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Travel Essentials: Don’t forget these on your next trip!

Travel Essentials: Don’t forget these on your next trip!

I’ve been travelling a lot this year and have a routine when I pack.  I never forget, a hat, an eye mask, thongs (aka flip flops), multiple pairs of sunglasses (no matter what the temperature), a couple scarves, insurance, and my passport. Wardrobe and accessories always depend on where I’m going. Something  REALLY important people often forget is INSURANCE.

Millennials, I’m lookin’ at you. Apparently, we’re more likely to hop on a plane without insurance (55%) than without our cell phone (45%). Raise your hand if this is you?!

In a recent TD Insurance survey, more than 1/3 of Canadians forgot to purchase travel insurance at least once (37%) or said it’s the last thing they think of (36%).


SF MOMA, San Francisco, United States


Over a third of Canadians think they have travel insurance with their credit card (37%) or their job (37%), but don’t check what coverage they really have. You should definitely double check before you get on that airplane and consider buying supplemental insurance if you don’t have out of country emergency medical coverage.

We’ve all heard stories of people having accidents on trips and you don’t want to rely on a GoFundMe to get you home safe. 

Drake Devonshire, Prince Edward County, New Zealand

Sutro Baths, San Francisco, United States


Almost half of Canadians travel outside the country/province more than once a year. It’s important to have Canada-wide coverage as well as international. DYK that government health plans won’t always cover out-of-province emergency expenses like bringing a family member to see you in hospital, returning you home, or ambulance rides?

If you travel heaps like me, check out the TD Annual Plan that covers you for unlimited trips of 9, 17, 30 or 60 days throughout the year. This will save you from *forgetting* insurance again and save you unwanted expenses in the event that something bad happens.

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This post is in partnership with TD. I love to travel and insurance is really important. Don't be one of those people that forgets to take care of it!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

I’m back in TO and what a great week I had. I love California and especially San Francisco. I have over 2,000 photos and so many stories to share. If you were following me you’ll know I was pretty busy. On my last day I went to the famous Museum of Ice Cream (more photos coming!), then a boat tour, and a bus tour. It was so fun but today I’m exhausted.

I’ve been switching back and forth from EST to PST for two weeks with being in Vancouver and SF and I think it’s catching up with me. Plus, we have Daylight Saving this weekend. This weekend I’m looking forward to some quality time at home with my computer writing about my adventures. I’m sticking around the city for a couple weeks before I visit Montreal and Paris.  I’m really looking forward to opening the cottage soon.


Sending you some California sunshine, I tried to bring back as much as I could! 

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Hello from San Francisco!

Hello from San Francisco!

Hi!!!! This is a quick little update from the Bay Area. I just checked into my hotel in Union Square and am meeting the other journalists shortly for dinner. It was sunny when we landed then a few showers rolled in. It was raining on the way to the hotel, sunny when I got to my room, then it rained, and one second later a beautiful rainbow appeared. Magical!

san francisco rainbow casiestewart


I’m really excited to explore the city over the next 6 days. I’ve been here a couple times but mostly just quick work trips with Virgin America. I’m here w/ SF Tourism this time writing for Canadian Geographic and we have a really great itinerary including a Segway tour, Alcatraz, Mission District, dinner theatre, and heaps of good food.

WELCOME TO SAL FRANCISCO!


Follow along on Twitter @casiestewart or IG @casiestewart here. I love sharing my adventures and am really excited about what the next few days will bring.


The rainbow at sunset from my balcony!!!

Here’s to a great weekend!

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Happiest When Travelling

Happiest When Travelling

Hellooooooo! Good morning from Surrey, BC. I’m here as a consultant for a conference and that’s all I can say about that right now. Arrived yesterday afternoon after a great flight on Air Canada. I’m staying at a pink hotel called Pacific Inn that looks like a Caribbean resort. I’ll take some photos before I leave!

Today we’re at a beautiful golf resort with mountains in the background. The view below is from the beach in White Rock, BC were I had dinner last night.

Tomorrow I’m heading to downtown Vancouver for the day and booked and Airbnb for the night. Back home Thursday.

Sending sunshine from the West Coast!

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Go Ahead, Use Your Phone! Telus Has Easy Roam!

Go Ahead, Use Your Phone! Telus Has Easy Roam!

Even though I was really glad to be home from New Zealand, I would LOVE to be back there on the beach right now. This winter seems never-ending and I even missed a month of it!

