How I Manage to Travel So Often

I often get asked how I manage to travel so often. I’ve been going on trips through North America quite often the last few years – New York City, Austin, Montréal, Vancouver. Being a freelancer helps for sure, but so does knowing when to book your trip and the methods of travel, where you’re staying, etc. 
If it’s a shorter trip (à la Montréal or New York City), I usually take the bus. If you book with Megabus a minimum of one month in advance, tickets are extremely cheap. I’m talking $25 for a one way ticket from Toronto cheap. If you don’t mind being on a bus for 12 hours, it’s perfect for you and very wallet friendly. I tend to choose an overnight trip, then I just sleep the whole time and wake up in the city that never sleeps.
As for accommodations, as much as I would love to one day spend a couple nights at THE Plaza hotel, my wallet can’t afford the $300 US per night price tag (and that’s for a cheap room). I actually have been using Air Bnb for every trip I’ve taken in the past four years. You get to meet awesome people, make new friends and learn about the city you’re staying in from the locals, instead of the tour guides. You can also usually find a nice room for as low as $15/night. My first trip to NYC was literally done for under $300(roundtrip flight and accommodations) and it left me with more spending cash to enjoy myself.
To help you out on your first trip, I’ve included my link to give YOU $45 off your stay with Air Bnb! Here’s my invitation link: http://abnb.me/e/ZpXGCxGgLG

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#RIPChester

*Trigger warning – suicide, depression*
Well this has taken me a few days to write, for numerous reasons. As everyone probably knows by now, we lost Chester last Thursday to suicide. Out of all the recent celebrity deaths, this one hurt. 

As people who follow this blog know, I’ve been very open about living with Major Depressive Disorder and have for about half my life. I’ve also talked about how having one of my best friends lose their life to suicide made that depression come back tenfold. So much so that I ended up being put on antidepressants because three months after the fact, I was only getting worse and not better. I went from thinking,”I could never put my family and friends through this” to believing it was the only option. Luckily, my doctor’s office was a short walk from my place and I made an appointment with a psychologist.
One of Chester’s good friends, Chris Cornell, died by suicide a couple months ago. Chester passed away on what would have been Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. 

Although I never knew Chester personally, he was one of the few voices that helped me cope with depression when I was first diagnosed as a teen. I remember the first time I first heard Linkin Park, back in 2000 when I was 15. It was when I was babysitting for my parents friends and they had satellite. It was one of those big ones that would take up your whole backyard but you could get AMERICAN CHANNELS! That meant MTV!!! Satellite wasn’t anything like how it is nowadays and the internet was definitely nowhere near what it is today. It quickly became a habit of mine whenever I would babysit for this family to put on MTV as soon as the kids were asleep.
Well, this band called Linkin Park comes on, with a neat video for a song called One Step Closer. I watched and thought, “these guys are so cool!” They had the dyed hair like me, had cool tattoos and I could identify with the lyrics. They instantly joined KoRn and Limp Bizkit in the “current favourite bands” category and with that babysitting money, I went and bought the cd shortly after.
The song that resonated the most then (and still does), was the song Crawling. I was recently diagnosed with depression, getting bullied in highschool and it summed everything I felt so articulately, something I’m still struggling with expressing, most times.
Flashforward a bit and I’m at Ozzfest 2001. Although the lineup had a lot of amazing bands on it, I was there to see them more than anything. I remember they opened up with “With You” and my tall friend decided to put my short ass on his shoulders so I could see. I remember the band playing and I remember during the first chorus, Chester pointed right in my general direction as he sang the words “WITH YOU”. I’d still like to think he was pointing right at me as I was a good 5ft higher than the crowd, but let’s not kid ourselves. Ha.
It was a show I knew I would remember for the rest of my life and I remember I was so happy just to witness it.

Now flashforward a few years as I am now, nineteen/twenty and they’ve changed their sound quite a bit and I lost most of my interest in them. Musical tastes change, happens to everyone but every so often I would still check in with them and check out their stuff. I loved a few songs, but they were no longer “MY FAVOURITE BAND EVER!!!!!!!1” I would still occasionally pop in Hybrid Theory or the other couple cds I have to reminisce. I never completely ended up hating them (*cough Muse cough*) or anything like that. It was more like just growing apart from an old buddy, really. I wished them well and all the success and I’m glad they did so well, in the years since. 
If I had gotten the chance to sit down with Chester, in the past couple months, I would have told him how much he helped me and to tell him, I know how much it hurts. Hell, it’s been two years since my friend died and it still hurts – less than it did the first year, but it’s still in the back of my mind. I would have maybe made him feel less alone, knowing I had went through the same situation. I wish I could have been there for him like he was for me so many years ago. I am forever grateful and thankful for him being a “guardian angel” for me years ago and I hope he is now at peace.

