Wandering Footsteps: Wandering the World One Step at a Time » Blog

News from Both Sides of the Pond (and a Request for Help)

In case you haven’t checked out our Instagram Feed or our Whereabouts Map on the right side of this page, I’m in Canada right now… and Bruno isn’t.

Every summer, I head back to visit my extended family in the Atlantic province of New Brunswick.  I spend weeks sitting on our gloriously deserted beach, cooking in the kitchen and gardening outside, binge-watching dance TV programs with my mom, doing as much yoga as possible, and catching up with relatives and family friends.

Having a cool beer on a warm evening on the porch behind my parents

Having a cool beer on a warm evening on the porch behind my parents’ beachside home in Canada.

Working in the garden - one of my newfound favouritest hobbies!

Working in the garden – one of my newfound favouritest hobbies!

A visit with my cousin, Katie, and her six-month-old baby boy, Theo(dorable).

A visit with my cousin, Katie, and her six-month-old baby boy, Theo(dorable).

And every summer in Canada – well, for the past four, anyway – I get the following question: “When’s Bruno coming?”  There are a whole lot of curious people in New Brunswick waiting to meet this almost-mythical man of mine.

Finally, this year, when I was posed this much-anticipated question, I was able to respond: “In August!”

Yep, my friends, Bruno is coming to Canada in a few short weeks!

Not only that, Totoyaya is coming, too!

You may be thinking to yourself, Wait a minute, isn’t Totoyaya for sale?  And you’re right.  Explaining her impending Canadian appearance requires me backing up just a bit: Remember how I talked about all the work Bruno and I ended up having to do – the house renovations, the truck driver’s license, the parents’ move – during our three months in Bruno’s house on the Mediterranean?  Because of that, we weren’t able to accomplish one of the goals we’d set for ourselves in France – namely, to sell our camper van and buy a new, bigger one.  We just didn’t have the time or energy to invest in sprucing her up and posting For Sale ads on visible forums and websites.

And so, we were forced to create a Plan B: hit the road yet again with Totoyaya and try to sell her while we travel.

It just so happens that our next travel destination is North America!  It’s been in our sights for years – heck, when I met Bruno, in Mozambique, and asked him where he was headed, his reply was: Alaska.  Since then, I’ve spent many hours daydreaming about finally exploring my own continent, visiting friends all around the country, and getting to know the vast landscapes, histories and cultures in my own childhood backyard.  I’m really excited to come to Canada with Bruno – and to bring Totoyaya long for a bit!

As I write this, Bruno is traveling north through France.  He left Le Grau d’Agde about two weeks ago and is heading for Antwerp, Belgium, where a ferry is waiting to sail our beloved home-on-wheels to Halifax, Canada!  He’s having an amazing time rediscovering his simple, free lifestyle after so many months in a house, and he’s having almost as good of a time discovering the beauty of his own country!  Despite visiting most of the world (over 130 countries!!), Bruno has seen very little of France.  He’s been pleasantly surprised by the wonderful farm and wilderness campsites, and has been having a great cycling around the countryside and wandering through historical towns like Rocamadour, voted this year the 3rd most beautiful French town by the French.

Bruno and Totoyaya hit the road in France!

Bruno and Totoyaya hit the road in France!

Being with Totoyaya is the next best thing to being with me for Bruno.

Being with Totoyaya is the next best thing to being with me for Bruno.

And discovering Bruno

And discovering Bruno’s own country’s beauty has been almost as wonderful!

See?  Bruno

See? Bruno’s happy!

Meanwhile I have been getting my Canada on.  I arrived in the country on June 19th and spent two nights in Toronto with our long-time family friends, the Sharples.  Even though I couldn’t wait to see my mom, it was the next best thing to be with my second mom, and to hang out with my “little sisters,” who both took a day off work to be with me as I ploughed through tubs of Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream and containers of the world’s best hummus from Falafel World.  We took their dog, Riley, for a walk along Lake Ontario, admired the Toronto skyline, visited Lisa’s mom, Baba, reconnected with one of their family friends, Tyler, and drank some good wine with the whole family.  It was amazing that the weather in Toronto was a good 10 degrees warmer than what I’d left in France!  Go Canada, go!

My "little sisters," Stephanie and Amanda.  Love you girls!!

My “little sisters,” Stephanie and Amanda with the Toronto skyline in the background. Love you girls!!

And my second mom, Lisa!

And my second mom, Lisa!  You’re the best!

Sharing a pint with Lisa and Tyler, an old friend.

Sharing a pint with Lisa and Tyler, an old friend.

Almost a month has flown by since my return to New Brunswick.  Since I know Bruno will be arriving soon, I’ve been soaking up as much daughter time as possible with my mom and dad.  Their home on the beach is an absolute paradise, so I’ve been luxuriating in a garden, kitchen, sun room, and nearby beach.  I celebrated my 32nd birthday with a morning kayak, an afternoon with friends and family on the beach, and a dinner out with my parents.  I’ve also been focussed on helping my dad create a healthier routine, we’ve all started a 21-day meditation program, and I’m also following a 6-week online course on Happiness and Fulfilment.

It seems I’ve kept my itchy feet at bay, at least for now.

By September, I imagine it will be another story.  Bruno and I don’t have concrete short-term plans – there are too many unknowns right now, like when/where we sell Totoyaya, visa issues for Bruno, and other travel opportunities that may come up.

Celebrating my 32nd birthday at home with mom and dad.

Celebrating my 32nd birthday at home with mom and dad.

Lunch out with my grampa.

Lunch out with my grampa.