While I was away I didn’t miss a beat posting things to the internet. For three weeks I used Google maps as my navigator, Stories, Twitter, and Facebook to share photos, and was able to stay on to of emails.  

A few people asked about my phone data usage and what plan I had. If you have ever travelled overseas, the phone/data situation can be stressful and very expensive. That was, until now! 🤩

Telus has a great add-on called Easy Roam where for you can use your phone’s regular data plan in over 100 countries. If you’re in the USA, Easy Roam is $7/day and capped at $100 per billing cycle. For international destinations, like New Zealand, the $10/day fee is capped at $150 per billing cycle.

Telus Easy Roam lets you use your Canadian rate plan while travelling in the US and 100+ international destinations – now and on all future trips.

 


Honestly, this is such a good deal. I remember travelling to the states for a weekend and a friend racked up $1,000 because she didn’t have a data plan like this.

The good things is, you’re only charged for days that you access your Canadian plan in your destination. So, if you don’t need to use your Canadian data plan (hellooo wifi!) you’re not charged.

While in NZ, I had wifi at almost every place I stayed, so that helped for nighttime/morning scrolling (just like home haha).  Safe to say, I didn’t go over my monthly data and or get a shocker of a bill when I came home.

If you’re planning a winter getaway, you’ll find these useful:

Next week, I’m travelling to Vancouver to speak at a conference and before I head home, visiting the Telus HQ. I’ve wanted to visit Telus Garden since it was built!

The building takes up an entire city block downtown Vancouver and blends architecture, art, and environmental sustainability. It has 10,000+ square feet of outdoor space on six different levels, a community garden, bike storage, electric car charging stations, and more. I’m excited!

See you next week Vancouver!

 

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Mammary Memory, Thanks Facebook!

Mammary Memory, Thanks Facebook!

Two years ago today I was in Cabo with Sean on a sponsored trip w/ Sunwing. It was an ok trip. We had a pretty strict itinerary and were at a remote resort but the sun was beautiful and we had a great room. When I look at this photo, I think about how I had to post a certain number of things each day and it was kinda stressful. This was one of the photos I posted to IG during the trip to document stand paddle boarding. The other thing I see when I look at this photo is the size of my boobs.

Surfing photo, hiding the boobs here again.

Six months after this trip I had a breast reduction. For years I would hide them, they never fit properly in a bathing suit, or a bra, especially a sports bra. I hated them and was at the point where I was willing to pay for the surgery myself when the phone call came in. I am so glad I went through that process and have smaller boobs now.

The biggest change, aside from working out in 1 bra only is the effect it had on my mental health. I’m happier. I’m more confident. I was always a happy person with confidence but the change for me is in how I feel on the inside. I don’t stress about shirt buttons popping open anymore, I can just throw on something and get dressed really fast, I wear tighter stuff without feeling likes someone might say “whoa Tits McGee!”. That happened a few times before lol. I can laugh about it now, but having huge boobs was something that I really stressed about. I had a DD and was 100Lbs when I started high school, it wasn’t fun. For the last few years before the surgery, I never wore v-neck, low cut, backless, strapless, tank tops, or spaghetti strap. And the only t-shirts were definitely baggy.

If you have ever thought about going through the process of getting the reduction, I am happy to chat you about my process. It was covered by OHIP and I saw a great surgeon in North York. I personally know a couple women who have done it for me and it’s a real life changer.

These days I love working out, the gym, yoga, and running outside. I’m working on my summer muscles already and I can’t wait for summer. There are 46 days until the first day of Spring and according to the groundhog, we’ve got 6 more weeks of winter taking us to March 16th.

Sean and I on a jetski in Cabo! You can barely see the famous archway in the distance!

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Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk

Three events today. Ignore…. 33 Facebook notifications. Too many unread emails. Twitter notifications. Instagram notifications. Unread messages. It’s overwhelming. Then add on [that you’ve been keeping a public diary about your life for a decade and] all kinds of people who don’t really know you who think they ‘like totally’ know you because they’ve known you for 5+ years.

They know about the cottage and people, places, things, thoughts. Boyfriends, birthdays, best friends. They’ve had babies and you’d recognize their kids now, but you don’t really know them.

They know you, part of you, the sunshiney part where you’re always smiling and wearing bright colours, or going somewhere great looking good.

They don’t see behind the screen, in the pile of clothes or messy closet. The days when you just can’t even, when you think about leaving the house. Or going to that event. When all you want to really do is stay home and cook in your kitchen or go to yoga because it makes you feel better.


