042 – My Abbotsford Airport Swoop Experiment

While writing this, I am waiting for my flight. However, this time it’s different than any previous times I was waiting for my flight. I have never been to this airport before, and I have never flown this airline before.

There have always been 2 main airlines that I fly on; Air Canada and WestJet, and my main frequent flights have been back and forth between Toronto and Vancouver. Recently, a new option has come to my attention, which people often refer to as “budget airlines”. I have never taken “budget airlines” before, as they don’t tend to fly out of the main airports nearly as much due to the high operating cost. When I lived in Toronto, it was extremely easy for me to go to Person International Airport (YYZ) which is for the large airlines, meaning I never had a reason to venture outside of the city to other smaller airports, and thus was never exposed to these smaller airlines.

Recently, a few of these airlines have started flying between BC and Ontario, with routes between from Abbotsford, BC (just outside of Vancouver) and London, ON, which is actually closer to my parents then Toronto is.

With this trip to Ontario, I decided to give it a go and booked my ticket with Swoop Airlines. You may ask why? Well, the cost of this whole roundtrip was basically the same price as an on-sale one-way ticket from the major airlines, even after the bus fare to get to the Abbotsford airport from my house!

Let me just breakdown the differences, upsides and downsides from my experience so far. Here’s what my day looks like:

Vancouver to Toronto on Major Airline

  1. 45-min commute from home to airport on public transit ($3)

  2. 15-min security line to get into the waiting area

  3. Waiting for 2.5 hours in a fairly comfortable area with lots of shops, food and snacks to buy, free wifi to use

  4. 5-hr flight between Vancouver and Toronto (5hrs, between $290-$490 one way, free personal item and carry on bag + $29 for seat selection)

  5. 2-hr drive once picked up from Toronto to my parents

  6. Total travel time (typically) door to door: 10 am – 9 pm (11 hours)

  7. My last Air Canada flight one-way cost: $320

Abbotsford to London on Swoop

  1. 10-min Public Transit from home to Pacific Central Station ($3)

  2. 90-min bus (eBus, includes free wifi and power) from PCS to Abbotsford Airport ($35)

  3. 5 hr waiting and working in the airport, with free wifi, only 1 restaurant option, but far less busy. I did take the closest timed bus.

  4. 4-hour flight to London ($79 for expensive ticket, free personal item + $35 for carry-on bag + $30 for seat selection)

  5. 45-min drive once picked up in London

  6. Total travel time: 7:45am – 8pm (12 hours)

  7. Approx one-way cost: $185

For what seems like more inconvenient travel (since I have to go to the airport 5 hours before my flight, which is still only 3 hours earlier then I would typically go) it ends up being only 1 hour extra of travel time. I got lots of time to sit and work (which I am okay with), and it’s almost half as expensive, especially when you get into the higher rates on those other airlines.

Now, how has my experience been? I took eBus to the airport which had lots of room, power and wifi on board, so I got work done while we drove. Once at the airport I spent a couple of hours outside security, then security was fast since there were far fewer people. I then sat at a table with power and worked with very few people around. The airport is much smaller and nowhere to walk around, only one restaurant with not great food (my wallet thanked me), but overall it’s still the same airport seating as everywhere else so it doesn’t make much difference.

Now on the plane, the staff have been extremely lovely, very helpful, friendly and professional young women. The plane is a Bowing 737-800, and I am located in the emergency row (with no one besides me!) so I do have lots of legroom and am quite comfortable. I have been getting work done and there’s power as well. There is internet available if I was interested, priced at $20 for the whole flight, or $9 for 90-mins of browsing time.

I will be doing this again. If I had someone to drive me to the airport in the morning that would be nice, but it’s been a great experience, and the small inconveniences are outweighed by the price and convenience of landing in London.

That’s my initial experience using Swoop. Have you used it before and what were your experiences?

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

041 – Happy September!

Happy September! For some of us, it is also referred to as Tectember (thank you MKBHD) which is a very exciting month. The “us” I’m talking about are Apple fans, since every year in September is the Apple event where they release the new iPhones and other things. However, that is not the point of this post.

I wanted to break the ice, since I have been missing for over 2 weeks now, with no posts coming out. On Instagram, it’s been almost 2 months. So what is going on?

I have been travelling and busy sorting some things out and finishing up some projects. I was very overwhelmed and had to temporarily pause some activities so that I didn’t lose my mind. Sometimes, life gets the best of us, and we need to just evaluate and take a step back.

I have still been writing, and I have some articles that I wanted to finish editing and post. Count this as a warning about the next few posts, which will be from the past few weeks, even though they are coming out now.

