It’s been way too long since I have written about my journeys around North America and beyond. I have been here, there and everywhere around Canada with my work.. I have been to Victoria (of course!) to attend a Christmas Party and to visit with family – go figure! I had to be in Victoria to get a long overdue brunch in with my Aunt – who lives in Newfoundland!
The Monsters and I had a week long relaxing adventure in Zihuantanejo, Mexico in January. We spent the time with my Aunt and Uncle, and were spoiled with the amazing weather and amazing people. The boys still talk about the trip, and I believe they are planning their return next winter.
Now.. with that bit of catch up done…
It’s been 21 years since I was there, so I know that my perspective will be completely different. I am also travelling with (some of) the women in my family, so it will be extra special. My Aunt, two cousins and my Mom will be boarding a British Airways flight to London, England on March 29. In London, we make our connection onwards to Charles De Gaulle airport in PARIS, France. We will be spending 9 days. We are incredibly excited!
Travel: As Aircrew, I am very much looking forward to flying on an Airline I have never flown before. I have heard very good things about British Airways. So far, I am not totally wowed by the service I have received in trying to gather information about my flights, however I am walking onboard that Boeing 767 with an open mind and maybe even some goodies for the crew.
Lodging: We will be staying here, in an apartment in Paris’ Arrondissement 1 – close to almost everything you could want to see in the City itself. We are going with a fluid plan. We know what we want to see, but we have no rigid set-in-stone plans – we are going to go where the Spring Paris breeze takes us… and this little apartment will make it very easy for us to do just that!
Plans: So far, we have the normal “tourist” plans. Any one out there have any suggestions on things we should see? Obviously we will see the Eiffel Tower, L’Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and the Louvre.. there will be shopping… and of COURSE… We will be finding ourselves in some amazing french Cafe, sipping amazing coffee (and/or WINE!) and eating amazing food.
Whatever we end up doing, this trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse ourselves in another culture, all while learning more about each other and ourselves.
Stay tuned for the official one-week countdown, and for updates from the trip!!
Well.. summer sure got busy!
- The monsters and I completed our RoadTrip ’12 successfully – learning so much about each other and ourselves in the process.
- I am back to flying fulltime, after taking most of the month of July off. I came back to work in a leadership position, so it’s definitely been a learning experience.
- I am getting ready to move into my own place – living on my own for the first time in 14 years. I’ll have the monsters, but being solely responsible for a household is daunting.
- I have some other travel coming up.. Karate Camp, the Jeff Probst Show, and some Social Media conferences I would love to attend.
All of this has added up to not being able to blog as much as I want. I am now officially setting time aside every week to update both of my blogs – this one as well as my more personal one that you can find HERE.
Let’s talk about my travel!
The RoadTrip was amazing. We had ups and downs, but we really did enjoy ourselves. We each learned our own limitations as far as time couped up in a car together. We laughed. We cried. We loved. I was reminded constantly how amazing my little men are. I may question my parenting at times, but their Dad and I have obviously done something right to turn out such amazing little people.
Work has been good. I have gotten to spend layover time in my normal haunts (Victoria, Halifax) and also in some places I haven’t stayed in a very long time (Kelowna, Thunder Bay). I even ‘crashed’ an Ontario Police Association Luau in Thunder Bay!
Next weekend, I will be attending my 4th annual Karate Workshop. Every summer, my Dojo hosts a camping workshop. We join together, train in the sun, and get to take in the amazing energy found at Waterton Lakes National Park. One of the senior Sensei’s from Toronto always comes out, and we have a fantastic weekend refocusing our Martial Arts training.
In September, I will be attending a taping of the Jeff Probst Show with my good friend Natalie (@ManiacalMom) We are currently planning the trip, but we have tickets and are super excited!!
In October, I am hoping to be in attendance at both the She’s Connected Conference in Toronto and Blissdom Canada 2012, also in Toronto. I am currently putting together a Sponsorship Proposal Package – but if you, or anyone you know, may want to help me attend and partake in these amazing opportunities, please let me know!!!
So that is where I am going to be. Perhaps a journey to the sun during the winter months will happen, and let’s not forget my trip to Paris in the spring!
In keeping with the title of my Blog, I have decided I should probably write something about travelling.
