While international travel is all fine and dandy, it takes all this time and money that isn’t exactly easy to come by.
As I’ve been learning about Toronto politics and meeting some extraordinary citizens, my scope of the city has broadened. There are still such strong mental barriers that divide this city, but they sell us all short.
You live north of Bloor?
Wait, there’s stuff east of the Don?
Wow, west of Ossington?
And yes, I too am guilty of these sorts of thoughts. I know these geographical restrictions are ridiculous. But the only way to get over it is to visit them.
Awesome people-about-town were sharing how they explore cities. @emmajroe recommended finding the furthest location of a store you want to visit and bike there. @oytamarind said when he made the goal of visiting each of the city’s library branches by bike.
Yes, bikes and libraries. You know, things that are good for cities.
Last year I got a Indie Coffee Passport, a $25 pass that got you a free drink at 30 independent cafes spread across the city. I made it to almost every one, none of which were actually in my neighbourhood. It was awesome. Sure, I felt out of my element at the supremely hipster places in the far west end, surrounded by folks for whom the coffee shop was clearly a regular part of their routine.
But isn’t that part of the tourist experience? Seeing, hearing, and tasting things that are new to you but part of someone else’s every day?
You don’t have to set some outrageous goal like every library or coffee shop in the city. I bet you can feel like a traveller just by rejiggering your normal routine a bit. In my experience the greatest tourist-in-one’s-own-city experience has come from taking the long way home.
I had always heard things about Cabbagetown, but it wasn’t until I cut through on my way home that I realized how incredibly beautiful its houses are. Sure, you may not derive the same sense of awe as I do from domestic architectural heritage, but it’s still totally worth a visit.
I had seen there was a trail next to the Don River, and every time I go along it it’s really like being on holiday. This city has a beach, people. It may even have several, depending on your point of view. And yesterday, you know what I did? I had a nap on it. Sun, sand, surf… sounds like a vacation to me.
You can totally get the feeling of a vacation for free, or gosh darn close to it anyway. And it just takes a few hours of going a little bit out of your way.
Play me off, Supertramp: