Operation Vacation

Well, it’s been a while everyone. Sorry, but sometimes real life gets in the way of what we love. Nonetheless, I am back to write about an experience that not only change my life, and my friends life, but also an experience I hold dear to my heart.

The time I sent my best buddy Bryan to New York, with all expenses paid and some cash spending money. Some of you may know the story of how this came to be, but this is an in depth look at the experience:

In the summer (2012) I saw a listing for a television show online called Operation Dream Vacation. After reading about it, and learning that I could have the opportunity to send anyone in my life on their dream vacation, I started thinking about who would be best. I thought about my mother first, but decided that she really goes anywhere she wants for the most part anyways, so I scratched that. I thought of my sister but wasn’t sure if it would conflict with her job or her schooling, so I decided to think of more people that are deserving, I thought of my girlfriend, the one I was spending every day swooning over, and would love to give her such a gift, but decided that because of the closeness between us, the producers would probably not even look at the write up and suggest I take her on our own vacation.  Then it hit me, my friend Bryan! Bryan had never been anywhere of Canada since I met him years ago. Bryan has a passion for street photography so right off the bat I thought New York City would be perfect.

So I wrote in to the show, telling them what I knew about Bryan, our relationship as friends, and why I thought he was so deserving of such a reward, and life changing event. After I sent the message, I was waiting impatiently, checking my email every day for a reply. A reply that I thought would never come. After a month I gave up and continued to live life, focus on school, and work. Then all of a sudden I get a phone call from the TV show asking if we could do a phone interview. I was ecstatic!

On the phone interview, I was asked many more questions about Bryan, some I had covered in the email, some I had not thought of until it was brought up. I was asked where I thought Bryan would like to go and I suggested New York, among other places. I was asked to contact close family and friends of Bryan’s to see if they’d be a part of this great experience. After the phone call was over, I eagerly contacted his Brother Glen, and his Sister Kelli. Then I also decided to make contact with his roommate as well, since it would be great to have someone so close to him physically be part of the experience. Everyone agreed to be part of the experience and they all had to speak to the television show representatives and give their sides of the story. This was great because most of Bryan’s history was a blur to me, and nobody knows his childhood like his close family.  We were all nervous to this point, but as soon as we met the crew of Operation Vacation for our on camera interviews, those nerves instantly faded.

Everyone on set was super excited and positive. From the director to the assistant, the crew was full of great people. On Camera we had the city of Vancouver as our backdrop while we spoke about Bryan and his life. It was great telling people all about my best friend and his passion for photography. This is where things got really personal and we started speaking about more of the dark parts of Bryan’s life. Things like his father, and the death of his grandfather, and (thanks to me) the relationship he lost two years ago and is still pained by.  I was, and still am, looking forward to seeing the show in action, and seeing myself and everyone else involved on television.

After these interviews, we were up and running, only a couple more weeks and we were on camera as a group being interviewed by the hosts of the television show. It was this day that we were given the chance to decide who was deserving of going on the trip with Bryan. This was a choice we ultimately decided we couldn’t make, and figured we would allow Bryan to chose on a sneaky interview set up with Scott where the Director asked Bryan who he would go on vacation with if given the choice. The best part? BRYAN HAD NO IDEA!

Soon after his decision was made we were on set to do a group interview again.  The set interview is where we were given a choice of where Bryan should go on his Dream Vacation between New York City, and Dubai, we decided the Big Apple was ultimately the best choice of the two. It was a hard choice ultimately for me, as Bryan could excel with his photography anywhere in the world, I am certain of it. This was the day everyone else discovered that Scott was picked to go on the trip with Bryan. Certainly, I was disappointed, I would’ve loved to go with Bryan just to see his excitement and amazement as he landed in the Big Apple right up until him leaving. However, I was very excited for Scott as well. Scott is also a photographer so I knew he would be able to take advantage of such an opportunity as well.

The next destination was at Bryan’s bosses house where it was set up that all of Bryan’s closest friends, family, and co-workers would wait there until Bryan was brought over for the surprise. We waited impatiently, and practiced the unveil as we would only have one chance to make it perfect. We talked to each other, and did more interviews, being a more recent friend of Bryan’s, I got a chance to meet some of his older friends from Langley, where he grew up. We all chatted and had lunch together until Bryan got there. I was so nervous!