I normally fly everywhere. I am super practiced at airports and air travel in general. As an airline family, it is our go-to type of travel. When I started talking to the Monsters about taking a vacation just the three of us, we decided that we should change up this year, and take a ROAD TRIP. My youngest son (Monster2) is 7 and has really never done a full road trip. He’s camped in a Motorhome, and my (ex)husband and I did take them all in the Motorhome up to the Northwest Territories a few years ago…. but he’s never done anything like the trip we have planned.
We are currently on Day Three of ??? We don’t actually have a set date to return. We don’t actually have every day planned, and I don’t know exactly where we are sleeping every night. This is a test of many things for me. I like certainty. I like KNOWING what is happening. Not having a plan is strange for me, but also liberating. It has been nice to just say “Everything will be ok, and this is OUR Adventure”.
I hope that this attitude becomes a permanent life one for me. This is my adventure, and everything will be ok. I will keep you updated on THAT on my personal blog.
Back to our trip. So far? It’s going well. The boys are happy, they are having fun. I am happy. I am having fun. This is a huge WIN and signifies SUCCESS.
Day One: Day One was also the last day of training for a new position I have accepted at work. I rushed home from that, finished packing up the car, and we started driving West. We made it to GOLDEN, BC. We set up a TENT! IN THE DARK! This was also a first for Monster2. Tenting. Monster1 was so young the last time I pitched a tent that he has no memory of it, so it felt like a first for him as well. Also, did I mention I SET UP A TENT? IN THE DARK?
Day Two: We woke up, and made breakfast. Bacon and Eggs. Awesome camping breakfast! We tore down the tent and managed to actually figure out how to fold it back into it’s carrying case!! We finished packing, and started driving again. This is one day we had a plan. We were on our way toKELOWNA, BC to visit my Grandmother and my Aunt. We stopped at a couple of tourist attractions along the way. We laughed. We sang. We are learning to enjoy the journey, and this makes me happy.
Day Three: Here we are! Today we are visiting family and friends here in Kelowna. We will sleep here again tonight. Tomorrow? Well tomorrow is the continuation of our adventure and we aren’t sure where we will end up….
But it will be our adventure.
And it will be OK.
One of my absolute favourite things in this world is a good cup of coffee. A Starbucks Americano is about as close to a good cup of coffee a Flygirl can obtain in an airport. The nice thing about Starbucks is that things are generally pretty consistent no matter where you go. Some stores have better service, more interactive Baristas, but all in all the Starbucks experience is pretty much the same no matter where you go. This is why I was shocked and dismayed by my experience on May 20, 2012.
I arrived at the Winnipeg Airport at approximately 1730. I had about an hour to hang out at the airport before meeting up with the crew I had been called in to join. I sat and people watched. I made a phone call. As I was chatting on the phone, I decided that I should get myself some coffee. I wandered over to the Starbucks. There were 3 employees (two in Uniform, one just hanging out talking) off to one side, having a very indepth and animated conversation about a party. There was also one other employee very busy cleaning the floors. She was doing an amazing job at it – scraping by hand whatever it was that would not come up with just the mop. I took a quick look at my watch – yep – still lots of time. I stood there. I stood there some more. I listened to the party conversation. Oh to be that young again!! I watched the poor girl doing the floors – wondering why she wasn’t included in the party group. I made mention, rather loudly, to my phone companion that I was not being acknowledged at the Starbucks. This didn’t work. When I looked at my watch again – I had actually been standing there for 5 minutes. As it neared the 6 minute mark, the floor-cleaning girl looked up with a start, and came over to help me. She took my order, quite obviously flustered.
And then… She started to make my drink.
Now, please know that I am NOT a germ-a-phobe. I have a pretty good immune system for the most part, and I think this is partly due to the fact that I am not scared of a few germs here and there. It happens. However, this girl had been SCRAPING BY HAND the gunk on the floor. I had to say something. I had to ask her to wash her hands before she made my drink. This shocked myself, my phone companion and the girl! I explained to her that she had been washing the floors, and that I would just feel better if she washed her hands before she made my drink. Thankfully she started the process over again after washing her hands, brand new cup and everything.
In all of this, the group off to the side had not moved.
