Melanie here ~
In the summer of 2015, instead of taking off out of the country as I always do as a travel writer, I decided to write about my home town of Toronto for an entire month, trying new things every day and treating it like a place I would visit.
The notion of getting up close and personal with my own backyard attracted Sandra, whom I never met before (and from a different province.) She decided to do the same thing. We dubbed it The July Project; it was a real eye-opener.
Sandra’s blog about The July Project morphed into a travel memoir: Waking Up In My Own Backyard (Pottersfield Press, 2018)
After countless book readings and a beautiful outpouring of like-minded people wanting to tell us their stories, we got to thinking: maybe there is something to this “backyard stories” thing. Maybe we have ourselves the beginnings of a movement.
Around the same time, Rick Mercer delivered his last rant on This Hour Has 22 Minutes; he said in part: “And I also know in my heart of hearts that we would be better, stronger, and more unified if more Canadians could make it their business to see more of Canada.” Realizing that not everyone has the resources to travel far and wide, he added, “If you can’t make the big trips, make the small trips in your own backyard. I guarantee you—it is awesome!”
Aha! We were onto something!
Now, we’ve launched Heartsong Travel. We’re inviting fellow Canadians to take up the challenge: Go somewhere in your own backyard; DO something that makes your heart sing, TELL us about it!
By the way, it’s up to you to define what “backyard” means. Could be within a one kilometer of your front door or several hundred. The only caveat? Your backyard must be somewhere in Canada.
Sandra adds ~
I’ve always loved the work of Mary Oliver, poetry and essayist, and my all-time favourite book of hers is Our World. In it she talks about seeing through the heavenly visibles to the heavenly invisibles.
Well now, that all sounds pretty heady. But you know what? Our world is FULL of heavenly invisibles. Mel and I call them heartsong moments. And we don’t have to go far to find ‘em. We just have to open our eyes, and follow our nose.
So join us, won’t you? Together we’ll create a huge HeartSong community in Canada and put backyard travel on the map.
Hope our paths cross again—either here, or somewhere in our backyards.