Escape from T.O.
As the temperatures begin to drop, and the summer days come to an end in the GTA, the city let’s out a collective sigh. Not of relief but of the impending doom upon us. A feeling signified by the last long weekend of the season, the start of the Caribbean Carnival events, the final cleaning of the cottage and the line of soon to be abandoned campers and trailers, rolling back into the city. A general fear begins to creep into my thoughts, as slow as a frozen river but just as terrifying if stuck under it rather than on top of it. Winter is viewed by myself and many of my peers, with the same sentiments as those of the characters in Game of Thrones. I start to pine over the dreaded cold months ahead. Visuals of how many beautiful days were lost in battle with snowstorms and wind-chill factors. With the impending doom of September less than 40 days away, the only light at the end of the tunnel, or the only fire I can see through the blizzard is my vacation! For the last 5 years I’ve been taking an annual cruise with the boys, the yearly man trip, every October. A week on the Caribbean seas and the shores and beaches of 4 or 5 islands. It has been my recharge of solar energy just before the real deep freeze sinks in. It’s the yellow sun to my superman, just after being blasted by Victor Fries’ cannon. It gives my melanin its necessary dose of Vitamin D before I’m reduced to drops of a supplement from a bottle.
But it’s more than any of that.
It’s a vacation!! A word that 5 years ago, would’ve had far less of an emotional reaction from me as it does now. A practice that less than a decade ago I would have dismissed as unessential, I now deem as a vital part of what it truly means to be living. Just a mere 5 years ago I would have thought, “Vacation? Man that’s too much money for me to spend”, now if I had it to spend every week and a career that allowed it, I would! A simple 6 to 10 days in a tropical paradise, being waited on by eager and friendly staff, with liquor and music and sand and blue skies above and turquoise waters below has become like the air I breathe. It’s become my life!! I implore any one to find a better combatant for the winter blues, or year round depression, a more powerful cure for the mundane routine that we all get stuck in than a plane ticket out of town.
But it’s more than even that!!
I believe that out of town trips are an antidote for many of the world’s aliments. In many ways our lives are sectioned off or compartmentalized in terms of global views. We get brief clips on CNN or exaggerated visuals from movie and TV screens of foreign locations, as reference points of how people live in places that we don’t call home. And in this arm chair Anthony Bourdain ability that gives this a very false sense of familiarity with those people and those places. Many of us have passed judgement on areas of the world we have never been to, and never plan to, armed with only a printed story in the newspapers. To me, travelling is essential in the development of humanity. It expands our horizons. Allows us more than just a peak into another person’s life in a different continent. We get to touch those dirt roads, enter those one room flats, dance to that organic music and taste the sweetness of the fruit from palm trees. If even just for a few minutes, it allows us to step into the shoes of the locals.
But even without that…
There is that feeling you get when you’re out there in the world. After the walk from check-in to cabin, lugging them heavy bags through hallways and up the many stairs and into elevators is soon rewarded. When you open that hotel/ cabin room door and walk in, quickly laying all baggage down as soon as you can find a space by the bed you’ve chosen, automatically your steps take you to the balcony, and there welcoming you is what I call The Reason aka The View! The View that intoxicates all your senses. It’s the water that reflects a Toni Morrison book title “The Bluest Eye”. It’s the sun that instantly begins to charge through the layers of your skin with rejuvenating energy. It’s the smell of the salt water, which flies through your nostrils and into your lungs with vigor, gathering up all the remnants of stress and strain that managed to hold to my body, during the flight. It’s the sweet taste of that same stress and strain being discarded with a great exhale, into the blue sky, never to return for at least 7 days. This is life’s reward. This is living!
– SLANG HUGH
Slang Hugh can be found on instagram @slanghugh