As I've been running around prepping and checking my list (maybe even checking it twice), I realized that this is the first trip I've taken in a while where I'm not going anywhere to escape something.
You see, last summer I went to Vancouver as a way to reset and clear my head.
I was heartbroken, confused, and needed to put my regular life on pause. I was also granted time to write and therefore I made the big jump to leave my long-term job and pursue acting and writing full-time. It was a huge time of transition in my life but probably the best and bravest decision I've ever made.
I arrived in Vancouver excited and scared and just wanting to feel happy after months of being depressed. And what I realized pretty quickly was that when you take away the comfort of the people and places you know, sadness still finds you. But you also have all of these new experiences to fill up the spaces in your life that you didn't realize were empty. Much like the waves I was surrounded by, my days and my mood flowed and shifted. One moment feeling uplifted and inspired, the next I would be crying on a park bench muttering, "What the fuck did I just do?"
To simplify my summer, I drifted from one state to the other and then back again.
There were new things to do, new people to hang out with, and a lot of time spent alone. I remember romanticizing time alone before leaving for this trip as this heavenly experience.
I'll have all of this time to get to know myself. I'll feel amazing.
Listen, I've read "Eat, Pray, Love" (a lot) so I assumed I knew what it would be like to have solo self-discovery time. "This will be a breeze", I laughed to myself.
Well...here's the thing. Time alone can be great. You have time to think, to be, and to chill. Time alone can be great. However...it also can suck.
You are literally stuck with yourself. As someone who enjoys her time alone, I soon realized that there are limits to how much "alone time" was actually beneficial and when it was a way to hide away. I would be fine one moment and then these waves of emotion would hit me. And believe me, I lived with these feelings of confusion, anger, and basically feeling like a pile of shit. And it wasn't pleasant.
Had I had another option, I would have saved the life lesson and enjoyed the good feelings.
Soon enough two whole months passed and my time in Vancouver came to a close. I was rejuvenated, excited, scared, and ready to carry on. I had something new to take back with me to Toronto. I had let Vancouver affect me in ways that I don't think I can really explain to anyone else. I had healed. I had been scared and angry, and pushed myself to continue being there. I had literally and figuratively taken the advice, "ride the wave." I returned to my home refreshed, and found that I appreciated the supportive community I had built for myself in Toronto. I also realized that I could go somewhere else and find wonderful people and time to breathe.
And so, with all that said, I am pleased to go on a two-week holiday to Vancouver with all the experiences I have gathered since leaving the west coast last fall. Cradling my months away filled with death, grief, triumphs, and failures with the realization that this time I am not running away. I am carving out time to visit family, friends, and a place that I love because I've realized you don't just need to be in crisis to need a change or to gather up some happiness. Our lives are precious, and we are caretakers of our time on this earth. And so despite myself and many people I know having experienced very difficult life events in the past 9 months, it's also amazing to create little pockets of happiness for oneself. Just because you want to.
And although I've been packing and checking my list, I've made a conscious effort this time to leave behind my heartbroken traveler mindset. I am very excited to enjoy my time in the mountains as someone more open-hearted and to just enjoy the ride.
Till next time!