Author Archives: crystalburney

Travels with my Grandma

Today is my Travelling Grandma’s birthday and to celebrate I’m continuing to work my way through her massive collection of slides from her travels.

As as kid, I always loved seeing all the photos from her latest travels and hoping one day I would be able to see all the same places that she had.

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to go through her slides and pick out photos of her in iconic and interesting places around the world with the hopes of being able to take photos of myself in those same places as I continue my travels.

I didn’t know at the time, what a huge undertaking this little project of mine would become. When I received boxes of her slides from my uncle, some were sorted into slide carousels…but many were just left in boxes with elastics that have long since rotted away, leaving thousands of slides in unmarked piles and turning this project into a huge game of ‘Where in the World is Grandma?’

What I’ve found as I’ve been sorting through the thousands of slides, is that we have a very similar way of taking photos on our trips. We are always marking where we are by taking photos of airports, ‘Welcome’ signs, destination markers, hotels we stay at, info plaques at places we visit etc. As most of the slides aren’t labeled, besides perhaps a country and date on the box, this has made this scavenger hunt a little easier to figure out where she is in the world.

I’ve also realized that we already have some very similar photos of us on our travels. It’s been interesting to see how places have changed over the years and fun to think of us visiting the same spots.

While I was never able to go on a big trip with my grandma, seeing photos of us in the same places almost makes it feel like we were travelling together!

Happy Birthday Grandma! xo

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Happy International Flight Attendant Day!

Wishing all my fellow FA’s a very Happy International Flight Attendant Day!

For so many of us, this past year has been hard. Many of us haven’t flown in over a year and those who are face new challenges dealing with masks, border restrictions and unruly passengers and more as we navigate through this pandemic.

Hopefully in the near future, we will all be back in the sky doing the job we’ve come to love so much.

I can’t wait to see you all again soon! 🙂

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Flightless FA

It’s now been a year, 365 days since I last stepped onto an airplane. 365 days since I did my last rescue flight bringing Canadians home as the first Covid-19 lockdown began. 

365 days as a flight attendant who hasn’t flown. 365 days as a traveller who hasn’t travelled.

Photo on my last rescue flight bringing Canadians home- March 2020

This has been the longest I haven’t been on a plane or out of the country in almost two decades. For someone whose identity is wrapped up in travel both as my occupation and my lifestyle, watching new restrictions on travel continue to be added and enforced without a solid plan to rebuild, and feeling trapped in a seemingly endless pandemic have made these past 365 days the longest of my life. 

Sure, there have been some great parts, like lots of extra time to read and be crafty, starting to paint and finding out I really enjoy it, spending more time in the garden, and going for walks, but I miss my old life. The life that required me to wear something other than leggings and a hoodie. The one where I could visit in large groups and go to the theatre. The life where I used my passport on an almost weekly basis. The life where I could escape winter and enjoy the Caribbean sunshine even if only for a limited time. The life where I could actually go on trips, and not just sit at my computer planning ones to go on ‘someday.’

This past week has been hard. Hard to keep trying to be optimistic and find the good things about this past year to keep my mind from sinking into the bad. “Covid Fatigue” has me just wanting to pull the covers back over my head and stay there until this is over. I find myself wondering how a whole year has already gone by. A year since the first lockdowns were announced. A year without big family gatherings or nights out with friends. A year since our wedding was cancelled (two weeks before leaving), and now, today, a year since my last flight. I find myself being easily irritated and sad and tired, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

This year has been hard. This week has been hard. So let’s keep that in mind and be kind to both ourselves and others as we continue to make our way through this seemingly never-ending pandemic.

On a bright note…spring is officially here again, and if nothing else, at least it means warm sunny days are ahead!

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Missing you

It’s been 9 years since my ‘Travelling Grandma’ left us. 
Over the past year, I’ve been slowly working my way through the thousands and thousands of slides she took on her trips.
I never got the chance to travel with her…but during this year of no travel, her and I have been around the world together.  ❤

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A very memorable Valentine’s Day

On this sunny, snowy Valentine’s Day morning, I woke to a beautiful bouquet of roses from my love and we baked a chocolate heart shaped cake to enjoy for dinner. As we are still on a Covid-19 lockdown here in Ontario, it’s a quiet February 14th at home with no dinner out or movie to attend.