Vegan buffet dinner with my aunt, uncle, parents, and cousins!

Vegan buffet dinner with my aunt, uncle, parents, and cousins!

We do, however, know our long-term plan.  And this is where YOU come in.  Bruno and I plan to spend the next several years on the American continent(s), flitting from north to south as we please (and as visas and weather dictate).  We want to go far north (to Alaska, as Bruno told me when we met, but also to Canada’s version of Alaska, the Yukon Territory).  We definitely want to spend time in Mexico and Central America (a brand new region of the world for me).  And we eventually want to head to the southernmost tip of the Americas, Argentina’s infamous Patagonia (and one of Bruno’s favourite places ever).

Since I’m fortunate enough to be able to travel at length on my continent of birth – and the continent of most of my family, friends, and faithful readers – I’m really excited to ask for your advice.  I want your help to plan our travel itinerary!

In the comments section at the end of this post, please send us your advice and tips.  We’re especially interested in the following recommendations: What must-see places and must-do experiences should Bruno and I not miss in North America?  What’s a favourite local haunt, neighbourhood, or restaurant in your favourite North American city?  What national park or reserve do you love best?  What once-in-a-lifetime activities do you recommend?  What is the most awe-inspiring piece of nature you’ve seen on our beautiful continent?  What cultural events, festivals, or concerts should we look out for in the coming months or years?

We’re really excited to begin our American Odyssey this fall!  We’re sure it’ll be all the better thanks to your help!

  • Louise Jones-Takata - Off the top of my head I like Santa Fe, N.M. (Georgia O’Keefe country) Sedona, AZ ( red rock country) Key West, Fl. but it’s the getting there the I really enjoy with the Atlantic on one side and the.Everglades on the other. The Everglades, of course.!
    I love Savannah, Ga. with its 12 squares.
    All national parks are worth your while and I will be able to report back on Zion & Bryce as I will be there this Fall.
    There are more and I will get these to you before the summer is overReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Thanks for all the great suggestions, Louise! We might be spending part of our winter in NM and Arizona so I will definitely make sure to spend some time in the regions you mentioned. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about Zion and Bryce!ReplyCancel

  • Nikos & Georgia - Hola chicos.

    This is our favorite list from Canada & US:

    1. The best highlight so far were the Northern Lights in Yukon. Follow the forecast and look for no clouds, no moon, clear & dark skies.
    2. Plan to buy/ rent a canoe, take supplies and sail from Whitehorse to Arctic Circle through Yukon river. You can sell the canoe in Alaska. Awesome ride!
    3. The Rockies (Alberta/ British Columbia). Explore them as much as possible.
    4. Yukon & Alaska are very very similar. Next time we would choose to go to Inuvik, Canada instead of Deadhorse, AK. Be aware of mosquitoes!!!!!!!!
    5. Lake Tahoe, California/ Nevada. One of the best in Western US.
    6. Nevada desert. Our best with free overnight stops all around.
    7. New Orleans. Music all around. Whats more, lots of pieces from your african puzzle will be put into place 😉
    8. Utah’s National Parks. ALL. Pick the right season & get lost to the canyons.
    9. Route 66 is a myth. Only a tiny stretch in Arizona.
    10. North America geographically includes Mexico. You cant miss it! The whole country is a great mosaic of rich history, lovely people, great art and excellent food. What else you want?

    The list can get bigger and bigger. This is only the first things that come to our mind right now.

    Looking forward to your travels updates 😉

    Nikos & GeorgiaReplyCancel

    • Brittany - We absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this list!!!! SOOOOOOOOO much! You adventurers are getting us truly excited to hit the road. We will definitely hit you up for more advice along the way. It’s funny because I’ve been trying to persuade Bruno to buy kayaks to keep on our roof so we can independently explore any piece of water…. so I LOVE your #2 suggestion! :)

      P.S. Bruno just arrived in Canada!! Totoyaya arrives in a few days! :)ReplyCancel

  • rcs - Well the Appalachian Trail of course…the Sea to Sun Hwy, the Pacific Coast Hwy, Route 66.
    Mmm, maybe the Grand Canyon or the Badlands. Then there is Yosemite, Niagara Falls and the Florida Everglades.
    I can go on if you’d like…Key West, the Giant Sequoias, the Golden Gate Bridge…okay, okay, enough.ReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Well, that’s quite the list!! Looks like we’re going to need a few years to get through it!!ReplyCancel

  • TJ Wood - I live in Davis, CA–about 75 miles inland from San Francisco. We love visiting the Eastern Sierra, driving miles down dirt roads, camping under the stars, finding petroglyphs, falling asleep to coyote serenades and waking to wild horses. Drop me a line if you want some guidance on where to go or if you want a travel companion for a couple days! Along the eastern Sierra, you guys should visit Bishop, Mono Lake, Alabama Hills, etc.!

    This area best in late spring/early fall.ReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Hi TJ, thanks so much for the recommendations! Your ideas sound RIGHT up our alley, so I’m noting down the places you mentioned. We won’t be in that region until next spring but I will try to remember to get in touch with a certain local expert as the time approaches! :) Cannot wait!!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Socia - There are many beautiful National Parks to explore in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Of course I’m sure you will be visiting the Grand Canyon and you are welcome to come visit us in Dewey which is near Prescott Our door is always open and we would love to see you and show you aroundReplyCancel

    • Brittany - Hi Sharon, thank you so much for the invite! Of COURSE we would be very happy to come by for a visit and reconnect after three years! We may actually be in Arizona this winter so I will keep you posted! :)

      Going to visit your daughter in a few days, yeehaw!!ReplyCancel

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