Whirlwind Canada

At the end of June, obliged as I was to get out of the USA, i headed north to Canada.

Canada was quick. I was in and out of the country in 2 weeks, which meant everything flew by in a blur. It is one of those vast spaces in the world I often think of as needing months, if not years, to be properly introduced to. I take things in very slowly, so this screaming in and out of places business is something i dislike very much.

I don’t have a lot to say about my time there as a result, as i only figured out how to engage with the country – considering how different it is from the USA, which I spent 3 months in – around the time I left it. I will leave you with pictures instead.


Tam tams drummer, Montreal, Canada

Montreal was a whiz of high speed impressions. My friend David was my host, most enthusiastic tour guide, and a fount of nonstop energy. Among what felt like 3 million things we did around the city in the week and a half that I was there, two stood out:

#1: The Tam Tams drum circle in Mont Royal Park. The first Sunday we went there, I was completely sucked in by the incessant, ever-changing beat. There is something heady, magical (and maybe herbal) about spending a while in the drum/dance circle, being a part of that pulse; I came away lightheaded, knees wobbly, unable to keep from bouncing on my toes.

Tam tams dancer, Montreal, Canada
Tam tams dancers, Montreal, Canada
Tam tams drummers, Montreal, Canada
Tam tams drummers, Montreal, Canada

#2: And then there was the Montreal Jazz Festival, where I was introduced to two outstanding (non-jazz, as it happens) acts in the best way possible: live, and right in front.

Meta Dia, of Meta and the Cornerstones, Montreal Jazz Festival
Jon Knight and Soulstack, Montreal Jazz Festival

Ontario and Erin Wilson

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Erin Wilson is someone I’ve been talking to for a while over the internet (there is a pattern here), and is making some tremendous changes in her own life this year.

We agreed it would be good to meet up, but instead of a cup of coffee, threw our lot in and decided to go on a road trip for a week around the southeastern bit of Ontario. Two sister nomads, a car, some beautiful country and the insatiable urge to drive – it could be a mad and magic one.

It’s a big thing to decide to spend a bunch of time constantly around another person, especially one you’ve never met and essentially don’t know. Neither of us made secret of our worries on that front, but as it turned out, between our mutual sugar and internet addictions, love of the open roads, and the fact that we are completely capable of running around the shores of Lake Superior catching tadpoles and giggling like small children, we got along stonkingly. I don’t think I’ve talked as much to anyone in my adult life as I did to Erin in that week: she’s an astoundingly encouraging listener. I might literally have talked her ear off in between exclamations of “wow” at every heartbreakingly beautiful scene that unfolded in front of us… so my apologies to anyone who is finding her a bit hard of hearing these days!

Fog, Ontario, Canada
View from Wawa, Ontario, Canada
Pirate boat at Bruce Mines, Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada
The shores of Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada
Wildflowers at Bruce Mines, Ontario, Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I feel insanely privileged to have met Erin. For that alone, I’m glad to have made the quick swing by Canada.

Hasta la vista, mi amiga. Godspeed and fortune favour you always.

McGill University museum, Montreal, Canada


  1. Erin Wilson says:

    My giant reply was consumed by the internet… probably for the best lol.
    What you’ve captured is so beautiful. Dammit, it’s so good to know you’re doing exactly what you were made for.
    Some day, a different road/different shore. There will be another trip, I’m sure.
    Peace to your talented, gorgeous self.

    1. charlene says:

      “it’s so good to know you’re doing exactly what you were made for”

      Likewise, you beautiful soul. Likewise.

      There must be another trip. Like I have learnt to say these days, see you again somewhere else in the universe. Soon. Safe and wonderful travels to you, I look forward to hearing about them in person (at Tim Horton’s? Haha!).

  2. Beautiful words and images, brings a big smile to my face to think of you and Erin road tripping. Magic is real. Cannot wait till all 3 of us can do MMR Canada!

    1. charlene says:

      That would be epic! Poor Erin though, she might really lose her hearing after a mere week of that :D

  3. Rideau Street! It’s strange to see my hometown here as a stop on someone else’s road travels. You captured the hussle and bussle of Ottawa quite well here ;) I hope you get the chance to return, it really is a gorgeous and quite vast country to explore. Someday I’ll cross Canada.

    1. charlene says:

      I’ll definitely be staying for a much much longer time, the next time I come around. Canada is so vast and so beautiful it would be a shame not to. Thanks for dropping by :)

  4. Sherry says:

    Beautiful words, beautiful images! Enjoying reading about your adventures!

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