I left old Quebec City pretty early in the morning to head to Montmorency Falls as suggested by my lovely horse drawn tour guide!
For those who know me, know I am a touch afraid of heights. However, the goal of this trip was to not only rediscover myself, but also challenge myself and try new things. I had created a little Bucket List for this trip, and I was determined to get as close to all of the items checked off as I could!
When I got to the falls, it was drizzling and everything was wet. Did that stop me? Heck no! So I started the climb….and the stairs….and the little “look outs” until I got to the top. When I got there, there was a suspension bridge to walk across the falls. Oh. Em. Gee. Normally, I’d have said a big fat “Nope” and went about my way. Not this time! I was determined! I even took some selfies “over the edge” with my phone!
Next challenge? Ride the trolly from the top to the bottom! I had to take a deep breath as I stood on it and it swayed in the wind and of course, in my mind it was going to be fast like a roller coaster….obviously it’s not!
I walked around a bit more, just guiding myself before leaving Quebec and driving into New Brunswick, my next “destination” was St. Andrews then Moncton for the night!
I didn’t want to drive anywhere out East after dark, I was mostly afraid to hit a moose! haha.
My drive was spent talking to friends a bit (bluetooth don’t worry!) and listening to music for my soul. Since I was lucky enough to be driving my parents brand new Pacifica (Yes, I do have the most amazing parents ever!) I had satellite radio! Woohoo! So I listened to a mix of current, 90s and 2000s songs. I began to compile a list of “trip defining” songs in my journal. Songs that made me feel empowered, sad, happy….there was such a variety. I was at a crossroads in my life, let the past 9 months break me and define me OR choose what *I* wanted to define me as a person, as a woman.
I wanted to go whale watching and was told the best place to do so would be in St Andrews. So that’s where I went. I was early for the trip so I walked around St Andrews for a bit, experiencing the little town and culture. I asked some locals if there were any other places I should visit and Kingsbrae Garden.
But first: WHALE WATCHING! We were very lucky that a huge Finback whale (2nd largest in the WORLD) decided to put on a fairly good show for us. He continuously surfaced and circled around the ship for close to an hour, coming up every 45-90 seconds. I was praying for a tail to come up (never happened) but happy I got to see something! We had a delicious lunch on the boat on our way back to shore after over an hour of whale watching. During this time, crew came around with other sea creatures for us to view and touch and hold.
I met a woman that was travelling with her dog on the whale watching cruise; she was probably early 30s. A lawyer from the states. She had decided to a take a SIX MONTH sabbatical to destress from her career and travel the USA and Canada. Damn! I thought my 17 days was impressive! She was on week 5. Just her and her dog. How amazing! (Although I saw what she was travelling in, a 35 foot amazing RV! Probably a bit easier to travel in than my van haha!)
I left and headed over to Kingsbrae Gardens next. It was beautiful (but if I’m being honest, not all that exciting for someone who isn’t super big into botanical gardens). The excitement came when I almost literally came nose to nose with a beautiful doe off the path. I think I surprised her too! I got just a couple shots off with the camera before she took off. There were signs all along the path that said “Beware of Fire Ants” if you travelled off the path….let me tell you….they were NOT KIDDING. I walked back to the path and OUCH! Something hurt my foot, I looked down to see my shoes COVERED in fire ants and they were making their way onto my bare skin. Oh my God I must have looked like a crazy person jumping around and kicking at my own feet ! Luckily, it was just the one that bit me and nothing else happened! So for real, read and believe signs like that!
I arrived in Moncton in the evening on September 8th. The following day, September 9th would have been my 11 year wedding anniversary. While I wasn’t necessarily sad, of course it was on my mind so I did want to do something else to commemorate the ‘new me’ and my new journey. So, I decided on a semi-whim, to find a reputable piercing place and go get a new piece of jewelry! I felt this would help me redefine what this day meant to me.
I gave myself very little time to talk myself out of it, and just went for it. I wasn’t even nervous for the pain! The guy was super awesome, even laughed when I said I was going to record the whole order on my phone. He warned me that many people feel a nose piercing is super painful so I was slightly geared up for that, but honestly….it barely hurt! It did make my eye water a bit, but otherwise….phew! (And it was the weeks following that were more tender!)
I had rented a “hotel” in Moncton, one of the only “mainstream” places I stayed during my trip. I arrived at the address and the doors of this “house” were locked. Inside I could see a large family sitting down to eat, they noticed me and let me in. At first I was not sure if I was at the right place, but I was! After hand writing all my information (Including my drivers licence) the little Asian woman says to me “At first I was going to put you upstairs but 2 men staying up there, I put you downstairs with other white lady, you be safer”. I was like um, what? We walked out of the “office” and down the street to another renovated home. They “Hotel” was three homes that had been renovated to rent out the rooms. I was very lucky that I got a room with my own bathroom! (the others had to share a common bathroom). I walked to the corner store (I was assured by so many that Moncton was soooo safe) but I’m not going to lie….it felt a little shady where I was! Especially when a car rolled up in the parking lot as I walked, a girl jumped out of the moving car with grocery bags full of ??? was thrown out with her while the two people were screaming and yelling at each other! I got back to my room and laid down, wrote in my journal bit and off to dreamland I went! What would tomorrow bring??
What was next!?!?