First thing I did when I had the spare cash was book a vacation. Clearly I needed one. It’s been something like 4 or 5 years since I had a proper one. Passports are a tool of the resistance. I renewed mine as soon as i knew I was going to have the time and money to take one. Not going to lie: the main reason I chose Montreal is because Radiohead is in town. I mean yeah, I have friends here, I always wanted to go ever since I learned Leonard Cohen wrote the song Suzanne here, and I’d like to experience non-States living for a hot second. But ok it’s mostly Radiohead. I got to declare my undying love for Radiohead at customs where they asked detailed questions about my vacation. WHY YES OFFICER I HAVE SOMETHING TO DECLARE.
Baby steps to more international travel. I miss living in England and having access to so many countries. I loved Greece. I think Southeast Asia is my next big trip. When I have the money of course. I plan on using that passport more. That is, should I not lose it. A few hours before I was planning on leaving for the airport, I realized my current passport was not where I swore to Jesus Christ Himself I left it. I spent a few hours tearing up my room, tearing up myself, losing it over losing it, bawling like a baby at the prospect of missing this flight, needing to get a replacement passport AND a birth certificate to replace it with. I know it’s not life or death. But I would have lost several days and several hundred dollars if I didn’t find it. Dear Roommate helped me rip my room apart, until I saw the chances of it being in my room were getting dimmer and dimmer and I got a weird notion that I should check the car. Lo and behold, it was in the glove compartment. WHY WAS IT IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT.
WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING, PUTTING IT THERE.
I spent the rest of the evening singing a cold and broken hallelujah. Grateful. Grateful. Over-pouring with gratitude.
My red-eye went off without a hitch, other than the fact it was a red-eye and my eyes were a little red from the panic-crying I was doing earlier. But I like red-eye flights. You save money on a flight, save money on an extra hotel night, plus you land and you have the whole day at your destination ahead of you instead of wasting a day in transit. I got enough napping in to make it work, on the plane and at the hostel when I arrived. Canadian dollars are slightly in my favor. I like budget travel. I don’t know how to travel any other way.
I arrived armed with a list of recommendations from Facebook friends and not much more. I forgot about practical things like telling my bank and cell phone provider that I was going out of the country. Whoops. Fixed. I arrived after figuring out the airport and shuttle system. We rolled through the flat spare parts between the airport and the city, amongst stone churches abutted against concrete apartment complexes, through the centre-ville, past my stop but whatever, I hit the button on the bus and they let me out at the Place du Canada, a beautiful park with a live cumbia band playing, food trucks lining the street, damn-near perfect weather, business folks eating al fresco, church bells ringing. Looks like it was my stop after all.
Walk back to the hostel and check in. World Cup is going on in their basement hangout space and there’s a nice couch upon which i take a nap until my room is ready. I want England to win, but not enough to be glued to the TV, so I explore Rue McKay, get a stunningly good bagel and tea and commence writing on the outside patio. When I’m exploring cities, my favorite habit is to wake up early in the morning and find a cafe where I can write about the day before and plan for the upcoming day. I did this when I took 3 weeks and drove all through the Southern states. I called it Disjointed Dispatches from the South. I’ll call this, creatively, Disjointed Dispatches from Montreal. I hope it gets me back into writing. Cuz when I travel, I feel like I have something to write about.