So it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve added anything into this blog and I can say BOY has a lot changed in my life since my final post in Spain.
After touching down in the USA I spent about 3 weeks traveling around before finally heading home. I started in New Jersey to visit my college friend Maria where it feels like I spent most of the time absolutely jet lagged. Next, I went to see my soon-to-be married BFF in Boston and spent most of my time loving on her cute little pug pup. It took about a week for me to stop waking up at 5 am and going to be by 8, I was always so ready to start the day with nothing to do! Then, I met up with two of my festie besties to go to my favorite festival in the entire world, Electric Forest! We ended up camping next to some awesome new friends and spent a weekend full of laughs and memories.
The main reason I ended up in Toronto was because I had a job interview scheduled about 6 days after the festival ended. I had quite a bit of time to waste considering I was in Michigan and it just didn’t make enough sense for me to travel back to Oregon before an interview in Dallas. So I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, I booked a trip entirely by myself!
I decided on Toronto because of all the incredible things I’ve heard about the city. The food, the skylines, the friendly Canadian folk and of course the ability to have some sweet Tim Hortons. I booked myself in a hostel which I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone wanting to go to Toronto. It’s called the Planet Traveler Hostel and it’s the best place to be as a solo traveler. They had group activities every night and the world cup was on during every game to allow travelers to gather in the common room and cheer on their own countries team.
The best part about traveling alone is you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. Yep that’s right, you can choose where to eat, what to do or even when to do nothing. The best part about this for me was that I still had some post-festival-jet-lagged-time-zone-switching tiredness so I simply walked to get some poutine and spent the rest of my first day rewatching Friends for the 5th time. After some much needed R&R I planned out the rest of my trip (well kinda). I knew generally the area I wanted to go each day but didn’t make any exact plans as to what I was going to do. I knew however, my goals in Toronto were as follows; see Niagara Falls, walk around downtown by the CN Tower and professional sports arenas and get some GREAT food.
My first big day I spent walking from my hostel (which was near University of Toronto) all the way to the CN Tower. I knew I was going to go up to the top to get some great sky views but I didn’t really expect what I actually decided to do… I walked past a booth for the “Edgewalk” which in 2011 was the Guinness World Record holder for the “Highest External Walk on a Building.” Now I wouldn’t call myself afraid of heights but I’m not exactly a thrill seeker either by ANY means. This was just one of those oh-screw-it kind of moments where I felt the need to stand 1,168 ft above group only strapped to the wire circle above me.
I cant describe it, you’ll just have to go try it.
After getting back on solid ground I kept walking around the city to see what else Toronto had to offer! It is home to the hockey hall of fame (which my dad would have preferred I do versus climbing buildings) Toronto Blue jays and Toronto Maple Leafs. It is also home to MANY diverse neighborhoods which was pretty cool to see during all the pride for the world cup. In my walk I passed through Little Italy, Little Portugal, Chinatown, and Koreatown. I saw the Toronto sign, the Canada sign and ate at some pretty great local recommendations on the way. (I ate quicker than the photos could have been taken.
The next day I completed something that had been on my bucket list for quite some time. I boarded a random tourist bus that headed for Niagara Falls! Now the best part about speaking a few different languages is the ability to converse with people you might not have normally been able to. I met a couple who one was from Italy and the other was from Argentina. What a surprise! We sat at a table together during our meal and exchanged stories in both English, Spanish and Italian. Que bueno!
Upon arriving at Niagara Falls I saw the beast of a waterfall that was everything I had imagined. I did the Hornblower ride that takes you right into the mist of the falls and mist is a term I should use lightly. They gave us ponchos to cover our clothing but even that wasn’t enough to save us from the downpour of water. The coolest part was seeing the USA on the other side, did you know you can actually walk across the border from Canada to the USA? It was tempting for the story, but I’m sure my group would have left without me.
All I can say is, take the chance to travel by yourself. You’ll really grow as a person and understand the world around you because it is only being seen by your eyes. We spend so much time wondering how everyone else is going to perceive us when we sit at a table alone but truth be told, people are just envious of your courage. Traveling solo taught me, it’s okay to be alone because sometimes… you’ve got to fall in love with yourself first. Eh?