This has perhaps been the laziest month yet, at least the latter half of it.
To be honest, I’ve pulled away from the blog with the intention of focusing on other self-improvements in life, but that hasn’t gone too well either.
It’s funny how easy it is to get stuck in the spiral of laziness and just sitting home and watching tv when you come back exhausted from a day at work. I hardly did any exercise as it’s too cold and dark outside and our building’s gym wasn’t open (it finally did yesterday so a long overdue visit was made this morning) and I wasn’t able to motivate myself to do many productive things after work. Something I absolutely need to do for the evenings as well as weekends.
I’m glad I have these monthly update blog posts (despite whether anyone reads them or not!) as they do force me to look back and see what I’ve been doing and how I can improve to live a life I actually want to live.
Where I’ve Been:
New York City, USA
Highlights of the Month:
Seeing a best friend in New York
Sarah is one of my closest friends from university, who was going to New York to spend time with Irish relatives. Toronto is only an hour and a half away, so I thought hey, why not book tickets over the weekend Sarah would be around and meet up?
We only got to see each other for a day and I would have done things a little differently, but it was amazing to see a great friend from England – the first person I’ve seen from back home since I moved. It’s times like these – when you’re far away from each other – when you realise who’s a true friend. And if anyone is, it’s Sarah.
Exploring the Distillery District in Toronto
This was a pretty perfect day – it was a clear, crisp autumn day, we were productive in the morning and spent the rest of the day wandering around the Distillery District. I loved the industrial but charming feel of the place. It was all exposed brick with green touches on the windowsills and pipes and weathered-away brand stencils, but is filled with vintage shops, cute cafes, enticing restaurants and artwork.
In the winter it plays host to a Christmas market, which, having lived in London (huge when it comes to market festivities), I will definitely need my dose!
We got kittens!
Perhaps a little too soon, and I definitely think it would have been best to hold off a bit longer, but we got two kittens! I won’t go into the boring details about how we plan to take care of them when we’re travelling or when we leave Canada right now, but we’re happy to have adopted these cute new roomies from a rescue – they were abandoned at a construction site, their mother dead. I’m pretty sure we’re giving them all the love they can handle. So, meet Brunswick (the ginger boy) and Luna (the girl)!
Lowlights of the Month:
Feeling lazy and unmotivated
I don’t know why this feeling has come over me lately – it definitely has something to do with the weather getting colder, and probably the come down after so many months of excitement. But also because it always seems like there’s something I have to do and the constant guilt when not doing it, or focusing on something else instead.
This blog is one of the ways I feel that: I should be posting every day, or every other day, or at least every few days. And do you know what? I just can’t. I felt pressured to keep content going and then guilty when I scrapped something because I didn’t feel proud of publishing such rubbish. I didn’t want to think of it anymore as a second job and prescribe myself to hours of working and think of myself as relaxing after my actual full-time job as “slacking”.
So I went to complete other end of the scale. I did nothing and buried my head in the sand. No blogging, no exercising, giving up on eating healthily, less interest in my new home of Toronto, barely any drive to be creative. In a way I’m glad I had the time out so I could lay the pressure off, but now I want to balance what I do properly so I’m productive but also enjoy myself.
I didn’t do New York quite how I wanted
I flew out of Toronto on a Friday evening and arrived back early on Sunday afternoon – this is pretty much just 24 hours to really do anything. And how many people did I see? Three. Staying with two people the two nights I was there and rushing from one place to another. It was too much. I wish I had spent more time with Sarah. As much as I loved seeing everyone, sometimes you can’t overlap and bunch people together as you get an entirely different experience.
I realise more and more that I want to travel in a more chilled out way. I like to be somewhere long enough not only to see the “tourist” sites but to get a sense of a place and their people, to discover a couple of things that I wouldn’t know if I was just zooming through. The idea of essentially ticking a place off a list is something that really does not appeal to me. I hate feeling as though I’m rushing through life, not allowing myself to stand there, look around, observe and reflect.
