Travel responsibly and sustainably

Getting to know yourself on the Magdalen Islands

Lac Solitaire, Îles de la Madeleine

I often say that the Magdalen Islands demand authenticity - or at least, it pushes you to stop pretending. When you hail from a place where everybody knows everybody, you can never hide who you really are.

I've heard the same thing from many Neo-Islanders, the newcomers who decide to settle on the Islands during the off-season, once things slow down and the silence can be heard again. It takes a fair share of courage to face yourself in this way. The Islanders do like to party, but we also need our moments of peace and quiet, there's no avoiding it. It coincides with the fall, the calm after the summer vacation storm.

Shadow on the beachThis is a facet of life in a touristic destination: when the visitors go back home, we do the same. We go back to our habits, our daily life. We take our time. When friends and family are gone, we gather the slippers, the yarn & knitting needles, the tv shows we have to catch up on, and we slowly get ready for winter.

Many of my friends and acquaintances who did extend their trip had the same culture shock. That silence. Over a few days, the Maggies go from teeming-with-life to calm and collected. Inescapably, you end up by yourself, be it only for the time it takes to get to know the people, the way of life. I call it the moment of truth. Moving to an island, like any other relocation, forces you to sit down with yourself for a good minute. It's a challenging situation - the process is sometimes awkward, sometimes rewarding, but always necessary. To live here, you have to know exactly what kind of stories you're made of.

My return on the Islands happened naturally, but that didn't make it easy. When I came back here, back home, I had to make peace with who I am and where I'm from. Most importantly, I had to ask myself where I was going. Not that people ask more questions here than elsewhere. It's Mother Nature, impetuous, who sheds light in every corner. Islanders have a close but tensed relationship with the elements. We are directly impacted by the changes, we have the best seats to watch the environment's wrath unfold. We accepted a long time ago that Nature is and will always be greater, stronger than us.

I'm grateful for the Magdalen Islands, for all they brought me. By getting to know the Islanders, you also get to know yourself. When faced with such honest and frank people, there's nowhere to hide. Islanders are not perfect, but they share that great strength: most of them have the truth written all over their faces. It's nature showing us our true colours. Being aware of the power of the elements - and for most of us, having to battle through them every now and then - puts everything back in perspective.

Wildflowers in The Maggies

Life on the Magdalen Islands. That's what it meant for me, and hopefully, what it'll mean for many others to come.

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.

Vos commentaires

« Back

x I Care For
Les Îles de la Madeleine