The Packing List #27 – September 25, 2016 – Hitchhiker’s Guide to Tantrums

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Hello! How did you spend your autumnal equinox? It officially fall in North America, and I am ready for slightly cooler days, but let’s not go crazy, because you know what happens next. This week on the blog, I wrote about visiting a new favourite place, the Westman Islands (Vestmannayjaer). I don’t want to ruin the place with a rave, but it had everything: great food, puffins, Icelandic horses, amazing views, and more puffins. Believe it!

Programming note: I’ll be away next week with my new BFF Adele in Montreal (have I mentioned I got tickets to Adele in Montreal?), where we will drink beer directly from the bottles and talk about all of you. I’ll be back October 9th with a long weekend long read and extra turkey for everyone since it’s Canadian Thanksgiving. Have a great week!

Travel news you can use

  • Canada is ending the “leniency period” for the electronic travel authorization requirement on November 9, 2016. The roll-out has been a total schmozzle (official government word), but the gov will try to fully implement the ETA – AGAIN – on November 10, 2016. This also means new rules for dual citizens.
  • There is very little intercity (or inter-town) transportation where I live, the assumption is that everyone has a car. I don’t, which means I rent or rely on others to get out of town. A new non-profit called Parkbus is testing out a same-day service that will transport city slickers like myself to the depths of the Nova Scotian wilderness. Great idea!
  • The new Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture was opened by President Obama this weekend in Washington, DC. The New York Times has put together a terrific feature that goes through the story of the museum, some of the artifacts, and the stories behind the donations. I can’t wait to see this – I’m going to need a week in DC just to start on my must-see list.
  • Uh oh! Residents of a London luxury condo building next to the new Tate Modern expansion find themselves the objects on display. Mo’ money, mo’ problems in London real estate.
  • Rome’s famous Spanish Steps have re-opened after refurbishing and a night fence – to keep out drunk people and tourists – has also been taken down.
  • The story of a French hitchhiker throwing a tantrum after four days of no rides in New Zealand IS too weird to ignore. Maybe travel is not for you, Monsieur Dude.
  • If you lament the passing of the golden age of travel, get in on this auction of parts of the Concorde, which starts later in October.

Nifty finds


  • Google Trips is here! Google Trips is here! The app collects information about flights and accommodations from your email, offers suggestions for itineraries, and lists all of your saved places from Google Maps. People either love this or are terrified by it, count me on the “LOVE IT” list.
  • William and Kate (and kids) are in Canada, check out some of the highlights of Western Canada, some of which they’ll see while they’re here. Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and Victoria are absolute must-sees.
  • It’s always worth checking Atlas Obscura when planning a trip, in case there is something unusual to see or too amazing to ignore. Readers pick the world’s top 10 most unusual wonders.
  • This guy visited every country on Earth on a budget. How? What?
  • Where is Game of Thrones going next season? Spain, Northern Ireland, and Iceland (yes, yes, yes).
  • Six things solo travel teaches you. I’m working on some NEW writing about solo travel, so I’ve been thinking about it a lot these days, and I completely agree with all of these points.
  • When preservation leads to increased tourism and more damage. Places like the Great Barrier Reed and Machu Picchu are seeing increasing “last chance tourism,” which is almost too grim to contemplate.


Zipping the suitcase

There is a possibility Adele and I could become BFFs, and I’ll become her Chief Problem Solver. It’s far likelier I’m going to spend my time in Montreal eating bagels. Tell me what you think about the newsletter by sending a message directly to Find out more about where I travel on See you next week!

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