My “Best days ever” started was when I was 18. It was the year 2000. I was fresh out of high school and ready to conquer adult life, move out of province and go to law school. My Church had opened registrations to join the St-Boniface Diocese to send 75 youth to Italy for the World Youth Days and lucky me, I was chosen from my community.
Close your eyes and picture yourselves among a few million people in St. Peter’s Square. You’re squished, you’re holding your travel partner’s hand and back pack very tightly so as not to get separated and your eyes are locked on the flag overhead held by your flag bearer, a.k.a “group master”. Do this successfully and you won’t get lost.
So, there we all are, in the middle of chaos and Pope John Paul II is miles away, like a little dot you can kind of see, waaayyy over there. Suddenly, the crowd parts just like Moses parting The Red Sea and our group is standing there in the middle, on the cobblestone pathways to the Vatican. The guards are yelling at us and they take our group master’s flag pole away! OMG, what is happening? The guards start to move us and, just like that, we are ushered on stage to sit with Pope John Paul II. Thus was the start of the World Youth Days opening ceremonies and my travel career!
I never went to law school…I became a travel agent!
By the way – the flag pole that was stolen from us, well Sister Norma dared me to jump the iron gate to retrieve it, which I did. I saved the day, something I always seem to end up doing when I travel (see other blogs).
We were four sharing that tiny room together in Rome: Sister Norma, Monique, Mariève and I. For the past 19 years we’ve been getting together every few months for lunch. We lost Monique a few years ago to a long battle with MS and other health issues, but when I close my eyes, I see the four of us right there in the middle of all the chaos, and I am filled with so much peace, love, and desire for my next adventure!
“Delta, Charlie, Echo – we have a runner!”
Do you think 35 minutes is enough time to connect in Minneapolis from Atlanta? Well, let me tell you, that it is a true, valid connection time sold by Delta. I know now it’s enough time, as I did it in 13 minutes flat, from Terminal G to F.
On my past business trip to Puerto Vallarta (yes – it was business!), the only option to come home was with Delta via Atlanta and Minneapolis. A long travel day, but it would get me home at 11.50pm and in bed by 1.30am (I live 45 minutes east of Winnipeg). All systems go, until my Atlanta departure is delayed by 40 minutes and I start to question if I’ll make my Minneapolis departure. I’m doubtful. I email my travel agent (yes, I have one too) and tell her to protect me on tomorrow’s morning flight from Minneapolis to Winnipeg, disrupting her dinner party. But, I get the confirmation before I get on my delayed flight in Atlanta – at least I have a Plan b.
We arrive in Minneapolis, and the pilot gets on the intercom “Folks, we have some runners on this flight. If you’re not having to connect within the next 30 minutes please let them pass”. My first glimpse of hope! Of course, I’m praying they can get the door open, as when I landed in Puerto Vallarta there was some malfunction. The door opens, I make it out of the airplane and start on a mad dash in what I hope is the right direction. The mechanical walkways are broken, could have saved me a breath or two, but I’m doing OK and my roller bag keeps up.
“Hebert?” – says the gate agent, with a question mark, in the middle of the very empty terminal. I can stop running, the door hasn’t closed yet and I’m on my flight. There’s even room in the overhead for my bag.
I send a quick email to my agent, “Abort, I made it!”
Ok, so last time you heard from me was this past summer after my 3-day Colombia trip. It’s been nonstop since the Fall, and when I sit and think about all the places I have been to in just the past 9 months, it’s crazy! How I manage all that travelling, a house and 2 kids plus 1 cat? I have amazing support from my parents, to the neighbour who plowed my driveway all year, to great friends, coworkers and school teachers and day cares that all know my life is nonstop craziness. Lucky for them I always have amazing stories to tell and I bring back souvenirs.
Here is how the rest of my year, and new year, went…
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My glamorous life as a travel agent you say? “Oh Nat can I fit in your suitcase”? And “oh please take me with you”? And the famous; “ I want your job”. Truth be told, you should be jealous!
Yes, I obviously love to travel and I have mastered the way to do it. I only need a carry on for a 7 day trek (includes at least 1 pair of high heels), I know exactly how long it will take me to drive into the city to catch my 6am flight and I could probably do it with my eyes closed. The Park n’ Fly staff all know me very well and I am always running into clients at the airport. My suitcase remains packed other than taking the dirty clothes out, washing them and putting them back in. Read More >
How should you spend less than 48hrs in Kelowna you may ask? By visiting as many wineries as you possibly can while also enjoying fine dinning and keeping active on a cross-city bike tour, of course!
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Everything is genuine in Costa Rica, from the locals’ smiles to the serenity that pervades everyday life in this country. All that is pure and full of life is right here in this tropical region which, although small, offers a wide variety of landscapes and climates and boasts an impressive 6% of the world’s existing biodiversity. It’s not difficult to find something here for everyone, from souvenir-hunters to adrenaline junkies.
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