It seems entirely natural to start a travel ‘blog with an aeroplane trip. Rather less natural to start one with a plane trip HOME. But that’s exactly how this one shall begin.
I flew home to Toronto from North Carolina on Saturday July 1, Canada Day. A wonderful day to arrive home. Not only did I get to enjoy the celebrations at home, but later in the long weekend was able to get together with my mom, dad and sister Christi for a trip up to Kingston to visit the rest of the family, Melanie, Ka-Hung and my universally and personally adored new nephew, Dante.
Fun on the swingset with dad, mom, Dante, KH and Christi
The remainder of my pre-departure time in Toronto was similarly auspicious. Though I began to wish for a bit more time at home before heading off yonder once more, I managed to squeeze in almost all my favourite parts of home in that one month. I got to visit my extended family all over southern Ontario, catch up with friends at home, take part in some Toronto summer traditions like the Dream in High Park, enjoy some of my favourite southern Ontario microbrews, get re-acquainted with my teammates from the Toronto Dragons RFC (as well as the rugby pitch itself… I got in four games, a pubcrawl and several memorable rides on the Dragon Wagon.)
My final weekend in Toronto was perhaps the best of all, save for the absence of my sisters.
On Friday I started assembling stuff to pack, then had a nice quiet evening out with my friend Andrew and his lovely girlfriend Veronica. Saturday was rugby day, whereon I played 1/2 of our 3rd team match, and got my first 1st XV cap in several years (a 32-5 victory, no less.) As of this moment, I’m still debating whether to bring my rugby boots to NZ, mostly due to uncertainty about whether I’ll find a team crappy enough to want me playing for them
Saturday night was spent with Kate, Daphne and teammates Sean+Bill at a free Weakerthans concert (for my money the Weakerthans are probably the best band in Canada at the moment) down by Lake Ontario, followed by an impromptu beer tasting session at Smokeless Joe’s (about the only bar in Toronto’s “entertainment district” that I actually LIKE.)
Sunday was a quiet one… I did a bit of last minute shopping at MEC (just like the day before my last big departure.) On my way down to the store, I had a walk through a few of my favourite Toronto neighbourhoods (the Annex, Chinatown, Kensington Market.) The afternoon was a quiet one at home with mom and dad. In the evening, we had a nice dinner at the Afghani kebob house just down the street. It seemed as though it could be pretty much any old day at home, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
So now packing’s pretty much done and it’s just about time to go…
It was only a few days before departure, that I FINALLY began to get really excited about the prospect of my trip. I suppose that having done this once already took away most of the attendant nervousness (along with a bit of the anticipation) of getting ready to leave home for 1-2 years. This trip promises to have something (most notably destinations) in common with my last, but there will be a whole lot of differences too.
Here’s hoping that you continue to follow along, and enjoy sharing my travels with me.