“Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.”
I bet you’ve really never thought anything of it… but there is a reason why I call you my sunshine. That nickname didn’t fall upon you by accident, it was curated for you and you only. The light of the entire sky. The reason for waking each morning. The warmth of even the coldest of days days. The golden hours more beautiful than the most coveted of possessions. The brightest star in the universe. My life, my love, my one and only sunshine… look what happens with a love like that. The whole universe is brighter because of you.
I’ve spent the majority of today helping my mother finish some errands that she needed to get done ahead of Christmas.
After being met with ‘Fuck you, bitch’ and ‘Get out of my way, idiot’ in store, being cut off in traffic and having people flash me the middle finger while driving, having someone berate me because they didn’t like my park job, I was tired. So tired. I didn’t want to be out anymore. Grumpy people are exhausting on regular days, but when there’s so very many of them out this time of year, it’s exhausting to try and deal with.
My mother and I went into Winners for the last stop of the day and she wanted to get one pair of sweatpants for each of her sons. (She does it every year) I was just excited that it was the last stop of the day.
With four items in tow, we approached the till and it was quite a long line with only one physical till open.The woman who walked up behind us appeared to only be purchasing a coffee mug and she had a toddler who was begging her to go and whining that they didn’t want to be in the store anymore.
My mom offered that she go in front of us because, while it wasn’t a big difference in time, it was just that much faster. The woman said thank you, went in front and then she asked my mom who she was buying for. My mom told her she has four sons and she buys them one nice pair of sweatpants every year instead of pajamas. They went on to chat for a couple of minutes while they waited for their turns in line at the till and I just stood there awkwardly left out of their conversation just lurking.
When we got up to the till the cashier scanned through each pair of the pants, she pushes a couple of buttons on the till and then says ‘I owe you $14.90’.
My mom and I were both incredibly confused.
The cashier said ‘The woman in line in front of you gave me a $100 bill and asked that I use it to pay for your clothing, give you any change that is left over, and wish you a merry Christmas… so, MERRY CHRISTMAS!’ she said.
It was such a shock and a huge deal for my mom. She’s basically been budgeting since August for Christmas and the woman in line in front of us paid for our gifts out of goodness and kindness and sheer shock! She didn’t stick around to see the look on my mom’s face or anything. We couldn’t even say thank you. By the time we learned the woman in front of us had paid for my mom’s gifts, she’d long since gone.
Today’s been such a weird day. I was totally hating on humanity for all of the ugly behaviour I saw this morning and afternoon at our various stops of the day, and then this woman comes along and pays for Christmas gifts for my mom ‘just because’ and totally turns my whole mood for the day around.
To the kindest of strangers, thank you. Just being able to keep that extra $100 in her bank account, for my mom this time of year, means a great deal to her. I wish I could have stopped and thanked you in person.
I would say the best moment from today was, one of the people who purchased a ‘Millennial Life Crisis’ shirt, took a picture of themself wearing the shirt and sent it to my Instagram DMs. (I’m horrible for checking my instagram DMs… sorrrrrrrrry)
It was a pretty cool thing to see. I don’t want to post their name/photo just in case they really don’t want it out there on blast to almost 5,000 people (I know I wouldn’t want mine), but if they see this, thank you. Thank you for sharing it with me. It was definitely the highlight of my day.
To those of you who bought shirts, thank you. I hope you love the shirt as much as I do.
Seeing that photo kind of reminded me that it’s not my #MillennialLifeCrisis, it’s much bigger than that. I can get so wrapped up in myself and my angst that I forget about the world out there.
To everyone who reads this blog, I’m infinitely grateful to each and every one of you for sharing your lives with me. I don’t think I could ever express how much.
Shout out to all of the single mom’s in this world. Those of you holding the weight of the universe on your shoulder and making it look easy, though I absolutely know it’s anything but. You have the strength of a thousand soldiers in your single being. Thank you for your tireless efforts, your unconditional love and for your devotion to not just raising kids but raising good people in the process. I see you and I admire you.
Shout out to all of the single dad’s in this world. To the dad’s who, if you have custody or not, still do everything you can to spend every extra moment you have with your kids, because you know how invaluable a dad’s influence has in a child’s life. Thank you for being the handy man, the reliable man and the man who would walk through fire for your kid if you ever needed to. I see you and I appreciate you.
