked (with two rooms and three beds) was apparently unavailable. Despite my imploring (which, I’m afraid, came awfully close to weeping), a suite wasn’t made available to us until day three. Until then we all shared a room with two double beds. It made for a difficult couple of nights.

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5. Broken air-conditioner. On the second night our air-conditioner broke down. Although it was repaired late that night, it was unbearably hot during the day and most of that night. Coupled with No. 4 above, the unpleasant meter was now at ‘High’.

6. Jellyfish. I’m not sure if it was an uncommonly popular week for them, but there were many. When I wasn’t treating my own stings I seemed to be witnessing parents attending to the stings of their crying kids.

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7. My wallet. It was there one minute, gone the next. I don’t think I need to say any more about how painful this can be.

8. The drive back. I was dreading the drive back, and it loomed large a couple days before departure. Although most people experience a “return trip effect” that makes their drive home seem shorter than the drive to their vacation spot, I usually experience the exact opposite. The trip home always seems much longer. And our respective fuses always seem a lot shorter. Not a good combination. Now imagine a flat tire 80 km from home. I’m not kidding.

I know it’s hard to complain about a vacation. After all, Myrtle Beach isn’t all that bad and there was much to enjoy. I realize that I can be melodramatic. It’s just that, relative to my other vacations, this one was terrible. So please, don’t judge me too harshly. I don’t know any better. I’m sorry.

What about you? What unpleasant experiences have you had while on vacation?

COM 0014 Blog#1 What I Did on My Vacation

Oh how I have been dreaming for a vacation… Since it has been so long since I’ve been on a vacation, I am going to tell you about my dream vacation.

Up at the crack of dawn and off to the airport to catch a flight to Ireland. I am so full of excitement I can barely hold a thought in my head. Just a short (ha) seven hour flight and I am there. Fingers crossed there is no flight delays, problems at customs or lost luggage.

Finally! The fresh Irish air!

My week will be spent in the Dublin city centre, the architecture, the cobblestone street, the history and of course the pubs, more than a week’s worth of sites to see.

With my Lonely Planet travel guide in one hand and camera in the other, I set out to walk the streets and see the sights of Dublin. What a great way to see the city, as my own tour guide, but I will be hoping on the Dublin Hop-On Hop-Off tour bus and a taking a ride down the River Liffey to get my history lesson and of course to cram a few more sights.

The Book of Kells, now that is something to see, dubbed the oldest book in the world and one of Ireland’s treasures. Although I can’t read Latin, the intricate designs are illuminating. The Book of Kells isn’t the only thing drawing me in to Trinity College, I could spend the whole day there but I’m off to the next site… Temple Bar, yes the infamous pub but the area too. The narrow cobblestone walkways, the brick buildings, some painted vibrant colours, some with just a brightly painted door. Live traditional Celtic music and tourists from all around the globe filling the streets, definitely worth spending a night here!

I really wish I could go in to more detail but that will have to wait until I get to Ireland. One detail I won’t leave out is to end it all off, enjoying a Guinness while taking in a 360 degree view of the city at The Guinness Storehouse. What a vacation!

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*Image source http://www76.pair.com/keithlim/postcards/dublin.html