I’d like to introduce you to my new project!
In fact, I should say our new project!
I’m leaving with Oceanna for a 2300km hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Start : Fort Montgommery, New York State, USA
End : Parc Forillon, Quebec.
Oceanna is a very intelligent and sensitive 16 year old girl. She has a good heart and loves to help others. Sadly, like many disillusioned young people, she has lost herself in a behavioral whirlwind. She accumulates failures on a personal level as well as in her relationships with friends, lovers and parents. She has not been in school for a few years. Oceanna has a difficult inner life and does not seem to find motivation for a future and/or an independent life that will fulfill her in her adult life. She has a few suicide attempts under her belt and several behavioral problems that lead her to depression and delinquent behaviors that are dangerous for her and her loved ones.
After receiving news from Oceanna that overwhelmed me, I decided to leave everything behind and officially organize this therapeutic adventure. I am doing a project that brings together my academic learning, adventure life experience, and personal life experience and use them to create a program to help people in need through adventure. I have been working for several years on both a personal and physical level to finally be able to do exactly what I love in life while helping people in need.
As I am doing this project completely voluntarily, I will be raising funds to pay for the minimum of my mandatory payments.
We will feed the site with our photos, videos, thoughts and experiences throughout this adventure!
Thank you for supporting us both morally and with your comments.
My arrival in Montreal.
September 7 – Campbelton to Sainte-Florence : 75 km
Back in Quebec… After a salutary stop with my family. A family that was kind enough to take me to Campbelton to spare my tired legs despite a nice break with them.
It’s clear that the end of my trip is approaching as Quebec is getting closer and my body is feeling it! It seems that it is more and more difficult to ride, to move forward, to get closer to the end of an adventure that I don’t want to leave even if my body and my head ask for it…
Luckily the Matapedia valley charms me. I stop in a wonderful place to cook on a wood fire and feel the pride of having become the woman I always wanted to be! I am happy and proud of how far I have come!
September 8 – Sainte-Florence to Amqui : 32 km
Despite the beauty of the place, I feel exhausted… I’m sick, I have a sore throat that forces me to stop for two nights in a nice inn in Amqui, in order to get well and continue my journey towards the grand finale of this wonderful trip.
September 10 – Amqui to Sainte-Flavie : 84 km
Strange departure from Amqui in the wrong direction!
I definitely feel a resistance towards this return to Montreal.
I have to get used to my return to civilization and to the Quebec I know so well.
September 11 to 14 : 233 km
From Sainte-Flavie to Rimouski > Trois-Pistoles > Kamouraska / Saint-Pascal > Saint-Jean-Port-Joli
The road continues… with a good headwind that exasperates me!
Despite everything, I’m on the edge of the river and I get drunk on the beauty of the landscapes and on these beers from microbreweries and generous in alcohol… To this are added beautiful meetings and a beautiful evening in a field to finally fall asleep under the stars!
More or less well recovered from a fresh night, I fall asleep near a grocery shop…
But Providence provides for my great fatigue and I am offered a ride to Grondines past Quebec City.
That’s it! I am on the north shore of the river. My home is getting closer and closer…
September 15 – Grondines to Louiseville : 97 km
Second to last night before returning to Montreal… I’m panicking… it’s the end!
I am proud and happy with myself. But the fear of returning to this life that is not my ideal scares me.
September 16 – Louiseville to Repentigny : 77 km
I’m riding on the Chemin du Roy, I’m tired… my thighs are burning… there are only a few kilometres left before I get to Montreal… but they seem endless. I find myself in the suburbs, I have to sleep in a motel… Phew! The place is very mediocre… I sleep with difficulty, because the smell and the dilapidation bother me. I feel very far from my nights under the tent swept by the sea winds…
17 September – from Repentigny to my home, Montreal
It’s over, I’m crying. But I am also excited.
My friends and my mother are waiting for me impatiently and I can’t wait to see them… They will be there…
I am coming. They are here! I am back.
It’s not over yet…
You still have a few days to make a donation via my GoFundMe page.
