End of the road – St. John’s, NL

IMG_2399I made it!

The road trip has come to an end because, well, there’s no more road. Yesterday I drove out to Cape Spear, the easternmost point of North America, and dipped my toes in the sea and threw the rock I’d brought from the Pacific into the Atlantic. (The cape is a fantastic spot, with the province’s oldest lighthouse and a view like none other. It’s also a good place to spot whales. I managed to glimpse a pod of humpbacks breaching and spouting way out at sea, on their way south.)

This journey has been a six-week solo adventure that began in Victoria, B.C. and took me through so many varied towns and cities and parks and gave me the opportunity to see friends from long ago, and make new friends along the way. It was also a chance to experience all 10 provinces, and all 10 capital cities – I even got a photo of every single parliament building! I’ve had a blast seeing Canada from coast-to-coast, watching the trees shrink and fade away, before coming back and then shrinking again. In the last six weeks I’ve had many moments of quintessential Canadiana; standing in the middle of a wheat field on the prairies, canoeing across a glassy lake in northern Ontario, eating poutine in Québec, tapping my toes at a kitchen party in PEI, and encountering a moose in the wilderness of Newfoundland. Last night I even became an honorary local. With a few of my newfound friends cheering me on, I kissed a cod and downed a double shot of screech (awful, paint-peeling rum) at a pub on George Street. I got a certificate at the end. Mission complete. (And another item off my bucket list!)

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Travel tip: If you visit Newfoundland you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to be “screeched in” and experience the ultimate Newfoundland rite of passage. I can’t reveal all the details because it’s meant to be a surprise, but needless to say, it’s a fun, whacky and oh-so-Newfoundlandish experience. (Dee, one of my hosts here at the hippy commune, has been screeched in nine times – once for every year she’s been living here!) Many bars around St. John’s advertise the event, but the best place to go, according to my hosts, is Christian’s Pub, where the barman performing the ceremony will give you your money’s worth. Cost is $15 per person.

I love this country, my home, and I’ve had the journey of a lifetime. Who knew? Canada may seem not particularly exotic or romantic to those of us who live here and who dream of far-flung beaches and exciting destinations in the southern hemisphere, but I say stick closer to home for your next adventure and you won’t be dissapointed. And you won’t need to get shots or your passport updated! The best time of year to go, I think, is September, because most of the country is enjoying the last of the summer weather, and it’s easier to find places to stay and less crowded tourist hot spots after Labour Day. I’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather. Yesterday was a balmy 23 C here in St. John’s, which is very unusual for this time of year.

But along with the summer, my trip is now officially over, which prompts the question…

WHAT NOW?

I’m hoping my readers will help me find an answer. Do I head straight back to Vancouver, stay here and get a job gutting fish, or find an opportunity waiting for me somewhere in between? My goal now is to find work, a paid gig, a living. As Brian Mulroney once said, Canada is a country of small towns and big dreams, and I’m open to heading to just about any town in this great land where I can find work and realize the rest of my own crazy ideas and aspirations. (Ideally, I’ll be offered a gig in which I’m paid to travel around the world and take photos of far-flung places… but I’m open to just about anything that comes with a paycheque.)

To contact me with ideas, job offers, words of wisdom, or questions about this trip and how to make it happen for you next summer, email me at mkmreid@gmail.com.

To the followers of this blog, thanks for coming along for the ride. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. And to the people who’ve helped me along the way, I couldn’t have done this trip (and it just wouldn’t have been the same) without your generosity and support. To the following people who hosted me, fed me, let me do laundry and most importantly, shared with me their local’s knowledge and their company for a short time:

  • Annemarie and Gary (Victoria, B.C.)
  • Katie and Dave (Merritt, B.C.)
  • Sarah and Ana (Nelson, B.C.)
  • Kristine (Edmonton, AB)
  • Gina (Calgary, AB)
  • Andrew (Moose Jaw, SK)
  • Shannon and John (Winnipeg, MB)
  • Chloe and Ian (Dryden, ON)
  • Suzy (Thunder Bay, ON)
  • Rodger and Maria (Toronto, ON)
  • Cher and Blair (Morewood, ON)
  • Eve (Montreal, QB)
  • Pascale and Denis (Quebec City, QB)
  • Debbie (Saint John, NB)
  • Karen (Charlottetown, PEI)
  • Anastasia and Keith (Halifax, NS)
  • Bowman (Woody Point, NL)
  • Tonya and Dwayne (Gander, NL)
  • Chad and the gang (St. John’s, NL)

THANK YOU!!

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6 comments

  1. Donna A Reid

    I loved this last entry. So interesting and made me quite nostalgic for my own past adventures. Congratulations Marelle for doing something so adventurous, something you really wanted to do on your bucket list. Be proud, be happy, you will never regret this adventure.

  2. Denis and Pascale

    Félicitations Marelle,
    heureux pour toi que tu es réalisé ton projet d’un océan à l’autre!!!
    Time now, like you said to decide what is next!
    Si tu repasses par Québec, tu es la bienvenue à St-Gabriel de Valcartier!
    Take time to really enjoy your accomplishment and the next step will come easily!
    La prochaine étape, peut être un livre de tes magnifiques photos!
    Hope to see you again and thank for joy of reading you along the road, even I just started 2 weeks ago.

    P.S. I write half french and english because you said that we didn’t make you practice your français during your stay with us!

    Denis

  3. Elsa Tesfam

    I have always dreamed of travelling across Canada! I’ve only read a little bit of your blog so far, but it’s a great inspiration to follow through with my dream. Thank you!

    • marellereid

      I highly recommend it, Elsa! Good luck with your planning, and let me know if you have any specific questions I might be able to answer. I’d be happy to share more of my experience with you. Such a great trip.

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