Afro of the United States.
Chilling up top the US like the Fonz saying “eh?”
Full of people who have funny accents when they say “about”.
Maple freakin’ syrup. Everywhere.
Also some French sprinkled about.
And French Fries with gravy or something of that sort. Saw it on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.
These are some things I thought I knew about Canada before my travels began. Silly notions poking fun at our northern neighbors as I grew up. Before, when I was a tad bit more ignorant.
Still, I don’t know a whole lot about the country at all besides some brief reading and travel blogs featuring Canada.
But alas, it turns out Canucks have some pretty funny notions and views about us ‘Mericans as well.
It was around a camp fire in New Zealand when I realized that both sides don’t know a helluva lot about each other. Or at least the citizens.
“Americans are assholes bro, what’s up with that?”
I remember one of our fire-side chats beginning this way as the hippie German, his peace-and-love skeptic girlfriend, and the pothead Canadian passed around a hollowed out carrot while I, the ignorant American, sat playing a harmonica.
“Why do you think we are assholes?”
Instead of getting offended, which I probably would have done if I was in ‘Merica, I posed that question.
“I donno bro, like, once I was at this party, and this big asshole dude, an American, came in and stole all our beer.”
His coughing ended the story and I sat for a minute toying with the comment. Then, as I thought about it, I began to give my opinions about why “Americans” might come off that why. I even went as far as to say that if he thinks about it, Canada and South America are in the Americas as well (I learned quick to say I was from the US, not America).
And I also posed him the question, “But isn’t stating all Americans are assholes an ignorant comment in itself?”
He sat pondering the question, then began nodding his head.
“You are totally right bro. And you are really helping my opinions about that too. You sure you’re from the US?”
I actually got that quite often. It seems traveling immediately helped break down my barriers, bringing in a better understanding of people and countries. At the same time, it helped show people I was just as vulnerable as them, and also taken aback by people’s opinions of my country.
Which brings me to my current trip!
With a fresh new pair of chucks strapped on I am taking off up north on via train to a land so close to home, yet so far away from my understanding. It’ll be a whopping 16hr train ride up to Montreal, which isn’t anything compared to my 26hr New Orleans trip and 68hr train journey across the US. But still a biggie.
After arriving at 7pm in Montreal, I will be spending the night wandering the French rooted city and absorbing as much as I can before my flight at 7am to St. John’s. Somebody told me a sweet spot to grab my first ever Poutine and about an underground city. My kind of place.
If you have been following my trusty chucks and I for a while now, you’ll now how big of a hard head I am when it involves coughing up money for a hostel. I’ll only be in the city from 7pm-7am so I might as well just pull an all-nighter!
Once I land in St. John’s Newfoundland, then the real fun begins. For almost a month I’ll be on an epic road trip with three gnarly travel bloggers — Seattle’s Travels, Candice Does The World, and Zak from Sparkpunk. We’ll be exploring all over Canada on our way to the Travel Blog Expo in Toronto.
What I am most excited about is to yet again shatter my ignorance about another country on the map, finally get to meet my neighbors up north, and get to see a country so acclaimed for its diversity and vast sprawling natural beauty.
Tons of posts will be coming about the upcoming road-trip to the Travel Blog Expo in Toronto and all the shenanigans us bloggers will get into along the way. If you want to keep up, subscribe with the widget on the left!
Have you been to Canada? Come on, cough up the hotspots and things to do in the comments below!