Going to Banff for 5 weeks as of this weekend, for a writerly thing. I went once before, two years ago? On a week-long residency, which in retrospect I consider a bit of a dry run since A) I got nothing done and B) I at least, I hope, it’s enabled me to prepare mentally for this redux.

DreamhouseThe first time I went, I had high hopes that the town was going to = NORTHERN EXPOSURE (the only show I ever liked, BTW).

It didn’t, but there’s an amazing gem store I visited when I felt homesick (I collect gems). I also went to a mall with chain stores because it was generic enough that I could pretend I was with my sister in Scarborough, or shopping for Christmas or something; that one didn’t really help. Though I did buy a sweater at The Gap because the air had turned to ice and I knew it would be like a blender going up the mountain to the Banff Centre. And also one day I sat on the paving stone outside of a tattoo shop, listening to soft-rock being piped out of a loudspeaker because they were blaring a favourite, very nostalgic, Karaoke song (“Africa,” by Toto, if you must know. I JUST watched the video now, for the first time in my life, to link it. Watch it. It’s a totally righteous video without any bullcrap, because the song is so fine).

If the highlights of my first Banff trip are the meagre ways I eased my homesickness… then you can probably guess I’m a bit anxious about going back again. I keep telling myself it will be better. Bringing way more books, food, and also knitting. The thing with travel is you think it–no, YOU–will somehow be different. Like, last time I thought I’d take baths without them becoming tedious after 7 minutes and causing Catholic guilt over idleness, or I believed maybe I’d actually hand write in a journal by the Bow River without cringing from bugs and suppressing the OCD whispers that the wind was really a bear thrashing through leaves. The truth is, I will spend most of my time sleeping, eating, reading, and watching movies. A residency is like real life, minus everything/everyone you love!