Yes, in short, I had a great time in Montreal. I had been looking forward to it so much and for so long that I worried that reality could not live up to it. I was wrong, happily. You may wonder why I have not blogged more about it yet and there are a few reasons. Dominique from 3C Style and I are planning to write posts together about the trip and I do not want to pre-empt that, or give away too much about our collaborative post next month – except to say that I was delighted to have taken a lot of the fashion photos for October. Meanwhile there are some other pictures from Montreal within this post.
Speaking of Dominique. She just posted some great street-photos which she took whilst I was with her. Seeing her enthusiasm and creativity in action was one of the great joys of my trip. Here she is in action taking the featured image from her post:
This travel was important to me in many ways, I had a lot to prove to myself about my recovery and other things. I have learned many things during my visit to Montreal:
- Any doubts I had about online friendships with other bloggers being somehow not ‘real’ have gone. Anyone who saw us all together would think we had known each other for years. Here we are: Dee Dee, Linda, Dominique and myself (the beardy one).
- I can manage enough French to at least not starve. I might have to live on coffee and croissants but I can do that, no problem.
- I was smiling and genuinely happy the whole time. To the extent I would have never thought possible.
- Sadly (?) the promise to get me doing karaoke ran out of time.
- Vegetarian sushi is edible. Even if my attempts to eat it were not elegant and caused great amusement.
- Despite my utter hatred of zucchini/courgette, I was persuaded to eat zucchini flowers. They were at least inoffensive! And interesting to draw too😊
- Montreal beer is good, and we found a great Indian restaurant. These are my top two criteria for judging any city.
- We never did get to visit antique shops. So I still do not know if the intention was to take me shopping or add me to the stock.
- The automatic passport scanners at Montreal airport work great. The ones at Gatwick are pants.
- I can take pictures of people without my camera dying from shock.
- Allegedly, I have a way with animals. I have no idea where this notion came from (photos by 3C Style):
On a more serious note and why I have been quiet since coming back:
Returning to the UK has been hard. Not only the 20c drop in temperature (no I am not kidding – we had 10 days of hot sunshine in Canada) but returning to work knowing that nothing has really changed in practical terms.
That said, I do feel that something within me has changed and I am still processing it, which is why I feel less inclined to write at the moment. I feel more centred and somehow have a sense of calm and confidence and a sense of my place in the world. I always joked about being antisocial and independent but in reality this was because I felt I had no choice. I started blogging through a sense of loneliness and of not knowing if there were like-minded people out there or if I was truly alone. Finding friends via WP made a huge difference but I was unsure if meeting any of them in person was going to work or if I was going to take my social anxiety baggage with me. Thankfully I never felt anxious or unhappy for the entire time.
So where does this leave me? Planning return trips across the Atlantic for a start, in addition to travel elsewhere.
Also, something has to change in practical terms too. My feelings about my career are unfortunate – travel requires funds so I am kind of stuck with it for now. But I am considering changing from 5 x 8 hour days per week to 4 x 10 hour days. This would seriously affect my ability to get to the gym, which closes at 7pm, but recently it looks like I may have to switch gyms anyway.
An extra day of daylight would enable me to concentrate more on creative work and hopefully on monetising it. This must stop being just a dream. I got such pleasure from creative work when in in Montreal and I know in my heart that being creative is what I want to do. And I don’t want to do so alone, which is why the collaborations with other bloggers are so important and motivating for me.
In summary, I am OK but my brain has a lot to process for the moment.
Enjoy some more photographs: