I was feeling brave after travelling for an entire week in Italy by myself (blog post pending, you might see it next year), and decided I was ready to graduate to a solo road trip.
Route: Toronto > Kingston > Lake Placid > Boston > Montreal > Home
Here were the good parts, in chronological order.
Chasing the sun
Sunsets are beautiful and plenty. This one was special because I chased it.
The friend I was visiting wanted to go to this one part of the city to catch the sunset. While I was driving, I realized that Google Maps was taking us to the wrong place. But with a strange stroke of luck, the sky was beautiful where we were headed and we ran after it. We frantically parked, with only minutes left before the sun closed up shop, and ran through a trail to catch the final moments.
We ended up outside the fence of somebody’s backyard but it was brilliant.
Hiking on empty
I joke about needing adult supervision a lot. But honestly, it really is true sometimes.
I left Kingston a bit late and didn’t arrive in Lake Placid until just before 5 p.m. Seeing all the mountains around me had suddenly made sitting by a lake seem way too tame for my taste, so I looked up a hiking trail.
Problem was…my last proper meal was at 11 a.m., I was likely dehydrated as usual, and I did not bring running shoes on this trip. Being the responsible 24-year-old that I was, I hiked anyway.
Armed with a bag of shrimp chips and a lot of adrenaline, I scaled the mountain, thinking I should turn around many times because the hike didn’t seem to end and the sun was setting soon.
But my stubbornness won.
I am never going to forget the wind in my hair, the birds that scared me shitless and the horror of maybe going a bit too close to the edge. I am also never going to forget the absolute joy of knowing that I only got to see the views because I persisted.
But still – would strongly advise against hiking without proper food, shoes, and time. I would not do it again.
One of the best parts about going to a new city is seeing a potential future for myself there. I got that in the Boston evening. There were people out and about, but it wasn’t loud. I saw how people lived their day-to-day lives in the setting sun, and the city glowed.
That night, I sent email after email with links to jobs in Boston. That’s how I knew I fell in love.
A warm night
The beach was a 20-minute walk away from my Airbnb in Quincy, a suburb just south of Boston. It had no crashing waves, nor surrounding cliff sides. But it was familiar, calm and welcoming.
I had my spot picked out, blanket set down with a Bluetooth speaker for my tunes (which sadly ran out of battery too quickly). When I laid down with my eyes to the sky, all I saw was blue. While waiting for the city fireworks to start, people began to set off their own.
With the backdrop of the darkening sky, I saw small bursts of fireworks scattered around the bay. Each one was a little show. The fireworks on my beach felt like a show had been made for just me. It wasn’t on the same scale as what the city would have put on, but it was warm and just as grand.
Peace in Vermont
I saw a lake from I-89 on my way to Montreal, and Google Maps said there is a town right next to it, so I booked it off the exit.
The park I stopped at was tranquil, with just several people enjoying their afternoons. A family was getting ready to bbq and another family was hanging onto a piece of driftwood far out from the shore. The rock formations were jagged and flat, stacked like plates. I can still feel the cool water swish around my ankles today.
I love industrial buildings. I think they are beautiful and I would love to explore them whenever I could. This one I spotted from afar on my first night walking around the canal in Montreal, then while I was biking along the canal the next day. And what do you know – it’s a historic landmark and you can go there.
But of course, it’s closed off from actual exploring unless you were down to trespass (I didn’t wanna have to deal with any police). There’s a great view of the Montreal skyline and some cool spots you can take photos. If you’re feeling daring with your lover, I spotted two places in a fence where you can climb through and y’all can make out in there like that one couple I saw.
Now all the bad
Terrible times are also moments I will remember. (Do I ever stop complaining? Nope.)
The humidity and the horrible grill of the sun especially. It put me in a terrible mood. I went to a presidential library in Boston that was not at all what I expected (if you’re gonna be a library, please make sure you are free for public access). BUGS EVERYWHERE. ALL THE TIME. SO MANY BITES. Parking in Montreal was a nightmare, not to mention the city had the loneliest vibe.
That being said, my complaints are just a side dish to the things I’m grateful for this trip. The beautiful drives through new York and Vermont. The kindness of the woman who helped me save $9 in the parking garage. The wonderful bike trails along the canal in Montreal. The well-connected transit system in Boston. My numerous friends who gave me a place to stay, lent me a SIM card, checked up on my hydration, and most of all, kept me company when I needed it most.
Next time I’m on the road, I’ll be sure to pack water.