Happy in Cape Breton

Happy in Cape Breton

Cape Breton is an island on the Atlantic cost of Nova Scotia. It’s Canada’s 18th largest island, though you probably could drive around the whole island in a day or two.

In about 3 hours we’ve got from the mainland up to Cheticamp, a fishing village on the west side of the Camp Breton. Locals told us that the drive is the best up to Cheticamp, as you see the coast line. Shortly after that, when you pass the National park, you’ll be driving through the forest, so the view not as great then.

We arrived at Cheticamp around 8 pm and decided to stay there over night. Laurie’s Motor Inn provided decent accommodation for $126. You can get tons of brochures in their lobby for all kinds of activities in the area – kayaking, hiking, golf, whale cruises, moose sightings etc.

For dinner we decided to go to the Le Gabriel, a local restaurant offering great seafood and an entertainment in a form of live Acadian music. I tried Seafood Chowder, which was excellent.

"Le Gabriel" Restaurant, Cape Breton

Sitting in the restaurant, we were imagining what it would be like living in a small place, like Cheticamp. All men fish there, all women work in the service industry, but most people work for only 4 months out of the year and then live for the rest of the year on the employment insurance. Everything shuts down there in winter months.

We all agreed that living hectic life in Toronto is not exactly what each of us envisioned doing for the rest of our lives. Surprisingly, none of us were happy with our lives. But would living in a small remote place like Cheticamp make us any happier?

At that time waitress serving us overheard our conversation, and was surprised to hear what we were saying. So we asked her “Are you happy?”, and she said “Of course!”.

She said she enjoys the nature around her, being close to everything and everyone (all her family lives in the area as well), knowing everyone in her community (she was born in Cheticamp and lived there all her life) and knowing that she can rely on people in her Community, if she needed help, was important to her. She also said that she was in Toronto just recently and was glad to come back home. She didn’t like the big city life. “It’s more relaxing in Cheticamp” – she said. “It also doesn’t cost me anything to do things I like. In the big city you have to pay for everything, as soon as you step out of the door”.

Her name was Brenda Lee, and from what I could tell, she was genuinely happy.

I was wondering, even after that conversation, what exactly we were missing in our lives that made us unhappy –  no sense of Community or the fact that we are so removed from the nature, or maybe that no matter how much me make, we spend as much just to sustain ourselves in a big city. My guess, it’s all of the above.

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