Jul 31 – Day 1 Walking – Sunday was our first full day in Canada. Tom and I stayed Saturday night at “A Tanner’s Home B&B” which was once a curiously old (148 years old) home of a wealthy gentleman who made his fortune in tanning leather goods and real estate. Today, it was an airbnb-like home which had a 1800s historical vibe but updated to accommodate tourists. It’s still a work in progress.
Our hosts, Doreen and Sebastian were proud ex-pat Indians who found their formula for retirement hosting this B&B in the warmer months and flying back to Mumbai the rest of the year. Sebastian, a former sea captain, hates the cold but loves Canada.
Like many parents in search of the best for their family while planning for the next phase of retirement, Canada seemed to fit. There is an active Indian population here in Saint John and a government more inclined to take in immigrants than most. The price you pay is an investment of capital in a legitimate ongoing business to get the benefits of citizenship. This enabled Sebastian to send his kids to Canadian universities where they established residency in Toronto.. They are planning that big wedding for their daughter who had to marry quietly during the pandemic. Hope is that grandchildren will soon be in the picture.
Meanwhile, Tom and Loredana set out on on Sunday to run a half marathon before we started our long Beyond Borders Walk later that day. The “Marathon by the Sea” mostly follows the pedestrian trail along the waterfront and ends around noon. After a shower and change, the four of us begin walking the trail out of Saint John, heading for St. Stephen an almost unimaginable 125 miles away. But today we planned an easy day of only 7 miles to get to our next destination, the Regent Hotel just on the outskirts of Saint John.
The Regent was as basic a motel as you could get. But it helped us get a start on the journey. Rooms were dingy but clean. Little tiny soap bars, shampoo in sealed envelopes and no air conditioning. Luckily the single ceiling fan was all we needed. The only problems were no coffee and no place to eat within walking distance. Luckily we found a restaurant that delivered in this remote outskirts of Saint John. With pleasant weather and a single outdoor picnic table the four of us shared a good-enough Chinese dinner.
Its not difficult to find people that want to talk to strangers here at the motel or anywhere in this area. One couple was coming from Manitoba with plans to retire in Nova Scotia. Another guy, with sunburned face and head, struck up a conversation about how he had moved to Alberta only to find his partner had decided she need to be alone. Now he was back to rekindle a relationship with his children and grandkids. Glad to be back “home” he looked forward to seeing his son drive race cars. His sunburned head and face were proof of how he just witnessed a drag car hitting 210 miles per hour. A happy camper glad to be back.
Motels and B&B’s serve a useful purpose in helping us move on. We need sleep to move forward in the morning. But, every host and guest has a story from the past and a story yet to come.
Check out more information and stay up to date on the Beyond Borders Walk here.