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.
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.
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!
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.
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!