I made it. Finally. 10 months after receiving a visa, I plucked up the courage, stopped procrastinating and hopped on the cheapest flight to Canada, Montréal to be precise.
Initially, I flew into Toronto, where my flight landed an hour early, which by sheer luck was exactly what I needed. Waiting around for my visa took much longer than anticipated and I was 100% convinced I was gonna miss my connecting flight. After overhearing many visa applications be denied, I was sincerely questioning whether or not I’d bought all the necessary paperwork. It took all of 5 minutes to show them my letter and explain I was giving myself 90 days to find a job before admitting defeat. Incidentally, I made it to my transfer gate but with only a minute to spare.
Something I hadn’t quite anticipated was just how French Quebec was going to be. It was definitely helpful having Nick meet me at the airport, he performed brilliantly as the translator, despite thoroughly mocking my attempts at speaking French. What did I expect though. It’s Nick and I always knew “Je suis allé à la piscine” was never going to be the most helpful of phrases to have remembered from my French GCSE.
On arriving at the hostel, I immediately spotted a poster put up by another traveller. Julien was looking for a fellow adventurer looking to go on a road trip to the other side of Canada. A sense of fate washed over me. This is what I had planned to do with Adam, but unfortunately due to circumstances Ad could no longer stay for the duration. I emailed Julien that evening.
Low and behold by the time my first week was over, I’d agreed to a road trip through the USA to get to the other side. I have been assured by a few folk that the middle of Canada doesn’t have much going for it; a quick trip to Chicago and Yellowstone Park on my way through to Lake Louise sounds more appealing than the surprisingly flat lands of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
At first I was suffering badly with Jet Lag, I had wanted to hit the ground running but was exhausted most evenings. I’m sure the miles of walking was contributing to the tiredness but I was too busy taking in the beauty of the city to care. I was however determined to make it to Igloofest one evening, I’d begged the others to come with me, but they refused. And so I attended my first music festival alone.
As I stood outside the venue, I was nervous, but I eventually psyched myself up and joined the queue to purchase a ticket. Inside it was everything I wanted it to be, a collection of my sorta people jumping away to EDM, spreading nothing but good vibes. I quickly made a friend when I returned a chunky gold necklace to it’s rightful owner, the guy was so grateful he bought me a hat.
Without a doubt the best thing I’m taking away from Quebec is the knowledge that you can start an adventure alone, but that doesn’t mean the journey has to be lonely.