Journey to Find Myself Day 5

I left old Quebec City pretty early in the morning to head to Montmorency Falls as suggested by my lovely horse drawn tour guide!

For those who know me, know I am a touch afraid of heights.  However, the goal of this trip was to not only rediscover myself, but also challenge myself and try new things.  I had created a little Bucket List for this trip, and I was determined to get as close to all of the items checked off as I could!

When I got to the falls, it was drizzling and everything was wet.  Did that stop me? Heck no!  So I started the climb….and the stairs….and the little “look outs” until I got to the top.  When I got there, there was a suspension bridge to walk across the falls. Oh. Em. Gee.  Normally, I’d have said a big fat “Nope” and went about my way.  Not this time! I was determined! I even took some selfies “over the edge” with my phone!

Next challenge? Ride the trolly from the top to the bottom!  I had to take a deep breath as I stood on it and it swayed in the wind and of course, in my mind it was going to be fast like a roller coaster….obviously it’s not!

I walked around a bit more, just guiding myself before leaving Quebec and driving into New Brunswick, my next “destination” was St. Andrews then Moncton for the night!

I didn’t want to drive anywhere out East after dark, I was mostly afraid to hit a moose! haha.

My drive was spent talking to friends a bit (bluetooth don’t worry!) and listening to music for my soul.  Since I was lucky enough to be driving my parents brand new Pacifica (Yes, I do have the most amazing parents ever!) I had satellite radio! Woohoo! So I listened to a mix of current, 90s and 2000s songs.  I began to compile a list of “trip defining” songs in my journal.  Songs that made me feel empowered, sad, happy….there was such a variety.  I was at a crossroads in my life, let the past 9 months break me and define me OR choose what *I* wanted to define me as a person, as a woman.

I wanted to go whale watching and was told the best place to do so would be in St Andrews.  So that’s where I went.  I was early for the trip so I walked around St Andrews for a bit, experiencing the little town and culture.  I asked some locals if there were any other places I should visit and Kingsbrae Garden.

But first: WHALE WATCHING!  We were very lucky that a huge Finback whale (2nd largest in the WORLD) decided to put on a fairly good show for us.  He continuously surfaced and circled around the ship for close to an hour, coming up every 45-90 seconds.  I was praying for a tail to come up (never happened) but happy I got to see something! We had a delicious lunch on the boat on our way back to shore after over an hour of whale watching. During this time, crew came around with other sea creatures for us to view and touch and hold.
I met a woman that was travelling with her dog on the whale watching cruise; she was probably early 30s.  A lawyer from the states.  She had decided to a take a SIX MONTH sabbatical to destress from her career and travel the USA and Canada.  Damn! I thought my 17 days was impressive! She was on week 5.  Just her and her dog.  How amazing! (Although I saw what she was travelling in, a 35 foot amazing RV! Probably a bit easier to travel in than my van haha!)

I left and headed over to Kingsbrae Gardens next.  It was beautiful (but if I’m being honest, not all that exciting for someone who isn’t super big into botanical gardens).  The excitement came when I almost literally came nose to nose with a beautiful doe off the path.  I think I surprised her too! I got just a couple shots off with the camera before she took off.  There were signs all along the path that said “Beware of Fire Ants” if you travelled off the path….let me tell you….they were NOT KIDDING.  I walked back to the path and OUCH! Something hurt my foot, I looked down to see my shoes COVERED in fire ants and they were making their way onto my bare skin.  Oh my God I must have looked like a crazy person jumping around and kicking at my own feet ! Luckily, it was just the one that bit me and nothing else happened! So for real, read and believe signs like that!

I arrived in Moncton in the evening on September 8th.  The following day, September 9th would have been my 11 year wedding anniversary.  While I wasn’t necessarily sad, of course it was on my mind so I did want to do something else to commemorate the ‘new me’ and my new journey.  So, I decided on a semi-whim, to find a reputable piercing place and go get a new piece of jewelry! I felt this would help me redefine what this day meant to me.

