Me, all aboard Travis for our 2012 Travel issue!
When I was 15, I travelled with my high-school band to New Orleans, Louisiana, to play the tuba in a concert at another high school. It was a wonderfully mystical place, and someone threw their lunch at us while we were walking through their cafeteria, not so politely asking us to go home.
When I was 17, I took part in a high-school exchange program and got to live in San José, Costa Rica, for a few months. I had a great time, learned a lot of Spanish, ate green mangos and salt, saw many volcanoes and was robbed at machete point for my Joe Boxer watch.
At 19, I moved to Puerto Maldonado, Peru, a small and secluded city on the Madre de Dios River. Surrounded by rainforest, monkeys and the best ceviche on the planet, I taught English in this stunningly beautiful, lush environment. I also caught yellow fever and was chased off my bike multiple times by the village crossdressers looking for a lot more than a peck on the cheek.
At 28, I went to Paris, France, with my boyfriend. The shopping! The museums! The joint with the guy who takes a shower in the middle of the bar! That place kidnapped my heart and is holding it for ransom, and that’s all I have to say about that.
At 31, I was biking home from the Village, back to the West End, via the College Street bike lane. Coasting across the city on a warm fall night can be really dreamy, but on two separate instances I was called a faggot from cars driving by.
I’m not trying to harp on the negative. I’ve been really lucky to travel and always come home in one piece. I have only great memories of the places I’ve been so far, but I think it’s funny that no matter where we roam, shit happens. Whether it’s faraway lands or a few streets away, the world is a beautiful, messy place.
Our travel issue focuses largely on trekking around TO because there is so much to see. It’s like the world is all here in one place and we’re so lucky, aren’t we? Whether we’re travelling by air, voyaging past the great divide of Bloor Street or mapping a path to the far reaches of The Junction, let’s all go somewhere we haven’t been before. Somewhere beyond our backyards, and if someone decides to throw his lunch in your face, just dodge it and walk on by. — Phil Villeneuve