Last minute decisions: I’m going to TBEX

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last minute decisions

The Original Plan

No jobs, no plans, no obligations, just Thom and I driving with the bed and kitchen in the back on the TransCanada Highway making our way across the country at our own pace. That had always been the plan – to have no plans. The only deadline in sight was my university friends’ wedding in Niagara at the end of June, leaving us two months to get from BC to Ontario.

This was working for us so far. Going with the flow, we hunted for a used car. The flow had taken us to historic Fort Langley, Vancouver Island to see some of my friends, to Tofino on a whim, whale watching, in the pouring rain, exploring rainforests, searching for Jerky across the Okanagan Valley, watching all sorts of wildlife along the roadside in Jasper, and Thom meeting all sorts of my extended family in British Columbia and Alberta. May was shaping up to be a pretty unforgettable month.

I’m pretty sure that we had already bought our tickets to Canada when they announced that the annual Travel Blogger Exchange conference would be held in Toronto the first weekend in June. Looking at the dates, I thought, “No, I’m not going to change around my plans of freedom to get to Toronto and miss out something else”.  I wanted to take my time to explore Western Canada, an area I’d never been to. If I had 2 months, I was going to make the most of them. I didn’t want to spend 2 months in Ontario (no offense, Ontario).

And so I had no plans of ever going to the conference. Much to the dismay of my dear Melissa from The Mellyboo Project, who would often remind me “oh I wish you were coming to TBEX. You should so come to TBEX”.

As other bloggers made their arrival plans, I had little pangs of envy, but at the same time, was completely happy with what I was doing. Not going didn’t make my road trip across Canada any less epic.

 What changed?

I’m blaming Thom for putting the idea back in my head. He encouraged the whole thing, knowing that writing and blogging were something I wanted to work towards pursuing long term, and that attending this conference would be a boost in the right direction. He’s so supportive of me and my crazy ideas and dreams.

I’d considered paying over $500 to fly to from Calgary to Toronto fort the weekend. But in the end Thom said no, we’ll just make a mission of the 3300km long hours between Calgary and Toronto in a short amount of time.  We’re in this crazy adventure together, after all. We’re aiming to get there in 5 days.

I mentioned to Mel that I was considering attending, and she had accommodation for me, so I didn’t have to worry about sorting that. Nicole from Bitten By the Travel Bug had an extra ticket, and so that it was sorted

Now what

Unfortunately, this new deadline meant that I had to cut my time in Calgary shorter than I would have liked. I also had to cut out going up to Edmonton, and catching up with a newly wed childhood friend. I am disappointed about that, sorry Johanne!

last minute decisions

We’ll also be racing through the prairies, not stopping to see much along the way. Everyone I’ve talked to said has that we won’t be missing much by doing this, but a part of me wanted to not listen to any of them and find my own fun and things to love. Thom’s famous words to me are always “you can’t do it all, Kate.”

Oh how I’d love to prove him wrong on that one. Some day I’ll have done it all, one day at time. But for now I will accept that we can’t do it all at once.

Being in Toronto for the first weekend in June also means that we’ve now got 7 weeks in Ontario.  Exactly what I didn’t want!  But that’s okay, I actually know quite a few people that it’ll be good to see without rushing around. I’ve got a few plans to kick back and get caught up on the blog too. We’ve had so many amazing adventures that I’ve yet to write about. I’m going to make it happen and it’ll give me a chance to digest everything I learn from TBEX and make a plan to put it into action.

Lots to look forward to, I am so excited to put faces to names of lots of bloggers! I even had business cards printed before leaving NZ (perhaps a sign that I was going to end up at TBEX all along, and was just too stubborn to admit it to myself).

Will I see you at TBEX?

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{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Melissa - The Mellyboo Project May 26, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Yaaaaaaaaay!!! My incessant nagging worked!!!! I KNOW you wont regret it. If anything it’ll be a great opportunity to meet people you’ve been chatting to for ages. So happy you’ve decided to change your plans. Plus that means more quality Kate and Mel time! :D
    Melissa – The Mellyboo Project recently posted..Algarve EscapesMy Profile

    • Kate May 30, 2013, 4:50 pm

      Hahaha you may or may not have had some influence! Thanks for putting us up, looking forward to some QT!

  • Alouise May 26, 2013, 5:15 pm

    Sometimes a change of plans can be a good thing. I actually just finished driving from Calgary to Toronto a few days ago. I had a week though, can only imagine 5 days would be pretty intense for that drive. I’m in Richmond Hill right now, but I’m going to be going to TBEX too, so I hope I’ll see you there.
    Alouise recently posted..Hi, I’m Not Here Right Now Because I’m Driving Across CanadaMy Profile

    • Kate May 30, 2013, 4:51 pm

      I’m very grateful to have an amazing travel partner to drive with! Well done doing the drive solo, looking forward to meeting you!