Shout out to all of the masters of co-parenting in this world, because holy crap it ain’t easy. When all you want to do in this world is say ‘It’s my way or the highway’ and you put those feelings aside for the sake of your kids, that shows your strength, humility and grace. It’s not always easy but you always make it work. That’s what your kids are going to think of when they’re adults, that their parents always made it work, no matter the circumstance. I see you and I applaud you.
Shout out to all the parents still together. I want to know your secrets. Long term relationships take serious work, and sacrifice and stresses… all of which get multiplied ten-fold when you have kids. They’re worth it, that’s always true, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. I see you and I praise you.
Shout out to the parents whose kids are grown. May you always know you’re the centre of the universe, even when you’re kids are adults. You’ll always be Point A, Point B and the only point to go to because you’re never too old to need your mom or dad. That doesn’t change. I see you and I respect you for each incredible human you raised.
Lastly, but certainly not least, shout out to all the parents in this world, every last one of you who are just making it work in whatever way you know how. Whatever the circumstance, however it works, you’re doing it right just the way you are. I see you and I thank you. You’re incredible and your kids are lucky to have you.
I’m really proud of what this blog has become. 7 months ago when I was talking to Knight saying that I should start a blog and it would be a good place for me to write, I never dreamed it would turn into this community.
Thank you to every wonderful soul who I have crossed paths with in the past seven months. I hope this community continues to grow and provide me a continued source of inspiration and motivation.
I’m still toying with the idea of collaborations. I was overwhelmed that so many people thought it was a good idea and would like to take part. If I decide to do it I will let you know so that you each can share a piece of yourselves too.
I’ve often found that when I travel with people, I struggle to be able to do the things that I want to do. I cater to what the person I’m travelling with wants, and it always seems to happen that they won’t cater to what I want. As such, I find myself giving up on the things that I want and dealing with a sub-par trip when I know it could have been better.
This past week I tried something different. It’s something that I’ve read about, quite frequently, but never dared to do. I went solo-travelling.
Let me tell you, if you ever get the opportunity for solo travel, DO IT. DO IT and don’t ever second guess it.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
For me, Niagara Falls isn’t anywhere exotic. There were no beaches, no bikinis, no foreign folk speaking foreign languages (unless a Boston accent counts). But, the jaunt across Canada meant a great deal to me, being my first dive into solo travel.
I’ve always been fascinated by natural wonders. Mountains that reach the sky, forests that go on forever, beautiful pristine (untouched beaches) that stretch as far as they eye can see, these are the pieces to our world that make me feel obsolete in the very best way. I admire things that are the way they are, not because ‘man’ made them, but because nature made them that way.
Niagara Falls, formed naturally at the end of the last ice-age by the receding of glaciers, is located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. There are three falls, The Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The three combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America and has a vertical drop of more than 50 metres (160 ft).
The Tower Hotel, Niagara Falls.
When I was looking for a hotel in Niagara Falls, I knew that I wanted to stay on Fallsview Blvd. because I wanted to be as close to the falls as I could be. The Tower Hotel stood out to me online due to it’s odd shape compared to every other hotel on the strip. The Tower Hotel is a tall, skinny tower with rooms only on the 25th-30th floors.
The Hotel itself was quite basic. There was nothing overly fancy about it. The view from the hotel was exceptional, though. When you’re guaranteed a room on the 25th floor, or higher, there’s a fair chance you’re going to get an exceptional view. And, the view from The Tower Hotel did not disappoint .
*Point of note for booking hotels in Niagara Falls – on Thursday, Friday and Saturday hotel rooms cost (at least) $100 more per night than they do on Sunday – Wednesday. Purchasing a hotel room on ‘off-days’ (Sunday-Wednesday) will save you some big bucks when it comes to accommodations. And, if you can afford it, book a hotel on Fallsview Blvd. You won’t regret it.
One of the things I most wanted to do while I was there was eat at ‘The Keg’ in the Embassy Suites hotel. This Keg restaurant is pretty famous for it’s views, and for the fact that every table in that restaurant has been strategically set up to have a view of the falls. The restaurant sits on the 9th floor of the Embassy Suites Hotel.
