The Good Life
He left with no big plans other than to tour the continent. Brian is a very personable and curious man – he will pick someone out of a crowd and decide for himself that he needs to talk to THAT person. And then he does just that. As such, he has an incalculable number of stories from his travels that he carries with him.
What he didn’t do was try to foresee too much into the future and lived on whim. And he never could have known, upon leaving Calgary in August of 2011, that he would end up in New Brunswick. That he would become a fisherman and soon captain his own boat. That he’d live solo in a tiny trailer, that he’d work the lobster season, the clamming season, and then create his own season of house-painting.
Nor did he probably know how happy he would be to do it all.
Not that it’s an easy life by any means (ask Brian to show you the pose used for clamming), but Pete and I both, being fully appreciative of the desire for change from a corporate life, could see the potential of what Brian was enjoying. It may not be a simply carefree life at all, but it could be a very good one.
He wasn’t wrong. Over the course of several hours, we caught up on each others news, swapped travel stories, and strolled along the water’s edge while the fog lifted, descended, and lifted again. This was a pattern that would repeat itself often during our two weeks in the province, and for these two landlocked Albertans who had never seen such a thing, it was fascinating.
We talked about the lives we used to have – I originally met Brian because he had been working with my sister – and none of our offices were far from each other in downtown Calgary. Can you believe those lives now? That this is where we are compared to where we were? I couldn’t, and neither could he.
It is our job, and our nature after seven years of travel, to be a bit judge-y of those places we visit. It’s not often we come up with a resounding negative perception (let’s be honest people, travel is awesome), but it’s also not often that we feel overwhelming positivity. And if there is one definitive quality that Pete and I critique every place on, whether explicitly or totally subliminally, is liveability. I would say that in our seven years of traveling, the places that make our worldwide “liveable list” amount to less than a dozen. While a two week visit may not be adequate time to pass sound judgment, we still both say that New Brunswick is now on the list.
We admit to scouting real estate and finding some shockingly good value compared to the rest of the country. (There’s a whole island near Grand Manan on sale for just a cool million Canadian pesos. Okay, so maybe that one is a stretch goal for now, but still, what a steal.) We were told that Saint John is a hotbed of innovation and thus maybe a perfect place from which to base our virtual businesses. Pete loved Fredericton; I felt more partial to the stretch of land between Moncton and the Hopewell Rocks. I want a bit remote yet still accessible. I want to watch the tidal bore come in every day. I want to be near the dramatic coast shaped by the Fundy tides.
Brian said he comes to New River Beach only sometimes. Near his tiny place he has a smaller stretch of beach. Someone placed an old chair there and he usually has it all to himself.
My guess is that there are many such places that exist in this overlooked province. And maybe, just maybe, Pete and I will someday endeavour to find our own.
WHERE WE STAYED
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