I rummage around my damp pocket for the exact amount of change that will get me over the turnstile and into the washroom. Heaven forbid I blew the rustic-looking coins on that last helping of gelato… if only I was a man; all I would need would be a narrow cobble-stoned alley off of some main touristy walk-way. To my relief, I find the exact monetary compensation that will allow me to pee into a public porcelain bowl.
I bitterly drag my sweaty self around the city, soaking up examples of renaissance, medieval and baroque time periods… but mostly THE SUN, which beats down mercilessly on its inhabitants and once-happy-to-be-there visitors. Three changes of clothes later, I’m walking down the hotel stairs (because elevators are apparently of no use to these people. Instead, they believe in hauling their luggage up several flights of stairs… in fact, perhaps this is why the men are mostly built like Greek gods). Anyway, a few minutes later I’m indulging in yet another ingeniously sculpted carbohydrate smothered in fresh tomato sauce… not so bad, until you realize you’ve lived 12 days without seeing any other colour combination on your plate. Alright, that may be a slight exaggeration as there was the occasional side salad thrown in (with bits of corn sprinkled on top *wrinkles nose*).
So thousands of dollars later, I’m on the other side of the world wanting to punch out a woman who’s yelling at me in Italian because I dared to ask if I could return something. She’s all worked up, telling anyone who will listen what a wicked little foreign specimen I am. Alright fine! I’ll keep the bloody chocolate that I bought before realizing that I wanted to shop a little longer, instead of rushing 17 blocks back to my hotel to keep it from melting.
So it’s true what they say… you can’t run away from your problems. Apparently, they just jump right on the plane and fly 8 hours economic class with you. The plan was to see beautiful things, meet inspiring people and indulge in non-genetically modified food. I did all those things… but I was much too busy being angry, depressed and questioning every aspect of my being to truly embrace my surroundings – to have the “life-changing experience” I so badly wanted. The funny thing is that hating my tour guide for waking me up before 8am each morning, wanting to gouge out my eyeballs at the sight of the millionth nativity scene hanging on the wall of a museum by some famous painter whose name ended in a vowel and having to pay for water at a restaurant, made me intensely miss Canada.
Dorothy-syndrome had kicked in. The very place I had learned to despise and that I so badly felt the need to escape from was the only place I wanted to be – home. The place where I could get fresh sushi (or if not fresh, at least cheap), where I could wander downtown doing nothing but enjoying the company of a friend and where I could sit at an Indigo sipping a soy, hot chocolate – no whip.
So no, you can’t run away from your problems… but you can definitely travel the world and gain a little perspective.