We had stuck it out in Nova Scotia as long as we could, and now it was time to make a dash through what the locals call “the drive-through province”, New Brunswick. This moniker refers to the fact that many people dash through this working province to take in the delights of the rest of the Maritimes. As mentioned before, New Brunswick has spawned many dynastic business families, and maybe this is why – no time for frolicking, so might as well make money!
We had prepared ourselves for the border crossing by filling in the online interrogation forms regarding our vaccination status and general health and were ready to be stopped at the frontier and grilled about our lifestyle. Instead, we sailed across and were in Moncton before we remembered that we were in a locked-down province! Another stop in Fredericton to have a coffee and take in the downtown, then finally into the delightful Village of Gagetown, where I had invited ourselves to visit an old Army buddy.
After our reunion with an old friend, it was time for us to head into my ancestral homeland around Woodstock, NB. My parents had insisted that I fulfill family obligation and visit with people I had always known as Aunt Betty-Ann and Uncle Richard. It was great to have a family historian like Betty-Ann brush me up on my antecedents, and to be in a place where everybody knows how to spell our last name. And the stories that Betty-Ann told about growing up in the area helped explain a lot of the quirky things that had informed my own upbringing. It was great to see my cousins Charles, Ray and Brian again so many years after my visits to this area in my youth. It is interesting to see how we have all grown up while still recognizing the young boys that we once were! Liz and I also received a fascinating education in the family potato farming business. It was hard for us not to pick up the local Carleton County accent, which is very distinctive and unlike anything else we have heard across Canada.
It was a nice break to be able to come in from the cold of van-life travel and be welcomed into the warm embrace of family. And what a wonderful family to have! Many people made extra effort or changed plans to attend the cook-out at the camp, and Richard made sure that their home was extra warm to accommodate our expressed preference for warm climates. We experienced a very strong sense of family, and the generosity and kindness of the extended Culberson clan, including hot showers and home-cooked meals, bolstered us for the next challenge as we finally cross the border to continue our journey through the US of A.
We are still fleeing south, but as you can see from the photos, it is often possible to don shorts again. It is interesting how the culture and the accents have changed, and we are constantly reminded of the fractious history of this part of the world, with its history of slavery and war. The people are friendly and the food is great, but it is also different from what we know, which is what makes traveling so great!
Married mother of two awesome boys who is now living full time in a self converted Camper van and seeing more of the world.
We gave up something super special to live our dream of living a free and simple life on the road exploring new places and taking joy in the discovery of the extraordinary
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