As I watched Bryan come up the steps of where we were waiting I watched his face go from excited to confused and everything in the middle. He later told me he was scared it was a photography intervention as a joke. He knew nothing until this point, but this is where it was unveiled that he was going to New York City, and he was leaving tomorrow! This is where we all shared laughs, and tears, and we were all just very proud to see everything come together so well, and to be seeing Bryan off on a new stage of his life.

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Bryan and Scott were off to New York.

This is where I thought about what it means for Bryan. The fact that this is all for his photography is one thing, him getting to see a new city to make his stomping ground is another thing, but the main thing to me at this point is the coverage. Bryan Mollett photography will be seen across Canada, America, and other parts of the world. This means the most to me. I’ve been a part of, and a huge fan of Bryan’s photography and I couldn’t be more proud to share it with the world. Sure, I didn’t get a trip out of the deal, but I changed someone’s life for the better, and that is something I will die proud of. Bryan and I will always be best friends, and I’m glad to have given him the opportunity to take the next step towards the future.

Operation Vacation will be on television in Canada and America, and parts of other nations. I look forward to seeing it, and I hope you all get to see it as well. Until then, give Bryan your support by checking out his photography page and seeing his trip to the Big Apple, New York City!

http://bryanmollett.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/a-trip-to-the-big-apple/

Here’s a link to the Television shows Facebook page, Show us your support by liking it:

http://www.facebook.com/ConvergentProductionsVacation

This is a picture of me and two of my requested Bryan Mollett photography prints. I am very proud to hang these on my wall
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The PNE Budget

Hey All!

You’re getting two blogs about the PNE today in spirit of it ending soon!

I thought while I was there that I would give myself a low budget and see what we can get for that budget between me and my girlfriend. I’ve grown up believing that the PNE is expensive, and though that is true in some ways, it is an amazing experience to go and it does offer many MANY free things, as well as some cheap food that is probably not the best for you,  but oh well! ‘Tis the season as they say! Besides, how could you NOT eat Mini Donuts and Corn dogs at the PNE.

The Budget: $60

What was purchased:

– 2 Bags of Mini donuts: $5

– 2 Pieces of Fudge: $5

– 2 Smoked beef on a Kaiser bun with 2 medium cokes: $23

– 1 Regular Sized, Iced Tea flavored Lemonade: $6

– 1 Revolation drink: $10.25 (The good thing about this is it comes with free refills all day, and if you come back again, you buy a sticker for free refills all that day too for $5.50. Buy this the second you get to the park! It saves money!)

– 1 Wiggle Chips: $5

– 1 Corn Dog: $5

– A day at the fair with the girl I love: PRICELESS

As you ca see, we were well fed with crap food all day within a $60 budget between two people. That’s $30 each, which is what you end up spending for a dinner out anyways. At least here it was the same price and a great experience all in one. Though the PNE can get costly, I hope I have opened your eyes as to how cheap it can be as well. Now go out there and have fun while you still can!

Top 5 FREE Things To Do At the PNE

Hey everyone! With the PNE wrapping up and the crowds dying down, I figured I would write an article about the top FREE things to do at the PNE. I was just there doing some media coverage, and having a blast a couple days ago, and all I spent money on was food. I will include my budget and what I got in a different blog, but without further adieu, this is: THE TOP 5 FREE THINGS TO DO AT THE PNE!

1. PRESIDENTS CHOICE SUPERDOGS:

If you haven’t seen the Superdogs by now and you’ve been to the PNE before, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. It is good fun for the whole family, with some great crowd interaction, and this year even came with a couple of great messages. The announcers at one point said: “That’s one of the purposes of this show. To show you to play with your dog, take care of your dog, love your dog.” Along with the way they started the show by presenting us with two puppies and telling us (the crowd) that any dog can be a Superdog (we are all super). And the ending to the show was a classic: We are all winners. Anyways, if you have kids, GREAT, take them to the Superdogs, if you have pets at home, the Presidents Choice has a table set up for all your pets needs. But best of all, the show is free, and at the end you can even come down and pet the dogs you spent the whole time watching. I enjoyed this event as a young child, and I enjoy it still as a young adult. Who doesn’t love dogs at least a little bit?

