This post just keeps getting more and more timely. I am going home to my parents for 10 days and now I am also travelling for work for 5 days that I don’t have an itinerary for and I get back to Sioux Lookout at some point on Friday evening (I don’t have an itinerary yet) and then need to drive down to Thunder Bay to catch my flight to Toronto which departs at 5 a.m. and it is going to be a lot.
Also, despite the fact that I have been on a lot of flights in the past year, none of them have been traditionally commercial. Most have been charter flights, and we pitch up 15 minutes before and they wait for us if we are late. And there’s no security, no liquids limit, none of that. I have not been on a traditional commercial flight since January 2020 – the day that Kobe Bryant (and others) were killed in their helicopter crash – and it was NOT a smooth travel day. And there have been so many horror stories this summer about lost baggage that I am trying to travel with a carry-on and personal item only and not lose my skin care routine to the CBSA. And I have to go through Pearson, only the worst ranked airport in the world at the moment.
My work travel is very different from most people’s work travel. When most people think work drip, they are thinking nice hotels and meals that your company is paying for. When I travel for work it is to places where the only grocery store is the Northern store, which has a complete monopoly over food sales in remote Canadian communities and charges insane prices for food, and if there is a restaurant it’s out of someone’s house (although I have had some great meals out of these places, but it’s not exactly luxury).
So when I go on a work trip I am packing all my food for the entire duration of the trip. Sometimes that is a work week, sometimes that is three weeks. This time it is just the work week, which makes it much easier. Meal prepping is your best friend for though, and I’m not normally a meal prepper (mostly because I think it’s just fancy leftovers). Sometimes that meal prep looks like buying four frozen dinners or a big frozen lasagna sometimes it’s the Pinterest version. For me, the worst part is the water. I hate having to use plastic water bottles. But they are the reality of the north, there are 26 First Nations communities in Ontario that continue to not have drinkable water, and sometimes I go work in them. For day trips I fill up every water bottle I own and ration it through the day, but I can’t do that for a full week or longer. So bottled water it is.
There’s a larger conversation to be had about drinking water in the north, I don’t think it belongs here, but even when the water systems are repaired or replaced, after years of the water system not being safe, most people don’t trust the water ever again. Which leads to continued water bottle use, which creates more plastic waste, in communities that don’t have any real solid waste management other than open pit dumping, which then attract feral dogs and bears, which can and have attacked humans in the very recent past.
Clothes I keep pretty basic, I still have a couple scrub tops that I wear in community, and then I try and use a couple “public health” themed shirts, so Pride related or this adorable Naloxone (Narcan to you Americans) long-sleeve and jeans. I also might take my own pillows this time, it’s high maintenance and I don’t think I can transport them easily, but it would help me to actually sleep in community. Some people also travel with their own bedding or a sleeping bag. But that generally requires a big suitcase and I don’t know if I want to take one of those for just a week.
Then when I come back on Friday I will be immediately driving down to Thunder Bay to catch my flight at 5am on Saturday morning. I’m staying at a friend’s house on Friday night, but it will just be for a few hours since I won’t get down there until about 9, 10 at night and will need to be at the airport by 3 am at the very latest. I’m not checking a bag due to the aforementioned travel nightmares. And I’m trying to leave room to return with my new fall wardrobe, or at least part of it. I also desperately need to go through my fall and winter clothes from last year and see what I still have. I know I got rid of a couple sweaters and a pair of navy checked pants that I loved, but that were so worn down and they were big staples of my cold weather wardrobe. And I need new “nice” brown boots and snow boots this year, in addition to things I just want. I also don’t think I have any full-length jeans, just cropped ones that I’ve been loving in the summer, but not so much when there’s 5 feet of snow to trudge through.
Actually the snow is why I don’t think skinny jeans will ever truly completely die in Canada, they are much better for tucking into snow boots as is essential in winter.
But anyways, I will need some nice clothes since we will be doing some visiting and exploring while my grandparents are here and I’m going to Montreal with a friend and we plan to have a very fun weekend. And I am hoping to get a pair of trousers shortened and the hem let down on a dress while I’m home, since there aren’t seamstresses in this area.
Other preparations that I’m making for commercial air travel are just some pandemic precautions, I don’t think masks are required anymore but I’m going to take a couple N-95s from work for travel, and have some hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes to wipe down my seat and tray (if these tiny regional flights will have trays) and am going to do rapid tests before and throughout my vacation.
I’ve gone on far too long about packing, but I am going on vacation! And I’m taking that time off everything, including this blog. If I feel inspired to write I might, but I’m not planning on it, but I’ll be off from the 17th to the 26th completely and be back on the 27th with a full “Vacation in Outfits” post, and then we’ll be back to our semi-regular content, since I don’t know if I’ve yet established what is normal on here outside of my “Month in Review” content.
I just looked at my paper calendar that I have in my apartment and realized that I am in my apartment 5 days and nights out of this whole month. That’s an expensive storage unit.