Lonely Travels – Quebec City (Canada)

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Ahh… Quebec City.

Luckily, I did my research before planning my short visit to this lovely city. I knew going into this that French was the first spoken language of Quebec, so I figured Quebec City would be similar to, say…Toronto…

…but with a little French flair.

Boy, was I completely wrong.

Coming from the perspective of an admittedly sheltered American, I was surprised how English wasn’t overtly advertised. In Tokyo, Japan for example, street signs would have translations below them to assist English speakers. In, Quebec City however, overt English assistance wasn’t as forgiving.

This would, however contribute to the sheer awesomeness of this experience–I wasn’t just visiting Canada. I truly felt like I was in a completely different part of the world, which utterly blew me away. Admittedly, I experienced some initial anxiety with the prospect of Quebec City being a foreign place. Once I got settled into my room (and had a few drinks at my hotel’s bar…) I felt ready to explore this wonderful city.

Luckily, it was a beautiful sunny day, and you could see people enjoying food and drinks among the ubiquitous bars that occupy the streets. From what I could see, it definitely seemed like a great spot to cut loose and enjoy fun times with friends and family.

I made my way over to the Chateau Frontenac, (the castle looking structure in my picture above), which was a beautiful and historic hotel that overlooks the St. Lawrence river, as well as Quebec City’s lower city (I believe it to be named “Old Quebec”).

After taking pictures, I took the funicular down the the lower part of the city, to explore what the quaint shops and bars had to offer. Aesthetically, it looked magnificent–the colossal Chateau Frontenac acts as a back drop to your journey within the lower city, as it stretches up to the sky atop it’s perch.

The next day I essentially did more of the same–exploration of the city by foot. I spent some time at Battlefield Park, which seemed like the perfect spot to catch up on your favorite book, to enjoy a leisurely walk, or to tackle some strenuous exercise.

Later in the day, I took part in a bar crawl style restaurant scavenger hunt. This was a really neat idea, as it allowed me to explore more nooks in the city I wouldn’t have seen otherwise and it had the added benefit of free food samples from each restaurant that participated in the event.

Duck, is delicious.

Snail?..

…well…not so much.

By the time I finished my hunt, there was a music event in the center of town which I believe was where the hunts concluded (assuming you did them in order). So I took a moment to sit down and enjoy the free music in quiet contemplation of the adventure that I had embarked on.

As I made my final trek back to the hotel, the city lit up at night was truly a sight to see. From my hotel room, you could see the city below, glowing with a multitude of colors into the quiet, summer night. I only wish I had more time to really drink it in–it’s what I would call “a little piece of peace.”

 

At a glance:

Quebec City was an amazing city to explore. As a solo traveler, I had a really great time sight seeing and taking my time to absorb all the the city had to offer. I didn’t try much in regards to cuisine as much as I would have liked, but the food I did eat was delicious (except for you snail…)

The people there were extremely friendly–they were more than happy to help me and were even so kind as to speak to me in English upon request.

The city was clean, safe and had so much to offer in the way of adult night life, such as restaurants and bars.

All in all, I would highly recommend a visit to this place. I would go as far as to say that Quebec City caters more towards a party of people rather than the solo traveler (the bar scene is very friend/family intimate), however this does not mean you wouldn’t enjoy your stay…

I know I sure did!

: )

-Lonely City

 

 

 

 

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At the Bottom of the Well Looking Up–Complacency in Loneliness

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Being too comfortable often breeds inaction.

Loneliness is rarely linear–sometimes, you’ll hit periods of intense inspiration and awe of the road ahead of you. Other times, you’re at your lowest of lows, wishing someone or something could resuscitate such an unyielding existence.

For many of us, the possibility of regaining control of our lives and creating the life we’ve always wanted seems like an impossible dream. The light at the end of the tunnel seems so out of reach that we learn to live completely in the dark.

Much of learning how to live in the dark in this metaphor is essential. What’s even more important however is that we are constantly moving forward to our ultimate destination–wherever that may be. There is very significant difference between embracing the dark and dwelling in it.

Ideally, we should absolutely learn to be happy on our own, without the validation of others to make our lives worth something. This is what it means to embrace the life of loneliness we have before us–to become okay with the company of ourselves in the current moment.