September has come with a sense of inspiration, and I can’t wait to tell you all about what makes this month (and October) different for me. I hope to check some big things off my list and be able to move on with what some of my projects. Stay tuned for these next 2 months of what I believe will be big change and growth.

I am also filming a new vlog right now, so that will explain some other things as well.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

040 – Fireworks, The Honda Celebration of Light

Last weekend was the Honda Celebration of Light in Vancouver. 3 days, 3 countries, 3 extremely epic fireworks shows (25 mins each). I went to catch the final one (which was the Croatia team) with my buddy, and it was just incredible! We didn’t even have to pay, and still had an amazing view!

I think the best thing for me was that I simply had a great night. It was the first time I had seen my buddy in a while, it was good to catch up, we walked down to the beach and found some “front row seats” on the rocks by the water to watch the fireworks. Before they happened, we got to witness the ending of a very beautiful sunset over the mountains with a couple of beers and a good chat. The firework show started at 10 pm and was done in sync to music, apparently. From where we were we could hardly hear the music, and with the crazy time delays happening between the music, the fireworks, and where we were sitting, I couldn’t tell. But they did have some nice song choice, such as Titanic, Ghost Busters and Lion King.

The whole experience just made me wonder, why do we humans find fireworks so beautiful? They are just simple little explosions of lights in the sky that are extremely loud, yet we are always so fascinated by them. Here in Vancouver, there are fireworks going off all the time, even just from people lighting off their own little ones.

Now, I am right there with everyone else thinking they are so neat to watch, but it makes me wonder why we think that? What is our fascination? 

I also thought of the animals, the fish in the ocean, the seals, the other wildlife, do they see it? Do they stop and watch? Do their brains register it the same way we do and think it’s so beautiful? Has anyone actually gone scuba diving and watched what fish do when there are fireworks happening in the sky above their little piece of water life.

So, what are your thoughts about fireworks? Do you find them fascinating and beautiful to watch or just a waste of resources and money? 

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

039 – My Top 9 Favorite Podcasts

Podcasts are such a great way of learning and consuming content. You can learn so much from them and are perfect while walking or doing other tasks, making you feel like you can multitask productively. 

There are so many podcasts out there, and the number keeps growing, and it isn’t always the easiest to discover new ones. My favourite way to discover new ones is when they get recommended by others. Today I just wanted to share with you some of my favourite podcasts with a little description so you can tell if they might interest you. I recently released my own podcast The ANAK Creates Podcast, and these are some of my favourites to listen to that constantly inspire me.

In no particular order, just how I saw them on my podcast player.

  • Smart Passive Income Podcast with Pat Flynn – I am a big supporter of Pat Flynn and everything he does. His Smart Passive Income (SPI) brand is something every entrepreneur can aspire to build. He is a pro in the podcasting space and has been doing this for more than 10 years. He gives all types of insight into building a brand, a business, and an online presence. Everything he teaches, you can see in practice with his own business.

  • Ask Pat 2.0 with Pat Flynn – Another Pat Flynn podcast, where you listen to coaching calls with different clients where he gives them direction and advice on how to build and grow their business.

  • The Darkroom – This podcast is a great listen for anyone in a creative field dealing with social media. They tell stories and interview some of the best photographers, internet filmmakers and social media creators out there, talking about their journey, struggles and lessons learned.

  • This Remote Life with Darren Cronian – Darren is working on building his online business HiveVine, where he wants to help people who have a desire to work remotely and get away from their 9-5 job. He has a lot of insight into travelling while working, how to work remotely, and tips to help grow a freelance or location independent source of income.

  • A Couple of Creatives with Chris Hau & Lizzie Peirce – Chris and Lizzie are engaged, live together, run a media company together, and both run their own successful YouTube channels. They are incredibly entertaining and talk about what it’s like to be in a relationship with another creative person and dealing with work and personal life separation. They interview other creative couples as well for their experiences.

  • When’s Food – This is just a purely entertaining podcast with 4 friends who get together, eat (obviously), and chat about whatever comes to mind that week. I got introduced to the show because Becki from the YouTube channel “Becki and Chris” is one of the 4, and have since got hooked to all their personalities and entertaining random lighthearted topics that brighten up my week.

  • DIY Musician Podcast – Great insight on this podcast for anyone starting out as an artist, working on building their own musical brand, or looking to release their single or album. It’s created by CD Baby, so a lot of the tools they use have to do with their platform, but they do have great knowledge and ideas to pull from.

  • Accidental Tech Podcast – This is for tech people who like computers, programming, app creation or anything with tech news. I always love hearing these guys banter over the latest Apple news or their complaints about new computer releases. Always great insight, info and entertainment.

