Raul Freitas

Homeward Bound


For some reason, many people consider a vacation as a getaway to a foreign land. In one way it’s understandable because advertising that we are targeted with usually is suggestive of an “escape” to somewhere other than where we reside. Canada, though, is a country so sizeable that just taking a jaunt in your own province can take days, if not weeks, to take in all the beauty and/or man-made attractions available throughout. Road trips are fun, although again, the size of your fair land limits the possibilities, unless you are lucky enough to have much more down time than most.

You can then fly, or take a train, both costly endeavors, but allowing one the luxury of going further distances within the country, without killing off a chunk of your holiday just getting to where you want to go. Obviously, flying being the winner in that case. For the average person, my opinion is that the coasts are the better choice. I only know the East coast, having done the road trip thing with my then girlfriend, now wife, and another couple. It was a fabulous trip, done in the fall to be able to experience the autumn leaves in their annual colour change. The people are super friendly, and the food was fabulous and inexpensive. On the way we passed through the province of Quebec, which provides its own natural and man-made beauty, with the mix of its rich European flair. It took us two weeks, and the trip was a perfect ten, although I must add that it took place many years ago. Other than prices, everything else should hopefully be the same.

The West coast, we all know of its natural beauty, and that in itself is reason enough to fly out there. I spent over 30 years in Canada and never made it out there, which is regrettable. When weighing a trip out West against a jaunt to Portugal, the Atlantic won every time, especially when the price and distance were practically equal, and Portugal was always a cheaper stay. Thinking about it today, I do regret never heading out there.

Between Ontario and B.C., I can’t think of anything that stands out other than open territory, not without its merits, I’m sure, but, frankly, I would like a little more bang for my buck. In Ontario, which is bigger than many countries, several times bigger than Portugal, the attractions are mostly in the South, (as we all know), with something for every taste.

Cottage country is nice, but you always have to share your space with billions of flying insects bent on taking a piece of you when they leave. I spent 9 years living on a beautiful farm 90km north of Hogtown and am a specialist in the subject. As a side bar, friends of ours travelled Northern Ontario for a couple of weeks and came across a town called Upsala, which proudly displayed a statue of a giant mosquito wielding and knife and fork. 🙂
Travelling in your own country is never a “been there, done that” sort of thing, as many might expect. The people you meet are the people that, along with you, make up the fabric that is Canada. Its great distances create different people, so it actually gives you the impression that you could very well be in a different country, but they speak the same language.

In Quebec you get the added bonus of experiencing a different tongue within your own country, something you don’t come across every day.

Just a few days travelling through Ontario can open up one’s eyes as to the diversity of its population. In my experience, it’s well worth exploring your own backyard. We become convinced that we know all about where we live, but when we’re in our daily routine, we see nothing but our destination.

It doesn’t take too much effort, or cash, to open our eyes and minds.
Fiquem bem.

Raul Freitas/MS

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