I took my Americano, and left. I said my Good Byes on the phone, and went to help the Agents at the gate. One of them went over to get drinks for the 3 Agents. Party Group still didn’t budge. Thankfully Floor-Cleaning Girl was there to step in. When my crew arrived, one of THEM went over. Guess What?? Same thing. This time, it was found out that the girl was NEW. I was dismayed. Not only was she cut out of the Party Group, but not one of those other employees thought it would be a good idea to help out the new girl. They had her doing the grunt work, as well as the fun work. Poor Thing – she had to do ALL of the work.
Shame on all of you, Party Group.
Work Place Karma will get you.
Lessons learned on this day. Airport Starbucks have some of the most awful service. I could write for another hour on the service received at the Starbucks on the Secure Side of Terminal 3 at Toronto Pearson Airport. I also now watch my Baristas very closely for hand washing.
Where have you had good Starbucks experiences? Bad?
Let me know.
Just Do It.
The words have been used in many different ways, becoming iconic in the advertising world as athletes in their Nike shoes and clothes told us all to “Just Do It”.
I am here now, to tell you the same thing.
Just Do It.
We all have parts of our jobs that maybe we don’t really like to do. Menial tasks, dirty jobs, cleaning – whatever it is – we just don’t LIKE to do it. Yet these tasks need to BE done – and they need to be done BY YOU. They need to be done BY ME. The fact is, if you work in the Customer Service Industry in any way, these jobs exist and by not doing them, you are creating a nasty environment for everyone you are in contact with.
When you refuse to be a team player, you are making life difficult for your co-workers. You are making yourself look bad, and you are making it so people don’t actually want to work with you. Customers can SEE this happening. They can feel the tension. They may not be able to pinpoint exactly WHY, but they will know it’s not a comfortable atmosphere. This hurts business. This hurts the bottom line. This hurts EVERYONE.
In my Flight Attendant Role and my Bar-Server Role, the job I don’t like to do is empty the garbages. I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the appearance – all in all the garbages gross me out. Sometimes I don’t have to do it. Those days are awesome! However – there are plenty of times I DO have to do it. I don’t like it, and I curse under my breath and I gag a little bit and I am generally pretty miserable about it. BUT… I DO IT. I know it needs to be done, and I know that as part of a TEAM I need to hold up my end of the bargain sometimes. Also, as a trainer and sometimes-supervisor I would never dream of asking someone to do something I am not willing to do myself. That is NOT good leadership. So, I hold my breath and yank the garbage out.
I also know that people enjoy working with me. Is it ONLY because I will do the dirty jobs? Obviously not – it’s a combination of being fun, solid and good at my jobs – combined with not feeling any job is beneath me. I am a team player, and a PROUD one at that.
What jobs do you not like to take care of in your place of work? Let’s discuss!!!
There are so many different ways to ensure you are providing a high level of Customer Service.
- Being Interested
- Being Knowledgable
- Getting to know your Customers
- Making people feel special
- Smiling (oh.. wait… I think I said that already!)
But one that a lot of people forget, is BEING PROUD.
Have you ever asked someone “What do you do for work”? and had the following reply? “Oh, I’m JUST a ________”.
JUST A ????
Why would anyone want to call themselves “JUST A” anything?
Personally, I am MANY things.
I am a Mother. I am a Wife. I am a Daughter. I am a Friend. I am a Flight Attendant AND a Waitress. I am certainly NOT “JUST” any of those things.
Choosing those words shows a lack of pride, and having a lack of pride in what you do short-changes not just the people you are dealing with – it short-changes YOU.
Being proud of who you are and what you are doing has a huge impact.
We have a guy at my Bar Job. To some people, he is JUST a dishwasher. To me and my co-workers – he’s our hero. He has such a sense of pride in doing his job well that he makes the rest of our jobs that much easier. We never have to ask him to empty our dishbins. We never have to ask him when certain dishes will be clean. When we do ask him to help with other things, he always smiles and says yes. He knows the value in what he is doing, and is proud to do it.
We can all learn from my dishwasher buddy.
I challenge you all to find the value in what you are doing. This doesn’t even have to be in your work-lives. Find the value in what you do in every aspect of your life. Be PROUD of what you are doing. If you are in the service industry – this will translate into people seeing you in a different way. Your pride will shine through and people will react positively to that.
