One day to go. . .


It has reached this stage in the preparation process: sorting and reassessing the clothes, drying the ones that have hung outside with the rain (we don’t own a dryer), buying gifts, and yesterday going through my itinerary and filling the gaps with all the useful information (in case I’m unable to access data!).

In the course of this process, I discovered – somewhat to my horror! – that I needed a visa for Canada. I have traveled by car into Canada in the past and don’t recall getting one, and you know, I thought being part of the same Commonwealth of nations and all that, but no, I needed one. Here’s where a state of near panic surged up and I took the first official website offering online visa processing and proceeded, finding that a sum of $100 was needed. Not til my friend in Canada stated that I needed to beware of false sites did I double check and feel my adrenalin rise again: the OFFICIAL site said I only needed to pay $7. A quick phone call late at night to my bank and the distressing news that they could not cancel payment pending, and “Did I want to cancel my credit card?”. Um, NO!! Not with only a day to go before heading out into the wild beyond.

Great has been my relief this morning to find that I have a valid visa for Canada for a princely sum, paid to an ‘immigration service’ (who pocketed the $93 for doing what I could have done), and who sent me the $7 visa. I have double-checked with the official site and it is valid. A LESSON FOR THE LESS VIGILANT.

Apart from that brief glitch, I’m feeling excited and have the leisure to ensure I have got all the details sorted. To make matters even better, I received a free upgrade to Business Class on the 12.5 hr flight to Los Angeles, so I certainly cannot complain about being diddled of that lesser sum. (My last long trip pushed my airpoints status up to silver, which gives you a free status upgrade on flights. These requests often don’t happen because of the planes being overbooked, but the miracle happened this time.)

The next time I write, I imagine it will be from the Northern Hemisphere and the diagonal opposite of where I am currently. Until then . . .

About to hit the trail again

Yes, I’m reviving my poor neglected blog, in order to post my coming trip. I’m heading this time to the UK, Canada and USA, and taking two months to do it. A welcome break from mid-winter in New Zealand.

Here’s the plan:

Thursday 1 August, I’ll fly from Auckland via Los Angeles (sigh) to London, England. Then I make my way westward towards Herefordshire gradually. A fellow Outlander fan is meeting me in Worcester and taking me home to Ludlow for a few days. (Thanks Glyn Blythman). Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 2.50.23 PM.png

From Ludlow, we go north to Birmingham, and the Highlander4 Starfury Convention, which will be alive with Outlander fans celebrating all things Outlander and meeting some of the actors from the show. After that excitement, I’ll hire a car and go further north, meeting friends in Burnley, and then up to Edinburgh for the Tattoo. I have a night in the Falkland hotel which was where Claire brushed her hair while the ghost of Jamie watched. Two nights in Loch Lomond. And then a meander south via Stratford-Upon-Avon and a night of Shakespeare in his birth place. I see friends in Bournemouth to finish off and then fly out towards the USA on the first day of September.

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Arriving in Orlando, I have a day to prepare before going straight up to Canada, near Toronto to meet a friend there. After a few days with Nancy, we’ll fly east to Nova Scotia, and spend six days enjoying that area (where some ancestors passed through from Scotland).

Then we return and I fly south again to Orlando, spending a few days with Marcie and Penny, in Harry Potter’s world, in Avatar and other themes we know and love from Universal Studios. I go with them up to friends in Jacksonville, FL until it’s time to fly home via San Francisco.

Come with me, if you like, in this virtual space. I’ll try and post regularly for those who want to share my trip. Only a week or so to go!