  • Erik May 26, 2013, 5:55 pm

    I, for one, think it’s a solid decision. I’m also thinking selfishly :-)

    You can get out and explore in Canada for the 7 weeks. Or drive across the border to Michigan- I can give you lots of ideas on things to see here. And, you know, we have over 140 breweries in this state :-)
    Erik recently posted..A Productive Layover in New YorkMy Profile

    • Kate May 30, 2013, 4:58 pm

      We’ll be down in Southern Ontario for a bit, so it’s possibilty! Just have to double check Thom will be let back into Canada. In the mean time, looking forward to having a beer (or few) with you this weekend!

  • TT May 26, 2013, 6:54 pm

    Awesome! I have your same spirit and love the “roaming and wandering with no schedule” trip versus a rigid schedule. Looks like you are gonna be able to combine the 2 and in a sense DO IT ALL! I have been traveling my whole life (thats 49 years) but only recently started a website and travel blogging. Actually, TBEX in Toronto was the pivotal thing that pushed me to start living my dream! Never been to Toronto and saw the conference was going to be there, registered and set up twitter, website and blog on same day (Feb 21st)! Figured out how I was gonna pay for the trip after the fact :-) I’m at
    Can NOT wait to meet everyone, now including YOU!!!! Safe and happy travels on the road :-)

  • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family May 26, 2013, 8:24 pm

    Yay! Good on you!! You never know what opportunities TBEX will end up giving you. :)
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..How to Visit Multiple Countries in a Short Amount of TimeMy Profile

    • Kate May 30, 2013, 4:56 pm

      Flexability at its finest – looking forward to learning lots, as I still feel so new at all this!

  • nana and pop May 26, 2013, 10:59 pm

    good luck drive carefully

    • Kate May 30, 2013, 4:52 pm

      Thanks Nana, Thom is a great driver – He’s much quicker at spotting the wildlife than me!

  • Anita Mac May 27, 2013, 2:45 am

    Very cool that you are able to make it! Was in the same boat last year on the Camino de Santiago – did I cut my walk to go to Costa Brava or not? In the end, I didn’t, but when the chance to go to Toronto came up, I didn’t even bat an eye! Exciting times ahead! Safe driving! Don’t forget – with so much extra time in Ontario, you can backtrack a little – Northern Ontario is gorgeous!
    Anita Mac recently posted..TBEX Toronto Bucket ListMy Profile

    • Kate May 30, 2013, 4:55 pm

      That’s definitely on the plan, we’ve got a Parks Canada pass and fully equipped to camp, so will heading up to Tobermory/Bruce Peninsula and Point Pelee and wherever else the wind takes us!

  • Ashley Hufford May 29, 2013, 2:33 am

    Hope to meet you at TBEX! I too am driving up to Toronto, but from New York so it’s not as long!! And Ontario is actually pretty great! Make sure you check out Ottawa and tour the parliament!
    Ashley Hufford recently posted..Why I Am Nervous for TBEX (But still going anyway)My Profile

    • Kate May 30, 2013, 4:54 pm

      Thanks Ashley, we’ll be heading over to Ottawa later this summer en route to Nova Scotia (where I am from/my family still is) & Newfoundland as we complete our cross-Canada roadtrip! I haven’t been since I was a kid, looking forward to see the east coast with fresh eyes and the boy! Looking forward to meeting you!

  • Rick Calvert June 3, 2013, 4:16 am

    So was it worth the trip Kate?

    • Kate June 3, 2013, 4:23 am

      I had a great time, Rick! It was a bit overwhelming at times, taking in lots of information, but I made some great connections, learned heaps so I’d have to say yes, definitely worth driving across Canada for! Thanks for everything!

  • Nicole June 3, 2013, 5:48 am

    So glad that you could come to TBEX! I’m sorry that we didn’t have more of a chance to chat in person – sooo many people!

    Will talk more online though, I hope. =)
    Nicole recently posted..Lessons Learnt from Travelling Across Canada by TrainMy Profile

    • Kate June 4, 2013, 2:39 pm

      There were definitely a LOT of people! But it was a great experience, thanks for the ticket hook up!

  • Laura Byrne Paquet June 4, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Great to meet you at lunch at TBEX, Kate! I’m enjoying your blog–New Zealand is one of my favourite places in the world. Enjoy the rest of your summer travels across Canada. And if you make it to Ottawa, look me up!
    Laura Byrne Paquet recently posted..Three great ways to live like a local in OttawaMy Profile

    • Kate June 4, 2013, 2:40 pm

      Thanks Laura, it was awesome to have met you too! We’re looking to be in Ottawa for a week-ish at the end of July as we continue to head east, so I will certainly be in touch!


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