Filed under: Travel Swellness

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

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

Travel Swellness: Playtime in Park City

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I feel like I heard about Park City many years ago, and even though I wasn’t a skier at the time, I knew I really wanted to go. Quite possibly because of the name — “park” usually is synonymous with playing — and from what I’d gathered, Park City is a destination for posh people…and I’m all ’bout that posh life.

Kidding. Kinda sorta. I’d like to be all about that posh life is probably a more accurate statement.

In January, my wish to visit Park City came true when I got the opportunity to visit for a story. And the city was even better than I’d imagined. It’s an old mining town so there are charming little homes lining the streets. I was on the slopes much of the time so I didn’t get too many photos of the homes, unfortunately. But their colourful exteriors pop brightly against the snow.

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We ate at so many great spots but I think my favourite meal was a cute casual spot (one that’s oh so very Instagrammable — which is, duh, a must in my books!) where all of the ingredients were so fresh and everything was so flavourful that had just opened a few months prior called Harvest.

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I had my very first turmeric tea here, and while I felt like it smelled great (and looks delicious), I wasn’t too fond of the flavour. But the pork belly sandwich I had here was filled with such fresh greens and the pork belly so flavourful and wonderfully fatty — just the right amount of fat to meat and all tucked into a soft bun. I’m salivating thinking back to it.

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While the turmeric tea wasn’t for me, what I was very, very fond of? The Dead Man’s Boots cocktail at High West. It’s refreshing, and strong and pretty much is a combination of two of my fave cocktails. One is enough to knock you back a little…so , naturally, I had two! hehheh…I”m going to have to practice trying to replicate this drink at home.

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A must-not miss while in Park City is SUP yoga at the Homestead Crater. There was some record snowfall while we were in town so under a thick blanket of snow, we came across a mound or dome. Enter through the door and it’s cold in the entry area, but walk in and there’s an amazing steamy, hot body of water, with natural daylight streaming in from the crater opening above.

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Yoga on a SUP is a great core workout but because the water is so nice and warm, it’s fine if you mess up your pose and fall in (even though I admit I was reluctant to fall at first, falling into water is something I typically need to mentally prepare for whenever possible!). It was very unreal to know that just outside were giant fluffy snowflakes blanketing the city, while we were tucked inside in an ultra warm natural body of water. Definitely one of the coolest workouts I’ve ever done (and I’ve rappelled down a waterfall after hiking up in a river in Puerto Rico! That’s another that tops my fave workout adventures!).

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The skiing here is great and the mountain is huge. We had so much fresh powder and the runs weren’t overly crowded. Although I don’t think the views are as stunning as, say, when you’re skiing with views of the Rocky or Purcell Mountains, or of Lake Tahoe, you can find some really peaceful runs and the snow is so delightful. I will say that I didn’t find the signage all too clear (and based on skiers I encountered who also got lost I’m not the only one). This is how I ended up going down underneath a lift (technically not a run based on the map, although people were obviously skiing it) in an area dominated by double black diamond runs. This was not a good thing (I have done a few single black diamonds in my short time as a skier, but never a double black diamond), but I just took a deep breath and made my way slowly down, pausing to take. And I managed to not shed a tear (although I did so mentally!) or break a leg.

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Park City is owned by Vail Resorts, which means I got an instant log of my skiing thanks to their EpicMix app. Your ski pass is automatically scanned when you get on a chair lift (and that’s how it calculates how many vertical feet you’ve skied each day). I love this app. I find the data satisfying and motivating (same goes for my running using the Nike NRC app — I guess I like having concrete numbers!). And I love that you can find the photos taken on the slopes by the EpicMix photogs right there on the app. It’s not the most user-friendly app (I had to create a different account from last year using a different email because of a logistical thing with my ski pass) but hopefully those things can be smoothed out as the app is improved and updated.

For more about visiting Park City, check out my article over on VITA Daily. But if you ever have any specific questions about Park City or any other destination I’ve been to, don’t hesitate to email or message me. and I’ll answer them if I can!

 

 

 

Leave a Comment March 28, 2017

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