I called ahead and made a reservation for 7:30, asked if I could sit as close to the windows as possible and hoped for the best. And honestly, the view did not disappoint. Nor did the food. The Keg, known for it’s steak dinners, was very accommodating to my dietary needs, ensuring that my food was cooked separately as to have not touched any gluten, nor to have any dairy in it. I’m not a huge fan of red meat – only eating it once every blue moon – but this dinner was absolute perfection.
*Point of note for the Keg – While the restaurant is situated to have nice views from every table, if you call ahead and make a reservation you can get seated at the windows, where the seats point towards the falls. It’s a romantic setup, and there were a lot of people there on dates/anniversaries that night.
The Light Show
The light show of Niagara Falls was something that I have been dying to see. After the sun sets, the illuminate different coloured lights onto the falls to create a light show, in representation of the charity they’re bringing attention to that evening.
I’ve seen incredible pictures of the light show online and always wanted to see it in person. So, I bundled myself up in warm clothes and wandered down to the falls at 10 pm to wander.
I ended up spending over two hours walking up and down the pathway alongside the falls. The Horseshoe Falls were illuminated in beautiful, rainbow arrangements, flashing on and off and the American Falls were illuminated in yellow. The lights themselves lit the pathway for walking, and, because it was so late at night, there were a lot less tourists on the path. (I guess people chose to just not venture out after dark)
Honestly, the night was so freeing. It was almost as though nothing else existed in the universe but me, there, in that space and time. Quite a few people stopped to talk to me along the way, many of them with Boston accents, but overall, the night was filled with the most peace that I have had in a long, long time. I just walked along the edge of the falls, listening to millions upon millions of gallons of water pouring over the edge, rushing down the river into the great lakes. Nature is incredible.
The Honeymoon Capital of the World
It’s worth noting that Niagara Falls’ claim to fame is that it is ‘The Honeymoon Capital of the World’. There are couples EVERYWHERE. Which, is adorable and sweet. If you’re painfully single, though, I could see it being a bit of a nuisance to you. It’s definitely not a place for the faint of heart.
I crossed paths with many a people who were wondering where my better half was, asking my why I was alone or why I didn’t have a man with me. While I know they were just being friendly and talkative, it’s definitely something I’m going to remember for next time. Maybe I’ll bring a man back with me next time. HAHA!
The Niagara Skywheel
The Niagara Skywheel is the largest ferris wheel in Canada that, at the top, reaches 175 feet in the air – providing truly breathtaking views of the Horseshoe and American Falls for the very reasonable price of $14 (adult ticket).
Having a love of ferris wheels, I actually wound up on the skywheel twice. Once, during the day, and a second time after the sun had set to see the light show from the top. To add to the list of romantic settings there are in Niagara Falls, the view from the top of the Skywheel is unmatched. Had I had someone to take with me, I am sure it would have been the perfect spot for that ‘romantic movie moment kiss’ if you know what I mean.
The Skywheel is located at the edge of what is kind of a theme park in Niagara Falls. To be honest, I didn’t really venture into the theme park. Things like bumper cars weren’t really going to provide me the peace I was searching for with my trip. But the Skywheel, that is a must-see stop.
Other touristy activities (that I didn’t take part in):
Helicopter tours of the Falls (I would have loved to do this, but it’s quite expensive)
Riverboat cruise of the Falls
Winery Tours (the southern portion of Ontario is known for being wine country, and there are a lot of Winery’s you can tour)
Skylon Tower (a rotating restaurant and observatory)
Parking at hotels is EXPENSIVE. Just two blocks up from the Falls you can find parking lots that charge $10 for 24 hours. If you choose to park your car with the hotel, it’s going to cost you anywhere from $40-$120 per day/night.
Take warm clothes with you, for night. The mist of the falls can make it feel a lot cooler out than the temperature actually is.
Niagara Falls has a 13% tourist tax that exists solely within it’s boundaries. Be prepared to pay more in tax while visiting.
There are tourist markups the price of virtually EVERYTHING. Something as simple as your coffee at Starbucks can be $2-4 more when purchasing it at Niagara Falls. Those extra expenses add up quickly, so be prepared.
If you book a ‘city-view’ hotel room, there’s still a good chance that you can see the falls from your hotel room, anyway. The reasoning for this is because many of the hotels are built diagonally facing the falls, as to be seen from three sides – instead of just one. So, if you’re looking at room prices and you’re worried about the price of a ‘Fallsview’ room, a city view room might provide you just what you need.