Life Update

Hello all!
I hope everyone’s year is going well so far. I’m so sorry for neglecting this blog, even though I promised to write more. I’ve been quite busy the past few months.
I was accepted to a University and taking online beginner courses in Neurobiology. That’s been taking most of my time, to be honest. It’s super fun though and extremely interesting! (Writing this blog is my err….break from researching for my dissertation.) 
Aside from my courses, I have also been doing barre exercises and yoga at usually three days a week. I am finding it makes my body and mind a lot better. I am still having to take my medication, but I find that the two combined helps a lot – even on my off days.
I have been playing my guitar again (yay!) And trying to relearn all the songs I’ve written that I haven’t played in nearly two years. Luckily, I don’t have a concussion this time so I’m actually able to memorise my lyrics. 

I caught up with some family friends I haven’t seen in SO LONG over the holidays and I have planned to go visit two of them out west. Short political opinion insert here – I have decided to boycott travelling to the US during this Presidency and therefore I’m making a Canadian trip to Vancouver for six days, Banff for three and Calgary for six. I’m super excited because I haven’t been out west in about ten years and truth be told, I really miss it. A bonus being I can go hang out with my friends as well while I’m out there! Double score!

So far, I have been having a pretty good year. Already made a short visit to Montreal and hung out with some band friends there (and a bit in Toronto too!)
I hope that you’re having a great year so far and if so, that it continues. If your year has been a struggle so far, I hope it improves for you! 
I’m going to leave you with some photos and see you later!
Cheers!


My Poor, Poor, Neglected Blog

I know, I’m doing it again. I will post more soon! I promise! I’ve been really busy so there’s a huge update on the way.
Cheers for now!

#GuelphMusicClub Top ______ Albums of 2016(pt. 1)

So I’m going to start posting my top picks for albums that were released this year, in no particular order. As soon as I think I’m finished my list, I remember more so I’m leaving the number of albums blank.

First up on the dockit are 

(The obvious one) Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool


Not only did I get to see them live (as I’m sure you know by now if you ever read this blog), but this album was very orchestral and extremely personal. One of my favourite things about Radiohead is that they have influences from across the musical genres and no album sounds the same twice.

Garbage – Strange Little Birds


I have a soft spot for Garbage because they were my first concert wayyy back in ’97 (noticing a theme to this bunch?) and Shirley Manson has been a huge role model in my life. This is probably going to be the “poppy”-est entry on my list, but it provides a wonderful sonic musicscape with heartfelt lyrics that I tend to love a lot.
Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Events


I have to say, this is the reason I delayed starting these posts this year. I had to hear it before writing about it obviously and I’m glad I did. It perfectly describes the noise and confusion of the state of the world and introduced Atticus Ross as an actual member of NIN and not just a Reznor collaborator. I fell in love with this band in ’97 as well and thus I do believe it ends my first bunch of favourite albums this year. Stay tuned tomorrow for the next bunch!

Some Good Things That Happened This Year

Hello all,
It’s really no secret that 2016 was a really shitty year overall. It would be all too easy to focus on the negatives, as it always is so I thought that I would write about some good things that happened this year.
The first good thing that happened this year was my NYC trip back in March. Seeing (and hanging out with) Sons of an Illustrious Father as well as just being back in NYC was exciting and a break from the bleakness that my life was turning into. There’s always just something about NYC that makes people feel so alive.
Another good thing that happened was ditching a toxic friend. Instead of waking up to constant negative messages everyday, I tend to wake up in a better mood overall.
Being hired for TIFF was also so amazing. TIFF is always an exciting time of year and being on the flipside (instead of volunteering) was an amazing experience. Working with the volunteers is always a highlight and one of my favourite things to do during the festival.
The roadtrip to Austin was a pretty awesome experience. The people I met on the way and seeing so much of the US was so neat. I made friends from that and for that I am thankful.
Of course SEEING RADIOHEAD has to be on the list. The amazing setlist, the amazing people I met while waiting in the beating hot sun for Radiohead to start. Everything was pretty damn perfect, to say the least. 

Of course, being able to end the year with friends and family is another highlight. 
Cheers to you all (and stay tuned for my “Best of 2016” music post next week).
Happy holidays! 

Can I Just Give a Big Fuck You?

I wasn’t going to write about it because I’m personally not a fan of ‘Ye’s, but I am SICK of seeing the “Kanye” memes going around right now. He was hospitalised for a mental illness and has been hospitalised for over a week. I’m sick of seeing memes making fun of him for being hospitalised. Sick of people laughing at him having to stay in a hospital longer than “they” (the media) originally thought.  I’m so sick of it.

I’m sick of it because I ended up hospitalised for depression last year. I’m sick of it because I have a friend who was hospitalised get out only to kill herself. I’m sick of it because one of the best people I have ever known is currently in a hospital, TRYING to get better. 
Kanye has said more than one horrible, questioning thing over the years – don’t get me wrong. But I still have sympathy for him. Good for those who carried on touring when they have cancer – whether it’s Gord Downie or Lenny or whomever. Kanye was hospitalised and his tour was cancelled because he fell into “threat to himself or others”. If Gord Downie was hallucinating and trying to kill his band members, he would have also been pulled from touring. 
I’m sick of people thinking people who suffer from mental illness are so laughable as the ill push themselves more than they should while people who have cancer are regarded as “brave heroes” for trying to carry on at the best of their ability. 
I’m sick of it.