Different Cities, Different Lives

Just kicked out of the Bangalore Hotel Pool, with my Indian/Kenyan/American and Italian friend. The guy in the red shirt in the background found my glasses.

In Toronto, I am a pretty boring person.

Whenever I am not in Toronto, I’m pretty awesome. I get to not be in Toronto fairly often, more than most people. When not in Toronto, I am more extroverted, adventurous and I do things that locals might consider a waste of time. Example:

(in Toronto)
Frenchwoman: Hey Dustin! I’m going winter camping! In a tent!
Canadian: That sounds like a terrible idea. That’s going to suck.

(in India)
Canadian: Yeah man, we were at a hotel last night, and we jumped into the pool and started Bollywood dancing. I lost my glasses for a bit, but a friend found them.
Indian: Wow, that sounds a little risky. Did you get kicked out?
Canadian: No no, it was fine. They just told us to stay away from the pool.

Other stuff I did in India I have not done in Canada:
– visited a friend’s coffee plantation
– swam in an unnamed lake in the shadow of a mountain.
– hitched a ride on a school bus full of children (more Bollywood dancing)
– convinced a guy to give us a boat tour of an island-filled area.
– wandered aimlessly around the city for entire days.
– made Sushi by hand (wtf?)

Stuff I did in Redmond and Seattle I might not do here:
– went to a cottage in the mountains with people I just met
– wandered the town alone without a map
– saw lots of theatre alone
– joined a mountain biking group

When I’m abroad, I know that I only get to be there for a short period of time, so there’s a preciousness to my time. Often, if I could not find someone to do something, I would just go do it by myself, and find friends along the way. I would plan adventures. 12 out of the 16 weekends I had in Bangalore I was somewhere out of town. I feel I almost know more about the area around Bangalore than I do about, say, Southern Ontario.

I’m going to Cambridge, UK in one week from now. I get an extra month at the end I have reserved for “dicking around Europe”. Here’s what I have planned so far:
– climb the 3 highest peaks in Britain in under 24 hours.
– rent a bike and bike across France
– attempt to open a Swiss bank account
– meet up with long lost relatives in Finland
– visit legoland
– drink Guinness in the Guinness factory
– see the Blarney Stone
– attempt a caber toss
– swim in a fjord
– swim in the Mediterranean.
– get very, very drunk in a German Pub.

Wow! I sound awesome! Who am I, really, though, in Toronto? What happened, for example, in the month of November? Nothing exciting that I can remember at all. The highlight was probably my Halloween costume. I feel no urge to make my life here exciting because I am never going to run out of Toronto time. I should be exploiting my friends and the knowledge I have of Toronto here to do more weird stuff than I could abroad.

I notice the groups I hang with in Toronto are more insular than the hyper-extroverts I hang with while abroad. When we hang out, its usually the same people again and again. Not that I don’t like you guys (seriously guys, you’re probably awesome) but people are more socially risk-averse when they are in one place. This sucks.

So, the moral of the story is that I do not do a very good job of keeping my life growing and interesting in Toronto. I don’t explore much around Toronto; I’m a pretty bad Canadian. I find myself looking forward to Cambridge in a huge part because I know I have an excuse to switch into hyper-adventurous mode again. I just need to make sure I keep with it when I get back to Toronto in the summer. Let’s resolve to do something interesting every weekend, guys.

See you later, suckers!

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5 responses to “Different Cities, Different Lives”

  1. does your apparent insular-ness have to do with money in Canada? I always find I am doing less in Canada because I am less likely to part with a fiver. I’m fighting this mentality, but everyone tells me I need to buy a house too.

    also. Canada is good for:
    newfoundland mischief
    fighting bears
    fighting fish


  2. Everywhere in the world I have traveled so far has been cheaper than Canada. Europe is supposed to be on par or more expensive, so we’ll see if I can keep it up.

    Also, whoever tells you you need to buy a house is an idiot.

  3. May I say, Dustin, that you should have hanged out with that french woman more often… please make sure you’ll show her bike trails when back in town in summer. She’s dying of discovering more of Southern Ontario, and willing to show you back some interesting stuff about Toronto that I doubt you know.

    Winter camping hasn’t happened yet. I’m hassling my friend to go, but it seems like he’s in the same unrush mode than you in his own province. I’ve stopped considering that my life was ‘good enough’ to feel lazy, cosy and reasonable. Living elsewhere does sure help fighting routine, but it shouldn’t be different at home. For example, how come none of you guys told me about the polar bear plunge? I’ve been missing an opportunity of giving my body a delicious time of absurdity.

    Btw, now you’re mentioning it, let me say I’m glad you’ve realized you’re boring as hell! Dude… honestly… i’m just sorry it happens so late! You have no idea of how liberating it’s been to finally get you out of here.

    More seriously (and this is not to encourage you thinking it’s sufficient), you guys (referring to canadians) are doing way more stuff than most of french young people I know. I might be biased though, as I consider myself lucky of having met awesome canadians so far (and you’re not an exception, although boring as hell). I’m striving for more and more though… So, when back, please see me as an excuse to initiate crazy irrational stuff. I’ll sure be in, and I’ll sure motivate the crew!

    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield, buddy.
    Boredom is your enemy.

    Oh, and *you* sucker!