This Isn’t Goodbye…

For two years now, I’ve been adventuring and sharing my love of life in the Maritime Provinces here at Maritime Love. We’ve been on many local adventures together and had so much fun.

But I feel it’s time to broaden my horizons outside this magical little corner of the world. I’m hoping to start doing more travelling outside of the Maritimes soon, and I want a place where I can share those experiences and also explore how growing up in the Maritimes has influenced how I see the world around me.

So, with great consideration, I’ve come to the decision to close down Maritime Love and start a new blog, a more personal and hopefully worldly one, at The Meandering Maritimer.

Fear not, though friends, all Maritime Love posts will still be available to read and I’ll still be doing some exploring of this region. There is still so much to see, after all. We’ve only just scratched the surface. I’ll be bringing you those stories over at TMM as well.

I want to thank everyone who has read and shared and commented on any of the posts on this blog. Thank you for sharing your love of this sea salt-soaked land with me. I appreciate your support so much and hope that you will come over to The Meandering Maritimer and follow along as I start this new journey.

This isn’t goodbye, it’s just the beginning.

Good-Bye-For-Now

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Dear America:  It’s Time to Decide Who You Want to Be

Dear America,

We need to talk.

Your 2016 election day is quickly approaching and we want you to know that no one is watching more closely from outside your borders than us Canadians. Most of us feel like we have a real stake in the outcome of this election. And that’s because we do. The economic well being of our two countries is inextricably linked. I’m no expert but I know that Canada relies heavily on our unique trade deals and the Maritimes, in particular, where I’m from, relies heavily on American tourism dollars.

But it’s not just about the money. We care about what happens to you. America is kind of like Canada’s mischievous brother, always getting into trouble wherever he goes and grabbing all the attention. Canada is like the good sibling: The one that causes no trouble, and sometimes feels overshadowed.

But we are family, none-the-less. With every tragedy that strikes within your borders, we grieve alongside you. Every mass shooting; every terrorist attack. We’ve watched, horrified, as the recent string of police shootings and their chaotic aftermath unfolded. Unable to look away but wanting to understand. Many of us feel frustrated, as we know you do too, because we know there is a better way.

But never have we been so confused as we have watching the events of this Presidential election unfold. How a dangerous, narcissistic asshat like Donald Trump even became the Republican nominee is incomprehensible to many of us. The epitome of negativity and chaos, Trump’s rhetoric is frighteningly close to that of another historical leader – you know who –  the one who started a World War and tried to exterminate an entire population of people.

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Don’t get us wrong. Canadians have had our share of troubles with elections that turn nasty.  Our last federal election had its share of moments. We had to choose between some very opposing views.  One anti-immigration and borderline racist, the other bright, sunny and all-inclusive.  We had to decide what kind of country we wanted to be: One that reached out its hand to fellow global citizens in need, or pushed them away to protect ourselves from our own irrational fears.

But even Stephen Harper can’t hold a candle to Trump. His racist and sexist statements, his lack of respect for President Obama and the other candidates, and his complete inability to admit when he’s wrong, has been well documented and doesn’t even bear repeating. But perhaps his most frightening strategy of all is his attempt to instill distrust in the electoral system. The system is rigged he says, and he hasn’t decided whether he will indeed concede defeat, if (and hopefully when) that time comes. This is dangerous territory, indeed.

The only way to show the world what kind of country you truly want to be is to go to the polls on Tuesday and send a message that Trump’s kind of thinking will not be tolerated, and to do so in such a resounding way that even Trump will be forced to accept the results.

We believe that you will do what needs to be done.

We are your neighbours, friends and family. And if Trump wins, we’ll be here to welcome you, but we hope it doesn’t come to that. Your country is already great, and it could be even greater, but Trump is not the one to take you there.

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We’ll be watching closely on Tuesday, and we’ll be sending all our love and positive vibes from the Great White North. So please, Make America Great Again, and send Trump packing.  For all of our sakes.

Summer Feels and Seasonal Amnesia

We are deep into the lazy, hazy days of summer now; watching helplessly as July slips quickly behind us and we round the corner on August.

