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Month: July 2018

The Tiny Town that Took On The Government…And Won (kind of)

The Tiny Town that Took On The Government…And Won (kind of)

Welcome to Port Au Choix, Canada, a small fishing village of less than 700 people. Despite its size, this tiny Newfoundland town has a lot going on. As you’ll read, its story traverses many of the core issues that rural communities throughout America are facing, among them: The blame game The human toll of declining industry The role of government Tourism as savior Little victories  Bittersweet endings The blame game During my eight weeks following the fishing industry along the…

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Just how kooky is Newfoundland?

Just how kooky is Newfoundland?

Newfoundland is so kooky it has it’s very own time zone! It’s thirty minutes different compared to any other place in North America. To give you an idea, if it’s 6 PM in Maine, it’s 6:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador.   You might wonder, why? Well, other than Newfoundland being just about the most unusually quirky places I’ve ever been, it’s positioned right past the edge of Atlantic Standard Time by just about 30 minutes.  Sure, that make sense, right? Here’s…

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Asphalt Musings: Starting to tie things together

Asphalt Musings: Starting to tie things together

One of my favorite times to really consider what I’ve learned so far is while I’m driving. Often, with no radio, no music, and no podcast, I would drive in silence for hours reflecting on the towns I’ve seen, patterns that seem to be emerging, and the people who’ve touched my heart along the way. As I drove to Newfoundland, there were days, upon days, of no radio reception. None. After feeling myself reel through thoughts for far too many…

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Crossing Borders to Find Truth

Crossing Borders to Find Truth

I told no one of my Newfoundland destination. They would have thought, that I had certainly lost my mind.   I wanted to go as far as the lobster highway would take me. I wanted to see how Newfoundland was recovering from the fishing collapse, much like industry collapse in the south. And now, today, with the retaliatory tariffs, I needed to know that as citizens we were still allies even when our ‘leaders’ had lost their minds and were driven by…

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Oh ‘Merica, When Will You Catch Up?

Oh ‘Merica, When Will You Catch Up?

Now that I had my destination, Newfoundland, I was ready to say goodbye to Maine and head back north into Canada. With all my trips to Grand Manan, I’d become a familiar face at the border. It got to be quite fun to see some of the guards, on both sides, who heard the story of my trip and checked to see how I was doing. They’d even leave their post to come chat for a minute. It’s funny how…

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The Thread. Thank you William Stafford!

The Thread. Thank you William Stafford!

I started this journey hoping to bridge the divide between city and rural life. I didn’t know where I would go as I was only allowing myself to go where I was sent along the way. I didn’t know who I would meet, as I had not planned to meet anyone in particular. And I didn’t know where I would stay. I would find shelter along the way or pull into some wayside road and tumble into the foldable bed nestled…

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What does all this have to do with rural America?

What does all this have to do with rural America?

Before I continue with my odyssey into the Gulf of Maine and the northern reaches of Canada, I want to say this… One morning I was having breakfast at a restaurant overlooking a bay in Maine. A white family was having a debate about the ‘rightness’ of black ball players taking a knee. The debate went on for some time. Then there was a pause. They’d exhausted the soundbites I’d heard on the news and known that no one really…

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Learning to Love the Contradictions: Where next?

Learning to Love the Contradictions: Where next?

Slowly, ever so slowly, I’m learning how to sit within contradictions and opposing views. As someone who’s the product of a world that reveres the comfort of black & white, right & wrong, I’m learning that our world, our nation is immensely imperfect, filled with flawed people. If we are to gain more acceptance, compassion, and unity, we need to be willing to sit in the discomfort of the mess that is humanity. Only then can we begin to hear…

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Vinalhaven. I love you so!

Vinalhaven. I love you so!

Today, sadly, I leave my favorite place in Maine — Vinalhaven! It’s the most amazing island I’ve ever visited. Yes, even including Hawaii! I am forever grateful to Sarah and her dad, Phil. Their care for their community is inspiring. Their appreciation for PFAs (people from away) is touching. I never would have learned what I did without their help, insight and support. They offered me a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience island life – with all its complications and contradictions….

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Lobstermen in the Sea of Maine

Lobstermen in the Sea of Maine

I still can’t believe how people have sent me exactly where I need to go! When the hairdresser, in a small Maine town, sent me to a fishing village to learn about the ‘real’ life of a lobster town, she suggested I contact their harbor master as soon as I arrive. “My father is one here, in this town. They know everything you’ll want to learn about rural life in lobster land.”  She even recommended a place to stay. This…

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