During the summer of 2017, after I graduated from high school, my friends and I traveled to Newfoundland, Canada, a small rock in the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of Quebec. The four of us went in July with some of the family of one of our group members. That's why we went to Newfoundland in the first place: one of us had two parents who were from Newfoundland. I had seen pictures of what the places we were going to visit looked like, but nothing could have prepared me for the breathtaking beauty of Bonavista, Gros Morne, St. Johns, and Bar Haven.
I was lucky enough to get to see what felt like every part of the island during my visit, because we drove from St. Johns, which is kind of on the south coast, to Bonavista, which is kind of on a northern coast, to Gros Morne, which was all the way on the east coast. The car trips were more memorable than I thought any car trip could be, just because the scenery was so beautiful.
The trees would fade to flat, grassy areas, which would fade to rocky areas, and every now and then we would come across peaceful bodies of standing water. It was all so beautiful, and I want to go back just so I can take time to just sit in nature.
I think everyone should visit Newfoundland because there is something for everyone.
If you aren't big on hiking or other outdoorsy type things, this might not be the best place to go, but there are things to do that don't involve being immersed in the outdoors. You can go to St. Johns, the small city, where there is an abundance of beautiful views and things to do. However, if you like being in the outdoors, then you really get to be selective about what you want to do.
You can go to Gros Morne, or any of the other national parks, and pick between being in the woods or being by the beach. There are cabins, there are spots for tent camping. There are bike trails, there are hiking trails, there are waterfalls to see, there are small streams and sharp cliffs.
I advise going to the sleepy town of Bona Vista, though. There is no shortage of beautiful sights to see and fun things to do there. You can spend a whole day on the rocky beach marveling at the power of the ocean. I don't advise getting in the icy water, though, mostly because it's so cold. There are waterbird and whale watching tours.
There are also many places to watch birds of all kinds nesting on the cliffs. The puffins are a favorite of mine. They're a lot smaller than I expected them to be, and they're incredibly photogenic. There are also many breathtaking sites to go and see, and many places to get soft serve ice cream.
The simplicity of the town and the way everyone lives really changed my life, and I really think it is worth it to go and spend some time getting closer to nature, and then closer to yourself as well. When you really break things down to the center of it all, you can discover what you value the most and what things are truly essential. For me, while I was in Newfoundland, I realized that I really valued my friends and family more than I had realized before.
My friends and I had a lot of fun exploring everywhere we went. We had a pull towards the ocean and the rocks. We wanted to find those stunning views. We wanted to exist together one last time before we went our separate ways at college. Because of that, the trip had a kind of sadness weaved into it that I couldn't shake. But also because of this, Newfoundland has a kind of sentimentality for me, and it always will.
Even though the trip didn't go perfectly (because who could perfectly handle three weeks in very close quarters with three other people?) Newfoundland and it's beauty have a very important spot in my heart because it reminds me of my friends, how young I am (especially when compared to the ancient force of the earth), and what really matters to me.
I think, while on this trip and seeing so many people live simple, fulfilling lives, I realized that love and happiness are more important to me than wealth and power. And knowing that love and happiness are what I want to reach at the end of the road has made all of the difference in my life as I've moved forward through college.
I do have to say, don't get too close to the cliff edges. Do talk to the people who live in the area. They are kind and have stories to tell, just like everyone else, but they are maybe a little more eager and willing to tell their stories. Do know that even though my friends and I climbed over our fare share of rocks close to the ocean, we were supposed to be doing that. Be adventurous, but do it carefully, and spread kindness.