After Saturday’s epic ride, today’s flat 47 kilometre jaunt is going to feel much like a jaunt to the corner store. It’s going to be taking us back to Hochelaga in Montreal where we’ll spend a couple of nights before getting on the train bound for Toronto and the unknown.
Not unknown in a negative sense or even being particularly unsure of where my life is going. I’ll wake up on Tuesday morning, go out to my office in living room and start my day writing emails, having conference calls and likely preparing for another trip to Louisiana as while I was gone the client has contacted me to ask about my coming down to do more work.
No, more unknown in the sense of “What will I work on for me?” There are folks who live in the past, thinking about the glory days of high school and university or their childhood that has passed. I’m far from one of those. What’s gone is gone and while I enjoyed it, it is behind me. If I’m anything I am someone who lives in the future and lets that dictate how I spend my time. Leading up to this trip there was physical preparation – training rides off in to the countryside outside Toronto. There was, as I’m sure you saw, route planning and re-planning and then a resolution to not plan after all beyond a day or two ahead. But in two days, the last of that planning will have come to fruition. We’ll be on a westbound train with an excellent trip behind us. And a bit of a gap in front of me.
It’s one of the biggest ruts I have been known to fall in to – the feeling of being at loose ends without a project. It can drag me down and make me feel miserable for weeks, trying hard to come up with ideas, crossing them off the list, feeling sad that the idea wouldn’t work and coming up with another one. Repeat until something sticks.
I feel like this time promises to be different. At the moment I have nothing epic. No month long trip to India or 1000 kilometre bike trips on the calendar. On the other hand, there are a few things I really want to get done – and done well – once I get home:
Citizenship: We have been able to apply for Canadian citizenship for a few years now but I’ve procrastinated for a long time. I have everything I need for the applications, it is just a matter of putting it together and sending it out. If nothing else, this last trip to one of my favourite states in the US has told me that I wouldn’t even want to move back there. And if I’m never moving back, it makes sense to get that new citizenship.
Chromebook Distribution: We have six more chromebooks ready to give to Syrian refugees. I’ll be working with a friend to plan for this and create support systems for them so that we don’t just drop them off and leave them to figure out how best to use them. This means creating a site for finding useful content and applications, and offering tech support and follow-up visits for those who might need help.
Hindi Improvement: I’ve been working for years on my Hindi but up until recently I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to practice. This is changing. I live in a neighbourhood where Urdu is spoken (very close) and there is great access to Hindi media – DVDs, music, TV, etc. I also recently found an email “penpal” to work with which has been hugely helpful. And of course I’ll keep up with my visits to my teacher in Toronto.
Library Visits: This trip has shown me how much I love my home. And yet, I have barely scratched the surface of my city other than areas where I have lived or touristy areas. And yet the city is vast and diverse. Folks who know me know that I’ve been trying to visit all of my city’s 100 public libraries – partly because I love libraries, but in great part also because I also love seeing the neighbourhoods they’re in. Some visits so far have taken me to remote parts of the city that feel as much like a small town as some of the places we’ve visited. Others have taken me in to densely populated neighbourhoods where the libraries are tucked inside a shopping mall. Some libraries are huge and things of architectural beauty – we’ve got several old Carnegie libraries in the city. Others are tiny – including one that is literally a single room. And so I’ll begin these visits again soon and share them with you here.
Food: Before I started preparing for this trip I prepared a lot of foods from around the world. Toronto has a wealth of great markets with nearly any ingredient required to make anything in the world. I’ve enjoyed taking advantage of this to try my luck at making different dishes that I’ve tried in restaurants from around the world. I want to expand on that and share it here. And I’ll also be trying to do a bit of exploring local foods – picking fruit in the city and joining people in our neighbourhood’s community garden.
So while there’s no epic visit coming up, there’s going to be a lot happening in my future.