Travel Swellness: I flew a jet in Las Vegas

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In March I visited Las Vegas for the sixth time, and while I’ve been on plenty of whirlwind trips there (one focused on spa and daytime pool parties, another on food — when I thought my stomach would break — and two on fitness fun times) this one takes the cake on being the most thrilling.

How’s that? Well, for one, I flew a jet. No, really. I did the Top Gun experience at Sky Combat Ace and after you watch a video explaining the moves, you head up in the aerobatic jet and after the pilot performs the stunt, you’re given control of the plane (much like when you learn to drive, he can take over if anything starts to go wrong).

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I feel like I don’t get too nervous for most adventures I’m lucky enough to experience, but I will admit that I was pretty shaky in the knees for this one. But that quickly went away once we were up in the air. I didn’t find it too nervewracking to do the stunts because there’s really nothing around the plane that you can crash into.

What did catch me off guard? How dizzy I got! After the pilot did the first two stunts, I had to ask to have a breather before I performed it, just to let that dizzy feeling ease up. I can get carsick sometimes (usually if it’s particularly stop and go traffic) but I’m fine of rollercoasters so I didn’t expect this flying experience to affect me. But I guess it was the spinning action (I’m good on coasters that go up and down, but not the spinning of a tilt-a-whirl, for example).

I knew I had no interest in doing the stunt where you get to so many Gs that many people black out briefly (I’m prone to fainting thanks to my blood pressure sometimes dropping rapidly — it’s called vasovagal syncope — and I do not enjoy the feeling!), but I was keen to do all of the stunts, even the three more advanced ones…

So once we completed all the regular stunts, the pilot did the first advanced stunt — and mid-stunt, as the jet spun around and dropped in the air, I thought “Omigod, I’m going to lose that half granola bar I had for breakfast!” I immediately started to try to take deep breaths to get control on my insides and not throw up, and as I dry  heaved I reached for the convenient trash bag in front of me.

The pilot kept talking to me but because I was so focused on not throwing up, I couldn’t reply. “I think you moved your headset, I can’t hear you anymore,” he said. No, no, just me trying not to speak so I can keep my breakfast inside my belly…

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When I was finally able to speak, I told him I needed a break, so we flew low to the ground for awhile and then I heard him telling mission control that we’d be flying back soon. I almost interrupted and said I wanted to do the rest of the advanced stunts (cuz I’m stubborn like that) but then I realized how awful I’d feel if I actually did lose my breakfast. So back we went to land, and then I lay down in the lounge for almost an hour as I sipped water and had a snack and just waited til the dizziness went away.

Here’s the video from my Sky Combat experience. TBH, I’ve only watched the beginning…where you can hear my nervous laugh as we go up, and then my true laugh as I’m upside down. I had to stop watching the video because it actually makes me feel all lightheaded and woozy all over again! Soo…there may be a nice little scene where I’m trying not to vomit, I’ll have to watch the whole thing one day. Enjoy!

But you know what? As nauseous as it got me, I’d do it all over again. That’s right, my days as Maverick are not done if I have the choice to fly again! Such a thrilling experience and YOLO! Haha! I’m definitely glad I didn’t have more of a breakfast beforehand, and I say go for it if you’re in Vegas (and have a healthy adventure budget to burn! Jet flying doesn’t come cheap!).

For what else you can do in Vegas for the ultimate thrill ride of a vacay, check out my article on AmongMen!

Leave a Comment April 27, 2017

Healthy Swellness: Help clean Canada together with Glad Canada

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With Earth Day coming up (April 22nd!), and it being Canada’s 150th birthday, Glad Canada asked me if I’d be up for helping clean up a part of Toronto, and it was no question at all that I would take part.

I hate litter. I’ve been many a time fuming on the inside but not willing to get into an argument with strangers out in public when I see them litter. In my mailroom in my building, some of my neighbours leave flyers laying about, rather than putting them in the recycling box that’s literally three steps away, and it drives me bananas. I’m regularly swooping those up and tossing them in the blue bin. When I read about David Sedaris’s habit of picking up litter, I identified with his passion for it.

And yet I’ve never picked up trash in public, until now, thanks to this invite from Glad Canada, and I can tell you now it’s pretty satisfying. I set out for the Beaches with my dog, Billie Jean, with some gloves and Glad bags. By Lake Ontario. I spent about 20 minutes picking up (there was straws, plastic bags, newspapers, and more) and it’s incredible what a difference just what my little bit of effort could make.

And if we all just took that small window of time, imagine how much cleaner and beautiful our amazing city would be. I promise you that getting in on this #CleanCanadaTogether action with Glad Canada will make you feel great and make your hometown that much better. Check if there’s Glad community clean-up event in your area, or just go ahead with a friend, or your dog like I did.

Happy Earth Day, and here’s to a cleaner Canada!

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Leave a Comment April 21, 2017

Travel Swellness: The beauty of Barbados

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In December, I got to visit Barbados for a second time and it was just as beautiful and friendly as I remembered. This time, we stayed at St. Peter’s Bay, and I really liked the boutique feel of this resort. It felt very private and cozy, and there were beautiful sunset views.

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My favourite meal would have to be the Sunday brunch we enjoyed at 13°/59°. There’s live music, and sitting in the shade in the marina with upscale brunch dishes (I had lobster that was grilled perfectly) with a cold flute of champagne — it’s very chic affair.

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As much as I like enjoying a flying fish sandwich with my toes in the sand, getting dressed nicely and being whisked off in a boat to this refined brunch was just lovely.

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And I was also ready to eat all of the food on the menu as this was the brunch after I’d run the Barbados Half-marathon that morning. You can check out my race report here.

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Yes, we spotted turtles during our little boat cruise one morning! And a monkey or two during our Sunday brunch.

I loved my surf lesson at Dover Beach. The waves were manageable for me, a beginner, and the water was warm. My instructor was from Hamilton, Ontario, funny making a Canadian connection, eh? In this lesson, they taught us to pop up onto our feet (all the other lessons I’ve done we’ve been instructed to get up one foot at a time).  I managed to get up on the boatd a couple of times.

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I also wrote about vacationing in Barbados for VITA Daily, you can check out my story here.

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Leave a Comment April 11, 2017

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