The road to Munich.
It all started in Montréal, Québec, Canada. In a small neighborhood called Verdun. Just between Wellington Street and Lasalle Boulevard. A small apartment on the second floor. A young man decided to change a few things about his life.
He had this realization after understanding he still was not so sure of what he wanted to do later on.
That day he set in motion a chain of events which, eventually, would lead him in Munich.
I ended all alone in his 4 room apartment. Just a tad too expensive to live in alone without making too many sacrifices to my little comfort.
I set to get a roomie. Ended up with many, all of only a few months. And at one point, I made a new friend. That friend would teach me that anyone, any. Could embark on an adventure of some sort and get to know, maybe if he’s lucky, what he wanted a bit more from life.
That’s when he set to do all the required paperwork to try to go abroad, and do it all. What he always thought about doing but didn’t really have the stones to do. If that short skippy german girl could leave behind friends, home, family, boyfriend to study abroad, I could do it too.
I applied, with the encouragement of my parents and friends, and got accepted not so long after my new friend had to go back to her home country, her adventure changing chapters.
One night, I received a text message. That message was inviting me to leave to Mexico in the next few days with a long date friend. After much thinking, and pressure from more adventuring friends;
I would leave my job and apartment to go on a crazy adventure. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen as I couldn’t get the name on the original plane ticket changed. My friend, went alone on her journey, but leaving me with the promise that we would do a trip to British Columbia when she would come back. Not hinting to more, I casually said “of course”.
I did end up crossing Canada, by minivan, with my friend now back from Mexico. Making a big part of the way with a crazy individual who was quite older for these kind of hippie trips. He was in his thirties. From Germany (Germans everywhere in this story right ?). This guy had done it all. Casually crossed Australia, went to Bangkok, lived on a sailboat for months with some random guy he met on internet. A model of alternative-lifestyle. An inspiration maybe not to do as extreme as him, but to do what you really want to do.
Our roads separated in Banff, Alberta, as this crazy-one-of-a-kind German bloke was going to Alaska, and me and my friend were going to the Canadian west coast to become cherry pickers.
The separation was hard, as in only a week, this guy inspired so much simplicity and so much discoveries that I was really tempted to follow him to the great big white on the western side of my continent.
I ended up in the dirt instead. Living like a hobo in my tent, with a bunch of French Canadians, like me, picking cherries and living in a giant open-air commune. While the experience was refreshing, it was not mine.
It was my friend’s and she wasn’t with me anymore, choosing another camp and ending up leaving earlier, homesick.
I made friends and met a german gal at my cherry picking camp, in between the cherry trees, who ended up taking me to Vancouver, to crash at her friend’s place.
Her friend was a flight attendant on a trip through Europe with her boyfriend, and generously let her use the apartment she had. I was invited to stay without ever meeting her or her boyfriend. I discovered a gorgeous city on the complete opposite of gigantic Canada. Before I left, I invited my new German friend from Vancouver, to come meet me in Montréal to show her my city and then to fly with me and my best friend to Ireland before moving to Munich for my student exchange.
She said yes.
We spent a nice time in Montreal after my parents got married, tripping around with her friends from her hostel and then we flew off. Me, my new German friend and my best friend.
We landed in Dublin. Made our way to Cork, then Letterfrack, then Galway, then back to Dublin. We saw the cliffs of Moher and the Connemara. We set off to Northern Ireland, getting closer and closer to the first thing on my bucket list; the beautiful Giant’s Causeway.
We went to Belfast, then Bushmills and we saw the Causeway.
We then set off to take the ferry back from Belfast, to Scotland.
Scotland turned out to be even more gorgeous than Ireland.
We arrived in Cairnryan, took a cab in the middle of the night to Glasgow. Where we had, me, my two friends and a new comer met on the ferry, to share a twin bedroom the four of us as everything was booked in Glasgow that weekend. We made our way by bus to the famed Loch Ness seeing Loch Lomond beforehand, passing through Glencoe. We then came back to Glasgow. Scotland had a mystical magnetism to it; an old land filled with tales of oddities and an international cultural identity composed of men wearing traditional skirts and playing bagpipes.
But there was more to theses damp marches and northern castles. The highlands were simply so beautiful…
My German friend flew back to Berlin where she had business to attend while I and my best buddy went to London where we would fly to Marseille.
In London we spent only 16 hours. 8 of which we slept, the others wandering on the streets looking for food, toilets and taking pictures of Big Ben.
My best friend being of French and Canadian citizenship, he had family in Marseille that hosted us. We stayed with his brother who introduced us to that beautiful Mediterranean city and showed us the Calanques. My friend’s sister then took us out on a car ride through Provence to see the Vaucluse.
We then made our way a bit up north, to Paris, by carpooling.
There two friends we made in Ireland welcomed us. The two French girls were so hospitable, one let us stay in her 1 room apartment that she already shared with a former student of hers. I, my best friend and she shared a twin bed, while her roomie slept on an inflatable mattress.
We visited Paris with the two French girls and had a very good time, even going out for supper with my best buddy’s other brother that he hadn’t seen in two years and happened to live in Paris.
My friend flew back to Montreal from Paris, I stayed a day more and then set off to Berlin. I missed my flight. Administrative mistake and short call. I just booked another one for the same day, not feeling like playing games with stupid airlines.
The same day I was in Berlin, only hours off schedule.
My German friend met in British Columbia was at the airport to get me, and we got to spend some time in the city despite her super busy schedule.
She was trying to find an apartment, a job, get into school. She had her work cut out for her and her living situation wasn’t the most comfortable. But she still cleared out her schedule many times to spend time and welcome me to her hometown.
For the first three days I was staying with another friend my former German roomie introduced me to, that was also on exchange in Montreal. I got to know him more when we did a road trip with him in the northern parts of my province. He was very hospitable and introduced me to his girlfriend and two of his friends that lived only 60km from Munich.
Small world. After one last evening, of Kebabs and hostel, I took my bus to Munich. Promising myself more time in Berlin, a city that I really enjoyed, but definitely not enough. . .