And I’ll soon be giving all these beautiful pennies to the Répit-Jeunesse organization.
Thank you to all those who did it and to those who will do it again.
My New World !
The Peregrines are having fun !
August 27 – to Cape Pele, New Brunswick : 53 kilometres
As I hit the new coast of this province, I ride with a headwind and my thighs burn… I continue and try to adapt to this new environment, much more populated than the roads of Cape Breton or Prince Edward Island. The beaches in this part of NB attract a lot of people. When I arrived in society, I was marked by this tourist crowd. I had been alone and quiet in my own little world for so long that it was difficult for me. Moreover, for my first night, I can’t find any place to put my tent! I have to resign myself to pay for a small place in an RV campground.
OUF! It’s a bit of a shock… I feel far from the seaside in solitude. I am happily told that tonight is Bingo and that I must not miss it… they even insist that I stay another night, because the next day, beware… it will be Halloween!
After a joyful night of insomnia, I will take the road again towards Shediac, the lobster capital!
August 28: Cap Pelé to Bouctouche Bay – Shediac
That’s it, I have to rest even if friends are waiting for me in the Acadian Peninsula, 150 km from here, but now I have to rest these aching thighs. I decide to rent a small cottage by the sea and spend two nights there.
Shediac is definitely too big for me! It’s the weekend, everything is full, so no rest here for me … and no picture with the lobster … because the queue is too long ! Ha! Ha!!
I sit quietly next to this giant lobster trying to return to civilization… I prefer to put my energy into preparing a good salad, tasting olives and a good bottle of white wine! This is what makes me feel back in this life of ease and lust!
I still breathe in the smell of freedom and happiness! The sea by my side, the music in my ears, my choice of lifestyle and this desire to connect with people urge me to come back to you my friends!
Before the big return, I have a stop to make in the Acadian peninsula to see a couple of friends I met a few years ago!
August 30: some 150 kilometres later… Neguac
What a welcome… for my arrival in Acadia in the family of my friends!
The connection with this family is unbelievable, we are so different, but we share the same values… I feel like I’ve arrived at home… I don’t like to sleep in people’s houses, even in the houses of my long-time friends. I feel at home with these friends who welcome me with incredible generosity!
My lack of self-confidence and my fear of disturbing people, which is so obsessive, is softening and I feel very well among them!
Several events, including one that takes place the weekend after my arrival, make me stay several days… eight days to be precise.
I became even more friendly with this incredible family. This created a balm on my lack of confidence in myself… And I discovered new tastes thanks to the ‘Nashville de Lagacéville’ !
I thank them for this beautiful moment and I leave filled with gratitude!
I even celebrated my birthday there, as I don’t let myself celebrate easily.
After such a beautiful week ‘with the family’, my stay ends on a beautiful Monday in September, under the rain, by taking the road back to Quebec.
The Matapedia Valley awaits me with its infinite beauty!
And a little further on, the St-Lawrence river that will take me back to my home…
The return is close, very close…
But so far…
for my tired legs, my body, my head…
despite all the Love in the World.
Between dream and reality…
By dint of contemplating the sea, one day you end up taking it.
As you know, I had to cross from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia and I managed to do it by sailboat…
Wow, the dream! A dream that I had been dreaming about for at least fifteen years. And now the opportunity to live this mini experience (at least that’s what I thought) of sailing presents itself.
While waiting to join the sailboat of my dreams, I am well settled in McCallum on the high ground and I have a spectacular view.
McCallum is a small village accessible only by boat, to get around here well it’s on foot or 4 wheels for some.
It used to be a village of 300 people and now there are only 25 permanent residents.
There’s not much to do, but I take the opportunity to relax, cook, read and do some hiking, watching the sea…
The cellular network is intermittent. We have arranged to meet here or in Francois (spelled without an ‘ç’ and pronounced ‘Fransway’) which is a village about 25 nautical miles away and the ferry to get me there will be in a few days.
On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, I receive a text message!… “Julie we are almost at McCallum!… The winds were very good, we’ll be there by 5:30!
