Basic units, trip odometers and showing up

I measure my life in 4,000 mile increments, almost by accident.

I logged my first 4,000 miles during my independent research summer, driving to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I had bitten off more than I realized. If fortune and hospitality didn’t favor the bold and foolhardy, I would have fallen on my face even harder than I did.

And in every sense, I did fall on my face. Not only was it too early in the season to find reliable camping, but the nebulous connection between the great-great-great grandchildren of Scottish migrants and the windswept Western Isles I traveled to observe also failed to materialize.

Yes, to answer the question hanging in the air: I had driven for three straight days to ask Cape Bretoners how the history of Scottish immigration to eastern Canada had created a big, squishy, Romantic feeling of belonging between them and people living on similarly rural islands with active local newspapers in Scotland. I only needed 12 hours on Cape Breton to confirm precisely how off-base I was.

Read the full piece on The Morehead-Cain Foundation’s Website.