I’m sitting in a cosy little coffee house in the town centre of Barrie. I’ve got 2 hours to kill before I have to be on a bus to take me North.
I can’t help but feel the contrast in the different leagues of my trip. Where Europe was organised (ad hoc) and at each place I visited I tried to get as much out of it as possible. Where Canada, on the other hand has been a fairly laid back affair. Sure I’ve been some what organised with my limited time, but most of the places I’ve been I’d visited maybe 6~9 years ago, so a lot of the touristy things I‘d already ticked off. Resulting in so much continuous down time that the craziest feeling has developed, where sometimes, I almost began to look forward to it all finishing and the onset of settled life. Crazy ay.
I like being in Canada, to be fair its probably one of the only places where having so much down time has been great. It’s meant every place I’ve gone to catch up with an old buddy, we haven’t been rushed, or had other things to do.
I started my time in Toronto staying on the couch of my good buddy JR’s place. He managed to pull some time off work which meant a good couple of days to chill, take in baseball games and just hang like days gone by. A similar thing happened when I pushed on to London Ontario, where another good buddy, Wes, had also managed to get some time off to hang out as well. The weather was gold, as was the beer and conversation.
Coffee has always been a struggle on my trip. Sometimes it’s good, but mostly it’s been just enough caffeine to tie me over til the next day. I’ve tried working off a coffee app called ‘Beanhunter’ which uses your location to locate known coffee places near by. You can read reviews and discern if it’s worth checking out and then leave your own review. This app has worked really well in the bigger touristy cities, but in the smaller ones, I’ve been on my own. Us Kiwi’s and Aussies I’ve found to be a rather fussy bunch of coffee consumers. So when I’ve found a good place I wouldn’t keep it a secret but share the word by adding them to the app, as I know the goodness that can be found in a nice cup of coffee, and sheer frustration/disappointment in a bad one. I’ve even been able to get behind the counter and make my own on the odd occasion, which meant the milk wasn’t boiled beyond belief at least…
Funny really, as it was in Canada where I became a coffee drinker thanks to icy cold mornings and the vast quantity and regularity of Tim Hortons cafes. ‘Timmies’ as it is known, is a chain of coffee shops all throughout Canada. It’s a pretty big institution over here. They do simple coffee, donuts, cookies, bagels and some pretty darn good breakfast sandwiches. I went there for their breakfast sandwich and left hooked on their dark watery coffee. It’s been an interesting 6 years of coffee appreciation. So it’s nice returning to the place where it all began and turning up my nose in disdain at what I used to drink.
After my time in London drew to a close, I returned back to Toronto where I was lucky enough to be staying at my buddy Jeff’s parent’s place, in a nice part of Toronto I was very unfamiliar with. So that meant my downtime, in between catching up with other familiar faces, was nice. Frustratingly though, I haven’t been able to run comfortably due to an Achilles giving me grief. So I had to see these parts at a leisurely speed. I listened to the Podcast called ‘Black Hands’ that looked at the Bain family murders back in 1994, which was riveting stuff! If you like the murder mystery type stuff, look it up then look me up as I have my thoughts on the matter that I’ve been hanging out to discuss.
It’s been really nice catching up with friends from long ago. Sharing stories, catching up on the latest, seeing the changes and reminiscing about former times. I often feel bad that I’m not able to catch up with everyone, but life, as we all know, moves on.
I left Toronto last week to head north to where I am now. Though whilst here I’ve been blessed once again with some great experiences, of cottage life on Severn River and lake life at Blue Mountain resort, near Collingwood, all thanks to my good friend Michelle.
I’ve known for a while now that I’ve had a patch of time that I needed to fill with something. I had initially thought, camping, as I have a tent. But that time to fill increased to 2 weeks so I needed something more substantial. Hence today I’m getting back into the Workaway spirit to do another stint of volunteer life at a small camp up near Magnetawan, which is north of the area where I used to live and do all my wildernessy stuff back in the day. I figured it was more of an adventure than volunteering in a comfy setting. Plus, I may even be able to do a bit of camping whilst I’m up there in my own time so thats a win.
It’s a good 4 hours north of Toronto, so it’s most certainly going to be a change of pace. Plenty more mosquitoes I’m sure, but I have some bug spray so hopefully I’ll be good, doubt it, but let’s hope.