Don't read this blog

I've already told you not to read this blog, yet here you are. So I guess it won't help to tell you that this whole blog will be really, really, boring. Anything I say, literally will be of no interest. It will pretty much just be about my travel plans, I just want to keep a record for myself of how everything about this trip develops. I mean it literally, this blog will not be of interest to you. Don't read it!

But yet, here you are... Prepare to get bored!

So guess what day it was this weekend... The Eagles @ The Seahawks. And good news, I managed to sell my ticket. And although it's obviously not good news that the Hawks lost 26-7, there would have been a bitter taste in my mouth had we won the game and I hadn't got to see it. So if we could only win one of the Eagles game or the Redskins game, I would rather it be the Skins game so I'm there in person to see it. We'll probably lose that one as well, but only time will tell.

The bad news, was that this ticket only sold for $10.49. That's £6.49. I wasn't expecting to get full-price back for it. After all, I wasn't actually selling a ticket directly, I was just selling the authorisation to be able to pick up the ticket on gameday. I wouldn't pay full-price for a ticket like that, so I wasn't expecting other people to. But speaking to the person I sold the ticket to via email after the game, she was saying how there were no problems, and she was able to obtain the ticket without a hitch, so that was good. So as a joke, I send a message back saying glad everything went smoothly, but I just wish I could have made the final score a little better for you. To which she replied, "Actually, we're Eagles fans." For fucks sake. Of all the people in Seattle to buy a game ticket, how do I manage to find the damn Eagles fan? I feel like I've hurt the team because there was an Eagle cheering in my seat, rather than a Hawk. Fucking dirty Eagles. I guess the money of an Eagle is just as good as the money of a Seahawk. Though it would have made this deal much sweeter had she had a shit day. I suppose seeing as at one point, it didn't look like I'd be able to sell this ticket on at all, getting back $10.49 (minus eBay fees, minus Paypal fees) is better than nothing. Dirty Eagles.

Two of the requirements to getting your work authorisation for Canada issued, are that 1) You have a flight booked out of North America, and 2) You have adequate insurance. BUNAC offer both of these, but at silly prices. 12 months of BUNAC's own insurance would have set me back over £500 for fucks sake. So I set about finding acceptable replacements for both of these at the weekend. Fuck me, I don't think I've ever had to read so much small print! I found decent looking insurance, including Winter sports and baggage cover for £189.99. It's only reading every finite detail of the small print that you find out that the Winter sports cover only lasts for 1 month. Great news for me if I break a leg in January then. Another problem I was having with all this insurance, is that no provider that I could find, allowed you to renew your cover whilst you were out of the UK. So in the end, I decided that the best thing to do, was to get 24 months of cover with American Express. It was £278 including baggage cover for 12 months, or £411 for 24 months. So on a per month basis, £411 wasn't too bad. And considering all the troubles I had arranging this, I really didn't want to have to go through it all again a year from now. Because if I'm not even in the UK, it'll be even harder. So I now have 2 full years of winter sports travel insurance. This is the first actual arrangement I've made that I won't be coming back home once I get kicked out of Canada. Knowing how much I hate spending money, now I have the insurance, there is no way in Hell I won't be using it.

I always have a big problem buying insurance though. Obviously, by charging me £411, they expect me to need to claim less that £411 worth of cover. So the law of averages says that I won't be getting value for money from this purchase. Especially seeing as I've never lost my luggage and I haven't had any medical attention since I was about 10. My body just doesn't break, and I'm so damn security conscious it's scary. Now I have my Pacsafe, all my belongings will be locked away even if they are in a locker. They'll be bullet proof. And my bones are made of steel. They just don't break either. American Express got a hell of a good deal here. Seeing as I don't really care about insurance though, what have I actually bought? Have I bought peace of mind? Maybe, but I don't really care about that. Danger is fun. All I have bought, is an incentive to be an idiot. When I pay £411 for something, I expect to get value for money. And I'm not someone who needs encouragement to do stupid crap. Now I have to make back £411 in injuries... I'm literally going to be throwing myself down mountains until I've made my money back. I have just purchased the incentive to break myself. And I'm really not someone who needs encouragement to be an idiot.

In terms of flying out the country, I haven't made the plans for what I'm actually going to do yet. So how would I buy flights for that? So instead I've bought a fully-refundable flight from Fort Lauderdale to Guatemala City (you have to leave North America). It cost nearly $400 to buy the refundable option. But as soon as I get through immigration in Canada, I'll be cancelling this flight and getting my money back. And at a profit if the pound strengthens in that time. Both the insurance and the flight out, are just pointless bureaucracy.

I purchased both the flight and the insurance less than an hour apart. So in less than an hour, I'd spent about £600. That's £600 on something that I'll probably never use, insurance, and something that I'll be getting refunded for. Surely there's something a bit fucked up about the red-tape to get into Canada. Knowing my luck, this airline will go bust before I have the chance to claim my refund. The way things have been going so far, it wouldn't surprise me.

That was on Sunday night, and already in the post this morning (Tuesday), I've received my work authorisation letter. Pretty quick service. It now means though, that I am officially ready to land in Canada. Getting these things sorted were the final red-tape I had to get through, so if I landed in Canada today, I could get my work visa! And what a fucking journey it's been. I think it might have started before I even started writing these blogs. Getting police checks and references etc., what a long and unnecessary process it is to get into Canada. Why is it they make it so damn hard, when if I wanted to go to Australia, I could just apply online the day before, or even just turn up. I love going to Canada, but the big brother there is pretty dominating. You can't breathe without filling out a form first. But as of right now, I am officially ready to enter Canada. I liked it when I phoned BUNAC to confirm they had received these details yesterday, they didn't even have to check the computer or anything. I just said my name, and there was an instant response of "Yes, I processed these earlier, and you should be receiving your work authorisation in the post soon." I guess that's the advantage of having a rare name. People always remember you.

Speaking of memory, that's something that fascinates me. The weird things that I actually remember. I was in the gym this morning, on the cross-trainer. On one of the TV's they were playing some gameshow. I'm not even sure which one, there wasn't any sound or anything. Possibly the deadly knowledge show, or something like that. Anyway, a question came up: "Which actor played the character Dr. Richard Kimble?" I didn't have a clue. So I looked away and turned to another TV screen. Then suddenly, after probably at least 10 seconds of not caring about this question, I suddenly knew that the answer was Harrison Ford, in The Fugitive. That's a film I've seen once, possibly twice in my life. Not for at least 5 years though I'd guess. I can barely remember the plot for fucks sake. If you asked me to name the main character, I couldn't do it. I can barely even tell you the plot anymore, just the bare skeleton of what happens. And the name Dr. Richard Kimble; I don't think that name will have been ushered in my presence since I last saw the film 5 or more years ago. Yet, somehow, after about 10 seconds of watching a different TV, I suddenly knew that the answer was Harrison Ford. I find that really fucking weird. I'm shit with names. Can't remember them at all. Yet somehow I could recollect the actor who play Dr. Richard Kimble. Why? I couldn't have named Kimble had his name not been in the question. And also, why did it take 10 seconds to come to Dr. Richard Kimble, Harrison Ford, The Fugitive me? At a time when I was focusing on something completely different? It facinates me in a way. I wonder how much information I actually have stored in my brain on some level. And how do I access that? Sometimes you can focus all your energy onto thinking of something. You can't think of it though. But 3 days later you can be eating lunch, or watching TV or something, and for no reason, this piece of information suddenly pops into your head. It was in there all along, yet for some reason you couldn't access it. I just find that really weird. How clever would I be if I could actually access all the information stored in my brain? Is everything I've ever seen or heard stored in there somewhere? I don't know. It's a fascinating thing to think about though. I like to simplify peoples intelligence normally. You either know things or you don't. You're dumb or you're smart. Maybe the difference between intelligence isn't in fact that one person knows more than another. Maybe it's just that they can access the information in their brain more efficiently. There may be very little difference in the information actually stored. I just find the whole concept quite fascinating. All this from glancing up at a TV screen when I was on the cross-trainer.

If you've read the early blogs that I've written, back when I was leaving Hull, you'll remember that I was talking about how everytime I'm just getting settled somewhere, then I keep on moving on somewhere else. It's the exact same thing right now. I'm just getting to the point that everytime I go to the gym, I know that there will be someone there I recognise to say hi to. To the point that I feel I'm a part of the place, and not more like an imposter. And just as it's getting like this, I'm about to leave. That's something you have to deal with if you travel. It's a bit depressing though. All these faces you'll never see again. My gym membership has now been cancelled though. I say that, I emailed them a week or 2 ago cancelling the membership, and they never got back to me. I've since cancelled the direct debit on the assumption that they received my email. If they haven't though, that might come back to haunt me. Ah well. It's not like they'll be able to find me when I'm over in Canada. I might not be able to get another Fitness First membership when, or if, I return to the UK though. We'll see if that materialises into anything. I'm not even sure that they have my London address anyway, so I don't see what they can really do.

