Canada

Toront-uh-oh…

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So Toronto didn’t go quite to plan, I’m not going to lie. I booked the flights about 8 days before I was due to go so it was never destined to be a thoroughly well-planned getaway with solid plans or any activities booked in advance (when is it ever though… come on Megs). The thing is, I had originally booked to go and visit a friend I haven’t seen in quite a while, since 2017 graduation to be exact, and to be honest it probably wasn’t a bad thing that I hadn’t. Within about 24 hours of being in each other’s company I realised it was going to be a LONG week so after a bit of a riot (welp)… I booked myself a hostel and made my way across town, feeling quite liberated and excited about the opportunity I now had to meet new people and make the best of quite frankly, a crappy situation. I’m a gypsy kid at heart so I quickly accepted the facts and settled into what was about to be a very unexpected hostel-backpacker type trip. I was back to sharing dorms with mini, Italian walruses, battling -2c windchills in a bid to see the city sights and everything Toronto had to offer all whilst having the worst cold I’ve had in a VERY long time. Oh Canadaaa…

**Also quick disclaimer, I’m sure they won’t mind me writing about what happened because I reckon the feeling was mutual. It was the type of friendship that if we met now, we just wouldn’t gel whatsoever. People experience new things, they move countries, meet new people and build a life with this new version of themselves that sometimes, you can’t recognise anymore. And that’s okay. People change, relationship dynamics change and rather than trying to hash it out and struggle to come to agreements on things, it is sometimes better on both ends if you just agree to disagree and wish each other well. I don’t have any hard feelings towards people when this happens. Life happens. Shit happens. Let’s move on.

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SO. What is there to do in Toronto? A quick fire into Google told me what I already knew to be honest. Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls and oh ! Niagara Falls. Ok that’s not true, but it IS true that the vast majority of tourists who come through this city have one destination in mind, so of course, I had to see what all the fuss was about…TWICE but we’ll come to that bit later. I didn’t have much time to play with considering it is fast approaching winter here and only every 1/4 days are viable to stand at a gigantic waterfall and not run the risk of losing your thumbs to frostbite. So I did some digging and found a bus that runs to the Niagara Casino (30 bucks return! Almost half of what typical tours charge FYI) leaving from the chinatown area of Toronto. Standing waiting on the bus, a mere 5 min walk from my hostel, I had massive flashbacks to standing in very similar surroundings in New York waiting on my bus to South Carolina. With every shop, sign and conversation around me written in Chinese symbols, it was quite difficult to keep my bearings as it looked and felt like I had just been picked up and plonked back into downtown Hong Kong.

But the bus came, and I made it. Still struggling with a terrible cold and stuffed up head, the near-enough 4 hour trip to the Canadian/ American border was summed up with around an hour of walking around with my scarf up to eyeballs and always making sure I was in 10ft of a pack of tissues or bathroom in case a desperate nose-blow was in order. I was pretty miserable to be honest, but the view more than made up for it.

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Niagara falls is quite possibly the most famous waterfall in the world, and (unknowingly to me) the second last thing I had to score off on the 7 wonders of the natural world list. Apparently I only have one thing left to conquer before I can claim this accomplishment, which begs my next question. Who’s coming to Everest with me?

The rest of my time in Toronto was spent wandering round the Christmas markets, exploring grafitti’d alleys and getting lost in the gridded city that was *apparently* impossible to get lost in. I indulged in eating way too much Poutine, drinking WAY too much Tim Hortons coffee *not a huge fan btw…NERO all the way* and doing my best to enjoy my time in the city, regardless of my sucky (and sicky…) situation. I quite enjoyed the peace and quiet actually, and the freedom to do as I pleased. I felt like I was back in the swing of my old ways being in charge of my own agenda and not having to have an alarm set was incredible. Being woken up by someone else’s alarm 1ft above you every morning however, was NOT.  I definitely haven’t missed that part of full-time travelling…

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If anything, Toronto gave me a lot of time to think about my current situation as well, and to make some plans for the future/ re assess my goals and what is going to be important to me over the next couple of months. It was a well needed re-charge and I ended up meeting some really cool people on the last couple of nights. And on my last day (with a flight mere hours away) I made an impulsive decision at 1pm to jump in the back of a 3 door subaru with said cool people to see Niagara Falls AGAIN, this time with a much clearer head (physically and metaphorically) and on a much clearer day. I had some great conversations which I think will undoubtedly help choose my next steps and what I want my 2020 to look like…

Next entry… Jetsetmegs and MAWZA take on Budapest. Stay tuned x

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