In my 8+ years of yoyoing I’ve had the privelage of travelling a fair bit to different contests.Part of that is having a wife who loves travelling and will find any excuse to do so.I’ve been to the world yoyo contests in Prague, Iceland and beautiful Cleveland.I’ve driven 6 times now down to Seattle washington for the Pacific Northwest Regional yoyo contest.I’ve been down to California for BAC and California States. Alberta and Toronto in Canada for Canadian Nationals.I love it.Getting together with the community is one of the most amazing parts of being a yoyoer.As I said, I have a wife who loves to travel, so we’ve often ended up in a variety of other places either before or after the contest (The most memorable being our honeymoon in Italy before heading to the Czech Republic for worlds 2014).
I thought I’d write a post sharing some of the amusing stories from my travels.
Last year (2017) when we went to Reyjkeyavik for Worlds my wife and I popped over to London then up to Edinburgh afterwards. My wife is also a flow toy performer and we try to work some performing into our travelling, more for a chance to get to know people locally than anything else. We were in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. (Add brief history)
We performed in a variety of shows in the ‘Free Fringe’ which is essentially the Fringe festival of the fringe festival. Most of the shows we were paid in beer, but we had a good time and got to see a lot of really neat acts. The most amusing part was the evening the front row was a bunch of stand up comedians who had come to their friend’s show. I was approached afterwards by one who informed me that the row of cynical, jaded comedians all heard ‘yoyoer’ and were prepared to mock this ridiculous kids toy. Instead they sat for 3 minutes with their jaws on the floor. I think I got paid 2 beers for that performance ;)
Crossing the border to PNWR is always fun. The questions, the looks of confusion and the drastic difference in tone and attitude between the 2 country’s border officers. We are usually crossing at around 5:30AM. The first question is the standard:
“What brings you to the USA today”
To which we reply:
“Going to a yoyo contest”
Some of the responses that have stood out as funny
“How much is the cash prize if you win”. (Lol, cash prize)
“People still do that?”
I once had a near disaster with the question “Are you meeting anyone down there?”. My answer is usually yes, some other people from Vancouver and some friends from the internet. This day the officer was more serious than usual asking that question (which is saying a lot for US border guards, they make concrete look light hearted and fun). Once I got through I stopped for gas (It’s about 30-40% cheaper than in Canada) and discovered the car in front of me was someone else from Vancouver. They had answered the same question with “Yeah, the guy behind us”. Had I not answered correctly it probably would have meant a delay at the very least.
Coming home is usually a different story. But there was one year I was pulled aside for inspection. They poked though the car, looked at the case of yoyos and asked me to yoyo for them! I suspect it was more about proving I was actually a yoyoer, but I think it at least added something fun and different to their evening.
My best airplane story was coming back from Toronto where Canadian Nationals was held in 2016. I had won my first national 4a title and was extremely excited. To the point where I was still wearing my medal (a really cool wooden one that doubled as a yoyo) the next day when I went through security. As my case of yoyos went through the X-ray machine, I say the converter belt stop and the young woman looking at it grow increasingly confused. She turned to ask me and I pulled out my medal and told her they were yoyos and that I’d just won the championships. Again, I got asked to show them some tricks.
I’ve never had a similar light-hearted experience with American customs. But maybe it’s a Canadian thing.
My favourite bit of travelling was when we did our Epic Road Trip in 2015. We really wanted to drive across Canada, but couldn’t make the timing work. What we ended up doing was Frieghting our camping gear to London Ontario where my brother lives, then flying to Toronto and renting an SUV. We spent 5 weeks performing, meeting with local yoyo clubs and seeing the parts of Eastern Canada I’d only ever read about in books. We performed at a variety of different shows, but the best part was meeting with yoyoers. I was midway through my “Trick a Day, Eh?” Project. I was collecting a trick on film from a Canadian for each day of the year. We hit Toronto where we stayed with a friend of my wife’s, then up to Ottawa to stay with a yoyoer friend, Greg Pettit. We camped for 4 days on Lake Ontario then drove up to Quebec City where I managed to meet with a couple yoyoers then down to Montreal where I met with the club and was taken out for Poutine by them (of course a mandatory event). Across to the maritime, out to the tip of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We ended up on a float in Halifax’s Pride parade and walked the street where my mother in law grew up. Andra went to the maritime museum to find the landing records that showed where her dad landed when he immigrated to Canada from England.
When we got back to Toronto we dropped off our gear to be freighted back to Vancouver, cleaned up the SUV and returned it. The look on the rental agent’s face was hilarious. He thought the odometer was broken, he didn’t believe anyone would have put 7000 kilometres on a rental car!
I’m looking forward to future travels. I’m planning on Boston for the USA National Championship this year. I’m also hoping to hit at least one more USA contest. 2019 I’ll be visiting Cleveland again for worlds and to hang out with all the friends I’ve made over the years.
I’d love to hear some of your funny and interesting travel stories!