Since my last documented destination, Copenhagen, I have travelled to a few more places but I have not done an extensive trip since then. Why?
First, I landed a job that was fun but busy. I never thought I would ever prioritize career over travel but my perspective changed insofar that your job is something you do every day and I believe that it should be something you enjoy, especially after having experienced some truly terrible jobs. I still believe greatly in work-life balance but before, the work part was much higher on the teeter-totter. Second, my grandmother moved to Korea so I’m trying to visit her every year or two and that uses up a lot of my vacation time. Third, as I’m getting older, it’s getting harder to find travel buddies. The appeal of travelling solo isn’t as great since my travel expectations have morphed and it’s harder to meet other solo travellers as you age. Fourth, I prefer breaking up my vacation into smaller chunks to get more frequent breaks in lieu of saving all my vacation time for one big trip. Lastly, I have a lot of new hobbies and my appreciation for being able to do them in Toronto has grown tremendously.
So where have I gone?
- 2015 – I went to Korea with my sister, her husband and twin boys
- 2016 – I went to the Yucatan area of Mexico with friends for New Year’s, to Halifax with friends for a long weekend, Los Angeles with work colleagues which I extended to an extra solo weekend and Utah for work which I extended into an extra week at Moab
- 2017 – I went to the Bahamas for a family trip
In Mexico, I went to Merida, Uxmal and Chichen Itza for the first time and they were all fantastic. And I also went back to Tulum and Isla Mujeres which were disappointments. I loved both so much when I went in 2009 but they have changed a lot due to tourism and they were not nearly as charming.
Los Angeles is a very fun city. It’s a shame that it’s not more walkable but I would definitely go back again. I saw a comedy show with Nick Kroll at the Largo as part of the “With Friends” series. His friends were Neal Brennan and Aimee Mann! And I saw Sergio Mendes play Brasil 66 songs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra which was inspiring. These two shows made me realize that in Los Angeles, when you go see something, you’re going to be seeing top tier talent because the competition is so fierce that only the top will come out alive.
Salt Lake City would be my dream city if you combined it with the friendliness of Glasgow, the multiculturalism of Toronto, the planning of Copenhagen and the joie-de-vivre of Paris. The fact that there are mountains 15 minutes away at all corners means you can hike after work. And hiking is food for the soul.
Moab was really beautiful, but it’s become such a touristy town. Everything is overpriced, including the food, which was mediocre. The national parks are a marvel though, especially Canyonlands. Unfortunately, my experience was marred by my trip which was badly organized by Southwest Adventure Tours. The itinerary was not nearly anything like advertised, they booked 4×4 tours rather than hiking like I asked for, and those turned out to be motion sickness-inducing. I had to vomit a few times to deal with the rocky roads in Canyonlands.
The Bahamas was more about the experience of spending time with family. We stayed in a condominium with kitchen and fortunately, that saved us a significant amount of money. Paradise Island in Nassau is outrageously expensive. While lots of middle-class folks like ourselves go there, the island is overfilled with million-dollar yachts so you can imagine the prices. Milk on the private island is $8 USD for less than a litre. Off the island it’s much less but still expensive in comparison to Canada.
All-in-all, I have had some pretty good trips but I lately I’ve been desiring a bit more adventure. And my next trip will be just that. I’m very excited…