Japan, New Jersey, New York, theshineprjct, Toronto, Travel, Vancouver

10 Travel Tips While On The Road

Are you a Snowbird or do you travel all year round for business? Are you switching climates or checking off your bucket list? Where are you headed? What do you need? How do you prepare for flights/trips? I’ve had a few things happen during trips and in some cases had to work around them here a few tips with bonus:

  1. Mail photocopies or digital versions of passport, birth certificates , frequent flyer cards or citizenship particulars. If/when those things go missing-if you’re able to get to an Embassy everything needed to travel can be replaced fast.
  2. Book your seat as soon as you book you ticket-most international flights and air carrier seats are gone right away-as fees have gone up on everything and most things that never used to be charged are now charged (emergency seating is now classified as extra-leg room seating) and can cost anywhere from $20-$100 more
  3. If you do have first aid training or emergency anything training-if you’re comfortable consider sitting at the emergency section. There are so many that panic during turbulence and may not remain calm during a REAL emergency-jus sayin’ (Ex-airline trainee over here!)
  4. Stay hydrated outside and inside (you’ll feel amazing once you land, no matter how long the flight is/was.) An Evian water atomizer or spring/distilled in a mini spray bottle is just fine
  5. Depending how far you go, stand-by is always a great option (Jet Blue’s stand-bys are cheap and organized)
  6. Save foreign currencies in jars so you can see what you have-you may not be headed to the same country again but you might be passing through a country’s airport and can use whatever bills and coins you have-it comes in handy and you don’t need to exchange any currency for a short stopover!
  7. Find the coldest place in your house when you return-leave your luggage there-let critters and bed bugs die. If it’s Winter where you are (even better) the garage. It is said that bed bugs and critters live in hotels in big cities and you may bring them back with you…..
  8. Get an effective mobile roaming package for your mobile-not all countries have the best wi-fi connections (if any). If your phone provider does not have a great one at least get one for free unlimited or broad text messaging. If that’s entirely not possible get an international SIM card with a local phone number i.e. Vodafone is an excellent company that operates in most cities worldwide.
  9. After I’ve used most of my travel sized products during my trip-I buy travel size products to re-fill my travel bag again from the country I’m in so it’s ready in my suitcase for the next trip. Don’t need to pack that again!
  10. If I plan on shopping and I’m staying in a country for a longer period of time and I know that I’ve used a small suitcase and I don’t want to carry anything around with me, I mail heavier items (via local post office) to my address. It usually arrives within days of arriving home and I’m still able to walk with a lighter load.
  • Bonus: Not all airlines have the same (flight) track record. Ask your travel agent to look up and research airlines that might not be well-known but have a flexible schedule and affordable price! I’ve generally always used Air Canada but there are other air carriers going to the same countries and leave more frequently, fly to other metropolitan cities in your designated country of choice and a few hundred dollars cheaper! 

There are plenty of tips and tricks out there to ensure an easier flight or travel experience. Is there anything YOU do to make the journey easier,cheaper or more organized? Please share! Safe travels 🙂

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Establishments, Fashion & Beauty, Music, restaurants, Travel, Vancouver

VAN City!

 

I’d never been to the West Coast to stay-so I stayed for a bit. Definitely a sleepier vibe than Toronto but VERY beautiful! I’m a city girl at heart but visiting a place like this, right here in Canada is AMAZING!

What’s going on over there? Plenty and not much at the same time. One of the things Vancouver is known for the beauty and landscape. It was a lot cooler than expected for June but still mild. I ventured over to the main spot over there (Stanley Park.) It borders downtown Vancouver…..so wherever you are in the core you still get a glimpse of the water and some smaller mountains. Tourists from everywhere usually venture here first….just like I did!

 

 

The bridge above is also known as the Lions Gate Bridge because of the (pair of mountains to the North.) It’s a suspension bridge that connects North Vancouver, the North Shore and West Vancouver. Instead of going over explaining what all these photos are-have a look!

 

All this fresh air, space and trees had me itching to head back over to the city…..so many awesome places in the city! One of the things about Vancouver City is that most things close early. (Early like Toronto early!) Each spot delivers a unique experience where places have to close early. Each has a style or vibe that is very unique to that neighbourhood.

I visited the Shameful Tiki Bar in the Soma or South Main Area of Vancouver-a trendy and upcoming strip/area looking very similar to the location on Queen St. West!  I walked into this spot and there was nothing shameful about it all! It’s tucked away and the windows are completely covered. I opened the door only to find a mini South Pacific Island indoor bar that looks like it’s outside! The drumming, the grass thatched roofs and the mini replicas of Giant Moai Statues really add character and finishing touches.

 

One signature thing about The Shameful Tiki-is the mystery drink offer on the menu. Each time a group of people order this massive bucket with long straws,  a Polynesian drum goes off to announce which table purchased it! This drum went off all night LOL. For $40 CDN-you receive an unknown drink for 6-8 people. You just try to see what it tastes like!

A few blocks down, we headed over to El Camino’s. From Hawaii to Latin America all on one strip. Definitely even more lively than the first. They boast an incredible Taco menu-all kinds of tacos almost too many to decide what to order. The food was great, the aperitifs were tasty (white wine & tequila), the appetizer (lime & pepper flavoured popcorn) got things going before the tacos!

I was on the transit and saw the infamous Hastings street and couldn’t pass up the vinyl shop visit! I spotted Vinyl Records and walked right in! What a great selection of records! I saw some very rare items-but I did notice that we’re definitely lucky to find some serious deals over here in Toronto! If you’re looking to splurge, looking for something you can’t find online or looking for collectors pieces, Vinyl Records is your spot! I only stopped off at this one BUT there are so many in Vancouver.

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Every time I travel…I love checking out the same stuff. I really like ’em. I headed over to Robson and Burrard St. and walked right past Bang On! -a custom t-shirt print shop. I walked into the largest vintage store in Canada! (Special shout out to Riem the shop manager for allowing me to film and photograph inside the shop!) The merchandising in there is phenomenal!

If you can-check it out over there it’s worth the trip! 🙂

 

 

 

Biography, Knowledge, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto, Vancouver

I AM CANADIAN – What it means….

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As a child in school I never really identified with my heritage. I never identified with any particular group or thing. I just knew myself as ‘girl who likes to draw, girl who rides her bike, girl who lives at Jane-Finch,girl who loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, girl who thinks about writing, girl with lots of ideas……years and years have passed and those things haven’t really changed (My locale has, lol)

It’s only when I started kindergarten that I met other kids and they would talk about ‘who they were’.

When kids would ask ‘what are you?’-As is customary in Toronto and I’m assuming in Canada-I would tell them I’m a Chinedu, I’m a girl, I like Star Wars.

Literally, it’s only through racism I discovered who I was. It was being asked by teachers how long I’d been in Canada or the the seemingly slow, slow speech that teachers would utter to me that I began to realize that I was seen differently than I viewed myself. After teaching in Japan and teaching students by webcam online, the first few lessons I taught; students would ask me where I was from and the shock comes when I tell them Canada and they shake their heads saying that ‘only white people are from Canada’. Again, another rude awakening about ‘what I am’ during another milestone in my life……another reminder that I never quite got right since grade school.

To be Canadian is a frame of mind and as I get older I see that it truly IS a frame of mind. With aging parents one of whom I wasn’t raised with (she spent most of my life in the home country, returning to Toronto after 25 years!) I see how differently I think from them, how I speak to them, even my opinions about certain topics….all DIFFERENT. My self-awareness is VERY different.

As important as it is to be self-aware- I believe that dis-association of labels can be an excellent way to achieve goals, ambitions with less caution and restraint. You learn more and you end up in places and spaces most people would only dream. Knowing oneself without becoming wrapped up in what it means to be just that in a limited framework is also important. Image

A few weeks ago they had a talk (they talked at me) about where I should be in life and what I should be doing now. The interesting part about the talk was that I couldn’t understand why my mother couldn’t see my point of view.

A topic like this gets written off as generational or perhaps I’m not thinking clearly (Maybe I’m transient)…but what I got from the talk was that I was a new species to them.

My Dad started talking to me about embracing both cultures and that I was African-Canadian (Canadian born of Nigerian parents) and it had me thinking the same way I thought as a little girl in Junior Kindergarten……To my parents I wondered what it meant to them to be a Nigerian-Canadian.

Based on their comments it dawned on me that they would never be able to see what my identity means and looks like to me. It seems simpler to them to build some guidelines on how-to-be ‘Nigerian’. Comparisons to other family members who’ve migrated to North America (as Africans maintaining culture or any other ethnic group for that matter, were being bridged).

I started wondering what they knew about what it meant to be me. You see: to me I don’t identify like that.I never will. I’ve never entirely went with a specific group. I’ve never completely identified with Africans. Maybe because most of the Africans I’ve met were newcomers to Canada. They all (parents and those I’ve met) expect me to speak the language, visit the home country frequently demonstrate and understanding of the customs and have them acted out in true form. I say ‘act’ because it’s easier to just follow to behave ‘African’ so guidelines are met and being ‘found’ would be much better than being ‘lost’.

The urgency comes from my mother’s fear( I didn’t grow up with) of me being ‘lost’. My being lost and not ‘knowing the culture’ is a nightmare for them. The problem with that is families have no idea that a hybrid child is created once (im)migration occurs. DNA is the same but the finished product is ‘a new thing’, not ‘ a bad thing’.

If only they understood that my experience with identity had been carved out a long time ago. I already identified with being ‘A Chinedu, a girl, a peanut butter jelly sandwich eater’ long time ago.Seemingly all things making me a Canadian aside from birth.

I believe it’s important to know where someone comes from, where their customs are coming from and understanding about heritage…..but understanding where you are and how you fit in and demonstrate the here or now is more important too!

The point I’m trying to make here is very clear to me: Within the landscape of Toronto-people, organizations, offices, other ethnic groups, your own family, even employers see a name or a face and immediately want to place you, categorize as something and once they get to know you or mis(understand) and dissect you they either become horrified, impressed or shocked why? Because they are expecting you to fall into any of the categories for your supposed type to make it easier.

When I visited the family’s home country….. I remember meeting random people in the streets of Lagos, in shops, people visiting my family during our stay all knowing and not expecting me to be anything other than what I was—A Canadian.

Sooo I may not go camping or fishing every Summer, I may not say Eh! All the time either. Heck, I may not be Caucasian. But I know what it means to be from here. I AM CANADIAN!

Happy Canada Day!