Last year aboard VIA Rail I met a man named Edward, almost 90 years old, heading east to Halifax on the train. I asked him what he was planning to do on his trip, and he replied he was headed to the Maritime Museum in Halifax to see the Titanic exhibit.
I asked Edward where it was, and he said he didn’t know. He also said he was travelling out just to go to the Museum for an afternoon, and then was turning back on the train. In my head, I’m thinking, “Man, what if the Museum was closed?!?! That’s a six trip out, and 6 day trip back!!” Hopefully that wasn’t his case.
Anyways, I asked him what the greatest lesson he had learned in his life was. He replied very promptly…”If you’re gonna do something, do it NOW!”
I sat on that idea for a year until hoping aboard the train again. I got to thinking about Edward, and a tune in his honour showed up at my doorstep. Here’s a clip from the Festival of Small Halls Storyteller’s Circle where I played it for the kind people of Linkletter.
Thanks Edward! You bring joy to many folk :). Hope the Museum was awesome!
6 days on a train, and I arrive at a different ocean….drenched to the bone as if I had jumped in the ocean….I know I am in Vancouver….haha.
What a summer it was, and thanks to all those who followed the journey and offered their support and kind words of encouragement along the way. There was a great deal that happened, and I have done my best to represent it on the webpage and through facebook, but there are so many fun details, so I thought I would post a very quick summary of as much as I could remember. If you would like to hear more about any specific point(s), send me a note, and I’ll take you out for tea :).
Here we go! Highlights of Summer in the east coast 2013, in no particular order:
Busked my way to owning a fiddle, had first fiddle session jam with JP Cormier, played my way on Via Rail across the country and back, met Dave Gunning, jammed with Charlie Acort, caught up with awesome east coast musicians Jim Dorie and Kev Corbett, crossed paths with the entire Plaskett family..multiple times, volunteered in 2 festivals, played in one of them on my first open air stage, met Jian Ghomeshi, camped on the north and south shores of PEI under star lit nights, camped on the east shore of newfoundland over looking the ocean from high cliffs, did 6 CBC interviews, had my first TV interview on Corner Brook Cafe with Wendy Woodland, hung out and jammed with Sherman Downey and his wicked band, hiked with the Island Trails Group in PEI, lost 9 pints of blood to mosquitoes on one of those trails, had a few articles written about the adventure, busked on the Halifax and Charlottetown Harbour fronts, walked barefoot in white and red sands, saw a Spirit of Newfoundland Dinner Theater, shared the stage with the Irish Decendents/The Pathological Lovers/The Sadies, walked approximately 500 kilometers, picked wild blueberries in the outback of Newfoundland, stood on the furthest east point of Canada, bought a bat-moose t-shirt, played on the Atlantic Ocean on the Marine Atlantic Ferry..saw whales and porpoises during this time, played at the famous Agricola house Open Mic in Halifax, played The Dunk in PEI twice, kayaked the Charlottetown harbour, swam in a gypsum quarry lake near the bay of fundy at sunset, wrote a ton of new songs, made recordings of 6 of them, wandered around Twillingate Isle and played at the Anchor Inn 2 nights, tried blueberry iceberg wine infused with Screech rum, taught and gave a performance in my first school event, learned a bit about playing the button accordion, met and stayed with a traditional Acadian family, developed a stronger relationship with the elements…particularly the wind, spread some of my dad’s ashes near the sea, connected with people who jammed with my father in the Yukon in the mid 70’s, bumped into people I hadn’t seen from the Okanagan in 16 years, played several open mics/house concerts/random street/coffee shop performances, met Leah Parsons – changed my life and am now motivated to help bring more awareness and education towards bullying and sexual assault, held community group walks, teamed with Hike Nova Scotia for one of them, played a home festival event called Shedfest, frequented many Tim Horton’s for my office spaces, hiked a portion of the east coast trail, moved a heck a lot of festival barriers, saw my first firefly, learned that “lunch,” to the Irish means “late night snack,” slept in a park in the middle of St. John’s, attended a “Flash Park,” attended a Pictou Garden Club event, ate wonderful farm/garden grown food, tried the Haligonian “Donair,” and although it is good, I’m not all that crazy on the “Donair sauce,” everyone raves about..haha, learned what Mummuring means, still don’t understand how you can say “Yes b’y,” to women, learned many awesome Newfoundland phrases, met three conspiracy theorists while busking, nose flute soloed with Amy and Rachel Beck in PEI, made my first fire on my own, slept in my tent on a bouncy bush, skyped a whole lot, met a legion of Volkswagon van die hards, missed every busker festival and Great Big Sea numerous times….celebrated the birth of a new niece from very far away, enhanced my understanding of what I want in life, increased desire to build a house and grow a garden, had some great discussions about important topics, drank ginger beer, discovered the beverage “Dark and Stormy,” shed some tears, had some great laughs, met so many wonderful caring people, and overall……..loved every blinkin minute of it!