Though there are towns on both sides of the river, I noticed that the Canadian side was filled mostly with Americans. I think this is largely due to the fact that the view from the falls is sooooo much better on the Canadian side of the border. While there are attractions on the American side, I’m a little biased in saying that you’ll enjoy yourself more on the Canadian side of the border.
Make friends! There are so many wonderful people in town. I crossed paths with so many American tourists who were so excited to talk to me when I told them I was Canadian. One, from Ohio, even gave me his email address. He says that he’s travelling to Vancouver this summer and wants me to provide him some tips to make his trip amazing. I mean, sure, why not? There are nice people everywhere, but making friends on vacation can just make it seem so much more memorable.
The trip was incredible. It was everything that I had hoped it would be and so much more. I went in search of some peace of mind, calm and adventure and I found it. All of it. I did a lot of reading, a lot of writing and a lot of thinking.
I have so many plans for my life that have become so clouded and convoluted the past few months with everything that has gone on. Being able to travel on my own and really stop to think about what my goals are and where I am going with my life was an invaluable experience to me.
ALSO – I survived! Not only that but I thrived. I looked after myself just fine, didn’t get into any trouble, have any issues or struggle at all. I was seriously doubting my abilities to do so prior to leaving, so the fact that everything went so smoothly for me was a huge relief.
I’m ready to go on my next adventure. And honestly, I’m somewhat already planning it.
Niagara Falls, thank you. Thank you for your beauty, your hospitality, and the peace of mind that you gave in just a few short days. I felt a great sense of calm being there, which meant a lot to me. It was just what I needed at this point in time and I wouldn’t change any of it.
I highly, highly recommend solo travel to anyone who has been thinking about it or wanting to go somewhere. Going on your own allows you to do things on your terms and choose your own itinerary. You don’t get wrapped up in the likes of what your travel companion wants, so the trip becomes solely about your desires and inspirations. It’s an empowering feeling, and one that I will seek more of in the future.
Something happened this week that I was not expecting.
See, I’ve been afraid to tell anyone of my upcoming trip because I feared judgement for booking a plane ticket when I don’t have a steady stream of income. If there’s one thing I’m certain of in my life, it’s that the people around me can be extremely judgmental. And, though I know it comes from a place of love, it still comes… at times being really hard to deal with.
Moral of the story is that I didn’t want to be made to feel badly for doing something for myself.
I kept waiting for the right moment in which to break the news and continued to find excuses as to why it was never the right moment. As my date of departure draws closer, I knew the news needed to come out soon otherwise people would notice when I disappeared for multiple days.
Then, out of the blue, I was invited to an event this weekend. Knowing right then and there my time was up, I faced the music and admitted that I was headed on a trip. What I did not expect was the gracious and kind responses I received in acknowledgement of my trip.
They were kind. So kind. Telling me things like ‘Good for you! You deserve this’ and ‘I’m so happy that you’re doing something for yourself’. One of them even offered me money to help pay for the trip. To be honest, I was quite shaken by these responses. Happy, but shocked. I guess it goes to show though, as much as you think you might know someone, people can always surprise you.
That’s a huge weight off my back leading up to my trip. As much as I want to believe that the only opinion that matters is my own, the opinion of those that I love still plays a large role in my life. And I can now leave on Saturday knowing that the people in my life are supportive of my decision, my mom will be looked after, and the wanderlust in my soul can be fulfilled, at least for a few days.
When life hands you lemons, buy a plane ticket. Go somewhere that’ll make you happy, that’ll make you smile and that’ll set your soul on fire. You deserve it, damn it. Take advantage of the here and now and just go.
Smooth transition into a new topic:
On the recommendation from followers on this blog, I purchased some Apple Cider Vinegar last week in hopes that it would help with my adult acne. Though I’ve only been taking it for one week now, I have to say that I have noticed a difference in my skin. My acne has always been the large painful, red, blotchy sores around my lips/lower cheeks and chin area. Over the past week these spots have transitioned into much smaller, less swollen spots on my face. It’s not gone, no. The spots will be there for a long time, I am sure. But it’s nice to see some improvement in my skin. It makes me feel better about my appearance, even just in the small changes happening.
So, thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for leaving a comment, thank you for being kind and thoughtful and helpful.