After uncorking a good bottle of wine while cooking, I jump for joy! So I prepare a dinner for three! I am sitting in front of the ocean, looking at the distance, because I know very well that I will see the sails very soon !
THERE THEY ARE…!!! I see this magnificent sailboat with two fantastic humans on board and Minette, this faithful cat, they are there very close…
But an intense sound comes to disturb this moment of pure happiness!
A helicopter!? My attention turns to this machine which is usually used in case of emergency !?? But finally they are only rich tourists who came to see this village which according to them will not exist any more soon… Bah… I talk a bit with these people, don’t care about them and run instead to the harbour at the bottom of the hill…
The reunion is very pleasant! I am greatly welcomed on this sailboat by a captain in whom I trust.
After a good supper, I stay in my tent at the top of the hill and fall asleep dreaming of what awaits me on the boat…
Day 1: McCallum to Richard’s Harbour.
The next day, the moment of truth has arrived, the bike is dismantled and well stored in the boat. Before crossing over to Nova Scotia, we will ride along the south coast of Newfoundland. There are still so many beautiful places to visit. We motor out to Richard’s Bay, which is not far away. The sea is calm, we move without wind to the bottom of the bay. The landscapes are breathtaking… The silence is soft. No waves, the sea is like a mirror… Ah! How good it will be to sleep in the dark and the silence! The sailboat hardly moves… I am looking forward to the next day, wishing for a lot of wind to satisfy my desire for sailing… Obviously I know nothing about it, but I am excited and open to learn everything.
Day 2: Departure to Francois.
The sea becomes a bit rougher… I have a happy feeling… The sails are up and suddenly I fall asleep terribly… I try to stay awake, but I fight… I close my eyes and let myself be carried… Luckily I am not the captain! The waves, the wind, I sleep… I learn, when we arrive at the small village of Francois, and with my feet firmly on the ground, that falling asleep is a form of seasickness… Well… A little disappointed with my great performance, we go for a walk and a swim in a small lake… Nature is generous with these small fruits and the sea provides us with a memorable dinner that our dear captain cooks for us while we, the mermaids, are having a good time ! What a great evening we had with plenty of water! I was very happy and wished for good wind to hoist the sails towards these so magic horizons!
Days 3 & 4: from Francois to Grey River and Ramea.
This morning I woke up enthusiastic and happy! I feel great! The winds are good and favourable! We leave the bay of Francois. The sea is rough, the waves are going in all directions… I am still happy and so excited about the sea. I watch every movement of the captain and his co-captain… I soak up all the information, I try to retain it all and then… impossible to continue listening and observing!? I can’t concentrate anymore… My head is spinning, but not like usual, not like with my head trauma… It happens so suddenly! I ask for a boiler! I, who have never been ill in this way, am very surprised. Of course I’ll spare you the details! Five hours at sea trying to find a certain well-being… Well… it’s confirmed: I’m seasick… It’s a pity, I like this mode of transport so much… We’ll stop over in a quiet little bay.
The next day, phew… the sea is calm, very calm. It will be a day of sailing with the motor to leave Grey River and head for Ramea Island. I feel better, even better and we take advantage of this moment to fish and look at the foggy horizon… How quiet it is!
We arrive at the port of Ramea Island without having left the mist.
Days 5 & 6: Crossing to Nova Scotia.
We have 130 nautical miles to go.
Ramea. In the middle of the afternoon, the fog is still with us.
The wind is forecast to be favourable for this 24 to 30 hour crossing.
We set off, propelled by the motor of the yacht.
I’m a bit nervous… I really don’t want to be sick for all those hours… I prepared myself physically and morally. There is this thick fog that envelops us. It’s a good thing GPS and charts exist. We are sailing at 5 or 6 knots. So far my body is adapting to the sea and I’m fine.
