[By now I’m somewhere in Amsterdam with Cokebaby enjoying the first few days of a two week vacation. This next guest post comes from someone who recently vacationed on the East Coast, in one of my fave spots in this province: Cheticamp. Enjoy!]
By Lauren Anderson
For some reason or another – a simple love of the beach or some sort of primal yearning – my husband and I tend to gravitate toward coastal areas when we vacation. We’ve been to Maui twice, and once to Australia, and spent a lovely few days a couple of years ago in Victoria, where we walked everywhere and fed bits of fish and chips to a more or less domesticated seal that lived near the wharf for just that very reason. Each time, we breathe the salt air and enjoy the calmer pace of life and ask ourselves why, really, anyone would ever want to live in Ontario.
We both grew up here, and are likely here for the long haul, and there are a great many things to recommend it, but scenery is not among them, at least not in the flat, fairly urban part of the province we live in. It’s a little dull, and full of WalMarts, humid in the summer and fairly miserable in the winter, and we’re what feels like a zillion miles away from any body of water you could actually take seriously. But our family and friends are all here, and our careers, and that place on the other side of town that makes the best blueberry pancakes, the stationary store downtown that I love, the Christmas tree farm with the tallest trees and the free cider, so it’s a little difficult to imagine home being anywhere else.
So, we get our scenic fix the same way most landlocked people do, through regular vacations. The plan this summer was two weeks on the East coast, where my husband had visited as a small child several decades ago, and where I had read about enough during my obsessive consumption of Anne of Green Gables as a pre-teen that I had pre-emptively fallen in love. Through a series of very fortunate events, we managed to find a cottage rental on Cape Breton Island for a very reasonable price, and planned to spend the last few days of our trip in Halifax.
Our cottage, a few minutes outside of Cheticamp, was secluded and quiet, with a tremendous view of the highlands. We swam in the ocean, which was…invigorating. (A little girl, splashing around at the edge of the water, greeted me heartily in French as I dashed back to my chair and something about that interaction managed to warm me more than my towel.) We hiked up in the mountains, standing breathlessly on the trail as a moose partook of elevensies about ten feet from where we were standing. We ate a lot of seafood
When I hurt my foot, the local pharmacy gave me an ice pack and wouldn’t let me pay for it. My dad’s colleague, who I hadn’t seen in ten years or so, insisted we come for dinner with his family. The staff at Tim Hortons took their time and no one honked at us when Samantha, our GPS system, couldn’t figure out a way to clearly communicate where we should turn. I can’t figure out how to express what it all felt like to someone from Ontario. It was at once expansive and cozy. Seductive and plain.
On our third day in Nova Scotia, my husband started looking at real estate online. There are so many good reasons why it is never going to happen, but it is, for so many other reasons, very nice to feel so at home somewhere – even briefly – that the very idea of disrupting your life and relocating to another province doesn’t seem like such a disruption at all, and you start half-heartedly contemplating laying down a fistful of bills for that overpriced box of lobsters at the airport in a vain attempt to make it all last a little longer.
Lauren is a freelance copywriter and blogger living in Southwestern Ontario with her husband, cats, and a dog that welcomed her enthusiastically enough that it took most of the sting out of coming home from vacation.