Traveling in Canada: Sights, Beaches, and Sunsets in New Brunswick
Navigating without the aid of Internet or GPS while in Canada resulted in mostly random wandering, which turned out to be a fantastic way of traveling the country. I had honed my aimless mode of traveling while in New Hampshire and Maine but now, being able to only rely on paper maps, road signs, and the friendly advice given to me at information centers, I found that my pace slowed and my experienced broadened. Without the temptation to use my phone in order to look up what might lie ahead, I meandered quite a bit and found myself enjoying the present moments to an even greater degree.
A second factor that altered my method of traveling in Canada was the ease in which sleeping conditions could be found. I could write multiple blog posts on this, but normally I will begin looking for an overnight spot in the evening or perhaps even earlier if I have an idea of where I may end up. This almost always entails using the Internet: When near highways or towns I search for truck stops, parking lots, etc., and when in rural areas, I look up public land or designated free camp sites. I do this because the United States is comparatively stringent about private property (both business property and that which is individually -owned) and I prefer to find a legal option to avoid being hassled. I almost always have the option of street parking in a residential area though in many places sleeping in your car is actually illegal (as opposed to just parking a vehicle overnight) and requires me to be discreet and arrive late/leave early under the cover of darkness. I personally prefer to not attract attention and would rather search for a better option. I also tend to search online for places in rural areas since most property is privately owned and parking a car with out of state license plates within view of passing traffic can arouse curiosity and invite visitors. National and state parks, beaches, and trailheads would normally provide more privacy but are almost always monitored by rangers or law enforcement and are thus not always the best option. I don’t want to insinuate that finding a place to sleep is difficult – because it is not – and there are numerous other options available depending on where you are, but my point is that I normally default to using the Internet in order to find a place that is the least likely to solicit a conversation with a police officer, generally safe, and that preferably allows me to sit and read in my car for a few hours before sleeping. Essentially I just don’t want to be bothered.
My experience In Canada however was that I found it fairly easy to find a place to spend the night due to reduced population density, laid back attitudes, lack of local police, and fewer places that expressly forbid overnight parking. I became very comfortable overnighting at trailheads, beaches, wharves and the like, and was able to mostly cease thinking about where I was going to have to travel to in order to sleep. Instead I enjoyed slower dinners, watched more beach sunsets, and generally maintained a presence and an unhurried state of mind that made my days feel longer even as daylight hours began to noticeably shorten. Lack of planning and less navigating allowed me to adjust to more unstructured days, and I found I was able to be even more mindful of my activities and surroundings. Traveling in this way led me to further cultivate the feelings of being present that I had been basking in since New Hampshire, and made for a wonderful and refreshing experience. The photos below illustrate some of those moments in my New Brunswick travels but also included are some random places that I came across.