Satisfying the Wanderlust

I can declare with all honesty that I have missed travelling. I was fortunate enough to have taken my last pre-pandemic trip right at the end of 2019, which tided me over for a good part of lockdown and with my fear of flying, I wasn’t exactly missing the idea of being on a plane. However, I love seeing and experiencing new things and new places, so by mid-2021, I was chomping at the bit to get out and explore.

I’ll admit that I was still hesitant and so very nervous about getting on a plane in 2022. There were still active covid cases, and the lack of restrictions made me even more nervous, but my wanderlust was at its peak, so I planned to take the necessary precautions and went for it with nothing but enthusiasm.

I kept my first trip domestic, so I could test the waters and hopped on a plane with one of my favourite fibre friends to explore Newfoundland. Being on a plane after so many years of being grounded reminded me of how uncomfortable an experience travelling by air can be. Still, I forgot all about it when I stepped off the plane again. While I understand the importance of the journey, nothing beats the actual destination, and Newfoundland did not disappoint. On our first night, we ate the most delicious ramen and took in a magnificent sunset at Signal Hill, setting the tone for the rest of our trip.

Every time I travel, I prioritise visiting a local yarn store in the area because it’s a great way to meet new fibre friends while being exposed to new yarn dyers and pattern designers. While on the rock, I had the opportunity to finally visit Cast ON Cast OFF (COCO) and check out a relatively new yarn store in Carabiner called Seaspun Yarns and brought home some skeins that I hadn’t been able to work with before. Not that I needed any more yarn in my life at the moment, but souvenir yarn is hard to resist, and most of it ends up becoming gifts, so it tends to be a win-win scenario.

While there, I had adventure after adventure and experienced everything I could in a short time frame. If you ever get the chance to visit and are not afraid of heights, then hiking the signal head trail is a must. It was a pleasant way to get some much-needed movement and exercise while taking in a mix of stunning coastline views and the city of St. Johns. Also, if you get a little hungry after your hike, it’s just a quick walk uphill from the trail’s end to the battery cafe for a much-needed pick-me-up.

Now speaking of food, you really can’t go wrong as there are so many delicious and highly reviewed options on the island. I didn’t have a bad meal my entire visit and ventured to Blue on the Water, Cojones Tacos & Tequila and the Duke of Duckworth so that I could have different options;
I would highly recommend you try these restaurants on your visit. However, if craft beer is where your enthusiasm lies, then a visit to the Quidi Vidi brewery is needed. Sit down on their over-the-water patio to enjoy a pint or a flight if you’re like me and want to sample as many as possible.

On our last day, we decided to cap it off with an early morning trek to Cape Spear so we could be some of the first people in North America to watch the sunrise. Sitting on the continent’s most easterly point, I watched the sun’s glow slowly creep higher and higher in the sky while pods of whales were travelling in the water below. Content and full of peace, I was reminded of how beautiful a planet we live on and how privileged we are to be able to witness the wonders of nature. It felt like such a good send-off from the island, and that feeling lasted until I got back on the plane to leave.

Back from Newfoundland, I was rearing to go again and headed off to Toronto to see some live music. When I heard two years ago that Run The Jewels and Rage Against The Machine were touring and playing at a venue in Toronto, I knew without a doubt that I could not miss this show. If I remember correctly, the young, angsty, misunderstood high school version of me was screaming that our attendance was necessary. However, covid struck, and the dates kept getting rescheduled and rescheduled, and we had to keep changing our plans. Even though there were days that I thought about getting the refund and giving up the tickets, I’m delighted that I held on because I just knew it would be worth it, and boy, was I accurate in that assumption. Sitting at Scotiabank arena, listening to songs I’ve heard multiple times, but this time live, and witnessing the performance style of musicians whose words I can quote by heart had me buzzing all night. It was a great reminder of how much I love listening to live music and how much it has been missing from my life lately.

Now you might be thinking, she’s got two fantastic trips under her belt, so that must have taken the edge off. Well, you would be wrong because shortly after returning from Toronto, I headed out again to sunny but windy San Francisco, California.

This trip was my first ever visit to the West Coast, and even though I was nervous, as I got closer and closer, the anticipation of exploring a new place helped to drive that feeling away.

The first night didn’t offer much exploration because I decided to keep close to the hotel. This decision worked out great because I found a ramen restaurant directly across the street from where I was staying. I know, I know, ramen again, but what can I say? I like what I like.

The next day, I took the rental car on the road and left the city behind to head to Sonora County. Now, I can attempt to describe the beauty of Yosemite National Park, but if I’m being honest, you need to go yourself because nothing I could write would ever truly capture its majestic essence. As you can see from the pictures, I didn’t even have the chance to explore the park fully and was still in awe of everything I did manage to see.

After I returned to the city, I was in full-on tourist sightseeing mode. Grabbing some much-needed tacos and spicy margs in the Mission District, I walked a couple of blocks to see the sunset in Dolores Park, taking in the intricate murals, BLM signs and 2slgbtqia+ signs adorning all the shops and windows along my way. I adore cities with large and well-kept green spaces, so sitting for a few minutes and watching the sun go down while people chatted and played with their dogs felt like the perfect wind-down to my day.

I plotted a quick detour to a local yarn store, Atelier Yarns, on my next day’s itinerary because I’m me. I had a fantastic time chatting with the staff, who gave me a tour around the shop and pointed out some local SF-dyed yarn I could check out and lightly fondle. Leaving with a smile on my face is a significant indicator that an LYS has done its job, and I can say I was positively beaming after this visit.

From there, I set off to explore Golden Gate Park. Did I mention how much I love green spaces? Well, this one was no exception. There were so many different parts and aspects to the park that I again don’t think I even scratched the surface with my exploration, even though I still feel like I saw a lot. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to check the schedules for the Chinese Tea Garden and the Botanical Garden (such a rookie move), so I didn’t get to explore those sections in-depth, but I will make a note to put those at the top of my list next visit.

Coming to the end of my trip, I wanted to conclude with some of the more well-known locations in San Francisco, so the Golden Gate bridge was the first visit of my day. I love being near any body of water at any time, so it felt natural to see the bridge, walk along the paths and dip my hand into the Pacific Ocean.

Next on my list was the famous Lombard Street, which was a bit further from the bridge, so I hopped on one of the Lyft e-bikes from a nearby station and pedalled my way closer. I must say the e-bike stations and the size of the bike paths alone had me seething with a bit of jealousy. Now that I’m back home, the bike lanes look smaller than before. However, Lombard street was a fun street to witness in real life, and getting there drove home the absolute hilliness of the city. So far on my visit, I hadn’t dealt with many hills, but today was not one of those days, and I ended up having an unintentional bodyweight workout. After all that exercise, I treated myself to a luxurious meal at a Spanish themed restaurant called Abrazo and toasted SF goodbye.

It’s been almost a month since my trip, but I’m still in awe of the visuals I have stored in my mind of San Franciso. Now and again, I can find myself reminiscing about something I saw or felt while being there.

Back home, I can feel my feet getting a tad itchy and my brain beginning to map out my next adventure. Maybe it’ll be San Francisco again; maybe somewhere else. All I can say for sure is wherever I go; next, I and my knitting will be ready for the adventure that awaits us. Stay tuned!

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