I bet you will find that you enjoy your job that much more, as well.
Anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows that I am a self-declared “Fairmont Girl”. If it’s a Fairmont Hotels and Resorts property, I love it! I sing the praises of their service levels, their staff and their properties. Any negative experiences I have had have been dealt with in such an amazingly professional and thorough way that they leave me feeling positive and even more in love. So I was as surprised as you all will be when I encountered an experience that certainly rivalled, if not out-shone, a Fairmont Experience last night. This experience happened at the Sparks Lounge at the Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites.
This is a lady who is a career server for sure. And why wouldn’t she be? She was AMAZING. She knew the menu, she knew her drinks and more importantly, she knew how to read her customers. She helped us decide on our meal, knowing we weren’t looking for anything heavy. She didn’t try to force us into an expensive dinner. She recommended we share Tapas. She recommended her favourite Tapas. She joked. She smiled. She laughed. She didn’t hover when we were talking, nor did she allow our beverages to get too low before offering more.
She made us feel welcome.
She made us feel appreciated and important.
She was a perfect example of excellence in Customer Service.
Her excellence is simple. She took pride in her job, and her place of employment. She genuinely likes people, and takes the time to develop a relationship with her customers. She made her job fun. She made sure her customers had fun. She was genuine and real.
I don’t often frequent the Lounge at this hotel. I have a good friend who lives up the street, and when I don’t visit with her, I tend to go outside of the hotel. However, now that I know Betty, and know how amazing I will be treated – I will be back. I will encourage my crews to join me. I will encourage my Ottawa friends to join me there instead of elsewhere around the area.
Betty has turned me into a part-time Delta-Girl.
I hope Fairmont doesn’t mind.
It’s such a simple thing.
Yet, for something so simple, and so easy to do – it has a huge impact on the people around us.
It signifies so many things. Happiness. Understanding. Love. Joy. Appreciation. Excitement. Adoration. The list goes on and on…
Your smile can also show respect and acknowledgment. If you are in the service industry in any way, or just plain deal with people in your daily activities – a smile can be your most powerful tool.
Simply smiling at someone shows that you are approachable and friendly. When you make eye contact and smile at someone, you can instantly put them at ease, and can potentially disarm someone’s warpath, if they were set on one.
Did you know that even if you are dealing with someone on the phone, they can “hear” your smile? Your voice instantly becomes friendlier and you come across as more empathetic and caring.
Smiling at someone can instantly change their mood. You can lift someone’s spirits simply by catching their eye and smiling. If you yourself are in a bad mood, plastering on a big ol’ grin can actually help to improve your own mood as well. Smiles are contagious, and a real smile can be caught just from faking one.
The next time you are out and about and see someone having a bad day, or when you have to deal with that cranky customer – try making eye contact and smiling. The eye contact shows that you are focused on them, and lets them know that you are directing that smile at them. I bet that you will see a difference in them almost immediately. You can then spend the rest of your day with a smile on your face, knowing that you made a positive impact that day.
I am absolutely THRILLED to announce the winner of my very first Giveaway.
Before that tho, I would really like to thank Fairmont Hotels & Resorts for so generously providing a night at one of their amazing properties. I am forever grateful!
I would also like to thank the amazing staff at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, BC for providing such an amazing experience each time I am there. I can not WAIT to go back.
I am pleased to announce….
Have I mentioned that this lucky person will receive a certificate directly from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts? And that it is good for a night at one of their amazing… oh wait… yes… I DID mention that.
The winner IS:
@HABWXGIRL / AKA ROSE
Here is her comment: “I try to stay at a hotel at least once a year (even locally) to reclaim some of my sanity! I go by myself and spoil myself and get away from the “zoo” that is home! Some people barely notice their room when they stay at a hotel, for me it’s all about the room! It becomes a retreat for me! Best thing is the solitude and the way a hotel stay makes me feel pampered!”
Well Rose, I can guarantee you will feel pampered during your stay!!!
I can not WAIT to hear about your stay!!!!
Happy Travels, Friends.
It is always nice to be welcomed home.