Hopefully you’ve been spending at least some of these impossibly long days exploring and enjoying all that the Maritimes has to offer.

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Lunenburg waterfront
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Cape Split, NS

It always strikes me that when you’re sweating out the summer months, even though you know that winter is most definitely coming, you still can’t fully comprehend of how cold and miserable it’s really going to be.  And when you’re deep in the dark depths of January and February, it feels like you’ll never feel the warmth of the sun again.  It’s like we develop some sort of seasonal amnesia in order to cope (is this already a thing?).

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Winter Wonderland, long forgotten

The really good news is that we’re currently in the sweatin’ and forgettin’ stage of our seasonal amnesia.  That glorious stage when blizzards are but distant memory and storm chips have been replaced by campfire chips.


But beware, my dear fair-weather friends, the clock is indeed ticking.  I can feel the days getting shorter by the moment.  Those stunning summer sunsets and glorious beach days are numbered.

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So, get out there and enjoy every second of it!  Have drinks at the boardwalk, explore a place you’ve never been, take a sailing lesson or hike that peak you’ve always wanted to tackle.  Because seasonal amnesia is real (or not) and winter is coming.

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That Hammock Life

Canada Day ’16: Love is Louder

With Canada Day just a couple days away, we Canadians have so much to be thankful for and proud of, every single year.  But I have to say that this particular year has made me more proud than ever to call this country my home.

With Donald Trump spewing all sorts of venomous hatred on a daily basis to the south and Brexit across the pond, with the anti-immigration and xenophobic rhetoric of the Ukip party, it feels like Canada is being surrounded by insanity.

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Dangerously toxic rhetoric of the Pro-Leave camp in the UK

Credited in no small part to Justin Trudeau’s sunny ways leadership, Canada has welcomed more than 25,000 Syrian refugees over the past year.  Some provinces, including my own, have significantly increased their population size.  In fact, since they started arriving last year, New Brunswick has settled more Syrian refugees per capita than any other province, by about double the national average (CBC).

And for the most part, Canadians have not only allowed these people into our country, we have welcomed them.  There were crowds at airports, holding signs of welcome, there were groups of people whose sole job was to make our new residents comfortable and to make their transition as easy as possible.

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And our newest residents have already started improving the communities they live in. Stories poured out of Alberta when the wildfires devastated Fort MacMurray earlier this year, of refugees coming together in support, and giving what little they had to their neighbours and new friends who had lost their homes to the fire.  Because they understand what it means to lose everything, and they wanted to help.

We live in a scary time.  A time when there’s no way to know where or when terror will strike next.  A time when even a night out dancing or going to the movies can end in a living nightmare.

Fear is a natural response.  Fear usually keeps us safe; it keeps us from doing stupid shit, like jumping off a cliff (for most people). But sometimes fear holds us back.  Sometimes it clouds our judgement, and closes our minds and hearts to the truth.

The truth is that our differences do make us stronger, not weaker, and they will help lead this country into the future.

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We were afraid, but we didn’t let fear win.  We refused to let thousands of people suffer a horrible fate, through absolutely no fault of their own.

We are Canadian.  We welcome all.

I’m so proud to call myself Canadian, more than ever before.

And we have to believe that love is louder than all this noise.

 

There’s Nothing New Under the Sun (Except Absolutely Everything)

Earlier today I posted this photo and caption on Instagram:

It got me thinking about this concept.  If there really is nothing new under the sun and we’re all destined to repeat the same tedious and mind-numbing cycles over and over again, why do we even bother?

Why do we get up in the morning?  Why even step outside the door?

Why do we bother to travel and explore the world, if it’s all been seen before?

And that got me thinking about that Barenaked Ladies song, “It’s All Been Done”.  Here it is, because I know you’re all singing it in your heads now:

I understand it can be frustrating, when you’re trying to be original and create something truly unique, only to find that it’s been done already.  So, what’s a gal to do?

I say, do it anyway.

Whatever it is, it hasn’t been done by you.  That story hasn’t been told by you.  And so really, it hasn’t been told at all.

