Today is the day we migrate back towards the States but first, we wanted to try and catch a morning seminar. We had a 6pm flight out of Calgary so we planned on having a nice leisurely day to make our way there. We half packed the night before and set off early for the seminar in case it was crowded. There was a panel of 3 Story Editors from National Geographic representing their different media.

We walked over before the sun was up and saw many people already on their way there too. Any regret we had about going so early quickly dissolved. We got in line and noticed everyone talking about tickets. The event we were going to said you didn’t need a ticket so we were very confused. I held our place in line just in case and Cory went to go ask someone who worked there.

Yep. Sure enough we were in the wrong building. So we hurried over to where the seminar would be and walked in. We were the first ones. Luckily they had coffee and fruit to help us pass the time. As people filed in, I was happy to notice that it was a pretty even male/female attendance. Usually in film it’s very heavily male dominated and I assumed it would be the same here – especially since the festival is centered around outdoor sports.

I was also very pleasantly surprised to see that not one but two of the three editors were women as well. They all talked about their departments, what they look for and how to pitch to get your stories heard. The most surprising thing I think was to learn that National Geographic doesn’t repeat a story subject for 10 years! That’s crazy!

After the seminar, we walked back to the cabin to continue our leisurely checkout. As we walked in, Cory noticed a text from the host. That’s when we realized we never thought about what our cabin checkout time was. It was 45 minutes ago. Oops! We quickly finished packing, cleaned and then hit the road.

Since we now had more time than originally anticipated, we headed towards a coffee shop in Calgary to kill some time so we wouldn’t spend more time than necessary at the airport. We checked out a local coffee shop called Phil & Sebastian’s Coffee Roasters. It was really good. It would give a lot of coffee shops in Atlanta a run for their money.

Next, we filled up with gas, dropped the car off and checked our bags. Usually I have issues with security but this time, it was Cory. His duffel with all our camping gear (most of which we didn’t use because it was too cold to camp) set off a flag at the oversized baggage drop off and 20 minutes later he had sweet talked them into letting him keep his camping stove.

Next to airport security. Cory got pulled for a “random” check and I sailed right on through! We decided to eat dinner before our flight because we were set to arrive in Toronto around midnight and our flight out was early the next morning. We sat together on the first leg but for some reason, I could not sleep on this flight. I hoped this would help me sleep later since our lodging for the night would be in the Toronto airport.

We had to come out of the airport to get our checked baggage so we could transfer it for our next flight. We were super annoyed about this because now we had 3 suitcases, 2 backpacks and a very awkward to carry oversized duffel to keep up with overnight. So I told Cory who looked like he needed a break from fighting the duffel (he graciously always took it) to leave everything with me and go walk around to find us a place to set up camp for the night.

He came back from scouting and said he found the perfect place – it was quiet and secluded and no one was there. PERFECT. We set off. He found the nice benches – the kind with no arm rest. So I grabbed my overnight bag and headed to the bathroom to change out of my jeans and brush my teeth. When I came back, Cory had fished the sleeping pads out of the duffel and blown them up for us to sleep on – on top of the chairs. Needless to say, I’ve done my fair share of airport overnight sleeping and this was the most comfortable sleep I have ever had in an airport.

This was Cory’s first time so he wasn’t as impressed. But it also didn’t help that soon after we found that corner, everyone started trickling over. A zamboni came by to buff the floors and by came by I mean he circled around us almost running over our stuff at one point – for 30 minutes. And he kept backing up which meant he kept beeping. Oh and around 1 or 2 in the morning, some bored security person decided to move all the metal line dividers one inch at a time because they were so heavy which means they made a bunch of noise. But boy was I comfortable on those sleeping pads. I was content! (You should never actually expect to sleep in an airport – that just sets you up for disappointment)

Finally 3am rolled around and we got up and headed over to get in a line so we could get in another line to get tickets we already had so we could get in another line to drop off our luggage. Not how I wanted to start my morning but soon we were through security, back down to 2 suitcases and 2 backpacks and at the gate – with a few hours to wait.

Cory got us breakfast and that’s when I heard my favorite request from the gate agent, “We are looking for volunteers to check their bag.” I ran up there as fast I could and not only did I get to check my suitcase but they were going to let me board with Sky Priority! As soon as I told Cory this, he changed his tune and gave me his film camera from his suitcase so he could check it. He came back with the same boarding upgrade.

Before we knew it, they started boarding. Everything’s a bit blurry but I boarded with the fancy first class people and I turn around and Cory is nowhere to be found. Turns out, first class is not sky priority and while I got through (mainly because I didn’t look back), I wasn’t supposed to and Cory had to wait until the Sky Priority was called.

But we both made it on the plane and I passed out. I slept the whole way and next thing I knew we had touched down in Atlanta officially ending my first trip to the Canadian Rockies.

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