As our captain had calculated, off the coast the fog is fading and we are starting to see some sunshine. It looks good. We have a peaceful dinner and before sunset the sails are hoisted, as the wind finally starts to pick up. The wind usually eases off at sunset. And then we are off… The boat heels a lot on its side and moving around requires a lot of balance. The wind carries us so strongly… It’s exhilarating! I feel a very strong emotion taking hold of me and tears are running down my cheeks… I feel an indescribable happiness. It is out of the ordinary for the brain. Night falls and I go to lie down. HaHaHa!… I still managed to keep my food and move around without getting too dizzy. All night long I want to get up to see the sea and the stars, but I can’t.
In the morning, I get out of bed! I eat a little, enjoy the horizon, the sea, the wind before saying goodbye to this dream.
Because already at the end of the day we arrive in Port Morien in Nova Scotia!
I believe that before turning this dream into reality, it is important to get used to the sea, to tame it, to breathe it and especially to learn to sail. I don’t despair, because I know a very good sailor who is seasick. He always has to take a week at sea to get used to it and then it’s over.
When we arrived on land at Port Morien near Sydney, it was time to leave and my friends accompanied me and rode a good 20 km with me on their folding bikes! This makes me very happy.
Thank you very much to you, two beautiful people, for this beautiful experience… We will meet again! I must add that the captain took very good care of me when I was ill. THANK YOU!
Thank you too for having been patient during my crossing!
You will understand that the crossing was much quicker than expected…
Instead of the few weeks I had planned, it only took a few days, but intense days!
Arrived near Sidney in Nova Scotia, I plan to do Cape Breton Island and the famous Cabot Trail.
From coast to coast…
My challenge was to cross Canada from coast to coast on my trusty bike… Well, it’s done ! But it’s not over yet !…
Here is the story (mostly in pictures) of the last weeks of peregrinations in Newfoundland.
Friday 30th July.
From Eastport to Dildo, 212 kilometres.
After a few days in Eastport Organics, I am teleported at lightning speed to the beautiful little village of Dildo thanks to the good care of my market gardener James and his pick-up truck !
Dildo. This name comes up a lot in this region! I discovered that it was the name of a piece of a boat…
The good thing about travelling is that it teaches us a lot about the world and opens up our horizons !
When I arrive in a new place, I always find a café-resto or the local microbrewery. There’s no better way to reconnect with people.
Sitting at Dildo’s microbrewery, I didn’t sit alone for long…
A nice gang invited me to spend the evening with them and to play cards in their ‘bed & breakfast’ Georges House B&B where the owner, Todd Warren, welcomed me kindly on his property for the night ! In the morning, he had prepared a good breakfast for me, thank you ! All thanks to these two beautiful couples… Once again, well fed and well rested, I was able to continue my journey to St. John’s.
Saturday 31st July.
From Dildo to Brigus, 52 kilometres.
Sunday August 1st.
From Brigus to Paradise, 60 kilometres.
I am welcomed in the home of truly extraordinary and soul-nourishing people.
Monday 2nd August.
From Paradise to Quidi Vidi, 27 kilometres.
I arrive in St. John’s for a few days.
And once again, I am welcomed with great generosity by Bernadette and Maurice who show me around, offer me hikes, stories and good food ! Once again, thank you for this welcome filled with generosity and the pleasure of sharing good times !
From Newfoundland, I will remember, of course, the beauty of the landscape and the sea. But much more: the warm humanity of the Newfoundlanders !
I had the chance and the privilege to meet joyful, generous and mature people and believe me it did me a lot of good!
While waiting for a place on the ferry that would take me to Nova Scotia, I lingered and spent a few days in St-John’s.
But bad news: no room for me on those big boats until late September !?!… As they say: ‘I missed the boat!
In the last few months, my plans have often changed… Once again I have to adapt and find a nice solution… That’s good for the brain !
And you know what !? I’ve figured out how to get there.
I just have to get there. To get back on the road, to discover other coasts, to better leave and continue…
It is really to be followed…
I am tired. And I’m hungry.
Natural, manufactured, organic, like paths traced more or less ephemeral, to be left behind, to be followed to the end or not, to be cared for in order to better harvest…
Like life itineraries that one must leave, that one wishes to accomplish or that one can change…
The salty air, the breathtaking landscapes, it’s all very nice… but you have to eat too! If I want to keep going, I need good gas in the machine ! Super grade without pesticides !
