It’s well and truly over. I wish I was referring to 2020 and the messed up state of the world, but no – I’m talking about my favourite season: summer. Even when you’re in it, summer feels a bit nostalgic.
Before I started spending summers traveling in Europe with my mom (I’ve been lucky enough to do this for the past 5 years – you can check out one of my travel vlogs here, or my guide to Crete here), my husband and I had a boat. We kept it in the 1000 Islands on the St. Lawrence, a beautiful waterway that features shallow bays with turquoise waters, stunning rock faces, and uninhabited islands, teeming with wildlife.
It was a very quintessential Canadian summer. I lived in a bathing suit on weekends, ate fresh watermelon over the side of the boat in the sun so as not to get the juice on deck, sat with my feet in the cool water (I was not, and am still not a huge fan of swimming in lakes but I’m getting used to it) while our friends played in the water and lounged in the sun.
So this year, when I couldn’t sit at cafes or jump into crystal clear sea waters (I have yet to understand why I have no problem swimming in oceans and seas but lakes terrify me), the nostalgia of past Canadian summers really came at me. I am very grateful and lucky that my parents have a pool – the same one I grew up with – and that I was able to keep myself busy during this pandemic with work that I enjoy. For example, I was able to collaborate with an incredible Australian company called Cura Swim; where you can find a selection of conscious swimwear in an inclusive range of sizes for all bodies. If anyone knows swimwear, it’s the Australians, and this is the first time I found swimwear that I feel 100% comfortable in while also aligning with my values. If you’re interested, you can watch the video where I feature Cura Swim here. Normally I would have been on vacation, but I was really happy to have had the opportunity to work with, and discover a new sustainable swimwear brand.
I spent a lot of time in my parents’ pool, worked outside in the backyard, enjoyed outdoor cocktails with friends, ordered ice cream from an ICE CREAM TRUCK – seriously, I didn’t even know those things still existed – and on one special day at the very end of the summer in August, my husband and I drove back to the 1000 Islands to see some of our old friends.
It was one of those perfect final summer days where the sun is hot and bright during the day and leaves a hazy orange glow as it goes to bed. On the way home we stopped by a provincial park where the picnic tables were stacked on top of each other; a sure sign the season was over. But we hopped over the closed gate to snap some pics of my newest bikini from Cura Swim – an awesome sustainable swimwear company with inclusive sizing – and I got to dip my feet in the water again.
There’s something to be said for being close – and if you’re lucky enough – in a natural body of water. Warmed up by the season’s sun, I stood barefoot in the water and watched the boats bob at anchor and the seagulls circle overhead. I felt as light and peaceful as when I’m floating in the Ionian sea. It was a little bit as if my two summers were colliding – hot European adventures with the raw natural beauty of Canada.
I normally lament the end of my favourite season. This year, as I walked on the grass with wet feet back to our car, my only thoughts were of gratitude that I got to experience the beauty of summer at all.