After successfully eluding the blogosphere for neigh two weeks now, I think it's about time I spilled about my trip up north. While some photos of my trip are on my Flickr page, I haven't divulged any other details. If I continue to put it off, people might actually think I had a terrible time. And that would be far from the truth.
Honestly, I've learned that greyhound might be an inexpensive form of transportation, but you truly do get what you pay for. my trip to Ottawa lasted nearly 18 hours, most of which was spent crammed uncomfortably in a seat with zero legroom. With layovers and stops, sleep was not a possibility. I did nap briefly, but that was all. If anyone is considering a long trip, I highly suggest shelling out the extra money for Amtrak. It might take just as long, but the difference is night and day.
In some ways, Canada feels like a different world. Take the good parts of the United States, add a splash of Europe, and there you have it. Upon arriving in Ottawa, it was time to check in at Home Sweetland Home Bed & Breakfast. It's housed in a beautiful 1895 home in a quiet neighborhood near the University of Ottawa. Brian and Sid were wonderful hosts, and open about their ghostly inhabitants. After a much-needed shower, we chatted for a while before dinner time. I had forgotten to eat that day, so I needed some kind of fuel to make it through the rest of the day.
I was lucky to have a terrific sidekick/tour guide (and then some), Marc, along with me for the journey. There is no possible way for me to condense the entire week into a few words. The weather was perfect (aside from that one evening rushing back in the rain, soaked to the skin), as was the scenery and company. As far as ghosts are concerned, not much happened at the inn. I did hear a loud bang on what seemed to be the outside wall of the room late one night, but I can't be sure what it was. A paranormal group did investigate prior to my visit and recorded a bit of evidence, though I diidn't have the same good fortune. Then again, when you travel light (and don't exactly want to spend your first time in a city surrounded by death), it's not so easy to document everything.
The two of us also attended the Haunted Walk of Ottawa, a daily event operated by a wonderful little company. I had some great conversations with both employees and participants, managing to snap a few photographs of some of the buildings as we went. The city holds a plethora of strange, eerie, and interesting historical tales. Earlier in the week, Marc and I stopped by Bytown Museum and the staff relayed some information about its ghosts. Hopefully, on my return trip, I'll be setting my sights on an investigation there. They were kind enough to give me the contact information for going about that... and, considering I didn't get much investigating in this time, it would make up for it. But I did get a few souvenirs: a copy of Ghosts of Ottawa and a mug from the tour gift shop.
There was simply too much to see in one week: Sparks Street, Parliament Hill, Gatineau, dozens of museums, the Rideau Canal, Rideau Falls, the Ottawa River, and so much more. Trying to see everything at once would've been too overwhelming. Part of me feels I've missed out on a great deal of things, but that side is comforted by knowing I'll return again. I was tempted to see if the walking tour was hiring, but decided against pressing my luck. but yes; if I found employment in Ottawa or nearby, I would be extremely tempted to live there. A safe, clean, friendly, bilingual city. And some of the best memories of the recent past happened during my week there. great conversations and revelations, nice restaurants, being flirted with by a female mallard duck (long story... you had to be there), walking across Alexandra Bridge (beautiful view and not the slightest fear of heights that day... wonder why), a late lunch at the wonderful Le Twist in Gatineau (if you go to Ottawa, you MUST go there... great staff, good food, and gay-friendly/-operated), sleepless nights not brought on by insomnia or stress, beautiful things to look at...
As you can imagine, the return trip was unwelcomed.
There are only so many ways to say "I'm glad I went". But I can't say it enough. The past few years have had rough times and stressful moments, yet this marked a major turning point deep inside me. Sadly, it has also marked a period of apathy toward blogging. Perhaps all these years of babbling about silly, stupid things or humorous morose moments in the world drained me of my death obsessions. or maybe, when things in your life suddenly are positive, you're not so eager to think about the afterlife and death. I'm sure it's just needing a break from the literary meanderings of my mind. It's not easy to poke fun at the world when you don't feel like thinking about everything else. Things truly are looking up in my life. While part of me wants to get back to the humorous news stories and quirky paranormal bits, I feel sapped of the energy. Priorities have tilted. I miss life and the living. Being chained down to a computer, researching and relaying morbid things isn't as high on my list. I feel the need to branch out more, expanding my horizons.
And so, therein lies my current quandary. I know I need to take the time to get back to blogging about the standard posts for which this blog has become known. Still... I'm a bit too happy to do it! Living life is far more enjoyable than writing about it. Experiencing people, places, cultures, history, and everything inbetween gives greater pleasure than glaring at the glow from a laptop. And once that ball begins rolling, it's hard to turn the path around. Somewhere, I'll achieve balance again. Perhaps once the afterglow I've been basking in wears off. For now, life takes some precedence over death. Ghouls must go to the back of the line; I need more living to recharge myself, and to figure out not only where exactly I'm going but how on earth I'm going to get there...