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  • Writer's pictureSophie

Canada trip in t-minus 4 days

Next Wednesday I head off for a solo work trip to Canada for 10 days! As an academic, this is to present at a conference, at another research centre, and to network and meet with collaborators. I’ll be heading to Montreal in Quebec, and to Halifax and regionally in Nova Scotia (and hopefully even manage a meet up with Elisabeth!)

Hopefully I get this weather. Montreal by Wix.

I am equal parts excited for the trip and overwhelmed by how much needs to happen BEFORE I get on the plane. Two nights ago it hit me and I may have frustratingly spent a few restless hours cataloguing it all in my head and NOT sleeping.

Thankfully we have the kids grandparents and aunty staying with us while I’m away so they can help Al out, and also lessen the impact for the kids that Mum is away. I’m very grateful because E especially hates when I go away, and even O lately has preferred to have me put him to bed. (Although, I’ve been away many times before for shorter times and the kids are always FINE once I go). But Al works weekends so he would need extra childcare support regardless, and the kids love their extended family so it works out perfectly.

This time in 4 days I’ll be at the airport, hopefully enjoying a coffee while doing some work before I board the plane. The travel time is around 24 hours (around 19 hours flying and 5 hours waiting at airports). I’ve decided I’ll do work at the airports, but not on the plane. Once I arrive in Montreal I’ll basically be working day and night for the next 3 days including Saturday (at a conference) so I’d like to enjoy some reading and watching movies on the plane.

It helped me yesterday to write down everything that needs to happen before I leave. A few items on the list include:

On the personal front:

  • Fill a script for Melatonin (going to try this for jet lag)

  • Wash clothes for packing (including a warm jacket I haven’t pulled out of the cupboard for many months)

  • Mail a belated birthday package for my niece

  • Pack! Weather is variable in Canada this time of year apparently so will have to pack a variety of clothing

  • Put together any instructions/info the family will need about the kids and activities while I’m away

On the work front:

  • Write a talk for a webinar I’m presenting on Tuesday

  • Student marking

  • Write a talk for a presentation I’m doing in Montreal next Thursday

  • Watch videos for some CPR refresher training on Monday

  • Print my itinerary and any work docs I’ll need to bring for my trip

  • Variety of student feedback for my research students

Looking at this list of work things, I can see I’ll need to do work this weekend! That’s ok, I’ve already told myself this next fortnight be full tilt into work, and then I’ll tilt back into family stuff June (with a Shouldless day - as coined by Lisa - already scheduled in June!)

Does anyone have good tips for international travel, or work trips generally? Have you used Melatonin before for jet lag? Anyone else have periods when they tilt into work, and then tilt back out later?

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May 16

Your Canada trip sounds very exciting- those are all the places I would want to go in Canada. It sounds like work will be very intense, so I hope you get some free time to explore.

I know that feeling of having SO MUCH TO DO before a trip. Especially going without the kids- making sure the caregivers at home have all the instructions can be exhausting.

Good luck with it all!


Melissa Stebbins
Melissa Stebbins
May 15

That’s going to be a big trip. Exciting! I used melatonin on our trip to the US and then Germany last year. I didn’t find the jet lag too bad, but of course, I was tired from the stupidly long travel (36 hours from Melbourne to DC) A tip is to try it before you go and work out what dose works best for you. That’s what my doctor recommended because she said some people actually find they get worse sleep.


May 11

I can't believe your Canada trip is almost here!!! Yes, weather this time of year in Canada is HIGHLY variable. It was 3C yesterday morning and I wore winter garb on the walk to school. Next week, it's supposed to be 17C...

But, even the week+ before you arrive in NS will give it more time to stabilize and everything should be green and beautiful. Can't wait to meet up!

May 11
Replying to

3 degrees?! Eek! Thanks for the info, and yes hopefully in another week the weather will warm up a little! But I’ll make sure to pack a warm jacket and boots etc!


May 10

I haven’t done international travel since pre-kids and the kind of international travel you are doing is something else with the massive time change and flight. I remember how exhausted I was when traveling to/from Australia and that was over 20 year ago! But I was also in my early 20s and didn’t have much going on so I could lean into those feelings of exhaustion! I hope you magically make it work and don’t feel completely exhausted! Do you read Coco’s blog? She travels internationally several times a year so her trip posts might give you some insight into how she does it!

I am glad you had a shouldless day on the horizon, though!! They are so helpful…

May 11
Replying to

I do read Coco’s blog but only more recently and havent checked out her international trip posts, I’ll have to look them up. I’m somewhat dreading the time change but really hoping the melatonin helps - I’ve heard good things. I’m glad I only do a trip like this every year or two- more would be too much for me! BUT also, how lucky am I to be able to see new places and do adult stuff solo for such a length of time. So I’ll focus on the positive.

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