Thinking of “home”—Kingston, ON
Even though we’re not travelling anymore, we aren’t really home, either. In a way, our trip isn’t exactly over, as we haven’t returned to our regular residence. We are stationary in London, ON for the time being, until our apartment lease here is over, the tenant is out of our house in Kingston, and Dan takes his permanent post at the Kingston branch of the company that hired him in May.
As I slowly prepare to move back “home,” I’ve been thinking more about my little city. I actually love Kingston. I’ve lived all over the place, and of all the places I’ve had a somewhat permanent residence, Kingston is likely my favourite. But travelling souls are never satisfied sticking to one location, and by the time we left for our adventure, I was getting a little tired of the same old. The same old festivals with all the same people coming to them, the same old fights against progress, the same old useless arguments against residential development in a city with a 0.6% vacancy rate. While I love Kingston, staying in it permanently is not my ideal. Staying in any city permanently is not my ideal.
Travelling is what makes my soul happy. I have had a really difficult time accepting that the trip is over, but I feel like I’m finally somewhat adjusting to the idea that we’ll be staying put for a while. And just when I started getting used to staying put, we’ll be moving again in two weeks’ time.
The building where we’re living is ridiculously expensive, but it is very nice. I’ve enjoyed the “study lounge,” where I can come while everyone else is still sleeping, and get some writing done. I’ve enjoyed the games lounge, where I can go with the kids if we get bored on a rainy day. I’ve enjoyed the smaller size of the apartment (compared to our house) and how much easier it is to keep clean. I’ve enjoyed living right across from the park, so that when we feel like going outside without going too far, we just cross the street and go blow some bubbles and play Frisbee.
But on August 31st, we’ll be moving “home.” I put “home” in quotations marks because I’ve lived in so many places, I don’t really know where home is anymore. And because after living my dream of long-term travel, what I always suspected showed itself to be true: my real home is the road, where I can come and go as I please, where every day is an exciting adventure discovering the unknown, where our family is free, and where routine is not the ruler of my life. While I’m disappointed about the trip ending, I’m also trying to look on the bright side. The city we’re going back to is not so bad.
Kingston has been home for 14 years or so, on and off. And it is a really nice small city, which a lot of travellers passing through on their way to Ottawa, Toronto, or Montreal don’t seem to know. Many a time we’ve hosted couchsufers or Warm Showers guests who were on their way to somewhere else, and therefore only planned to spend the night in Kingston and then move on. But if you can set a little time aside, Kingston has a lot to offer for every budget.
Visit Kingston, ON
If you’ve never been to Kingston, it’s really worth planning to visit this little city in Southeastern Ontario. With a population of roughly 137,000 people, Kingston is neither too big nor too small. It’s small enough that you can meet people easily, but it’s not so small that everyone knows about everyone else’s business. It’s also big enough to have many of the amenities you’d expect in a larger city—Costco, all the big box stores, several restaurants, from chains to mom and pop shops, and more.
Another nice thing about Kingston is that there are activities to fit every budget, including a zero dollar one. If you like Victorian architecture, Kingston’s historical heritage will impress you—and walking through the city to observe these old houses and building is free. If you like anything to do with water, we have access to gorgeous Lake Ontario—and going swimming is free. And if you’re a foodie, you could spend days trying all the different restaurants downtown Kingston and elsewhere in the city. That’s not free, but worth the expense if you can afford it.