My Trip out East: New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia

Don’t drive eight and a half hours straight in a tiny car. Or maybe do. Do it and then drive another four hours the next day, a couple more after that, and some more after that. Sleep in a B&B full of weird antiques and another one that overlooks a cemetery. Ask for the Wifi password and then ignore the fact that the connection’s not strong. Go hiking and visit half a dozen lighthouses but don’t swim at the beach—it’ll turn you blue. Try to see a moose but settle for a fox. Drive the paths you see in car commercials and forget that you haven’t watch TV in a week. Stop the car and get out. Drive another four hours. Maybe you’ll find yourself, or maybe you’ll just find a great souvenir tshirt.

Before I left for my trip, I’d heard some buzz around “The Nature Fix,” a book that claims the natural world can “improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and ultimately strengthen our relationships.” I’d also been thinking about seeing more of Canada and finally driving comfortably on the highway—a goal I’m proud to say I accomplished. My sister and I didn’t really have a reason to take this road trip, but we decided we wanted to be more spontaneous and re-live a trip our parents took 25 years earlier.

As an avid planner, this trip was outside of my comfort zone. We had roughly planned out what we’d do each day so we could book places to sleep, but the rest was up in the air. The first day was a long, taxing drive that ended in Fredericton, NB. From there we passed through Moncton, Shediac, and then took the Confederation Bridge onto PEI. After a few days of lighthouses, beaches and lobster, we took a ferry to Nova Scotia and drove up to Cape Breton for a couple of days—where I had the best seafood chowder of my life. We drove around the Cabot Trail and hiked and drove some more. I don’t know what my parents did without Podcasts and Apple Music. On our drive back, we stopped in Moncton, visited Hopewell Rocks, and slept in the same airbnb in Fredericton that started it all. Then came another eight and a half hour drive home, one we were more comfortable making but was just as challenging.

I’m not sure that this trip changed my life, helped me find myself, or improved my health. However, these 11 days of unfamiliar sights and unpredictability helped me become more comfortable being spontaneous and allowed me to meet incredible people and learn about their lives. I’m grateful that I live in Montreal, but seeing more of Canada has allowed me to embrace my Canadian identity even further. So don’t drive eight and a half hours straight in a tiny car. Or maybe do.

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