By Jim Urquhart

As I attempted to leave Toronto I found I had to go into deep Canadian mode to make it possible.

Last week I spent several days meeting editors and visiting a friend in the city. I had looked forward to the trip but I never expected it to be such a mind melting, dignity crushing, blood letting experience to simply go home when it was all said and done. Through my work I get to travel my fair share. Over the last several years I have developed several habits that help me ensure my travels go as planned.

A major one is avoiding traveling by air as much as possible. Traveling by commercial aircraft you are limited by what camera gear you bring along. I never check in any of my gear with luggage. I have seen too many other photographers’ equipment get destroyed by doing so. Also, you are dependent on so many variables that can come into play like weather and aircraft maintenance. I prefer to drive if time allows but seeing as it 1,899.94 miles from my doorstep to Reuters’ Toronto offices I had to fly to return home.

When I was younger I was a student pilot and feel at ease in small private aircraft. But on commercial flights I am stuck in the cabin, packed in with everyone else and so far from the controls. I guess it is that sense of “I am so very screwed” in the event something happens with no control of my destiny. So, if I have to travel by a commercial airliner my next major rule is be sure to have easy access to whiskey. That will come into play later.

After several days of exploring the city, which is really like an urban United Nations with it’s rich mix of cultures, it was time to head out and head home. The night before my departure I stayed out a bit longer than I had intended. But, I had planned enough time to get back to my room, rest up a bit, get all my gear together and head to the airport for my flight home.