Summertime Synonyms

I love summertime. Sunshine, birdsong, iced drinks, patios, beaches, hiking trails, boating, river walks… I could go on.

This summer has been significantly better than last year (in my opinion). In 2021, smoky skies due to raging wildfires overtook the blue skies, rendering them as gray and fuzzy as a static TV screen. When it wasn’t blisteringly hot, pelting rain drenched the ground (and dampened my mood). Covid still impeded international travel; I felt like I mostly wasted my favourite season.

In May 2022, I travelled abroad again. I explored Denmark, Berlin and Croatia for two glorious weeks. Coming home, I felt relieved to be back to my own bed and disappointed to find my wanderlust put on pause. Rain stained the sky for much of June. During a camping trip to Tofino, I layered three sweaters on and pulled a toque over my head to survive the chilly wind blasting off the Pacific Ocean. When weather let up, I enjoyed camping next to a sandy beach.

In July, I drove the way-too-far distance from Vancouver to Grande Prairie, Alberta with my mom. It took us two days and approximately 13 hours in a vehicle to reach GP. For the first time in 30 years, I didn’t stay in my childhood home; we rented an Airbnb, since my house sold in 2019. Seeing my hometown through fresh eyes, I felt like a tourist. Like I belonged, but also, maybe I didn’t.

August allowed a quick weekend trip to Calgary. I was impressed by how urbanized the downtown feels, even as cowboys waltzed through the city on their way to a music festival. I enjoyed delicious crab dip on a patio overlooking the river and sipped a slushie gin beverage in a hip brewery.

For me, summer has always been synonymous with travel. Whether I was in university or working at Starbucks, I took time off to travel the world. Opportunities to get away were easy with a home base in northern Alberta to come back to. I felt like I’d wander forever.

Now, with a busy, full-time job, the lingering threats of Covid and a permanent residence (without free rent), it’s harder to get away for longer.

I’m sad summer is ending, but for the first time, I’m craving autumn: colourful leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, reading by candlelight, a roaring fireplace and chilly evenings cozied up in fuzzy blankets.

Next year, I hope to travel more. In 2023, I want to visit Iceland, Portugal and New York City. I want to explore new destinations and take time for my first love: travel.

What about you? How was your summer? Where will you go next?

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