Thanks again for all that shared in the beginning of this quest. Looking forward to catching up with old friends, and seeing new ones in the east in about a year :).
I had the incredible honour of meeting fiddler extraordinaire Ward MacDonald on PEI while I was there for 2 weeks (Click his name to see a video of him playing in Cuba). We had some fantastic jams over a few days, and he showed me a couple of things on the fiddle, an instrument I’ve been interested in all my life. He lent me one of his for a few days, and after a couple strolls and a walk on the beach with it…as seen above…I decided I wanted to pick one up for myself while in the Maritimes/Atlantic Canada.
Early last week I arrived in Halifax, and discovered a little fiddle in Folklore Music…a really cool music shop in downtown Halifax. I decided I was going to busk my way on the Halifax Boardwalk to my first fiddle…and 3 days later – the dream came true!
Meet my newest road buddy (Fiona), and expect some 4 stringed appearances in my future shows 😉
Greetings from the wicked island of Prince Edward!
Will have more of an update on recent happenings of the walking tour next week, as there is a great deal to share, but thought I would give you something fun in the meantime. I had the opportunity to go in and talk with Karen Mair of CBC Charlottetown about the project, and you can hear it by clicking the photo above.
Looks like I’m going to be in PEI until Sunday or Monday, and I am pumped to let you in on all that has developed from my adventures this last week. Stay tuned 🙂
It’s been two weeks on the road/train tracks, and much longer since I have written anything to update, so here is a quick one to lay some ground for what’s to come……
Jen Miller and I had an amazing experience riding the Via Rail train from Vancouver to Toronto. What a lovely way to see the country’s landscape diversity, and a great opportunity to connect with travelers from all around the world.
To light speed summarize the train….ate incredible food, slept in cool transforming rooms (ie. beds magically fold out of the walls and ceilings of the rooms), jammed with kids, a violinist, shakers, singers, riot controlled an impending Via Rail strike in Winnipeg, and probably walked 10km on the train itself!
Since hitting Toronto, we’ve played 3 venue gigs, and have one more tomorrow night at The Central, then off on the train to Halifax this Friday. It’s been fantastic to catch up with family and friends not seen for some time, and I thank you all for the amazing experiences. I even got to ride the Maid of the Mist at Niagra Falls…Got quite the shower!
Lastly, my walking tour starts in less than 1 week!!! I am beginning on Canada in PEI, and can’t wait to begin this adventure. Jen and I have a couple shows together as our duo on PEI July 6th/7th, and then I continue walking PEI. We’ll be touring Nova Scotia/New Brunswick together until end of July, and the 1 whole week performing on the Marine Atlantic Ferry between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia (SEE SHOW LIST HERE). As of August 7th….I’ll be in Newfoundland solo. Going to hang around for the Music Festival Aug.9-11th, and then open stroll until end of September. If you’re around Newfoundland in August, or Nova Scotia in September and feel like a stroll, watch “WALK WITH MICHAEL TAB” on the website, or give me an email. More to come after the walk begins next week!!