Archives for the month of: August, 2013
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This feels so far away. This feels like yesterday.
Lembongan, Indonesia.

After a year of living out of a backpack through 18 countries, I landed in Montreal on July 28th.

I have been home for a month now and time is still warped in the way that it is warped when you travel. So many things packed into so little time… it seems both impossible that it has only been a month and impossible that a month has gone by already.

People talk about the ‘reverse culture shock’ you experience when you come home after a long time away. That hasn’t happened, really, unless I’m in such shock that I haven’t noticed I’m in shock. Unlikely.

Perhaps it’s that I’ve made a pact with myself to not stress about jobs or anyreal-life things until September. Maybe that’s help me keep my travel-head on for a bit longer.  (But if you are hiring or have any leads, I’m looking for a job! As soon as possible! With a salary and benefits! September is only 3 days away! Not that I’m stressing about it or anything.)

See, when you travel, you make friends fast, are open to new things, will make an effort to go see something cool, sleep in a different bed every night (get your mind out of the gutter), and walk a lot.

This past week alone, I found myself at a picnic knowing just two people (whom I’d only met a couple of days earlier) and felt surrounded by old friends. I walked a lot (my friends happen to live in awkward-to-get-to-by-transit-and-I-don’t-pay-for-Bixi-bikes-and-don’t-have-my-own-bike-here places that are about 40-50 minutes’ walk, so I walked a lot). I went to the insectarium and botanical gardens, which is hella east in my limited geographical life in Montreal. And I’ve been sleeping at my mum’s with a bunch of other people (namely brothers and nephews) and, depending on the set up, have been rotating beds and sofas.

Not that nothing has changed at home. Things have changed. Some neighbourhoods are hipper than they were, some shops have closed, the metro ticketing system is slightly different (what happened to being able to buy 6 tickets? Hm?) and there’s a new ice-cream place. I’ve come home to new tiny humans, newly-weds, pregnancy announcements, and friends buying houses with white picket fences. The city and the people are growing up around me.

As I job-hunt, go through my photos, and figure out what I should do with my instinct to find a place to nest, I will post a few themed round-ups of my trip on this blog.

Coming up next: photos of the best street art I’ve seen this year featuring animals. Prepare for amazement.

I am on a train. In Canada. On my way back to Toronto. This is full-circle. I left Union Station westward-bound July 19th 2012. In a few hours, I will be arriving back there from the east.

A trip around the world. Well, to certain places in the world.

I was warned about reverse culture-shock. The shock of coming home after travelling for an extended period of time.

But I haven’t felt it yet. It only feels like summer holidays, like the ones I’d have in undergrad.

I’ve spent my first two weeks back in Canada in Montreal. There, I have done nothing but let myself be spoiled by my mother, meet friends for coffee, poutine, and croissants, watch two full seasons of The West Wing on DVD (I’ll be the cop that doesn’t go to the meeting), and have a reunion with old friend in l’Ile d’Orléans to celebrate the wedding of one of the most beautiful couples there can be.

All this makes it easy to come home.

It also must have helped that I went through London on my way back to Canada.

London feels like home too, with a familiar public transport system, my favourite theatres, and, most importantly, close friends always ready to offer their spare room, go to gigs in sweaty caves, take the day off work to make ourselves sick with fancy cakes in pubs, and go halfway across the city to buy a mug I saw that one time.

It helps that my quick visit to London included breakfast in Southwark, a picnic in the park, magic tricks over cider, a Josh Ritter show, a Doc Brown DVD-taping, and two Irish plays by favourite playwrights (Martin McDonaugh, Conor McPherson) starring favourite actors (Ciarán Hinds).

It helps that it was sunny every day and that the tube lines I needed were open.

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A picnic in Soho Square behind this guy. Before a matinee of The Cripple of Inishmann, starring Harry Potter himself.

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Sweating to the sweet tunes of Josh Ritter in a hot venue in a hip part of town.

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Destroying cakes at The Bridge, London.

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And then home for a wedding and dancing all night (or until 1:30 because we are old now.)

Who knows what being home will mean, but I hope to keep my eyes, heart, and options open. You know, keep that “travelling” vibe.