To Colleen, From Travel

Feb 6, 2013 by

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Outside With Cupcakes, Toronto


Travel has given me a wonderful gift. I would call it the gift of perspective: the gift of knowing when to freak out and when to chill out.

A couple of weekends ago, I went to Toronto with Courtney and Cody to meet Courtney’s friends who were visiting from Regina. We left Waterloo after class, around 3:30 pm, thinking it would take no more than 2 hours to get to Toronto and get settled. The plan was to arrive, do a bit of shopping for an hour or so, find our way to a nice restaurant to relax, have some yummy food and good conversation and watch the Jets game civilly.

Let’s just say we didn’t exactly have the trip we planned on having.

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Getting to Toronto was treacherous. We were prepared for traffic, but the brutal road conditions slowed traffic down enormously. There was also an accident or two on the 401 (albeit in the opposite direction) that jammed things up even more. Combined, those factors meant we didn’t get to Toronto until closer to 8:00 pm. On the way in, we had to stop at the LCBO because Courtney’s friends were texting her that they couldn’t find any cheap wine. We stocked up and continued on our way. By the time we arrived and got settled, it was late, and we needed to unwind from the drive there; we were all a little tense from dealing with the screaming ambulances and the constant break lights and the poor visibility. We flopped down on the hotel beds, uncorked our wine and watched the Jets game.

By the time we were ready to head out for the night, it was after 10:00 pm. We headed to The Beaconsfield, as recommended to us by my host (I was crashing with a friend from Winnipeg who now lives in Toronto). Little did we know that the restaurant turns into a noisy bar after about 9:00 pm, and we would not be able to order any dinner. As we left the premises, however, we saw a plate of cupcakes sitting at the kitchen window, tempting us. I stealthily reached for one before we dashed out the door, but the cooks saw us and just laughed, telling us to take them, to help ourselves. So we snatched up the cupcakes and ran outside into a snowy night.

We were hungry and had all just killed a bottle of wine each. We needed to find real food pronto.

So we bumbled our way down the sidewalk and ended up at Fat Bastard. It was an unexpected stop, and it wasn’t the nice restaurant we’d envisioned, but it was delicious and probably a whole lot cheaper than a restaurant would have been. Plus it was hilarious, finding ourselves in a place called Fat Bastard.

Then we had to find somewhere to go after that. One of our classmates, Jeff, recommended The Madison. With 3 very different floors to enjoy (one pub, one piano room, and one dance floor), there was something for everyone. It was fun, but it was a lot higher energy than I had prepared myself for.

The next morning, I had visions of myself going shopping (to make up for the shopping I hadn’t done the day before). All there was time for was brunch at Flo’s Diner before quickly packing up the car again and hitting the road.

It was the kind of trip that just didn’t go to plan. We’ve all experienced it. The train you needed to take to get to the airport on time was cancelled. The one museum you wanted to see was closed the only day you were in the city. Your hostel lost your reservation. You got lost on the wrong side of town.

The trip, as I’ve described it, probably doesn’t sound all that bad, and it wasn’t, but at any moment, I could have let my stress from driving get the better of me. I could have been annoyed at any of the things that didn’t go to plan, but that wouldn’t have made our Toronto adventure any easier on anyone. Travel has taught me to relax and let a trip unravel as it is meant to. Travel has taught me to do this with every day life, too. Travel has taught me not to put on a sour face and mope about what isn’t going to plan; just because something isn’t going to plan doesn’t mean it isn’t going right.

This attitude is a gift I’ve received from traveling and for that, I am grateful.

I’ve learned that sometimes this gift comes in the form of a cupcake, and I’ve learned to grab a cupcake where I see one, and let the adventure sweep me away.

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  1. Good times!
    ‘Fat Bastard’ sounds very inviting to me 🙂
    You look the happiest with a cupcake 😉 I would too 🙂

  2. not difficult to remember but easily forgotten so thanks for the reminder. And cupcakes make everything better!

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