As most of you know, I only get to be in my actual home approximately half the time. I spend a great part of my life on the road, living in hotels, and most hotels are NOT home.
Some are so far from being home that you have to shut your eyes tight, and hope for the best.
Some, however, are so close to home that you miss them when you aren’t there. You plot and plan and figure out ways to stay again and again. You smile at pictures of them. You crave their food, and wonder what new drinks are on their ever-evolving cocktail menu. You know interesting and sometimes useless facts about them. You feel like you belong when you visit.
The Fairmont Empress (Victoria, BC) is just that hotel.
I have been trying to count the number of times I have stayed at this amazing hotel. I know it’s probably hovering around 10. If I had millions of dollars, I’d visit every weekend! I come back because it’s a beautiful hotel, situated at the edge of one of the most amazing harbours I have seen, in my absolute favourite city. I tell everyone I know to try it because it offers an amazing level of service with a consistency found throughout Fairmont Hotels & Resorts properties.
Some of my favourite Fairmont-isms:
- All of the staff stop and smile when they pass you.
- The food is absolutely amazing.
- The beds are to-die-for comfortable.
- The rooms are clean, cozy and comfortable to be in.
- If you need something, the staff will do their very best to get it for you;
- If the staff can’t get help you, they will find someone who will;
- If that fails, they will apologize. Sincerely.
- You will be treated the same no matter who you are.
My recent trip to The Fairmont Empress was, of course, amazing. I was lucky enough to be staying on the Gold Floor. (If you don’t know about Fairmont Gold – read HERE.) I was greeted by Dillon and Lesley. I have been greeted by them before, but they see so many people, I wouldn’t dream that they remembered me. I was wrong. Lesley smiled immediately and used my name. Also? Dillon APOLOGIZED that my room wasn’t ready. This may not seem like such a big deal, except that I arrived hours before one would expect to be able to check in! The Gold Lounge was offered as a place to relax, and the view was spectacular.
I enjoy being in the Gold Lounge. It’s view, the beverages and snacks, the beautiful furniture, the cozy atmosphere – it’s all lovely. However, I enjoy watching the people more. I admit it, I am a people watcher. I like to observe them, sometimes even making up my own little stories about that. It’s a fun passtime, and in my line of work – there is no end to the people to watch! In the Gold Lounge tho, I like to watch the staff. I like to watch them interact with their Guests, and with each other. It’s like watching a family.
Other staff members to be noted on this trip:
Laura and Bradley who served up amazing beverages and nibbles on the Veranda. Laura claimed the Rattenbury Ceasar was the most delicious I would have ever had – and she was right. Also, when I declined to order an afternoon snack as what I wanted was not on the Veranda’s menu, she seemed shocked. Why of COURSE I could order something from the Bengal Lounge. I was brought the largest portion of Bengal Poutine ever! Still as delicious as ever!
Manon in the Bengal Lounge was another gem. An after dinner glass of wine was in order, and she served it with so much joy and charm that I found myself wishing I could have her bring me another dinner – just so I could enjoy her service longer.
It’s never a surprise when I experience what the Fairmont Empress, or any Fairmont property, has to offer, but it is always a pleasure. I cannot wait to have another wonderful Fairmont Experience again SOON!
I have enjoyed spending time at the following Fairmont Hotels:
- Fairmont Empress Victoria, BC
- Fairmont Winnipeg Winnipeg, MB
- Fairmont Palliser Calgary, AB
- Fairmont Banff Springs Banff, AB
- Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver, BC
Feel free to ask about my experiences at each of these hotels, or any hotels I experience along my travels.
I am excited to be using my experience at The Fairmont Empress as the relaunching point for Flygirl’s Travels. I am even more excited to be able to offer my readers a “NIGHT AT THE FAIRMONT”. That’s right!! I am so enamored with my experiences, I want YOU to enjoy your own! Fairmont has graciously offered to provide one of my lucky readers with a certificate that will enable you to have your own Fairmont Experience. Simply leave a comment telling me what your FAVOURITE thing about staying in a hotel is!!
- You can only enter once on the Blog.
- If you tweet about my contest, you can get one extra entry. Don’t forget to @ me so I know!!
- Rude comments will be deleted immediately and will not count.
- Draw for the winner will take place on October 9, 2011.