One of My Best Decisions During Five Years of Traveling Around the World Was Spending Summers in One of My Favorite Cities, Montreal.
“The prospect of going home is very appealing.”
Benefits of a Temporary Home Base During My Long Term Travels
My Experiences in Montreal
While traveling nine months a year, I spent three months a year with Claudette, my girlfriend, in Montreal. I think living with her was an essential part of my success as a Fifty Plus Nomad for these ten reasons:
- It was nice to have someone to talk to you regularly while I was on the road. I usually called her twice weekly to discuss what I had seen and done. These calls helped me feel grounded.
- I enjoyed being part of my girlfriend’s life. It was great to attend events with her family and friends;
- After three to four months at a time on the road, I looked forward to going back to my home base. It was nice just doing everyday things like going grocery shopping, etc. It was also lovely to talk to my girlfriend daily.
- Conversely, after three or so months a year in my home base, I looked forward to traveling full-time. I missed the freedom of continually seeing and discovering new places, people, and experiences.
- I enjoyed getting to know one place, Montreal, in-depth. It is a remarkable city filled with many things to see and do. I loved:
- Attending special exhibitions at Musee des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts) covering everything from Napoleon’s Empire to a Jean Paul Gaultier Retrospective;
- Visiting the outstanding Montreal Botanical Garden, especially during its impressive Chinese Lantern Festival
- Trying restaurants recommended by Anthony Bourdain. (Montreal is also convenient to many great places in Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States).
- Going on the food tours with Round Table Tours (I particularly loved the chocolate, coffee, and tea tours)
- For the first time in my life, I consistently indulged my passion for cultural events, especially at the Place des Arts. Over the nine summers I spent in Montreal, I attended over 100 cultural performances (operas, plays, ballets, etc.), including concerts by big pop stars like Shakira and Shania Twain at the Bell Centre,
- I often would wait until I got to my home base to do a lot of necessary items that would be difficult to do on the road. (i.e., sending and receiving mail, addressing bureaucratic concerns, etc.) It was good to be in one place long enough so that you could do a lot of everyday things easily.
- Since I didn’t have a permanent home, I loved having a place to store items for future trips. When traveling all the time, I was grateful that I had a place to put clothes and paperwork that I did not need regularly.
- Being in Montreal helped me to learn French, which proved more helpful than I would have expected. A couple of times, I could take tours of places only offered in French. In fact, to my surprise, I went on an excellent tour of Pondicherry, India, only provided in French. (Note: Pondicherry is a former French colony. It is also, along with Kochin, the most beautiful coastal city in Southern India).
- It was good to have a center for my travels. I learned my way around Montreal’s airport, airlines, air routes, and customs and immigration procedures. I optimized my frequent flyer miles by traveling on Air Canada and United (because of Air Canada’s alliance with United).