In terms of my actually going to Canada, I was pretty stressed out about everything last time that I wrote. But since then, I've had a chance to take a step back and look at things. And I've come to the realisation, that if I'm stressed and worried about every detail of this trip, I really won't get anything out of it. If my skiing isn't good enough for this job, then so what. I'll get another job. If I can't find a place to live, then so what. I'll sleep on someones couch until something turns up. If if doesn't, then so what. I'll go somewhere else. If I'm worried and stressed like I was last time that I wrote, I won't gain anything from my travelling. So now I'm just relaxed. If things don't work out how I hope, then we'll deal with it at the time. I'm not going to become complacent in my preparation or anything like that, but I'm not going to stress about every little detail. If I do that, I'll forget about why I'm travelling in the first place.

In the last blog, I wrote about this house that has a spare room. Well yesterday, I was speaking through MSN to the Aussie guy that has one of the rooms in the house. For nearly 2 hours somehow. He was a really easy guy to talk to as well. And he was saying that if I need a couch for a couple of weeks, then I can have a couch for a couple of weeks, so that was cool. I was previously on the assumption that he'd been busting his balls to get that place sorted though. Turns out he just latched onto this girl because he figured that she'd be doing all the work for him. I guess that I just didn't bug her enough. He was telling me though, that right now there were 2 Canadian girls thinking about having the spare room. But if they didn't want it, then I'd probably be able to have it. So that's cool. At least I know where I stand now. I'll try and find out in a couple of days if they've taken the room. But it was cool to talk to him. He reminded me of me a bit to be honest. Can't really ski either. Latching onto other people to get a house sorted. He's taking a couple of expensive video cameras with him as well to document his trip. That's even more dedicated that building a website and writing a blog. Travelling alone as well. And he's 23. But I think it was talking to this guy for 2 hours is what relaxed me about the whole situation. I know there's a couch there if I need one, so that's cool. It's good to talk. I am still hoping that one day I switch on my laptop and there's an email sitting in my inbox from someone who's found a place and got a room spare. But now if it doesn't happen, ah, it's not the end of the world.

What I am thinking now though, is that I probably now won't go to Whistler. I'm flying over without any equipment, and probably without anywhere to live. Is it really wise to arrive with only 2 days until I start work? I don't think so. So the plan in the back of my mind now, is land in Vancouver on the 19th. Then on the Monday after the Hawks beat the Redskins, which'll be the 24th, head on East. Maybe have a couple of nights in Banff on the way, but look to arrive in Invermere on the 26th or 27th. That'll give me a week before I start work, probably sleeping on a couch, to shop for equipment I'll need: Basic things, like thermal underwear and thick Winter boots (apparently they need to be good to -25°), but things I won't be taking with me. And it'll also give me a week to try and find accomodation. In my experience of Canada, most accomodation rentals tend to start on the 1st day of the month. So if I get lucky I might be able to get a place sorted for December 1st. And even if they're all gone, it's an extra few days looking for a place before I start working. So it's feasible I could arrive in Invermere as early as the 24th November if I skip out Banff. And if I'm lucky, I might even be able to get some ski practice in before I start work. Though with all the staff starting December 3rd, I'm not sure who'll actually be operating the ski lifts. And if things go really well, I may even have a place to live sorted by November 28th say, then I could get the bus to Banff for a couple of days, safe in the knowledge that everything is organised already. It's only about 90 minutes on the bus I think. That's just me thinking out loud. I'm a lot more relaxed about it all than I was when I last wrote a blog though. And seeing as it's so late, I'm guessing that most of the budget accomodation in Whistler will have gone already, seeing as what time of year it is. So I recon I'll skip out Whistler. It makes it all the more frustrating that I'm flying into Vancouver and not Calgary, but if I focus on that it'll just piss me off, so I'm putting it to the back of my mind. If nothing else, because Vancouver was the first place I really ever travelled to, it's a pretty special place to me. I could never have too much time there.

