IN OTHER NEWS, I TURNED 30

When I was 20 I had great expectations of where I would be when I turn 30. I would own a house, I would be in a steady relationship, and I would finally have clear skin. 

Fast forward 10 years, I am single, live in a rented basement and still do not have clear skin. PLUS living through a worldwide pandemic where we can’t leave the house, I did not see that one coming.

I thought I might have been able to stop using the term winging at life by now and had a better understanding on where my life was heading.

However I try and call people using my cell and wonder why it does not dial, 4 times before I realized it was a calculator. 

When I was 20, I thought my clumsiness would gradually get better and I would just learn how to walk, however here I am at 30 and more clumsier than ever. My friends from both sides of the ocean do not even bat an eye lid when I trip on air, or loose my shoes walking up the stairs or walk into the one table in our enormous lobby at work. Someone announced recently they wanted to do air yoga as our next team building session to which someone just said, but let’s leave Laura at home and I was not even offended.

If you ask any of my friends, they will tell you that I was not looking forward to turning 30 and I was a tad dramatic. I even asked my mother if she accidentally skipped ahead on one of my birthdays and I would remain 29 for another year.

I feel that one day I was young and free and the next day I suddenly have a favorite grocery store and even worse I have a favorite reusable bag.

I had a discussion with my therapist about it as well. She said “So you think that, your life is about to come to an end as you know it, because you are turning 30?” I could see she was internally rolling her eyes at me. She went on to explain that when the Millennium happened, everyone thought the world was going to end, but they woke up on January 1st and everything was fine. She said this was the same for my 30th, I would wake up and it would all be fine.

It took someone to compare my 30th birthday to the Millennium for me to start wanting to celebrate it. 

Now I must be clear, the reason why I was struggling to turn 30 was not because I considered myself getting old, however grey hair I have might think differently, here is why:

  • I struggled to not compare myself to people I know who own houses, have successful jobs, in long term relationships etc etc. I thought I really should have achieved more in my life by now. It took a big internal fight with myself to snap out of it and realize that I took a risk at 27 and started my life again by moving countries which not many people can say they have done. It was something I chose to do, chose for a reason, and (took 2 years to realize) my greatest achievement in my life so far.  
  • That I have taken life for granted. Where has the past 30 years of my life gone, and how quick is the next 30 years going to go?

In the age of social media and FOX News it is a little too easy to wallow about turning 30, But lets face it, comparing myself to sparkly celebrities is a tad unrealistic expectation.

One of my favorite ‘self help’ books is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson. The most helpful thing I took away from the book was how you measure your happiness. Funnily enough I discovered that WE choose how we measure our happiness. For example, no amount of wealth (even though some helps) or successful job titles will make me as happy as seeing my friends/family after a long amount of time or being able to help someone that really needed you.

So stop fucking around. Get your fucks together. And here, allow me to fucking show you.

– Quote by Mark Manson

So every time I spiral about getting a year older, I think back to this article (read here) and how I need to stop comparing myself to everyone around me, and just do what makes me happy.

So here is s to turning 30, still winging at life and wishing to hear about Brexit in the news again.  You do you girl.

My Canadian Winter

I am on my third Winter season since moving to Canada and boy, does each one get colder. You would think that I would be used to the cold by now, but the third layer of socks I am wearing today begs to differ. 

When one thinks of a Canadian Winter, I picture sliding down snow covered ski slopes, gliding across frozen lakes or speeding in a snowmobile up a mountain. Its pulling your outfit together by wearing that perfect toque and fluffy snow boots and not having a winter jacket that makes you look like a hefalump. 

My Canadian winter is not like that. I always have fluff on my trousers from my snow boots that I can never get off, and while I leave the house thinking I look cute in my toque, I catch myself later with it lopsided or on backwards and look a bit of an idiot if I do say so. 

I cannot ski, snowboard or ice skate, and I have never had a Smore. (I can hear the gasps already). It’s not that I haven’t tried however. I tried ice skating as soon as I moved here where it wasn’t as much gliding as it was hurtling to the ground. I have also taken a lesson in skiing but too traumatized to go back. 

Having a blog title named Clumsy Lorr, are any of you surprised I was not good at these activities? Baring in mind I spend most of winter picking myself off the floor or clinging onto the sides of my car while I de-ice it. 

So what do I do in Winter to keep myself occupied while most of my friends are at the ski slopes? (Me at the bottom of the slopes, at the bar) After 3 seasons I have found some things I do enjoy, that does not put my (or others) life in danger.

I love going for snowy walks, some longer than others. Plonk me anywhere in the mountains and I will sit and gaze at the view forever.

Sometimes I go and explore a frozen waterfall or two, and pretend I am Elsa from Frozen

I often take road trips with no real purpose just so I can see the white capped mountains and snow covered trees. I am blessed with having friends that will want to take a trip at a moments notice. We often choose a general direction and sit at a junction wondering if we should turn left or right, and choose wherever it pulls us. We should study a map like sensible people, but we do not. 

I do not ski or snowboard. But I have snowshoed. Does that have the same cool factor? I mean have still fallen over and got stuck in the snow, but I didn’t go full speed into a tree and break my neck. Which would have happened if I continued trying to ski. 

This is why I do not date in Winter. The risk of someone asking me to meet them on the slopes? Can you imagine the horror, worst date in history. At least in Summer I can pretend I’m fit enough to go on a hike.

So while I do not live the most dare devil life, I feel blessed to have been able to experience the winters that I have, something I would have never been able to do while still living in the UK. I say not living a dare devil life, but you have not seen me crossing the road on an icy day.

I have found enjoyment in the things that I do take part in, safely keeping my two feet on the ground. Except when they are up in the air from falling over. 

A Clumsy guide to Jasper

Everyone knows I love adventure, and living in The Rockies means I have unlimited access to it, but working in the Hospitality and Tourism industry means that time to explore can often be limited.

So what happens when you find out your adventure buddy has the same two days off as you and the same adventure-seeking attitude as you? Go to Jasper of course.

So what do you do in Jasper exactly? which is a 6 hour journey one way from Invermere, on a budget, wanting to explore everything, but also find time to relax, in just two days?

So here is my little guide to fellow clumsy adventurers on what we did to get the most out of Jasper in two days and how I tried to keep upright.

Clumsy Moments: No trip of mine would be complete without me falling over or driving the wrong way down a street, and naturally Jasper would be no different.

Time of year: This is important, because Jasper is on the top of everyone’s list to see, so in the height of Summer it is super busy, and in winter, not a lot of the roads are open so you cant see a lot. So we went mid May, where the highway is clear and most of the sites to see are accessible. Plus the coach loads of tourists from around the world are still yet to arrive.

Accommodation: There are not many hotels in Jasper due to it being a National Park, so finding somewhere to stay is often limited and expensive. Of course you can stay in the HI Hostel, but this is normally booked up, and this time it was just cheaper to book a hotel. We stayed at Pocahontas Cabins, which was about 45km North of Jasper Town site. We had our own cabin which had a kitchen and bathroom.

Food: I purposely booked somewhere with a kitchen, so we could cook and prepare meals for our stay without spending a fortune on over priced food. We spent $100 on groceries, which fed us breakfast/lunch/dinner for two days and had food left over to take back home. There also aren’t many places to eat once you leave Jasper Town, so pack a lunch so you don’t get hungry!

Getting There: We decided to leave after work on the Tuesday to get to Jasper, however that did mean we didn’t get there until after 1am, but I’d rather do that than travel in the morning of your arrival. Extra exploring time!

First things first: Head into Jasper and the information centre. You will need to get yourself a park pass for however long you are staying there. We also grabbed a good old-fashioned map as there is no cell service in the park. There is something quite fulfilling from finding your way using a map and not using Google Maps. Just make sure you know what way north is, so you don’t go in the wrong direction, not talking from experience of course.

What to see first: I always like to get the most out of anything, so planning is a must. If you are staying for two days like us, do everything the furthest away. On the second day, do everything that is on the way out of the park. This not only makes sure you see more but also makes your journey home much more pleasant and does not feel as long

Pyramid Lake: This is one of my favourite places in Jasper, it is so stunning and beautifully romantic that you can imagine why people choose this spot to have a wedding ceremony here. There is Pyramid Island which you have to walk across an insta-worthy bridge to get too. Most people don’t explore this tiny island, but make sure you go to the far side and sit and admire the great Pyramid Mountain, and you understand where it gets it name.

Medicine Lake: Head out towards Maligne Lake and just take in the beauty of this road. If you are the driver however make sure you do you keep your eyes on the road, often my buddy would be looking scared as I swerve into the other side of the road. Medicine Lake is a must see. It is a unique experience as it is surrounded by forest fire devastation, and at this time in the season the lake is hardly full. Don’t just view the lake from the car lot, take a walk down to the shore lake and see how far you can throw rocks.

Maligne Lake: This lake in May is still frozen, but you can see it is close to melting. In warmer weather this would be a great place for a lunch stop at the side of the lake. We just took some easy strolls around and admired the historic Maligne Lake Boathouse.

Clumsy Moment: In the wake of the lake defrosting, it leaves a lot of mud. Which of course is where I decide to walk, rather than the trail, and I still have a pair of very muddy boots.

