For my most recent solo trip, I traveled to Montreal for my birthday. While tropical destinations are tempting, a winter wonderland was a perfect way to spend my last weekend as a 25-year old.
Friday, February 7, 2020
My flight was supposed to leave at 8am, but Montreal had an extreme blizzard that day with two feet of snow, so I anxiously spent my day at the airport trying to figure out alternative travel plans (admittedly, while still working from my laptop). I could have gone home and swallowed the sunk costs, or I could pay a little extra and take the extremes to go to Montreal.
I was game.
I made a spontaneous decision to fly to Toronto and drive to Montreal. Thankfully, friends were connecting me to mutuals in Toronto who could host me overnight, but I was a woman on a mission. I rented a car and was ready to drive through the night, which should typically take five hours. The Toronto freeway was the widest I had ever driven on, and everything was in kilometers, but I did it (with only one stop at Tim Hortons).
Once I was about thirty minutes away, the weather conditions became horrible. At one point, a big truck drove by and sprayed snow all over my windshield. My wipers couldn’t clear in time, and I could feel myself spinning out. I was sure I was done for.
Thankfully, I slowly pulled over to a stopping point and everyone went around me. I called my mom (via Facebook Messenger) and that saint of a woman calmed me down for the next two hours as I inched behind snow plows to finish my trip. Once I was finally at the airport, I dropped my rental car off in the wrong location (would later cause a fine and become the most expensive 8 hours in a car ever) but it’s fine. I was safe. I took a taxi to my Airbnb and made it by 3am.
It was a gorgeous Airbnb with an incredible view of the city. WORTH IT.
Saturday, February 8, 2020
I tried to sleep in, but I was also eager to get my weekend started since I had missed one day. I planned much of my trip around Igloofest, an outdoor EDM festival. I missed Friday night with a couple of my favorite DJs, but I sucked it up and bought another ticket for Saturday night.
I was staying in Old Montreal, so I was able to walk around the corner to their Notre Dame. Much smaller than the namesake, it was still breathtaking.
I still went to my Mile End Food Tour (highly recommend Secret Food Tours) and got to try Montreal-style bagels, poutine, crepes, and a brewery.
Afterwards, I took an Uber to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which is one of my new favorite museums. There’s a special mummy exhibit right now which was really cool, but I loved the variety of exhibits. One area had a different floor for each period of time in Montreal too, so that progression was fascinating.
From there, I ate an early dinner at LOV before taking a nap.
I don’t talk about this much, but traveling alone can be incredibly lonely. I woke up from my nap feeling more depressed than I expected. Especially when it’s zero degrees, I had to really hype myself up to get ready for Igloofest.
And sometimes, being your own hype girl means making TikToks of yourself getting ready.
Once I had on several layers of clothes (with foot and hand warmers), I walked fifteen minutes to their equivalent of Navy Pier. I made friends with a couple girls along the way, because there isn’t much that brings people together like snow — everyone is suddenly a waddling child again.
I bought VIP tickets because 1. I’m a bougie bitch and 2. They weren’t that much more for heated bathrooms, lounges, and private areas. It was zero degrees Fahrenheit. Say no more.
I’m still surprised how many people were there. It was PACKED. And it was SO MUCH FUN. Yeah, Charlotte de Witte was more House than I liked (a song doesn’t need to be seven minutes long ever) but it was still a great show. On the slightly smaller stage, Chaos in the CBD was great too, just a lame DJ name.
I stayed sober during the fest because after 25 years I don’t always drink dumb bitch juice anymore. Still, for those wondering how I can enjoy a fest all by myself, it’s so easy to make friends with people when you’re dancing. People will literally offer me every drug in their pocket and try to buy all my drinks, even when I’m an amorphous blob. You just smile and say “no thank you”, then quietly run over to a new spot and make friends with a new clique.
If your man featured me on their Insta story, that ain’t my prob.
If you’re a fellow fester, add Igloofest to your list. Seriously. AMAZING.
Sunday, February 9, 2020
I had an Airbnb Experience scheduled for a private photoshoot like I did in Barcelona. I had been in close contact with the photographer regarding location and timing, and he still ghosted me. Right? I get it — it was cold. Whatever.
I still got breakfast and walked around to explore, trying to not sink into another lonely depression.
I was going to go to the Science Center, but Google made it seem like that was the kid spot, so I decided to walk nearby to the Archaeology Museum. It was SO COOL. Each floor was like stepping down into an older layer of Montreal. I loved it so much.
After that, I read then took another depressed nap. I had a realization, though — I would rather live my dreams by my lonely self than to be with others and not live my dreams.
I crawled out and made it out for dinner. Three places I tried were closed, but finally I found a place to order a margherita pizza to myself. I revisited my goals and dreams for 26 (all in my Google Drive, bless), and I felt really proud of myself for my adventurous, resilient spirit.
I stopped at a convenience store along the way for some of my favorite Canadian snacks before cuddling up one last night. My flight was first thing in the morning so I could still work a full day Monday. I felt so glad I made the trek to spend the weekend in Montreal. It was a great opportunity for me to prove how courageous I am, as well as curious, cultured, and creative.
My intention for the year is to be unapologetic, and I can’t wait for this next year to be unapologetically me, crazy travels included. I wouldn’t trade my stories for the world.