As I scroll through my Facebook Memories, I’m soon reminded of a Valentine’s Day that was anything but a quiet day at home. In fact, I’m not sure that any Valentine’s Day will ever top the one I had in 2008, while I was living in Kenya. A day that included singing, Valentine date requests and a slaughterhouse. Of all the travel stories I enjoy telling and re-telling, this is definitely one of my favourites!

A Kenyan Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!

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An ‘Extra Ordinary’ Birthday

For over a decade now, most years on January 12th, I find myself in a different country, celebrating (and sometimes stressing) about turning another year older by doing one of my favourite things: travelling.

This trend began on my 24th birthday when, much to my mother’s tearful chagrin, I boarded a plane to Kenya, which was in the midst of its post-election violence, to volunteer for several months at a school and children’s home. My 25th was much more subdued as I made my way to New York City, one of my favourite cities in the world, to spend my birthday skating at Rockefeller Center and watching Broadway shows. My 30th birthday was spent in Vegas with bright lights, penny slots and a trip to the Grand Canyon, with many other birthdays being celebrated on the beaches of Mexico, Jamaica and Bahamas.

There has been the odd year where, due to work schedules or injury, I’ve found myself in the country on January 12th. For the most part, though, those years still ended up with at least a little getaway to someplace like Blue Mountain or Windsor to check out breweries or watch Cirque du Soleil shows.

That is, until this year, when I find myself at home in the midst of another Covid-19 lockdown in Ontario.

Birthdays tend to bring out the anxiety in me. Normally not an anxious person, I often spend the time leading up to the big day wavering between being stressed by it and wanting to celebrate it for the entire month of January. I used to think I was just afraid of getting older, but have come to realize that gaining another year has never been the issue. Rather, it’s the feeling that with each year, I’m running out of time to check off all the hopes, dreams, plans and wishes I have for my life—a feeling I come by honestly, as my dad recently said he calculated that he would need to live to over 200 to finish all the projects he’s put down on his multiple “to-do” lists.

These past 10.5 months of being at home, off work and unable to travel have only added to the feeling this year. This past week, it’s been a struggle to force myself out of bed in the morning and do something with my day, as reminders pop up on my Facebook and Instagram memories of where I was heading off to celebrate my birthday in past years (with many more of those memories flooding in today).

My day didn’t start with a buffet and breakfast mimosa’s. Instead it was a slow start, with a cup of coffee with Forty Creek Nanaimo Bar cream and bacon and eggs made by my finance. Curled up on the couch reading my new Dolly Parton book, instead of taking my book to the beach. A lazy day filled with homemade lasagna made by my Mom and an ice cream cake (is it even a birthday if you don’t have one of those?? I don’t think so!)

Texts, messages and calls from friends and family and homemade cards and cupcakes delivered from some of my favourite little people (and their moms).

It was definitely a different kind of birthday for me, but still a good one filled with special little moments.

I fall victim to wanting my birthday to be extraordinary each year. A celebration of another year of great memories of travel and experiences with family and friends and the kick-start of the next year and what I’m going to be able to see, do, try and accomplish just beginning. If this past year taught me anything, it’s that the universe has a way of upending even the best laid plans. Sometimes years that were supposed to be big, important years filled with weddings and travel can end up being a year filled with gardening, crafts and baking, and that while I can’t wait to get back to celebrating my birthdays abroad…occasionally having a birthday that’s not extraordinary but merely ‘extra ordinary’ might just be okay.

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Christmas Travel Tree

Nearly a decade ago, I began collecting ornaments for my Christmas tree as I found ones I liked along my travels. It started out as a fairly sporadic collection, but over time has turned into something I seek out in every new country, adding a few new ones to hang on my tree each year.

Our beautiful Christmas tree filled with ornaments from around the world!

