Make Canada a "Must" Destination on your Travel List, You Won't Regret It

I know it’s early, and you probably just started school again, but who isn’t thinking about their next spring break trip or even next spontaneous, out of the blue getaway? For me, there has always been that small voice whispering in the back of my mind saying, “What if we just go?” I’m sure you have it too. Your mind sets a scene of the next destination: you’ll load up your car full of snacks, friends, whatever clothes you can smoosh into a backpack, and you will head off. I can tell you that Montreal, Canada is the spot to go because you will never know what crazy ride will be thrown at you next. 

For my first spring break (as a freshman in college), my four friends and I booked the cheapest hotel we could find, packed the truck, grabbed our passports, and took off blasting country jams with flares of Russ thrown into the playlist to keep us awake for the long ride. As we crossed the border, everything clicked that we were on our own for a trip, just us. 

We arrived at the hotel and our jaws dropped, not in a good way, as you may have been thinking. Sarah, one of my best friends, and I went to check into our room, and we found ourselves tangled up in a small room with no AC, two beds with white sheets stained with who-knows-what, and a random sink plopped in the middle of the room. Where was the bathroom? We walked down the hall consisting of a blood-red carpet, only to find a communal bathroom with hair tangled in the shower drain. We were shocked and disgusted. As we walked out of the communal bathroom in disappointment, the three boys, Colin, Mike, and Jackson, had dragged all of our luggage from our parking spot 20 minutes away up the four flights of creaking stairs, no elevator in sight, only for us to look at them and tell them it all needed to go back. 

I know what you are thinking, “This trip sounds awful!”, but believe me it turned around because we brushed off the roadblock and kept the good times rolling. We got another hotel, dropped all of our stuff down on the unstained beds, and went out to explore. I’m not going to lie— the idea of sharing the room with only two beds for five people terrified me, but being one of two girls gave me a bed the whole trip. The boys rotated turns in the other bed, leaving little to no space in the room itself considering whoever got the floor that night left it as if a tornado came through. By the end of the trip, I can tell you the smell of the room would have burned your nose with the odor of sweat, vomit, and wrank feet. We survived though, all five of us, without wanting to punch each other in the face in such a small space. Talk about balling on a budget.

As we all know, the drinking age is only eighteen there, so we were off to the nearest pub to experience the life of Canadian teens. We were served, no questions asked. Talk about adulting, having a casual drink with your friends at an actual bar. It was heaven. Our first bartender gave us a list on our first-ever legal bar napkins consisting of the hottest bars, clubs, and tourist locations we needed to attend before coming back to the states. So off we went to fit everything we could into four short days.

The first night was just beginning. After bar number one, we headed onto the streets where the air wafted with the smell of marijuana, something that is legal there but not in the US. Canadians looked at me like I was crazy every time I was caught off guard by people just lighting up a joint while casually strolling down the streets. We kept on laughing and pointing at all of the cool things we were seeing when suddenly we realized we were in Canadian Chinatown one minute and then half way across town in Old Montreal the next. We headed back to find ourselves in a strip club (don’t tell my parents). Sarah and I left, unamused but laughing. 

The next day came around where we napped all day and partied all night, which became the agenda for the rest of the trip. Our days’ hours consisted of 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. sleep sessions and 5 p.m. to 3:59 a.m. spontaneity hours consisting of whatever crazy activity came along, no agenda necessary. After the first night is when I lost track of what day we were on. We ate fancy breakfasts of crepes and avocado toast and mimosas (very pulpy mimosas), and we scarfed down even better food before our nightly binges of jalapeno nachos. What seemed so wrong felt so right, as cliché as that sounds. It was like we were breaking the law, but we were really just living each day as if it were our last. One moment we were popping into cafes and eateries along the Old Montreal cobblestone pathways dusted with snow, then we were taking pictures with random street art, to then end up at a distillery with two men, Antuan and Antony, who taught us about the importance of beetroot fiber straws (straws that are 100% biodegradable… a big product needed globally) and who we taught about pickle-backs, all to end up at an eighteen and older club with a ton of students from McGill University who were not on spring break but actually still in college session. They treated us like their own and asked us to dance. 

Out of nowhere, the last day hit us in the face like a ton of bricks. We hiked to the top of Mount Royal to be surprised by the view overlooking all of Montreal, the place that gave us the wildest adventure of our lives. None of us wanted to leave. That was the place we learned to step up and deal with the roadblocks that may stump you in the midst of a journey with your best friends through a different country, in a positive way, and how to make it the best experience ever. All you need to have for an amazing spontaneous trip is good friends that make the weirdest and most random situations, not always being good, into a joke that leaves a print in your memory for a lifetime. 

Just go to Canada for the great food and the legal drinks, explore the old cobblestone streets, experience beetroot fiber straws, become one with the welcoming community of people, and find a new adventure around every corner. However, don’t forget to pack your coats, it’s cold! I promise that you and your friends will find yourselves hunched over in belly laughs every step of the way.

Scroll to see how the trip went down!

 

Mike and I on the start of our journey across the border.

The hotel that didn’t have a sink smack dab in the middle of the bedroom.

 

The place the Canadian experience began, and the place where our bank accounts suffered most. 

The only French food you must try, crepes with strawberries, bananas, and chocolate! To the best breakfast I’ve ever had! (Not pictured: avocado toast)

Our first breakfast location with the perfect crepes and avocado toast.

The cutest cafe find of the whole trip on the corner of the cobblestone streets.

The view outside of the 7 Grains cafe, wet pathways that felt somewhat infinite.

Just one of the pieces of street art representing our mood of the whole trip in which we stumbled upon as we walked our way through Canada.

The only important sign we cared about along the way. We even took the time to learn how to pronounce it correctly!

Our last stop along the way before heading back home at the top of Mount Royal, overlooking the fascinating view of endless adventure.