Despite my adoration of city life, I’m the first to say that there are times where I need to step back from being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of total urbanity. I spend nearly every moment of my life surrounded by both locals and tourists, especially since my university is located smack-dab in the middle of downtown Toronto and work part-time in guest services as one of Toronto’s top tourist attractions. When you spend that much time surrounded by a constant flow of people, you can’t help but acknowledge the fact that you’ve become a city girl; I am a city girl through and through, there’s no denying it.
However, this isn’t to say that there are not times where I become so overwhelmed with city life that I recognize that I must step back and take some time away from my ‘everyday’. Each year, I find a way to re-center myself before re-immersing back into the city life I truly do love.
1. Take a trip somewhere surrounded by wildlife and nature.
For the past few years, I have had to ‘detox’ from city life and the stress of existing so frequently smack-dab in the middle of downtown, by taking the 6+ hour bus ride to Sudbury and adding a couple hour drive to Elliot Lake, in order to spend a week with my family living up north. This time is spent completely devoid of the stresses I face living in Toronto, and after getting my week-long fill of country life, I am always ready to get back home. In the mean time however, I am able to fill my time up with enough country road drives, lake wading, antique shopping, horse snuggling, and kayaking to last me the next 51 weeks of the year.
2. Visit friends or family living in a small town.
One thing about living in the big city that I actually like (but that you may not) is the disconnect from people. You don’t know everyone’s business and nobody knows yours, unless you tell them. However, if you like feeling this interconnectedness with everyone around you, go visit your friends and family who live in a small town. While escaping the city for point #1, mentioned directly above, I spend my week in the town of Elliot Lake, where everyone knows everything about you.
I can see the appeal of this to some people, because there is a sense of community and safety when you know everyone that you live in proximity of, as well as the goings-on of their lives.
3. Take a day trip to a conservation area and go for a hike.
I love taking my camera and a bag of halved grapes to go to the conversation areas in Durham Region for photos and duck feeding. I often find myself leaning over the pier situated on top of the large pond, quieting my mind and letting it wander to think about whatever it wants. Other times, I’ve gone on long hiking trails and spend the entire morning thinking about where my next steps will take me, instead of stressing about school; work; or dealing with masses of people.
4. Go on vacation to an island.
If you can afford it, travel somewhere far away, where you’ll know not a soul. Removal from the bustle of city life and situating yourself in total seclusion, just for a little while, can do wonders for your mental health and high-strung demeanor. Not to mention that salt water and the roaring of waves never hurt anybody.
Sometimes taking a time out is crucial to continuing enjoying life in a place filled with so much movement and a great number of people. Removing yourself from the city for a week or two in a more quiet and subdued environment is not because you dislike your own area in any way, but rather because we all need some peace and quiet once in a while. An annual trip to a more secluded destination is the perfect opportunity to align yourself back to basics and ready yourself to enter once again into bustling city life.
How do you take a break from city life? Let me know in the comments!