This is not permission to plagiarize someone else’s work, please do not misunderstand me.  But we have to give ourselves permission to be creative, even in this exceedingly ‘it’s all been done’ time we live in.

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a great book about living a creative life, called Big Magic.  In it, she discusses the difference between originality and authenticity.  She says, “These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity.  Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.  Just say what you want to say, then, and say it will all your heart.  Share whatever you are driven to share.  If it’s authentic enough, believe me – it will feel original“.  Smart lady.

The same concept applies when exploring the world.  If it’s the first time you’ve been somewhere, explore it like you’re the first to set foot there.  Because, to you, it is the first time and it feels the same anyway.  I can tell you that the sense of wonder I feel when I hike a new forest path or visit a new-to-me place is not in the least diminished by the knowledge that thousands of people have been there before me.

So, let’s take the sage advice of the folks at The North Face and Never Stop Exploring.  

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Because yes, there is nothing new under the sun.

Except absolutely everything.

 

 

Summer in Saint John

I can feel it in the air.

Summer is starting to wind down.  You can feel the slightest bite in the early morning air, the days are getting shorter and the occasional brown leaf flutters across the driveway after a late summer storm.  Soon it will be all sweaters and boots and pumpkin spiced lattes.  But for now it’s still summer in the city.  That most coveted time when a sweater is not (always) required to have drinks on the boardwalk.  That time when the Bay of Fundy fog is sometimes even a welcome, cooling blanket.  And it seems like we’re in for a late summer heat wave so it’s a perfect weekend to head to the boardwalk or to one of the many beaches around Saint John.

From Canada Day celebrations to Buskers on the Bay, to late night drinks with friends, summer is a wonderful time in Uptown Saint John.  I feel like Uptown really is the heart of soul of this city.  It’s where we gather for celebrations small and large and it’s the place visitors gravitate towards, and for good reason.  From the lively boardwalk patios to the somber Loyalist Burial Grounds; from the charming brownstone homes on Germain Street to the stunning view down Princess Street when the sun is dipping low. You could almost imagine that those lazy days of summer will go on forever.  Until they’re over.  The wind will shift ever so slightly and suddenly it will be fall.  And that’s not so bad, really.  We’ve got a lovely September and October to look forward to.  And I do love to wear tights.  But first a few more beautiful summer weekends in Saint John, please.

Here are some shots from my summer in Saint John:


  

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As Good As It Gets

No, this post is not about a Jack Nicholson movie.

It’s about appreciating and enjoying the beautiful simplicity of life, so perfectly described in the above song by Colin Hay.  I recently rediscovered this song and am remembering just how much I love it and its message.  I encourage you to listen while you read.  I listened while I wrote.

“My, my, my, it’s a beautiful world” he sings, “I like swimming in the sea”.  Throughout the song he croons about all the simple things that make the world beautiful to him: making his own tea, driving in his car, sleeping with Marie and of course, swimming in the sea.

It’s a lesson I learned growing up in rural Nova Scotia.  That ambition is great and all, but one should never lose sight of the things that are really important in life: time spent with family and friends.  My parents, my family, they appreciate the simple life.  We never had much money, but we had all the things that were important and we had them in abundance.  Along the way I have also learned how important it is to connect with the environment we live in, to feel part of something bigger than yourself – and thus Maritime Love was born.

“Still this emptiness persists.  Perhaps this is as good as it gets”

Most of the time I think we make life a lot more complicated than it has to be.  We hurry through life, trying to accomplish as much as possible along the way but never really experiencing any of it.  There is so much joy to be had in the little things in life, if only we took the time to fully appreciate and be grateful for them.  I tend to think that this is where the true meaning of life is secretly tucked away: in the quiet moments we share with loved ones and the world around us.  When we slow down long enough to really taste the tea, to feel the wind in our hair and the water buoy us up.  Some might say that this is the space where God lives.  I don’t know about that, but I know that it’s a place where I aspire to live.

“I watch the sun as it comes up, I watch it as it sets.  Yeah, this is as good as it gets”

It sure is.

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