Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Discovering Cape Breton's Chéticamp

I'm typing this in a Bed and Breakfast, nestled in the most beautiful part of Nova Scotia- Chéticamp. After an uneventful five and a half hour drive from Halifax I arrived to tiny Acadian town called Chéticamp and will be here all week for work.

After reading Yancy's post at FiveSeed about how she drove less than 3000 miles since last September I am definitely feeling the "eco" downer. My little Yaris is pretty darn fuel efficient, but that doesn't take away the fact that I've been driving it a lot this past year. My job requires that I travel across the province (and I've had to receive training in Ottawa, New York and Montréal...). That's a lot of carbon emissions. Unfortunately I can't afford to purchase offsets and my job is my job. If only we had teleportation- "Beam me up!" (yep Trekkie here!).

Since I need my job (and I also adore my role in bringing French services to the province), I can't change the amount of traveling I'm going to be doing. I have been thinking more and more seriously about whether I can afford to purchase some sort of carbon offset. Andrew has started University again this fall and we're now back to 'student-mode' in the apartment.

Anyone have any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

Although I was exhausted and the wind is a bit chilly up here, I managed to get a bit of sightseeing done as well as some yoga overlooking the ocean on the cliffs of Chéticamp Island. I plan on going back for some more serious 'yoga-ing' tomorrow wearing actual yoga clothing (although the jeans worked out fine).

I'll be honest, the Okanagan Valley can't even compare to Chéticamp and the surrounding areas. With 'furry' mountains behind you and the powerful atlantic ocean spreading out as far as the eye can see, who wouldn't want to live here?

Here are some lovely pictures of my journey here- I'll be taking some more over the next few days... :)

 As soon as you enter Cape Breton, all the town signs are 'bilingual'- English and Gaelic! It's very cool.
 The view near Inverness... Homes are nestled amongst the furry mountains the entire way. Just beyond those furry mountains is the Atlantic ocean.

 Made it to the Acadian region- from here signs are bilingual French-English :)
 If you look closely, there's a barn with the entire side painted like an Acadian flag... this was just outside of Chéticamp.
 My walk to Chéticamp Island, just at the very start.
 You can see tiny little white dots- those are the houses in the outskirts of Chéticamp
 Even the grass is beautiful and wavy in the wind. 
The island comprises of grassy outcroppings onto cliffs overlooking an ocean that goes on forever. There's a constant noise- it's the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks of the cliffs all around. There is no 'peace' here, but power and beauty. I rolled out my mat directly on the soft, mossy grass.

Blessings and Happy Mabon!

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com


  1. Wow, those photos are absolutely magical!

    I know what you mean about the whole eco thing with driving, but I do think there's a difference between driving because you can vs driving where you need to.

    When I think about how I used to use my car (when I owned one) compared to my current situation, I'm both sad and amazed.

    For three years I've been car-free and relied on walking/cycling/public transport, plus the occaisional use of a car-share service.

    I don't know if a car-share service would work out for you, or even if you have one nearby. But that's really the best thing that's ever happened in my neck of the woods!

    Because I have no real need to drive most places, I simply don't. Even if I use up to $200 of my car-share service per month, that's still MUCH less than I'd spend on maintenance and fuel for a car, so I figure I'm winning and so is the environment.

    But if I had kids or a job that required travel (and the job was worth it, like yours), then it'd be a different situation.

    As much as I love a good road trip, it just doesn't sit well with me these days to go driving because I can, all over the place!

    And I love my bike.

    *sigh* small steps forward in terms of doing better things for the environment, yes?

  2. I was just there in August!

    Go to the local museum and learn about the history and current situation facing the Acadians in Cheticamp - very fascinating, if sw sad, as the current economic situation is difficult. The woman who works there showed us how they do the local rug specialty and was really interesting and nice to talk to.

    Also be sure to visit Gampo Abbey up north of Cape Breton National Park - spectacular. (This is Pema Chodoron's retreat center.) Plus I had a long talk with one of the nuns there that was fascinating. They have tours most days but not when we went. Still worth going.

    Also recommend the Skyline Trail in the National Park.

  3. Some offsets are better than none! Think of it like a retirement plan, maybe have it come out of your bank account each month ? I'm assuming you've looked at carbonfund.org and terrapass.com?

  4. What a beautiful area!

    I totally understand your "carbon guilt," LOL. With my new job, I won't be biking as much, so don't worry. I'll be compromising, too! I think it's just the way it has to be sometimes.

    You know what else? I was thinking that maybe carbon offsets can be more "loose" than what we might think. For instance, maybe you can make up your own carbon offset. When I drive more, I try to think of ways to cut back in other areas - making a little less trash, not buying something to avoid the packaging...something. I think it will all balance out in the end.

    Besides, your job sounds like it's worth it! You love it and you're helping people. What a wonderful thing!

  5. Breathtaking! I love Cape Breton, and I would like to visit someday again.

    The Gaelic/English signs--just awesome! I would love to learn Gaelic, a language that my grandmother sang us songs in, and taught us a few poems and how to count. But it's hard!

    About your carbon footprint, don't beat yourself up. When you can afford to buy carbon offset you will. For now you are doing the best that you can. And driving a Yaris is fabulous. I cringe every time I start my huge van, and I'm alone. I can't afford another small car to use when I don't have a whack of kids with me (plus that is wasteful and consumeristic), and that means that sometimes I drive a huge vehicle with just little old me in it. But my children are pretty much huge, and there are too many of them to fit in our small car any longer. I tried. It just wasn't working. Unfortunately part of living in a rural area (wonderful clean air!) is that we have to drive pretty much everywhere. There are always trade-offs in life. And I console myself that I don't drive a big pickup like almost everyone else I know.

    So that long ramble was my way of pointing out that we all do what we can. At least the people who read your blog.

  6. so beautiful! i love the bilingual gaelic/english signs. it's too bad about the carbon emissions, but you are lucky that you get to travel so much with your job.

    i've never been to the maritimes and have always wanted to go. but as a BC girl, i'm not totally convinced they're as stunning as the okanagan/interior... ;)

  7. Wow! That is gorgeous! Meant to stop by sooner and thank you for the links and hard-core research you put into the cloth diapers! I am going to a huge used baby sale tomorrow and can hopefully score a bunch of recycled goods:) Have a safe trip!

  8. Very surprise when I saw this photo.
    The picture of the acadian flag on the barn is my family home. and the other property beside it is my grand parents home. The community is called Grand Etang.


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