One step closer to home . . . that’s what I thought as I boarded the plane from London to Toronto. Toronto is the last new city I’ll be visiting before finally returning to Hawaii. I can’t believe I managed to travel more than halfway around the world! I’ve come a long way . . . literally and metaphorically.
The flight was full but I managed to get a row to myself. They were showing some great in-flight films that I would’ve loved to catch up on, but I can’t say that I watched more than 30 minutes of anything. It was just too early and I found myself sleeping for most of the flight.
If there’s one thing I appreciate about myself after all this time on the road, it’s my ability to fall asleep anywhere. When I started out, I was terrible about sleeping in new environments. Even back at home, I’d have difficulties sleeping anywhere that wasn’t my bed. But, travel makes you pretty adaptable, and I’ve adapted well.
The flight over the Atlantic was uneventful and painless. Before long I was landing in Canada’s largest city. After collecting my backpack, I made my way to a shuttle bus that would take me into the CBD. It was then that I noticed the accents around me (or rather that there were no accents). Everyone sounded generically North American, which was a big change after the Aussie, Kiwi, English and Scottish accents I’ve lived with for so long.
The North American lilt sounded oddly strange to my ears, and I found myself listening in on everyone’s conversations just to hear it. Every once in a while, the stereotypical Canadian “oo” sound would pop up, such as in “aboot,” but otherwise it was pretty indistinguishable from an American accent. Is it weird that I found the sound harsh and grating to my ears?
As we drove into the city, I immediately felt at home with the left-hand drive vehicles, multi-laned highways and humongous SUVs. It had been so long since I’d seen the likes of a Hummer or other gigantic SUV in such numbers. It dawned on me that these vehicles truly represented American (and Canadian I suppose since I was in Canada after all) excess. Then, I found the pinnacle of excess looming on the side of the highway – Costco! Yes, you could say that I was well and truly back home.