Travel Stories: How NOT To Order An Uber in Toronto

All about vegan food, Uber fails, and other drunken Toronto shenanigans. 

Graffiti Alley, Kensington Market, Toronto

Graffiti Alley, Kensington Market, Toronto

Flashback to October 2016 and you’d probably find two freshly turned 21-year-olds Emily and Kelsey hanging out after a late night at work, drinking beers and talking about life and everything we wanted to do. I can remember spending countless nights like this in Kelsey’s apartment- minus, of course, the times I got too fucked up to remember anything at all. Oops.

Aside from all of the stupid shit we would do together (and there was plenty of it), we always dreamt about the idea of traveling, but didn’t really know where to start, and assumed we were way too poor to afford it- we could barely afford to buy Blue Light from the gas station around the corner.

Coupla crazies.

Coupla crazies.

Needing to somehow get away, though, we finally decided to set out on a quick little one-night road trip to Toronto to see Glass Animals- one of our favorite bands. Yes, we were stupid broke- but a two hour drive to a major city was the closest (and cheapest) thing to actual travel for us, so that’s what we did.  

We made it to our hostel sometime in the afternoon, because like the broke bitches we were (and still are), we had to work in the morning. Being the first time we had ever stayed in a hostel, we didn’t really know what to expect, but a super nice girl with some sort of foreign accent checked us in at the front counter, started chatting us up (she told us she listens to Glass Animals too and saw them in Germany once or something?!), and showed us around the space.

Throughout the entire “tour” Kelsey and I just kept shooting each other “omg, this is super cute” looks behind her back- and once we got to the rooftop bar/lounge, it was game over. Did I mention we only paid around $30 each to stay there?

Travel Stories | Toronto, ON | Emily Malkowski | Travel & Lifestyle Blogger

Since we had some time to kill before the concert, we walked around Kensington Market, a cute, artsty type of neighborhood full of art, shops, and a colorful section called “Graffiti Alley,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

Kensington Market Coffee Shop | Toronto, ON | Emily Malkowski | Travel & Lifestyle Blogger
Vegan mac & cheese with a local brew and cheesy Snapchat filter.

Vegan mac & cheese with a local brew and cheesy Snapchat filter.

Kensington Market Coffee Shop | Toronto, ON | Emily Malkowski | Travel & Lifestyle Blogger
Kensington Market Coffee Shop | Toronto, ON | Emily Malkowski | Travel & Lifestyle Blogger

After eating (and staging a photo shoot with our vegan food, obviously) we decided we were finally ready to call an Uber to take us to the venue. Since Uber hadn’t rolled out in Buffalo quite yet, it was also our first time with that. We ordered the Uber, assuming that our pickup location was set to our current location- because that just makes sense, right? You’d think. But somehow- and I literally still have no idea how- our pickup location ended up being five blocks away. And our Uber driver was only two minutes away from there. Fail #1.

Commence full-blown panic mode.

We took off in a literal sprint down the streets of Kensington Market, laughing hysterically the whole way and probably getting judged by locals. That’s us, stupid American tourists.  Regardless, we made it- may have gotten in a workout to do it, but we made it. And we had a great time. We danced, fan-girled, drank beers- you know, the usual concert stuff.

Kensington Market Coffee Shop | Toronto, ON | Emily Malkowski | Travel & Lifestyle Blogger

Fast forward to a couple of hours later- Kelsey’s phone ended up dying at the show, but I didn’t have international data on my phone. So, I had a choice- try to drunkenly navigate back to the hostel in the dark and probably get lost, or rack up a ridiculous bill to use my data and order us an Uber home. A few super angry texts from my mom and $100 of international data charges later (oops), we got home just fine. Fail #2.

I’m sure if we had stayed longer, we would have had time to make even more Uber-related fails, but (thankfully) there were just the two.

All things aside- even though things did go wrong on our little excursion, even though sprinting five blocks to catch the first Uber did made me very uncomfortably aware of how out of shape I am, and even though the second Uber ride did end up being way more expensive than it needed to be (thanks to international data charges), we had way more fun and made way more memories than we would have if we had just stayed home and told ourselves we could never afford it.

And that is priceless.

Also, we’re a lot better at Uber-ing now. Most of the time.