  • The GaryVee Audio Experience – For those of you who don’t know Gary Vaynerchuk, he is a business and marketing monster and owns Vayner Media. He has so much to say about building a business, what you should focus on, and how to stay on top of your marketing and social media. He puts out an impressive amount of content, but the podcast has become one of my favourite ways to listen to him.

Let me know if you listen to any of these, or if you check them out and what you thought! Let me know what your favorite podcasts are. Also, don’t forget to also check out The ANAK Creates Podcast where post my weekly thoughts about the music industry and creativity related topics.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

038 – The recipe that changed my life

I am not a chef. I have never wanted to be a chef. I hardly ever have an interest in cooking anything more complicated than a box of KD or a batch spaghetti and meatballs. The “fanciest” meal I would ever make was Rice and Salmon.

I was never much of a health nut. I’m not saying that I am unhealthy, I am actually quite healthy and I do like to eat healthy foods, but making good healthy meals was always something I thought was time-consuming, fancy, and difficult.

When I first lived on my own in Toronto, I had a severe lack of time, a lack of willingness to learn how to cook, and no one to teach me to cook healthy, yummy, and simple meals. I was also given food fairly often at work, between eating out or catering. This meant that buying fresh food was hard to justify because half of it would end up going bad before I would eat it.

Since moving to Vancouver, I surrounded by healthfood. My living situation allows for having more healthy and fresh food around that won’t go back so fast. Even still, I have this laziness when it comes to going out of my way to get it for myself, and I still haven’t figured out why that is. Ever since reading “Atomic Habits” I am much more open to trying things and attempting to eat healthier on my own.

Recently, a friend of mine sent me a recipe, and after she pushed me for a while I finally tried making it. It was the best thing that I did! So simple, very few ingredients, easy for me to deal with, and I have since made it multiple times and it’s delicious every time. The real trigger for me was the recipe contains salmon, and I love salmon.

Here’s the recipe for those of you that are interested.

Ingredients:

  • 165 – 200mL of coconut milk

  • protein: 1 can (approx 200g) of salmon or salmon filet

  • some frozen veggies (1-2 cups, or however many you feel like)

  • 2 tbsp of red curry paste

  • 1 tbsp Cooking oil like olive oil etc

Cooking Instructions:

  • Mashup salmon into a bowl

  • Add red curry paste, and cover the salmon with it

  • Heat a pan to medium heat

  • Put the cooking oil in the pan

  • Put the salmon (with the curry paste on it) into the pan

  • Stir around and cook it for about 2 minutes

  • Add frozen veggies

  • Stir around and cook it for about 3 minutes

  • Pour in the coconut milk

  • Cook it for a bit so the coconut seeps up the flavour and simmer until the coconut milk has sort of evaporated to a paste type consistency – max about 5 minutes.

  • Remove from heat, put in a bowl and enjoy!

This recipe brought me excitement to actually cook something. I find the most natural and healthy ingredients, and it’s the exact right amount of food for me for dinner or lunch. The most important is that I feel good after eating it.

Let me know if you try it out and how you like it!

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

037 – Being less productive, by trying to be more productive

I recently talked about committing to things when researching different online services, following through, you learn what you like and what you don’t like about a service. You can find that here.

This whole idea stems from a situation that happens often, where I find myself being less productive, by trying to be more productive. Essentially, there are many times I get sidetracked by researching ways to be more productive. There are so many different productivity apps available, all with different features that cater to various ways of working.

This goes further than just typical project management or to-do list tools, but writing tools, file organization tools, messaging tools, team management tools. Many of these tools have such great functionality (even in free versions) whether you have a team or not. There are so many different ways to work, and depending on the project, so many of these tools work together to serve those specific needs. Essentially there is an infinite amount of ways of organizing your head.

This is where I get sidetracked, and I admit I have a bit of a problem (even an addiction) but I LOVE finding different ways to work and different productivity hacks. I am always in search of another way to think and organize a project. When I look at different tools I wonder how they would benefit what I’m doing.

My other weakness is that when I run into a problem or don’t feel as inspired as I should, one of my favourite things is to go search productivity apps and workflows that would help. This just sidetracks me from the task at hand, and the only thing to fix that is to actually do the task in the first place.

