Someone at some point in time gave me some travelling advice to ease the transition back to reality. If it was you, thank you.

  1. Never go back to work for a full week after a holiday
  2. Within your budget, treat yourself on the final night.

And so I write this from a cute Italian restaurant on Halifax’s waterfront. I’ve got a glass of French Rose, a bottle of sparkling water (because I ain’t fancy, but gosh I prefer it over tap) and I’ve got spaghetti ai frutti di mare on its way.

Later I’ll go back to my luxury (let’s be honest, it’s largely furnished by IKEA) 2-bedroom apartment a few blocks away to finish a job application due before midnight. I booked it last night for 60% off as a last minute deal. I doubled my accom budget to – are you ready? – $200/night. Big spender, i know. Bahaha. Reality is looming and so we’ll enjoy one final night before it hits. Well, when reality looks like finding a job, a house and friends…I actually need the bottle.

Tonight is my last night after more than a month in four different Canadian provinces. It’s been 7 weeks since my last day of work. I’ve climbed mountains, I’ve seen bears, I’ve felt total peace and bouts of sheer loneliness. It’s all part of it has been amazing.

To reflect on this first chapter of life in Canada I pulled some numbers and dumped a bunch of initial observations in land of the maple leaf.

Hiked 141 km
Paddled 188 km
Drove 2400 km
Ate 5 lobster rolls
Drank undisclosed alcoholic beverages
Snapped 2100 pics
Relished 1 country music concert
Read 3 books
Kissed 1 cowboy
Lost 1 bag
Checked for Lyme disease-infected ticks way too few times to have made it out uninfected

*One of those things is a lie.

And (largely for my own record keeping) if you care to read:

  • To their credit, Canadians are an obliging and deeply apologetic bunch
  • 4-way stops are the most confusing inefficient traffic management system and the Atlantic provinces are on to a good thing with roundabouts or ‘go-arounds’. Albeit their use has left a lot to be desired.
  • Atlantic lobster and seafood in general is amazing and I would consider giving up red meat to eat it all.the.time
  • Australia needs to get on the cinnamon scroll bandwagon. Like seriously.
  • Way to go for cafes not charging extra for lactose-free milk alternatives
  • I can almost tell the difference between an American and Canadian accent. And yes, Canadian accents do differ across the county.
  • French is way more prolific than I had expected
  • Canadian forests have a pleasant scent
  • Bears walking look like they’re stumbling home from the pub
  • Even after a few weeks in forests, Chipmunks and squirrels (remind me the difference?) scuttling in the undergrowth continue to make me jump e’erytime. Growing up in Australia assuming every snake will skill you, changes you. But gosh they’re cute!
  • Canadian money still confuses me because everyone takes card. No minimum. But they ask if it’s VISA or MasterCard, like I know off hand.
  • North America, get on including tax in your prices. Suddenly that $21 lobster roll for lunch becomes $27.30 with tax + tip.
  • Canadian wine isn’t bad. And Okanagan cider is amazing. And the Australian wine being exported here is a.v.e.r.a.g.e.
  • I can’t wait for fall to see the trees change.
  • Bacon should not be deep fried to a crisp.
  • Parks Canada as a national body is providing consistent, high quality experiences. I do not mind paying access fees for good facilities and well sign-posted trails. Provincial Parks differed greatly across the country. From a splash of red paint on a tree trunk to (almost accurate) on trail kilometre markings.
  • Is another source of income available? I think I’ll be too busy exploring to work full time.

Here’s to the next chapter.

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