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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Bangkok Bound

When I initially booked my flight to Bangkok, I planned it for exactly a time where I knew I would be finished all my work for the summer. That was important. I couldn’t afford to skip work prior to a 6-month trek around Southeast Asia.

I also planned my booking specifically around having ample time, back in my hometown, in order to be able to spend some quality time with friends and family, get some online work done, as well as enjoy some a bit of chill time. In addition to all of that, I signed myself up for a 'Teaching English as a Foreign Language' course.


Let me tell ya... speaking English is one thing. Learning how to teach it is something completely different. Modal verbs, past perfect tense, compound sentences... it's nauseating. So far, I am positively excelling in the art of procrastination. I keep having to extend my course time… and the end is nowhere in sight.

Though I shall endure...

My first few days at home were smooth sailing.

Life was on par.

Exactly where it had to be and how it should be.

I was visiting friends.

I was hanging out with family.

I had been out & about taking photos.

I’d even done quite a bit of work on one of my course assignments.

*I was quite proud of myself until I accidentally deleted the entire file. I’m an idiot.

The real downside to being home... was the financial draining I was experiencing.

I don’t think I was really fully prepared for how much of a beating my bank accounts would take.

EVERYTHING costs money.

The dentist. The chiro. The vet. Massage. My nails. Travel insurance. Car storage insurance. Strata contingency. Unpaid bills in the mail. New driver’s licence. Hair appointments (for me and the dog). Dog food. Treats. Prescription medication (again… for me and the dog)... the list goes on and on... and on...

I even slightly entertained the idea of new tires… but laughed that one off real quick.

It has now been added to my “when I get home” list.

In addition to all of this, there were regular bills, groceries, wine dates, luncheons, dinner parties and other assorting outings… and of course, a very long list of things I needed to purchase for my trip.

Nothing was cheap.

Within days, my bank account was demolished.

All my hard work over the summer. Gone.

The forces were against me and crap just kept piling up...

My driver's license expired (eeek! last week!). A credit card got lost in the mail. I couldn't find a place to park my car. My back tweaked out. My knee wasn't getting any better.

Then the worst happened…

I had taken Potzy in for an annual check up. He didn’t really need it (not that I was aware of anyway) but I wanted peace of mind before I embarked on yet another epic journey. I needed to know he was ok.

He was.


The vet told me that for his age, he was in remarkably good shape.

I remember this specifically because I bragged about to to anyone that would listen.

Then… I got him groomed.


It suddenly became very apparent that one of his eyes was significantly larger than the other. To be honest, one eye was quite alien in appearance, but that wasn’t the eye I was particularly concerned about. He’d always had enormous, googly eyes. I didn’t like the really tiny one that seemed to be shrinking like Beetlejuice’s head. That was the one that had me worrying.

Turns out the next vet didn’t like it either.

Well… he didn’t like the BIG eye.

Within the time frame of about 5 minutes, he decided Potzy had glaucoma and he also suspected that there was a tumour in his brain that was the cause of the enorma-eye.



No. No. No.

Of course, I crumbled into floods of tears and there I was, in that tiny little stark office, a complete emotional breakdown. I don't even think I fully understood what he was saying to me. I didn't, really. I had to get my uncle to call for complete reiteration. It was mumble... nonsense mumble.

I am unable to control my emotions at the best of times.

I’m disastrous at the worst.

I took 3/4 full days of real gut-wrenching, soul searching. That's code for "I lied in bed and bawled my eyes out..."

I cried so hard even my nostrils hurt.

Me & the banana
Me & the banana

Could I live with myself if I left for my trip and he died without me at his side?


Could I live with myself if I had him killed without any tangible proof?

A trillion NO's.

No x-ray.


Not even a blood test.

So... it was decided. Potzy lives!

We celebrated with bubbles & cuddles... and cheered to the best dog I’ve ever known. I am eternally grateful to my aunt & uncle for being willing (relieved and ecstatic) to continue giving him love until we decide that the time has really come for the little banana to leave us.

There is still love to give.

So, for my big week at home, I hardly got any work done. I ended up getting absolutely no schoolwork done. Many plans with friends were cancelled. Instead, I held my baby for what I thought might be the last time.

It actually might be.

It’s an agonizing feeling.

I'm broken inside.

Potzy is my family. He’s my bestie. My rock. My baby.

I am grateful for all the support I’ve received over the past few days… and although I do understand the position of the judgers, I am not in the frame of mind to even entertain the thought of losing my best friend. I just need empathy and compassion right now.

The timing is hideous.

The situation is sickening.

It’s all dreadful.

Life can be nasty.

The decision was horrendous - NO... I take that back... the THOUGHT of such a decision was horrendous. Although I did weigh out all the downs & down-furthers and the not-pros & super-cons, I couldn’t bear to think of watching the life drain out of my little buddy without actually really knowing.




No way.......

Anyway... I am MORE than confident that this little guy will be wagging his tail and waiting at the door for me when I return home.

He will.


Settling on a Caesar
Settling on a Caesar

I caught the 6:55am Westcoast Express train into Waterfront station this morning and then took the Canada Line into YVR. Everything was as smooth as it could be.

I guess...

As per the norm, I was dealt my share of vexatious triggers along the way and at one point, I really felt like I could snap...

1. An 8oz glass of wine was $27!!!!

Pardon me?

Vancouver airport pricing has become astronomical

Ya… no.

Normally I throw financial caution to the wind when I first set out on a journey... but in addition to 6 months on the road without a job, I have VET bills to pay. It was a realty check like no other.

I settled for an $8 Caesar in a much less classy establishment.

2. The check in girl w0uldn't give me an aisle seat. They told me I could book one, but it would be $100.


I reminded her that I get aviation nausea... she didn't care.

I was cursing Japan Airlines.

3. Vancouver security took my face cream away! It was 20ml over the legal plane limit.

I offered to squeeze some out. They weren't having any of it.


Like why? Why wouldn't they be nice and let me squeeze 20ml of crappy face cream out of the bottle so that we could all go on living our lives in a happy & satisfied manner?

They told me I could "check it if I wanted it that badly."

It was quite annoying, as it was brand new and had never been opened. Some security's wife or girlfriend is almost definitely receiving face cream in their stocking this Christmas.

This rule has got to be abolished. Once and for all.

I intend to start a petition.... errrrrrrrr.

Joanna at Narita Airport
Here I am in Toyko at Narita Airport

4. The couple seated behind me from Vancouver to Tokyo, had no idea about airplane chair etiquette. It's like they were in their own little dojo back there. Whenever they got up, they automatically would grab the top of MY seat for support, which resulted in jolting me awake in fear that there was fatal turbulence. One of her favourite positions was ramming her knees into the back of my seat and when she wasn't doing that, she was aggressively pushing buttons on her touch screen.

I hated them and spent the majority of my flight turning around to shoot death daggers in their direction.

5. I sat beside an older Japanese girl who was so enthusiastic about her recent trip that she naively adopted the assumption that everyone else would be too. I got to watch TWO 20-minute videos of a man cutting dough into pasta noodles.

It was invigorating.

I shouldn't complain... I had nothing else to do except cast dirty looks on the couple behind me.

True story...

134 views2 comments


Janet Chalmers
Janet Chalmers
Nov 12, 2023

Safe travels Jo - can't wait for the next installment.

Where can I get one of your Travel Journals - thought it would make a nice gift!

Jan 14
Replying to

I am actually working on it again right now! Should be perfect by the time I'm back home. I will give you one for being my favourite blog reader :-)

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