Over time, we will get really good at being lonely…

…so much so, that we almost forget to keep moving towards the light as we sit at the bottom of the well. We forget how to take chances on the world–we forget what it is like to put ourselves out there, only to be shut down. Maybe, we even become too afraid of the world beyond the well, that we sort of give up on it completely…

Always be conscious of your current state, and drive yourself to make the changes necessary to get your life where we want it to be. We certainly won’t get it right the first time around–and that’s okay. It isn’t about getting it right. It is about inching our way forward–however blind we may be. The experiences of our journey will make this battle all worth it in the end. Without challenges, it is nearly impossible to grow…

And so after many attempts and many failures, we will have mastered the world below as we look forward to a bright future beyond that seemingly unattainable and forever unknown light.

The ascent must press on!

-Lonely City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lonely Heroes – Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead)

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Daryl Dixon

Welcome back to our list of lonely heroes! Let’s talk about Daryl Dixon from the series “The Walking Dead“. Daryl has to be among the series’ strongest heroes by far. He is an extremely adept survivor during this zombie apocalypse and a proficient marksman with his trusty crossbow. His strength lies in his ability to confront near impossible odds without need of his group. As part of his character, he is extremely loyal to all the members in his group and doesn’t hesitate to put himself in harms way for them.

Daryl’s life has been filled with misery.  He came from a very broken home which left him to look up to his older brother–a man that was rarely there for him due to him being in trouble with the law. From a very young age, he was forced to learn how to fend for himself and leading all of the way up to the apocalypse, he hasn’t lost his touch.

What makes Daryl so appealing is that he refuses to accept defeat after being knocked down. Under all of his tough exterior, he possesses compassion and the willingness to fight for those he cares about.

We can all take away something from this man.

Being lonely is an extremely difficult road–we will feel abandoned, life will shut us out in more ways than we care to count, and we will long for the support necessary to confront what life has thrown at us. We will lack the shoulder to cry on when we really need it and rarely will we hear the words, with eager concern, “Are you okay?”.

Daryl shows us that we can still be of value to ourselves and others, despite all of these short comings. Through him, we have seen a true evolution of character which is exactly what we should expect during our journey down this long and unknown path. It is all going to be so difficult, but do not be afraid. We will make it to the end and realize along the way that we’ve become something better–far beyond our expectations.

And so I say to you…have that bow ready.

We are in for a crazy ride.

-Lonely City

Embracing the Dark–Living with Loneliness

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Loneliness should always be embraced.

Despite how difficult it may be for us to dwell in the absence of good people who understand us, loneliness handled with maturity and grace is a true sign of depth of our character. We often find ourselves resisting it, and thus try to plug up these gaps in our lives instead of submitting to and acknowledging what has befallen us. Admitting to ourselves that we are lonely is not a sign that our lives have gone wrong. In truth, it is a sign that life is proceeding exactly the way it should.

Feeling this way is a basic part of the human experience. In the same way that all of us will someday die, loneliness is inevitable–avoiding it without acknowledging the good that we can take away from the experience is often a missed opportunity of individual growth…

…and so..

…embrace it.

Embrace the uncertainty of the future…

Embrace the possibility that we may never find true connection…

Embrace the dark.

When you embrace the fact that you are lonely, you are removing the shackles on your feet that hinder you from doing something about it. With this new found freedom and open mind, you can finally begin making positive changes to you’re life. It all begins with a positive frame of mind. In the moment, the loneliness can be devastating. Given much time after many lonely walks in the rain or sitting quietly listening to our favorite songs by the window sill, we can find peace in our current place in the world.

Remember: where we are in our lives, lonely or not, is temporary. Someday, things will be different.

You’ll see. 🙂

-Lonely City

 

Lonely Heroes – Arya Stark (Game of Thrones)

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Arya Stark

Welcome to the first lonely hero on our list. Arya Stark, from the series “Game of Thrones” is a true pioneer in the field of loneliness, despite being only a child. She may not possess all of the wisdom and experience necessary to make all of the right decisions, but what she lacks in understanding, she makes up for in her willingness to fight for what she firmly believes in.

Her life experience has been wrought with tragedy–her father and most of her family have been killed off. She has been separated time and time again from those she has grown so close too. Due to her being so young, she lacks the physical strength and swordsmanship expertise to be an effective adversary to her mostly seasoned or well guarded enemies…

…fret not though. Arya Stark becomes the series’ notorious throat stabbing badass.

