Heading to Canada in winter? Here’s what you’re going to want to wear.
It’s hard for me to put into words how I’ve been feeling since yesterday morning, just as I imagine it is for so many people around the world. I can’t even fathom how it must feel to be an American who did not want this result. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are all filled with sorrow, anger, and fear. There is so much I want to say and yet I, too, am too angry and too sad to articulate it properly. But, I have to admit, I am not completely shocked at what has happened. After watching what the UK decided this summer with Brexit, and after watching the American presidential campaigns unfold over the last year, I have been horrified at the racism, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, and hatred that has emerged. Perhaps it was inevitable that it would come to a boiling point, and it has done so in the worst way possible.
But now, the day after the results of the election, I sit here wondering what I can do. As mentioned, I’m a Canadian living in the UK – a privileged migrant – and some may argue this is not my fight. However, I believe that it is, in fact, our duty to reach out in times of need, no matter where we come from or what our backgrounds may be. I have spent considerable time in America, have many American friends, have lived next to America for the majority of my life, and, most importantly, I do not want to idly stand by when there is so much work to be done. The fight for human rights is on all of our shoulders, no matter our gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, or colour of skin.
So how can those of us who aren’t American help out right now?
The last time I saw you, we hugged on the tube platform. I had just moved to London, and you happened to be passing through, just visiting. I remember the sound of the train as it rushed past us, thinking I could say anything to you and you probably wouldn’t hear me. We hugged for just a second too long, or maybe a few seconds. And then we separated, and looked at each other, both of us waiting for the other to do something, or say something.
We met on the backpacker trail in Central America. I was travelling on my own, but had quickly made friends with a group of people in my guesthouse. One of the guys in the group had met you at another guesthouse, and so you came along to a dinner of conch baliadas one night. You were a bit taller than me, with brown hair and grey eyes. I remember noticing your laugh, the way you had the ability to make everyone feel like the funniest person at the table. You were tanned a dark brown, and the only man at the table not wearing a singlet.
I first went to Nicaragua in 2012, as part of my backpacking adventure through Central America. Through Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, Nicaragua ended up being my favourite country in that part of the world. It’s hard sometimes to describe exactly what it was about the country that I loved so much; if I say that it was the colonial architecture, the stunning landscapes, the friendly people, or the fun parties, I could be describing any of the other countries, too. Much like finding a soulmate, we often can’t explain what it is that causes us to fall in love. It’s that magic spark.
When my mum surprised me with a Christmas trip to Nicaragua a few months ago, I was overjoyed. Not only would it mean spending the holidays with my family, a rare treat, I also got to revisit one of my favourite countries. I expected to love it just as much as I had the first time.
I sometimes set strange goals for myself when I travel. One of them is to go on a boat in every country I visit; another is to ride a bicycle in every country I visit. It hasn’t always been the case, but there’s something about riding a bike through a new place that can’t be beat: the bumps in the road, the sights whizzing by, the wind in your hair.
We found our seats – right behind home plate. A few beers and a few hot dogs later, we were settled right in, intently watching every pitch and predicting where all the fly balls would land. And for all that I’ve always thought myself an “arty” person, the kind who visits galleries and theatres when I travel, I love visiting live sporting events just as much. Whatever the sport, I find I get really into it, and really enjoy seeing the passion and zeal of the fans. I’ve even started going to sports pubs on my own to catch some games on TV; I barely know any of the players, but I enjoy watching games and think it’s a great insight into a country’s culture.