Towards the end of March, we were stuck in Canada waiting with anticipation for our Chinese visas to be approved and to finally get on the flight to Dalian to start our new jobs teaching drama. It was very much like we were on-call, waking up everyday feeling like we probably weren’t going to get any news, but on the slight chance we did, we couldn’t plan anything fun. Or so we thought.
To add insult to injury, we had both quit our jobs at the end of February thinking we’d be flying out on March 18th. When that day had come and gone with no visa appointment and no flight date on the horizon, we realized we had the one luxury of which everyone wants more. Time. We weren’t about to return to our jobs only to quit at a moment’s notice when that elusive date finally came. (Who really wants to go back to work once you’ve made a clean break? Not us!) We had already packed up most of our apartment into our tiny basement storage locker and there wasn’t really much else we had to tend to before we left.
It’s funny, people always want more time, but when you have too much of it and nothing to fill it with, what you’re left with is often boredom. The only kicker was we didn’t know how long that would last (it ended up being over a month but at the time we had no idea). We chose to prioritize our time by focusing on the thing that we love to do.
We had recaptured the travel bug on our trip to Spain and we knew we wanted to integrate more travel into our lives. However, due to the ever tightening budget from lack of employment and the visa predicament, our options were rather limited. We wanted to go to a place that was close enough that we could get back to the GTA in one day if our visas were magically approved, but somewhere far enough away that it felt like a worthwhile trip. Still on a European kick, we looked for the most European-esque place in all of Canada and settled on Quebec City. We both had never been but had always wanted to go. It may have very well been March 18 that we quickly researched whether we could get an affordable AirBnB in Quebec City that would fit into our budget.
It was road trip time.
We booked the AirBnB for two nights and got excited by looking up pictures and stories about the city. To finish off the road trip, we contacted Rose’s aunt who lives in Hudson (a little town outside of Montreal) to see if we could come for a visit seeing as we’d be in the province. She said she’d love to see us so we slotted it into the planner. We were going to stay for three nights, with a full day in Hudson and a full day trip into Montreal.
We now had a six day road trip, that checked all our boxes and fit within our budget. All the points could be altered immediately for a quick return if necessary.
Looking back on it now, I’m not sure we would have made spontaneous travel plans like this three months earlier, but we had made two big mindset shifts that made it easier to turn our wants into a reality.
The first was about our resources. Taking a trip like this would have been out of the question before, especially given the fact that we were on a very tight budget with no paycheque in sight. But even when we were working and had a little more disposable income, it felt like we never had any time. Our weekends were reserved for watching Netflix, hanging out with friends, and scrolling Instagram wishing I could be in all those exotic cities that would pass by my feed. But the fact is that there was never going to be a perfect time or the perfect amount in our bank accounts to travel. Instead we just had to take a good look at what we had and find a way to make it work!
The second mindset shift was about what ‘travel’ actually was. During our gorgeous trip to Spain, we got up everyday committed to taking in as much of the country as possible, even when it meant just walking around a city. It seemed silly not to bring that adventure-in-the-everyday attitude back home. We didn’t need to take a plane across a body of water to find excitement. We could travel wherever we were, exploring our city, exploring neighbouring cities, exploring our country. Discovering new things is what travel is all about and we can do that anywhere.
We had an amazing time roadtripping through Gananoque, staring at the St. Lawrence river in Quebec City, and drinking beer at a craft brewery in Hudson. All because we firmly decided how we wanted to spend our time, stopped making excuses about why we weren’t doing that, and figured out how to make it work.
We hope you can take some of that and start spending your own time the way you want to spend it, however that may be!
Click here for Part 1 of our Quebec Itinerary!