in this year-long trip of ours, so far we’ve chosen to travel without a car. And our current Workaway is at an out-of-the-way eco-resort up the route du Fleuve, along the St Lawrence river. Public transport doesn’t reach here. There are no buses for 26 kilometres. There might be an occasional train, but it’s a fancy tourist one which doesn’t come close to us.
Our Workaway hosts, who set up the Repere Boreal a couple of years ago, are very hospitable and do their best to give us lifts for expeditions on our days off. But it’s not always possible. In fact that has opened up another door for us – to the delights of hitch-hiking.
On Tuesday we set off in the pelting rain. We reasoned it would be easy to get picked up as car drivers would take pity on sodden hitchers. However, the opposite was true. We had to wait about 15 minutes. Maybe they didn’t want the interiors of their cars getting wet. Or maybe they couldn’t actually make us out in the driving rain.
Smile – you’re on MY travel blog!
It was worth the wait, though. We were picked up by a couple of friends, originally from India, now living in Vancouver and Ontario respectively. They were two lovely people on a week’s road-trip in Quebec. One was a documentary film-maker and blogger. His camera was running when they picked us up, and we got interviewed. Not sure whether we made the cut, but it leads to the curious experience of the mutual blog!
Each ride we have got has been a jewel. The film-maker told us about his wife’s job as a counsellor and we exchanged experiences. He then insisted on taking our photos, professional-style, posing us this way and that, at a look-out point by Baie-St-Paul. It felt like being at our wedding all over again.
Connections with strangers
On the way back, we were picked up by a fascinating couple who run a hunting lodge in the far north, living completely off-grid, surrounded by snow, fish and wildlife. They were full of smiles and joy, and interested to find out about us too. ‘To see the real Canada,’ they told us, ‘you must journey north to the wilds – poor in money, but incredibly rich in the resources of nature’.
Then there was the elderly gentleman on the Ile d’Orleans who delved into a comparison between the Quebec independence referendums in 1980 and 1995 and the Brexit referendum in 2016. He had so much to say that we barely made it into the post office before closing time!
And there have been others, each a fascinating encounter in its own way. Back in the UK the idea of hitch-hiking never entered my mind. Here it has become another path to connection with others and to the country.