As much as water was a problem during the crossing of the Grandes Prairies, here it’s not the water that’s missing, but I have a certain difficulty to get the food that I like !
A decision is made: go along the coast by the sea OR head for the city… Because I am hungry for fruits and vegetables, which are unfortunately not easy to find in the small villages.
So, the city wins ! Direction Gander and then Eastport…
Eastport is not really a town, but I found an organic vegetable garden in this small village: Eastport ‘Organics’ !
After more than 200 kilometres, I arrive at this farm… Of which only one man takes care, accompanied occasionally by some people passing by. A young German woman, Corine, is there for a few weeks to help Jason on this beautiful farm ! And I’m going to stay there too, the time to help and recharge my batteries.
If you would like to spend some time there, working in exchange for good, fresh, healthy meals and also having fun in this wonderful place, you can contact Jason at Eastport Organics and he will be happy to welcome you! He needs a lot of help ! And this is a beautiful part of the country !
Can you get lost on an island?
Who is on an island…
After my ride in the Gros Morne park, I realize when I get my bike back that I have almost no brakes left ! The only bike shop in this area, before the big city of St-John’s, is 115 km away.
Luckily, a nice cyclist I met recently on the road offered to take me there with her car and I accepted with great happiness, as I could not see myself getting stuck on the hills without brakes !
Then, the next day, radio silence in my being… !?!
On the road, all the paths are difficult and some are blocked !… So I have to make detours towards the highway and that extends my route of a good 35 kilometres.
The detours imposed over the last few days have forced me to remain in solidarity with myself and have brought me even more to the centre of my solitude as a road rider; even if these moments of silence are greatly appreciated, I feel more at home in the cycling event than on a Bixi ride !
After a few days and more than 300 kilometres, I am still happy to be back in civilization with this arrival in Lewisport and this welcome in a beautiful yellow house filled with sun !
I realise as I make this stop that I have no strength left…
My body and head are tired. My tinnitus has increased and is making an incessant buzzing in my head. The light, the sounds, the smells, the wind have become unbearable.
I was offered accommodation and it was greatly appreciated!
I will be able to rest here, on the sofa in the entrance.
Then a neighbour comes to welcome me, I try with all my being to wake up, it is not easy. I don’t want to show my exhaustion, I still want to get to know these people who are rich in history and full of goodness !
Let’s go for a little evening in the port with these lovely people ! Sailing is the main subject !
I had planned to take a rest day, then to go on my way…
But I linger; a wonderful woman offers me supper, offers me her car to go grocery shopping, and shares her story and her husband’s incredible story with me !
I am so surrounded and absorbed by these people that I don’t realise my energy is waning as it demands so much of my attention.
In between these meetings, the need for silence is becoming more and more apparent…
And finally I will need four days spent inside myself and away from the outside world, resting here on the sofa in the hall. How lucky I am to be able to take a break from my nomadic journey! How good the people are to me !
Every evening my luggage and my bike are ready to go, but in the morning when I wake up it’s impossible to leave. Have I gone too far ? Have I pushed my body beyond its limit ? Will I finally be ready to ride again tomorrow morning ? I want to so much… No choice, tonight again to rest my head and let go of this questioning… If this journey is to end, then I will have accomplished a major challenge and learned to recognize my limits more. Good night Julie…
But you know. I’m back on the road, of course !
It seems that my legs are stronger than my head !
But the solitude of the journey has been joined by an air of simplicity…
Pedalling would be enough for me.
Even if deep down, in order to share better, I would embark you all on a one kilometre long tandem-totem pushed or braked by the winds of this Great Country… Just to hear your breaths in the effort and your cries of joy on the way down !
My trip is not over yet. Newfoundland is made up of countless islands around an island and attractive peninsulas overlooking an infinite sea…
Next step, Fogo Island and its mythical hotel…
Thank you for continuing to follow me, to read me, to motivate me.
Radio interview at the Blanc-Sablon station with Abbygail Wellman.