Our Journey Back to Joy

Last summer I wrote about the 100-day A For Adventure challenge my husband and I took on:

I discovered this challenge while chilling out after my day job and reading the paper one evening. I'm a big one for taking on challenges. So far, they've been in the creative category (of course!) -- taking part in NaNoWriMo, taking part in the A to Z Blog Challenge, doing a reading challenge, doing a year-long Movie Madness challenge.

Well...now my husband and I can add Year-Long Outdoor Physical Fitness Challenge to the list.

Last Sunday, May 31st 2015 wrapped up our year-long adventure with a special-event day held at Grand-Pre National Historic Park in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia.

Here we're joined by Parks Canada guide John-Francis Lane at left, the two men who began the A for Adventure challenge (Chris Surette and Jan-Sebastian LaPierre) as well as Chris' daughter, with Brad and myself at right. We're interacting with a statue called Sent into Exile by Quebec artists Jules LaSalle and Andre Fournelle, which shows the fragmenting of families and villages when the Acadian people were forcibly removed from what then became British North America in the mid-1700s.

I chose Grand-Pre as the site for our grand finale walk on Day 100 because I wanted to walk in the footsteps of my Acadian ancestors. My family lines were scattered to Massachusetts, through the woods northward to New Brunswick in eastern Canada, and across the sea to England. One whole generation lived in exile before hearing the news that it was finally safe to return to Acadie.

Because my husband suffers from rapid-cycling bipolar disorder and especially from agoraphobia, and because I suffer from fibromyalgia, both of us have been in our own personal exiles for many years. By taking on this challenge, Brad and I have made our own journeys back to a sense of joy and hope.

Brad and I were interviewed by Phlis McGregor for CBC Radio Information Morning on Day 97 of the challenge, in time to air before our Day 100 at Grand-Pre.

Sunday turned out to be a pretty soggy day, but nothing could dampen our sense of celebration.

I was very touched when I realized that one of the Parks Canada guides who were escorting us through the site had actually driven down from Moncton, New Brunswick in order to be a part of our day. She'd heard our story and wanted to meet us.

Another reason that I'd wanted the final day to take place at Grand-Pre was because Chris Surette and Jan-Sebastian LaPierre are also of Acadian ancestry. While we were all discussing the Acadian family names on a plaque in the church, guide Mireille Roy mentioned that she was descended from Jean Roy dit LaLiberte.

I turned around and said, "Me too! Hi, Cousin!" We embraced with such excitement.

As it turned out, another guide--Francois Gaudet--is another cousin, as we both descend from Germain Doucet dit Laverdure. That's Francois at left showing Chris Surette the linen fibres used to create shirts like the period costume that Chris tried on.

After a magical day at Grand-Pre, Chris and Jan invited us to join them for lunch where we all raised a glass to A for Adventure and to Brad's and my 100 days of transformation.

My thanks to Popculturedivas readers for joining along with our adventures over the past year.

If anyone feels like taking on the A for Adventure challenge, drop Chris and Jan an email and let them know that you're off exploring the outdoors.

Post pictures on social media of your walks, or if you're more adventurous, of your canoe trips, camping trips, picnics, hikes, skating, horseback riding -- you name it! 

Be sure to include the #AforAdventure hashtag so Chris and Jan can follow your journeys.


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