And if everything does all turn to shit, well fuck it. One day I'll be dead. Ok, maybe not the most mature way of looking at things, but it's true eh. I do always wonder, on what level are we supposed to live our lives? You can solve any problem in the world by saying, "it doesn't matter, because one day we'll all be dead." And then you could go even further: "One day the sun will supernova so earth won't even exist anyway." Or you could take it to the point of, "Well eventually every star will disappear, and there will be no remnants that anything actually existed in our universe. And if there was still evidence, who's going to be there looking at it?" At the other end of the scale though, you could be a person worrying about the everyday emotion of every living creature. "Oh my God. Poor Andrew Sacks. He might be offended. Lets complain, because that will undo all the offended emotion surrounding him." Then you could be a person that isn't worried so much about individual emotions, but is worried about each individual living creatures overall quality of life. The kind of person who will donate money for a specific person who has no face or something like that. Then you could be the kind of person who looks at everything in a macro perspective. You don't worry about individuals so much, but when the numbers grow, so many thousands dying of cancer, so many thousands dying in Africa etc., then you start to care. Then you could be a person, who doesn't solely worry about people, but longer-term affects to the planet. Worrying about the effects for future generations and for particular species, about the effects of climate change, for example. Where exactly on this scale are we supposed to live? Personally, I'm a cross between worrying about the effects we're having longer-term. The inevitable extinction of the emperor penguin through global warming for example. A cross between that, and when I realise that I can't do anything, then I'm a "well fuck-it. Eventually we'll all be dead" kind of guy. What level are we supposed to be living on though. Because it's very true. Eventually the existence of the universe will no longer be. So what the fuck was all the worrying and bickering down on the little planet of earth in that little solar system back in 2008 all about? Eventually, everything we live for and everything we do, will be an irrelevancy. That is very hard for me to take. I hate living my life everyday knowing that. I guess that's really the main reason I want to travel. I want to find out why? Why the fuck are we here, and why do we live our lives? And to be honest, I doubt I'll ever find out why by travelling. But in the end, I know I won't find out why staying in one place. So I'll live with the glimmer of hope that I will one day know. Because it frustrates me everyday, just not knowing why I do what I do. Every move I've made in my life, will one day become insignificant. Every thought I have, everything that I do. And I find it really hard to live knowing that. If I can live my life in the hope that one day I will get a step closer to knowing why I'm here, that that's what I'm going to do. Because it's the not knowing that gets to me. All the death, the happiness, the emotion, the blood, the sweat, the tears, that happens everyday on earth; there must be a reason for that. There has to be. If there isn't then why the hell do we do it? And I guess that's my ultimate goal. I just want to find out why. Not for fame and not for fortune. But just for my own personal actualisation. It wouldn't matter a hoot to me if no one else ever found out. But for my own peace of mind, I just have to know why. There has to be a reason for it. I refuse to live if there is no reason.

It's a big day today. The US election is finally upon us. Obama vs Palin. I won't spend long banging on about this. What I will say, is that if Obama doesn't get into the White House, that is me done with the US. They will be a race beyond help. If a majority of them actually think that Palin could be a satisfactory world leader, then I will literally erase the US from my maps of the world. They will simply become a race I don't even consider there anymore. They will have once again proved themselves to be so fucking dumb, that they aren't even brought into consideration. It would be as bad as reelecting Bush 4 years ago. I will find it hard to take that some of the states will still be dumb enough to vote Palin (or McCain to put it officially), but as long as the majority of them aren't that fucking stupid, I will still just about consider them a race. If by some miracle, McCain does get office, they are literally dead to me. I will refuse to ever again consider the US a country. They will have once again demonstrated a level of retardedness that just goes beyond comprehension. They should embrace the fact that they at least have the opportunity to vote between a compenent man and a retard. In this country we just get the choice of 2 retards. That's why I never vote. If my right to democracy is to choose the lesser retard over the greater retards, then I abstain in protest. At least they have a competent candidate. I hope they don't fuck it up. But then I've thought that for the last 2 elections, and look where that got me.

Like I said I would, any people that I add to the forum, I will write about in this blog. So along with dave_84 and Kylie, you can now add Ray-man to the list of people who are actually my forum alter-egos. I just want it to look like people use the forum to get the ball rolling. As soon as enough people start using the forum (if that ever happens), I'll probably delete them. But for now, I have 3 forum alter-egos. I think I got a little excited last time I was writing though. There really won't be any kind of soap-opera. I think I just got caught up in the moment last time.

More good news is that this week I should have the first contact regarding my Icesave account. I haven't had it yet, but fingers crossed I will be able to get my money back before I leave. It sounds like it will all be done electronically now anyway, so hopefully it won't matter where in the world I am. And in speaking to a different person about accomodation in Invermere to the one I was talking about earlier, he was saying that apparently, the company are still advertising for places they can take as staff accomodation. So you never know, I might still be able to get into staff accom. if anything turns up. And even better news, my resting heart-rate is currently 48bpm. I was bored so I took it a few nights ago. Normal is considered 60-90bpm, but the lower you are the better, so I'm always happy to be below 60. I used to be a consistent sub-45bpm kind of guy. But that was back in the day when I was really fit. I'm getting older and lazier, so to still be well below normal levels is good to know.

Why are you still here? I just wrote 18 paragraphs about buying insurance, and warned you about it first. Did this honestly entertain you? Is your life really so empty that this was the best way for you to fill your time? Well... glad I could be of help. Now get a fucking life.

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