The Favourites


Time for a Change | The Favourites | The Differences | The Downsides

Part 2 of a 4-part series on being an expat

So this is perhaps a little like a holiday-time clip show, where the writers take a break and run their favourite episodes of the past year. But some sunshine is in order, no?

I caught myself wistfully looking at photos from the past 2 years of travels and realized that there is no way I would ever have seen even half of these places if not for taking the initial big leap and leaving my old nest consisting of equal parts comfort and deep dissatisfaction. I still hope that at least one person who checks out this blog is inspired to do the same if they're stagnating or seriously bummed.

So here goes - places, moments that have left a permanently pleasant imprint on my brain since leaving Calgary in late 2009:

Above - U2 in New York at Giants Stadium, September 2009... Bono's voice has gotten pretty un-Bonoish, but still it's quite something to share a peaceful evening with 70,000 people and your oldest friend (not Bono, but a guy named Jason).

Below - The Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris. It was walking here for the first time in July of '08 that I first knew my days back home were numbered; that there is such richness and beauty and culture to discover (these photos are from a subsequent visit) October. I kinda want to make a joke here to make this sound less sappy, but, well.

Below - Vondelpark in Amsterdam, the city's version of Central Park. Essentially, it's the main artery of the city that connects south and north, east and west. Baked (not from sunshine, I assure you) tourists wobble on their bikes, dogs run amok, and bikes and barbeques are everywhere. Picture-perfect ponds and canals snake their way throughout, and there are some cafes and restaurants too. Impossible not to relax when coming here.

On to the coast north of Lisbon - away from the hustle of big-city Europe, it's almost like discovering a secret time capsule as you take a train along the ocean away from Lisbon's Cais do Sodre station. Carcavelos, Cascais, and Estoril are the stops here, in some cases just a few steps from the ocean. The sun beams down here like it's giving Portugal too much and not saving enough for the rest of Europe sitting further inland.

And more favourites to come soon...