Day 71

Spoiler Alert! May contain planning-stage plot/character details or other spoilers!

09 Mar 2016

Contains affiliate links. So, predictably, I’ve been hugely distracted by travel planning. Once I start something, man, it just takes over all my focus and energy. I guess I’ve managed to hold on to a bit of that adolescent obsessiveness.

Time has been rolling along here, but I finally FaceTimed my uncle and aunt in London and realized that I should really look into getting the arrangements started. I realized my passport will expire in under two years, so in order to avoid getting turned away on landing, I needed to renew that - which meant I couldn’t apply for my work visa until after I got my new passport, which meant I was starting to cut things pretty close.

My fault for sticking around a half year + longer than I had said I would. But whatever, I’d had alerts set up on Skyscanner, and the prices had been trending up for a while now, with the best deals pushed all the way back to September - time to take action!

I booked my flight to London on Monday. May 20 - sooner than I’d expected, and paperwork was going to be an issue. Plus my parents are quietly freaking out about me leaving so soon. But whatever; it was an excellent deal - under $200 before fees/taxes, just over (~$220) with them. Connections in Edmonton and a long daytime layover in St. Johns - finally, a chance to see the East Coast!

I forwarded the confirmation to the parents (just to unsettle their day a little more!) and went off on one of my Vancouver days, telling all my friends about my plan, now finally in motion. They seemed surprised I had actually made plans, but excited for me.

Mildly insulting, but I’ll admit, I’ve wondered once or twice myself if anything would come of all my big talk. The timing would be soon - so many arrangements to take care of! - but if everything went optimally, it would just fit.

My EI payments would run out the week I leave - good cashflow - and I’d budgeted just about enough time for this book - just! - which meant I’d barely have a chance to do rewrites and send off enquiries.

Not ideal, but I can’t hang out at my parents’ place taking a break from life forever. And then I got home, late that evening, and they asked why I wanted to pay for a hotel in Edmonton. What?

Turns out, on the itinerary, the flight gets into and leaves Edmonton with almost no break - I dismissed this as a minor computer error. Nope.

It was a 24 hour layover, after a 1.5 hour flight. In Edmonton. Whyyyyy…

So that explains the cheap tickets. Or so I thought. Having become marginally more proactive in my advanced years, I decided to look up cancellation policies… I wouldn’t mind a full day’s layover in… well, really any city in Canada except that one (sorry Edmontonians…), and a ~$100 savings on tickets would be eaten up and then some with the costs involved in spending time on the ground.

Turns out, there have been some major changes since I last flew. Thank you WestJet! No penalty cancellations within the first 24 hours!

The next day (yesterday), I rebooked for ~$100 more on July 4. A brief change of planes in Alberta, an overnight flight to St. John’s, and then 15 hours to play in the oldest settlement in Canada before a second overnight flight to London, arriving on July 6 at 8 am!

The only downsides were exorbitant car rental fees/no public transit from the airport to the city (really?!) and only 5 hours to sleep for two nights in a row. Between the Gravol and lack of sleep, I may or may not be able to find my way once I land in London, but caffeine and willpower will just have to see me through!

Shame on you, Budget etc. for charging Canadians twice as much, btw! Very uncool to land on the .com page all excited, and find out I have to book through the .ca, with automatically doubled list prices.

Thankfully, looks like I can bypass the region controls by using Hotwire or similar once I get my Amazon Visa (no exchange fees!)

So, long story short, I haven’t done any writing this week, and I keep getting distracted by trip planning - the upshot being that I should have my St. John’s plans nailed down before the week is out!

So many things to remember… Must find another large-but-easy-to-move luggage piece (rolling duffle, maybe?), do another trial pack to ensure I’m within the less expensive baggage range, figure out how to get at least one instrument included in my carry-on, convert files from my old laptop to the cloud so I can ditch it, get a new iPad, get all my paperwork processed and approved, look into and procure any and all discounted items (city passes, rail passes) that can only be procured remotely, arrange travel plans with all the friends who insist that they’re in the area at the same time, meet up with everyone who will be lonely once I go and try to convince them to make friends, oh yeah, and figure out what I’m going to do once I get myself relocated! Write? Freelance something or other? Career? Couch surf, board, roommate or rent?

So yeah, my brain won’t stop spinning. Oh, and I’ve got a good 40+ books to read and half my stuff to ebay/Craigslist before I go. But priorities; I haven’t been out for a run in, like, a month, but I will keep moving forward with Cole’s story.

I’ve been super impressed by Orca Publishing’s The Secrets historical fiction series - seven novels with a shared original/launch story, seven authors. Looking into the publisher, and they’re a local-ish Victoria-based concern. Excellent! What an opportunity! Nope.

Based on published sales figures, I’d be bleeding money publishing with them. Just not enough distribution and marketing reach. Sigh.

Must. break. into. the. US. market. Too bad - the stuff they’re putting out is quality. But I’m not (currently) writing historical, they have an insane word cap of like 60K, which means I’d have to limit this story to basically Cole getting free of the Tower. Which may happen (trilogy, anyone?), but would still take a lot of tightening up.

Thinking Cole needs to have a more active role in things - it’s good for her to be analytical, but she should use that to move forward, whether it’s exploring/colonizing the roof, hacking for/against Freedom… Really play up the problem-solving, against her suppressed motivation via emotion.

Just watched The Martian - brilliant, just so entertaining to see his hacks for everything. So yeah, maybe in the rewrites I can bring that out a bit more and make Cole a bit more active - it’s fine for her to be emotionally reserved, timid, cautious, whatever, but the victim thing is really defining that this point, and I’m not sure I like it (although it’s probably a more authentic/realistic portrayal).


Start time: 10:30 am

Location: couch/living room

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