Maligne Canyon: This is where we stopped for lunch. We took our packed lunch and wandered around the Canyon and stopped at a bench overlooking the falls. Also if you are in need of caffeine, which by this point I most definitely was, there is a cute cafe and gift shop.

Evening Fun: This is where having your own or access to a kitchen comes in handy. Cook up a storm, open a bottle of wine and relax on the porch and watch the sun set over the mountains. Mountain Bliss

Breakfast: We took off back into Jasper Town and treated ourselves to some Avocado and Eggs on Sourdough that Shoreditch hipsters would be proud of. Coffee was not half bad either, so good in fact, we took another one for the road.

Highway 93A: Rather than taking the main route of just the 93, take the A road. Until recently this road was more of a dirt track (way more fun) but now paved. It is much quieter and you can take your time enjoying the beautiful surroundings. If you are lucky enough like we were, we saw a stunning Mama Bear and her two baby cubs.

Clumsy Moment: You do need to be prepared to see wildlife here, be prepared with your camera at all times. Unlike us who were munching away on snacks as I saw a grizzly bear in the distance, and I almost threw the tub of trail mix out the window in order to get my bud to grab his phone to take a picture.

Athabasca Falls: Second to Pyramid Lake, this is my favourite place that I will visit again and again. We spent about an hour here, and that’s without doing any of the trails. Make sure you notice the battle that was had between the water and the rock and it really leaves you thinking how powerful Mother Nature really is.

Athabasca Glacier: On the way back through the Icefield’s we stopped for a little stroll around the bottom of the glacier. This glacier recedes 5 metres every year and has lost over half its volume in past 125 years. Insane!! There are a few parking lots depending how far you really want to walk.

Clumsy Moment: There are lots of rocks and creeks to cross while trailing around here, don’t go climbing on the rocks like an excited 5 year old expecting not to fall over.

Other things to do but we didn’t: Book yourself into the Glacier Skywalk. Apart from the astonishing views being the draw to this attraction, learning about the sheer engineering in building the Skywalk is enough to draw me. On your drive home stop off at the Peyto Summit and get a snap of the lake at sunset that will make all your instagram followers jealous!

Thanks again for reading! You can click on the link on the right side to follow me for Blog updates or check me out on Instagram for all my latest snaps. See you soon!

East to West Road Trip – Part Two

Welcome back guys! We left last with Nicola and I leaving Vancouver and travelling to Victoria. Read Here if you haven’t already.

Days 5-7 Victoria

It was a pretty complication free drive, apart from the never ending rain, and making a last minute dash to catch the ferry to the Island, standard Laura & Nicola lastminute.com.

At this point we have had 3 days of constant rain. Rain that just. Did. Not. Stop. As many people like to remind me ‘oh you should be used to it as you are from the UK’. Firstly, this was the reason why I left the UK and secondly, no, it does not rain as consistently as it does over here on the West Coast, and Victoria was no different on the day we arrived.

So I have not stayed in many hotels in my time in Canada, I have either sofa surfed or hosteled by way around. What completely took me (and Nicola) by surprise was upon check in, we not only pay for the whole stay up front, we then have to pay a security deposit of $300. By credit card of course.

I hand my credit card over; already knowing full well it’s going to be declined. (New to the country, very, very low allowance). Nicola is looking at me sheepishly like I should know how to deal with the situation. I don’t.

Anyway long story short, after several more dances around with my card, and a hike in the rain to the bank, we were finally allowed to check in. To which we dumped our bags down and marched back out to the liquor store to get some well-deserved beer.

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Very Wet. This is also the face she gives me almost constantly

Clumsy Gold:

While staring aimlessly at the beer fridge trying to find something my fussy mate would actually drink, I step back and almost take out a very expensive wine display. I had to grab the bottles to stop them falling. I then did this again 2 minutes later, I was then told to go and wait by the cashier, before I bring the store to oblivion. 

Walking back to the hotel with beer in hand, one of the cans drops out of my 6 pack, and crashes to the floor and bursts in the middle, spraying beer everywhere and rolling down the street. When I finally grab hold of it, part of me is thinking ‘shall I drink this?’ Thinking that’s a tad inappropriate, I regrettably throw it in the bin. 

The next day we go and do touristy things, and NO RAIN!!!

Firstly make our way to The Empress. Which is really just a big posh hotel, which does fancy afternoon tea we cannot afford, but does not stop us going inside and taking a look and looking completely out of place.

We then go to The Miniature Museum. Which was absolutely bloody amazing, Nicola and I loved it. We were told most people usually spend around 45 minutes in the museum. 2 hours later, we walked out. Best 16 bucks I have ever spent. (I am not sure what this says about the pair of us)

No trip would be complete without Nicola getting drunk and stupid. We went to the delightful Phillips Brewery, made our way through some tasty flights, spilt a few pints, (guess who that was) and well I will leave the rest up to your imagination.

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Mile Zero

What’s Mile Zero? It is the end of the famous Transcanada Highway, which starts in Nova Scotia and goes all the way across Canada, finishing in Victoria, BC. It is the longest national highway in the world!

Most people do really awesome things, like run the whole way, or cycle the whole highway. We just drove from one side of BC to the other!! But to give you an idea, you can fit all of UK & Ireland into BC and still have room!

Don’t ask why it is called Mile Zero when everything is in kilometres, and don’t get me started on pints that are clearly not the size of a UK pint.

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Day 7-10 Seattle

After recovering from a pretty hefty hangover, we make our way on to Seattle. Don’t worry I have my passport; Nicola took good care of it after I left it at home the first time.

So we are sitting in the queue to cross the border, all very patriotic with the big monuments, and Google shouting at you ‘Welcome to the United States’ as we cross the imaginary border. Now as we get closer to the Border Agent, we are getting more and more nervous. Both thinking, should we have filled in some more forms, our passport is enough right? (Yes we both had done our ESTA).

We are then at the Border Agent and I hand over our passports. She looks at me, ‘Where are you from?’ Me: ‘Invermere’ I suppose it would have been more believable if I hadn’t just handed over my GB passport.

Questions continue, both of us just forgetting everything about ourselves, ‘What’s your date of birth?’ ‘Errrrrr….’ ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Errmmmmmm’

Next thing we know, there is a big yellow form slapped on my windscreen and we are told to go and park up, as we have to have a secondary inspection. Well this is it; we are going to be barred from the country.

Our finger prints were scanned, more interrogating questions, and then paying $16 USD for the pleasure.

So what touristy stuff did we get up to?

The first Starbucks. Not to burst your bubble, but this isn’t actually the first Starbucks, because the original one moved to the building it is in now, thus just being the longest running Starbucks. We went to take a peek, stood in the queue (outside) to get a coffee then realised we both don’t actually like Starbucks coffee, so we left.img_5403.jpg

The Underground City. This was actually pretty fascinating. Seattle was originally built on lower beach land, and due to a fire that burnt down half the city; they decided to build a few storeys up. Which left a whole underground world that you can go and tour around. Just the kinda nerd stuff we are both into.

The Gum Wall. A wall full of gum. I don’t need to go in more detail.

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Impressed by the gum much?

The Space Needle. A revolving floor. A clumsy persons worst nightmare. No matter what city I am in, I love to watch the city life go by from a great height. (London is still by far the best). We sat down at the window and I decided to do a time lapse as we revolved round. I put my phone on the ledge to capture us going round, then just watched my phone stay there, while we carried on revolving round. It took me longer than it should have done that it’s just the floor moving and not the window ledges.

Crossing the border back into Canada

I forgot my work permit. I was lucky to be allowed back in. I keep my work permit pretty much under lock and key, and if you have read this post, you will understand why.

Make you check out my other clumsy and travel stories on the links below.

East to West Road Trip – Part One

Fortunate enough for me, shortly after Natalie was here, I was blessed with the presence of my childhood pal, Nicola.

Some factoids about the pair of us:

  • We have known each other since we were 6 years old (now 28 & 29) where we were plonked in the same class.

Our friendship is at that stage where we are only nice to each other when needed. For example on her arrival at the airport, she greeted me with the middle finger. I expected nothing less.

  • Getting older meant we moved further away from each other, bought houses, moved to cities, chased careers, and time to see each other was down to once or twice a year.
  • What would happen when we did meet up? Get drunk. Obviously. I would list the funny stories but it would need a whole separate post!
  • Random fact: She calls me Karl (Pilkington) and I call her Ricky (Gervais). If you don’t know who these two guys are, I suggest you You Tube them immediately.

Arrival:

After picking up a middle finger wheedling Nicola from the airport, we make our way back to Invermere. She of course wastes no time in noting how dusty my car was (In Canada it was considered sparkling but what do I know!).

Nicola’s welcome into Invermere was I doing some emergency swerving while driving to avoid the deer that just decided to jump in front of the car. Welcome to Canada mate.

Halloween:

I couldn’t write this post without including a note about us dressing up for Halloween. Nicola loves fancy dress, me not so much but we managed to coordinate a costume. Nicola – a witch (fetching) and me, her black cat. I even had a tail.