In my head, because I’m looking up productivity apps instead of browsing Instagram or something else mundane, I feel like I’m still moving my work forward. In reality, all I’m doing is being less productive, while hiding it under the mask of trying to be more productive.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

036 – Save The Reef

There are so many things going on in this world, many different activities that people find interesting or want to put their time and money towards. In a world where there are so many things on the go, to pay attention too, to buy, to eat, and to try. New gurus that have all the answers to our latest questions. There are also the events that capture the attention of so many people, like donating to rebuild iconic burned churches or storming hidden alien experimental bases.

Whatever it is that’s the flavour of the week, there are many things that go unnoticed. Things that do not get the attention they deserve. I’m not talking about irrelevant topics like a celebrities golden globe dress, I’m talking about important things that affect our lives and health every single day, and will continue to do so for years to come.

One of these topics, which I am personally very interested in wanting to be part of the change, is the Save The Reef movement, the no-single-use-plastic movement, and helping save our beautiful oceans.

Karmagawa is an organization and charity that I have been a big fan and supporter since they started. I was in their first 800 followers on Instagram, that is now over half a million, and have followed all their projects, causes, and work very closely. I’m sure I’ll write a whole article about what this charity is doing, why they are doing such amazing things, and how they are going about it in such an great way for today’s society to comprehend.

Safe the Reef is Karmagawa’s latest project, to help bring awareness to the growing problem of our dying coral reefs, why this is happening, how it affects us all around the world, and what we can do about it. They did an amazing collaboration video with YouTuber and Filmmaker Amir Zakeri, which is entitled “50 Minutes to Save the World”. It was making waves around the internet, and of course, it caught my attention. Not just by the amazing filming and storytelling that Amir brings to the project, but the whole issue that’s happening and almost no one knows about.

I ask one thing of you, please, take a small 50 minutes out of your week and watch this video and share it with one person. Just one. I know you have sent more then 1 gif to a friend today, just share this link with them as well. This is something we all need to watch and a growing issue we all need to learn about.

Thank you.

Until next time, Always Be Creating.

Alex

035 – Converting to Bulletproof Coffee

In one of my past posts I talked about my morning routine and my love for the morning coffee. What I didn’t mention, is that coffee is actually my entire breakfast. I drink something called Bulletproof Coffee. 

Each morning I wake up between 5 and 6 am, I have my bulletproof coffee and start my work. I don’t eat again until around noon, and sometimes even as late as 2 pm. I am simply not hungry, despite not having a “real” breakfast.

So what is this magical drink? Well, there are many different versions of Bulletproof coffee, including the Bulletproof brand (which is not what I do) but I’ll tell you what I do. 

The ingredients are:

  • 1 big tablespoon of unsalted grass-fed butter

  • 1 tablespoon of MCT oil 

  • 1 tablespoon of collagen

  • A cup of dark coffee

I blend all of these together (a glass blender, so that nothing melts) in about 3 seconds, then drink. It has a fancy frothy feel to it and tastes like a fancy coffee! 

Now, why do I do this? It’s actually so much easier in the morning, it makes me feel good, I start my day feeling alert, focused and productive. I don’t think about eating for hours, and as a result, I get so much done before getting distracted by hunger. Bonus, it’s also very good for you!

I’m not a scientist and there’s much more to this, but from my research, the concept is that you are putting healthy fats into your body to start your day. Your body burns through those healthy fats, then once it’s done with that little stick of butter, it continues to look for other fats to burn, instead of calories like a typical breakfast. You are essentially jumpstarting your body into burning fats instead of calories.

Now, for those people who start off their day with the gym or high-intensity activities, this obviously may not work all the time for you since you do need those calories to do your activities, but for me it’s been amazing since I generally start my day with computer work and my biggest activity in the morning is an hour-long walk.

If this sounds interesting, you should look into it. There is a podcast “Bulletproof Radio” that has a lot of health tips and related topics to check out. I never thought I would be doing this or care that much, but now that I am, I couldn’t be happier. Thanks to my mom, dad & Nikki for the encouragement that got me onto this and maintain it!

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

034 – Committing & Following Through

I hope I am not alone in this, and I don’t think I am, so I’m hoping I can help some of you. Sometimes I just need a little reminder, so here’s yours.

As we all do, I often find myself researching things on the internet. Searching and finding different services and different methods of achieving some task you need help with. Often finding different apps or website services, and researching the different options that set each of them apart to best serve the task you are looking to complete.

With the internet and the number of tech companies trying to make our lives easier, there are so many options that do basically the same thing, aside from one or two different features in each, and different vibes and aesthetic to using them. What tends to happen is go deeper in researching these different services, I keep going back to their feature list and pricing over and over, never fully making my decision on which service to choose for the task at hand. The problem is that it now instead of using available technology to make this task easier, I am just postponing for longer because I can’t make up my mind as to what service will do the best job for me.

