And we’re off – a pretentious reflection from inside a horrible Air Canada Rouge plane at 3 am

Countdown to lift-off: 0 days

As I write this I am sitting in a plane that belongs in a museum nestled beside fertility jars and terrible educational taxidermy displays rather than in the air. No touch screen entertainment system? No inflight movie screens? For a seven hour international flight no less. This may be the first place where someone reads Air Canada’s enRoute cover to cover and clings to every word of the feature piece on Eugene Bouchard with the tagline “the Canadian tennis champ on poutine, diamonds and infinity pools”.

This is of course all hyperbole, but it did allow for the absorption of the scenery as we took off instead of flicking through the screen trying to find out if they had “Guardians of the Galaxy” yet.

I watched as my home was yanked out under from my feet and the land I have known all my life grew small enough that the lights of the cars appeared to be working to pump golden blood through the freeway veins of Toronto. The veins ran through the dark and feed into the glowing, pulsing organs of activity that I used to be a part of.

Canada is the body I understand. I know it’s aesthetic; from the poutine that Eugene Bouchard’s mother picks up at Montreal’s Gibeau Orange Julep, to the need to apologize for someone else bumping into you. I know not to eat the devil spawn they call Coffee Crisp, to not question what precisely constitutes “all dressed”, and that despite French being on every product and sign, I will still be unable to understand it when trapped in a one way street in the suburbs of Quebec City.

In Canada I get the clusters of light the stream of cars pump into. I understand it. And as I say goodbye to all I understand, I leave with the same trepidation, nervousness, and excitement that comes with exploring a new partner for the first time.

Madrid will be the new place I crawl into the skin of, the place I seek the new map of golden veins, the hubs of life I attempt to insert myself into. I’ll get to understand it’s likes and dislikes, it’s favourite food, lifestyle, and sense of humour. It’s dating someone new with all that entails.

Sure I’ll miss Canada, I’ll miss the familiar and routine, despite it being less sexy, but it’s time for a break and to see other people.

After all, if everyone stayed together for the sake of the familiarity there would be way less divorces. And like the next white suburban upper middle class pseudo-intellectual, I do appreciate a good divorce.


5 places every Canadian should visit

Regardless of where you go in the world, so long as you have a Canadian flag sewn on your pack, you are pretty much guaranteed to be treated well — it’s not a secret that many Americans have taken to sewing our maple leaf all over their gear in order to sneak under the radar.

Some places, though, are extra special to us Canadians, and as a Canuck you are almost morally obligated to visit them at least once in your lifetime. Plus, even if you aren’t Canadian, they’re still awesome places to visit.

The Netherlands

Source: http://www.wallpaperstop.com/

After housing the Dutch royal family from German occupation in World War II and having one of their princesses born in Ottawa, Canadians liberated the Netherlands from the Nazis and thus the two countries became friends.

Canadians not only liberated the country, but also provided air drops to areas cut off from food by the German forces, and after the liberation moved in to bring much needed supplies to the troops.

Every year the Netherlands sends thousands of tulips to our country as a continued thanks for our help.

Vimy Ridge

Source: www.warhistoryonline.com

The Battle of Vimy Ridge occurred when Canada got tired of being in Britain’s shadow, kicked some butt, and became all-around badasses. We created new artillery tactics and stood on our own with all four of our divisions finally united, all while under heavy fire.

Vimy became a symbol of the birth of Canada as a nation, and going to pay your respects to the thousands of Canadians who fought and died there is something every Canadian should do.

Laura Secord’s Homestead (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Source: http://www.niagaraparks.com/

Not only is Niagara-on-the-Lake beautiful, but it is also the location of Laura Secord’s house.

Who is she other than the face on that delicious chocolate? She is the woman who helped alert the British of an American attack during the war of 1812 by walking 20 miles through American-occupied territory. Although her story has become something of myth at this point, she is still an important part of our history. (Anne of Green Gables’ house in PEI is also just as valid a choice.)

Turks and Caicos

Source: http://4photos.net/

Last year there was a proposal sent out by an Albertan MP proposing that the British-owned islands Turks and Caicos should unite with Canada to become our 11th province.

Obviously that didn’t happen, but it still isn’t quite off the table yet, nor is it a new idea. In fact, the idea has been tossed around for almost 100 years, starting in 1917. Even in 2004, Nova Scotia voted unanimously to invite the islands to join. So go visit the beaches and get a small taste of what could have been, and what may still be.


Source: http://latour.com/

Americans aren’t allowed to go to Cuba, and that’s reason enough to go and rub it in their faces while smoking Cuban cigars and exploring this fascinating country.

(Posted originally in my IMPRINT column “A Broad Abroad”)