Maybe it comes from my high school and university years working in the retail sector, when I realized that keeping receipts and statements was a good thing if I ever needed to return something.
Maybe I was traumatized by one client too many who stirred up a tempest in a teapot, bellowing about the unfairness of our return policy and shrieking their vow never to shop at our store again, simply because they didn’t have a receipt for a refund.
To me, keeping receipts was synonymous with keeping the peace, a natural conclusion for someone with an aversion to conflict.
Over the years, my filing system has been pretty solid and I have been able to produce receipts on demand when I needed an exchange, a refund or maintenance of one kind or another. I really can’t say I’ve had too many sleepless nights ruminating over where I might have misplaced a receipt.
As much as I was really good at filing, the downside is that I was perhaps a little lax in destroying after a reasonable time frame had passed. I still have receipts (and user manuals) for products I don’t even own anymore as they have already completed their useful life span.
Now, in the new place, with the move well behind us, I make a point of sorting and shredding a little bit each week, to make some steady progress in chipping away at the pile of boxes marked “papers to sort”.
In doing so, I noticed that sorting through old papers is a bit of a time guzzler. Of course, faded old cash register receipts from grocery and pharmacy purchases go straight into the shredder, no time wasted there. But each restaurant receipt, hotel receipt and airline ticket presents an invitation for a walk down memory lane.
In reliving those moments, I realize how much I miss being a tourist, given Covid-19.
As I get older, I realize that life is less about “toys” and “stuff” and more about appreciating unique life experiences. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore outside my backyard a teeny bit, and to meet fascinating people, to enjoy great culinary experiences, and to immerse myself in great music, art, live performances and sporting events.
The best part is that we don’t even have to travel far. We are so fortunate in being sandwiched in the middle of the corridor between Quebec City and Toronto, where there is no shortage of sightseeing opportunities.
On a weekend getaway to charming Montreal, I can feel completely transported out of my week-to-week routine and return feeling refreshed, energized, creatively inspired and enriched from wonderful new memories.
Of course, being a tourist in one’s own city can also open up new horizons in discovering word-of-mouth gems that have always been right under our noses, soon to become new favourites.
In having been away from travel, not just during Covid-19 but in the months prior when I was putting money into my former house for painting and renovations, I realize that it has been a year since I took a road trip… and I’m OK with that, but I still miss it.
It is in that time away from travel that I realize how much I took the short trips and weekend getaways for granted. Not only are they a break from the routine, but they also feed my natural curiosity about life in general. Perhaps that part comes from the writer in me who is always in research mode.
It is amazing what a weekend getaway can hold, whether a museum visit, a concert performance, a little sightseeing, a visit with family or friends, as well as culinary delights to connect the events together, a welcomed break from cooking and the clean up afterward.
I will even admit that some of the history I yawned through in grades 5 and 6, has been met with significantly more appreciation as an adult, when visiting historic sites in person and observing first-hand what life must have been like for my ancestors and their neighbours.
For someone who thrives in structure and routine, short trips are a low-commitment opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, to explore and to expand my horizons, while still being able to remember my work passwords when the weekend is over… well, most times.
In reviewing receipt after receipt, I reminisce about friendly faces, kind souls, strolls on picture-perfect days, incredible hospitality, unforgettable shows, great meals, great wines… and a memorable Scotch recommended to me, without looking at the price first, but was it ever worth it!
Ironically, in disconnecting from my day-to-day routine, travel makes me feel connected to something bigger, like a little thread within a bigger tapestry of culture and humanity, and not just in the present, but also over the span of time.
But as much as a change of scenery would be fun right about now, I staying close to home for the foreseeable future appeals to me as the better option, keeping myself and my inner circle safe.
Until we have a proven coronavirus vaccine and treatments in place to guarantee our safety, travel will have to wait.
Moving to a house in the country has been a huge change of scenery in itself, so I can’t say I am itching for major international travel yet. Plus, we have enough home improvements planned that the break from traveling will allow us to finance those fixes sooner rather than later. So that’s all good.
But when we do go back to “normal”, whatever that is, it really will be interesting to see where we go first to spread our wings and explore again.
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,