I feel like I need a break and maybe it’s the winter blues talking post vacation SAD*.  Maybe it’s because I’m on the waitlist for yoga at noon. Maybe it’s Time’s Up or Me Too. I don’t know. It’s freezing outside and blowing snow gives limited visibility. It’s also Bell Let’s Talk and Spring is just a few weeks away.

It’s ok not to be ok. I’m not always ok. The last few weeks have been really hard. The trip to New Zealand was super fucking hard. My nana died and one of my uncles was being super controlling from the day I arrived to the point where I blocked him on Facebook. Travelling with your mum is not easy. I cried a lot for the first week of the trip. I cried while driving with my mum in the car yelling at each other. I pulled over to cry while mum walked off. I fucked up the car by putting diesel in the gas tank after having a big cry with my BF. I fucked up a tire by driving over a storm grate to take a picture of a sign that said ‘Beaconsfield’ like the old Queen West Bar. I drove alone on really insane roads where death was less than a metre away. But I did it. I did it all and I made it home safe. I was worried at times I wouldn’t make it and other times I wanted to drive mum and I off the damn ledge because I was so annoyed. But I didn’t do that either.

Over the course of the NZ trip, I learned a lot about myself and had a lot of time to think about what I want to do with my life. What’s next? I kept a diary of the trip with mum. I haven’t posted as much for the last 2 weeks since I’ve been back but I’ve still been writing. I’ve been working on more projects w/ 1188 and Occupied VR. I’ve been eating well, going to the gym, and doing yoga. Today I baked a lasagna from scratch.

I’m continuing my 2017 mantra of doing what makes me happy and making my time a priority. I guess you could say I’m reclaiming my time.  Last year after my LA trip, I shifted the way I think about things and it has made all the difference. I am more considerate and calm, and I try to listen more and talk less.

Being a positive person is something you have to want to do and decision I try to make every day. Post NZ I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to do next and I feel like the winter is a perfect time to hibernate and do just that. I always feel better when I write it down. Having a diary really helps me through those days when I don’t want to get out of bed.

If you’re having a hard day, hang in there. You are the director of your movie and you decide how the story goes and who plays a starring role.

You can also reach out to me anytime, I think you probably know me better than I realize. I’m always here. 

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FYI in case you aren't from Canada and don't have the long cold winter!
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons —SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

Years ago when I worked with Virgin America I helped them launch service in Dallas Texas. It’s a really cool thing when a new airline joins a city. All kinds of celebrities and media are flown in on their biggest plane and before anyone exits the aircraft, a huge water cannon washes over the plane. It was so neat. Stephanie Pratt (Spencer’s sister) from The Hills, Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family, and Xeni from Boing Boing were on the plane too. Read the full post here from Dec 1, 2010.

On this trip I met Richard Branson for the first time, Willie, LMFAO, a few other great people. This quote of his came up in my Facebook memories from this day in 2014 so I thought I’d share a little more about the day I met the author.

Redwood, redwood, coming in for landing xo. 

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Redwood is the Virgin America (VX) callsign!

Tramping in New Zealand

Tramping in New Zealand

OK, I know what you are thinking and I THOUGHT THE SAME THING.

When I arrived in NZ we picked up the rental car at the airport. Next, we pulled into a parking lot at the airport to change into summer clothes. I took a few laps of the airport to get used to right-hand drive and being on the other side of the road. I was fine.  I drove us down to the Viaduct in Auckland to look at the boats. [Mum is really into sailing and has a boat, sailed from Ontario to the Bahamas and lived there for a year.]

We went into a sailing shop and I saw this mug…

We walked out of the store and very serious I came close to mum, and whispered in her ear “mum, what is tramping?

I was so serious. Tramping?
What is a tramping club?

Mum, WTF IS TRAMPING?

Because to me, ‘tramping’ would be something to do with tramps or going out to find a man. Something you might have done in college that involved a lot of shots. Nothing I would ever do, now.

In New Zealand…
TRAMPING IS HIKING!

Tramping, known elsewhere as backpacking, rambling, hill walking or bushwalking, is a popular activity in New Zealand. Tramping is defined as a recreational activity involving walking over rough country. Wikipedia

“tramps, ranging from easy to difficult”


WELL, THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW.
Here I am thinking something bad and it’s totally hiking. 

So, I went tramping on Piha beach and it was AMAZING.

Black sand due to volcanic sand and iron oxide. Cool eh!

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