I had a moment today while driving to work where I looked out my driver-side window and felt like I was in a different city. I took a deep breath in and transported myself, temporarily, to a Toronto I didn’t know. It was the same route, the same buildings, the same road and landmarks, but for that few deep breaths, it felt like I had arrived at a metropolis at the end of a road trip.
I’ve mentioned this sensation before in a couple of posts, and it’s something that always inspires and excites me when it happens. It’s like a discovery of something in plain sight that makes you smile and laugh at yourself because you’ve never noticed it before. It’s an exploration of the familiar and it can be scary and exhilarating when it happens. It’s an interesting shift in gears and all it takes is an open mind and the perception and perspective to notice it and jump into it.
You’ve actually done it before, I’m sure. It might have been something as simple as noticing that there’s a new poutine place in your neighbourhood, but then someone points out it has been there for months. Or maybe your usual route was blocked for construction, and you had to detour on unfamiliar roads. The detour feels like it takes forever to get through, but it’s not that much longer in reality. At those moments, you are temporarily opening up your perspective and mind and you’re experiencing the world you thought you knew for the first time. And that’s exciting.
Toronto is such a large and vibrant city that transforms with every hour and every change in where the sun is in the sky. I’ve been here for four years and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the neighbourhoods in which I’ve lived. I like to think that it’s because of the fact that I’m actively working and keeping busy, but I know that I could engage the explorer in me more. I bet there are tourists who know more about my city than I do and could probably even make better recommendations for food and entertainment in the city than I could.
I need to get lost in the familiar more. Perhaps a roaming staycation where I actually explore all I’ve wanted to explore in the city all my life. All the little shops in my neighbourhood and the neighbourhoods in my past deserve an expedition.
Who wants to discover locally with me?