Making friends in a new country
This was always going to be tougher than when I lived in Australia. There, I studied abroad and lived in the halls of residence at my university, so it was easy to meet and make friends with people. I was always with people, spent time in the common room and could be at someone else’s room in a matter of steps.
Here in Toronto when I’m working full time, there aren’t a lot of options. There are work people, but further than that, what do you do? Go to a bar? People in day to day life aren’t as readily accepting as those at universities (i.e. you can’t just basically say “Hey what’s you name? Want to hang out?”) and it’s harder to find someone you actually click with. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know in the comments!
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What I’ve Been Writing:
As I said earlier, it’s been a very slow, away-from-blogging month, so I’ve only written two posts.
7 Reasons to Visit the Bruce Peninsula, Canada
Highlights of Living in Toronto: First 2 Months
What I’ve Been Reading:
Again, this is slow and a step back from the blogging world means I haven’t been keeping track of the amazing content I have read.
One thing that is fresh in my mind and really resonated with me is Virginia from The Well-Travelled Postcard’s post announcing her six-month sabbatical. I couldn’t help but nod along when she talked about itchy feet and the dissatisfaction with the here and now. “There comes a time in every twenty-something’s life where you begin to question the meaning of life, the world and the universe…”.
My birthday is next week! I can’t say I’m as excited as I used to be about birthdays, especially as this time I won’t be able to spend it with my family, but I’ve booked the day off work and am excited to relax and celebrate with the usual smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels and some Prosecco/Champagne.
We’re also heading to Boston over American Thanksgiving, so I’ll be ready to stuff my face with food (as if I don’t do that everyday anyway…).
I totally feel you on the weirdness of making friends as an expat. It’s definitely not easy at first, and I’ve forced myself to try and say ‘yes’ to everything, even at times when I feel like staying at home. My advice would be to join Meet Up groups about things you’re interested in, and definitely, definitely go to Travel Massive – it’s through Travel Massive here in NYC that I’ve met some really lovely friends (and it helps to meet other people who get the ‘itchy feet’ syndrome!).
Katie MacLeod recently posted…Why I Love The Idea of Local Travel
1. I love your blog and read all your posts so PLEASE keep posting and post more!
2. When we moved to NYC it took us a little while to make friends but saying yes to everything helps! I made some of my best friends accepting random invitations and happened to click with other people there. Check with your friends if they have any friends/even know anyone in Toronto to make an introduction!
3. The kittens are too cute!
Elaine recently posted…Langham Hotel, London: Hotel Review
I agree with Katie’s suggestions, or maybe try Girl Gone International? Yay for birthdays – mine is next week too! Hope you have fun celebrating – sounds like you have got the routine sorted anyway ;)
Jessi (Two Feet, One World) recently posted…Road Tripping the Scottish Highlands
Yes to so much of this. I totally know what you mean about blogging although you are much braver than me to just not publish. I can’t bring myself to do that and instead write rambling content which really shouldn’t be posted. Making friends in other cities can be real hard – have you tried joining an exercise class or club of some kind, or even reaching out to other Toronto based travel bloggers?
Good luck with it all.
Jodie Young recently posted…Five Ways I Manage My Time Productively
Sorry you’re feeling a bit unmotivated, lovely! But I totally feel you on the blogging pressure thing – I basically had a nervous breakdown in South America when I’d published every week without fail for over a year and simply couldn’t manage it anymore. Now I get a new article up every fortnight or so, but the exact timing doesn’t matter – and I feel a hell of a lot better! If your writing is honest, considered and skilful, your readers aren’t going to mind about what date it appears :)
Also OHMYGOD kittens <3
Flora Baker recently posted…The Spanish Challenge: Walking the Camino with Spaniards
Oh how incredibly cute are your kittens? Brunswick looks exactly like my cat did when he was a baby :) Also, is it true they have a Harry Potter bar in Toronto? I know that’s completely unrelated but I’m sure I saw a post on Buzzfeed one day about it and I just thought “I have to go there!”. I’m thinking about an Iceland – Toronto – NYC trip next year so I might just have to ask for some advice from you if I do end up over there!
Emma Hart | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles recently posted…How To Spend A Night At Vivid Sydney