Halifax was the perfect place for a solo escape.
I’ve written before about 5 travel splurges that were worth every penny. Sometimes having a splurge is the best possible value – it creates a memory or an experience that becomes the highlight of a trip.
Recently, I heard people on Twitter chatting about #ChardonnayDay and I had an instant flashback to one of my favourite travel splurges that was a chardonnay soaked experience!
In 2001, I returned to my home province of Nova Scotia after living and studying in England and backpacking around Europe – a wonderful 8 month experience that played a huge role in shaping my love of travel and writing. Being back in my tiny Cape Breton community felt stifling and I sent myself off to Halifax to stretch my legs a little bit and – on a more practical level – collect some belonging from the long-suffering ex-boyfriend I had broken up with while living overseas.
Halifax is a great city in the summer. It has a beautiful waterfront, lively patios and pubs, and fantastic outdoor activities like visiting the historic Citadel. On the day I resumed custody of my old computer and sweatshirts, however, I found myself indoors. I had made my way to the Nova Scotia Art Gallery and eagerly sought an acquaintance with its air-conditioned interior. It was wonderful to be surrounded by art once again and I took a special pleasure in the gallery’s one of a kind collection of Maud Lewis paintings, folk art, and artifacts- even her house!
At the end of my visit, I popped into the gallery café for lunch. I can remember having this overwhelming need to just treat myself, take care of myself, transition from one world – of travel, study, a failed relationship – to another. After months of backpacking in Europe on a budget of $35 a day (yep, transportation, accommodations, food, EVERYTHING!), eating out was a big treat.
My memory of the meal is a bit fuzzy – squash soup, light salad maybe, definitely dessert, but I remember thinking how novel it was to not order the most inexpensive, calorie dense item on the menu! And then I did something completely out of character – I ordered a glass of wine!
I had an icy cool glass of Jackson Triggs Chardonnay. It made me feel sophisticated, grownup, worldlier than the naive girl who left for Europe 8 months earlier. Chardonnay is not always my first choice for wine, but now I choose it when I feel the need to treat myself and start afresh. It reminds me again and again that budget travel is a great choice, but sometimes you need the value of an unplanned splurge to keep things on track!
Have you ever had a small splurge that made you feel like a million bucks? Share your experiences in the comments below.
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27/5/2013 03:01:57 pm
I loved your story. It's so important to refresh every now and then... and sounds like you needed it! $35/day is so impressive!!
27/5/2013 09:27:35 pm
Oh, I LOVE massage therapy!! And it can be a good deal, sometimes, if you have private insurance to cover it.
5/2/2014 07:18:59 am
I tend to mix my splurges up, alternating between food, accommodations, and activities and other treats.
I'm heading to Halifax & NS for two weeks in less than 2 weeks to undertake a series of adventures. Although I do watch my budget I also allow myself one glass of wine most nights - especially if it's been a tough day of hiking, kayaking etc...It's my one splurge and I can totally see why it felt so good for you.
3/6/2013 03:59:32 pm
I hope you have a wonderful time in Nova Scotia - and be sure to drop by the gallery if you have a chase!!
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