Tag Archives: Travel

Once Upon a Blog

A long time ago in a country far, far away, there lived a girl from Texas who was a blogger. She traveled far and wide across her beloved adopted country and blogged about everything she saw with pure glee. After more than three glorious years, though, the fairytale came to an end and she returned to the great state of her birth very sad and very hot. Fast forward exactly one year and, well, funny how things just seem to work out.

By way of reintroduction, I’m Carmen and, obvs, “she” is me. In case you are just joining the party, I was lucky enough to spend three years living and working in Canada. While there, I traversed the country forward and backward; I learned new things; I met a motherlode of awesome people; I ate new foods; I saw things I’d never seen before (I’m looking at you six foot high snow drifts); and had the absolute time of my life. And blogged about it for all the world to read.

Once I moved back to the States, I stopped blogging. I missed it, but what was there to say? Houston is hot. You have to live inside an arctic cold blast-like air-conditioned bubble seven months a year. And, really, how many times can you talk about going to the Galleria without it sounding like broken-record time? Not that many. My momma always taught me that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. So I didn’t. Until now, that is. The tens and tens of you who have been begging me to blog again were very persuasive, not to mention pushy; blog readers can be so demanding that way. And, really, who am I to deny you your happiness? 😉

It took a long time — nearly a year, in fact — for me to finally see that when life gives you lemons, you make a daiquiri. I mean, THIS IS THE SHOW, right? You can either live stuck in the past or get busy moving forward. So I pulled myself up by my bootstraps1, got out there like I always have and decided to live an awesome life, Texas or not. I finally feel like the old Carmen again. The bubbly, witty, laugh-out-loud girl who wants to experience as much as humanly possible has resurfaced and just in time. I’m making copious good friends; I’m dating very cute and very smart guys; I’m saving copious tax dollars2; and am finally interested in learning all kinds of awesome things about Houston and Texas again.

I’ve also had copious conversations with lots of different people of late who constantly ask if I’d done “this” or “that” in Texas. And every time, I found myself pretty much saying “actually, no”. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve traveled a *ton* of places, but I hadn’t done “this” or “that”; I hadn’t been “here” or “there” in Texas. In fact, I’ve never even been west of San Antonio and, trust me, there’s a *lot* of Texas west of San Antonio. I realized that I knew waaaay more about Toronto and Canada than most of its own inhabitants, and yet knew next to nothing about my own backyard. Ergo, I’m officially blowing the dust off of my rusty old blog; I’m going to traverse my place of birth and blog about my amazing state — the places, the people, the foods and the crazy things I see and find. We already know everything is bigger and better here, so I’m going to go check every bit of it out because that’s how I roll. I’m preparing to shake what my momma gave me because I plan to have one helluva Texas-sized good time on my adventures!

Photo courtesy of Dave Triomphe on Flickr. Because really…what other state could possibly look as cool as Texas in Bud Light 12-packs?

1 Because y’all know we all have boots down here, right?
2 And when I say “copious”, I mean “a freaking motherlode”.



Filed under She Gets Around

One Week

This weekend, I saw what may possibly be the best Canadian movie ever made.  It made me so damn proud to be Canadian that I could hardly stand it.  And I’m American.

The film is called “One Week” and it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September to rave reviews*.  In an interview this week with CBC Radio3, the film’s writer and director Michael McGowan called it his “…love letter to the country” .  I can’t think of a more apt description, really.  You can listen to the March 3 podcast of the interview here.

The story is about a guy, played by Canadian Joshua Jackson (natch), who is drifting into a marriage and a life he’s not sure he wants.  He is diagnosed with a terminal illness (cancer) and decides to take off on a road trip instead of seeking treatment. Fantastic Canadian bands like Stars, Wintersleep and Great Lake Swimmers make up the amazing soundtrack as the main character travels west from Toronto to Tofino, British Columbia.  The scenery alone is reason enough to see the film — Canada truly is a beautiful land.  The film is a quirky and soul searching trip jam-packed full of Canadian references to most Americans won’t get, including everything from rolling up the rim of a Tim Horton’s cup to the Terry Fox monument.

Interestingly, the narrator of the movie asked the viewer more than once “What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month?”.  It got me thinking.  What would I do?  Would I crawl into the fetal position and weep?  Likely.  Would I tear off my clothes and run naked through the park screaming?  Hmmm, maybe not. I don’t know what I’d do but I’m going to think on it this week and get back to you.  I think it’s important that we think about these things and not ignore the possibilities life may lay in front of you.  But enough with the heavy.

The question also led me to look back over my blog and what I found, my dear readers, scared me!  I have over 20 entries that I’ve never published and the majority of them were rather large trips I’ve taken since I moved to Canada 21 months ago.  The horror!  A few examples:

  • Trip to Montréal
  • Trip to Quebéc City
  • Trip to Vancouver
  • Trip to Ottawa
  • Trip to Machu Picchu and Lima, Peru
  • Trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley
  • Trip to Buffalo and the Erie Canal
  • Trip to Hell and back (kid.ding)
  • A private tour of the West Wing (I saw the Oval Office!)
  • Meeting David Sedaris
  • Shooting TV commercials with cool NBA stars
  • Watching Rafael Nadal play front row at the Rogers Cup
  • Going to the Masters Tournament and being 3 feet from Tiger (!)
  • A myriad of other things about which I was too lazy to write 

What I’ve been doing all this time, I don’t know.  But I will not spare you having to wait for them much longer…look for these exciting entries very soon.  I know you can’t hardly wait.


*well, from what I remember.  I couldn’t get a ticket, so it must have been good.

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Filed under Canada, films, toronto international film festival, Travel