I gave myself very little time to talk myself out of it, and just went for it.  I wasn’t even nervous for the pain! The guy was super awesome, even laughed when I said I was going to record the whole order on my phone.  He warned me that many people feel a nose piercing is super painful so I was slightly geared up for that, but honestly….it barely hurt! It did make my eye water a bit, but otherwise….phew! (And it was the weeks following that were more tender!)

I had rented a “hotel” in Moncton, one of the only “mainstream” places I stayed during my trip.  I arrived at the address and the doors of this “house” were locked. Inside I could see a large family sitting down to eat, they noticed me and let me in.  At first I was not sure if I was at the right place, but I was!   After hand writing all my information (Including my drivers licence) the little Asian woman says to me “At first I was going to put you upstairs but 2 men staying up there, I put you downstairs with other white lady, you be safer”.  I was like um, what?  We walked out of the “office” and down the street  to another renovated home.  They “Hotel” was three homes that had been renovated to rent out the rooms.  I was very lucky that I got a room with my own bathroom! (the others had to share a common bathroom).  I walked to the corner store (I was assured by so many that Moncton was soooo safe) but I’m not going to lie….it felt a little shady where I was! Especially when a car rolled up in the parking lot as I walked, a girl jumped out of the moving car with grocery bags full of ??? was thrown out with her while the two people were screaming and yelling at each other!   I got back to my room and laid down, wrote in my journal bit and off to dreamland I went! What would tomorrow bring??

What was next!?!?

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What comes next….

When I asked whether I should stop in Montreal or go to old Quebec City, someone asked me “What are you going for?”. I replied “For adventure and to take photographs”.  They said “Well, if you want drugs and hookers, go to Montreal. If you want culture and experience, go to Quebec City”.  Well then! That was 1 point for Quebec City.  As I was approaching into Montreal (which, woah, if you’ve never driven there….it’s like Toronto, only I had NO CLUE where I was going) I saw a sign for gas.  Up until this point, gas had hovered around the $1.20 per liter mark (I was “so thankful” it jumped from $1.10ish to $1.20 just a day before my big road trip commenced!).  Well, in Montreal it jumped to $1.43 per liter! Um….nah….forget it. I’ll just have to skip the drugs and hookers this time around (kidding!~ obviously, I know that there are a million other things about Montreal, but I just chose to skip it this time) and kept driving right to old Quebec City.

I had decided to stay right downtown, just off the “strip”.   I rented a room (which was soooo big as you can see in the photo!).  As soon as I parked, I popped my things up to the room, grabbed my gear and headed around to look about.  It was incredible.  I loved being able to casually walk about, as slow or as quickly as I wished, stopping where and when to take photos of anything and everything.  I saw the horse drawn tours and immediately headed over.  I asked him the cost, his reply was “$90”.  I said Great! Lets go!  He had a bit of a shocked look and repeated the $90 fee (I am guessing, he may not have a ton of people be so excited over that fee and decline).  I said yes, I know, I’m ready! 🙂 Remember, I was on this trip for experience and to try new things, not “stuff” so I was ready for it!   I hopped on and away we went.  The tour was just over an hour long and I got to see all of old Quebec City as well as into the new part and parliament buildings.  It truly was an amazing tour.  He told me of some amazing places I must visit and we talked about his life as well.  Well worth the money!!!

I had him write the suggestions in my phone since his accent made it slightly tricky to know how to spell some of the places he was talking about!

He recommended this Poutine Restaurant for dinner, so I went. (Even though, before this day, I would have told you I was very un-Canadian and hated poutines!) But Oh. Em. Gee! This place was amazing. I sat at the window and watched as the city went from day light, to street lights and the continued hustle of the streets.

 

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Everyone is human~

I wanted to write a little personal post, a little insight, into my life.  As some may have noticed, 2017 is non-existant as far as my blog site goes.  Even the final part of 2016.  We never really know what is going to happen in our lives, even if we think we have it all or even mostly figured out.  We have ideas of what our lives are, what they will be and what to expect.  And you know what happens to those ideas? Life.  Life sometimes happens to those ideas.   Without going into great detail, life is exactly what happened to me in the very early part of 2017.  I had been with my husband since highschool,  over 16 years, married for over 10 and our 3 beautiful daughters when the marriage was ended.  Half a lifetime of memories, hopes, dreams and expectations.  So while I continued on “living”, I was going through the motions of life.

