It takes me a while to settle into a new city.
A few years will pass as I learn about its people, its feel, its rhythm. And then, suddenly, I’ll be hit with the thought that always occurs to me when I realize a place, once strange, is now home: Man, I’ve got to get out of here.
Itchy feet and cabin fever don’t even begin to describe what I feel in my most wanderlustful moments. Something clinical to reflect the seriousness of the condition would be more appropriate: Soulriasis, maybe.
I’ve been in Toronto for two and a half years and Canada, generally, for five — an unusually long time for me in both cases. Normally, when it comes to cities, I’m just a gigolo. Truth is, I’ve fooled around with at least one city in every province, not to mention a little something-something on the side in Africa, Europe, and New Zealand. Some towns, I don’t even remember their names. “Sorry, Toronto the Good. That’s just how I roll.”
Why do I need to get away? I barely understand the question. It’s like being asked why I need to eat, or drink, or watch Futurama marathons. It’s just something that needs to be done. I’m frankly baffled by anybody who would prefer to stay where they are.
My father, for one, frequently acts like there are “BEYOND THIS POINT THERE BE DRAGONS” signs greeting anyone who would dare leave New Brunswick. And he’s not alone: I was once on a ferry off the coast of New Brunswick when a stranger next to me remarked how beautiful the view was. “Yes,” I agreed. “I’ve been everywhere,” the man continued. “New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. Everywhere. And this is the best spot.”
It’s not that I judge people like him, so much as I consider them part of a different species. There’s a whole planet to see. Why would anyone pass that up? Am I the crazy one? Though it might seem to some like I’m running away from family or responsibilities, the truth is I’m a better person when I travel: I read more, I learn more, I live in the moment.
And I’m way more accepting of things as they are. Missing a city bus when I’m home will make me grumpy. But getting bad service in Vienna? Charming. Nearly freezing overnight in a New Zealand tent? Awesome. Passing out from food poisoning in Zimbabwe? That’s an adventure.
Sorry, Canada. It’s better for both of us if I see other cities. It will just be for a few weeks this summer. I’ll totally call on your birthday.