June 28, 2014

Traveling Alone?

15 years I lived my life with a Mom and a Grandma. 15 more years I lived it with a Mom. I wasn't quite 30 actually, when my Mom passed away from cancer this past February. The 6 months prior to that were real hard. The 6 weeks - say last Christmas season - was also pretty tough, sad. The last 6 days, I didn't leave the house once. 6 days after my Mom died, I had to just "get away" from all of it, and so I abandoned everything and went to see the only other person who had keeping a tight hold of my heart since the previous Spring. In hindsight, I did that allllll terribly wrong. But nevertheless, I did it. I needed to escape the nightmare I was living; I needed to fall into the dream I wanted most.

It was a weird thing traveling to San Francisco alone. All my life, my Mom showed me what it was like to go places. She did quite a bit of adventuring before me even. I didn't really even know all of her expeditions with all much detail, because we were always busy living in the "now" or doing spontaneous fun things or planning our next adventure - whether it be near or far, but always together.

Even as a grown man, I once said, "sorry Mr. Employer Man: I need the time off now before I go back to school", then Mom and I proceeded with our 1st trip to New York City. Those sorts of things happened time & time again so that we could just DO stuff. SEE stuff. After all, stuff is neat to see & do!

Then in April - about 2 months after my Mom passed away - an ex-girlfriend contacted me about the possibility of going to a music festival in Quebec. I was a little hesitant. Not because of the lonely, vulnerable void I was feeling OR the craving I had to be near someone, anyone,  but because I was going to be a 4th to help round the numbers and subsidize the costs, with people I didn't really know.  But given that the ex and I had maintained a relatively positive friendship, and because the announced bands were REALLY REALLY AWESOME, I committed to her, the group, and myself.

So I wouldn't really be alone since I was joining my ex and her 2 friends. Bonus.


Well, as it turns out, I kind of was alone. The music festival wasn't happening until the following Thursday (party day!), Friday, and Saturday so we all had about a week to explore Montreal at our own leisure! Sweet! My trip to San Francisco in February was 7 nights in total and I was determined to spend as much time as I could with that special someone - I was only a little bit concerned about seeing the crooked street and Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars and ocean as I escaped from reality. Montreal had to be different: no one to account to, no one to slow me down, no one to worry about but myself. My Mom and I traveled many places together so I knew my requirements and my limits.  In other words: I was ready to Give'r Hard. 

And that I did!

After a long day of travel, me & my companions found ourselves settling in then looking for food & drinkS. This was the only night where I ended up back at our apartment at the same time as them. We bombed around a little together, but they didn't really know where they wanted to go or what they wanted to see - and I didn't have time for that - so: I ditched.

What you'll find below is an assortment of select photos I took from my week in Montreal. I was especially stoked to make new friends as we enjoyed the finest things this city had to offer - together.  Not alone.

The artwork/graffiti was amazing. The food & drinks even better. The weather was perfect. Starbucks accomodated me nicely via a vanilla latte through the 1 midday rainfall we had. The only other night it rained, I was too wasted to be much deterred. Churches and bars, maple trees and museums. Montreal had a pretty epic 3 story HMV store, a Bell Centre for the Habs, and also a Le Baie. There was stuff to see everywhere I went. The smoking culture was insane, but the bilingualism was fascinating. Better bike lanes than here at home. And festivals of all sorts everywhere you go.

Thank you, Mom, so much, for showing me how to travel the world and see so much. I will take you with me in my heart wherever I go. In that sense, wherever I go, I will never truly be "alone". But where that might be next? I do not know...


montreal smoked meat

The "trash" bar made us sad, but Le Ptit Bar served us Maple Whiskey.

"Montreal 1984"

 THINK! It's a philosophical experience.

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