I returned to work in the Veterinary industry after my maternity leave, and to the photography world and continuing to be a mother to my children and maintain my household.  I wish I could tell you I did it well.  The stress of this life changing event took hold of my physical health as well.  Illness and sickness plagued me and it culminated in a near-death septic infection that landed me in the hospital for a week during Easter of last year.  I had emergency chest CTs, emergency head CTs (for a potential brain aneurysm), ultrasounds on my chest, legs, lung scans, more ECGs than I could even count and rounds and rounds of medication.  I turned a corner about 4 days after going to the hospital and began my return back to health.  When I was discharged, I had diagnosed blood clots in my lungs and so many medications to take I had to make a chart for the first 2 weeks at home!  (As of 6 months from my diagnosis I am blood clot free and no longer required to take blood thinners!). Two months after this hospital visit I was rushed from my veterinary clinic via ambulance with the fear (from paramedics and doctors) of either a small stroke or a heart attack!  Another short stint in the hospital, further CT scans, cardiac tests and a cardiac stress test revealed that I did not have either! Whew!  However, I was pulled from work and placed on medical sick leave.

I continued to try to live my new life as a single mother of 3, co-parenting and navigating our new “relationship” as co-parents.   By August I had decided I was sick of just surviving day by day, I wanted to be LIVING!   I was offered a position within an incredible business, run by an incredible and inspiring woman, at Bounce Hair Boutique.  This job opportunity was presented and offered to me just prior to my “Journey to find myself”, a self discovering 3 week solo road trip out to the East Coast to and it was one of the decisions I had to make during this trip.  The veterinary industry held my heart for almost half my life and I adored it.  However, it comes with its stress, long hours and heartache. During my trip I made a decision that after 15 years in the Veterinary industry and as a Registered Veterinary Technician, I was leaving the profession.  I was going to focus on my children, my photography business and my life and accept this path at Bounce.

When I returned from my trip, I felt like a new person.  No, not a new person, I felt like ME.  A rejuvenated ME, ready to face life with take on my new challenges and be LIVING, not just SURVIVING each day.  I was determined to be a better mother, the best mother, and a happier, self -loving (instead of self-loathing) woman!

I could quite literally, go on forever about my thoughts and feelings and fears and accomplishments, but I did say I was going to write a “little post”.  🙂  I simply wanted to express that I didn’t simply fall off the earth, but I did have to let certain things slide while I determined how best to manage all that I needed to in my life.

My road trip was one of the most incredible things I have ever, and could have done for myself.  I didn’t plan a single thing past the first day.  I planned to drive from Windsor to Kingston and spend a night at my friends house and from there? Who knew!  Each stop I asked the locals where were some places they recommended to see and photograph and I got amazing tips! I didn’t know where I was going to sleep until close to evening each night; I very rarely chose a “conventional” place….some nights I even slept in my van (I brought a mattress and had prepared to do that a few times). I was on this journey to read, discover and experiences….not for fancy places to sleep and expensive food. 🙂

I journaled and thought and read books. I laughed and sang out loud.  I cried and cursed.  I experienced life in a manner I had never before.  I spoke with so many strangers, meeting some from all over Canada and the United States and loved hearing their stories.  I looked and smiled at anyone and everyone I could, opening myself up to whatever was brought my way.  I contemplated who I was and how I had strayed from who I was. I relished in the realization of some pretty major “epiphanies” into the person I wanted the world to see.

My first stop was at my friend Danielle and Bill’s house.  I grew up through highschool with Dane and our daughters attended the same grade school until they moved away a few months before I began my trip.  It was great to catch up and see their home, their girls and the new store they were starting (They own Cash For Clothes in Windsor and in Kingston!).  Dane and I explored some of Kingston before I left on my way to Quebec.  I had yet to decide if I was going to stop in Montreal or head right to Old Quebec City.

Over the next little while, I’ll continue showing parts of my journey and talking about my trip ❤
xo
Clarissa

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