Since I was 14, I’d dreamed about coming to Japan for an extended stay. I love it here, but something has changed. When I think of where I’ll be getting my morning coffee next year, I’m not thinking about my favorite coffee and confectionery dealer in Sabae’s Yokoecho. Instead, I’m thinking about taking down the purified forty-weight you can find in Old Montreal. I sometimes think about the alcohol-infused offerings at Boulder Coffee back home in Rochester.
In short, both wanderlust and the want to get home are making my feet extremely itchy. I’m going to do what I can to make my last five months in Japan memorable, but I’ll be glad to bid her salty shores farewell when I go — for a little while, anyway.
As an enclave for French speakers and European culture in the Western hemisphere, it’s too easy to assume that the people of Montreal — in all their shapes, styles, subcultures, and colors — are just like their counterparts in Paris, Lyon, and other famous francophone cities. What you find out very quickly is while there are certainly similarities between the French and Montrealers, these are a people who have their own complex identity. These are just a few of the things I managed to learn about those who call the City of Saints home.
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I’ve come to terms with there likely being no big trip for me this year. Mounting student loan payments, cyber criminals: it’s been one sudden financial pitfall after another. Luckily, all of the money raised from my Indiegogo campaign a few months back remains in protected form. I’ve got the gear. I’ve got the plane ticket. I just keep finding myself running out of time to get the money that, for one reason or another, keeps being taken by somebody with terrible timing.
Enough is Enough. Time to Go
The thing about travel writing is, well, you can’t really do it unless you travel. While it seems my plans for Spain will be put off until spring 2015, I can take a number of smaller trips over the next few months. Montréal is my first stop. I found a beautiful place on AirBnB near the Old City. At the moment, I only know I want to get some poutine, explore Atwater Market, and meet some interesting new people around a few beers.
I’ll be gone for five days, and since I’m no longer giving up my job, not until that Spain trip finally happens, I’ll be getting paid for three of those. It’s not a perfect situation, but since I can still work, I can travel to Montréal here in a few weeks, hit New York City in September, and explore all that Boston has to offer in November. In other words, this project, set up to be all about travel, will finally have some fresh experience to be filled with.
Now, the next two weeks need to cooperate and start going faster.
Do you live in Montréal, or do you visit often? What are some of the things I need to eat, drink, see, or do while I’m in the City of Saints?