When this happens, I need to remember (and so you do) to just commit to an option, whatever sounds the best after a bit of research. There’s no need to go back over every detail for days. Whatever seems appealing or the easiest, start there, commit, and actually follow through in completing your task at hand.

Despite all the options each service has, the only real way to decide if a service is right for you is to follow through trying to complete what you are doing. When you run into walls that make you realize different features you wish you had, you make note and keep going. You will eventually have completed the task and realized the features that other services may offer that would have made this easier, or you may realize features that sounded appealing, but in reality, you didn’t actually use.

Once you commit and follow-through, you can then re-analyze down the line to see if there’s another service out there could fix those problems, but you won’t know this until you actually fully commit to one and use it to its full potential.

It’s like if you buy a house that seems like it has all the right rooms, but once you move in you realize that you would love a bigger office, or a more open living room because you like to entertain guests more then you thought you would. You will never find this out by not committing. You can always move and find a more ideal spot down the line that solves these things.

Hope that gives you a little jolt of inspiration to just take the leap and finish what you set out to do.

Until next time, always be creating.

Alex

033 – The Morning of Unfortunate Events

Have you ever had one of those days, where nothing is seeming to go right? One of those days where you could completely justify simply giving up and crawling back into bed to watch the entire new season of Stranger Things in one sitting and no one would question you.

Well, that’s the type of day I had the other day, but somehow managed to sort of turn it around.

It started out like any less than ideal morning, my alarm just kept going off, and I kept hitting snooze because I really didn’t feel like tackling the day quite yet. After a few rounds of duking it out the the clock, I finally decided to get up. By this point it was 6:45 am, a full hour after I had intended to get out of bed. I jumped in the shower, had my bulletproof coffee for breakfast while trying to finish the work of listening through to my latest podcast episode so I could finalize and get it out on time. I got through it, but that caused me to be late for my 7:30 coffee with Nikki.

I grabbed a bike-share and bolted down to the coffee shop. It was less of a coffee date, and more like coffee co-working. However, the problem was, after a few emails and a limited amount of work, I hit a wall and had no creativity or drive. This doesn’t happen to me very often, but it hit me like a fully loaded train. I was not feeling like myself and was feeling a bit down, and I’m still not sure why. Regardless, I ended up being completely unproductive for over half an hour, which for me is a long time.

After Nikki announced she was having a great time, I decided it was best to get away since that wasn’t helping me feel any better. I decided to take a bike down to the water and bike along False Creek to Granville Island with the plan to read my book in the sun. All was going fine, and just as I thought maybe I might be able to salvage the day, even just a little bit, it took a turn for the worst.

I got hit by a car. 

That’s right. As I was biking across the bike crosswalk, a car decided not to look, didn’t see me, and drove right into me. This knocked the bike out from under me (I’m okay) but at that moment, all I could think was to get off the road. I grabbed my bike, scurried off the road, and the driver just rolled down his window to say “Sorry!” before driving off.

They never got out of the car, and they didn’t seem to care if I was okay, neither did anyone else for that matter.

I hobbled my way to the grassy area at the end of the island where I wanted to go lay and read my book. My leg was a bit sore, but nothing too serious, and I had scraped up my hand which was bleeding and pretty painful. I proceeded to lay on the grass, put my hat over my head and have a mild breakdown.

After about half-hour of feeling bad for myself about my less than fortunate morning, I finally was able to hold it together enough to read my book and try to take my mind off things. I managed to finish my book (one I had been working on for the past few months slowly on and off) and started another book which I was very excited to finally be reading.

It didn’t quite get all better after this though. Around 12:30 I decided I was hungry and due to get some food. I went to the overpopulated Granville market to find lunch. I found a chicken skewer and took it outside for a relaxing lunch on this beautiful day. However, the seagulls had a different idea in mind and decided that this was the day they also wanted a chicken skewer plate. They dive-bomb attacked me, attempting to take the food right off my plate, TWICE!!!

This made me annoyed and questioning if the world really did have it out for me that day. I had to fearfully finish eating my lunch huddled over my food with one eye on the sky keeping watch for the crazy birds. 

I then decided that I was done with this, and if I wasn’t going to achieve anything on my todo-list that I would at least do something fun. I wrote 6 pages on 2 new ideas for projects that I want to do (which I can’t share yet) and achieved an amazing start to both of these projects. This allowed me to end off my day feeling at least neutral, not good, not bad, but neutral.

This is my story of a less than ideal day that I managed to turn around, making the best I could out what I had. Hope this was either inspiring or entertaining!

Until next time, Always Be Creating.

Alex