I had a bit of a revelation yesterday.
“Revelation” is a dramatic-sounding word, I know, but I can’t think of what else to call it. I was standing on the curb, surrounded by a small crowd of Halifax locals. It was Natal Day, a big local celebration, and I had arrived in time to catch a glimpse of the parade.
The parade went by. People cheered. Some overly chipper marketing girls offered cans of Red Bull, which almost everyone accepted–because, you know, 10:30 in the morning seems like the right time for that. Maybe, maybe I can blame my “revelation” and its feelings (so many feelings…) on hardcore stimulants and my sleepy brain. Really, though, the reflection was long overdue.
As I stood there–clapping for someone else’s community, drinking 10 am Red Bull with wise-cracking locals, preparing to take in their Busker Festival for a third day–I tried to compare the celebration with parades in Ottawa.
I have never been to a parade in Ottawa.
I could barely compare it to parades in my hometown, Kitchener-Waterloo. As for the busker festival, all I had were vague childhood memories of the Waterloo Buskerfest. I hadn’t actually checked it out since I was a kid. I certainly hadn’t spent time at Ottawa buskerfest, despite the fact that it was happening on the street I work on the day before I left.
Yes, the day before I left to go watch another city’s Buskerfest.
In between acts, I found quiet spots along the waterfront to read. “Kinda like reading along the Rideau canal,” I thought. But I wasn’t really sure. I couldn’t remember the last time I took a book to the Ottawa “waterfront,” the beautiful river a few minutes from my house. The thought made me strangely sad.
Don’t get me wrong. It has been awesome to check out a new community, to test drive this beautiful East Coast city for a few days. But there was something uncomfortable about how actively I was checking it out, talking to people, and enjoying the environment. It was uncomfortable because, frankly, I don’t do this enough at home. Even though I could. Even though I should.
This wasn’t supposed to be one of those trips where I “find myself”! I wanted to learn about other people and places! How am I getting so reflective only 3 days in?
And yet, I have already learned things. Very personal, real things. Things I can actually take home with me. I hate how romantic and empty that sounds, like I just skipped through a field of roses, and found God, and “Oh, friends, you wouldn’t understand.” I don’t want to be one of those people who talk about traveling like there’s no other way to live or learn (though, if you have the resources, I highly recommend it).
I was hoping to have a quirky, hilarious, bizarre trip to share with you.
Instead, I think I’m winding up with a meaningful one. Awkward.
I’ve had some other so-called “revelations” during my time in Halifax. I got it into my head that want to make a documentary about buskers (okay, so that was one of my less practical considerations). I also decided I need to read a lot more than I do. My faith is getting more and more present-tense oriented, (“Will everything be okay? Let’s go with yes. Even if it’s not okay, it’s okay. Right, Jesus?”). I’m unnerved by how happy I am traveling alone, making friends for one night and then moving on. It’s a weird brand of loneliness that really just feels like freedom. Maybe its temporary, but I’m glad I feel this way.
I’m learning about myself, damnit. I guess that’s how this goes. I’m more of an introvert than I thought. I’m more anxious and fiddle-y than I thought. I’m much kinder and wittier than I thought, too; I guess when you only have a few social interactions, you really give them your all.
And, thanks to years of playing serious Tetris, I also seem to be pretty alright at getting a lot of things in a teeny-tiny bag.
Okay, I’m feeling self-conscious about this post. I did my best, but it’s entirely possible that the whole thing is dripping with twenty-something sap. To make it up to you, here’s a weird picture of me brushing my teeth in a rickety old hostel:
7 thoughts on “That Awkward Moment When You Start Finding Yourself”
CONGRATULATIONS! You know officially understand what it means to be a backpacker, welcome to the club!
Hahaha–This is one freakin’ crazy club!
Everything else is boring! Crazy is MUCH more fun!
Boring clubs get shut down, crazy is what you’re supposed to aim for!
Everyone, everyone has 20 something (or 30 or 40, etc.) sap at some point. If you didn’t have that you wouldn’t be doing your 20s to their fullest. Keep on sappin’. 😉
Aw! Thank you for the encouragement, though I’m sure I don’t need it. I sap pretty frequently 😉