November 2 through November 20, 2015 marks the three week period that a spicy array of travelers would join to explore the Eastern US (& Canada). Connected by both their eagerness to live on the road and the urge to spread the Ozark Mountain vibes that originally inspired Fayettechill, they each find meaning in a life of travel and outdoor immersion. Along with personal travel backpacks, they each would bring a unique skill to the journey: photography, producer, writer, logistics.
Their three-week travel schedule was simple in structure, yet rich in depth. They would start in Montreal, and head south via Amtrak trains. They planned to balance between city and nature and work to discover the unique color of each fresh environment. Along the way, they craved chance encounters and life lessons. They aimed to discover the laid back, authentic undertones that built unique community within each of their destinations.
Bull-minded and fiery, most thrilled to begin adventuring, the four travelers joined on day one in Hôtel Quartier Latin, a cheap, pale-bricked hotel along the busy sidewalk of Rue Saint Denis St.
Days 1-3, Montreal, Quebec:
The city, as a first encounter for each of them, inspired exploration with its historic, French architecture and abundance of youthful street fashion. The aspiration to capture their new environment in totality sparked creativity and curiosity. They set off, heading west of downtown, for their first group journey just before sunrise. Across city streets, into a giant patch of nature, they found themselves at the base of Mount Royal, a luscious mountain in the middle of Montreal. Yellow maples and trails full of morning activity eventually guided them to an overview of the city's sky line.
Later, morning fuel became a necessity as the city’s energy rose. Paying with loonies and toonies, one and two dollar Canadian coins, the travelers purchased espresso from a French speaking barista. After, they commuted to one of Montreal’s marche publics, or public food markets. There, at Marche Jean-Talon, one traveler, the lead photographer of the crew, fed a hungry local with ample coins and he was left glittering, certain he had encountered an angel. Another of the travelers market-wanders, gleeful, and leaves with brown bags of pungent cheese, thin sliced meat, and hot Indian samosas.
Other notables: Musée d'art Contemporain, an interactive video and music art museum, heaping plates of poutine fries (La Banquise Canadian special), skateboarding in the historic district, and stumbling upon the underground candlelight bar, Big in Japan. Each detail helps unlock the unique spirit of Montreal. Led through the city’s heart by a well-traveled, French-speaking local, the four-some became a five-some and the group's color brightened.
Just before skipping town, atop the roof of the Canadian native, photographs are captured as she tells her story with attitude-soaked eyes. A vegan, a restless visionary, a university student, vibes with the travelers and impulsively decides to catch a ride to join the travelers at their next destination in the states.
As the morning sun edges bright into the sky, it is time to continue onward. The travelers pack up their hotel room, slap their company's stickers on nearby light poles, and head to the station to catch their first train. Two days and three nights in the city, the travelers leave satisfied, charged with the collective mentality of Montreal's authentic, laid-back scene. Fully primed, they felt ready to make the switch from city hustle to the meditative outdoors of the Adirondack forests.