2. ACROBATS SHOW: 

I will admit it, this year was my first year ever watching this event. I wanted to experience everything free this year, and I was completely shocked that I had never seen such a tremendous act before. I won’t ruin ANY of the acts for you here, but you simply must go see it if you haven’t yet. There are many death defying acts, many acts leaving you scratching your head as to how they are able to contort their bodies, and some acts that left ME personally saying: “What the hell is going on here?” I was skeptical if this was an event for kids, as it requires patience for some acts, like the chair stacking, however, kids sat behind me and they were very well behaved. It’s really up to you parents, but do go see this show at some point of your PNE day, you will not regret it. Just don’t take any photos with a flash, that is VERY dangerous for the performers as they need all their focus on what they are doing.

3. STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION

First things first, I will also admit that I am a Treky. I spent most of my time in the line for this watching the Star Trek video provided via overhead televisions, but how could you blame me? It was at the climax! This line up can be quite long, but fear not everyone, once you’re in it, you will find it moves quite fast. Me and my girlfriend were actually surprised at how little time the seemingly endless line took to die down. I believe our wait was about 10 minutes, and the line was about half full when we joined it, so it’s about a maximum of 20 minutes, but boy is it worth it. This exhibit isn’t just for Star Trek fans, but for everyone really. It has SO MAY props, costumes, set pieces, art, etc. that my mind was just blown, I literally could have spent my entire day here if my girlfriend wasn’t with me. On top of everything, you can get your picture taken on all of three set pieces. The captains chair from the original series, the bridge, and the transporter. You’ll be saying “Beam me down Scotty.” right after you say “Fire  photon torpedo’s”. However, ye be warned, the photos are quite costly, and I ultimately couldn’t afford mine sadly, but if I had the money I would have gladly spent it, because how often do you get to sit in the ORIGINAL CAPTAINS CHAR!

4. FREE CONCERT!?!?

That’s right, a FREE concert. The PNE provides a million dollar stage for performers of all genres to play free shows on just for you. How expensive are concert tickets in today’s day and age? Well here, you can sit in the stands and watch a show for free! Check online to see who is playing there when to get your FULL money’s worth, but how amazing is it that such a thing is free at the fair? Sounds very fair if you ask me. 😉

Be sure to show the artists your support, and also show the PNE you appreciate their hard work. Just kick back and relax on the nice grassy area, or the stands provided.

5. MONSTER TRUCKS

Boy I had a hard time deciding number five. It’s hard to decide what the last thing to make the cut is. Ultimately I picked the monster trucks as it was a big part of my PNE experience as a child. Now I know my parents probably just took me to this event to drown out the noise of me constantly chattering, and now I also realize how much of a headache I probably gave them considering now I get a headache from this event every time, but it’s worth it to watch these massive monster trucks defy gravity. But, be warned once again, they are extremely loud! There’s a lot of power packed into one of those suckers. Take your kids as a break from all the headspinning, stomach altering, high flying rides that we all know and love, if for no other reason then to make sure they’re not throwing up in your car.

This has been my top 5 FREE things to do at the PNE. It was really hard to decide a top 5, but I think you’ll find these events are on your top 5 by the end of it as well. You know, people often forget with all the things that cost money there that lots of it is free too, along with what is mentioned above, there’s a Family Feud event, pig races, a petting zoo (with other animals to look at because they’re adorable, or you just don’t see them that often at home), there’s dirt bikes which are also stunning, you can vote for your favorite sand castle which artists have worked long days in the hot sun on, play in an assortment of amazing jungle gyms (only recommended for children, and especially not for people with a history of neck injuries). You can hang out with your favorite radio DJs, take a walk in the fair and see all the products you see on tv and more, and kids can play Beyblades with the YTV crew. But best of all, enjoy the experience, because it only happens once a year.