21 Oct Why you Should Explore Nova Scotia – Conversations Matter
This October, I had the very good fortune to visit Nova Scotia for 8 days. While I had been to Halifax before, I had never seen anything else outside of Halifax.
I’m so lucky to have explored this time.
In part, I was seeking conversations with random strangers as part of the Talk2MorePeople Canadian Tour – a journey of conversations to find out,
“What is important to you as a Canadian today?”
The first couple of days were spent visiting the Devine’s – cousins of mine on my mother’s side and they treated us very well. We spent those nights at an AirBnB in the beautiful countryside outside of Windsor. I was travelling with my very dear friend, Renee.
Once in Digby on the west coast, we received a great deal of information from the owner of this adorable bakery and cafe. Among other things, he suggested that we visit a beautiful long beach that was on the way to Yarmouth. I was impressed with just how much information this man had to share with us and grateful to learn about the beach.
We were very impressed. The beach at Mavillette was even more beautiful than he had promised. On that day we were hearing that it had been snowing in Calgary, we dipped our feet into the ocean and it was beautiful.
The tips and suggestions that you can get from speaking to the locals are often the most wonderful.
I’ll take a human conversation over a Google search for travel information any day of the week.
Once in Yarmouth, we were approached by a gentleman in his late 50’s while at a Tim Horton’s. As he seemed keen to chat, I asked him, “What is important to you as a Canadian today?”
He sat down to join us and stated immediately, “I’ll let you know that I am a right wing conservative.” Leonard then explained his views on how he has a problem with our current and last federal governments. He spoke to us for over 15 minutes on his political perspectives and about the things that he sees as wrong with Canadian politics. He added at the end that he would have a better chance of remembering us if we had offered him $100 at the beginning of the conversation. And then asked, what that meant? I offered, “Well it seems that you value money highly so that will stand out for you.”
This somewhat intense discussion was not was I was expecting in The Tim Hortons on Main Street in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and I was genuinely thankful for it. After our discussion, Lenorad asked for my thoughts. I told him, “I greatly appreciate you sharing your strong views with us. Because I really do want to capture a broad perspective of what’s important to Canadians today and you’ve given me your take on that.”
I chose not to offer my opinion on his opinions.
Shortly after, we headed off and we found our campsite for the night.
The following day we enjoyed a visit with George Claimont. George is a friend of mine from Calgary who is a talented writer and improviser. We met as his childhood home and farm and he kindly gave us a tour. George had just gotten out of the hospital so I was thrilled that he was open to having us visit him. In fact, it is because George was down in Yarmouth that we went south to see him. And this was such a wonderful part of our trip. Even though our re-connection was brief the mutual respect was there.
When you are going somewhere where you have connections, get in touch. Those old friends will be very happy to hear from you.
It really was awesome to see George.
We were blessed with another family visit with my cousin Denis just outside of Halifax that evening. There I got crushed at Ping-Pong by his talented son and we took comfort in their warm home. With all of us originally from Ontario, we discussed the benefits of living in this part of Canada. You can get quite a bit more land out here for your investment than many other parts of the country. The people are extremely friendly and it seems that life is much less hectic here. I can imagine that this would be a wonderful place to raise a family.
From there we popped in on Ed Campbell in Dartmouth who I worked with in Kananaskis, Alberta 16 years ago. We had a great catch up as well before heading up to Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail.
I had heard that it was beautiful up there but could not prepare my eyes for the treat that they were about to receive. Apparently our timing was great as we happened to arrive just before the “Celtic Colours” festival which is a music festival that takes place all over the island. It is also timed with the leaves that are typically changing this time of year. While the leaves were changing late this year they were still spectacular. On this visit to Cape Breton Island we camped just south of the national park as well as in Meat Cove – Nova Scotia’s most northern community. We had been advised to get off the famous Cabot Trail to visit there by many people so we decided to do so. Again, we were not disappointed.
Getting off the beaten path almost always has it’s benefits.
We landed at what was likely the most beautiful campground I’ve ever seen. And with our luck there was a full harvest moon that evening. Jamie who was working the campground office (also overlooking the ocean) provided abundant information for us and we settled in.
Charlie approached us the next morning on the beach in Inverness. We had slept by the ocean and chose to have breakfast on this beautiful beach.
He was keen to show us some sea glass that he had collected and went into some fascinating stories about Inverness, the history here and all sorts of things. He told us about the mine that used to be 15 miles out to sea and how children worked there back in the day. He talked about how the golf course behind us also used to be set up for coal mining and that there was some of the best coal in Cape Breton Island here.
He told us about ghosts on the sea and had us entertained for our entire conversation.
Charlie had the characteristics of many of the people who we have met in Nova Scotia: friendly; talkative; full of stories and holding a wonderful enthusiasm for life.
When I asked him what is important to him as a Canadian today, this is what he told me,
“All of this!” (as he gestured to the natural beauty that we were surrounded by) He expressed gratitude for living in this part of Canada and for being able to eat every day.
I found it very interesting how two of the men who I had met in the same province who were a similar age had such different priorities and perspectives.
Hearing all of these as well as other stories from the people who we met along the way was a very welcome compliment to the trip. Nova Scotia is a very special part of Canada that I look forward to exploring further again one day.
So when you create some time to explore Canada’s beautiful Maritime provinces, be sure to give yourself time to explore Nova Scotia.
What’s the point of this Talk2MorePeople Canadian Tour? It’s an opportunity for me to capture a snapshot of perspectives about what is important to Canadians who I meet along the way. My intention is to document a number of stories on this blog and to capture some interviews for the Talk2MorePeople Podcast.
Each of the people who I engage in conversation with are given this card. It is a 30 Day Challenge to meet a new stranger a day for a month. I learned from my own experience of doing this daily for a full year that truly amazing things can and do happen when you reach out to strangers through face to face conversations.
Go on, give it a go…
Tony Esteves is an international speaker, MC, facilitator and performer who brings play back into the workplace. He is a published author and a performer with Le Cirque de la Nuit – a Calgary based circus. Tony has recently concluded his 1 year social experiment called, Talk2MorePeople. This project aims to illustrate and prove the value of meeting new people through face-to-face conversations. Here is an article from CBC Radio about the project.
If you are interested in supporting Talk2MorePeople you can do so by making a contribution on this Patreon Account.
Connect with Tony for a meaningful face-to-face conversation.