The beauty of Arya Stark is that she finds a way to adapt to her situation with great precision. In times of loneliness, it really becomes difficult to find our way, as we have essentially lost our footing, whether it be to losing cherished ones or for whatever reason, finding it difficult to fit in and be understood by those around us. The willingness to fight hard to connect with those around us is essential to escaping our, at times, lonely existence.

We can learn so much from Arya Stark–the road of a lonely person is extremely punishing and difficult to navigate. Regardless of whatever shit life throws our way (and boy does that happen often…) it’s up to us whether or not we choose to fight for a better life for ourselves, or give in.

After everything Arya Stark has been through…do you honestly see her throwing in the towel? No? Great. So why should we?

Let’s follow her example.

(Just..ya know…minus the stabby stabs)

-Lonely City

What going to the bar alone has told me about loneliness

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In more recent years,

I’ve grown accustomed to taking some time to be alone at a a place where people typically gather for drinks after a hard day’s work–the bar. Having done this for the past couple of years, I find myself curious about the lives of my fellow patrons at the current moment and have concluded one thing through much people watching–we are, generally, uncomfortable with being good company to ourselves.

It’s typically pretty rare these days to see people sitting alone at a bar (at least where I tend to go) and as if out of a sort of compulsion, people are quick to whip out their smartphones and occupy themselves, rather than enjoy the quiet and stillness the current moment offers.

At first I thought “maybe these people have important matters to attend to” which, of course, could be the honest truth. Maybe this time at the bar is finally the moment in their day when they could browse the internet, mindlessly scroll through Facebook or catch up with friends. I’m willing to bet money however that most of us bury ourselves in our smartphones during these lulls due to it being a safe place for us to go when we feel uncomfortable.

Perhaps, it means something to us to give the outward appearance that we aren’t alone even if we are indeed just that in a physical sense. Unfortunately, I think we tend to frown upon those who are in company only to themselves at social gatherings, so I suppose it makes much sense that we would subconsciously try to eliminate the notion that we are indeed by ourselves by showing others we have a life where we are connected to others through our smartphones.

When I’ve realized this, it all seems so…poignant. That is, that we have this fear of being perceived a certain way from those outside of ourselves. I’m totally guilty of this too. It can feel alittle awkward at times when you’re sitting at the bar quietly while everyone else is engaged, and so out comes my pocket sized safety blanket to relieve some of the tension.

Being alone with one’s thoughts and simply existing in the moment in quiet contemplation is something that we could all truly benefit from, and yet their exist a sort of resistance to the idea of being able to sit down and do absolutely nothing. I wonder if things were always this way, or if technology has given us an escape from, essentially, ourselves.

I don’t know. What I do know is that it is worth it to try and enjoy simplicity whenever we can. Who knows–maybe we will discover that we ourselves are pretty cool people to spend some alone time with.

-Lonely City

Enter Lonely City

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What’s up?

How’s your world?

I’m sure you and I have much to talk about, so why not step out of the rain for awhile to enjoy a pleasant conversation?

Like most of you, I know what loneliness is like. It’s ironic–despite living in an age where technology is the best it’s ever been, with the ability for us to connect with one another instantly regardless of where we are in the world, I still find it more difficult than ever to truly connect. Is it just me? Am I falling behind somehow? Have I really lost the ability to become close to those around me?

I’m sure you all are familiar with these types of questions. Most of them are directed inward and…rightfully so. We are, after all, masters of our own destiny, so it becomes quite simple for us to throw ourselves under the bus when things don’t seem to quite work out for us.

Loneliness for all of us is very different–we all come from very different circumstances and live through completely different experiences and adapt to them accordingly. For some of us, loneliness can be quite crippling. For others, maybe it has become a necessary part of existence to become the best version of themselves.

The latter is the sort of mindset Lonely City approaches loneliness. I truly feel that like most negativity in life, we can use it to our advantage to make us stronger and much more capable human beings than we ever imagined.

The hard part however is acquiring and firmly believing the mindset that 1.) loneliness can be extremely beneficial to our growth and 2.) it too is bound by the laws of nature, and as such, will not last forever.

This will all be difficult to wrap your head around as of now, but I promise you, it’ll make sense in the grand scheme of things…someday.

And so, with open arms, I welcome you to Lonely City. Let us enjoy late night talks and trade stories over our favorite drinks on the rocks. It’s gonna’ be late night so, let’s get comfortable and appreciate what the world has in store for us. 🙂

-Lonely City