Shared with respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.
Request wheelchair service well in advance and use it proudly – Besides getting you around the airport, you fast track through security and immigration lines / You are usually be first on and last off the plane, be patient
Fly Tuesdays and Wednesdays mid-day, the airports are most mellow at this time (also tickets usually cheapest)
Dark glasses and earplugs/noise canceling headphones for when you’re in the airport
I use an aisle seat so easier to go to the back galley area and stretch if needed
Lavender oil, compression socks, eye mask and your most comfortable sweater for the flight, dress respectable to increase chance of upgrades (and because you are sharp like that)
When flying far, for me anything longer than three or four hours, book a hotel in (or close by) the airport at the other end – in some cases you can get wheelchair ride to the hotel to crash out and recover. Bonus points to get one with a bathtub
Check your bag, only take a small carry-on with comfort items, don’t try to be that “efficient business traveler” and / or save money with just a carry-on
Tumeric & aspirin and water water water – Did I mention noise canceling headphones?
Put on an audiobook or chill music… Keep the sensory stimulation low by not watching movies especially on the crappy seat back for the videos. For me, the fuzzy screens spin me out plus you see all the other anxiousness and activity going on
Get a credit card which gives you access to airport lounges… go to the airport early, find a quiet corner and hydrate and snack with protein rich foods so when you’re on the plane, you’re not eating the crap or being interrupted… Plus when using wheelchair service, best to go well in advance as some airports have a limited staff performing this service
When you board (using wheelchair you’ll probably be first on) introduce yourself to the flight attendants and mentioned that you may need extra water and make sure you are close to bathroom if you need a little sensory de-stimulation
Not all of these tips are applicable to everyone obviously but for me dealing with ME/Fibro find them to be critically handy
Oh one more thing, seriously don’t try to do a lot of stuff when you travel, for me I go places to find bookstores and quiet coffee shops and simply be somewhere else. Just because you are a “somewhere else” doesn’t mean you suddenly have a bunch of energy to go out and about and meet lots of people. Avoid restaurants at busy times as well…
For me this is sensory overload. All for now, curious to hear your tips or any thoughts about the above. Also this archive is laden with other riffs about healing elsewhere and taking baths.
In 2005, i wandered Europa (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal) by train, car and tram. Along the way, i wrote an extensive cycle of poetry, and completed a solid dozen or so paintings (acrylic, watercolour and charcoal) – some of which you may have seen along the way. I also started a load of other pieces which haven’t had a day in the easel yet — mostly because i like to let art ferment but also because i can never decide which medium to use to “finish” these.
Acrylics were more exciting in the white hot moment of creating en plein, watercolour teases my rather clumsy and aggressive touch and i am tempted to use simple black ink and make something colour-able by kids and adults. Not sure how to go about this as its not a technique i am polished at (yet) but these do need a life beyond a shoebox.
Maybe you kind folks and artists can offer a word of advice or idea? Regardless, they are nowhere near and as such, lonely and sad. So, here are rough drafts in ragged spontaneity and various forms and mediums. This is Vol. 3 of a few (last one i think), pardon repeats and redundancies.
On a 2005 ramble through a few western European countries (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal), i carried a satchel of art supplies and painted / sketched along the way. Mostly on 11″x17″ canvas sheet and watercolour paper.
In most cases, i “finished” the pieces in one sitting using acrylics or sometimes watercolour pencils or pastels (these are catalogued, sold/gifted and posted elsewhere).
Anyhow, i have a several which never quite got finished and now sit in a folio in a storage locker elsewhere. I snapped photos and have considered how to finish – even soliciting advice which ranged from “they are finished” to “consider gouache” or “make a colouring book” which i did for my nieces and nephews.
Regardless, they are nowhere near and as such, lonely and sad. So, here are rough drafts in ragged spontaneity and various forms and mediums.
This is Vol. 2 of a few (maybe), pardon repeats and redundancies.
As part of Translink (the greater Vancouver area transit authority)’s “I Love Transit” week, i was invited by Jhenifer Pabliano to contribute an article about why i love transit. I assembled a mixed-media package to tell my story a few different ways – words, photos, poems, twitters and a podcast (some video coming soon for extra fun).
So without further ado, here is “Rolling to the End of the Line,” an essay about transit by Dave Thorvald Olson.
Dave’s 4th Grade Sciene Fair Exhibit
Brother Bob and I would mimic the airhorns on the way to elementary school – same as we’d do for truckers and fire trucks, pulling the string down, hoping the bus driver would notice and honk. Seemed like a blast to me, tooling along in those big buses, filled with interesting people coming and going. I’d trace routes around Vancouver maps, then memorized provinces, states and countries – imagining myself at the wheel of some kind of bus. My 4th grade science fair exhibit extolled the wonders of Trolley Transit, complete with the proposed ALRT route traced off in felt pen on a GVRD map plus a stack of Buzzers to give away.
Later, transit became my escape. In the early 80s Vancouver was growing up – so much newness everywhere it seemed, except in my neighbourhood. So buddy Brad and I would skip out errr … wait until after … school and hop the 312 or 316. We’d roll down Kingsway, over an hour all told, to tromp down Granville to Odyssey Imports for records or Black Market for t-shirts. Then maybe skateboard over to that crazy new domed stadium place and hang out on the steps, trying to imagine would Vancouver would look like in 20 years. Then warm up in the law courts or the Vancouver Art Gallery before hopping a bus back home to the ‘burbs.
My forays stretched later into night and ventured further afield – wherever there was an all-ages punk show or a sweet girl with busy parents, I’d find a bus route – navigating to shows at the York Theater on Commercial Drive or tracking down some old church or community hall on some route I’d never heard of charted out in a battered paper schedule. I remember missing the last bus to Surrey from downtown and hoofing all the way down Hastings to the PNE to catch another – a long walk in the cold Chuck Taylors before ending up at Whalley Exchange in the wee hours.
Dave’s beloved VW Microbus
In 1986, Vancouver changed. A lot. The SkyTrain (or Airbus as I preferred) was running for a few years to New West. We’d hop a #319 and whisk downtown on the ALRT in 22 scant minutes for the barrage of international events in shiny teal buildings. Suddenly Vancouver was modern and everyone came to watch. I’d seen most all of Vancouver from Ambleside to Crescent Beach by then, so I got my own bus – a VW camper bus – and set off travelling.
Twenty-two countries later and countless bus, trains, trolley and trams rides later, I returned and moved high up Lynn Valley – “Just ride the 210 ‘til the driver turns off the engine,” are the instructions to visiting friends. Living on the Baden-Powell trail also means I ride transit – a lot. Currently to Kitsilano – that’s two bridges of patience. But now, I am more prepared – I strap on oversized headphones, grab iPhone for live Twitter updates, snacks in pocket, and travel mug with tasty bevvie. Importantly, a Moleskine notebook, inky pens and an audio recorder in my lunch sack allow me use transit as a creative space.
The Crazy Canucks podcast crew, on the back of a bus! (Dave
Creation works best aboard the Seabus – the views stunning, you always get a seat, and if you are waiting, its your fault as the Seabus boasts punctuality the Germans would envy – indeed, “Otto and the Beav” rarely stumble whither windstorms or traffic jams (digression: i was hoping for “Sockeye” rather than “Breeze” for the third vessel’s name).
On my commute and weekend excursions, I mix up the routes for exploration and documenting the curious. I look to old-timers who rode routes toting heavy film cameras just to document the ordinary goings-on on 1930s Vancouver for inspiration. What I see goes into notebooks, snapshots, video clips and audio podcasts – sometime in the back seat recording a Canucks Outsider podcast, riding the SkyTrain end to end for a Choogle on podcast or documenting the SeaBus on Car-free day. Maybe writing freeverse and Twitter updates describing the scenes of life from the transit journey then co-mingling the spectacular and mundane of metropolitan Vangroovy into literary dim sum.
I love you, you’re perfect, now change
change my route to think about the neighbourhoods March 30, 2007 – Dave Olsoni change my route
from time to time
to think about
switched Cambie 15
for Main Number 3
or Fraser if i don’t mind
cutting across Kingsway
skirted schoolgirls Xavier-bound
spake in broken halts
occasionally sleet, hail or ice
Aboard these cooperative transport pods are keys to a civil society – you mingle with strangers, you guess their stories, you accidentally eavesdrop on conversations, or hope for the character who amuses you to come on board. Tolerance and translucency abound onboard. For me, I roll with a load of billeted foreign exchange student chattering away in Portuguese, Japanese or practicing English. You begin to notice the same people and sometimes recognize your bus buddies at a store or a bar as “ahhh it’s that guy from the 228″. At least I do.
I tell myself I am helping reduce greenhouse gases and getting one more car of the road, but it ain’t always easy keeping it that way. Like any relationship, me and transit have rifts and differences – ask me about my issues another time. Despite my policy conundrums, I ride because efficient transportation is key to a pleasing living experience for more of us. So the escape, exploration, creative space, collective experience and chance encounters still get me running down the block – with a warm beverage, giant headphones and notebook – to hop aboard, flash my two-zone pass, and say “hello” to the driver while heading for the good seat in the back.
Rolling aboard buses, trolleys, Skytrain and Seabus, Uncle Weed discusses changing routes and riding transit for escape, exploration, creativity, inspiration and adds in tourist fun plus concerns about free expression, aggressive security and love for the Seabus in a special documentary dispatch from Upper Lynn Valley to Kitsilano in Vancouver, BC, Canada.