For the first time in years, I didn’t have a new one to add to my tree, but I still got to enjoy all the memories of my past travels as I hung these beautiful ornaments on my ‘Travel Tree’.

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The Seashell Tree

My travels this year have looked very different—mainly just around my house. As both a travel addict and a flight attendant, being home for this long has been very strange for me, and while I’ve got lots of cleaning and reading done, one of my main outlets has been crafting.

I’ve always been a creative person, and while I usually lean towards music and drama, this year has allowed me to really spend some time exploring my visual arts side by painting, crocheting and using my Cricut on an almost daily basis. At this rate, I’m going to come out of Covid-19 with a craft emporium in my house!

Now that we are into December and Christmas is just around the corner, my latest craft helped me bring some travel memories and the illusion of being at the beach into my home in Canada, where outside there is now over a foot of snow.

I’ve been collecting a few shells from all the beaches I’ve been to around the world, and now have quite a large collection. I figured maybe I could use them to create some kind of beachy Christmas tree, so the Sparkling Seashell Tree was born!

Materials:

  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Styrofoam floral cone (I got mine at Michael’s)
  • Seashells- variety of sizes, shapes, colours
  • Something for your tree topper. (I used a resin starfish I had ordered from Amazon)
  • Turquoise glitter paint

I glued the shells on starting with the larger ones and then filling in gaps with the smaller shells. I chose to use mainly white shells to cover the green floral cone and then filled in the gaps with a mix of small, colourful shells and uniquely shaped shells to give the tree some colour and make it look like ornaments. This part took far longer than I thought it would…although this could also be because I was watching Hallmark Christmas movies as I was crafting and kept getting distracted!

For years now, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing where I got each shell on the back (using the airport codes for the tiny shells), so it was fun to look at them and reminisce about my travels as I was gluing them on. I found shells from Costa Rica, Panama, various places around Mexico, Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Antigua, St. Lucia, Kenya, Portugal, Florida and more.

Once they were all attached, I painted two of my turquoise resin starfish with glitter paint, glued them together and placed them at the top of the tree. Then I finished it off by adding some turquoise glitter paint to some of the white shells spaced out around the tree to add a bit of sparkle.

And voilà! — I had a beautiful Seashell Tree to add a little warmth to this 2020 holiday season! 

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Candy-Coloured Sunsets

There’s really no better sight then a colourful sunset over a still body of water. I’m obsessed with sunsets in general, but there’s something magical about the mirror image reflected back off the water, like this one I took last week on the South Muskoka River. Magic Hour at it’s finest!

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Pumpkins After Dark

Halloween is my favourite time of year. I love the costumes, the decorations, the pumpkin carving and the Halloween parties, and I especially love travelling to check out Halloween places and events.

A couple of my favourites have been exploring Salem and learning about the witch trials (and seeing all the Hocus Pocus filming sites!) and dressing up to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World. But unfortunately with Covid-19 still happening, this year I won’t be checking a new item off my Halloween travel list or attending any big Halloween parties. So instead, I checked out a Halloween event much closer to home that I haven’t made it to before: Pumpkins After Dark at Country Heritage Park in Milton, ON.

This year, in order to keep everyone safe and distanced, the event was a 2.5km drive-thru experience. Along the dark, winding trail there are over 150 pumpkin sculptures made from 7000-7500 carved pumpkins all lit up.

The sculptures included superheroes, Disney characters, classic Halloween villains, a variety of animals and much more.

What an incredible sight! Although you couldn’t get too close to the pumpkins or stop at any point along the trail, the detail found in the sculptures was amazing.

I can only imagine how cool they would look up close (and how much better my photos would be if I wasn’t hanging out of a moving car window trying to take them!!).

It took about 45 minutes to drive through the park, including through a tunnel of spooky pumpkins.

With the creepy music playing and the thousands of pumpkins lighting up the dark, cloudy sky, I definitely left feeling more in the Halloween spirit!

For more information (and for way better photos) visit https://pumpkinsafterdark.com/.

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