Camp Across Canada – {PART 1} The Destination

As I write this, I am sitting in a breezy screened porch at our “Family” cottage perfectly propped a hundred feet from the gentle waves of a lake in New Brunswick, Canada. It is July 21, 2015 and I’m enjoying the aftermath of an overnight thunderstorm. {note: it has taken me till today to get this posted as wifi connection is pretty much non-existent – also perfect!} I am inhaling the sweet floral air – that has a hint of vintage to it – a slight musk created by the old furniture that has sat lakeside for a good portion of the 36 years this cottage has existed. This is the smell of memories – I wish I could bottle this scent – it is so perfect.

I hear a loon in the distance, some chickadees chirping a singsong and the odd duck quacking his little heart out. Off in the distance a cow is calling out from the farmer’s field down the road. A humming bird is buzzing around behind me – I think he likes my shampoo! Oh! And I just saw the two large brown eyes of a seal – YES A SEAL – enjoying the freshwater fish buffet and visiting us from the ocean. Kind of looks like an alien poking his head up out of the water! So at this stage, I have paused writing and I have run down to the water to try and hug a seal.


Okay – 15 minutes later back to the painted scene above minus a seal. I look into the windows from my perch – an overly cushioned, stripped willow chair my dad made once upon a time, and I see my two children playing old board games my brother and I used to play when we were kids trying to make the best of the days when the rain kept us out of the lake and trees. My ninety-one  year old Grandmother {GiGi} and my mother have joined in on a game of Trouble and I can hear the muffled sounds of laughter and some joyful heckling. All these sounds are soothing my soul and every moment is making my heart soar.

My eyes are absorbing the variety of vibrant greens and hues of greys as the sun plays peek a boo with the clouds. Orange tiger lilies sway in the wind and the ferns are dancing a quiet flutter. The “local” chipmunk has now joined a squirrel and I feel like they are playing out an old school cartoon for me. This place has my heart – this place is my destiny – this place is my reward.

About the Reward

My parents embarked on their own journey 36 years ago to purchase a small piece of vacation property near the old family farm and they proceeded to build a summer retreat. They literally built it from the ground up and during this, I was 4 when they started building, we took shelter in a red pup tent! That is my very first memory of camping. I remember getting lost in the large fern forest that still lines the lakeshore and picking wild blackberries to the sound of table saws, hammers and all of the above described nature and well – a few F-Bombs. If you didn’t know before, know it now, building a home from scratch can certainly bring out both the best and worst out in people! And it has to be said that through my parent’s journey, I also learned the value of a dollar and what hard work and determination was.

This is the place where I “rescued” spiders, salamanders, frogs and toads – all were kissed and hugged, kept as pets and released back to Mother Nature. I discovered I am allergic to bees while making mud pies. I created funerals for birds when death knocked and I made shelters out of old trees and bark and played house in the nearby forests. I made pottery from the clay that could be dug out from underneath the rocks on the beach and we swam and swam and then swam some more! This place, where I sit today, was pure magic as a child and continues to have a newfound magic as I near 40. This place is rich – so much equity is wrapped up here through blood, sweat, tears, laughter, memories, family, nature and simple life. No amount of money in the world is worth the equity established here.


I grew up in Labrador where my dad was a teacher, so we only saw this magical place in the summers. We would road trip over dirt roads and cross the St. Laurence River to get here. Time to work on it was therefore limited and so after 36 years it sits unfinished. However, it is complete – complete in the sense that it is everything and then some in terms of relaxation, rejuvenation and even revelations. Complete in the sense that you are mindful of your surroundings, of family and of simple comforts. It has changed a great deal over the years – it shows maturity in taste over the decades from young twenty something adults to retired cottage dwellers. The “Family” cottage as I call it, is my parents little piece of heaven on earth and it resonates the same for me – I long for it, I chase it. I often wish I could be here more, live closer – something. It is the reward I seek all year long. This is my reward – what I was chasing across Canada – this is the end result – the destination.

The Lake

“They” – whoever “they” are say that your travels should be about the journey and not the destination. I disagree. This place proves that theory wrong in my books. This destination is all about journeys – several of them – over years. It lives and breathes my parents journey over 36 years. It holds life lessons and is the definition of warmth. For me, getting here was all about this slice of pie at the end.

I started with the last chapter of my Camp Across Canada Journey – I felt that to be suitable since I am here sitting – inspired, tired and wired!

To be continued…. Part 2 Camp Across Canada – The Beginning of Crazy?

0 Responses

  1. Fit Life Pursuits

    Beautiful! Your words and the place!

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      Thank you very much!

    • alannahgamblinjensen


  2. Brenda Varnam

    There is no beginning or end to Crazy… there just IS crazy!

  3. Camp That Site

    What a beautiful spot to enjoy your memories.

    • alannahgamblinjensen

      Thank you!! It’s really heaven on earth!

  4. […] a hundred feet from the gentle waves of a lake in New Brunswick, Canada. It is July 21,… Continue reading → THE CAMPSITE […]

  5. adonira

    hey! went camping for the first time ever recently…this is how we portaged…:S

  6. catesjil

    hey! went camping for the first time this summer. this is how we portaged!!

  7. […] As I write this, I am sitting in a breezy screened porch at our “Family” cottage perfectly propped a hundred feet from the gentle waves of a lake in New Brunswick, Canada. It is July 21,… Continue reading → Source link […]

  8. […] would Camp Across Canada. Yes – just like that. My kids go to my parents place every summer {see Camp Across Canada – Part 1: The Destination} and make memories with Grammie and Grampie so we were headed that direction one way or another. On […]

  9. Steve

    Breathtaking location. It seems so peaceful there. I really enjoyed your post and the vivid descriptions. My wife and I have not yet made it to Canada, but now you have me thinking about a camping trip there.



    • alannahgamblinjensen

      So worth it! I have so much more to write about that trip AND I think we might do it again next summer!