Travel responsibly and sustainably

Those Who Leave, and Those Who Come Back

Vue de l'avion

One of the things that define us, as Islanders, is how most of us have had to leave at some point. Either for a bit, a longer period, or without knowing when we'd be back. We get called away for school, for work, sometimes even for love. And once we've left, many of us feel this Calling - it's the crystal-clear sea and the waves wanting us back.

The Islands won't let go of their residents so easily. We grow up with an eye on the horizon, the seascape gets etched into our minds. We get used to the great open spaces, the silence, the time. A taste of it is enough to realize this is it, this is what we'll need from now on. A reassuring feeling comes from the proximity of others, the nods from one driver to the other, the instant expression of lineage within the small talk ("So, you're the son of... of...?").

Extrait du Dictionnaire des régionalismes des îles de la Madeleine, Chantal Naud, Québec AmériqueDuring the summer, I often see some of these families, the ones who decided to leave the Islands for a reason or another. Life brings you somewhere else. You drop the anchor, get used to the urban life, think you'll settle there. And then something starts rumbling inside, between the subway ride and the bus home. Like a sudden need to stick your face in the wind and smell the great blue.

The Magdalen Islands have this curious hold on those who've known them, simultaneously familiar and foreign. The Calling stays, it becomes part of the inner white noise, deep inside. We plan our return, for a while or for good. Sometimes, we need to step out to fully grasp why we love it here. We look elsewhere, we seek aimlessly, we collect pieces from the Islands: a twist on a word's pronunciation, a song on the radio, the scent of salted waters, the wind picking up without warning... We relive the Maggies through local news broadcasts or by stacking up on local produce and works of art. We feel this longing for the Islands for the first time, with all its riches and all its memories. Maybe that's why we find it so easy to travel: because we know we'll always have a pied-à-terre in the Gulf, we know where our roots are. Growing up on an island is a romantic idea when you think about it from afar.

I'll soon leave again for another indefinite period. Life, ever so full of surprises, wants me at another address. I'm a bit disappointed to go but equally excited to arrive. I'll bring along all the memories I made while rediscovering the place. I know I'll be back - the Calling will make sure of it, as loud and as grand as the sea. And like many others, every time I come back, I get to rediscover the whole thing.


Par Nathaël Molaison

I came back on the Islands three years ago, and each day, I (re)discover the little details, the subtleties and — most importantly — the inspiration that this place brings me. In each and every one of my projects, I write a little piece of what makes us different and unique beings.

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