Twenty eighteen felt like a roller coaster ride emotionally, physically and mentally. I have shared some of the best moments lived and experienced the worst downfalls yet. By the end of it I was pooped! Of course, as it has been said, our failures push us to become the best version of ourselves, but lets be honest for a second some times we just need a break from all that. By the end of twenty eighteen I knew I needed a break from all the Medical exams, stressors of getting into residency and matters of the heart. So, travel time it was !
Lucky for me I have three amazing best friends who gifted me a ticket to visit one of them in New York. The Universe though had its own plans. Long story short, I ended up postponing the trip but still wanting to travel (and travel cheap). So, I booked a bus ticket and an Airbnb for one to Montreal.
I got mixed reactions when I told my close ones about traveling on my own to celebrate new years eve in Montreal. A few of them along the lines of:
” You go girl! you need some self care”
” This will be some great me time!”
” This is going to be your Eat, Pray, Love”
” You are going to spend New years eve on your own?”
” Aren’t you going to feel lonely?” ( I won’t lie, this one hit a spot)
All I knew was I needed some quiet, self reflective, “me” time. So I packed my bags and travelled to the French province of Canada. For my Eat, Pray, (self)Love.
This was my second trip to Montreal, the first being for a medical exam. What I love the most about Montreal is that even though you are in Canada, it feels like you aren’t? Montreal to me is the Europe of Canada.
I picked my Airbnb based on a picture of it being by a lake. I find water therapeutic and imagined myself going there to Journal (completely ignoring the fact that we were hitting -10 C). So, that did not happen. But I could not be more grateful for the amazing, warm hearted hosts I was blessed with! I shared a space with a Mum and daughter (two beautiful souls) who encouraged me to go the next day I arrived, to Spa Scandinave. That was never on the list but I am so glad I went! Spa Scandinave was exactly what I needed. I just needed a bathing suit and a book.
A locker is given to store all your belongings and towels and robe are provided. The spa is based on hydrotherapy where one does 15-20 minutes of a hot pool, eucalyptus steam, or Finnish sauna then 10-15 seconds of cold bath or shower and completed with 15-20 minutes of rest. It was recommended to complete 3 cycles and the average time spent by an individual was 3 hours. 8 cycles and 5 hours later I felt fresh as ever. I used the hot part of the cycle to meditate (surprisingly I wasn’t the only one doing that) and read a book on mindfulness during rest time while enjoying the teas, smoothies, fruits and nuts provided. The best part – no talking and no gadgets allowed. I would recommend this to any one going to Montreal.
The next few days I spent journaling, eating and basically giving myself some love. Montreal is well known for its poutine and bagels. So I had to make a stop at La Banquise (a famous poutinerie) which ended up being a 40 minute wait in the cold but it was WORTH IT! the fries and cheese melt in your mouth. And St. Viateur Bagel shop that make fresh and flavoursome bagels that was enough to take my bagel experience to a new level!
Next on the list was an art workshop that was hosted through Airbnb. It had been a while since I last painted but this relaxing workshop was therapeutic. The host provided us with guidance and materials to paint, the freedom to choose our drawings, all with a warm cup of tea.
By the end of the trip I became real good friends with my hosts, and ended up celebrating NYE with them. It was a beautiful and unexpected end to 2018.
Despite still having existing stressors that I knew I was going back to, I felt at peace and filled with gratitude by the people and experiences I was surrounded with in my four day trip to Montreal. I learned to have faith in the unseen and unexpected and to flow with the rhythm of life. I understood that both good and bad days have to exist and that we cannot appreciate them without each other. I made a promise to travel and explore more. And most importantly to trust and have faith in myself in the journey. At the end, I was not lonely on NYE, I had myself and the blessings gifted to me by the Universe.