An Ode to the Trips

You know those friends that always say they can’t chill because they’re “busy”? Well, travel blog, sorry for being that friend for a while.

This year has indeed been a busy one. Still, I did manage to get in a bit of site-seeing and linguistic exercise when I could catch my breath. As such, before the year starts afresh, I thought it best to take a look back at some of the traveling I forgot to mention but which were nevertheless unforgettable.

The last time we spoke, I described my beautiful adventures to the #westside in Vancouver, B.C.; yet, that hadn’t been the rest of the best.

Just after that trip, I was whisked away by my knight-in-shining armour (boyfriend) to the wonderful island of Hawaii (Boston, Massachusetts) for a relaxing vacation (a week-long business trip). At first, I was less than enthused: “You mean the place with those donuts, yeah?” Craving for more adventure, I went along anyways.

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Downtown Pier: Best clam chowder ever.

Surprisingly, it was an absolute blast! Our Airbnb was near to everything: the universities; historic monuments; and the various downtown cores. Boston is also very walkable, a feature we loved and took advantage of.

But the best part of the trip came right at the end.

One of my favourite podcasts to listen to, made in part by the New York Times, is produced at a local Boston radio station, WBUR, called Modern Love. Earlier in the week, I had the idea that maybe we could drop in to say hello and fangirl for a few minutes about how great the show is to the show’s host.

Unfortunately, once we got there, we were told that the host was busy. Instead, they invited us to meet the show’s producer, Anne Marie Sivertson, who spontaneously gave us a tour of the station. Cool!

But it gets better.

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Harvard Stadium: the American Dream.

She then proceeded to sit us down and offer us the chance to ask her anything about the show, a great treat as I had so many questions. To top it all off, she offered us free tickets to see a live taping of another popular podcast, The Moth, and gave us her contact info to stay in touch.  Much better than donuts. Awesome.

The next destination took me just across the border to Connecticut (pronounced /CONNECT-IT-CUT:/ according to my ever stubborn, Jamaican mother) for a cricket tournament. Boy, was that a trip.

Though it coincided with my birthday, the trip was anything but celebratory. Stuck on a bus full of country, city and “farrin” Jamaicans all-in-one from morning till night; I can still hear the slams of dominos echoing in my ear drums to this day. Between the cricket matches and discount shopping stops, not much time was left to explore the city.

Again, what a trip.

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La chute Montmorency: une belle vue.

Fast-forward a few months, it was as if I took a trip back in time to visit the place where it all began: Vieux-Quèbec, Quèbec.

My travel bug really took its first bite when I worked at a musical camp there in Gr. 11 for five weeks, away from anything I really knew. That trip was the first, since migrating, that really made me feel different, and which forced me to open my eyes to the differences between cultures; even one that was just about a day’s drive up north.

This was probably the best trip to end on, too, for this year, as it brought back a few of those feelings and thoughts of discovery I experienced during that period of my life. In fact, as I write this post from my family home for the holidays, I recall a night a few days ago I spent going through some of my old creative writing pieces and chemistry quizzes, stuffed in my closet, from high school.

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“The more they search, the more they doubt.”

High school was definitely something, but it was a lot of other things too. Please leave the acne, “emotional turmoil”, friendship break-ups and all other unnecessary (though entertaining, now looking back) drama in the past. But do bring back the excited nervousness of school plays; the joy of vocal classes; the passion to complete magnum opus projects and english essays.

2016 was not a bad year, though it was definitely uninspiring. And so with that, 2017 will be The Year of Creativity.

It will be the year where I do the absolute most with the things I love: singing, dancing, cooking, baking, traveling, writing. When we are our most creative, I find, we are our best selves. It’s human nature. All that we do that is different, innovative, transformative, and progressive, is creative.

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Quèbec Pride Week – allons-y les gars!

This year, I allowed myself to get lost in the popular societal, adult habit of focusing on what I have to do and how to do it, severely neglecting what I love to do and when to do it. But not this round.

Next year is gonna be good as hell.

À la prochaine,
Moi

Music of the Moment:

The Feels.

So I’m back home from my semester-long exchange in Grenoble, France; have been for about a month now.

At first, even actually before I returned, I longed for the familiarity I was once surrounded by day-in day-out. I longed for my family, my friends, my school, my old life while still holding tight to the memories of the near past.

But as time came and went at and around home, a certain feeling grew on me, one which felt inexplicable and unnatural.

Then, tonight, I read this article by Kellie Donnelley, and my feelings not so much subsided, but in themselves, felt comforted at the thought that they were understood; that I was not alone in these series of feelings, and that it was in fact somewhat normal to feel such a way.

Here’s the link to the short but ever so sweet article: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kellie-donnelly/2014/07/the-hardest-part-about-traveling-no-one-talks-about/

À la prochaine,
Moi

A Change is Gonna Come

What a way to end off a wonderful trip. Atlanta, like any other place I am sure, is a wonder to behold.

No, it does not house snow-topped mountains; nor does it exhibit medieval castles. Still, it, like any other place on this beautiful Earth, holds dear to it a very beautiful history.

I am writing this after recently returning from a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Centre on Auburn Avenue, where my family and I visited his previous residence, walked past his and his wife, Coretta’s graves, and studied videos and observed still photos about his life’s journey, from the beginning until the tragic end; and my mind is just swirling with thoughts.

It is easy to simply open up a textbook or a pamphlet and semi-consciously read about a land’s history; but to actually be physically present where the events described on paper are put in place brings everything to the front – right in one’s face – where the truth of the past can neither be denied, questioned, nor forgotten.

The comings and goings of the center..

MLK Jr. At A Glance: The comings and goings of the center..

King Jr.’s life was bittersweet, and as I read small information stands, I wondered why when positive change happens, there is one, if not many, who try to prevent it.

This reflection made me begin to reflect on my own life, and the changes I see coming…and am purposefully preventing. Of all the things I predicted I would get out of this trip, an epiphany was not one of them.

Still, I can only assume that this is to be expected, and can only hope that I do encounter more moments like these as my travels continue because I do want to grow as I experience and absorb the livelihoods of others transfer and transform around me.

In terms of how I spent my other days in Atlanta: the ‘Peach State’, it was a mixture of everything, as this trip was planned to go unplanned. Hot spots to visit may include (and are not limited to) Atlantic Station, the Georgian Aquarium, Centennial Park, and just the regular neighbourhood stops to chat with local people who can tell you about ways in which Atlanta was, is, and will always be a place they call home.

Me taking a picture of him taking a picture of them taking...

Georgia Aquarium: Me taking a picture of him taking a picture of them taking…

Alas, now it’s time for me to gather my things and head out of the state that houses Tyler Perry’s Madea, and the one of the only places where one can freely exercise the term “y’all” without a sideways look from another end.

Georgia, you will always be on my mind.

À la prochaine,
Moi

Music for the Moment: