VIDEO: Parlez-Vous RV? Long Long Honeymoon in QUEBEC!

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June 30, 2009

When visiting different places, travel “experts” tell us to visit museums, tour historic buildings, and generally behave like obedient fourth graders on a field trip. Our Long Long Honeymoon approach, for better or for worse, has always been a little different…

Yes, when traveling we tackle our share of activities we’re “supposed” to pursue. We hit historic sites and museums. We gaze upon ancient statues and flowing fountains. We even check out empty orange juice boxes that are masquerading as modern art. (If you don’t believe me, visit the Buenos Aires MALBA – Museum of Latin American Art. You’ll leave wondering how much they actually PAID for those juice boxes!)

But the stuff that sticks with me — the encounters that I really enjoy and remember — usually occur far outside the local museum of modern art. Often magic happens in the most mundane of locations — in a grocery store or a gas station or a sidewalk cafe.

In addition to the obvious change in scenery, a key reason we travel is to experience different cultures. There’s no better way to do so than to tackle an ordinary, everyday activity in which the ground rules have been changed. You may walk away shaking your head and muttering, “Why on earth do they do it that way?” But that’s what makes it fun.

This is why I so enjoyed the Canadian Province of Quebec. First and foremost, what impresses about Quebec is the cultural experience. Of course, language comes to mind. French is the official language. Everywhere you look in Quebec, you see French. Walk into a store, and you hear French. You’re confronted with French everywhere you turn. Personally, I find this refreshing — it sets Quebec apart as a distinctive travel destination.

At the moment there’s tension between the Province of Quebec and the rest of Canada. The situation is certainly bizarre. Quebecers recently voted on a referendum to secede from Canada; the motion failed by a razor thin margin of 49% to 51%. When visiting Quebec, you’ll see more Quebec flags than Canadian flags. While I can understand that this ongoing political unrest would cause angst amongst Canadian citizens, for this visitor the dynamics were fascinating.

I won’t wade into the politics of the situation any further. As the saying goes, I don’t have a dog in this fight. But from a cultural standpoint, I’ve visited most of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe. Being in Quebec reminded me of being overseas. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and am perhaps a little shocked that such a cultural opportunity exists so close to home.

If you have an RV, get a passport and check out Quebec. If you’ve never been to Europe, this is as close as you’ll find on this side of the Atlantic.

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  1. GMAs

    Outstanding… by golly your so close… I watched your new one 4 times… and am impressed… ( x says that is something I hardly ever do… so pat yourself on the back when I say I am impressed. )

    Under the time limits you have set…. ya done good. Would have liked to see more of the campsite info… but, then again you can put all that info on a twitter or written blog to go along with the video. (as a suggestion)

    Surprise… were headed to Ontario for a 3 day shoot on this new flick… so wave as we go by… grin… Wish we could give away the location but you know how secrets are… sort of after the fact. thing…. or you get too many showing up and making a mess… But, it would be nice to let you sit in the video camera directors chair and see how the big times do it… we can always use another camera operator.. even if we let you go handheld wild with it… I could always get my crew to film you filming to add to your collection… of experiances… and let the production staff give you pointers and a professional trailer in the end… we do that sometimes just for the fun of it…

    Oh and did you ask what is in the do-nuts… surprise… in each one…IS…..

    …. as we too found them quite tastful… till we found out what was in ’em… you will be on the treadmill for 4 hours a dozen… grin… you should have checked out the shrimp and hush puppys… oooooohhhhh good… them french really know how to cook…

    Well break is over.. back to work… we finish here about 2am… and then head northeast tomorrow… probably take the alcan highway across… x is driving… dog is riding shotgun so I am told… me… I’ll sleep.. and read….in the back of the truck… grin… isn’t that what x’s and dog is for??? (ouch thats going to leave a bruse!!!!!)

  2. Hi Joni, thanks for your comment. As of this writing, we just left Ottawa, are driving across Ontario, and will visit Toronto next. From Toronto we will likely head towards Niagara Falls (perfect “honeymoon” spot, right? ;-)) and then on down into the States.

    We’ve really enjoyed our time in Canada and look forward to visiting again someday!

  3. Joni Ausmus

    Hi Sean, you two go to the most amazing places and after watching your video’s I always want to travel there. Are you two going to Victoria while you are up there?

  4. Thanks Peter, we really enjoyed camping in Quebec. I guess I always knew it would be different, but it was amazing and eye-opening to experience the culture firsthand. I really think that all American RVers would benefit from spending some time there.

    As for Tim Horton’s, I’m sure we will miss ’em sorely when we return home. As you say, it’s a lifestyle! I read that the firm is trying to penetrate the U.S. market. I for one hope they succeed, and will do my share to help the cause (to the tune of chocolate-frosted Boston creme)…. 😀

  5. Sean, Great take on Quebec. I think you captured a nice piece of what it is like. Tim Horton’s, not a dounut dive, but a lifestyle. Good work.