It sure was double double toil and trouble that night!

The Trip:

After a day of recovering from the shenanigans of the night before, we set off on our 10-day road trip. We would be driving across British Columbia, to Vancouver, then onto Victoria and then crossing the border to Seattle.

Day one: Invermere, Lake Louise, Emerald Lake, Revelstoke.

Very proud of ourselves for getting up and organised we were out of Invermere by 8.30am. First stop was Lake Louise, (after stopping at a couple of view points through the park). (Note, so much better getting there before 12 to avoid the coach load of tourists in your instagram photos).

No matter how many times I visit here, each time I come the Lake always looks different and I soak in a different experience each time. It was even more amazing watching Nicola taking it all in for the first time! Actually that’s a lie, it was funny as hell watching her deal with the cold in her 101 layers

We are then back on the highway heading towards Golden.

Then it suddenly hits me…I left my passport at home.

Nicola just looks at me, “I am not even surprised”. Not the first time I have done something like this.

Now considering we are planning on crossing the border, it really did throw a spanner in the works. We had no choice, but to go back home and get it.

I was not allowed to look after my passport from that point. Probably for the best.

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Day Two: Revelstoke to Vancouver via Kamloops

I am probably the worst person to have driving, as I get very easily distracted, ooooo shiny thing. ‘Keep eyes on the road Laura! often was shouted by Nicola.

My favourite thing along the journey was watching the trains go through the mountains. We actually stopped to watch trains go past each other, through tunnels that were dug out into the mountains. I was mesmerised.

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So mesmerised in fact, I made Nicola drive for the next stretch of the journey so I could stare gormlessly out the window at the trains.

Driving with Nicola goes something like this:

Nic: Laura what does this road sign mean?
Me: I don’t know.
Nic: What do those red flashing lights mean?
Me: I don’t know, but maybe we should slow down.
Nic: Did you do any driving test when you started driving in Canada?
Me: No….
Nic: Don’t you think you should?
Me: Pffttt….I will just Google it

Day 3-4 Vancouver

It rained, as you can see below.

Stay tuned for Part Two where we make our way to Victoria, and attempt to make it across the border…

I went Skating and Snowshoeing…

We have established in my previous posts that I am somewhat graceless. So as you will gather from the title of this post, my attempts to Snowshoe and Skate were an absolute disaster.

Snowshoeing

We know I didn’t get very far without snowshoes in Vancouver on Grouse Mountain. So when I went snow trailing up Panorama Mountain, I sensibly hired some snow shoes.

Snowshoes for those people back home that do not know…look a little bit like this:

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This time, I was lucky to not be on my own. (means perfect insta pictures) Gemma was charmed with my presence at this point did not know how vertically challenged I really was. Mawahahahahaha.

So Gemma and I set off with our Snowshoes and walked to the beginning of the trail. Or what we thought was the beginning of the trail.

What was lying ahead of us was a wall of snow. When I say wall of snow, I mean as soon as you step into it it goes up to your thighs. I am no expert or anything, but I was pretty sure this was not the way to go. But Gemma and the lady in rental place was convinced this is the way. So of course we carry on.

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Me standing (not kneeling) in the snow after fishing out my snow shoe…

Continue reading “I went Skating and Snowshoeing…”

Snow, Ice and Me

Everyone knows I can barely walk 100 yards without tripping over the floor or walking into a lamp post.

So as you imagine me moving to Canada, in January, where there is a shit load of snow and ice, did not go down well with my friends and family. When I say not go down well,  I mean:

Mum: “Promise me you will not go skiing, you cannot not even walk up the stairs”

Dad: “Does your travel insurance cover high risk activities!?” (A.k.a walking)

Best Friend: “…yeah you are just going to die…”

There was plenty of other rude remarks but you get the general idea. Thanks friends.

I have been in Canada for over 6 weeks, 4 of which were spent up to my knees in snow and I am sorry to disappoint you all that I did not have ANY falls! (Slid, tripped, and glided do not count as falling ok!)

Continue reading “Snow, Ice and Me”

I attempted to make gin for Christmas…

This year, I wanted to do something completely different for Christmas gifts. I was tired of giving the same old body gift set, and felt the need to go homemade this Christmas. As most of you know, I love gin, and I love to create, so why not but the two together.

Naturally, I named it Clumsy Gin

If you didn’t know already, gin is essentially flavoured vodka, but must have the juniper dominant flavour, otherwise it really is just flavoured vodka. The gin boom over the past few years is because of this reason. My gin however if you notice is a lovely golden haze, which is because I do not have a distillery in my back garden. But it all tastes the same right?

Continue reading “I attempted to make gin for Christmas…”